Cheapest New Mac

Now that my (still awesome) 15″ MacBook Pro is 2 generations behind the latest and greatest, I wonder:

What would be the cheapest way for me to get a new Mac?

13" MacBook Pro

Would it be with my ADC student membership? Or would it be with the standard student discount?

The ADC Store offers this configuration:

  • 2.53GHz Intel Core 2 Duo
  • 4GB 1066MHz DDR3 SDRAM – 2x2GB
  • 250GB Serial ATA Drive @ 5400 rpm
  • SuperDrive 8x (DVD±R DL/DVD±RW/CD-RW)
  • Backlit Keyboard (English) / User’s Guide
  • iWork ’09 preinstalled
  • Mini DisplayPort to VGA Adapter
  • AppleCare Protection Plan for MacBook / MacBook Air / 13″ MacBook Pro – Auto-enroll

For $1,668.00. The bold items are custom selections.

I can get the same thing from the Apple Education Store for $1,721.00, but the student version comes with a free iPod touch ($219 value) and printer ($99 value) after mail-in rebate. Let’s value the hassle of turning in the mail-in rebates at a negative $99. And let’s say I wanted that iPod touch, or in other words, it’s worth $219 to me. $1,721 = $219 = $1,502, which is $166 less than the ADC offer.

For a 13″ MacBook Pro, I’d get it from the standard student store. For USC Trojans, that means – you can get your student discount online by ordering directly from Apple’s website there.

Note that part of the difference is caused byt he AppleCare Protection Plan. It costs $249 from ADC members, but only $183 for students: a difference of $66 in favor of the standard student discount.

How about the 15″ models? I think the 15″ screen size is really the ideal balance between portability and weight, so let’s see how things stack up:

2.53GHz: $1,529.00 – $1,599.00 -> $70

2.66GHz: $1,599.00 – $1,849.00 -> $250

2.8GHz: $1,839.00 – $2,099.00 -> $260

The ADC Student Membership cost $99, so perhaps the two higher-end models could make sense.

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