Considering switching to a MacBook Pro

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by coopy, Feb 27, 2011.

  1. coopy macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2011
    #1
    Hi Guys,
    I'm considering joining the "dark side" and buying one of the new MacBook Pros but I have a few questions before I take the leap. A bit of background - I've been a Windows man all my life, I mainly want one to 'futureproof' myself for a few years - I won't be doing much hardcore photo or video editing, I think the most processor-intensive activity I'll be doing is GarageBand; as I said the reason I want one is so I (hopefully) won't have to spend any more money for a good few years. I will want to install Windows 7 either using BootCamp or Parallels/VmWare (I'm not sure which yet). With that in mind:

    • First (and most importantly for me!) - will I regret going for the £999 13-inch model instead of the more expensive 13- or 15-inchers? How large a performance gain will the higher-spec machines give me (bearing in mind the background info above)?
    • I currently have my laptop hooked up to my TV using HDMI and use the two screens as an 'extended desktop'. Can I do the same thing with the Mac? (I know I'll need an adaptor.) If so what resolution will it output to the TV at?
    • Does anyone know of any compatibility / driver issues with the new Thunderbolt port in Windows? I've not seen any problems reported in forums but I just wanted to be sure
    • the 13-inch has a relatively low resolution; is it a problem in day-to-day use? I'm currently using a 1440x900 17-inch display, how will it compare? I've had a look in the shop and it looked as crisp as the other models, but you can never really tell until you get it home and start using it!
    • How good is the WiFi with low signals? My current Dell struggles in my bedroom; I really need something as good or better. I know that's a hard question to answer, but do Macs have a good/bad reputation for signal strength?

    Thanks in advance!
     
  2. DHagan4755 macrumors 6502a

    DHagan4755

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2002
    Location:
    Massachusetts
    #2
    Why would you say you're coming to dark side? I'd say you're seeing the light!

    I think you'd probably be best with the 15-inch. Whether you want to splurge on the high-end model is up to you. Consider whether you want the glass or the matte. The matte on the 15-inch is higher resolution than the glass.

    I don't think the Wifi will be a problem but Wifi strength varies on a number of factors, including how far away your bedroom is from the access point. That could just be an overall problem.

    I don't know about Thunderbolt issues in Windows. I'm sure Apple will get those drivers sorted out in future BootCamp updates.
     
  3. dagamer34 macrumors 65816

    dagamer34

    Joined:
    May 1, 2007
    Location:
    Houston, TX
    #3

    1) There is no such thing as future-proofing. Buy for now, not 4 years from now.
    2) VMWare is processor-intensive. On a quad-core machine, you can assign 2 cores to the VM and have 2 core left to OS X, making it run very well.
    3) You should be able to display the max resolution (1080p) to your HDTV with an adaptor. It will also carry sound.
    4) No problems have been reported because no devices currently exist. However, I suspect that you shouldn't have any problems in the future.
    5) DPI will increase from 100 DPI to 116 DPI, making text look sharper. However, I'd probably recommend going for the 15" with 1440x900 so no resolution is lost.
    6) WiFi signals are variable. New MacBook Pros added a 4th antenna compared to the previous 3. WiFi performance is good, but plastic > aluminum for WiFi signals. That I can't disagree with.

    Final recommendation: Base 15" with a separate aftermarket 8GB upgrade.
     
  4. orangepeel macrumors member

    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2010
    #4
    If you want to futureproof yourself, buy next year's model, it will have usb 3. Other improvements, such as a higher res screen, and ssd drives standard are also a very real possibility.
     
  5. dagamer34 macrumors 65816

    dagamer34

    Joined:
    May 1, 2007
    Location:
    Houston, TX
    #5
    I'd argue that the devices that would really use USB 3.0 speed would also benefit from Thunderbolt (i.e. hard drives), so I see little reason to directly need USB 3.0 ports.
     
  6. orangepeel macrumors member

    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2010
    #6
    It's not just about speed, it's about compatability. Weather it's thumbdrives, usb instrument's for garageband, printers, next gen usb mice, etc...

    Also there probably be a thunderbolt to usb 3 adapter but there is only one port, and daisy chaning is a pain in the ***.
     
  7. coopy thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2011
    #7
    Thanks guys.
    It's interesting that you recommend the 15-inch - I was 90% sure I'd go for the 13, but now I'm not so sure! Also the poor WiFi could be a reason to stick with the PC route... :(
     
  8. dagamer34 macrumors 65816

    dagamer34

    Joined:
    May 1, 2007
    Location:
    Houston, TX
    #8
    We are likely to see Thunderbolt hubs that have 2 Thunderbolt ports as well as USB 3.0 slots. Data is just data, whether it's a hard drive or a USB 3.0 peripheral, the Thunderbolt cable transfers the data just the same. Now you aren't going to get more than 2 USB 3.0 ports running at the full 4.8Gbps, but there aren't that many devices capable of pushing that amount of data, so it's a rather moot point.
     
  9. Buck987 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2010
    #9

    Thats what was being said about this update....
     
  10. jbg232 macrumors 65816

    jbg232

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2007
    #10
    The best bang for your buck is the upgraded 15". OS X has high graphics chip requirements and I only see those increasing in the future. The upgraded 15" is one hell of a machine which will definitely last you 4 years. Also, there is no proof that any model of macbook pro will have USB 3.0.
     
  11. DisMyMac macrumors 65816

    DisMyMac

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2009
    #11
    Do adapters slow transfer rates? Does an adapter merely re-direct signals, or does it take time to completely re-process them?

    If it slows down the slower protocol even more, then the benefits of Thunderbolt seem pointless.
     
  12. coopy thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2011
    #12
    Thanks for the advice - can I ask what you mean by the 'upgraded 15 inch' - do you mean the more expensive (but still standard) one, or do you mean customised? If so, what would you upgrade?

    Apologies if that's just standard talk round here - I'm new to this whole Mac thing!
    Thanks!
     
  13. altecXP macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2009
    #13
    What are you smoking? People have had OS X run smooth on IGP older than the 9400m.
     
  14. jbg232 macrumors 65816

    jbg232

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2007
    #14
    The standard expensive one. If you do upgrade anything, increase the RAM first, then get an SSD.

    Try opening the applications stack on an older mac with a non-nvidia chipset (remember than macbooks only recently got nvidia graphics). It is slow and not fluid like at all.
     

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