2Qs: 128MB VRAM and AppleCare

Discussion in 'Buying Tips, Advice and Discussion (archive)' started by micsaund, Jun 24, 2004.

  1. micsaund macrumors 6502

    micsaund

    Joined:
    May 31, 2004
    Location:
    Colorado, USA
    #1
    Hi,

    Well, I'm getting ready to buy my first Mac (PB15), probably on Monday since I want to make sure that the WWDC announcement does not have any PB surprises (it would be my luck...)

    Anyway, a laptop is basically a "toy" for me which I use mainly to surf the web, do some programming, and maybe even play a game or two when on the road so I'm not doing anything too "heavy" as far as work/etc. As such, I've configured 2 PB15 configs, one based on the 1.33GHz model and the other on the 1.5GHz model. Basically, the price difference comes-out to $325 with the only differences being 1) 256MB RAM vs. 512MB, 2) 1.33GHz vs. 1.5GHz CPU, and finally 3) 64MB video RAM vs. 128MB.

    Issue #1 is not a problem as the prices that Apple charges for RAM on the website are ludicrous, to put it nicely, and I'd plan on buying some Crucial RAM on my own anyway.

    Issue #2 -- I'm guessing that 167MHz is not going to actually mean much of a difference in the ways I use a laptop. I'm not sure about games, though -- how many games that are "laptop friendly" actually would require that extra speed to be played?

    Issue #3 is the one I'm stuck on though. Having never owned a Mac or ever shopped for Mac games, I'm wondering just how important the extra 64MB of RAM could be over the lifetime of the laptop. With the two prices at $1975 and $2300 (edu discount), if the extra VRAM is not crucial, I don't think I'd want to spend the $325 (basically) for that. However, I'd like to hear any comments from people who have played games on a Mac so I can see if the extra RAM is really necessary? This PB won't be my main gaming machine by any means, but if I'm going to spend $2000+, I'd like to try to get something useful for the few times I do want to play a game to pass the time (like Call of Duty or similar), but if I don't need to blow the extra $300 (15%), I obviously don't want to.

    Finally, is the AppleCare worth the $239? Does Apple really "treat you well" with the warranty service or is it one of those things where it's like pulling teeth to get them to admit something is broken and do a repair? I've heard mixed messages lately on the performance of Apple repairs here on this board...

    Well, sorry for the long-winded post -- hopefully the details will help you experienced people understand what I'm looking for and offer some insights to make my first Mac purchase worthwhile :)

    Thanks,
    Mike
     
  2. invaLPsion macrumors 65816

    invaLPsion

    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2004
    Location:
    The Northlands
    #2
    Check out www.barefeats.com for the answer to your 64 vs. 128 vram question. Also, www.insidemacgames.com has an excellent review of the 1.33GHz 15inch powerbook. These are sure to help in your processor and vram queries. :)
     
  3. micsaund thread starter macrumors 6502

    micsaund

    Joined:
    May 31, 2004
    Location:
    Colorado, USA
    #3
    Great - that's very helpful. I read the review and the "64 vs. 128" articles and that is helping me formulate an answer. I'll dig around on those sites some more tonight at home. At this point, though, I'm leaning towards not getting the more expensive model (especially now that I noticed I can get the cool backlit keyboard on the lower model :D )

    Thanks for the helpful links so far!
    Mike
     
  4. micsaund thread starter macrumors 6502

    micsaund

    Joined:
    May 31, 2004
    Location:
    Colorado, USA
    #4
    Anyone have comments on the value of AppleCare and whether it's worth the $239 extra?

    Thanks!
    Mike
     
  5. Grimace macrumors 68040

    Grimace

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2003
    Location:
    with Hamburglar.
    #5
    Mike - unlike warranty programs for almost every other vendor - you DO NOT have to buy AppleCare when you buy the computer. Read that again.

    It is an extension of the 1 year warranty that is included - but you must purchase the AppleCare EXTENDED warranty within that first year. I purchased mine after 362 blissful days of owning a Powerbook. I did it over the phone, and Apple sent me the documentation in the mail 2 days later. [Note: the only thing you miss out on is PHONE tech-help from the 91st day until you buy Applecare; but those questions can be answered here! :D ]

    To really answer your question - YES it is worth it. Peace of mind (especially for portables) is definitely worth the $$$.
     
  6. FuzzyBallz macrumors 6502a

    FuzzyBallz

    Joined:
    May 2, 2003
    Location:
    Home of Al-Qaida
    #6
    Right, and unlike other companies, you actually have to buy the 3 year warranty versus being free.

    But then again, it's worth it 'cause there are so many hardware problems w/ Mac notebooks, especially the PowerBooks.
     
  7. Grimace macrumors 68040

    Grimace

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2003
    Location:
    with Hamburglar.
    #7
    Do you have examples of other vendors that have a Free 3 year warranty? I can't think of any. :confused:

    also, my Powerbook has had zero problems since I got it 15 months ago.
     
  8. BrianKonarsMac macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2004
    #8
    on a desktop it's not worth the money. you can fix a desktop by yourself for pretty cheap if you have too. a laptop is another story, if the screen goes out or the motherboard fries, you have two options. replace via warranty or buy a new computer. at least this is the logic i used when i bought applecare for my 1.33 12". altho i have a burning desire to void it with a 7200 rpm HD :(, anyone know how i could install a 7200 rpm HD without voiding my warranty?

    my powerbook has had zero problems as well since i purchased it (beginning of May), but that doesn't mean it won't happen. plus the first year is the least likely for anything to occur, which is also when you are covered. The extended warranty covers the period during which most component failure will occur.
     
  9. micsaund thread starter macrumors 6502

    micsaund

    Joined:
    May 31, 2004
    Location:
    Colorado, USA
    #9
    Ahh, thanks for the idea. I hadn't thought of waiting to buy it. I'm not all that worried about the phone support as I'm long-time power nerd :cool: but I would be interested in the hardware coverage. Maybe I'll do as you did and see if the PB appears to be "good" for the first 10 months and if so, I might skip the extended warranty as most things that last 10 months won't have any problems (at least that's been my experience). But, I won't rule it out -- I had the 3 year extended on the cheap Dell I just sold to buy the PB simply because of the "peace of mind" aspect (although it was half the cost of the PB extended warranty). With the prices I've heard that Apple parts can run, the $239 (IIRC) would probably be worth the risk.

    Thanks,
    Mike
     
  10. matthewr macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2004
    #10
    Definitely worth it.

    I've had my current laptop (400 Mhz Psimo) for 4.5 years, and applecare is certainly partly to credit. During the first 3 years I had to have the optical drive replaced, as well as get 3 new powercords. My experiences with apple cs reps has been fairly mixed. They sent me a replacement optical drive before seeing the faulty one (but if I recall, they were only willing to do that because I was able to troubleshoot it by borrowing a friend's optical drive and realizing that it worked). The first power cord they willingly replaced, but the second one I got into a disagreement with the rep over whether the style of powercord (yo-yo) was the one that had shipped with it (I knew it was, he tried to tell me it wasn't - basically it was a nerd-fight). But the thing that impressed me the most was about 3.5 years into the computer's life, I stupidly tried to replace the lower memory card (which is not easily accessible in my computer). It involved removing the card that the memory chip lives in, and when I was having trouble putting it back in, the applecare guy talked me through it because I had "done everything right, and bought applecare". So I wouldn't consider buying another PB (and I am considering the same options as you are) without applecare.
     

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