Canadian Mac Forums at ehMac banner
1 - 13 of 13 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
125 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi All,

Next week I'll be upgrading to a macbook pro, with my newly acquired educational discount. I was playing around with some configs in the ed store to get an idea of how much it will set me back. I am getting a 2.2 GHz model, and a 160 GB HD adds $83 to the price. Is it worth it for the extra 40 GB?

Here a little info on the usage:
-I do take pictures and edit them using photoshop, but I don't take a whole lot
-A lot of usage for school. I'm taking a masters in engineering part time, and some of the courses involve modeling and systems simulation. I'm not sure exactly what software will be required for some of the courses, but I'm sure there will be 3d modeling somewhere in there
- lots of writing papers using MS Office
-I will most likely install parallels or the like to run windows XP (I need it for some programs without OS X versions)
-This isn't my main computer, but will be my most used. I have a desktop PC that I basically use for storing music and watching TV
-I also have to external drives: 1) a 20GB 2.5" drive (formatted for Windows, but I can change that 2) a 250 GB 3.5" drive (too large to lug around).

Any thoughts?
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
6,427 Posts
get an idea of how much it will set me back. I am getting a 2.2 GHz model, and a 160 GB HD adds $83 to the price. Is it worth it for the extra 40 GB?

Here a little info on the usage:
-I do take pictures and edit them using photoshop, but I don't take a whole lot
-A lot of usage for school. I'm taking a masters in engineering part time, and some of the courses involve modeling and systems simulation. I'm not sure exactly what software will be required for some of the courses, but I'm sure there will be 3d modeling somewhere in there
- lots of writing papers using MS Office
-I will most likely install parallels or the like to run windows XP (I need it for some programs without OS X versions)
-This isn't my main computer, but will be my most used. I have a desktop PC that I basically use for storing music and watching TV
-I also have to external drives: 1) a 20GB 2.5" drive (formatted for Windows, but I can change that 2) a 250 GB 3.5" drive (too large to lug around).

Any thoughts?
The extra $83 works out to $2 per GB for the extra 40 GB; and you could purchase something like an 80 GB hard drive for that. Bomb it into an external case for about $15 and have twice the storage. However, performance will lag because most 2.5" casings are USB. It is nice to have some extra space - but I also like to have an external drive for those bulky files that I do not need all the time. I even put my old 10 GB to good use - it has copies of all of my software on it so I can maintain both of my machines, as well as four of my friends machines.

And I highly recommend that you do not write papers in Office - either get a decent word processor that is compatible with the various file formats, or learn to typeset in LaTeX. Just think, if Office barfs (as it is prone to do), then it will cost you marks. I'd consider Mariner Write, which is Word compatible without being bloatware... I have both Office and MW on my machine, and MW is about 40 MB total compared to 415 MB for Office... (I need Office to convert some files so that I can jamb them into a real spreadsheet program!)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
125 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
The extra $83 works out to $2 per GB for the extra 40 GB; and you could purchase something like an 80 GB hard drive for that.
That's exactly what my BF said. True dat. I could see how it goes with the 120GB internal, and get a new external 2.5" if necessary to carry around. Maybe I can look into a firewire enclosure, if I have a need for speed. :)

And I highly recommend that you do not write papers in Office - either get a decent word processor that is compatible with the various file formats, or learn to typeset in LaTeX. Just think, if Office barfs (as it is prone to do), then it will cost you marks. I'd consider Mariner Write, which is Word compatible without being bloatware...
I don't think I'll have time to learn LaTeX. I know that Office barfs, but if I keep it simple, it should be OK. I will look into Mariner Write however. If I had the time/money, I would prefer to use Adobe Framemaker (everything STAYS where you put it, but no more mac version :( ) or I would use XML and to convert to PDF.

Thanks for the input!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
781 Posts
I would go with the 120GB drive and use an external. With a firewire drive, you should have fine performance, and if you ever need to take a project to class, you can move it to the local drive, or to your 2.5" external. No need to have all those old projects cluttering up your local drive, though.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
4,415 Posts
Maybe devil's advocate position here -- but the internal drive is REALLY hard to replace on the MBP. I would get the biggest internal drive you can afford, so that you can do whatever you need and get the job done.

My MBP at work has a 100GB drive inside and it's always getting full. It's annoying. I do FCP work on it, so I understand why it's full, but always having to hook up an external is still really annoying.

Just MHO. ;)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
30 Posts
I bought 160gb for my MBP for two reasons:

1 - replacement is difficult

2 - Leopard, iLife 08, iWork 08, Office 2008. They will be bigger and my useable space will be lower. Fact of life in upgrading major software.

Go with the larger hard drive.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
5,461 Posts
I always go with the biggest I can afford. I just bought a 500 gig for my PowerMac G5, was running out of room, so I now have a 500 gig and 400 gig internal, and an external 250 gig. Hope that lasts me for a while now I hate deleting things!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
334 Posts
I'm going to school and now I hear its not "safe" to use word/excel/powerpoint for mac? What should I use for my word processing/spreadsheets that is free? Keynote is a good idea but is its not free.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
4,415 Posts
I'm going to school and now I hear its not "safe" to use word/excel/powerpoint for mac? What should I use for my word processing/spreadsheets that is free? Keynote is a good idea but is its not free.
Huh? Why is Office for Mac not "safe"? What do you mean by Safe?

There's alternatives -- AbiWord, NeoOffice, etc...
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
15,709 Posts
I'm going to school and now I hear its not "safe" to use word/excel/powerpoint for mac? What should I use for my word processing/spreadsheets that is free? Keynote is a good idea but is its not free.
Don't believe everything you hear. As a student, perhaps you could research why it is that you hear that those apps aren't "safe" for mac.

A good free app. is NeoOffice, but as a student, wordprocessing applications are close enough to free that you should purchase one, if NeoOffice (for example) doesn't suffice.

NeoOffice Home
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
334 Posts
Above, it was noted at Word "barfs" and several people agreed. Is something wrong with using Word or MS Office for Mac? Is it prone to problems? I prefer office since I'm used to it rather than NeoOffice which i've never used.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
125 Posts
Discussion Starter · #12 ·
In my experience, Word tends to assume a lot of things and "auto-correct" things for you. Sometimes, it's fairly easy to undo and turn off this behaviour, but sometimes you just can't.

Any sort of advanced formating is also a pain in Word. It just does weird, unpredictable things for no apparent reason. Or it won't let you do something.

Numbering is also painful, especially if you have levels (ex.: 1, 1.1, 1.2, etc.)
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
18,000 Posts
The very first thing I do when installing Word on one of my Macs is to go into the preferences and turn OFF every "helpful" feature (autocorrect, etc.). Working on Word that hasn't been "tamed" drives me bonkers.

Of course... that's not a problem anymore, as I'm past the half-year mark with NeoOffice taking up MS-Office's space on my hard drive... ;)
 
1 - 13 of 13 Posts
Top