TheKingintheNorth wrote:I just picked up a high-end 15" Macbook Pro with an SSD and Anti-Glare. I can't wait till it gets here. This is strange because I've been an avid PC user for my entire life (initially due to gaming I assume, but Macs weren't so great a decade ago I remember).
I know better than anyone it was overpriced by about 700-800 dollars even with the student discount, so i'll list the reasons why I got it anyway. Keep in mind this is not a typical Mac v. PC OS battle, but the actual laptops.
1. Bootcamp is relatively easy to use, especially when coupled with a SSD drive (90 extra dollars, but youll need an external if you don't have one). If you plan on using it, make sure to get a 64bit edition of Windows 7. Bootcamp pretty much negates any reason not to get a Mac other than the inflated price (which is still a very good reason, mind you).
2. The Microsoft Office suite for Mac is significantly better than it is for Windows. A lot of this is Mac OSX's general GUI, but there are certain student orientated outline and notetaking templates for Word that blew me away. I couldn't find them for PC. OneNote is the obvious exception here but I really think Word for Mac does a good job subbing in some features, and there are a lot of free alternatives. I happened to not be familiar with OneNote at all, so if something like Growley Notes is neccessary, it won't be any more of an issue that learning OneNote. You may or may not be in this same situation.
3. iTunes, for better or worse, is a fairly ubiquitous media player. It runs faster, especially with its Quicktime coupling, on Mac OSX (or linux OSes in general). There's also a number of cool addons available only for Mac for iTunes. More importantly, Aperture and Final Cut are best in their class programs that are Mac-only.
4. SELF-SUPPORT! I don't give a shit about the genius bar and their geniuses, but I love googling my computer problems. This is the most important thing by far if you want to keep a laptop running in good shape 3 years. Laptop PCs ive purchased, where usually I just get the best possible raw power at the best price, rarely ran well after a year and a half. They use cheaper manufactures and blah blah. It is invaluable to have a huge community based around a laptop for hardware issues you run into.
5. As good as I am avoiding viruses, I always manage to sloppily catch one through a torrent or something. Recently I had all of my documents wiped (luckily right around graduation I keep a lot of stuff in my Gmail, but I did lose some cool stuff). That's not (at least not as big) a problem if you get a Macbook.
6. Style. The thing is fucking sexy, and every PC looks ugly as hell next to it. I know everyone has their own tastes, but come on.
Also, in undergrad about 80-90% of all laptops were Macs--so I wouldn't be worried about compatibility issues with any test taking software or, at the very worst, being alone with that problem.
Good luck with the SSD. I was set on an SSD for my new MBP but I read some stuff that gave me pause. Whatever though, I got the 15", upgraded to 7200 rpm. Tossed around high-res but I don't need it that fancy. 2.0 ghz cpu. Not completely future proof or the most high-end, but unlike my current laptop won't be laughably obsolete in two years. Just hope it comes by Monday...got it through my school for the university purchase discount (bought it a few days before graduating ha!). Would've been here a few days ago, but the way it works is Apple ships it to the campus store when I order through them (the idea being that you pick it up there...but I graduated and went home). Just reshipped it UPS. Should be here Monday, when Steve Jobs introduces Lion and all that good stuff. Looking forward to it.
The recent malware shit has scared me, but I think we're ok as long as we're not complete morons. In terms of hardware quality, I think the MBP's have been second to none since around 2005 or so. I don't think I agree that Office is better on the Mac, but I do appreciate the Notebook feature in Word for Mac, but that's moot, since I for one use probably less than 20% of Word's full power 99% of the time anyway, and they've been closing the gap between Windows and Mac features with every release. And yeah, a decade ago was a different story, but these days OS X is a very mature operating system, and if you're not an extreme outlier of a power user I'm sure you're fine.
As far as price is concerned, I got a discount beyond the regular Education discount by purchasing through my campus store. I believe the 2.0 ghz base 15" was $1631. $75 for an academic licence of Office, about $60 for Acrobat (may not use it to its full power, but for $60 hardly a waste of money). AppleCare because I'm paranoid. A company as vertically integrated as Apple, selling through its own retail outlets should theoretically be able to price better, but why charge less when people will pay extra? But I'm not complaining. You've gotta pick your expenditures. Some people like shoes, some people like cars, some people like going out. I like the macbook pro. If you know what you want and splurge on one specific thing you'll have for a few years and spend wisely elsewhere, where's the sin in that?