Coming back to Mac. MacBook Pro buying questions

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by nGoldenm, Jun 19, 2007.

  1. nGoldenm macrumors newbie

    Jun 19, 2007
    So here's my story. A little over 2 years ago, I bought a 14" iBook to bring with me to college. I absolutely love the little machine. Then, when I get to school and get started in my classes, I learn that I have to use some applications that are only available on Windows. Major hit. I had to go out and buy a new Windows machine so I could get by with school.

    Well, now 2 years later, I learn that I can install Windows on a relatively small partition on a Mac. I love this idea. How has this worked for everyone? I'm in engineering school and need to run a few rather extensive applications (CAD programs) in Windows. I don't do this all the time. That is basically all that I would need the windows partition for. I like a very snappy, quick running computer, and I also need a screen about 15 inches or so. So I have decided on a MacBook Pro. Now my questions follow below.

    1) I plan to buy from the Apple refurbished store. I've had very good luck buying from there. Looking at it today, I see a couple of different Macbook Pro's (man, I keep wanting to say Powerbook). One is a 2.16 GHz, 1Gb RAM, and 128 Mb video memory. The other is a 2.33 GHz, 2 Gb RAM, and 256 Mb video memory. The price difference is 400 dollars. The RAM is not a problem, I can do that myself. So is it worth the $400 for the slightly faster processor and double the video memory? How would they affect my work on the computer (how much of a difference in performance)? I would also have to pay extra for a copy of Windows to put on it so that is a concern as well in overall price.

    2) When Leopard comes out, which of the above would be best suited to upgrade to it? Or would it be worth it to wait until it comes out, and possibly new models of the Macbook Pro along with it, and get a MBP then?

    3) This isn't exactly a MBP question, but what is OpenOffice? I assume it is an open source equivalent to MS Office. Is it completely compatible with MS Office? I use Word, Excel, and PowerPoint on a regular basis and also need to be able to transfer them to other computers running Windows and MS Office.

    If you have read this far, congratulations. I know it was long winded, so thanks for sticking around.
  2. Igantius macrumors 65816

    Apr 29, 2007
    1) Really depends on what you're going to be running - lots of GPU intensive things, then yes; if not, then no but I would still think about it.

    2) Wouldn't worry about that - they'll both be just fine. As to waiting, that depends on how much you need the machine; if you're happy waiting until October, then by all means do that. Of course, some folk prefer not to upgrade straight away.

    3) Yup, OpenOffice/NeoOffice is pretty much that and many people do use it as an alternative to Office if they need to deal with Office files. Have a look!
  3. nGoldenm thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 19, 2007
    Well, my current windows XP notebook has 128 MB of video memory and everything works just fine. It has a 3.2 GHz processor if that helps at all. Everything seems to run just fine. But I don't know how much of the power the new Leopard OS will consume. Would I need to be worried about this?

    I can wait. I have no immediate need to get a new computer. I need the computer to last for the rest of my college at least.

    I guess what I want to know is: Does the extra CPU power (2.16 vs. 2.33) make a large enough difference in performance to make it worth the extra money? Would the extra video memory be needed in Leopard when my current 128 MB does everything I require in Windows XP?
  4. iW00t macrumors 68040


    Nov 7, 2006
    Defenders of Apple Guild
    Since you are a student I would look into educational discounts as an option. You can actually get a current model MacBook Pro for slightly more than refurbished prices.

    The new LED screens *are* very well worth the difference.
  5. dartzorichalcos macrumors 65816


    Mar 23, 2007
    Since you can wait, I suggest you wait for Leopard to be installed with the machine you are going to buy. The extra VRAM of the GPU will help in games and other 3D Apps. If you are going to be doing intense 3D stuff, get the higher end model.
  6. aaronw1986 macrumors 68030

    Oct 31, 2006
    If your current computer is not too slow for you, I'd say wait until it bothers you. No need spending the money now if you don't really need it.
  7. krunk macrumors regular

    Jan 29, 2004
    Last I checked, the refurbished prices are at a 10% discount which is exactly the same as the Higher Education discount (10%).

    They also don't stack, so a brand new non-refurb under the student discount will cost exactly the same as a refurbished model if the configurations are the identical.

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