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I’m replying without having read all of the previous comments, opinions. I can see some discussion on the Mac Vs. PC, however, those days are over, believe me.
Apple is now a real competitor and they’re building some awesome applications, and hardware that is just out of the box, and unique. I was in the same position as you a few years back, about five years now I’ve been a Mac user, I have bought a new MacBook Pro every year it has been developed and a new model is released, and I do this because it is a quality product and Mac’s are just the way forward in my opinon.
I haven’t discovered a problem using my Mac in all of five years, no hardware or software problems, when I received my laptop last year, there was a dead pixel and the screen was dented in one side, I think this was done during shipping, as the box was dented too it came in, Apple at first fixed the problem, but then I said I’d like a new laptop, and they sent a new one out right away, so, Apple’s customer service and guarantee is great. Purchase the AppleCare if you think you might need that extra warranty, but with three years guarantee from AppleCare, most users would fine themselves purchasing a new one by then, so if anything went from, it wouldn’t be much of an issue.
I spend most of my days working in Photoshop, Maya, Flash and Final Cut Pro. I am able to run all of these high processor demanding applications simultaneously without any kind of time lag you’ve expect to see in a PC/Windows, and this is all down to how Mac’s were developed and programmed from the Unix base they stand on.
So, if you’re really looking to invest into your future buying a new laptop, I’d really consider buying the MacBook Pro. It has so much power behind it, and you get a lot, lot more than you would buying a Dell or any other laptop, iLife 09 is included so you can have fun and Apple have a great load of Applications to buy which just make your Mac work beautifully, there is of course, Word, PowerPoint available on Mac, but myself, I use Apple’s iWork, which has Numbers, Pages and KeyNote for my reports for University.
So, with your student finance, get purchasing your first MacBook Pro :)
You won’t regret it :)