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greyspoke
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 28, 2013 2:37 pm    Post subject: The ideal student computer is a Macbook Pro? Reply with quote

I have been scoping a portable computer for my daughter, which she will need to take to university next Autumn. Netbook, ultrabook, laptop, tablet, whatever. Surprisingly difficult. Full size laptops (15.x" screens) are just too big to fit in a bag however slim they may be, whereas slim sexy ultrabooks have the right kind of screen size and packability, but lack ethernet and an optical drive, though she is adamant that she needs to play/ rip CDs and I know that some campus locations lack Wifi but have ethernet*. It's very difficult to get small(ish) without thin.

Unless you get a bog standard Macbook Pro (and they're not that fat). Now I know why so many of my students have them.

*I know you can get usb ethernet adapters and dvd drives, but that's more faff and things to lose.
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 28, 2013 3:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

MacBook Pro is indeed a good laptop, I can say that because I'm using one. But its credentials as a student laptop is questionable considering it is expensive.
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 28, 2013 3:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

In the current lineup, is there any MBP left that has an optical drive and ethernet? I don't think so.
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 28, 2013 3:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

They still sell a 13in version of the previous line up.
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 29, 2013 4:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Have her show off just how tough she really is and get her one of those mobile workstations! The extra screen area is well worth it. And depending on what applications are going to be used (CAD comes to mind), a proper GPU might be very useful.

I recommend Dell and Lenovo. Never buy a HP - they break down a lot.

BTW, for the Ethernet issue, apart from the USB to Ethernet adapters, they also make portable APs that easily fit in a pocket. As a bonus, mobile devices can be connected as well. The optical drive can stay at home - just copy the data to the hard drive.
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 29, 2013 8:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I used a ThinkPad T400 through college. I still have it after 5+ years. Excellent little rig.
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 29, 2013 3:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Personally I still use an IBM thinkpad from 2005 as my main and only laptop. But I have to say if I was ever going to get a new laptop it'd probably be one of the high-resolution MBPs.

I don't see why anything about it would specifically be great for students unless they are in a computer related field though, especially since it's at least 1200 bucks, but I think it's a decent piece of hardware. Barely anyone else makes laptops with that resolution and an IPS screen, and I still think the MBP has some benefits over the competition, e.g. google chromebook pixel.

There's only three bad things I see:

1) Expensive.
2) Most hardware is not modular or user-serviceable.
2) Some windows babbys who don't know anything might call you a retarded faggot.

However the benefits outweigh those imo.
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 29, 2013 7:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Real ThinkPad keyboard & TrackPoint. Everything else is crap. I'm considering ordering a couple to have as extras.
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 29, 2013 8:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have yet to try the new ThinkPad keyboards. I'm going for it in a few months.
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 29, 2013 11:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm not entirely opposed to the new keyboard. An extremely brief test in a store led me to believe it wasn't horrible. Obviously that isn't much of a test, and I'm not quite ready to bite the bullet on a new laptop. I'm also wondering if they've changed the TrackPoint when they changed the keyboard. My preference would be for something not made in China, but there really isn't a better option as long as the TrackPoint is still good.

One reason I'm interested in an extra keyboard is the possibility of getting them manufactured. Other than getting one as a sample, I haven't a clue where to begin after that. I was even wondering how difficult it would be to make it work for desktop use.
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 29, 2013 11:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

pjp wrote:
I'm also wondering if they've changed the TrackPoint when they changed the keyboard.

Well, erm, they removed the physical buttons. And software buttons in the upper area of the touchpad, without tactile feedback, are just useless.
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 29, 2013 11:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the reminder, I'd forgotten about that. All the more reason to find a way to reproduce them.

Strange that HP's version of the TrackPoint doesn't work very well. At least not the few I've used.
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 30, 2013 3:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

w.r.t. macbooks: the one killer feature they have is their battery: it's extremely reliable and tends to last quite a bit longer than advertised. anything that lasts less than 6 hours is utterly useless on campus, and most laptops won't last 6 hours - and if they do, they won't do it longer than half a year. MBs on the other hand tend to last at least 6 hours, 8-ish or longer in the first two years. the missus just got a new mb air right before christmas, and apparently that lasts 12 hours... so meh.

anyway, that's just my 2c, maybe others don't need that much battery life. if it's for college or university you might want to wait till the lass is enrolled to get the student discount, ofc. oh and internal cd drives are utterly overrated - get her an external bluray drive for 30 quid. she wont be ripping stuff more than once, so there's no point in keeping the drive in there :P.
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 30, 2013 4:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, 'Ultrabooks' (meh) have somewhat regressed in battery life.
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 30, 2013 5:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

mdeininger wrote:
w.r.t. macbooks: the one killer feature they have is their battery: it's extremely reliable and tends to last quite a bit longer than advertised. anything that lasts less than 6 hours is utterly useless on campus, and most laptops won't last 6 hours - and if they do, they won't do it longer than half a year. MBs on the other hand tend to last at least 6 hours, 8-ish or longer in the first two years. the missus just got a new mb air right before christmas, and apparently that lasts 12 hours... so meh.

anyway, that's just my 2c, maybe others don't need that much battery life. if it's for college or university you might want to wait till the lass is enrolled to get the student discount, ofc. oh and internal cd drives are utterly overrated - get her an external bluray drive for 30 quid. she wont be ripping stuff more than once, so there's no point in keeping the drive in there :P.

You can make (or buy) an additional battery for the fraction of the price premium. Most mobile workstations (especially the smaller ones) actually get very good battery life when used for light work.
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 30, 2013 6:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

NiHaoMike wrote:
mdeininger wrote:
w.r.t. macbooks: the one killer feature they have is their battery: it's extremely reliable and tends to last quite a bit longer than advertised. anything that lasts less than 6 hours is utterly useless on campus, and most laptops won't last 6 hours - and if they do, they won't do it longer than half a year. MBs on the other hand tend to last at least 6 hours, 8-ish or longer in the first two years. the missus just got a new mb air right before christmas, and apparently that lasts 12 hours... so meh.

anyway, that's just my 2c, maybe others don't need that much battery life. if it's for college or university you might want to wait till the lass is enrolled to get the student discount, ofc. oh and internal cd drives are utterly overrated - get her an external bluray drive for 30 quid. she wont be ripping stuff more than once, so there's no point in keeping the drive in there :P.

You can make (or buy) an additional battery for the fraction of the price premium. Most mobile workstations (especially the smaller ones) actually get very good battery life when used for light work.
the price premium isn't nearly as bad as people make it out to be - at least not if you compare macbooks to non-macbooks with the same base specs - although it is true that you can't get any low-spec macbooks, which means they're always going to be more expensive than el cheapo laptops.

and the whole point of getting one of those instead of a larger battery, or a spare battery, or a separate battery attachment, is to have ONE device that doesn't weight much and is still thin and comfortable to work with. of course you could get yourself a nice, 19" mid-range laptop for EUR 1k, add a separate, external battery for EUR 150 and a spare for EUR 100 so the whole thing will last a rough 8 hours. but you couldve just gotten a 13" mb air that lasts 12 hours outta the box for EUR 950 with the student discount and be happy that you don't have to lug around 5 kg worth of hardware every day.
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 30, 2013 7:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

mdeininger wrote:
NiHaoMike wrote:
mdeininger wrote:
w.r.t. macbooks: the one killer feature they have is their battery: it's extremely reliable and tends to last quite a bit longer than advertised. anything that lasts less than 6 hours is utterly useless on campus, and most laptops won't last 6 hours - and if they do, they won't do it longer than half a year. MBs on the other hand tend to last at least 6 hours, 8-ish or longer in the first two years. the missus just got a new mb air right before christmas, and apparently that lasts 12 hours... so meh.

anyway, that's just my 2c, maybe others don't need that much battery life. if it's for college or university you might want to wait till the lass is enrolled to get the student discount, ofc. oh and internal cd drives are utterly overrated - get her an external bluray drive for 30 quid. she wont be ripping stuff more than once, so there's no point in keeping the drive in there :P.

You can make (or buy) an additional battery for the fraction of the price premium. Most mobile workstations (especially the smaller ones) actually get very good battery life when used for light work.
the price premium isn't nearly as bad as people make it out to be - at least not if you compare macbooks to non-macbooks with the same base specs - although it is true that you can't get any low-spec macbooks, which means they're always going to be more expensive than el cheapo laptops.

and the whole point of getting one of those instead of a larger battery, or a spare battery, or a separate battery attachment, is to have ONE device that doesn't weight much and is still thin and comfortable to work with. of course you could get yourself a nice, 19" mid-range laptop for EUR 1k, add a separate, external battery for EUR 150 and a spare for EUR 100 so the whole thing will last a rough 8 hours. but you couldve just gotten a 13" mb air that lasts 12 hours outta the box for EUR 950 with the student discount and be happy that you don't have to lug around 5 kg worth of hardware every day.
Yeah but it would be worth it because you wouldn't have to walk around with a mac book :wink:
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 30, 2013 7:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Butts McCracken wrote:
Yeah but it would be worth it because you wouldn't have to walk around with a mac book :wink:
ooooh, we were talking about THAT price, lol :D
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 30, 2013 7:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

mdeininger wrote:
Butts McCracken wrote:
Yeah but it would be worth it because you wouldn't have to walk around with a mac book :wink:
ooooh, we were talking about THAT price, lol :D
I just don't like the OS. That and user replaceable basic parts.
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 30, 2013 7:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

pjp wrote:
mdeininger wrote:
Butts McCracken wrote:
Yeah but it would be worth it because you wouldn't have to walk around with a mac book :wink:
ooooh, we were talking about THAT price, lol :D
I just don't like the OS. That and user replaceable basic parts.
it's FreeBSD with a solid UI? it's also free and mostly open source... + linux works like a charm on the buggers and so does windows. so, don't really see the OS thing. and the parts are quite user-replaceable. if you'd ever opened one up you'd have noticed that most of the parts are pretty much standard components. all you need is a torx screwdriver, and those aren't really unusual these days either.
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 30, 2013 7:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

mdeininger wrote:
pjp wrote:
mdeininger wrote:
Butts McCracken wrote:
Yeah but it would be worth it because you wouldn't have to walk around with a mac book :wink:
ooooh, we were talking about THAT price, lol :D
I just don't like the OS. That and user replaceable basic parts.
it's FreeBSD with a solid UI? it's also free and mostly open source... + linux works like a charm on the buggers and so does windows. so, don't really see the OS thing. and the parts are quite user-replaceable. if you'd ever opened one up you'd have noticed that most of the parts are pretty much standard components. all you need is a torx screwdriver, and those aren't really unusual these days either.

Not anymore. In Retina era almost everything is glued and soldered on. Also, 3-key combo for a backslash, seriously?
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 30, 2013 7:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

mdeininger wrote:
it's FreeBSD with a solid UI? it's also free and mostly open source... + linux works like a charm on the buggers and so does windows. so, don't really see the OS thing. and the parts are quite user-replaceable. if you'd ever opened one up you'd have noticed that most of the parts are pretty much standard components. all you need is a torx screwdriver, and those aren't really unusual these days either.
It is the UI I do not like. I was not aware that other OSes worked well on it. Last I heard, the Air didn't have a user replaceable battery, though I think that was 1st gen.


EDIT: @genstorm, oh, OK, I wasn't imagining things (at least not those things) :D
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 30, 2013 7:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

genstorm wrote:
mdeininger wrote:
pjp wrote:
mdeininger wrote:
Butts McCracken wrote:
Yeah but it would be worth it because you wouldn't have to walk around with a mac book :wink:
ooooh, we were talking about THAT price, lol :D
I just don't like the OS. That and user replaceable basic parts.
it's FreeBSD with a solid UI? it's also free and mostly open source... + linux works like a charm on the buggers and so does windows. so, don't really see the OS thing. and the parts are quite user-replaceable. if you'd ever opened one up you'd have noticed that most of the parts are pretty much standard components. all you need is a torx screwdriver, and those aren't really unusual these days either.

Not anymore. In Retina era almost everything is glued and soldered on.
can't imagine it's worse than inside iPhones, and I just opened up mine to replace its display... and i know for a fact that it's trivial to replace the batter in mb airs because I've done it before, and the remaining components i saw in there were all either screwed in or were just clipped in, so that ain't too bad.

EDIT: the keymaps are user-definable. and they don't apply if you use linux or windows ;D.

pjp wrote:
mdeininger wrote:
it's FreeBSD with a solid UI? it's also free and mostly open source... + linux works like a charm on the buggers and so does windows. so, don't really see the OS thing. and the parts are quite user-replaceable. if you'd ever opened one up you'd have noticed that most of the parts are pretty much standard components. all you need is a torx screwdriver, and those aren't really unusual these days either.
It is the UI I do not like. I was not aware that other OSes worked well on it. Last I heard, the Air didn't have a user replaceable battery, though I think that was 1st gen.


EDIT: @genstorm, oh, OK, I wasn't imagining things (at least not those things) :D
the batteries aren't "officially" replaceable, but that is one component that is really easy to replace actually. just gotta unscrew a couple torx screws on the back, open it up, unplug the battery and then plug the new one in and screw it all back together. there's no real magic in that.

EDIT2: windows is actually supported quite officially via apple's "bootcamp", and they're using straight EFI as the bootloader so any linux distro with EFI support works rather nice.
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 30, 2013 8:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks, I'll keep that in mind.
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 30, 2013 8:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

pjp wrote:
Thanks, I'll keep that in mind.
glad to help.

but don't get me wrong, I honestly believe there's a myriad of reasons to shun Apple, just like any other major corporation has a myriad of reasons going against them. last but not least their worker policies in third world countries. i just don't like it when people rage on stuff with reasons that just aren't true simply for the sake of accuracy. i'm a bit obsessive-compulsive regarding that :S.
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