questionswhat should we look for in a macbook for daughter…


Welcome to DW (deals.woot) I do not have an answer but by typing something here and upvoting your question I give you a better chance to have your question brought to the front page. (for better visibility)
Usually I say something sarky here, but too early.
I usually do not help white triangles snark->(racist) but you are legit as you have purchased on regular woot side.


I would ask her school/professors what apps she will be using, or what their recommendations are. The newer MacBooks and the MacBook Air in particular, are less expensive than earlier models. There is a new version of the Apple OSX, Yosemite, about to be released also. You may be able to get a particular 'student/school' deal as well, so make some inquiries before purchasing @ a retailer.


Usually, if you buy from Apple directly, they have a student discount.
I have found that going to the Apple store and talking to the reps that they are very knowledgeable and have steered me in the right direction. Last mac I bought , they talked me down from what I originally thought I wanted, so I saved some $$. But now I need more RAM... so as helpful as they were {and how often does someone try to sell you less ? } I still want to bump that up.
I don't think they work on commission, so they are much more geared to helping then selling.

In that vein: My advice from experience and from friends: Get as much RAM as you can afford ! It can be added later, but that's a pain. I know, I'm in the process !
I also think the Apple Care Plan is fantastic.

ETA: Apple also has some nice deals on refurbs. .-- you might be able to get more computer for your buck that way.


Did you say "keep it under $1000?"

Depending on sales tax in the state where it will be shipped, there is only one macbook that will fit in that budget: MacBook Air 11"

However, 11" is really tiny if she is going to be doing design work, so I would bust your budget a little and get at least a 13". I converted to Mac 18 months ago, and that decision is a close second to converting to Jesus Christ. My bottom-of-the-line MacBook Pro is the best computer I've ever owned.

You could go "refurb" to save some clams. I bought my sweetheart/wife one and we've had no problems. Go here:


Now you totally did not ask this, and I will probably be peeing in your Cheerios here, but IMHO, going to college for fashion marketing is absolutely insane. There is waaay too much information online that she can absorb to justify spending a penny on college.

Consider: If she gets a job--any job--at either an agency or a design shop, and works her behind off the next few years, she will be light years ahead of her peers by the time they graduate and start looking for a job and end up waiting tables. None of those schmucks will be willing to do the grunt work that she can do now. And without that kind of experience, they won't get hired. And even if they do get hired, they will suck and she will shine.

To my point, "...64% of hiring managers said they would consider a candidate who hadn’t gone to a day of college." Forbes article here:

College is for scientists and lawyers.


I hate to break it to you, but you aren't going to find a macbook for under $1000, since you specify you want a new one. The Macbook Pros START at $1100 and go from there. The Macbook Air, which is meant for someone who travels a lot, starts at $899. To be honest, you can get much more for your money out of a windows laptop. I am biased, yes, but them I am a very thrifty person!


You can get a refurbished Macbook pro or Air on Apples website. I bought my last 2 from them and have been completely happy. I just got a 13" Macbook Pro with Retina display for $1095.

You would never know they aren't new cosmetically, you just get one that is a year or two older. You can absolutely get an 11" for under your $1000. Here's the link:


@ceagee: And the new Macbooks have the RAM directly soldered to the board. It is not upgradeable. If "marketing" is going to include design software like Photoshop or Illustrator, I would recommend upgrading to 8GB during the ordering process.

Don't go less than a Macbook Pro. The Macbook Air is nice and portable, but it will also be obsolete much sooner. Most of their cost is for portability, not speed. A 13" screen may be fine, but you can always get an external monitor of any size (and even mouse/keyboard if useful for Photoshop, etc.) for at the desk.

I wouldn't let anyone sway you from the Apple brand. They can be a bit pricey, but if she's going to be doing any graphics work, it'll be easier knowing that their screens are much better than average.

And yes, the student discount gets you at least $100-200 off. I think it's also worth noting that Mac resellers like are cheaper and also still have a student discount - so be sure to compare.


I really appreciate all the input...very helpful. We have already talked with her prof's and the consensus seems to be that while a non-Mac might get her by, a Mac is the better way to go...


I would check with her school. Compuer requirements for courses are often listed on ac college's program website.

Most design schools have very specific requirements for the computers their students need to do the projects in their major. Laptops are an expensive purchase so you want to make sure that you buy what she'll need and something that she won't outgrow or become obsolete before she's finished with her program.

An example:


@foonatic “I converted to Mac 18 months ago, and that decision is a close second to converting to Jesus Christ.”

Apple products and organized religion: two of the most overhyped concepts marketed to the masses. And your comments about college… WHAT?!!?

@omnichad “And the new Macbooks have the RAM directly soldered to the board. It is not upgradeable.”

I almost barfed when I read that. When, oh when, are people going to stop supporting such a “control freak” of a company? Admittedly, someone going into fashion design will likely benefit from Mac software, but you’d think everyone else who considers themselves gadget savvy would care about user-serviceable upgrades and keeping their PCs and devices open to functionality.


Yes the school website will have everything you'll need listed. Finding it may be a challenge but all schools have an IT or software website. Those will be the basic requirements for a school computer. Her major probably doesn't need anything more but checking that website will help. If it's a possibility that she'll change look through multiple major choices and pick the toughest. I was in Engineering and our requirements were much higher than everything except graphic design.


For the newest models, be sure to order it with everything you need from the get-go as there are no components the user can upgrade, the RAM is soldered to the motherboard and the SSD drives use a non-standard connector. I have a Late 2013 15" rMBP, fully spec'd and it is an incredible machine that will likely give me many years of service. Also, an external optical drive might be something that you will need to consider, as they do not have built-in optical drives either.


@stormshadow999 RE: Mac/Jesus... I was with you on both until I tried 'em. As far as college, that is just my opinion. The statistics support me, though.


If you want value and don't mind something refurbished or even used, educate yourself a bit, and cycle through where Bestbuy sells their refurbished, open-box, and used stuff. You won't always get everything you normally would but they tell you in advance. I've been routinely impressed by the quality of the merchandise, even when opting to buy something "showing considerable wear" ( or scratches). You have to know what you are looking for and be content with less than new and yesterday's best.


It may be too late, but be aware that Apple has launched their Back to School special... So you will get the Student Discount on whatever you decide, PLUS you will get an Apple Store gift card that can be used towards purchasing accessories or AppleCare or whatnot...
My recommendation would be either the 13" MacBook Air or the 13" MacBook Pro with Retina Display... Either way, I'd strongly encourage you to upgrade the RAM to 8GB, and maybe opt for more internal storage than 128GB, though you can always add external storage later, while RAM is not user upgradeable (and may not even be service upgradeable).
A possible alternative would be to get the 11" MacBook Air and buy an inexpensive large display for her to use when she's at home.
Good luck to her with her studies!