MacBook or PC Laptop? Get both for the price of one!
So far, there's been some good information posted here, as well as some mis-information. I hope I can clear things up for you a little. Before I start, note that I've been a Mac user/IT guy since 1986, and I've used Windows at work since version 1.1. Thus I know a little about both platforms.
First, price. Someone said you cannot possibly get the software you need and a Mac for your budget of $1500. This is nonsense. Even buying retail (which you should not do since you are a student and will likely get a good discount at your college), a MacBook is $1,100. You can get iWork which offers (in my opinion) a superior alternative to Office for $79. That should cover 95% of what you need to do. If you feel you need Office, you can pick up the Student/Teacher addition for $135 or so. You could even get both and stay under budget.
Second, I've rarely had trouble connecting to any network with my Mac. There are the occasional IT departments that don't quite get Macs yet, but it's not any failing of the Mac OS. I currently connect to my office Exchange server using my Mac and have fewer problems doing so that my colleagues using Office. Since Macs have become so prevalent on campuses in the last few years, chances are slim that you will have problems on that front.
Third, if you do, you can always run Windows on your MacBook. I have done this with great success for over 2 years now. In my line of work (live sound, lighting and video), there are some software control packages that are Windows-only. I chose VMWare's Fusion and installed Windows XP on my Mac. Rather than use BootCamp (which is free), I spent the $79 on Fusion so I could run both Windows and XP at the same time. Surprisingly, Windows runs faster on my Mac than it does on my office-supplied desktop machine, and it's more stable. Running both at the same time is important to my workflow, though it may be less important for you. If you do plan on running both OSs at the same time, I would suggest upgrading the base MacBook's RAM to 2 Gigs, which will cost another $50 from OtherWorld Computing. It's very easy to do, and you can do it yourself.
So for less than your budget, you can have a fully functional MacBook and a PC. The MacBook is very rugged (mine survived a fall out of my SUV onto a parking lot without a hiccup), and will hold it's value far longer than a PC. Macs also tend to be useable far longer than PCs. I only last fall retired a PowerBook G3 that I had used every day as my primary laptop for over 7 years. It was still running the current OS at the time, and worked great.
Don't fall for the myths that a Mac will leave you "isolated," or without software to run. Unless you're going into a field that requires specialized Windows-only applications, you will do 95% of your work in iWork or (more likely) Office. Either will save compatible, cross-platform files. PDF, Flash, Silverlight, and other universal formats are, well, universal. PC users only feel there are no Mac software titles out there because most retail outlets cater to PC users, and thus carry few Mac titles. But check out ClubMac.com, MacMall.com or even Amazon and you'll find no shortage. You don't go the Chevy dealership looking for parts for your Ford.
Hopefully this helps, Wendee. I personally know a dozen hard-core PC users that have switched to Mac in the last 12 months or so and not a single one has regretted it. Several have even made efforts to apologize for bashing Macs, and have said to me, "You were right. This is so much better." I don't know a single Mac user who has switched to Windows.
Was this reply helpful? (0) (0)