At, Chuck N. Edmonds writes:

I’m a student at a local community college taking classes full time and working full time to cover costs of school and living. Most of my classes are online, and my Windows PC has pooped out on me — Microsoft has been letting me down for years now, and this is terrible timing! Regardless, I’ve been thinking about switching over to Mac, but I have no money to fix my Windows laptop or purchase a Mac (I’ve been looking into the mini).

My question to you would be this: will Mac OS X satisfy a college student in comparison to Windows? Other computing interests I’ve had in the past are some gaming and photo and video editing. Are these computers easy to use? I have had Linux computers before, but never a Mac. I love Ubuntu.

And last, are there any programs that can help me pay for a new computer when in need now? I have a very low credit score, and Apple financing seems to have failed me. Monthly payments would be great!

It’s okay if you’ve got nothing for the financial aspect; I ask on LockerGnome for input regarding the OS and software availability, but if you have any tips for purchasing, that would be awesome!

Mac miniThis is a great question. Let me start by saying that a Mac would allow you to run both Windows and Linux in addition to OS X. If you’re looking for something that gives you the option to live in all three ecosystems simultaneously, this would be the “best” solution for you.

That said: whether or not OS X has what you need to get through college depends on your classes. Are you in an environment where Windows is a requirement? Taking a class specifically geared towards Windows-only programs would be one reason to consider either going with a Windows PC or getting Windows (Microsoft practically gives this away to college students) and running it on the Mac.

Some universities actually have MacBooks as an encouraged purchase for students. Several independent school districts in the US have even purchased mass quantities of MacBooks in order to sell them (at cost) to students to use as their school laptops. Does that mean that Macs are the best option out there for educational use? Hardly. It just means that they’re at least recognized as being capable of handling the needs of a student.

You mentioned loving to run Ubuntu. You can run Ubuntu on a Mac mini just as easily as you could a standard PC. In fact, the predictable hardware profile of a Mac mini makes it an easy fit with Ubuntu as the drivers are usually preloaded and easily recognized.

The Mac mini is also no slouch in the bang for your buck department. With the latest processors and plenty of power in a small frame, it’s a tough option to beat. It isn’t super inexpensive like some of the desktop PCs out there, but it’s still reasonably priced enough to warrant the purchase if you are planning to use it for work and/or school.

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