Ah, the ever-unanswered laptop question… I’ll try to summarize the arguments, but it is very much a decision you have to make yourself.
Pros of the school laptop program:
- A great computer at a reasonable cost
- Programs you will “need” are already installed
- EXCELLENT service on campus and a great warranty
- It’s what you know and love.
- You like it better.
- It’s just as good for regular computing, maybe better.
The general dilemma of getting a Mac:
If you get a Mac, you’ll need to make sure you have all of the right programs. To be frank, the school computer comes with more programs than most students (98%, I’d say) will ever need. Rarely have I needed many of the technical programs on the laptop, but you will NEED to use some of them from time to time. With a Mac, you’ll be responsible for buying/supplying these programs, though you can get them (at a cost) through the campus computer store.
Personally, I have the school laptop and it has served me well for the last three years. Sure, it’s ugly compared to a Mac, and Windows is only starting to compare to Mac in terms of OS, but it gets the job done. I’m going to have the fan replaced when I return in August, and that will be free… so that’s nice. BUT… I did buy a MacBook Air last week, which I plan to carry to class and to most of my daily computing from. It’s lighter, the flash memory is excellent, and the battery lasts much longer.
Really, I can’t make the decision for you. If you’re a Mac user, you’ll probably be happier to have a Mac and occasionally deal with the minor issue of dual booting to a Windows partition and acquiring some needed software.