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Archive 2005 · Need help understanding Mac computers...
  
 
Bill De
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · Need help understanding Mac computers...


Hi everyone...

I need some help from you Apple/Mac users out there. Sorry for the somewhat off-topic thread (well... it isn't completely off-topic since Macs are very popular in the photo editing world).

I've been hit with a bomb... well... almost. Last year I purchased a very, very expensive top of the line PC laptop for my son. I don't pretend to know as much about laptops as I do about desktops... but this one is geared towards engineering with the highest resolution screen available and all the goodies... and is very fast. Well, my son decided to change from Aerospace Engineering to Architecture (at UC here in Ohio which is one of the top 10 colleges for architecture in the country... sorry... just had to brag ).

Anyway... he just came back from orientation and notified me that they will not allow him to use a PC laptop... it has to be an Apple PowerBook (or is it Mac PowerBook?... don't know the Apple terms very well). After a brief feeling of frustration of having to buy another high-priced laptop... and who knows what to do with the one he has... I thought to myself that I do not know anything about Apples... nothing at all... zip... zero... nothing. :worried:

So... help!?!

Here are some questions that I feel at a loss to answer.........

  1. Why would they not support a PC laptop for architecture?
  2. How do you compare Apples to oranges... sorry, I mean PC's (speed, devices)?
  3. What are good things to look for (best technology)?
  4. What are things to stay away from?
  5. Where is the best place to buy them?
  6. What config would hold up to demanding architecture applications?

Also, he said a couple professors mentioned "things" are going on in the Apple world... like a major change or changes... but he couldn't catch what it was. What might they be talking about... and how would that affect buying one now?

Thanks so very much for any help in advance!! I did not have anyone else to ask... all of my good friends have PC's. I know it is a little off-topic here... but it may help me to understand along the way why so many photographers own Apples... and so I guess it is not all together off-topic for this forum. Never know... maybe I'll convert if I like what he gets. I have always been curious as to why Apple computers are so popular with photographers.

Oh.. and please... no PC vs. Mac slamming... I really need the help to understand this unknown territory for me.





Jul 14, 2005 at 09:43 PM
jmcfadden
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · Need help understanding Mac computers...


www.apple.com

just get the next to the top performer as far as processor speed, let him choose the screen size he needs, then go to www.dealram.com and get the ram from them for it.

Macs are loaded with USB2 and Firewire 800 for peripherals support , and get the Airport Extreme wireless card and he is ready to rock in the free world

Look at the Apple Store on the Apple website above as many times there is refurb gear available at a good discount

purchase it on a CC with buyer protection or better get an Apple Care plan to cover it for 3 years and you are good to go


J



Jul 14, 2005 at 09:57 PM
MPerdomo
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · Need help understanding Mac computers...


# Why would they not support a PC laptop for architecture?

It's more like, they don't want to support Windows. Linux users usually get by because OS X plays nice with Linux, and they are sort of close cousins. In colleges, I see that colleges wish to free themselves from paying Microsoft tax, and they also want to avoid the expense of running a helpdesk for Windows Machines.



# Where is the best place to buy them?


Apple.com, or the Campus bookstore. They give an academic discount, about 10 percent (on a $2000 computer, no small discount)



Jul 14, 2005 at 10:02 PM
AJ Nadershahi
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · Need help understanding Mac computers...


First, This is in the wrong forum. It will probably be moved by one of the moderators.

One big reason for the school requiring the use of Apple vs. PC is the software they use, as well as the demands from the professors or heads of department. Mac computers are generally regarded as more desirable machines for graphics type work, but that distinction is not as important as it used to be. The major difference now is reliability and ease of use and resistance to viruses and spyware - all areas that Apple products excel.

There is a change on the way with Apple products. They presently use processor chips made by IBM that are unique and different from processors used by Windows machines. Early next year they will start using chips from Intel similar to chips that run Windows computers. From a computer user perspective you probably won't notice any difference in how your machine operates because the operating system will still be similar to current Apple computers. I'm curious why the professor mentioned the difference. I would follow up to see if it is something that would impact their recommendations. Odd....

As to current line up of products, I would recommend at least 15 inch monitor. The smallest one they have is 12 inch monitor, but that would probably be too small for graphics work. The school should have some guidelines on their recommended systems.

You can probably sell the current computer to recover some of your costs. Also most schools offer a discount program to their students for such large purchases.




Jul 14, 2005 at 10:03 PM
DAllshouse
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · Need help understanding Mac computers...


When I was at Drexel ages ago, they were one of the first school to require a computer and they had an educational deal with Apple so that prices were very reasonable. This was before the laptop era. Anyway does the school have any info on what kind of machine they require? The coming switch to Intel is significant in that the Mac OS will run on the same cpu that Windows runs. Looks like an OS war in the making.


Jul 14, 2005 at 10:18 PM
John Rougeux
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · Need help understanding Mac computers...


The big switch to Intel will more than likely not happen in the powerbooks until 2 years at least I bet. The "i" machines will get them first...probably because they want to put better/bigger processors in the power ones.

And Apple machines will be the only ones able to run OSX.

Go with the 15" power book with student discount...and a lock so he can secure it!



Jul 14, 2005 at 10:22 PM
manitou
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · Need help understanding Mac computers...


Bill De wrote:
  • Why would they not support a PC laptop for architecture?


    Dunno. My nephew was at Kansas State and the opposite was true. Only supported PC's. Could be software, but probably just a couple people decided on which platform.


  • How do you compare Apples to oranges... sorry, I mean PC's (speed, devices)?
    Can't really answer that one as I have only used Macs except for one PC my wife's company gave every employee, I think it was a Compaq. It was nice for viewing photos I uploaded on the web, to compare and contrast between Mac and PC. Our daughter used it mostly for getting on the Internet, chatting, etc, but I knew so little about maintenance for it that once it got too bogged down with virus, spyware, or what have you I bought her an iMac. At least I know how to problem solve it.

  • What are good things to look for (best technology)?
    I would recommend no larger than the 15 inch model. As I mentioned, I have the 17 inch and feel it's unnecessarily too large. I'm hooked to an external monitor at home and at work so don't need all that extra screen real estate for Photoshop palettes. It's really too large for an airplane, too. I would buy as much ram as possible and that you can afford. When I bought this one a gig of ram was the max., now I see the max is 2 gig. I would opt for SuperDrive for burning DVDs.

    Seems that architecture students spend a lot of time in "Studio." I wonder if he will be using his own machine or the universities while in studio. I really love having two monitors and it is not all that expensive to hook on an additional 15 inch monitor. Of course, you're looking at spending over 2k for an Apple laptop too!

  • What are things to stay away from?
    I would buy directly from Apple or Apple Reseller.

  • Where is the best place to buy them?
    apple.com

  • What config would hold up to demanding architecture applications?
    Any of them, as long as you have enough ram. Enough is relative to how much the machine will hold and how much you can afford. There is nothing better for a Mac than a boatload of RAM. I would also echo John's statement about the 3 year protection plan (assuming he has that many years left in school).



  • Jul 15, 2005 at 11:24 AM
     

    Search in Used Dept. 



    Pavel
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    p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · Need help understanding Mac computers...


    The university here at charlotte only allows Macs for architecture. I guess architects are all about ellegant design, righ? How could they then work on a PC?
    That would be like letting cullinary students wanting to be great chefs, eat at macdonalds every day. What kind of example would that be?



    Jul 15, 2005 at 12:02 PM
    David R
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    p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · Need help understanding Mac computers...


    The big switch to Intel will more than likely not happen in the powerbooks until 2 years at least I bet.

    I'll take that bet. I think one of the primary reasons Apple made the switch is that they can't get fast enough and cool enough chips for the Powerbook. Intel has done a good job of making laptop specific chips that don't produce too much heat.




    Jul 15, 2005 at 02:57 PM
    dannybphoto
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    p.1 #10 · p.1 #10 · Need help understanding Mac computers...


    Apple offers pretty dramatic price cuts for students (even on refurbs). On their website, look for educational pricing, plug in your son's school, and that will take you to the Apple store, but with better prices.


    Jul 15, 2005 at 03:06 PM
    gzenitsky
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    p.1 #11 · p.1 #11 · Need help understanding Mac computers...


    My guess is the university is teaching Vectorworks as their choice for CAD. I can testify that my 12" Powerbook is the best machine I have ever owned, bar none. I use it for everything I do from project management to digital and video photography field work. I leave it on constantly and the only time I reset it is after software updates from the Apple mothership. The 12" screen is too small for CAD work unless you have ready access to external monitors. The PB will come with a DVI to VGA adapter. Definitely look into an academic purchase from the school's bookstore. It's one of the few ways to get discounted new Apple gear.


    Jul 15, 2005 at 03:52 PM
    GreenCountry
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    p.1 #12 · p.1 #12 · Need help understanding Mac computers...


    there was another thread with someone asking about switching to mac... can't recall which forum, but i'm a pc->mac switcher and now mac lover, and i posted a lot in that thread.

    found it:
    http://www.fredmiranda.com/forum/topic/251248

    i dare venture that once you try out the mac, you'll love it. the beauty of the mac system is it's so easy to use, but also so versatile. and since Mac controls their hardware as well as operating system, Apple is a one-stop service place for both hardware and (Apple) software problems (especially handy when you don't know which is the source of the problem).

    don't forget, there are plenty of ways to sell the expensive pc laptop you just bought, and recover most of your cost on it. especially if it's in like-new condition. of course there's ebay, but if you're insecure about selling on ebay (i am), you might try your local craigslist, so you can meet the buyer in person. some people have sold computers on this site's buy/sell forum. there are forum sites for all kinds of pc, mac, lilnux, etc. heads just like this, with communities just as trustworthy, that you could sell to also.

    i've heard of many schools not supporting either the pc or mac... in my experience, it doesn't mean that you can't use the unsupported computer, just that they won't be responsible for tech support on it. for me, that's never been a problem (my mac is not supported by my grad school), because i'm comfortable troubleshooting it myself (i used to work in IT). i also know other non-IT heads using macs in my school, and they're fine. not to be inflammatory, but i'm not sure your son would want to try the vice versa though - a windows pc in a mac school - unless he's comfortable troubleshooting it himself ... with the heightened potential for viruses, spyware, etc. on windows, he'll have some extra work to keep the machine going smooth. the CAD or whatever programs the school uses may not have identical counterparts in windows software also. if his classes in the future will involve computer classes where he learns how to use X software, he will at least have some inconveniences or outright obstacles to following along, e.g. software walk-thru tutorials in class.



    Jul 16, 2005 at 04:35 PM
    Bill De
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    p.1 #13 · p.1 #13 · Need help understanding Mac computers...


    Thanks for all the info and advice!!

    I can tell this is going to be an adventure.



    Jul 17, 2005 at 12:32 AM





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