Considering a MacBook

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by india349, Oct 19, 2006.

  1. india349 macrumors member

    india349

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2006
    Location:
    Minneapolis, MN, USA
    #1
    Hello everyone!

    I just want to say how much this site has helped me with some great information about the Mac community and now I finally have the confidence to post some of my own dilemmas.

    I'm a student and I'm considering buying a new MacBook. It would be my primary computer for about four or more years, possibly, and would be used mainly for school work (Word, Powerpoint, nothing too intensive) and casual and occasional gaming (early 2000 or 2001 Aspyr titles, possibly world of warcraft) as well as for a small to average amount of music and photos and movies, etc.

    Here are my questions?

    1) Which model of MacBook is ideal for my situation? Is the 1.83 GHz much different from the 2.0? Black would be neat but is not a major attribute. I'm only willing to spend possibly....$1800 max for a computer with all upgrades.

    2) I've decided for sure to upgrade to max 2GB RAM. Buying from Apple ($500) seems more expensive than MacMall, Amazon, or Crucial ($300-$380). Would I be sacrificing any quality or in danger to my system if I do it myself?

    3) There's been a few posts on the main page of this site about a possible November update of the MacBook. I have no problem waiting until then...if it's true. Would the update be worth waiting for, even if it was in January or later 2007? I prefer to wait as little as possible, (I'm really tempted to go get one now but I want to make the right choice). If the update is in early 2007, would it be okay to buy earlier?

    4) Any other information about MacBooks in general or what else might be ideal for my situation?

    Any help will be appreciated. Thank you!

    india349
     
  2. Veritas&Equitas macrumors 68000

    Veritas&Equitas

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2005
    Location:
    Twin Cities, MN
    #2
    Welcome!
    1) 1.83 would be totally fine for your needs. Maybe up the hard drive and/or ram, then get AppleCare, you should be totally fine keeping the $1800 limit.
    2) Buy the ram from a 3rd party, like Crucial for a total of less than $300, you wouldn't sacrifice any quality, and it's really not hard to do AT ALL. There is really very minimal "danger" by doing it yourself.
    3) If you have the time/patience, I'd wait. There is absolutely no doubt that the MB will be updated...probably at the latest at MWSF. Read up on other threads about the differences though between Yonah and Merom; there really isn't much of a difference.
    4) Look around Macrumors...there's a wealth of info about anything your heart desires! :D
     
  3. JurgenWigg macrumors 6502

    JurgenWigg

    Joined:
    May 20, 2006
    Location:
    Delaware
    #3
    i got my black macbook back in july and I love it. I got stock configuration and upgraded it to 120 HD and 2 gigs of memory that I bought from OWC, the installation is a snap (literally, haha), really easy and i highly recommend that you do that, should that be the way to go.

    The difference between 1.83 and 2.0 is really not that much, it's more of a mental thing that I bought into, I'd say go for it, someone else probably has a better opinion than me.

    Everyone was talking about August updates when i got mine in july, so i mean, take things with a grain of salt. The update would be probably to merom, so just ask yourself, are you really doing anything so intensive that you would need 64-bit processing? There are some other facts and figures about power consumption, but i can get 3.5-4 hours of batter life out of this sucker with no bluetooth or wireless and full brightness. i'll have to see how much i can squeeze out with minimum brightness, but the point is, it's really not necessary, and if you always wait for the next big upgrade, you'll be waiting a long time. The general rule of thumb is this: If you can wait, then wait, it can never hurt. If you need it, then get it, it's not that big of a deal. Nothing is going to come out that will immediately make your macbook obsolete - programs still aren't taking full advantage of 2 cores yet.
     
  4. india349 thread starter macrumors member

    india349

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2006
    Location:
    Minneapolis, MN, USA
    #4
    Hey, thanks! That really helps!

    Just a few questions: What is MWSF and when is that? Veritas mentioned AppleCare...what is that and what is its significance?

    As for "need", I don't think anyone going at school "needs" a laptop, we have a wealth of computer labs available, but for having the security of my own hard drive, my own space, my little cyber nook to call my own (I sound like a housewife....scary) means a lot to me. I can wait until November, see what happens.

    In regards to 64 bit usage...frankly, I don't think I'd have much to do with it. I think the main thing is I don't my computer to become obsolete and slow quicker, and I assumed having the newest model would prevent that. I'm probably wrong. I want something that lasts a fairly decent amount of time, so I was just concerned. However, will the current MacBooks run OS X 10.5 when it is released?

    My current Mac (that's the oxymoron of the year) is a 1997 tray loading iMac, bondi blue, with a non functioning CD drive and 32 megs of ram....and I can still use it for MS Word and internet, I swear it's more reliable than my HP pavillion. If I can make a computer last that long, I could probably use this MacBook for decades. :p
     
  5. dmw007 macrumors G4

    dmw007

    Joined:
    May 26, 2005
    Location:
    Working for MI-6
    #5
    Between the two, I would go for the 2GHz MacBook, you are planning to use this computer for ~4 years after all. :)

    Buy the RAM third pary form a reputable dealer. You will still get high quality RAM and be able to save some $$$. :)


    Consider buying RAM from www.datamem.com , they offer great prices and I have never had any problems with them or their products.

    The MacBooks & the MacBook Pros are slated to be updated by the holidays. The current MacBooks are great computers, but since you are once again planning to use it for quite some time and do not seem to be in a hurry to purchase, I would wait for the new ones to be released. :)
     
  6. india349 thread starter macrumors member

    india349

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2006
    Location:
    Minneapolis, MN, USA
    #6
    I forgot to mention...buying the lowest MacBook means that there is no DVD burner...I think that would also be a factor in changing my decision.

    I do see now that DataMem has excellent prices! Thank you dmw007!

    Well, now we just wait and see, I suppose. I'll sit here biting my nails hoping the updates are beneficial, but if it's not going to do anything but raise the price for what I'll use it for, maybe I'll get one earlier. :)
     
  7. dmw007 macrumors G4

    dmw007

    Joined:
    May 26, 2005
    Location:
    Working for MI-6
    #7
    Yes, having a DVD burner is a nice feature to have.

    No problem. :)

    I doubt that prices will go up. Any updates are not going to be major, but if you don't need it right now, you might as well wait (I know, this is a painful word for me too) for them. :)
     
  8. FFTT macrumors 68030

    FFTT

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2004
    Location:
    A Stoned Throw From Ground Zero
    #8
    If you plan to dual boot Mac OSX and Windows, you'll want at least the 100 GB HD
    option.

    I agree, Datamem.com or OWC (macsales.com) for 3rd party RAM.

    To get the latest update tweaks buy either online direct from Apple or by phone
    1800MyApple

    If you want to do impressive presentations, go ahead and buy iWork so you'll
    have Keynote.

    Check your school store for prices on Microsoft Office for Mac.
    Some schools offer it at bulk purchase discounts.

    If you really like the BlackBook but it's straining your budget, watch Apple's
    refurb page.
     
  9. CaptainCaveMann macrumors 68000

    CaptainCaveMann

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2004
    #9
    Ive had my ibook for about a year now, and i can tell you that the white plastic gets dirty and stains a bit after a while, even with proper cleaning. If i were to buy a notebook that i wanted to keep for 4 years i would definately go for a powerbook or mbp. The aluminum will look better after 4 years of use, not to mention all the creaks and noises the plastic enclosure makes when handling. It sounds stupid but those noises get annoying after a while.
     
  10. fivetoadsloth macrumors 65816

    fivetoadsloth

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2006
    #10
    id say get the 2 ghz with superdrive, id also wait for santa rosa, spring 07, if i could. If you plan to do gaming you might want to consider a macbook pro of amazon and slowly up the ram and hard drive when you have spare money. good luck
     
  11. miles01110 macrumors Core

    miles01110

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2006
    Location:
    The Ivory Tower (I'm not coming down)
    #11
    Get the middle Macbook. Having a Superdrive is worth the extra cost.
     
  12. jamone80 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2006
    Location:
    So Cal
    #12
    i agree. i'm also a student and the 2 gigz is a good investment along with the ram. the dvd burner allows you to store away a whole lotta files, giving u more room in your stock hd.
    as far as daily use, it should be more than adequate. during lectures, i typically run openoffice (sometimes with ms office), iChat, firefox, iCal, preview, mail and it runs pretty well. mind you, thats with stock ram!

    oh, and buy a decent sleeve or case. being at school will give it some beating. deliberate or not.
     
  13. india349 thread starter macrumors member

    india349

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2006
    Location:
    Minneapolis, MN, USA
    #13
    Thanks everyone! All of your comments are really helping me narrow down some choices.

    From the sounds of it, it doesn't sound like the updates would be of much use to me...I'm not doing anything extremely processor intensive to require it much. I've pretty much decided to get at least a 100 GB drive. Are Apple's prices for hard drives expensive? If so, is OWC a better deal?
     
  14. miles01110 macrumors Core

    miles01110

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2006
    Location:
    The Ivory Tower (I'm not coming down)
    #14
    The $150 Apple charges you for a 100 GB 2.5'' drive doesn't seem that unreasonable to me. I don't have time at the moment to do a comprehensive search, but I seem to recall similar size drives going for around the same price or maybe cheaper. Maybe I'm just hallucinating though.
     
  15. Veritas&Equitas macrumors 68000

    Veritas&Equitas

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2005
    Location:
    Twin Cities, MN
    #15
    You can get 100 gb 2.5'' SATA drives at Newegg for $115...I just got a 160 gb from Newegg for $170 shipped :D
     
  16. india349 thread starter macrumors member

    india349

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2006
    Location:
    Minneapolis, MN, USA
    #16
    Well, I have made my decision. I bought my MacBook this evening, it'll be here in a week...I'm so excited.

    I bought the middle MacBook, 2.0GHz, white at its stock RAM and Hard drive. I'm planning on upgrading the RAM and hard drive myself (SOMEONE will give me money for Christmas...) and I think it'll be a good investment.

    Thanks to all who helped me and I'll be sure to let you know how much I love it!

    india349
     
  17. Agurri macrumors 6502

    Agurri

    Joined:
    May 8, 2005
    Location:
    Québec, Canada
    #17
    good choice. I've been runing my macbook for 2 months now without any problem. I bought the middle version, 512 mb of ram and 80 gb of hd. I upgradded the RAM myself and it was ... darn easy. I insalled bootcamp on my macbook without any problem, but, having more HDD wouldnt hurt. I have a 20GB Windows which only have 1,64 gb left, and a 60 gb Mac OS which have ... about 5 gb left. So, if you want to install bootcamp, get at least 100 gb, if not 120. But, I think I'll just buy an external HDD and put my music on it... that's going to free ~15 GB on the mac os partition.
     
  18. FFTT macrumors 68030

    FFTT

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2004
    Location:
    A Stoned Throw From Ground Zero
    #18
    Agurri
    Your dual boot set-up is going to start giving you space problems soon, so
    I would make upgrading your HD a first priority.

    You may also want to consider getting a WD MyBook Pro 250GB external.
     
  19. Agurri macrumors 6502

    Agurri

    Joined:
    May 8, 2005
    Location:
    Québec, Canada
    #19
    Yea, I think the set-up is going to be fine until christmas, then, I'll buy a larger HDD, like 120 GB, and but the 80 GB in a case , external. :)
     

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