Buying a MacBook...

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by finalplayer, Feb 4, 2008.

  1. finalplayer macrumors newbie

    Feb 4, 2008
    I am about to buy a MacBook, which will also be my first mac ever. Therefore, my knowledge on macs is rather limited to the absolute basics (experience when visiting friends who own a mac). I still have lots of questions, so here it goes:

    1) Where should I buy it? Is the online store okay, or should I go to an actual apple reseller store (so I can come back when having questions, hardware problems, ...)?

    2) Is upgrading the RAM better be done when ordering the macbook (so it's the "official" apple RAM), or should I just buy the 1GB version and upgrade with 3rd party RAM? If the answer is the latter, which can you recommend (price, quality, durability, ...)

    3) How hard is the change from Windows to OS X? Is everything less or more self-explanatory? What about Windows-native programs? I'm an architecture student relying heavily on AutoCAD, which can only be run using Parallels or similar. How would it be working? (stability, speed, ...)

    4) What storage type does it use? (FAT32, NTFS, ...). Will I still be able to use my external hard drives?

    5) Internet issues. Is a standard modem normally mac-compatible, or should I buy a new one to be sure?

    More questions will arise later I think, but answering these would be a great help. You don't have to answer them all, just say what you know.

    Thanks in advance!
  2. Hankster macrumors 68020


    Jan 30, 2008
    Washington DC
    I can answer a few:

    1. Don't buy it in a store because you'll pay an extra $150 and tax. Get it online at, MacMall, or MacConnection because they have $75 to $150 off and there is no tax. Plus, you get the SAME machine.

    2. Upgrade the RAM or HD later on because it is MUCH CHEAPER. You'll save a good 30% to 40% by doing this.

    3. I'm a long time PC user and I can attest the OS take a few days to get used to. But, after understanding the OS I love it. You have to forget how Windows works before you can quickly learn Apple's OS.

    4. The Internet is not OS specific silly!
  3. heatmiser macrumors 68020

    Dec 6, 2007
    On point 4:

    OS X uses HFS+. Both Windows and OS X can read and write to FAT32, but you can't save files larger than 4gb to it on either. OS X can natively read but not write to NFTS, while Windows cannot natively read HFS+. So basically, to freely read and write to an external from both operating systems, format your external as FAT32.
  4. finalplayer thread starter macrumors newbie

    Feb 4, 2008
    First, thank you for your quick answering. Altough, some things are still not clear:

    @1: Is it possible to send the macbook back to - let's say - Amamzon when having hardware problems?

    @4: No of course it's not OS specific :D But what I mean is, when I was trying to get that old Win98 computer connected to the internet, it said it couldn't because the modem/router isn't compatible with the old Win98 OS. So what I was asking was if macs generally ARE compatible?

    Thanks in advance :)
  5. macdave121 macrumors newbie

    Jan 12, 2008
    1.if you having a problem with you mac it comes with 90 days telephone support applecare. it has 1 year hardware warranty but you must bring it to a authorised reseller/ apple store and they will verify if the problem is covered by warranty. I also believe that within the first 2 if you have a bad problem apple will take back you mac no questions asked.
    *within 1 year of purchase date you have the option to purchase applecare which will extend support/warranty to 3 years from purchase date.

    2.your mac will automatically connect to the web via its ethernet DSL connection.
  6. coachingguy macrumors 6502a


    Feb 7, 2003
    The Great White, Albeit Frozen North

    Enjoy your new Mac!

  7. finalplayer thread starter macrumors newbie

    Feb 4, 2008
    I would like to thank everyone who helped me out in this thread. Thank you!
  8. mosx macrumors 65816

    Mar 3, 2007
    If you're talking about a DIAL-UP modem, then you will need Apple's USB modem. If you're talking about DSL or cable, then just turn the modem off, plug the ethernet cable into the Mac, and turn the modem back on.

    But you really should be very aware of the build quality issues with the MacBook and the fact that Apple's mail-in repair depots are absolute junk.

    My first MacBook had a SuperDrive that went bad and the system discolored, despite being a Rev. B.

    Flextronics (the company Apple hired to do the repair) destroyed the system and sent it back twice in worst shape than I sent it out in. It actually came back in worse shape the second time than it did the first time!

    Now my second MacBook (the one Apple replaced that system with) had a deforming battery and the case was literally coming apart. I just received the system back today. Its scratched up just as bad as the first MacBook was when it came back from "repairs" (which makes it look about 10 years old and terribly cared for), and the plastic housing the whole system is "weak" now and pushes in with slight pressure.
  9. Jason S. macrumors 6502a

    Jul 23, 2007
    Don't worry about the issues this guy is trying to scare you with. There are more good stories than bad, its just people feel more obligated to complain than compliment.

    Enjoy your MacBook. They are WONDERFUL machines, and I'm sure you will love it.
  10. heatmiser macrumors 68020

    Dec 6, 2007
    Don't expect your Macbook to have a higher build quality than an equivalently-priced PC, because it almost certainly won't. Buy it because you like OS X; otherwise, you're just paying a tax for an aesthetically-pleasing PC.
  11. coachingguy macrumors 6502a


    Feb 7, 2003
    The Great White, Albeit Frozen North
    2nd That! :D

  12. abijnk macrumors 68040


    Oct 15, 2007
    Los Angeles, CA
    my $.02

    First, if you buy online you can still take it to an Apple retail store to get help at the Genius Bar. Second, you might also want to entertain a third party retailer (macmall or amazon are good) since they sometimes have price discounts and you won't have to pay sales tax.

    DO NOT BUY APPLE RAM!!! It is ridiculously priced. Buy third party ram (Transcend, Corsair, and Kingston are some good brands, among others) and put it in yourself. It is super super easy to do, you can find the instructions in the documentation that comes with your macbook and a video of the process here.

    The change from Windows to Mac presents some minor challenges, but nothing you can't easily overcome. Apple just recently put up a page for switchers (Linky) and there are many many other books, websites, guides, etc etc.

    As for AutoCAD, to get it to run at the same speed and with the same stability as a PC you can use bootcamp to partition your drive and install windows natively on your macbook. Then, when you boot into windows, it will run no differently than on any other PC running windows. Sorry, I can't speak to parallels.

    is dead on here.

    Like Hankster said, the internet isn't OS specific, so you shouldn't have a problem with any modem.

    Good luck with your new MacBook!!
  13. xraydoc macrumors 604


    Oct 9, 2005
    I have two MacBooks in the house - one is my kids' and the other is mine. Both have high build quality. Solid and sturdy. No case flexing. Doesn't feel like its bending even if you pick it up by one corner.

    My kids' is a white 2.0GHz Core Duo, rev. 1, with no significant case discoloration after nearly 20 months of daily use. The old white one still has a screen that's 95% as bright as my brand new (2.2GHz Core 2 Duo SR) unit.

    Meanwhile, the MacBook Pro my wife is using has had the right rear fan go dead and repaired, and now the left rear fan is making a funny grinding noise.

    There are always a few horror stories, but for the most part, I think the quality of the MacBook line is extraordinarily high, especially compared to the likes of Dell, HP, Acer and others.

    I highly recommend them. If I had had a bad experience with the first one, I wouldn't have bought a second.

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