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cgking

Laptop or Desktop?

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My 3-year-old MacBook is getting old just in time for me to start grad school in the fall. I'm a Mac devotee, and can't go back to a PC-only environment or I'll go crazy. Right now, I can think of two options:

1. Get a new MacBook (probably a Pro, because I need something sturdy if it's my only computer)

2. Get a new desktop iMac as my main computer, and keep my current MacBook running for as long as possible (and then replace it with something cheap like a netbook)

I think my top criteria are:

1. Ease of reading/writing-- my current 13" MacBook feels a little bit too small to stare at all day, every day

2. Portability-- I need to have SOMETHING, even if it's not my main computer, for travel/class notes/library

3. Price-- this is grad school, after all

What do you think? If you have a desktop, how do you like it? Is synchronizing a desktop and a laptop/netbook too much of a hassle?

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I'm in the same situation you are. I've had my MacBook for a while now (four years), and it is starting to show. I'm beginning to have a lot of problems with it, and am considering replacing it. But like you, going back to Windows for my main computer would drive me nuts. Since I can't afford Apple hardware (I bought this laptop when I still lived at home), I'm probably going to build my own "hackintosh". If you know anything about putting computers together, take a look at maybe doing it too. Apple doesn't like people doing it (since they lose out on a ridiculously expensive hardware purchase), but it's my only choice besides going back to Windows, and I don't have the patience for running any Linux distro.

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You could try selling your Macbook and using the money towards a new Macbook. Your laptop has better resell value than non-Apple laptops.

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Do Macs really expire after 3 or 4 years? I would save my money and not update.

My 10 year old pc just died and I bought a pretty smoking machine (that is 4 years old with a news operating system) for $150.

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I'm an international student moving to the US in the fall. I'm in the same position, except my Macbook Pro will be 4 years old in the fall.

I will be buying a new iMac to use at home (and with an eyeTV hybrid it might double as a TV) and be using my MBP in the office (I'm not sure if my prospective school will provide me with a computer).

And with dropbox, synchronizing a laptop with a desktop is no problem!

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Been a Mac User since 2006. Joro's right, they've got better than average resale value, particularly the non-laptops. My two cents would be to get an iMac and make comfortable work space for you at home and keep the laptop for on the go as long as it keeps going. Three years isnt too bad since it most likely has an Intel processor. You'll want to replace it if it didnt. If you have a need to use applications that use a 64 bit processor, you'll want to upgrade.You could do some easy and cheap maintenance work like completely erasing the hard drive and reinstalling the OS. If the battery sucks, you could get a spare. Otherwise sit tight.

Back to the home computer. Have you considered a MacMini. They're cheaper and have the added advantage of allowing you to hook your laptop up to the external keyboard/mouse/monitor that is shared with the MacMini. You cant do that with an iMac. Of course you could also just get an external monitor/mouse/keyboard only and keep using your laptop. THat would the cheapest solution to improve work at home while allowing on-the-go computing.

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Of course you could also just get an external monitor/mouse/keyboard only and keep using your laptop. THat would the cheapest solution to improve work at home while allowing on-the-go computing.

i've been contemplating this option.

i have a 15inch powerbook g4 from 2005 that has been showing its age lately. i just re-installed the OS and that helped out a lot. but still, i live in constant fear that one day she will just go ape shit. i've get everything important backed up on multiple drives, but still, i'm extremely cautious of the durability of any drive. it is, after all, just a bunch of 1s and 0s.

i think this may be a bit more anxiety inducing for me because i'm a photographer. when i re-installed i lost my bootlegged photoshop and i just don't have the cash to buy it at the moment. and trying to hunt down a free bootleg is just not worth the effort at this point.

in any event, i will need a new system in the next year. i like the 13inch MBP but it's just way too small: the ergonomics are nightmarish. but it's so portable!

i'd like to invest in the high end 15inch MBP; the double whammy processor is dyn-o-mite for image/multimedia work. but again, craptastic ergonomics, plus it's heavier and a bit more awkward to stuff into your messenger bag along with the rest of your life.

i know other photographers who use the 13 inch with a monitor and external keyboard set up and it seems to work wonderfully for them. so that is most likely the route i will be taking. soonish. eventually. whenever.

now, let's talk price. the 13 inch is stupidly affordable. but the mere $200 increase for the 15 inch is deceptively alluring. can anyone speak to the this? i read up somewhere (mac rumors? can't remember) on all the speed and performance breakdowns for all the current MBP models and it seems the average speed increases only by about 8% between each of the different processor speeds. so that begs the question, is it really worth 2 inches of screen and/or 8% of speed?

either way, any of the new MBPs will be like a mustang in comparison to my current set up.

also, i would love to hear some suggestions for a good display set up? alternatives to the apple display? it's just way too pricey.

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also, i would love to hear some suggestions for a good display set up? alternatives to the apple display? it's just way too pricey.

Depends on what you're looking for in a display and how much you'd like to spend. At the moment, I'm waiting for HP to release the zr24w which will retail around $375 - $425. It's supposed to be out at the end of this month or early next. That monitor is 24" and it's little brother is about 22" at $289.

Also, if you're pretty anal about colors on a laptop, then I would steer clear of the 13" mbp and go straight for the 15". It's been a while, but I read that the 13" displays less color than the 15". I'd look into it more since I don't really remember the specifics.

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Depends on what you're looking for in a display and how much you'd like to spend. At the moment, I'm waiting for HP to release the zr24w which will retail around $375 - $425. It's supposed to be out at the end of this month or early next. That monitor is 24" and it's little brother is about 22" at $289.

Also, if you're pretty anal about colors on a laptop, then I would steer clear of the 13" mbp and go straight for the 15". It's been a while, but I read that the 13" displays less color than the 15". I'd look into it more since I don't really remember the specifics.

hmmm good to know about the 13inch vs 15inch. i was a master printer at a high end film and digital portrait studio so i'm pretty good about color managing even under less then ideal conditions (my powerbook screen has a lovely magenta cast and the bottom left corner is sometimes 75% darker than the rest of the screen). i don't trust monitors much regardless of who makes them because they're all pretty deceptive due to backlighting. i work in print on demand publishing now and i have to argue with people constantly about how their monitors are lying to them.

thanks for the tip about the new HP display. i'll look into it.

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