Another n00b, de-cloaking to beg for MBP buying help

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by CleverUsername, Jun 11, 2008.

  1. CleverUsername macrumors member

    Jun 11, 2008
    I've been lurking here on and off for a couple months, and as much as I know you guys love all these 'n00b seeking MBP buying help' threads, I may as well add mine to the pile ;) I'm finally taking the leap since my back has gotten too bad to sit up at my desk, so I'm going with the 15.4"... hopefully it should be good as far as having lots of power, yet not being too big and awkward. Beyond that however, I am wanting to make sure to get the most for my investment, and have it last me at least 3 to 5 years, which of course is leading to me going crazy trying to predict what I will or won't really need :eek:

    Here's what I'm thinking: 2.5 GHz MBP, 200GB 7200rpm HDD, 4 GB RAM from OWC, Glossy screen

    I was planning on getting the 2.4 GHz instead, but after reading this thread, I'm thinking I should just go for it instead of risking getting in the middle of some unforeseen project 2 or 3 years from now and wishing I had. But extra $500 would cover the tax and RAM, and most of the AppleCare :eek: Any more thoughts? What exactly does that .1 GHz, 256 MB on the NVIDIA, and increased cache actually translate to as far as real world use? I mean, specifically what type of stuff would I need to be doing to be 'worth it'?

    As for the 7200 rpm vs. more space question, I was originally going to go for the extra space until I read somewhere that the higher rpm helps speed up opening/writing/rendering/etc., which seems like it would be very handy. Then when I was in the store a few weeks ago, the sales guy told me that the extra speed isn't really noticeable on this fast of processors (I'm a little hesitant about listening to that advice, since he really seemed to just be wanting me to buy right then...I had driven 2 hours to get to the only Apple store in the state, only to find that they didn't have the 7200 rpm models in-stock, despite telling me they did when I called ahead and asked :(...if the higher rpm doesn't do anything, why would they offer it at all?) The report seems to say that it does make a difference, but then I've also seen people on different threads here commenting that it doesn't, and it produces extra heat/eats the battery life. But the consensus on this thread seems to be the 7200 is faster, and not too much hotter or louder.....I just keep going in circles trying to decide :confused:

    My current desktop is only a 400MHz G4 which has lasted me a loooong time (although, since I upgraded to OS 10.4 a while back, I'm waiting for stuff to load so much I'm having Commodore 64 flashbacks :rolleyes:), so I'm sure anything is going to seem insanely fast at this point. I think maybe I've been doing too much research, to the point where I keep second guessing my decisions...does that make any sense at all?

    Anyway, a few more questions about misc. factors while I'm at it, then I'm going to order:

    1) Add ons: Usually I wait a few weeks after a new purchase of any kind before getting any 'extras' or accessories, but I'm thinking this may be the time to make an exception. Obviously I will go ahead with a printer to get the rebate, but what about things like a Mighty Mouse, apple remote, eyeTV, VMware Fusion, or cooling pad? Is there any reason I should even wait to order my extra RAM?

    1a) Bluetooth enabled printer: I'm leaning towards paying the $30 over rebate to get the HP Photosmart C4385 AIO w/ built in wireless connectivity. Does anyone have experience with these? Will I be able to print from my MBP wirelessly as well as hook up to my current desktop via USB with no problems?

    1b) Third party RAM: Is OWC the best, or do you recommend someone else? Can I turn in the RAM I take out for the money back offer, or should I keep it until my applecare runs out just in case? Low latency worth the extra $? Also, some guides say to use an anti-static wrist wrap when installing, others don't mention it at all?

    2) Upgrading my desktop: I'm debating whether or not to go ahead and get some more RAM for my G4 (also possibly looking into ordering a battery backup surge protector and other extras while I'm at it), but am wondering if things like that might be pointless. Has anyone else ended up using their older desktops very much --- or at all --- after getting a MBP?

    3) The mandatory glossy vs. matte question: The guy in the store said color accuracy was the same on both (my main concern for working), but glossy is "crisper" and better for watching tv/movies (he said he actually prefers glossy, since the matte ones seem "filmy" or "grainy" to him at times). The glossy one I looked at in-store didn't seem to reflect lights back at me too bad, which was one worry I had. Anything else I should know? I realize it's mostly a personal preference thing, but are there specific reasons you prefer one or the other?

    4) $$$: Any other suggestions for saving? (I've already looked at the refurbs, and didn't see anything in the 15" ones that would save me a whole lot of money without giving up either speed or HDD size, or both.) I read somewhere that sometimes Apple can offer a slight discount if you call and ask nicely, and maybe mention that you are thinking of going with a retailer instead of does that work, or is this just a myth? Would they give me a code to enter when making my purchase online, or do I need to have my order ready to place right then on the phone? How about any recommendations for cheap Apple Care? Last night what I found on Amazon is only $15 cheaper than just getting it straight from apple, and I'm kind of hesitant about ordering such a thing from eBay....Can anyone who has successfully bought theirs from eBay point me to a reputable seller?

    Sorry to be so long-winded. I just feel like I'm so close to placing my order, but keep spinning my brain trying to figure out these last few choices! So I am throwing myself at your feet; Guide me, oh Great Ones? :)
  2. alphaod macrumors Core


    Feb 9, 2008
    Well that configuration must be ordered online; as with RAM, I would suggest maybe deals on NewEgg; they had OCZ 4GB for $47 recently (bought some for my tablet)

    Unless your line work requires you to have the fast computer; that few seconds in video encoding makes a difference, you're running a multimonitor setup, this extra does not matter.

    Of course you'll notice the difference between a 7200RPM drive and a 5400RPM drive; it's like saying you won't notice "foot to the pedal, petal to the metal" difference of driving a 600HP sports car and a 300HP road car. Sure they are both comparable in normal use, but when it comes to ultimate speed, the difference is apparent.

    And no you can't get a custom configurations at the store; they only stock these three 15" configuration (2.4/2GB/200GB 5.4k/256VRAM, 2.5/2GB/250GB 5.4k/512VRAM, and 2.6/2GB/200GB 7.2k/512VRAM)

    Think of it this way; by spending less now, you can get a newer machine sooner; this will last you 3/4 years before you'll notice significant lag behind latest models.

    You don't really need extra RAM, but if you want it, get it; as with other stuff, I'd say the Logitech V470 (Bluetooth) is better than the Might Mouse; Apple Remote is nice to have, but do you need it?; and VMware Fusion is good to have if you're going to run Windows, even if you plan to set up a Bootcamp partition.

    Bluetooth printer is so slow; anything color you'll be waiting ages because printers get RAW files to print usually; as with wireless I would think it's to connect to a network which should mean you should connect it as a network printer.

    OWC is a reputable seller--bought my HDD from them, very courteous and helpful; I like NewEgg myself. You will want to keep your standard RAM just in case you ever have problems and you will need to make sure it's the RAM; plus you don't get much for a trade in. Don't get the low latency; the EFI sets the latency is standard so it won't make much of a difference, not to mention not all low latency RAM will work. Anti-static straps are overrated; just touch some grounded metal first, don't wear woolen clothing, and definitely don't shuffle your feet on the carpet/rug.

    I use my desktop a lot; I guess it's also running Windows (Vista) and I need it sometimes; contrary to popular belief, my desktop is super stable, and it boots up faster and shuts down faster than most Macs. Yes upgrade RAM may help; surge protectors are a must at home; trust me; it's better to spend $50 on a good protector than have to buy a new TV, power supply, speakers, etc.

    They are sales people; their job is to sell; yes glossy is nice, but in practically matte is more suitable for work; I love matte and I don't ever buy a glossy (well I was accidentally given a glossy the first time -- hated seeing the reflections and glare); if you set the brightness high, you won't notice the glare as much on glossy; it's really a personal preference, however there is a good reason people who demands accurate color demands matte panels.

    So you want a save few bucks, but I'll just point out that yes you can get good deals, but there are headaches and hassles sometimes that don't make those savings so attractive; also you can't get a free printer from Amazon.

    AppleCare: get it on ebay or find a student to buy it for you (I could do it too... ;))

    Anything for friends. :)
  3. CleverUsername thread starter macrumors member

    Jun 11, 2008
    I hadn't heard of OCZ yet, but that's a great price! I'm assuming it's comparable quality to OWC?

    Which is kind of the problem I'm having deciding...I don't necessarily do enough to use it's full potential right now, but there's lots of things I'm interested in trying that I haven't (at least partially due to the age/speed of my desktop). Is it mainly just things like video encoding where it is a factor? If that's the case, maybe I can do without. AFAIK, any encoding I do would just be for hobby, in which case I can wait a little extra time for it to finish :)

    There were two different employees who said the same thing at that store. The guy I was talking to who said "it isn't that noticeable on this fast of processors" and another employee who saw my dad wandering around while I was finishing up some of my questions and asked if there was anything he could help with. When my dad mentioned what I was wanting and that they didn't have it, the guy said "But no one needs that much." It was actually that, combined with the fact that I was told false information over the phone that made me decide to just order online ;)

    Yeah, I had read that, which is why I called ahead to ask about specific models before making the drive. When I asked about the 7200 version, the person I talked to on the phone assured me "they have all current configurations of MacBook Pros in stock" :rolleyes:

    I was just reading the mouse thread from a couple days ago, and noticed that several Logitech models are mentioned (and I currently am using an older wired Logitech mouse on my desktop :)). After looking through that, I think I might hold off, see how I like trackpad, and shop around some before deciding on a mouse. Kind of the same on the remote...seems like it would be nice to have, but how will I really know until I start using my MBP. As for the VMware, I'm still not sure. I've obviously been fine without windows for 15 or more years, so I'll probably hold off and see if I even end up needing it. Might have just been seeing the rebate that tempted me, lol :D

    That's too bad. Would completely defeat the purpose if it takes that long :( I guess it's back to the list of available printers.

    OWC was the first one I checked, since I had gotten some RAM from them a couple years ago when I switched to 10.4, but that deal you mentioned on NewEgg sounds good too, and thanks for saving me from splurging on the low latency :D The wrist strap thing sounded weird to me, but I thought I'd check anyway. That whole better safe than sorry thing.

    My sister thinks that the MBP will be so far above and beyond my current G4 that I won't ever want to touch it again :rolleyes: I might split the difference and wait a couple weeks to place my RAM order. By that point, I should see some sort of trend developing as far as usage. I actually have everything plugged into some surge protectors, I just never invested in a really nice one with a battery back up in it to give me time to shut down during a blackout. I try to shut down/unplug everything when a storm starts, but living in Iowa you can't always predict such things ;) But if I don't even use the desktop much anymore, it will be kind of a moot point.

    So the glossy is more just for TV/movie watching, but the matte is going to give me the best results as far as actual work? Glad I asked! I really didn't notice that much difference in-store.

    I was actually thinking about MacMall for the MBP itself....I still remember picking out my G4 from their catalog back in...99?...2000? sometime around there. Never had any troubles with them at all, and those $150 rebates are looking pretty nice right now. They even have a printer rebate of some sort, not as much as Apple's, but still might be worth calling around and seeing who can match each other's pricing :D

    I don't know any current students...(dare I ask how much you can get it for???) Really, if everyone here says eBay is fine I will probably go for it. I saw a couple listed around $230 or so, I think.

    Even friends who lurk in the corners and don't say anything until they need help ;)

    But seriously, thank you sooo very very much! Conversations like these seem to be the only way I can make decisions :):):)
  4. Eddyisgreat macrumors 601

    Oct 24, 2007
  5. winninganthem macrumors 6502a


    Jun 10, 2008
    Thanks for asking those questions, I'm planning to buy a MBP myself and it really helped me too :)
  6. Dmac77 macrumors 68020


    Jan 2, 2008
    The glossy vs. n=matte debate is IMHO moot. The matte screens on the new macs are nothing like the old macs. It's hard for me to tell the difference, in the store and when working with my friend's MBP compared to my new iMac. Have fun with your new MBP! oh and as to the Apple Store employees, I have had problems w/ them to. I have been told by Apple Store employees that I know more about the computers then they do, and I'm only 13, it's really quite pathetic.

  7. eastercat macrumors 68040


    Mar 3, 2008
    Maybe it's because this is my first Mac, but my dealings with the employees have been pleasant. One employee showed me a glossy and matte screen, so I could determine which I would prefer. Although the matte screen wasn't the high resolution version, the side by side was enough to show me glossy's rendering of color was . . . off--enough to be an annoyance.
    Then again, I usually read the forums for advice on higher level matters. :)

  8. CleverUsername thread starter macrumors member

    Jun 11, 2008
    Hey, at this point I will use anybody if I can save some money ;) Really though, that seems about the same as was I was seeing over on eBay, so I guess I'll try it...wonder if I should add that to my list to ask Apple about when I call? Although they might not take too kindly to someone saying "Um, yeah, I know you prefer I buy your high priced AppleCare, but what do you think of eBay?"

    Yay :D It's all rather daunting, isn't it? In my case, I seem to be having even more trouble just because I'm going into this whole process knowing how incredibly long Apple computers can last. My current one as I mentioned above is about 9 years old (the first few of those it was for our whole family, not just me), and I believe the one before that lasted us around 5 years or so! So I've been trying to anticipate everything I could possibly be wanting to do over the next several years, which has been.....well, the only analogy I can come up with right now is that it's something like having a Dalek running around my brain screaming "PREDICT! PREDICT!"

    .....but that could say more about my TV viewing habits than my computer buying ability ;)

    Yeah, I had read some comments about how bad glossy is, so was assuming that when I looked at them side by side my decision would be easy....Alas, no. I just didn't see any huge difference. The both just looked pretty and shiny and new to me! This is coming from a person who is still using a big old beige box monitor from her first Mac in the early 90's though, so maybe I just haven't used modern screens enough to see the difference.

    The employees were overall very nice and helpful, it just was obvious that maybe they weren't all well versed in the particular things I was asking about, and the 7200/5400 debate is a prime example. My main helper had to go back to ask other people several of my questions. I imagine they dread seeing people like me come in, who have been online way too much and have a huge list of questions ;)
  9. alphaod macrumors Core


    Feb 9, 2008
    They've been making gaming and performance RAM for years; I've never used another company for my desktops; sure people like Crucial, Corsair, etc, but I chose OCZ once and I stick with them; good service too.
    My opinion, get the 2.4GHz if you can't decide. If you do plan to do video encoding, 2.5GHz would be worth it, but it would mean extra money spent on 256MB of useless VRAM, and that bigger HDD (which you can upgrade yourself...) Just don't get the 2.6GHz--totally useless.
    I have this feeling they try too hard to be helpful; a lot times they don't know half the stuff they are talking about; I remember a friend buying a Macbook saying he wanted the black one and then the sales person comes back to say what color... was she listening? I ask for a matte and they ask me if I want glossy or matte; I'm like "Do you even offer the glossy"... they didn't.

    What I learned if anyone who knows anything for power users will be a Genius instead of a salesperson--not to downplay salespeople though: friend is a salesperson--and knows a lot about Macs, software and hardware.
    They told me that too, but I made them check out the store and then the guys tells me he's wrong--they only offer specific configurations.
    Personally I have a MX Revolution at home and a VX Revolution on the go; I have the V470, but I don't like it much because I play games sometimes and that millisecond latency in bluetooth doesn't work for me. Remote I waited about 3 months before I bought it; yes it wasn't needed, but sometimes I listen to music or watch a movie on the bed and it's a lot easier to control the computer than having to lean forward to use the keyboard... when you get comfy, you don't want to move much.

    And if you ever go get virtualization software get the VMware; Apple store may suggest Parallels, but don't listen to them; sure Parallels is well known, but VMware is used at the enterprise level--robust and stable.
    I have a battery one, but I don't use it; I was exaggerating when I said $50, but I mean it's worth buying a slightly expensive one, not to say spend $100 on the Monster ones when you can get a Belkin on for $20 that does the same thing.

    It's not definitive, but you can simplify it to that.

    Students is $240 ($110 off) plus tax...

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