Buying Macbook Pro. Can't decide which specs.

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by jdebeer, Jun 15, 2007.

  1. jdebeer macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2004
    #1
    I am upgrading (finally) from my 12" 1.33ghz PB G4, 512MB Ram. I most often use MS Office, NovaMind (mindmapping graphics), filesharing apps, iLife (esp. iTunes, iPhoto). I just got a DV camcorder and WD external drive, so plan to do much more video (iMovie, probably, nothing too sophisticated). I'll probably edit iMovies off the external drive. Frequently connect to external projectors for presentations, and external monitor for my work(want to upgrade to 23" apple monitor as soon as I can afford - next year?). But also work from laptop alone often. I also want to be prepared for Leopard.

    I've almost certainly decided on 15" MBP, as opposed to 17", which is too bulky for my frequent travel. (I might consider a 13" blackbook, if someone can convince me there will be no projector/monitor and other performance issues. The difference in CDN$ with edu discount is $450.) The higher-end MBP is $600 more than the basic MBP. Seriously, yah.

    Assuming I'm getting a 15" MBP, here are my questions:

    1. 2.2 or 2.4 ghz? This isn't going to make any difference is it? I see the video RAM is doubled. Can someone explain to me in "human" terms what difference these specs will make? Like split-seconds in processing time? Or agonizing minutes waiting for tasks to finish?

    2. 5400 or 7200 RPM hard drive? Will this seriously matter? More or less than the GHZ and video ram? (i.e. I could upgrade the HD on the basic MBP instead of going for the higher MBP).

    3. Glossy or regular screen. What's this anti-glare thing? Is that the regular screen?

    Long post, I know. Sorry. Thanks for the input.

    Oh, PS, question 4. If I buy now, will I get a free upgrade to Leopard?
     
  2. Denali9 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2007
    #2
    I just bought a SR MBP 2.2

    1. 2.2 or 2.4 ghz? This isn't going to make any difference is it? I see the video RAM is doubled. Can someone explain to me in "human" terms what difference these specs will make? Like split-seconds in processing time? Or agonizing minutes waiting for tasks to finish?
    VRAM wil only make a big difference if you play games and if you do a lot of video editing and use Motion.
    Check http://www.barefeats.com for some benchmark on the new SR MBP.

    2. 5400 or 7200 RPM hard drive? Will this seriously matter? More or less than the GHZ and video ram? (i.e. I could upgrade the HD on the basic MBP instead of going for the higher MBP).
    It can cut your time by a few seconds, again depends on your usage.

    3. Glossy or regular screen. What's this anti-glare thing? Is that the regular screen?
    Anti-glare reduce reflection from light sources. Glossy vs Matte is really a personal choice, photographs tend to dislike glossy. Personally, I chose a glossy and love it. You should try to go to an Apple store and see for yourselves.

    Long post, I know. Sorry. Thanks for the input.

    Oh, PS, question 4. If I buy now, will I get a free upgrade to Leopard?
    No way, you'll have to pay 129$ in October.

    Simon
     
  3. wongulous macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2002
    #3
    Well, with the prevalence of motion graphics and 3d images in even our operating system in the next few years, I'd probably say go for the best graphics card you can get... especially if you're going to be dealing with multiple large, variable displays like projectors for presentations. Then the processor is about 10% faster, so I'd say that's valuable. It's not like you can upgrade your processor or video card in 2 years, whether you'll still have it or you'll have resold it.

    You also likely don't want your interest in video to be cut off by a lagging machine or lack of HDD space in the next few years, so I'd say grab the 200GB larger HDD. It's less RPMs, but it's also high density storage, and therefore faster--plus if you keep it below 70% space usage you get almost the same speed benefit as the 5400-7200rpm drives.

    So: 2.4GHz/256MB vram, and 200GB upgrade.
     
  4. jshbckr macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2007
    Location:
    Minneapolis, MN
    #4
    I've got a question for you:

    How important is portable power to you?

    I was in a position close to yours a few months back. I had a 15" PowerBook and was in desperate need of an upgrade. I came to the conclusion, however, that portability needed to take a backseat to power. I opted for a Mac Pro. When you look at it, a Mac Pro really isn't much more than a MacBook Pro, but is much more powerful.

    Think about what you need a LAPTOP for. You've got a 12-inch PowerBook that is more than capable of displaying the work you do on a more powerful computer. When I sat and thought about it, I thought "Now... My PowerBook served me well as a primary computer... but now that I've already got a laptop, I don't need another one."

    So unless you really think you need a newer laptop, don't rule out getting a powerful desktop computer and relying on your PowerBook for portable needs.
     
  5. jdebeer thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2004
    #5
    Good question about portability, but I think it is essential. I take my laptop back and forth between home and work everyday. Plus I travel often, and take work on the road. I've tried porting files between computers, but found many times when the particular document or photo or song I wanted wasn't there. So I think I do need a laptop.

    As for that bare feats website, very helpful thanks. Looks to me like even on the gaming apps, there's only a sliver of difference.

    What worries me is 2 years from now. Yes, maybe the vram will be important then, even if it isn't now. But it costs 600 bucks! Plus an extra $250 for the bigger hard disk!

    On that point, now I'm especially interested in other people's thoughts about the 4200RPM 200GB hard disk. I've LOVE that storage if it is a quick reliable disk.
     
  6. jshbckr macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2007
    Location:
    Minneapolis, MN
    #6
    Based on what you said you need the computer for, it definitely sounds like you want a portable machine.

    The problem I always see in getting a laptop is that there is no way to realistically look at the machine and expect to get more than 2-3 productive, solid years of work out of it. Sure, you could still do work on it 5 years from now, but you'd be better off getting something newer.

    So really, I would go for the higher end of the 15" MacBook Pro with cranked up specs. That's what I decided to do with my PowerBook, and I squeezed some good work out of it. You may look at it and think "Well, those higher end components aren't that much of a difference"... right now they aren't, but approaching the end of this laptops cycle, you may think to yourself "If I could get just a little more power out of this puppy, things would be going a little bit better right now."
     
  7. Denali9 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2007
    #7
    vram

    Contrary to what most think vram won't make that much of a difference in games. If you game a lot, you will use Vista and Vista can assign additional memory from the 2 gig you have to run the game. In two or three years, games that won't run will be because of the GPU not the VRAM, hence they won't run on both laptop (yeah ram is slightly slower than VRAM but not that much). A lot of the price difference comes from Intel charging a premium for the 2.4 vs the 2.2 since it gives you bragging right to own a laptop with the fastest mobile cpu if you choose it. VRAM is cheap and the drive difference account for 80$. I suspect Apple is making more profit out of the 2.4.

    Aside from a very few specialized tasks, the vram won't gain you much more than a few FPS, the .2 difference and the vram may make the laptop last a little longer, but I believe that keeping 500$ in a bank account (or buying 5 shares of apple :) is better, since with that money you may upgrade in 3 years instead of 4...
     
  8. iW00t macrumors 68040

    iW00t

    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2006
    Location:
    Defenders of Apple Guild
    #8
    What you need, my friend, is not a new MacBook Pro... what you need is Chronosync.
     

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