buying a new notebook...

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by MicahFreak82, Mar 22, 2009.

  1. MicahFreak82 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2007
    Location:
    Honolulu, Hawaii
    #1
    hey guys i was just looking around the forums and got some really good information but still had a couple of questions. please guys i don't need to hear "search the threads cause this has been asked over and over again."

    yea well i have a blackbook 2.0 ghz intel core duo processor and it is on its last limbs. i really have been trying to wait it out until nehalem but don't think my airport card is going to last any longer. (long story but if i go any further then about 20ft from an airport my connection drops out. i am past the apple care warranty, and they think that i may need a new logic board which i am not willing to fork over $800 when i can just get a new computer.) but for now it works fine for what i need it to do most of the time when my airport doesn't drop out.

    i just wanted to know your suggestions for getting a new notebook. I believe that this one will still be able to work for a while more. I have an external hd and have the ram maxed out already. Right now i only use it for writing essay, itunes, web browsing, torrentting, and age of empires is the only real game i play. You know the basic college stuff. I am not completely tech savvy but i fool around with cs4 and final cut pro sometimes not its not a normal thing. I think that i can continue to use this for some time now if it just sits on my desk but i really can't have a computer that randomly drops my connection.

    I am in the middle of the macbook, macbook pro, and air conflict. what do you guys suggest. Oh and I will probably wait out till the end of the school year before i buy. Keep in mind portability is an issue. I am a student and travel a lot. i question the utility and power of the air but if i am going to fork out for a macbook i might as well dish out a bit more for the pro. but what about the weight. I pretty much have all these questions going on in my head and just want someone to orient me in the right direction.

    Thanks everyone. sorry this is so long
     
  2. Demosthenes X macrumors 68000

    Demosthenes X

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2008
    #2
    :confused: The Pro is $700 than the MacBook. That's more than half-again the price. So I'm really not sure what you mean by "a bit more" - it's a lot more than a "a bit" more for the Pro.

    Having said that: buy the white MacBook, or if you can swing it, the unibody. Both are the same in terms of performance, and both will be more than adequate for your needs, so it comes down to whether the construction, aesthetics, and extra features of the aluminum MacBook are worth the extra price. You clearly do not need a Pro, and you loose a lot of portability by moving up to the larger machine.

    The Air is a good machine, and the new one seems powerful enough to even be a primary machine, but it's a lot of coin. The Macbook is a much better proposition, especially for a university student. More capable, cheaper, and nearly as portable? No brainer here. Avoid the old MacBooks - the $999 refurbs may be tempting, but that machine is simply not powerful enough to be your only computer.

    (Sorry to hear about your BlackBook, BTW: I've got the same machine, and it's served me very well for 31 months now. :))
     
  3. zorahk macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2008
    Location:
    North Korea
    #3
    That's all in the eyes of the beholder. 700 may not be a lot to some.
    I think for some people the screen alone would be worth the 700

     
  4. clyde2801 macrumors 601

    clyde2801

    Joined:
    Mar 6, 2008
    Location:
    In the land of no hills and red dirt.
    #4
    I had the uni, and loved the portability, but hated the screen. I took it back and got a base MBP, and loved the screen, but it sat on my desk at home. Don't bother calling me a wuss or a girly man, the OP is wanting to hear some honest opinions.

    (I then gave my fiancee the pro since her primary computer was dying-and was windows, yuck-and bought a 12" pb, but that's another story.)

    If you can limp along with your old system, keep using it for as long as possible. If they come out with mobile quad chips before it dies, that will complicate things, because you know they'll put them in the MBP before the MB. If that's not the case, I'd get one of the macbooks due to it's price and portability; any of them should work for you. If the display is an issue for you, you can hook it up to an external monitor in your dorm room easily. Save your money for more important things, like girls and beer.:rolleyes:

    The choice between the new/old whitebook and the base unibody MB is not totally clear cut; either one is a valid option. The white one will save you some money, and has basically the same features as it's shiny sister but has firewire. The base uni has no firewire, but an LED backlit screen that should have a longer useful light, and it's solid construction should make it ideal for rough and tumble college life, not to mention being shoved in a bag repeatedly and hauled around campus in a book bag.

    Good luck with your decision.
     
  5. Scepticalscribe Contributor

    Scepticalscribe

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2008
    Location:
    The Far Horizon
    #5
    It is a question of power versus portability with the added dimension of finance. In your position, I'd discard the option of the MBA, alluring and beautifully made, though it is, especially the Rev B. If money is tight, then the MBA is a luxury, despite the allure of the lack of weight.

    The MBP is a wonderful computer, fast, powerful and has a superb screen. I have one and I love it; however, it is my main computer and sits on my desk most of the time. Only you can tell whether lugging around such a machine is too trying. I would advise that you not go for the 17" MBP, as that really shows its weight.

    Re the MB, if finance is an issue, there is no better value just now than the white MB; it may not be the most stunning looking computer in Apple's line-up, but it offers superb value for money and will easily see you through several years of college. Yes, it lacks the "wow" factor of the aluminium MB, but it does have firewire. The aluminium MB is stunning, and beautifully designed, but lacks firewire, and really is not all that different a machine from the white MB in terms of power and performance. Essentially, you are paying for looks, and, as a result of looks, probably pretty good resale value. Both MBs are easier to tote around the place than the MBP.

    My suggestion would be to go for one of the MBs while you are in college; your own needs and income should steer you towards which one to buy. In any case, it is very easy to upgrade to a MBP later, when you are working.
    At the end of the day, it's your call.

    Cheers and good luck
     
  6. techound1 macrumors 68000

    techound1

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2006
    #6
    Let us not forget the MacBook Nano aka Mac netbook aka the wind/dell mini 9 with a software hack to run OS X. The netbook hardware can be had for $250-$300, it'll run the basics, and get you to the summer when apple has its free ipod for college kids deal. :p
     
  7. MicahFreak82 thread starter macrumors member

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    Dec 7, 2007
    Location:
    Honolulu, Hawaii
    #7
    Thanks everyone for all of your help.
    1. I don't think that i want to go the hackintosh route even to last me through the summer. I have been a die hard apple fan since day one and the idea of not having the ox instantly load up is a bummer and there is no support for the product. I don't think that I am that good with computers to be able to load the os on the computer. Also i am going to wait till summer regardless. I wish i could wait till jan 2010.
    2. I am still a bit worried about the portability vs. power factor. I fell like the macbook air, while a bit over priced which i have the cash for either way, will be more resilient to dents than the macbook or mbp. That is why i am still partially in love with my blackbook. I have dropped it majorly twice and still have no real case damage. It hasn't even cracked. I still plan on buying a case either way.
    3. I hear about too many people telling me that they got mbp and it just sits on their desk. I really don't want to regret the fact that this computer is just going to sit on my desk cause i am too lazy to carry it around with all my text books. I am leaning to the mba cause i have this blackbook that can sit on my desk.

    I would love to hear if anyone has any more suggestions. Thanks everyone
     
  8. dbwie macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2007
    Location:
    Albuquerque, NM, USA
    #8
    MacBook

    I'm a grad student and I love my new MacBook. It is still light and portable, yet has a bit more horsepower than the Air. I bought the 2.4 MacBook which has the backlit keyboard like the Air and the Pro. Love it. Unibody construction feels very solid and well crafted. If your previous MacBook met your needs, this one will meet and exceed them.
     
  9. clyde2801 macrumors 601

    clyde2801

    Joined:
    Mar 6, 2008
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    In the land of no hills and red dirt.
    #9
    I've tried the wind, have the lenovo (both running osx), but prefer the 12" powerbook useabilitywise to the prior two machines. Get on craigslist, second hard parts stores, etc, and find a 12" g4 ibook or powerbook for roughly the same money, and max the ram out.

    The keyboard on the wind was unusable, and the build quality could only be described as 'made by mattel'. The build quality is better on the lenovo ideapad or dell mini9, but the keyboards are less than desirable.

    I ponied up the money and pounced on a last gen 12" pb on craigslist, and the keyboard can only be described as luxurious. :)
     
  10. MicahFreak82 thread starter macrumors member

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    Dec 7, 2007
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    Honolulu, Hawaii
    #10

    i had a 12'' powerbook. loved it. That was the computer i had right before i got the blackbook. But my pb died. The batter stop holding the charge. I had a cosmetic dent from dropping it. The hd crashed. it only had 512 mbs of ram. And i think that is was still running os jaguar. it didn't have an airport card. (i had it for a while) I had got really good use of it for most of high school. but i thought that it was slightly too easy to dent. so i thought that it wansn't worth the fix up and sold it on square trade for $200 which i thought was a really good deal. I think that i am done with the g4 processor.

    so that is where i find myself in my current situation. and if i am going to fork over any cash it is going to be toward a computer that i can continue to use for about 3-4 years. cause that is the lifespan that i have currently on my computers.
     
  11. desiringGod macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2008
    #11
    Why not buy a refurb Alum MB for $1099 and then a refurb Cinema Display for $799 and you are still cheaper than the cost of a new MBP. You have the portability for the road and the large screen at home (although you could buy another external monitor for $300-$400 and still be under $1500).
     
  12. pendo macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2008
    Location:
    Jenks, OK
    #12
    I'm a student as well. The portability of the MB is awesome. If the money is still burning a hole in your pocket, add time machine.

    I love the new trackpad, and there is no way I could go to the plastic MB and it's antiquated trackpad.

    Get an aluminum MB and don't look back
     
  13. MicahFreak82 thread starter macrumors member

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    Dec 7, 2007
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    Honolulu, Hawaii
    #13
    Maybe i should have prefaced the cost issue. I can get the developers discount (no i am not a developer). This heavily reduces the cost of a macbook pro while only making the macbook and air slightly cheeper than the education discount.
    That is 1599 for the baseline macbook pro and the top macbook 1439. The prices are all so close and the savings one the mbp just seem so ridiculous to me that makes me want to get it even more.
     
  14. desiringGod macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2008
    #14
    For $160 dollars, go for the MBP.
     
  15. clyde2801 macrumors 601

    clyde2801

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    #15
    I'm doing everything you mentioned (except torrenting and age of empires) on my 1.5 with 1.25 gigs and it's holding up fine. knock on wood

    Come to think of it, you'd better get the unibody, and get a protective case for it, since you appear to be a serial laptop dropper.
     
  16. SnowLeopard2008 macrumors 604

    SnowLeopard2008

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    #16
    The performance between the polycarbonate MB and unibody MB is very different. The unibody has DDR3 memory and if you think it's not that big of a deal, then the only tasks you do are basic computing tasks. In apps that matter DDR3 is much faster than DDR2.
     
  17. petermcphee macrumors 6502a

    petermcphee

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    Aug 20, 2008
    #17
    I love my unibody MacBook. I think everyone should go to an apple store and mess around with one if they're considering making a laptop purchase. The machine is great. I know that some do not like the screen; I'm not one of those. I think it's fine.
     
  18. Demosthenes X macrumors 68000

    Demosthenes X

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    Oct 21, 2008
    #18
    When MacWorld tested the two, the unibody was only marginally faster: 4.8% in speed tests, and a few seconds either way in most of their other tests.

    Before you go off spouting claims about how different the performance is, try doing your research first. Yes, the unibody is faster, but not by much. And given how much less expensive the white MacBook is, it's a better performance/dollar proposition.

    As for "if you think it's not that big of a deal, then the only tasks you do are basic computing tasks", what's wrong with that? For the OP's stated uses, the white MacBook will be more than sufficient. And anyone looking for a machine to use for "apps that matter" is likely looking at a MacBook Pro anyway. ::)

    You're extremely arrogant if you think the only apps "that matter" are the highly demanding ones. Email might be a "basic computing task", but for many people it's a critical method of communication. You're also a hypocrite: if you think computers are meant to be used for things "that matter", then an internet forum is not where you belong.
     
  19. skcrane macrumors member

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    Mar 24, 2009
    Location:
    dayton, oh
    #19
    new macbook or macbook pro

    I am trying to decide between a macbook or macbook pro and just wondering if the screen is worth the money for the macbook pro but you also give up the portability of the laptop as well. I am planning to purchase the 24 inch led monitor as well. I do mainly finances, internet, some basic photo, and word processing. Is the macbook pro a good fit for me or the macbook would be fine is the screen that bad on the macbook.
     
  20. MicahFreak82 thread starter macrumors member

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    Dec 7, 2007
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    Honolulu, Hawaii
    #20
    I am a bit concerned with the macbook screen as well. Does anyone know how the uni mb compares with the blackbook. I don't think that i have a preference between the glossy and the matte.
    As far as the speed debate with the ddr3 and ddr2 RAM, I also want to add the solid state hd to whatever notebook i get. That might also make it faster. Not sure if the whitebook comes with a solid state hd.
     
  21. Demosthenes X macrumors 68000

    Demosthenes X

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    Oct 21, 2008
    #21
    The Pro's screen is better, but I think the difference is blown way out of proportion on this forum. The unibody MacBook is said to have a better screen than the plastic MacBook. I've got an old plastic one, and am extremely satisfied with the screen, so the new MacBook should be just fine.

    If you're plugging it into an external monitor anyway, then it doesn't really matter as much, anyway.

    An SSD will make the computer faster, yes. It's not a BTO option for the polycarbonate MacBook, but you're wasting your money if you get it BTO anyway. Buy a third party SSD and install it yourself: it's pretty easy in the plastic, and really easy in the unibdody, and you'll probably end up saving money. And you get to hang on to the original HDD and use it for backups or whatever.
     
  22. MicahFreak82 thread starter macrumors member

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    #22
    okay. about the screen. maybe i will just head over to my apple store and compare the screens for myself. i really don't think that i am going to get a monitor. that really just too much hassle. plus i travel to school by plane. that is way to cumbersome to be worried about transporting is back during the summer.
    as far as the solid state hd is it really easy to install??? Cause i would definitely do it if it is more cost effective. and then more the hd that is in the new computer into my blackbook. is that possible as well??? cause i only have an 80gb in my notebook now and could use the extra space
     
  23. macrumorsMaster macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    May 20, 2008
    #23
    You forgot....

    ...to include the $100 for the student developers membership, making it actually $1699, only $200 cheaper than the REGULAR student price. PLUS if you can wait till the summer, you can get a free ipod touch($229) when you buy your MBP from the STUDENT store, not the developer store. If you don't need the touch, then the developer store would be the way to go :D
     
  24. MicahFreak82 thread starter macrumors member

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    Dec 7, 2007
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    Honolulu, Hawaii
    #24
    maybe I should have been more specific. No I am not a developer but can get the discount without necessarily applying to be a student developer. I pretty much have the hook up in that department. So I don't have to factor in that 100 dollar cost for the membership.
     
  25. clyde2801 macrumors 601

    clyde2801

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    In the land of no hills and red dirt.
    #25
    I'm not a fan of the uni MB's screen (apple always has, and always will cheap out on screen quality of its consumer notebooks), but it was drastically better than my friend's year old whitebook.

    I believe the LED backlighting promises to have a longer usable life than the CCFL's of the prior gen, but who is really going to be using a computer that's four years old anyway?

    <looks down at his powerbook he's writing this post on, coughs>

    I think any of the current line would fit your needs well. Good luck.
     

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