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Switcher Hangout The place for switchers to discuss their new machines, and how to work with OS X. General support can be had here for newbie stuff, like "How do I restart my new iMac?" :)

HELP ME First time Mac buyer iMac or Notebook??!

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Member Since: Sep 18, 2008
Posts: 3
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I've just started my photo degree and my student loan money has come through and i want to buy a Mac but which- I ve used an Imac at college before so I have used a mac before but i need help and advice choosing a Mac which i will have for quite a few years.

After doing lots of research these i believe are important considerations although i am sure there are more.

Notebook- obviously a bonus in the transportation department

20" imacs have a screen flaw so I d need to go for the 24"

The graphics card the ATI Radeon HD 2600 PRO with 256MB or the upgrade to the NVIDIA GeForce 8800 GS with 512MB?

The large Imac screen brilliant for photo processing but glossy?

Notebook small compact could buy an external display but not as much power?

Please any advice is greatly appreciated- money isnt a huge problem as I simply want to get a great machine that will stand the test of time (although mac pros are out of the price range)

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With the notebook you're obviously losing a fair few inches of screen. If mobility isn't essential (and I assume it isn't since you don't know which to go for) I'd go for the iMac personally.

No point upgrading the graphics card unless you're going to play games.
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Member Since: Aug 05, 2008
Location: PA
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as a student... the loss in power from desktop to notebook can be overlooked (as i have recently found out) with a mac. the macbook has sufficient power to handle photo editing (you may have to put an extra $50 into extra memory, but CS worked fine with 1gb before I upgraded to 2gb). The portability is worth it, the fact that you can take it with you makes projects/homework/anything school related that much easier IMO. especially if you live in a dorm; any extra space is always welcome.
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Member Since: Mar 19, 2008
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I would personally get a MacBook for portability. The smaller screen isn't too bad, and it does what I need it to, but then again, if you don't need portability... I'd go with an iMac.

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Member Since: Sep 15, 2008
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Let me just put in a word for consideration of the iMac. I know that most students prefer the MacBook--one daughter has one and the other daughter has a Dell notebook. However, my wife and I have recently gone over to the Mac side (the White Side?) and decided on a 20" iMac. The display is beautiful, I'm not aware of any screen flaw. With older eyes (and fingers), we just didn't want to deal with the downsizing to a notebook. However, we wanted some degree of portability. We got the wireless keyboard and mouse. So what we have: iMac on the top of the desk, keyboard and mouse that are not attached to the computer. (Fios wireless LAN.) If we wanted to move it to the other room, just have to unplug the power and printer cable, pick it up and carry it. Not a notebook that you can put in a backpack, for sure, but perfect for our purposes.
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Actually for place to place transport the imac is really good. Light and not many cords to fiddle with. It's just not so useable on the go.

I think the 2 issues are as stated above:

1. Do you need the portability?
2. If you are living at the campus do you trust your room mates enough to leave an imac out?

Yes to 1 and no to 2 means you need a notebook.
I think the imacs are much better computers but the above is important too I guess.
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Member Since: Oct 04, 2007
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I'm a keen photographer and i promise that you will regret the mac book for photo editing unless you buy an externa display! The resolution is too low and the screen can't produce accurate colours for someone who is going to be doing a photo degree...
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Member Since: Aug 17, 2008
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Go with the iMac. With notebooks, you have the cost of replacing the battery every few years -- or as frequently as every year -- and the heat, which gets to be a major annoyance if you have the laptop on your lap most of the time.
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If you plan on actually using it for a lot of your photo work, your only choices are the 24-inch iMac or the MacBook with an external display. The latter is, surprisingly enough, less expensive (if you buy your display from the right place), and you're not forced to use the colour-distorting glossy screen. So I suppose in this case the MacBook with an external display might actually be a better deal for you, and you even get portability as an added bonus... then again, you'd probably want to buy an external hard drive in this case, so take that into account and weigh your options carefully.
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Unless you plan to use it somewhere without an electrical outlet, the iMac is a wonderful choice; it's actually pretty portable, with few wires, and it's SO much better for the money. ESPECIALLY if you get a refurbished one on Apple's website. I recently picked up the 2.66 GHz one and have never been more pleased with a computer. I can't imagine going back to paying a premium for added portability.

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Member Since: Sep 02, 2008
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As you can see I have a MacBook and I take it everywhere I go. If I had got the iMac, I would not have access to any of my files. I also do photo editing and my MacBook works just fine. If you're doing that, and tasks like web browsing and email, MacBook will work just fine.

iMac is rather for more heavy duty tasks if you ask me.

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upgrade the RAM on a MacBook and you should do just fine. Go for an iMac if you don't need the portability, but as the8thark said if you don't trust your room mates enough to keep an expensive machine sitting on the table, go with the MacBook.

Actually, get the 2.4 GHz model. These models now come with 2GB of RAM standard, so upgrading the RAM won't be necessary. Although, the black MacBook comes with a 250GB hard drive standard, so if you're looking for power as well as storage, go for the BlackBook

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If you are doing photo stuff and color accuracy is important, I would try and steer clear of glossy screens. The colors are not accurate at all.

However you said that you liked portability and that you could connect to an external monitor so I guess it doesn't really matter.

My advice would be either get a 15" MBP or just get a MB and deck it out.

I recently upgraded my 2.4GHz Macbook with 4GB and a 320GB 7200RPM HDD and it was still cheaper than a Black Macbook.
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Member Since: Sep 18, 2008
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wow thanks for all the responses- I live with my husband in our own house so security is not a problem. I m not travelling other than a bus trip and the uni is kitted out with all imac suites (specialist art)

I really like the 'idea' of portability but i m not sure where i d need to transport it- on bed or living room whereas the power and size of the screen mean that i think i am swaying more towards an imac.

Thanks everyone I ll let you know what i get in the end
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Member Since: Aug 09, 2008
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Go with the 24" iMac it's fricken awesome
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