Going to school come this fall for programing, and I was going to get a Mac Book Pro 17 custom config which would run around ~$3,500 but then still needed to get a external HHD, case and things like that. So the total price would have been around ~$4,000 - $4,500 after everything. The reason I was thinking of getting a Mac (I never had one before) was for the Boot Camp feature so I could program on Windows OS/Mac OS, and Linus as well. Also my professor had said there are some classes that require Mac he didn't specify which ones other than iPhone/iTouch development class.
So I was thinking now to save some money I could get a new desktop and laptop with everything for around ~$3,000.
The reason why I was want to buy them from Best Buy are that they seem like good systems for the money, also since I'm younger I don't have established credit yet and they are offering 18 months interest free, so I could get better credit and a good laptop and desktop.
I'm still comparing some of the details and had a couple questions if you can answer all, or some of them it would be beneficial to me.
1) Which Video Card is better the GeForce GTX 260 with 896MB or the GeForce GTS 250 with 1GB GDDR3?
2) For a systems Cache Memory which one is better having 1MB on die Level 2; 8MB on die Level 3 or having 8MB on die Level 2?
3) The GeForce GTX 260 says "Supports 7.1-channel high-definition audio. 2 DVI ports and 1 HDTV connection for connecting HD components." what does it mean by HDTV connection?
4) Would it be better to get a Windows based desktop and instead of the MBP 17'' or a Windows laptop maybe a base 13'' or 15'' MBP since the professor had mentioned and I quote "some of the software you'll use is PC compatible only so if you get a Mac, you'll either dual boot to Windows or run Windows as a virtual machine. There are classes that use software independent of the operating system, and others that require a Mac. It really depends upon your day-to-day use and what you prefer. Some students do get by with Macs. We have lab PCs for student use so you wouldn't be totally dependent on the Mac"
At this moment I can't think of to many more questions but, thanks to everyone that takes the time to read this and responds to this!
Have you checked with your school bookstore? You should look for better deals. Computer science majors might get some deep discounts. You might just get your mac laptop and be able to build a good PC for your budget, and that would seem to be ideal.
Another avenue to pursue would be a hackintosh desktop. A PC that can run OS X.
you can build a very good quadcore desktop inc monitor etc for around $1200 and dual boot to Windows or Ubuntu linux
You can buy some basic level mac notebook for ???? No idea , but surely it would let you test software you have written for OSX
To answer your questions specifically
1/ the gtx 260 is stronger . Check the charts section of this site
2/ tech specs like this are pretty meaningless .
Use the cpu charts to help you decide which cpu actually performs better in real world tasks . Especially the real world taks that are similar to the ones important to you
3/HDTV =Hi def TV want to watch movies on the computer ? or even watch TV? Plenty of options to turn a pc into a pvr with an add in card , and nice if you can out put a signal to a 1080 tv
Ideal for a dorm room if space is tight
4/ I would prefer that mac stopped overcharging for their hardware