Buying MacBook Pro. Should I purchase with 9600m graphics for Snow Leapord or other?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by browndktr, Jul 12, 2009.

  1. browndktr macrumors newbie

    Jul 12, 2009
    Hi everyone,

    I am a college student and will be replacing my 17" macbook pro 2.16 with a new 15" unibody macbook pro. I need something a little more portable, and with better battery life. I don't do any gaming, and rarely work with video on my laptop. I am wondering if there is a reason I should consider the mid level machine with the 9600m graphics card? I can't think of any reason I need it now, but was interested to know if it is something I should consider because of the upcoming Snow Leopard or anything else. I do use bootcamp to run XP or Vista occasionally but only when I need to use visio, or some other scientific program.

    I plan to keep the computer 3 years or so.

    The only change I plan to make is to immediately replace the stock apple HD with the new Corsair 256gb SSD. The quick boot times will be very handy when using the computer in classes and meetings.

    Thank you,

  2. Frosties macrumors 6502a


    Jun 12, 2009
    Hard to say but from your stated needs I would think the regular 9400 is good enough for you.
  3. isaaclimdc macrumors 6502


    Jun 28, 2009
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Yeah, I also think that the 9400 is sufficient. Also, that's given that that Corsair 256GB SSD is going to cost you a bomb!
  4. browndktr thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 12, 2009
    the SSD is ridiculously expensive I agree. Its why I am trying to keep the rest of the system as inexpensive as possible. For my purposes however I think it will be money well spent. The biggest irritation with my current machine - besides the large physical size - is the painfully slow boot and application launch times. From what I understand the single best thing I can do to remedy this is to get a good SSD
  5. Demosthenes X macrumors 68000

    Demosthenes X

    Oct 21, 2008
    Skip the discrete graphics. You won't see any benefit now or under Snow Leopard, whereas spending that money on an SSD will give you immediate and obvious benefit.
  6. ss957916 macrumors 6502a

    Jun 17, 2009
    Correct me if I'm wrong, but if getting the mid level, dual graphics card MBP, one needs to know exactly when it's best to use each card as te computer doesn't decide itself.

    Is it true that one must SELECT the other card and then reboot to allow the computer to use it?

    If I'm right then surely the dual card option is only any good for people who have a higher than normal understanding of computers.
  7. Tallest Skil macrumors P6

    Tallest Skil

    Aug 13, 2006
    1 Geostationary Tower Plaza

    Does it REALLY take that much brainpower to think, "Oh, I'm going to play a game/rendering. Better go the the better graphics card," or, "Hey, I need longer battery life. Better stop wasting power on graphics"?!
  8. ss957916 macrumors 6502a

    Jun 17, 2009
  9. u49aa2 macrumors 6502a


    Nov 3, 2008
    Between Heaven and Hell
    You will need to log out to access the other card, so yes the computer will not be able to switch for you.

    As for how to choose which card to use; the 9600 is better for graphic intensive tasks like gaming, 3D work, video and picture editing (professional level) and thus will drain more power. for everyday use (surfing the net, word processing, etc) the 9400 is more than enough as you won't the quality offered by the 9600. So, you don't need to have more than normal understanding of computers to pick which one to choose. But i agree, probably a professional in photography will know better which graphic card will be more than enough for specific type of video editing.
  10. ss957916 macrumors 6502a

    Jun 17, 2009
    So why can't the computer work that out and swap automatically?? I got sold-up to the mid level MBP in an Apple Store because of the better graphics, but it was only a few days ago I discovered that I have to tell the computer to use it.

    That'd be like the computer struggling along with 2GB of RAM until I inform it it's allowed to use the full 4GB.

    I'm not a computer whizz so maybe i'm really missing a point here, but I think a £1400 computer should be able to switch cards automatically (like when on mains, use the power hungry one).
  11. Freyqq macrumors 601

    Dec 13, 2004
    I'd go with the 9600GT and skip the SSD for a year. In a year the 256gb SSD will be half the price probably and even faster. The 9400GT sounds good enough for your needs for now..but it will make your computer last much longer long-term b\c graphics tends to be the limiting factor before CPU becomes an issue in my opinion.

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