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View Full Version : Help me out...which computer should I get?


formerblakefan
08-14-2009, 10:35 AM
Background: I'm a mac person, and my little G4 ibook died about a year ago (I had it for 4 years), and being a teacher at the time, I only could afford an emergency replacement HP netbook. The netbook doesn't have MS office; however, I can use opensource apps to view/edit office documents.

Problem: I've decided to leave the real world (and a great salary) to begin my Ph.D. As a doctoral student, I'm going to have to get a computer that can do word processing, presentations, statistical analysis, etc... My netbook has none of those programs nor the computing power to do it. I have several choices...

1) Buy a desktop computer and keep my netbook for mobile purposes. I would really like to have a desktop computer at home because I think it would last a lot longer than a laptop and have a faster processor. I'm thinking an Imac, but I'm worried about the compatability between my netbook's opensource docs and MS office for Mac. Also, it's not very feasible to work on a little 10" netbook in the library, I don't think...

2) Buy a laptop as my primary computer and keep my netbook for useless things like surfing the Internet. I would get probably the cheapest mac notebook to do all my work on, but I'm afraid that all this lugging about from home to school etc. will damage the computer. Sure, my Ibook was tough and lasted for 4 years, but I think if I would have treated it better, it would have lasted for longer!

3) Buy a laptop for mobility "school" purposes, buy a desktop for home and use my netbook for frivolity or give it away If I do this, I won't be able to buy macs! I would be able to buy a cheap laptop that has MS office to work at the library and then have a desktop computer at home for my larger processing stuff (I also do a bit of music editing/recording i.e. the mac...ahh!!!). But, this option seems like a waste of money to me...hmm...

So those are my choices. Right now, I'm leaning toward (oh..I don't know which one...I have to make a decision soon, though!)

Can you guys help me out?

FBF

southpaw
08-14-2009, 12:06 PM
Number 2.

But somehow, find the extra money (sell the netbook) and buy the 13" macbook pro instead of the white plastic macbook. The macbook pro is machined from a solid piece of aluminum, virtually indestructible. I don't want to sound like a commercial, but I've owned ibooks, macbooks, thinkpads and various other laptops from hp, toshiba and sony, and the macbook pro is the most solidly built laptop I've ever used.

The imac and macbook pro are the same price, and the imac is only marginally faster than the macbook pro. You will not notice a difference. Your next step up for a desktop would be the mac pro tower, which will set you back almost 3k.

hankash
08-14-2009, 12:31 PM
Well, if you're going to buy a laptop as a primary home computer and use a netbook for mobile purposes, why invest so much in the build of the computer that's just going to be sitting all day? Also if you strongly care about MS Office, it is way better on PCs than on MACs. If that's what your main use is going to be, go with a PC.

shissncg
08-14-2009, 12:41 PM
Find out what software you will need and what hardware your school's IT department will support. Especially with regard to statistical software some things will not run with Mac OS (e.g. SAS). Many doctoral programs will give you a computer or have a discount with a particular vendor. Ask the dept what they recommend.

formerblakefan
08-14-2009, 05:02 PM
Find out what software you will need and what hardware your school's IT department will support. Especially with regard to statistical software some things will not run with Mac OS (e.g. SAS). Many doctoral programs will give you a computer or have a discount with a particular vendor. Ask the dept what they recommend.

I didn't think of that at all! I think I will go with a desktop (PC) and my little netbook. Thanks!

nadalfan!
08-14-2009, 05:28 PM
IMO, you should build your own computer with what specs you want. I know a person who has done this and made a lightning fast computer with about 600 bucks. Its not too hard and you get to do what you want with it. Besides, having 2 laptops is not really that good when really you only need one. (you can't use 2 laptops at the same time). So, I would say build and create a desktop computer and keep your netbook for mobility. Again, this is just my opinion.

flyinghippos101
08-14-2009, 05:34 PM
IMO, you should build your own computer with what specs you want. I know a person who has done this and made a lightning fast computer with about 600 bucks. Its not too hard and you get to do what you want with it. Besides, having 2 laptops is not really that good when really you only need one. (you can't use 2 laptops at the same time). So, I would say build and create a desktop computer and keep your netbook for mobility. Again, this is just my opinion.

Sounds like a solid plan. You can make a great system for 700 bucks, something like core 2 quad, 1 tb, 4 gb ddr2 ram and maybe something like hd 4850 would be something good for a desktop

mtommer
08-14-2009, 05:35 PM
You can also get a portable drive or even a large flash drive and use portable editions of software. This way you can go from computer to computer to computer and the build of the drives are meant to handle more abuse due to the nature of their portable design.

southpaw
08-15-2009, 09:39 AM
I didn't think of that at all! I think I will go with a desktop (PC) and my little netbook. Thanks!

Cool. Just don't attempt to build your own desktop. Years ago you could save real money building a PC, but not anymore.

Flyingpanda
08-17-2009, 04:21 PM
Make your own computer and dual-boot it with windows and mac-OS

aphex
08-17-2009, 10:54 PM
i suggest Imac---i got one last year and i saw the light...
btw, you can run windows on a mac (and any windows program you wish)...

adams_1
08-17-2009, 11:18 PM
i suggest Imac---i got one last year and i saw the light...
btw, you can run windows on a mac (and any windows program you wish)...

Yeah, you can run Windows on a Mac, if you want to shell out for another OS to run on your already overpriced hardware. Might as well just buy an attractive but underpowered PC.

tennis_hand
08-17-2009, 11:21 PM
if u don't mind the size and dirty WIRES, always get a desktop.

otherwise, forget about desktop. it is just bulky, occupies space and the wires with dust are disgusting.

Gellin
08-20-2009, 07:18 PM
Get a laptop and a big monitor 22"+. You will love it.

abenguyen
08-20-2009, 10:36 PM
2 is my option. its all about laptops and portability now. you can always keep your other for internet surfing and TW forum posts ;)

however you can find pretty cheap laptops now that do everything you need.

and this may be a personal question, but what made you so sure to leave your life now and pursue your Ph. D.?

Madhoshi22
08-21-2009, 01:29 PM
Find out what software you will need and what hardware your school's IT department will support. Especially with regard to statistical software some things will not run with Mac OS (e.g. SAS). Many doctoral programs will give you a computer or have a discount with a particular vendor. Ask the dept what they recommend.

You can dual boot Vista or XP using bootcamp from a Mac.

Flyingpanda
08-21-2009, 04:55 PM
If you're going to dualboot, then you should just do it from a PC. PC's are much more upgradeable, will last longer in the longhaul. It's easier to find a good deal on a PC because of all the different companies producing PC's.