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Mac Vs Dell: In search of the detail laptop
May 9th 2011 | This Just In

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.

TOPICS: Miscellaneous; Your Opinion/Questions
KEYWORDS: computers; laptops
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To: This Just In

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 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.

81 posted on 05/10/2011 2:01:16 AM PDT by ResearchMonkey (Holding Conservative Country in California.)
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To: This Just In
"Expansion options" is a dated term, especially with regard to laptops. Just get a high end system and it will run for 4-5 years with no need to ever pry it open to add hardware.

MacBook Pro is the best however get theft insurance if it is going to be taken to school.

82 posted on 05/10/2011 2:32:30 AM PDT by SamAdams76 (I am 69 days from outliving Wendy O Williams (of The Plasmatics))
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To: This Just In
I've owned and/or maintained dozens of both.

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.

83 posted on 05/10/2011 2:35:53 AM PDT by D-fendr (Deus non alligatur sacramentis sed nos alligamur.)
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To: dila813
Statistically, the likely hood that the laptop is going to suffer another component failure is lower than a new unit selected at random.


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".

84 posted on 05/10/2011 3:00:39 AM PDT by Fresh Wind ('People have got to know whether or not their President is a crook.' Richard M. Nixon)
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To: This Just In
Hope your child has the sense to declare a practical minor as well. My husband and I both have music degrees, but sadly we aren't employed in any way in the music field. Hopefully your child will be the exception to the rule.

Mrs. Prince of Space

85 posted on 05/10/2011 3:09:33 AM PDT by Prince of Space (Proud member of the only church started by Jesus Christ over 2000 years ago...)
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To: This Just In

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!!

86 posted on 05/10/2011 4:57:18 AM PDT by Snark
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To: This Just In,news-11117.html

I doubt a music student needs anything super powerful. netbook might be the way to go.

87 posted on 05/10/2011 4:59:48 AM PDT by mamelukesabre (Si Vis Pacem Para Bellum (If you want peace prepare for war))
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To: This Just In

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.

88 posted on 05/10/2011 5:21:06 AM PDT by Hatteras
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To: This Just In
89 posted on 05/10/2011 5:24:43 AM PDT by Ikaros
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To: This Just In
I don’t believe we’d be able to upgrade a Mac or replace it. It would seem more financially practical to purchase a Dell and upgrade to a newer model. What do you think?

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.

90 posted on 05/10/2011 6:45:19 AM PDT by al_c (
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To: This Just In

Some points:
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.

91 posted on 05/10/2011 7:36:01 AM PDT by Darth Trumpetus
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To: This Just In

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.

92 posted on 05/10/2011 8:38:16 AM PDT by RockinRight (Can't think of anything to say...)
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To: RockinRight; Darth Trumpetus; al_c; Hatteras; Snark; SamAdams76; Vendome; OldDeckHand; ...

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.

93 posted on 05/10/2011 9:02:47 AM PDT by This Just In (In America, RINO's belong in zoo's, not public office)
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To: This Just In

Good choice. I think you’ll be happy with it. The student discount will help with software too.

94 posted on 05/10/2011 9:35:07 AM PDT by al_c (
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To: This Just In

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:

95 posted on 05/10/2011 10:28:30 AM PDT by TalonDJ
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Even this baby owes thousands on the national debt

Give what you can
Or donate monthly, and a sponsoring FReeper will contribute $10

Lazamataz is hanging by a pixel!

96 posted on 05/10/2011 10:38:21 AM PDT by TheOldLady
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To: This Just In

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.

97 posted on 05/10/2011 10:53:04 AM PDT by Rev DMV
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To: TalonDJ; This Just In

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!

98 posted on 05/10/2011 11:55:44 AM PDT by ProtectOurFreedom (Whoz? Meca? feble?)
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To: ProtectOurFreedom; This Just In

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.

99 posted on 05/10/2011 12:12:26 PM PDT by TalonDJ
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To: This Just In

Great choice.

100 posted on 05/10/2011 12:36:09 PM PDT by Vendome ("Don't take life so seriously... You'll never live through it anyway")
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