Renting or borrowing Macs - Bay Area
January 31, 2013 12:51 PM   Subscribe

Is there an avenue in the Bay Area for renting or borrowing a Mac, especially for (grad) students?

I am taking a Sound Arts class this semester that involves jamming on my instructor's computer with Garageband. Which is awesome - but I don't have a Mac at home to continue jamming and can't afford one currently. I will be needing it until end April or early May. I'm not sure my school offers tech rental (it's rather small). I have also looked at MacinCloud, which looks nifty, but I'm waiting to find out if they have Garageband support.
posted by divabat to Computers & Internet (7 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Because Macs hold their value very well, the cheapest way to get one to use for 3 months is almost certainly to buy one, then sell it when you're done with it. Obviously this doesn't help if you don't have $1000-1500 available right now, but is worth bearing in mind, as it will probably only cost you $200-300 overall.
posted by caek at 12:59 PM on January 31, 2013 [2 favorites]

Have you tried Googling? Seems like there are a number of options.
posted by Admiral Haddock at 1:07 PM on January 31, 2013

Yeah, caek really has the best option if MacinCloud doesn't support it and you can't find a rental, but I would suggest finding something like a ~ 2-3 year old Powerbook running 10.6.8 that meets the system requirements on craigslist and then re-selling it when you are done rather than getting a new one.

Otherwise, there is an iOS version if it has your needed functionality and you have an Ipad, or want to buy a new/used one for cheaper than above.

Finally, if you are comfortable with software stuff, you could try and make a hackintosh either by buying a compatible used desktop/laptop, or building one. Should be fairly reasonable but probably not 30.00/month for 3 months reasonable.
posted by McSwaggers at 1:08 PM on January 31, 2013

You don't say what school you go to, but I'm assuming you've checked to see if they have a computer lab. If not, do they have some kind of partnership with a larger local school where you can use their lab?
posted by radioamy at 1:28 PM on January 31, 2013 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: radioamy: the school lab only has one Mac, but I'll see if they have any ideas.

Admiral Haddock: yes I did Google, but a lot of resources tend to focus on business customers and/or really pricey, and I'm looking for more affordable options.

The problem is that I don't *have* $1000+ to spare...
posted by divabat at 1:30 PM on January 31, 2013

I found dozens of Macs that would meet your specifications on craigslist (for SF Bay Area) for under $500. I ended up with a great 17 inch MacBook Pro with full Adobe photoshop suite (professional version) for $500. I probably could have gotten it cheaper, too.

And there were literally dozens of laptops that fit your specifications last I checked. I do understand that you'd rather find one temporarily, but this is something to consider.
posted by guster4lovers at 1:40 PM on January 31, 2013

If you are ok with an older version of Garageband, PowerPC macs are around $100 on eBay and probably much cheaper locally (or even free). It appears that iLife '09 ($30 on eBay) which came with GarageBand 5 supported PowerPC. While Macs generally keep there value well, the Intel switch caused the value to drop ridiculously, but a PowerPC mac should be fine for this unless there is something you need about GarageBand 6.
posted by cspurrier at 1:50 PM on January 31, 2013

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