Monday, May 07, 2007

Mac Laptops

Okay, here's the deal. My daughter is graduating from high school in June and will be going off to college in late August. Her mother and I have agreed that her graduation present will be a laptop computer. It's my job to figure out exactly what kind of laptop.

Rather than surprise my daughter with something she might not like, I decided to spill the beans and get her input. I told her what her present would be and that I wanted to know what she was interested in getting.

Of course, one of the big questions was "Mac or PC?" By default, I know PC. I also know that most people much younger and much hipper than me (a group that's growing like kudzu!) tend to go with Mac. My prediction was that my daughter would say, "Mac." I was right.

So Mac it is. Now the questions I still have are:

1. Which Mac laptop? It looks like Mac has 2 main sizes and prices. I think we'll start with the smaller one, unless there's a really great reason not to.

2. But then the question becomes, How much memory, etc. should I buy? I'm looking for good operation and reliability, not fancy-schmancy, just-for-kicks stuff.

3. What kinds of accessories, add-ons, cases, etc. should I consider?

Your experiences with and advice about Macs would be welcome.


James said...

Honestly, as it will (ok, should) be mostly for educational use, you're right to go with the smaller MacBook, not the Pro. I would go with pretty much the default configuration of the middle-of-the-road offering they have (13-inch White 2.0Ghz). It comes with 1GB of memory, which will make the machine zippy with multiple applications open -- sometimes 512MB can feel constrictive these days depending on what you are doing. The 80GB of hard drive space should be plenty for normal usage, and most importantly it comes with the SuperDrive (CD/DVD re-writable burner) which she can use for backing up all of her important stuff on DVD (which holds at least 4.3GB of data).

While you could back down and take the low-end MacBook, with the minutely slower processor, less memory, less disk, and a combo drive (doesn't burn dvd's) instead of the SuperDrive, its only $200 more for the mid-level machine which has room to grow.

Alternatively, for a little less money, you could go with the low-end machine and just bump the memory to 1GB. The processor and hard disk differences are not that huge (just nice to have).

As for accessories, I'd probably recommend getting 3 things: a bag, a mouse, and a usb flash drive. The bag is obvious, but might want to talk with your daughter to see if she would want a straight laptop bag, or a combo which can hold some of her books as well. The mouse is handy for when you are sitting down at a desk for a while, so you don't have to use the touchpad all the time. The usb flash drive is handy for toting just the essentials -- like say a paper that needs printing, which you could do from any computer lab on campus, which saves you from having to own a printer.

Frank Bellizzi said...

Wow, James. Thanks so much for the information. Very helpful.

James said...

No problem, I like helping people out with this sort of stuff... saves people from buying too much or too little for their needs.

Arlene Kasselman said...

You may also want to visit with our Worship Minister, Steven Bruce. He is a MAC guy, and such a techie. He offices right next to Ken.