Skip to comments.Mac Vs Dell: In search of the detail laptop
Posted on 05/09/2011 9:41:48 PM PDT by This Just In
Good day. We are on the verge of investing in a laptop for our child. Our child will be heading off to college and will be using this tool especially for composing music. We are not particularly concerned about the gaming capabilities.
Our family's considering either a Mac or Dell. If money were no object, we would purchase the MacPro, but that is unlikely. Here are the main issues were are concerned about:
1. reliability 2. customer assistance 3. durability 4. expansion options
Would any of you recommend purchasing a refurbished laptop? If so, why? If not, why? Is there any other brand you would recommend (Lenovo, HP, etc.)? If so, why?
Have I failed to consider other important issues/specifics?
Any further recommendations or advice would be deeply appreciated.
I’m a video editor and I mix a considerable amount of audio as well.
Mutli track compilations can be tough on a CPU, especially in real-time editing. I’d be looking at a “SandyBridge” i5 with at least 6gig’s of RAM on Win7.
About the BEST multimedia laptop you can hope for, reasonably priced, would be a “Sager” notebook. In the field you see then often among the pros. I would not overlook Sager. You can only get them from Sager directly. My 2nd choice would be an Asus, they are generally rock solid machines.
I have and use both. 1 Sanger i7 and an Asus SandyBridge i7 ...as well we have few Asus netbooks for other things. The SandyBridge CPU is a whole lot of bang for the buck.
A serious music creation machine is not the same as spreadsheets and word processing machine, its much closer to what an engineering major would need — ie: a gaming rig minus the uber-best-video card.
MacBook Pro is the best however get theft insurance if it is going to be taken to school.
Cost of ownership will be less with the Mac. I've never bought extended warranty, hardware is better, no virus/spyware to buy and maintain, fiddle with, update, etc. Much less maintenance and breakdown. With Mac, security worries less, reliability higher, efficiency higher (faster to use, less time working on the computer, more time working), durability longer, ease of use higher, software updates easier, backup process much easier, learning curve less. The cost of comparable hardware in a PC is higher than a Mac.
The only good reason I know for the average user (not one who likes to fiddle and hot rod) to buy a PC is because they have to run applications that are only available for the PC and they don't want to fiddle with a dual boot on the Mac.
Electronic devices typically have a high failure rate early in life, and at the end of life, and a low failure rate in the middle. By buying a refurbished unit, you avoid the early failures and move right into the "sweet spot".
Mrs. Prince of Space
I would suggest the Mac if your child is majoring in music. I was always a “Windows” person and a musician friend got me a Mac. I’ve had this laptop for four years and it shows absolutely no signs of slow-down nor have I had any major crashes.
As another poster suggested, you can always load Windows onto a Mac and run the Windows programs when needed.
I would suggest upgrading the RAM when you get one though. Music/videos programs can be memory hogs!!
I doubt a music student needs anything super powerful. netbook might be the way to go.
Both of my kids were sent off with MacBooks. My son graduated as a chem major and still has his as he’s heading for grad school. My daughter just finished her freshman year. She is also a musician and plays with music composition and has enjoyed using the Garage Band. The two of them each swear by their laptops.
One good Mac will last quite a while. I've used Macs for video and audio editing for years. Rarely had to upgrade the machine itself, just the software. My first Mac Pro was the Titanium laptop bought in 2000. Didn't need to get another one until 7 years later. And then I got a desktop Mac in 2005. All are still useable today, although the Titanium laptop is obsolete in regards to the video/audio software.
1. I have purchased several refurbished Apple products and have never had a problem.
2. We have both platforms in our high school band office, the Windows because the district makes us, the Macs so we can get work done.
3. Your son will most likely be using Finale or Sibelius (or both) for music writing. I find these are much more stable on our Macs.
4. The Garage Band app that comes with the Mac is no toy - I am very impressed with this “Logic lite” program and use it frequently.
5. The other bundled software is also superb. Keynote, which is Apple’s version of Power Point, works seamlessly with other programs, and in my experience produces much more polished results.
6. Go with the most powerful model that you can afford.
I’ve never owned a Mac or Apple computer product (not including iPod, etc).
Every time I look at one at a store I think they beat the “cool” factor over Windows PC’s by a factor of 10, but then I just don’t know if they’d be as useful for me for the higher price involved.
After reading all of your posts, and spending A LOT of time at both the Dell and Apple websites, we’ve decided to purchase the MacBook Pro (also bought the Logic Express software). We were able to include a student discount, so that helped.
Your comments were of great help to us, so we thank you all for the time spent sharing your advice and experience. A student is about to be a very happy human.
Good choice. I think you’ll be happy with it. The student discount will help with software too.
Get plenty of ram when you buy it and it will last a long time.
By the way, if you are considering referbs Apple also sells referbished models. You can find them here: http://store.apple.com/us/browse/home/specialdeals/mac?mco=OTY2ODY3Nw
Only a couple of things to add. My background is in software development on the PC side, but my house has both Mac’s and PC’s.
As mentioned by other posters, what software is in use by everyone else is a critical question. If most of the work is occurring on, or the teacher is more fond of, a particular platform it’s always best to go native. Conversions just add another step in an already long process for an assignment.
If I were buying for a lug around around school device I would seriously look at the Mac Book Air, it’s a very powerful device now, and the SSD(solid state no moving parts to fail) drive are excellent for that application.
Another plus on going to the MAc route is that you can run virtual machine software that would enable your kid to run windows software on the mac. You end up with both worlds available.
Happy to help. Talon is absolutely right — max out on RAM now if you can afford it. Everything just runs better when you have lots of “headroom” on memory.
We bought our kids desktops when they went into High School, then laptops when they went off to college. Bought our oldest a new laptop for grad school because her freshman machine was over 5 years old. I’m looking forward to the day when we can STOP buying computers!
If you dont get plenty right at the start then you run the risk of limping along for years with not enough and telling yourself that ‘one of these days’ you will spring for some more. DON’T! Just get plenty from the start and be much happier with your computer.