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You are here: MacNN Forums > Hardware - Troubleshooting and Discussion > Mac Desktops > What to do for college

What to do for college
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holliday1
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Jun 10, 2006, 11:27 PM
 
I'm off to college this fall and I was thinking about what I wanted to do in my dorm room. Right now I have an airport express and a 15" 1.5ghz G4 Powerbook.

I am going to buy another Mac for college, but which one is still up in the air. the two options I was thinking of was getting either a Mac Mini or a new MacBook.

If I bought the Mac Mini:
I would store my music and videos and other stuff on the Mac Mini and hook it up to my TV to use as a DVD Player and for Front Row. I would access the music and stuff through Front Row and have it stream to the Airport Express (which I definitely plan on bringing to college). Then I can use my powerbook (which is 1.5-2 years old) for work and any other stuff. basically the Mac Mini would serve as the digital hub which it is advertised as.

if I bought the MacBook:
I would use the MacBook as my main computer and put the Powerbook in place of the Mac Mini in the above scenario.


I cannot decide between these two scenarios because I can either have the nifty, neat, grand new MacBook but I would have to use the Powerbook as a sort of server which I am not sure if it can handle. Or I can get the Mac Mini and save money but have to use the older and slightly larger Powerbook (which works well as of typing this) as my main computer.

the price for the Mac Mini I configured was ~$850
the price for the MacBook I configured was ~$1250
(prices'll go up equally if I get the AppleCare plan)

can anyone spare some advice about which I should choose?

(and for the record I have tested out Front Row on the Powerbook and while it is not zippy it is not unbearable. I can easily live with it. also I was not sure if I should have put this in the Mac Mini or MacBook section so feel free to move if necessary.)
( Last edited by abbaZaba; Jun 10, 2006 at 11:36 PM. )
     
hickey
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Jun 10, 2006, 11:39 PM
 
why get another comp? Depending on what your going to be doing in college, your current pbook should be fine. If it's some sort of graphic/video program, which it probably is, why not get an external display and one or two external hard drives instead of a whole new comp.

and dorm rooms are not the best place to have lots of stuff, space is so limited as it is. Unless you move off campus and get a sweet apartment or townhouse.
     
holliday1  (op)
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Jun 10, 2006, 11:52 PM
 
I want to move into the Intel Macs and I figure now will be the best time since I will have some cash to burn. Also, if I end up not wanting the Powerbook anymore I could sell it for what little it's worth. Either way I want to get one because I want to have an Intel Mac and in my case sooner is better than later.
     
crispin14
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Jun 11, 2006, 04:16 AM
 
go for the mini, its compact and convenient

the g4 powerbook is still an awesome computer and most college students or even regular people don't need 2 laptops
     
iREZ
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Jun 11, 2006, 01:19 PM
 
i vote mac mini...
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jasong
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Jun 11, 2006, 01:56 PM
 
I vote MacBook. You always want your primary machine to be the fastest one. As for what ends up being your server, the HD performance will be the major limiting factor there, and the PowerBook and Mac Mini will have roughly the same HD speeds. I suspect your "old" PowerBook will be just fine.
-- Jason
     
harrisjamieh
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Jun 11, 2006, 02:12 PM
 
Originally Posted by jasong
I vote MacBook. You always want your primary machine to be the fastest one. As for what ends up being your server, the HD performance will be the major limiting factor there, and the PowerBook and Mac Mini will have roughly the same HD speeds. I suspect your "old" PowerBook will be just fine.
HD as in hard drive or as in Hi Def video? Because the PowerBook will not play hi def stuff, whereas the mini will
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stwain2003
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Jun 11, 2006, 04:18 PM
 
he means hard drive speed. 5400rpm vs. 7200rpm...
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iREZ
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Jun 11, 2006, 04:43 PM
 
you dont want your primary/faster machine to be a notebook if you could avoid it. one drop and buh bye...get the mini and a 20" lcd and you'll be set for any dorm. dells got some good rebates going on if youre looking to scrimp. i also believe that powerbooks are still great for being the 'on the go machine' for anybody right now other than video editors.
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holliday1  (op)
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Jun 11, 2006, 05:06 PM
 
I'm not planning on getting a monitor for the mac mini. if I get the mini, it'd be set up under the TV, connected to it. it would house my music and TV shows and I could use front row through the airport connected speakers and what not. the Powerbook would serve as my main computer to control the headless mini. or if I go the route of the macbook, the powerbook would be the one doing all the serving.
     
kcmac
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Jun 11, 2006, 08:25 PM
 
Will Front Row work on your PB?
     
jamil5454
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Jun 12, 2006, 01:26 PM
 
I say go for the mini, and sell your PB and get a MacBook. MacBooks are more durable, and if you're going to be using it in class and stuff, this'll come in handy. This way you don't have to worry so much about dents and the like.
     
nickw311
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Jun 12, 2006, 03:32 PM
 
I would get the Mini and use it with FrontRow on your TV. That would be a sweet setup and you already have a decent laptop for other work.
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jasong
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Jun 14, 2006, 05:11 PM
 
Originally Posted by iREZ
you dont want your primary/faster machine to be a notebook if you could avoid it. one drop and buh bye...get the mini and a 20" lcd and you'll be set for any dorm.
Unless the sprinkler system goes off and ruins your Mac Mini. Seriously, the OP has been using a PowerBook and hasn't indicated an inability to keep it from crashing to ground, so there is little reason to think a new MacBook would change this.

It sounds like everything you want in a system can be handled by one system, so why relegate your primary machine to last years tech, when you have a brand-new one sitting at home doing nothing but acting as the worlds most expensive DVD player (well, not the most expensive, but you know what I mean". Buy the new MacBook, sell your PowerBook and use the funds to get yourself a nice backup system, and keep everything with you. You won't be watching anything on your media center Mac at home while you're in class, so having 2 computers doesn't benefit you anything, it just means one day you'll be somewhere with your MacBook and it's empty hard drive, wishing you had your videos that are home on your Mac Mini.
-- Jason
     
dreamBweaver
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Jun 15, 2006, 07:20 AM
 
abbaZaba, I understand your interest in Intel mac. I switched from a 12" PowerBook G4 to an Intel Mac (an iMac). Definitely get AppleCare. There's potential fan problems and on the Macbook there's already weird coloration on the palmrests. Small stuff but not really, it's just the beginning! My PowerBook G4 had those problems and more in the two years I used it at college and the warranty still isn't enough so you better start with it (IMO). They replaced my PowerBook inside and out at least once on it.
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ael719
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Jun 16, 2006, 03:31 AM
 
Originally Posted by jasong
it just means one day you'll be somewhere with your MacBook and it's empty hard drive, wishing you had your videos that are home on your Mac Mini.
In other words don't forget to pick-up a 60gig iPod video along with your Mac because its $180 using the rebate

Get 2 computers and indulge. Yes you will probably end up neglecting one computer for the other, but variety is the spice of life. When you finally stop using 1 computer completely, sell and/or replace it with a newer model

If you can afford it though... No reason for a college student to put himself into debt over the luxury of 2 Intel Macs.
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abbaZaba
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Jun 16, 2006, 10:18 PM
 
unfortunately, I didn't realize the $180 rebate offer DOESN'T apply to the Mac mini. it applies to every model except the mini. what luck eh?
     
abbaZaba
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Jun 16, 2006, 10:31 PM
 
also, if I do go the route of the mac mini, which processor should I get? the solo or the duo? it'll just act as a server for music and video. I seriously doubt I will do any sort of video editing. Maybe a little bit with photos and stuff but I seriously doubt it. Do you think the solo would be enough for the music/video/media center stuff?
     
iREZ
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Jun 16, 2006, 11:37 PM
 
the solo will definitely be enough to handle all of that. theres a thread somewhere on here that talks about the strength of going with a core solo vs a core duo. heck, if in two years time you feel like the mini cant handle you anymore, just pop in a new processor (imac and mac mini can both do this while the two intel notebooks cannot).
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Applefreak01
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Jun 17, 2006, 11:13 PM
 
Originally Posted by jasong
I vote MacBook. You always want your primary machine to be the fastest one. As for what ends up being your server, the HD performance will be the major limiting factor there, and the PowerBook and Mac Mini will have roughly the same HD speeds. I suspect your "old" PowerBook will be just fine.
Correct me if I'm wrong but I think both the Macbook and Mac Mini have 5400 rpm hard drives.

abbazaba, depends on what you want. If you want portability so you can take your computer to the library to study or wherever then go with the Macbook. If you don't absolutely need the portability then go for the Mac Mini.

I'm in the same boat as you. I leaning more towards the Mac Mini as I have a G3 iBook and I hardly ever take it off my desk at work or at home. I figured for how light it is I could get a Mac Mini with superdrive and just tote that from work to home. Save me some $300.
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abbaZaba
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Jun 18, 2006, 11:59 PM
 
think I could get away with 512mb ram or is 1gb pretty much essential?
     
ael719
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Jun 19, 2006, 05:54 AM
 
Yeah you can get away with 512megs. When I had 512megs it would only slow down pretty bad after having too many programs open and dashboard took forever to open. Its bearable, but its only $80 for 1gig making the total 1.25gigs.

Upgrade when you can afford it or till you can't stand 512 anymore.
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Birdy
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Jun 22, 2006, 11:46 PM
 
Get the MacBook. It can handle all your needs and can't be stolen from your dorm while you are in class, assuming you carry it with you. Then you won't be tempted to watch movies or other entertaiment on your digital hub while you should be studying. Music is ok if not distracting. Get the AppleCare Protection Plan. In a college environment, you never know what will happen.
     
   
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