Buying a New Macbook - or Pro?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by ionlygreat, Jun 18, 2008.

  1. ionlygreat macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2008
    #1
    Hi guys,

    I'm new to this great forum, and this is my first post! I've already gone through tons of posts, and I see that this is by far the best Mac forum I've come across.
    I'm a college sophomore (doing engineering), and I'm planning to switch to a Mac. I've checked out the new Macbook pro - I think it looks fantastic, and the new multi-touch keypad with all the cool mouse gestures is really fantastic. However, this is only available on the new pro, which retails only above 1999 (or 1699 refurbished).
    The Macbook comes with more or less the same config as the Pro - except that it doesn't have the cool gestures, and is only availabe in 13'' (these are the only differences that I care about). But it's much much cheaper - with an education discount, I can get the high-end white edition for 1199, and also get an ipod free. I can get the black for 1399 with the same deal on the ipod.
    I'm really confused about which one I should get - a laptop is a significant investment, and over the course of the next 3 years will the extra $$ i need to dish out for a pro be worth it? Which version of the macbook is 'the best bang for the buck?' Also, is there a chance that Apple will go out and add the multi-touch keypad to the Macbook later this year and thus leave me feeling cheated?

    Edit: Also, does Apple offer any 4th of July or other sales over the summer ?
     
  2. dstrauss macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2008
    #2
    First thing first, worrying about "what may be coming" is not worth the effort unless you have some solid information that a revision is around the corner with a feature you really want or need. You can be paralyzed out of the market by waiting for the next best thing.

    I don't know if, as an engineering major, high end graphics and a large screen will be a necessity. If so, MacBook Pro is your only solution. Otherwise, the performance studies I've seen show the Black MacBook is barely under the Pro in performance. It definitely provides a lot of bang for the bucks, and the savings can be plowed into maxing out the memory (go third party for 4gb) and software you need.

    I bought last generation (Santa Rosa 2.2 ghz) refurb for $1049, boosted it to 4gb and 320gb HD, and it outruns EVERY Windows machine I've ever owned. The student discounts can get you even more at good prices and lots of freebies (check out the ultra discounts for college students on Adobe software when you buy through Apple education - eg - Adobe C3S Premiere goes for $1799 retail, usually $599 education discount, and through Apple its $399).
     
  3. eXan macrumors 601

    eXan

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2005
    Location:
    Russia
    #3
    It's not 100% of course, but I think the next MacBook will also have multitouch trackpad.

    But I'd still recommend a MBP any day - its just a so much better computer!
     
  4. kabunaru Guest

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    Jan 28, 2008
    #4
    Wait until Apple updates the Macbook and then buy it. :) It should be good enough for you.
    Except for the graphics card uses, The Pro is wasted money. :rolleyes:
     
  5. ntrigue macrumors 68040

    ntrigue

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2007
    #5
    Do you have any interest in gaming? Do you have any graphics related aspirations, CAD or Photoshop?
     
  6. eXan macrumors 601

    eXan

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    Jan 10, 2005
    Location:
    Russia
    #6
    You surely know that Photoshop doesn't make any use of a video card, right?
     
  7. ionlygreat thread starter macrumors member

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    Jun 17, 2008
    #7
    Yes, I would do that, except for the fact that I don't know when the next macbook will be coming out. I saw somewhere else on Macrumors that the Macbook is updated every 180 odd days, and this version is about 115 days old. But is there any way to find out when the next version comes out? I don't wanna be stuck without a laptop for the Fall!

    I do use photoshop, a little bit of CAD (Solidworks) and play games, but neither of them are major issues for me I think. I'm not an expert with resource-intensive programs like Photoshop, and a less powerful alternative (not to mention websites like fotoflexer, a.viary, etc.) will do me fine. As for games, I know the MBP has an nVidia graphics card, while the MB only has an integrated card. How does this integrated card perform? Will it struggle on some of the new games? I don't believe that this is such a big issue for me though, as I have a great desktop at home...
     
  8. tsice19 macrumors 6502a

    tsice19

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2008
    #8
    That's a dumb recommendation. Unless you want the gimmicky features (light up keyboard, multi-touch) or you need to have a big screen w/ high end graphics, why spend the extra money?

    I was going to get the MBP, but ended up getting a MB instead. I didn't need the MBP features, and the thing is stinkin' heavy!
     
  9. kabunaru Guest

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    Jan 28, 2008
    #9
  10. eXan macrumors 601

    eXan

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2005
    Location:
    Russia
    #10
    Well, your arguments are kind of weak...

    MBP is just a tiny bit heavier than MB.
    I wouldn't call keyboard backlighting a "gimmick" feature. Its a very useful and nice one.
    The bigger screen is LED and is much higher quality than that cr@p Apple sticks into MacBooks.
    The graphics card in MBP is an incredible improvement over Intel's. The difference is like between a tiny insect and a leopard.
    MBP feals a lot more solid than MB. MB's plastic feels really cheap in comparison.

    Its clear that you never used a MBP for an extended period of time.
     
  11. kabunaru Guest

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    Jan 28, 2008
    #11
    Apple should really update these current MacBooks as soon as possible to resolve most of your issues with the MacBook. ;)
    I am certain that the next MacBook will be aluminium and will have multi-touch and LED screen, thus resolving many of these issues.
     
  12. eXan macrumors 601

    eXan

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    Jan 10, 2005
    Location:
    Russia
    #12
    I hope so! Till then, MBP will remain a better computer. (saying it after owning MB and using a MBP for quite some time)
     
  13. ionlygreat thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2008
    #13
    Yes, but it's hard to predict when the next one will come out, isn't it? How often is a Macbook released - I know there's one every 192 days on average (according to MacRumors), but you really can't tell if that's going to be the case this year... Is it going to be worth the wait - or will Apple just end up putting in some minor updates like they did with the 2008 MB? The one thing that would be maddening is if I do end up buying an MB and Apple bring out a new one a month later with all the features that I want...
     
  14. kabunaru Guest

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    Jan 28, 2008
    #14
    I think this is the best rumour about the next MacBooks: http://www.macrumors.com/2008/05/15/apples-next-macbook-due-in-q3-2008/
     
  15. dstrauss macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2008
    #15
    Again, waiting on the "next big thing" is a dicey proposition. The new Intel processors aren't slated for release until July 14 - of course, you would have to assume Apple would have manufacturing parts in advance so as to allow a quick shipment, but the talk for the last two years has been the need for a complete overhaul of both lines.

    Our friend here is heading back to college in less than two months, so I guess if he can wait until August 1, the smoke may clear a bit. However, that would leave one with the impression that in this short term you'd see a processor refresh and the newer (4500 series?) Intel integrated video. I would imagine that the full line refresh (including quad core processors and new casings) would await MacWorld January 2009. Not to turn this into a prediction-fest, it would seem to me:

    1. processor tweaks for 2008; hopefully incorporate LED across all models;

    2. 2009, based on the new architecture of the Nehalem processor, that means new motherboards and the opportunity for the design refresh: fold the Black MacBook into the base of the Pro line as a 13" aluminum upgrade between the Air and 15" Pro (maybe even carbon fiber for the whole line).

    In any event, all of this dreaming just points out the futility of "waiting on Gadot" when it comes to selecting a computer, particularly with Apple. Within six months of purchase you are guaranteed to have notebook envy and be drooling over the newest hottest unit on the block. Determine what you need "NOW" and if you can afford it, buy a unit that's 10-20% better than current needs (in this case, the Black MacBook with 4gb ram and 250gb HD). You'll be shocked that the next hot thing will be a siren call, but is unlikely to perform that much better on what you are doing with it.

    Besides, if you are a serious gamer, you'd be on a Windoze site to begin with. ;)
     
  16. ionlygreat thread starter macrumors member

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    Jun 17, 2008
    #16
    @dstrauss: What you say does make a lot of sense. However, I don't wanna pay more than a 1000 dollars for something, and then have a new version come out immediately, cost the same, but have additional features.

    Especially since massive changes are "expected" for the next Macbook.
    When I'm looking at it that way, it seems that the MBP is less in danger of becoming out-dated anytime soon. But it's just incredibly more expensive and
    I'm not sure if the extra cost is justified...hence my confusion
    also, as far as the basic configuration is concerned, I don't think there's any difference between the higher model white, and the blackbook, apart from a boost in the HD capacity. I would rather use my external HD than dish out the extra couple of hundred...
     
  17. trilsbeck macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    May 21, 2008
    #17
    I'm and Engineer going into my last year.
    I have a MacBoko Pro, and I'd say if you have to money go for it. Buy CS3 for the student discount as it's a great program.
    I have never used a MB so I'm not sure if you can do highend 3-d graphs on it or not but I make them all the time on my MBP and it really takes the sting out of calculus becaus eyou can really visualize what is happening.
    I also play games so that was also a factor.
     
  18. SchneiderMan macrumors G3

    SchneiderMan

    Joined:
    May 25, 2008
    Location:
    Apple state
    #18
    50% say macbook 50% say macbook pro

    you cant make your decisions like that, you need to THINK on your own
     
  19. Bluzeman macrumors newbie

    Bluzeman

    Joined:
    Jun 19, 2008
    #19
    Hands On trial may help

    >>>

    IF you have the opportunity to test drive the different laptop models in an APPLE store or other retail store, you may be able to better assess the differences between the laptop models under consideration.

    May I also suggest that you not only consider your immediate computing tasks and requirements (personal and academic), but try to determine how your use of technology may change over the next few years. Hopefully, the technology you purchase will continue. Purchasing the most economical offering may in time prove to be a false saving if you have to replace the laptop in the short term.

    Make your purchase close to when you actually require the laptop, or when a good deal arises - like the back to school rebates that are currently offered. Don't get distracted by the rumors of what might come in the next upgrade or update. You can drive yourself crazy doing this. One advantage of getting a model that's near the end of its shelf life is that by this time any major bugs have usually been ironed out. Being on the bleeding edge is far from cool when the computer you are counting on is unreliable.

    OS X loves RAM and the more you have, the better it runs. Earlier advice to max out the RAM is sound, as is having the extended AppleCare protection, especially for a laptop which travels frequently. The bigger the hard drive, the better. If you are into playing music / video, the faster the hard drive the better. A fast hard drive also noticeably makes the general use of the computer more responsive.

    The old adage - you get what you pay for, rings very true in the world of technology.

    Good luck with your purchase . . . & enjoy!
     
  20. ionlygreat thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2008
    #20
    Alright guys, thanks for all the advice...
    I walked into the Apple Store Y'day, fully expecting to get a mid-range White Macbook. I went inside, played around with it a bit, and then played around with the 200 GB pro. I walked out of the store with Macbook Pro, with the free iPod Touch and the network printer that I got for $30!
    I've hardly had enough time to play around with my Mac yet, but I'm already more than happy that I went for the Pro - the larger screen real estate, the graphics card, the mouse gestures, and the fact that :apple: has a great resell value (the sales rep told me that he sold his $ 2500 pro after 2 years for $1800 - I don't want that much, I'll be happy if I can sell my pro in 3 years for $800), were all of the things that convinced me to get a Pro! Started setting it up last night, must say that it is every bit as amazing as I'd expected - and more...still haven't opened my Touch yet, lol
     
  21. kabunaru Guest

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2008
    #21
    Congratulations :)
     

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