Digital Multimedia Design students might get to choose between Macbooks or PCs next year

by McKenzie Sauder

Elaine Chou, 20, working on her MacBook Pro in the DMD lounge in the basement of Exchange District campus. THE PROJECTOR/McKenzie Sauder

Digital Multimedia Design (DMD) students might get to choose what laptop they use next year. Right now it’s mandatory they own a MacBook — even though PCs can be much more affordable.

A 15-inch MacBook, the required laptop for DMD, costs $3,000, while a PC like the HP Spectre, for example, has almost identical specifications and costs less than $2,000.

Chris Brower, the program coordinator for DMD, wants rules to reflect whatever’s best for the students.

“It’s been a huge debate internally,” says Brower. “There is the possibility of a dry run for a year to see how it works. It seems like a simple issue and we suspect it will work.”

Instructors are concerned about confusion and troubleshooting when they have to teach with both platforms.

The DMD industry uses both operating systems. Apple products are the industry standard for graphic design, while PCs are more commonly used by professionals for 3D graphics and animation.

Some students think they should have a choice.

“We’re students already and we have to pay so much,” says Elaine Chau, 22, a first year DMD student. “Macs are not bad, obviously, but it would have been nice to have that option.”

According to Meghan Radford, a computer technician whose office is full of various Apple desktops that belong to RRC, the decision will be made this month before program requirements are sent out to next year’s students.

“It’s all about what’s best for the students. What’s the most comfortable and most options they have,” Brower says. “The downside of Mac is that you can only work with what you have.”

He’s referring to the fact that Macs are very difficult to customize, whereas PCs can be retro-fitted with new parts to improve performance or keep old computers running efficiently.

If the administration allows students to use PCs next year and everything runs smoothly, they will consider allowing students to choose between Apple and PC laptops in the future.