Am I a macbook person?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by juazlee, Jun 5, 2011.

  1. juazlee macrumors newbie

    Jun 5, 2011
    Hey there.

    I've been reading your forums for quite a while, and decided this would be the best resource to come for a somewhat simple question, that I cannot answer alone. Am I a macbook person?

    I've been a programmer for the last 11 years, since before finishing my studies. Mostly I am a desktop user, and also a heavy gamer, but lately I've felt the growing need to purchase a notebook, since the amount of meetings is increasing, and sometimes you just need a portable device to carry around.

    There have been several occasions where I needed it for documents and other things, and my phone just doesn't cut it. The vieweing space is too little. I also tried an iPad, and I thought it was an absolutely AMAZING device, but unfortunately it doesn't allow me to manipulate files and other things the way I want.

    That being said, my wife has been using a 13" MBA for work that she carries back home on weekends, in case something comes up at work (she's also a programmer).

    My main issue with notebooks is that they run HOT as hell, and I'm not a fan of having my bodyparts slowly cooked. But the MBA seems a little different, and doesn't run hot at all from what I can tell. Also, being a coder I feel kind of ashamed about not having any contact with OS X, it just feels wrong at this point.

    However, at the $1200 price range I could get an ASUS notebook for heavy duty work and gaming that would satisfy all my needs, except for the portable part of it, and the battery duration.

    I've looked at the Macbook Pro, and I'm not as impressed as I am with the more basic Macbook, or the Air. The absence of a half-decent video card got me worried, the HD3000 is most definitely a bummer for me.

    Do you think I should give one of those machines a spin, or keep looking? Should I look at the Samsung 9 Series instead (though faced with the same video card issue)? Are there other contenders?

    I'd appreciate any feedback.
  2. alust2013 macrumors 601


    Feb 6, 2010
    On the fence
    Sounds like the air fits the bill pretty well. I'd probably just stick to the desktop for gaming, regardless of what you get. If you're used to a performance desktop, any notebook will be a disappointment. From my experience, MacBooks in general run fairly cool, although the new quads get a bit warmer.

    If you like the 13" size, either a new air or a refurb previous gen 13" Pro is probably the machine for you.
  3. PatrickCocoa macrumors 6502a

    Dec 2, 2008
    Since you asked . . .

    Disclaimer: I don't know anything about ASUS or Samsung, whatever those are.

    Your requirements for a notebook:
    1. portable
    2. able to run your work stuff?
    3. look at documents and things
    4. run cool
    5. run games
    6. file manipulation

    I think #4 and #5 will be in conflict, whatever company you go with.

    If you need to run your work stuff and your work stuff is Windows (e.g. Visual Studio) then you don't want a MacBook.

    If your documents and things are Microsoft and you don't want to worry about compatibility with coworkers, don't get a MacBook.

    Since you're used to a desktop, I'd go with a 15" MacBook Pro. I know you said you weren't impressed by the Pros, but your big issue here is that you're used to a desktop. The move from desktop to 15" MacBook Pro is smaller than moving to any other notebook, except the 17". You could consider a 17" MacBook Pro but those are pretty big.
  4. toxic macrumors 68000

    Nov 9, 2008
    I do all my heavy lifting on a desktop. when I look at laptops, I don't expect them to do much of any processor-intensive tasks, particularly because, like the OP, I get annoyed at excessive heat. in fact, I don't bother looking at powerful laptops because I know they'll run hotter than I like.

    if you want something that runs cool, you won't want it to have a powerful GPU, and you won't want a quad-core. that means last year's Macbook Pro, a Macbook, or a Macbook Air.

    if all your software is Windows-only or doesn't have a usable Mac equivalent, forget about Macs and just buy a Windows computer. I'd look at the Thinkpad X-series.
  5. juazlee thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 5, 2011
    Indeed, I left out an important point that most of my work is Java-based, so that probably wouldn't be a big issue. I use Eclipse for most of my stuff, and the rest of the tools are mostly unix based, so I guess that would be alright!

    Running games isn't mandatory in any way, it would just be a plus (indeed, being used to desktops I'm not expecting any sort of super performance from notebooks). I imagine myself running the occasional mid-settings Starcraft II on a hotel room at late hours if you know what I mean =)

    I think both of your comments led me to a better understanding of my situation, what I want is something like an iPad, but with the unhindered ability to code on it.

    I understand that bootcamp would probably solve my Windows issues as well, wouldn't it?

    About the Macbook Pro, I think I didn't express my feelings correctly. It is a quite nice machine, but given the fact that the MBA should (could? will?) be refreshed with a sandy bridge processor, it pretty much overtakes the Pro doesn't it? (at the 13" level). Also, the 5400rpm HD is kind of a let-down.

    Looking a little bit more at the apple store, I noticed that my DUMB self never even looked at the 15" and 17" MBP models, which sport freakishly good video cards. Of course the 13" version would have a lesser card to keep temperatures and battery duration acceptable. Tunnel vision has made me stupid!

    Is there anywhere I could look specifically for temperatures on macs? Or, could you share your experience with them? Looking at this made me somewhat interested in the 15" MBP model.

    Thanks a bunch, you guys have helped a great deal so far!
  6. toxic macrumors 68000

    Nov 9, 2008
    yes, but Apple's Windows drivers stink, and using a Mac keyboard for Windows isn't very natural.

    the previous-gen MBP maybe. either way, it'll have ULV processors, so I wouldn't expect much.

    you can search these forums for temps. I can tell you from experience that if you don't like heat, you won't like any 15" MBP. the dual cores were hot enough already, and now they all have quads.
  7. torbjoern macrumors 65816


    Jun 9, 2009
    The Black Lodge
    There is no such thing as a "MacBook person". But if you want a good notebook (build quality, battery life, etc), I'm sure there's a MacBook out there for you - be it MB white, Pro or Air. I would never recommend any notebook for gaming, as I see it as a waste of money in the first place - be it Apple, Asus or any other brand.

    I do a lot of programming - and for that purpose, MBA 13" is enough by far.
  8. palpatine macrumors 68040

    May 3, 2011
    I have an MBP 13". I love it. The display is beautiful, the graphics are fine, and the machine rarely even gets warm. It has been the perfect combination of power and portability for me.

    I have an Asus Netbook. It runs great. It can't do some of the heavy work with PDFs as well, but for meetings and light work, any netbook ought to be fine. Battery life is fabulous and it has traveled around the world with me a few times now without having any issues.

    I prefer to use OSX (it has some features that make it ideal for my work). But, if I were in the market for a computer, and operating systems didn't matter, I'd definitely be looking at the Asus UX21.

    The MBA and Macbooks are nice computers, but they are due for updates. If you want to get more computing power for your money, and you don't mind waiting an indeterminate amount of time (a few hours or a few months), then you might want to see what is in store for these lines in the future.
  9. juazlee thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 5, 2011
    Thanks a bunch everyone!

    I'll be going to San Francisco for the next 3 weeks, hoping some of the models will receive an update. I've got to get away from this gamer mindset if I am ever to purchase a notebook. Well, a not-egg-frying notebook. And I think the refreshed model of the Air, or the 13" MBP would be a great purchase after all.

    I'll also be on the lookout for that new Acer TimelineX, but I bet it'll be running hot as hell.

    Cheers, and thanks again for helping me out with this!

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