A soon to be Mac owner has questions!

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by ClayDavid, Jul 15, 2006.

  1. ClayDavid macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2006
    #1
    Hello. I will be starting college in September and will need a new computer. I had always wanted to try a Mac, but was never able to talk myself into getting one because of certain Windows-centric needs. With boot-camp, though, I think I am finally ready to take the plunge.

    What I am looking for is a laptop that will last me all four years in college. I plan to have, in addition to OSX, a Linux distro installed (either Ubuntu or SUSE) and XP (eventually Vista). I plan to Boot Camp to XP and Parallel to Linux. (Linux is just my playground where I mess around on the latest and greatest open-source stuff) Aside from the general college stuff, I plan to game a little bit (Oblivion + HL2, etc.), along with creating/editing some home movies.

    As such, I think at this point my plan is to buy the new MBP when it comes out to increase the amount of time the laptop will support the latest and greatest software goodies, including new games... (Hopefully, all four years of college!)

    I have some questions before I splurge on such an expensive piece of hardware. Some of these I think I already know, but most of what I could find was a little vague, so I am just making sure straight-out so there is no confusion on my end. Forgive my newbieness, hopefully it won't last long.

    1. The new Macbook Pro will come out sometime in August/September, correct?

    2. Will there likely be a price increase from the current high-end model of the MBP to the updated MBP? If so, how much can we expect it to rise?

    3. How upgradeable will the new MBPs be, especially in regards to the video card?

    4. Is it possible to use the built-in iSight camera in XP either with Parallels or Boot Camp?

    5. A USB two-button mouse w/scroll wheel will have full right-click functionality in OSX, correct? The same with the scroll wheel?

    6. Are there any suggested mice around $50?

    7. Is it possible to hook up the MBP to a TV and stream movies/photos to it?

    8. The only difference between the 15" and 17" (besides the obvious screen size) I could see was the Firewire 800 slot. Is that slot really necessary for large external drive if you plan on often transferring large files to and from it, or will the 400/USB 2.0 suffice?

    9. That being said, it is possible to read and write to the same external drive in both OSX and XP, right?

    10. How hard it it to right click on the MBP without an external mouse in XP? Its just a CTRL click?

    11. Am I going completely overboard in wanted the new MBP as opposed to just a Macbook for what I want to do?

    Thanks for any help!
     
  2. ham_man macrumors 68020

    ham_man

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2005
    #2
    1. The new Macbook Pro will come out sometime in August/September, correct?

    There will probably be an update soon, yes.​

    2. Will there likely be a price increase from the current high-end model of the MBP to the updated MBP? If so, how much can we expect it to rise?

    Doubt it.​

    3. How upgradeable will the new MBPs be, especially in regards to the video card?

    Usually you can update the RAM...and...the RAM. You can update the video card/hard drive/optical drive, but you will void the warranty (if you do it yourself).​

    4. Is it possible to use the built-in iSight camera in XP either with Parallels or Boot Camp?

    Maybe someone with a MBP can answer that.​

    5. A USB two-button mouse w/scroll wheel will have full right-click functionality in OSX, correct? The same with the scroll wheel?

    Of course.​

    6. Are there any suggested mice around $50?

    I <3 my MX1000...pretty much any Logitech laser mouse is recommended...​

    7. Is it possible to hook up the MBP to a TV and stream movies/photos to it?

    I think that you can buy an S Video adapter to make it stream videos out...​

    8. The only difference between the 15" and 17" (besides the obvious screen size) I could see was the Firewire 800 slot. Is that slot really necessary for large external drive if you plan on often transferring large files to and from it, or will the 400/USB 2.0 suffice?

    Unless you are transferring a large amount of files all the time, the regular FW400 port will suffice.​

    9. That being said, it is possible to read and write to the same external drive in both OSX and XP, right?

    Read, but not write. However, both can read and write to FAT32 partitions, so you may want to make a 3rd FAT32 partition as a file bridge between the two OSes...​

    10. Am I going completely overboard in wanted the new MBP as opposed to just a Macbook for what I want to do?

    You can never go overboard when buying a new Mac... ;)
     
  3. Gwardys macrumors member

    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2006
    #3
    1.) A new MBP is due out, presumably around that time.

    2.) I don't forsee a price increase unless something drastic changes.

    3.) Laptops arn't very friendly to upgrade in the first place. I've never upgraded a mac so I could be totally wrong. I'm taking a wild stab in the dark and going to say it's probably very difficult, and you wont have many options. You generally don't upgrade and replace parts like a GPU in laptops. At least, I don't think you do.

    4.) Using XP with the iSight it causes a crash. I have not used paralells, but I don't belive it will be possible.
    Possibly in the future, but for now. No.
    5.) Yes. The most common mice function like they should in OS X.

    7.) I'm sure there is a way. But, why not just use an external moniter?

    8.) Firewire 800 is an overkill. Unless you have an external that runs on Firewire, and you need the speed, or if you absolutley know you need it, the Firewire 400 is plenty enough. The other thing a 17'' has for it is an extra USB port, and with only two on the 15'', it would be nice to have a third like it's big brother.

    9.) By default, you can read but not write to XP from OS X, and you can't do anything to OS X from XP. You can change the formatting to fix this. I belive.

    10.) When you load up XP on a MBP you can't right click without the use of a third party program, or by loading up an external mouse. Google can give you the programs you'll need to be on your way. If I remember correctly, I also had a program that mapped it to a key. For me, it was the function key in the corner that did the trick.
    11.) The dedicated GPU makes all the difference between the MB, and the MBP.
    By having the MBP, you can run programs like Aperture, Final Cut, and other pro apps, without using hacks, or taxing the processors as much.
    Since you mentioned running games, the GPU will make all of the difference if you can play games the way you want to. An x1600 is no 7800 combination in SLI mode, but it does the job well. Coupled with the fast processor, the MBP can game new, and older games, from med-high settings, at reasonable framerates running from 30-70+ in my tests. It all depends on what game, and how much ram. Just don't expect to achieve 200+ FPS on games like Half-Life 2 with HDR enabled, or Doom 3 cranked up to Ultra.
    I find that my Macbook is way more durable then my Macbook Pro. My Macbook has been tossed in my backback, and it still looks like new. My Macbook Pro has been religiously put into cases, and it has some noticeable dings and scratches. Nothing deep and crazy, but viewed in the right light, it looks dingy. Wireless reception is also better on a Macbook.
    In no way am I saying the Macbook is better just it all depends on your needs.
    I find the Macbook perfect for school, or just to cary it everywhere, it's smaller, lighter, and it seems to have a better “I can take it anywhere” feel about it.
    If you go with a Macbook compared to a MBP you could probably save yourself a thousand, or more dollars. This can mean upgrades like ram, or other things.
    In the end. Both machines are very very good, the only difference being screen size, and the GPU. As a gamer, I think you would be better off with a MBP.
    Another alternative to keep in mind, you could also throw a decent video card in a midrange PC and pick up a Macbook along with it for about the same cost of a MBP.
     
  4. panoz7 macrumors 6502a

    panoz7

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2005
    Location:
    Raleigh, NC
    #4
    Just thought I'd reply with my own opinions / answers and clarify some of the things the other posters have written.

    Merom, the next generation of the Core Duo Chips should be released around the end of this month. It will most likely find its way into the MBP sometime around august / september.

    I wouldn't expect one.

    Just to clarify, you CAN'T upgrade the graphics card. The hard-drive and the ram is easily upgradeable. The optical drive can be replaced. The graphics card and CPU are soldered to the logic board and can't be upgraded whether you are willing to void the warranty or not.

    A this time you can't. Its a driver issue. My guess is that once boot camp is no longer a beta (with the release of leopard) apple will release a new driver disk with support for the iSight.

    Yep. I've got a microsoft mouse. After installing the newest drivers I can use all the extra buttons for dashboard, expose, etc...

    The mighty mouse is right around that price. I'm not crazy about it so as I mentioned earlier I got a microsoft mouse. I think they make great stuff.

    Yep, but you need to buy a DVI to RCA / S-Video converter unless your TV has a DVI input. Its like $20 at the apple store. Frontrow really makes this simple.

    There's one more difference... the 17" has a DL superdrive. Its possible the next gen 15" will have it also. Right now its too thick to fit in the 15" but maybe the Rev Bs will have a new enclosure or something else that makes it possible. Unlike the other posters I feel that firewire 800 is somewhat important, especially if you are using it with large external drives. Its significantly faster then firewire 400, and much better then USB.

    Yes, as long as the drive is FAT32 formatted.

    There's some programs for xp that will let you right click. Control click isn't the best option since you often need to press control and left click in windows (like when selecting non sequential files). In parallels you can tap with two fingers to right click just like in OS X.

    This is more of a personal decision. I've had a macbook and a powerbook but no macbook pro. Personally I'd go for the MBP. Since you're interested in gaming the dedicated graphics will probably be useful. Beyond that the illuminated keyboard is really cool and great for typing in the dark when your roommate's sleeping.
     
  5. ClayDavid thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2006
    #5
    Thank you everyone that replied!

    One more question, though:

    Since the videocard is impossible to upgrade, I am curious as to how viable the one that will be in the new MBP will be in a year or two from now in terms of gaming.

    Does anyone have any idea, supposing one had the new MBP with the top processor, either 2 or 4 gigs of ram(the new MBP will offer 4gb, right?), and whatever videocard they put in, if the new MBP will be a viable gaming mahcine over the next few years?

    Thanks again!
     
  6. iBookG4user macrumors 604

    iBookG4user

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2006
    Location:
    Seattle, WA
    #6
    Well to answer about the video card. I'd say the new video card that's going to be in the MBP will be like having the GeForce 6600 now with plenty of pep for the latest games but probably won't be enough in another 3 years. Another thing to consider is that the games are moving toward DX10 and there are no DX10 video cards out now.
    I don't think that the new MBP will support 4GB RAM though. But I would assume that you would be able to play the most recent games that come out in 2010 albeit at a lower setting. But laptops do date a lot faster than desktops. I have a 3 year old windows laptop and it has a radeon 7000 in it, so it would most likely be like that with your MBP in 4 years.
     
  7. Gwardys macrumors member

    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2006
    #7
    An x1600 is already "midrange" but it moves so fast, a card today, is replaced tomorrow.

    I think that it will last a good 2-3 years running modern games. Obviously, as it ages, you'll have to adjust and turn down settings. Like the previous poster said. DX10 is right around the corner.

    I don't think you should worry about it. As long as you don't need everything cranked to the max you're all set. At least for a few years.

    Technically, you can fit 4GB of ram in a MBP, but you have to buy 2GB sticks.
    Lets just say. Not many people have 4GB put into a MBP because of the cost.;)
     
  8. panoz7 macrumors 6502a

    panoz7

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2005
    Location:
    Raleigh, NC
    #8
    You can fit the 2gb sticks into the current MBP but they won't work. This has been tried. It just grey screens on boot. I'm assuming the next gen MBP will allow 4 gb of ram, but that's purely a guess. Even if they do, they will be far too expensive for the average consumer to consider. Right now they are over $1000 a stick.

    Have you thought about buying/building a pc for gaming and a macbook for other stuff. I built a reasonable gaming machine for a friend for just under $1000. A macbook is about $1200 with the edu discount. Perhaps for a gamer that would be a better use of money then a fully loaded MBP.
     
  9. ClayDavid thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2006
    #9
    I have thought about buying a seperate gaming machine, but the thing is that I don't really forsee myself playing all that many games over the next few years; I simply want the option if I ever feel like playing. There are occasional dorm-wide FPS and Diablo tournaments at my college, the occasional game with a friend, etc, etc,.

    I don't really think it is worth it to have a complettely seperate computer to do the little amount of gaming I probably will end up doing - if at all possible I would like to have a single all-purpose laptop.

    As for the ram, wow, that is expensive. Looks like I'll be sticking to the 2gb for now and upgrading to the 4gb when the prices become reasonable.

    Anyway, thanks for all the help everyone. I am feeling pretty good about getting a MBP!
     

Share This Page