Buying New MacBook, What Specs should I go with?

Discussion in 'MacBook' started by Joeski, Jan 4, 2009.

  1. Joeski macrumors member

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2007
    #1
    Ok so I decided to upgrade from my current set up of 1st gen white MacBook (2.16 Ghz, 1 GB, 120 HDD) to the aluminum unibody MacBook. Originally, I was gonna suck it up and go for a MBP, but then I realized the specs are almost identical to the high end MB. I need portability, so I'm not going for the extra two inches and 1 or two pounds of the MBP.

    I'm using the student discount, so i figured with the money saved with that and not getting the MBP, i could upgrade the ram and hard drive. So the end specs could be 2.4, 4 GB and 320 HDD. Is this complete overkill? This is my only computer, so it'd be used for everyday web browsing and paper writing. I have a large music/movie/photo collection so i thought the bigger hard drive would come in handy instead of having some of my things split between the laptop and an external drive.

    I'm a broadcasting major, so I will be doing editing in Final Cut somewhere down the road, i just don't know how soon. This is why I figured the 4 gigs of ram would come in handy, unless you think this is a waste of money. (If it helps, I have done some minor editing on my current set up in FCP).

    With the upgrades, i'd have apple do it, since i dont want to be bothered with the installation my self.

    My last question(s). If I buy the laptop at an Apple Store, can i still get the configurations or do i have to buy it online? Will the configurations have a negative effect on performance/battery life?

    Thanks in advance everyone! I know there's a lot of info in this post.
     
  2. J&JPolangin macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2008
    Location:
    Thule GL @ the TOW
    #2
    ...ram is a really easy upgrade to DIY, use the extra $$ on apple care.
     
  3. kastenbrust macrumors 68030

    kastenbrust

    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2008
    Location:
    North Korea
    #3
    Thats not complete overkill, you need the Hard Drive space, and if you dont get the bigger hard drive later on you'll be back here asking which one to upgrade to! For the cost the benefit is worth it.

    I would say if your buying a new computer now then 4 gigs is absolutely necessary, especially with Snow Leopard around the corner, however i would advise anyone that doesnt know a lot about Mac's to get Apple to fit it, like you are, because sooo many people ask questions on this forum about "why isnt my RAM working" etc and then they wonder why they're motherboard is smoking.

    I would advise buying the laptop from the Apple store online but its really up to you, you can get the configurations you want in the store but they may not have the 2.4Ghz version in store.

    Only the faster processor will reduce the battery life slightly, the RAM and Hard Drive hardly make a difference to the battery life, the main factor in any laptop that drains battery by far is the screen and how bright you set it.
     
  4. brop52 macrumors 68000

    brop52

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2007
    Location:
    Michigan
    #4
    If you are going to do upgrades just get the base model and upgrade yourself. Everything is DIY and easily accessible. You may not need 4GB right away unless you are doing something memory intensive (waiting will save you a lot of money too as prices drop). As for the HDD, do it yourself and put the original drive in a cheap USB external enclosure.

    I posted this in another thread but I'll repeat here. I do suggest, however, that you hold off on the RAM upgrade to save a headache as 2GB is probably fine for you. I'd also recommend This OWC external HDD enclosure for your original drive to backup your stuff..:

    Stock MB 2GHz Alum=$1249
    Free HP Printer=$99.95-100 (Requires easy online rebate)
    Tax (6%)=$80.94
    Total=$1248.95

    4GB OWC RAM=$84.99+2.50 shipping=$87.49
    Seagate 5400RPM 320GB HDD=$74.99
    (You could also wait around for Hitachi to renew their rebate and get their 320GB 5400 RPM HDD for $54.99).

    Grand total for 2GHz Alum MB/4 GB DDR3 RAM/320 GB 5400 RPM HDD:$1410.96 (With Hitachi $1390.97!)
     
  5. gotzaiPhone macrumors member

    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2008
    Location:
    Tinley Park, IL
    #5
    I don't think its overkill at all. You are setting up a machine that is your only machine for the future needs you might have.

    And you have to buy it online if you want all the stuff set up from Apple. They tend to only carry the base for that specific model in the store. I bought mine through apple online and it was easy and painless. The 150 bucks for the ram upgrade was worth it because if there is ANY issue with the computer, its apple's deal and not partly mine because of 3rd party ram. It shipped real fast too considering it was coming from the oposite side of the world.
     
  6. Joeski thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2007
    #6
    Wow everyone, thanks for the fast responses! I'm probably going this afternoon to buy it and the Incase sleeve. I was going to buy apple care as well but after the thread talking about how everyone bought theirs on ebay, I'll just end up getting it there.

    Just one last question, if by any (very small, i know) these laptops are updated at MacWorld today, how soon will they be in the store?
     
  7. neiltc13 macrumors 68040

    neiltc13

    Joined:
    May 27, 2006
    #7
    The difference is performance between the 2.0 and 2.4GHz models does not justify the huge US$300 price difference between them. I believe the current 2.4GHz MacBook is one of the worst value for money products Apple has ever sold, and I would advise anyone to avoid it.

    I have the 2.0GHz model and it is plenty fast.
     
  8. Narcosynthesis macrumors member

    Joined:
    Dec 21, 2008
    #8
    For the hard drive, if you need the space, you need the space, and really, for the price of a 320gb hard drive it is worth it to get more than you think you will need.

    For word processing and web surfing the ram is probably unnecessary, but if you do ever intend doing anything processor heavy then you will be very glad you got the larger setup...

    As for getting the upgrades, it is well worth buying the parts and doing it yourself. I just got myself a white macbook with the base 120gb drive - to upgrade to a 250gb drive from Apple costs £100. To buy a 320gb drive it cost me under £60, plus £50 for a torx wrench and an evening reinstalling everything - instructions all supplied by the Apple website.
    I paid for Apple to increase the ram to 2gb, and really wish now that I had just saved my money and installed 4gb myself when I found out how simple the hard drive swap was...

    To give an idea of what I do, web surfing, photo editing and watching dvd's (with a 19" screen) - the 320gb drive was essential for me, the ram not as desperate, but very handy when doing photo work - I would imagine the same for using final cut.
     
  9. dinaluvsApple macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2008
    Location:
    Toronto, Ontario, Canada
    #9
    well he has an entire year to purchase apple care so dont rush it and but it cheap on ebay.

    use the money saved from student discount for bigger harddrive.

    dont but ram yet because ddr3 is new and by summer guaranteed it will drop almost in half as other companies start using it for notebooks.
     
  10. ercanbas macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2008
    #10
    Go for 2.4ghz with 4gigs. This is America, show how big your balls are. And eat a burger while you purchase it.
     
  11. Joeski thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2007
    #11
    ^^ That made me laugh.

    So I'm typing this from my new, 2.4 ghz 4 gig ram 240 gig hdd aluminum MacBook! I love it. I upgraded the ram in store, but not the hard drive because they don't do it in store. I figured maybe further on down the road I'll upgrade the hard drive myself. I didn't buy the apple care either because i plan on getting it on eBay (where it is approximately $50 cheaper than even the student discount!)

    Again, thanks for all the input :D
     
  12. ercanbas macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2008
    #12
    Thats what I did. I came from a Rev B Macbook Air with ssd. I miss the ssd, it was so snappy. I decided to stick with hdd because the prices for ssd are coming down and the hard drive is user replaceable on the Macbooks. You made a good choice. Gaming is great on it too. I am running Star Wars Empire at War and Age of Empires 3 on bootcamp XP and I can tell you with full confidence that my 2.4ghz 4gig Macbook is the finest pc laptop I have ever owned. Now let's sit back and wait for what Snow Leopard has to offer.
     
  13. bmstrong macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    May 30, 2007
    #13
    Interesting. Why the move from the Air to the Macbook, if I may?
     
  14. ercanbas macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2008
    #14
    1: Snow Leopard.
    2: Better Gaming.
    3: 4gigs of memory.
    4: Didn't realize how light it was until I put it in my backpack. I do much traveling to different production offices and portability was what I wanted. The Macbook feels only slightly heavier in my bag compared to the Air.
    5: I had a faulty screen that Apple refused to fix because it isn't deemed an issue to them. There were parchment paper type horizontal lines running across the screen. It wasn't just mine, if you check out the Air forums, you will see what I am talking about.
     
  15. bmstrong macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    May 30, 2007
    #15
    Very cool, many thanks for the reply. I'm trying to decide between the Air and the Macbook myself, for my first computer. Every little bit of advice helps. Your 2.4? Was this a recent build?
     
  16. ercanbas macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2008
    #16
    Yes, 9G55 Week 45 and in flawless condition as far the what other members complained about with theirs. I upgraded to 4gigs in the store, this computer is a dream. Coming from someone who owned both model Airs, one in hdd and one in ssd, heed my advice, get the 2.4 macbook with 4gigs and upgrade to ssd yourself when they're cheaper. The Macbook is light enough to travel with and almost as slim.
     
  17. brop52 macrumors 68000

    brop52

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2007
    Location:
    Michigan
    #17
    The RAM swap on the old MBs is even easier than on the unibody MBs.
     
  18. eXan macrumors 601

    eXan

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2005
    Location:
    Russia
    #18
    I just hope you don't need FireWire for your FCP editing, because you won't find one on Unibody MacBook.
     
  19. bmstrong macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    May 30, 2007
    #19
    Never used a FireWire cable in my life. Normally I purchase a refurb but this one, I'm thinking, will be new due to the build issues.
     
  20. bmstrong macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    May 30, 2007
    #20
    Yep. Many thanks. The only question left? Do you Applecare?
     
  21. neiltc13 macrumors 68040

    neiltc13

    Joined:
    May 27, 2006
    #21
    What do you actually do with your computer that requires 4GB RAM?
     
  22. ercanbas macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2008
    #22
    It impresses the ladies.
     
  23. brop52 macrumors 68000

    brop52

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2007
    Location:
    Michigan
    #23
    Many times I require more than 4GB but I can't afford a 4GB stick. I use progressive download on my video lectures for med school through Flip4Mac and Quicktime. Streaming doesn't cut it because I can't speed up the lecture. Progressive download stores lectures in RAM. When I have more than a few long lectures loaded it is maxed out and page outs like crazy.

    O yeah, and the ladies the bigger density sticks.
     
  24. ercanbas macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2008
    #24
    Nah but it is covered under Mycare. Meaning I'll just be really careful with it :)

    I have never purchased any extended warranty on any item and I have never had an issue where I needed to execute it. (Knock on wood)

    I think the one-year is sufficient, if you can keep it working for a year, there is no reason why you wouldn't be able to keep going for the next year as well IMHO.
     
  25. gog macrumors regular

    Joined:
    May 13, 2005
    Location:
    Jobs' kitchen cupboard.
    #25
    Is applecare really worth it?
    I mean, isn't everybody just trying to rip us off with those insurance things.
     

Share This Page