Buy a new MacBook now or wait for Nehalem? A student wonders...

Discussion in 'MacBook' started by sfgiants320, Nov 5, 2008.

  1. sfgiants320 macrumors member

    Jul 14, 2008
    Hi guys,

    So here's the deal. I'm a 16 year-old kid (junior in high school). Right now I have a Windows PC with Vista (AMD 64 3400+ Processor, 200 GB HDD, 2 GB memory) that's a little over three years old; it's still holding up well, and still suits my needs well...I haven't really run into any situations where I really needed a faster processor at all, since this computer's not too shabby at all. In addition, Vista isn't bad at all--I have no qualms with it, so PLEASE don't turn this into a Mac vs. PC debate. However, we only have one PC (this one) in the house, and I was looking to buy my own computer--since it's getting a little difficult to manage 3 people on one computer. To that end, I got $1600 :D for my birthday, with which I could buy a new computer. I've been looking to buy a MacBook since then; obviously, I was psyched when the new ones were released last month.

    A few notes about what I need:
    -It's gotta be a notebook--not a desktop. I really want the portability and the convenience of a notebook.
    -I want a Mac :-D
    -My needs are primarily web surfing, Word documents, iTunes, etc. (typical student stuff), as well as some video and music editing--although I'm by no means a professional and don't plan to be.
    -I DO NOT need a notebook right now...although I'd certainly enjoy one now. The NEEDING will come next year (senior year); buying now would bring me the convenience of a laptop, but it's not really "mission critical" for a little whle.
    -I plan to keep this laptop for as long as it lasts--hopefully 4-6 years, until I graduate from college.
    -Like everyone here, I'm looking for the best bang for my buck :)

    So here's my question. Should I buy a new 2.4 GHz MacBook now...or wait till Nehalem comes out next year? I am aware that Nehalem benchmarks show huge improvments over today's generation, but keep in mind my relatively modest needs--no, I don't play Crysis or edit multiple 1080p movies at a time. Should I wait for the (obviously huge) jump to Nehalem, or just bite the bullet now? (Again, I want this to suit my needs as long as I'm in college--the next 4-6 years).

    Thanks for all the help, guys.
  2. Minimoose 360 macrumors 65816

    Minimoose 360

    Jul 7, 2008
    Well, if your PC is meeting your needs right now...even though a little cramped, and you technically don't need it now...

    I would wait for Nehalem.
  3. bozz2006 macrumors 68030


    Aug 24, 2007
    nobody knows when nehelem will come out for desktop, let alone laptop. it may not be out by your senior year. that being said, if you want the computer to last until after you graduate college, i'd wait as long as you can. 6 years is a long time for a laptop to last, imo.
  4. Knolly macrumors 6502a

    Jul 22, 2007

    Nehalem came out for desktops a few days ago.
  5. Jollins macrumors regular


    Jun 9, 2006
    I'm pretty sure core i7 for notebooks is planned for spring '09. And we know Apple isn't the quickest to put the latest technology into the macbooks, so who knows really...

    If you would be keeping this computer all the way through college, I would wait to be honest because core i7 will most likely be in the macbooks before you graduate. It would be better in the long run. If you really want a computer now though, you would still be fine to use a core 2 duo for the basic tasks you outlined.
  6. mbleopard macrumors regular

    Sep 8, 2008
    How long does it typically take for them to come out with a laptop version after the desktop cpus are released?
  7. DarthTreydor macrumors 6502

    May 25, 2007
    Richmond, VA
    since you don't NEED it now, just wait. 6 years is pushing it for a computer, even for basic tasks. you'd be much better suited waiting till your ready to go to college.
  8. sactownbwoy macrumors 6502

    Aug 28, 2008
    As a person who builds a new pc every year and just bought a macbook, (gotta love the military exchange) I say buy now, save and then buy the new one later.

    core 2 duo @ 2.4 for your needs will last a long time. My wife's pc that I built her is a single core p4 and she does basically what you just described and she has had it for two years.

    It is fine for her needs, slow for me but my pc is a quad core overclocked with 4 gigs of ram. Go with the macbook now, save then buy the new one with nehalem later. I can't stand sharing a computer with others, don't know how you do it.
  9. aaquib macrumors 65816


    Sep 11, 2007
    Toronto, Canada
    Not everyone can afford spending money on a new notebook every year, especially those of us in high school.
  10. burningbright macrumors regular

    Jul 5, 2008
    Nehalem won't be a big improvement for you

    Don't wait for Nehalem. Nehalem only offers big advances in things like advanced video editing and 3D rendering. On things like encoding MP3s in iTunes it is no quicker than Penryn. Here's Anandtech's review:

    "The iTunes results do paint a downside to Nehalem, there are going to be some situations where Intel's new architecture doesn't offer a performance advantage over its predecessor. If you're not doing a lot of 3D rendering or video encoding work and you already have a Core 2 Quad, the upgrade to Nehalem won't be worth it."

    Ok, I know it refers to a quadcore, but it's talking about desktops. For scaled-down laptop versions of Nehalem it probably wouldn't be much better than dualcore. I'd advise you to read the whole article, look at the benchmarks and decide how much it would really help you tinker about with Word and iLife.

    The new Macbooks are sturdy enough to last half a dozen years and are so powerful that we're probably well into the realm of diminishing returns as to what benefits the ordinary person will get from further processor advances, apart from in gaming. There's only *so* much power you need to process peoples' images, sounds, data and text. If anything, the useful thing to wait for would be Wimax compatibility, which allows wireless net access within a 10 mile radius of the transmitter. Laptops with this are just starting to ship, although coverage is still in the process of being rolled out across the US. However at uni there'll be campus-wide wifi, and besides, the dock for current wifi cards and wimax/wifi cards are the same, so you could probably just replace the card and download updated drivers for that.

    Basically, if you're willing and able to buy a new Macbook, if sharing a computer is sometimes causing friction with your family members, and if not buying now will mean you waste countless hours over the next year scouring the rumour sites for news of a new release, then don't hesitate! You'll love it!
  11. Diversion macrumors 6502a


    Oct 5, 2007
    Jacksonville, Florida
    Refreshing to see a 16 year old using better grammar and proper punctuation than half of the MacRumors user base.

    And to comment, I wouldn't blow all your saved up money on a laptop. If you have to spend money, buy a $500 brand new notebook from Bestbuy and use some extra money to upgrade the components inside and it will be much better than a Macbook for triple the price ;)
  12. silverblack macrumors 68030


    Nov 27, 2007
    To OP, I think you'll really enjoy having your own laptop. But there's no need to spend all your saving on a new machine. Consider refurbished or used macbooks. You should be able to find a ~ 1 yr old macbooks for less than $800. This would be a much better value and you can probably sell it one year from now for $500 when you want to upgrade. Also, you don't want to be switching and adapting to a new OS when you are busy with school work in college.
  13. sactownbwoy macrumors 6502

    Aug 28, 2008
    I didn't mean for you to buy it next year I meant buy now and keep it for a few years while saving then buy a new one during your college years.
  14. me2000 macrumors 6502

    Sep 17, 2008
    It's not a good idea to wait for technology.. there's always something around the corner.. and you just never know when the next "best thing" will come, so you get trapped into a vicious cycle of waiting.
  15. Roller macrumors 68020

    Jun 25, 2003
    If you're making do with one laptop in the house, I'd wait until you really need another computer for yourself. If that turns out to be senior year, then that will give you ten extra months to see what Apple does. You may even decide to stretch things out until college, when you'll presumably be away and need a computer even more.

    As long as your needs are modest, you can use a Mac productively for five years or more. My PowerBook was that old and was still adequate for many jobs until it stopped charging reliably. And my 7 1/2 year old G4 PowerMac is still used productively by my family every day.
  16. jav6454 macrumors P6


    Nov 14, 2007
    1 Geostationary Tower Plaza
    Ok, so I redacted your quote to those points because from those I am basing my endorsement.

    First off, like a previous poster said here, Nehalem won't provide improvement in music encoding but will to a certain extent in multiple Video editing and encoding. However, since you are not a pro, then that means you are not gonna encode 4 or more videos at the same time so Nehalem will be pointless to wait for in that sense. Current Penryns are more than enough for your current needs.

    Next off, you mention needing your new MacBook by Senior year of high school. Let me throw some advice & light here also. Intel plans to release the final Penryn processors before the jump to core i7 (Nehalem). The next Penryn CPUs offer bigger L2 caches and higher clock speeds. That will be a greater boost than the initial core i7 offerings (Intel likes to make a good buck also, since as I understood from that article a previous poster linked, core i7 starting processors don't offer lucrative L2 caches). Since you made it clear you are a Junior, your Senior year will start off basically in Mid/Late'09. Apple by that time would have already (or it is expected) have released revised notebooks. Now, remembering this, take into consideration Apple is not a fast adopter of new technology so. Also take into account that Nehalems will be offered in the Late '09 and possibly early '10 (mobile Nehalem processors that is). Now, Apple being a slow adopter I would say that Mid'10 will be the latest with Feb or March'10 being the earliest of Nehalem's MacBook introductions. By that time you will be almost or already graduating from high school. So you will most like be better off getting one of the MacBooks from this next revision. Unless you are willing to wait till college.

    Price wise, you will be defiantly getting what you pay for. A good protip here would be to save as much as possible in order to get all the good upgrade Apple offers (like bigger HDD, more RAM), AppleCare and other goodies (like games or accessories) you may want.

    You seem to know what you want, all you need to do is wait.

    Personal Endorsement: Wait till the next Penryn revision of MacBooks and buy; Nehalem based Macs, to far off the desired timeline of purchase.

    PS - I know that when you get your Mac, you will love it.

Share This Page