Could someone help assess my situation? Soon to be college student

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by MB98XJ, Jul 3, 2009.

  1. MB98XJ macrumors member


    Jun 29, 2009
    I am going to be a freshman in college in the fall and I have always wanted a mac. I am currently working during the summer making a little bit above minimum wage. I am wanting to purchase the 15” Macbook Pro (either the 2.53 or 2.66) and I’m reading all these problems posted on the forums about screen flickering, lines, etc. I am wondering if I should purchase during tax free weekend as to avoid over $100 in tax, but I’m concerned if I will be making a mistake by buying something that will soon be outdated. Apple just updated their laptops and I know their next update won’t be for a while, but I definitely want to be sure because I don’t have very much money in the first place. Buying the 15” uMBP will pretty much drain my bank account of all my money so I need to be CERTAIN that the decision I am making is the right one. I will be stuck with this computer for a while (unless Apple comes out with something completely awesome and crazy better than what’s out right now – Steve Jobs is back at work haha). Right now I have a cheap $115 off of Ebay Dell Latitude D600 that functions properly but I actually won’t trust it during college because it is old and well…it’s a dell you know.
    I guess my main question is – what would you do in my situation?

    I’m really itching for the one with dual graphics cards because I was told the computer will run smoother and gaming will be better (I never game but it might be good to have just in case I want to play one or two games). But it’s a $250 difference and for that difference I could purchase the AppleCare.

    Will I, being a college student, studying most of the time, see a noticeable difference between the 2.53 or 2.66 15” Macbook Pro’s, or will it be a waste of money buying the 2.66? My parents are pushing me for the less expensive one, but I can do what I want considering its my money. It will be a tight squeeze for the 2.66 including the education discount and paying for the iPod upfront but I will be selling it down the road.
  2. spaceboots06 macrumors 6502a


    Jun 13, 2009
    The Rotten Apple
    It depends on what you do as to whether you'll see a difference or not. My opinion is no, you won't see a difference doing regular things.

    People complain about problems but that doesn't mean all of the laptops have these problems that they complain about.

    Ditch that Dell and get a MacBook Pro!!!
  3. MacModMachine macrumors 68020


    Apr 3, 2009
    save your money and buy the 2.53 13" , its lighter and will serve you much better.

    i have a 2.8 15" and will most likely move to a 13" mbp instead of the lighter air due to the battery :D.

    15" is awesome but to big for me.

    good luck
  4. MB98XJ thread starter macrumors member


    Jun 29, 2009
    What do you think about the 2.66 compared to the 2.53? Will I notice a considerable difference? I don't edit movies or anything but I was told that having two graphics cards is a major plus for performance and capabilities, especially with games. Will games like COD 4 or GTA 4 work smoothly on the 2.53 15" MBP?
  5. dukebound85 macrumors P6


    Jul 17, 2005
    5045 feet above sea level
    if you need it get it and get what you can afford
  6. thegoldenmackid macrumors 604


    Dec 29, 2006
    dallas, texas
    Macs don't really become outdated like PCs. Plenty of users still use G4's fine. The Mac you buy will be capable of doing nearly everything for the next couple of years, the only real things that might start to take its toll will be if you are doing intense graphics work and that software updates beyond your computer.

    New ones don't make yours worse.

    Refurb store?

    I guess my main question is – what would you do in my situation?
    Maybe just wait until that one breaks, if it ain't broke dont fix it.

    True, Refurb Store and eBay for the latter.

    Waste. Even if you were doing things where you noticed the difference, it would be minimal, money better spent on other things.

    It's a constant waiting game. There will always be a new one a couple of months later, unless it's a 30" Cinema Display. Will it be a major update, prbly not - but it's def. your choice.
  7. super_kev macrumors 6502


    Jan 12, 2005
    If I were you, I'd go with a 13". 15" are nice, but they are rather big to tote around in a backpack. Whoever told you that two gfx cards are good for games was correct, however, they're probably talking about two cards in SLI/Crossfire. The MBPs don't have that, they have an integrated GPU and dedicated GPU gfx card setup, and the computer switches between both based on GPU load. As far as gaming performance goes, check out the Mac gaming section; there are posts regarding performance of various games. Also check

    I would visit an actual Apple campus store for your purchase, as they sometimes offer discounts that aren't available online or in retail stores, plus have good markdowns on previous models. If you don't have one near you, send me a PM.
  8. Hellhammer Moderator


    Staff Member

    Dec 10, 2008
    Don't go into waiting game, it's endless. Notebook updates approximately 2 times a year but we don't know what are we going to get. Your usage is quite light so I would recommend you to get base 13" MBP and buy 4GB RAM from Crucial for ~60$ and if you want, get external monitor from Dell or other manufacturer, you can get one for under 200$. You won't be getting any benefit from future updates, I think. 9400M plays most games fine at medium settings so you'll gain nothing from 9600GT. 9600GT won't speed your Mac in normal use, actually it's turned off.

    You don't have to buy Apple Care yet, you have a full year to buy it (you can buy it anytime when you're under 1 year warranty).

    13" 2.26GHz MBP: 1199$
    4GB DDR3 RAM from Crucial: 63.99$
    Dell S3409W monitor: 219$
    AppleCare: 249$

    Total: 1730.99$ (1262.99$ if you buy only MBP and 4GB RAM)

    Student discounts are not included
  9. feflower macrumors regular

    Jun 25, 2009

    I agree with Hellhammer, the best time to buy is the time you need it. Maybe take a look at the buying guide here at MacRumors but don't keep waiting and timing the market...and don't keep checking what is new once you made your purchase. Of course you will say "I should have waited". If it does what you NEED, then you made the good choice.

    Every since I returned to college, I haven't played any video games and the same might happen with you. If you are just using it for word processing, listening to music, internet use, and downloading pdfs for research what Hellhammer suggests is more than enough for 4 years (make sure you graduate on time).

    Yes, get a large monitor. Writing your papers on a small screen is hell. Wait and see if you also might want a external mouse and keyboard.

    I got a MacPro 3 years ago when returning to school because I knew I do my best work at home and I wanted two large monitors. The times I need to work at school, I just use the school's computers and email my documents to myself.

    Mac's portables have become powerful enough now that my next purchase (my graduation present 4 years from now) will be 13" MBP just in case I want that portability.

    Good luck
  10. nmannion macrumors newbie

    Jul 3, 2009
    I'n in a similar situation, but on the other side of the pond over in England. I'm about to go to university and dont trust my windows machine for hell. Im looking for a mac, just for the OS more than anything else. But then again i think i might aswell get the best that i can afford, hence a 15" MBP possibly with the GT was what i had in mind. But i never thought about getting a external monitor for Work and assignments etc, so this would boost the cost. Maybe a 13" would be the way to go for me, i dont think im going to use the power of what i would be buying going for the 15" anyway. And it would be nice to get a few more goodies to add to the mac like wireless mouse and such.
    What should i do, the 15" is tempting but will i use all that power, im not a massive gamer so is the added GT graphics card neccessary? its just going to be general use, internet, e-mail, photos, maybe the odd video, music and word processing i guess, so will a 13" MBP be adequate?
    Same dilema sorry to intrude on the post, but i have a similar problem :)
  11. thegoldenmackid macrumors 604


    Dec 29, 2006
    dallas, texas
    The 13" sounds fine for all your needs. If you are editing video the video card makes sense, remember that and ram are really the two biggest ways to upgrade your Mac for those types of purposes.
  12. 5DollaFootlong macrumors 6502


    Apr 26, 2009
    if you don't have a lot of money, getting a macbook pro you don't need shouldn't be on your wish list., for what you described, the 999 white macbook will suffice. you do homework and occasionally play games; the white macbook can tackle those uses without stuttering. if you really want a bigger screen, get an external monitor or perhaps a tv that can double as a monitor. don't forget, you can sell the $200 ipod and printer, and buy apple care with the money.
  13. emilyland1326 macrumors newbie

    Jun 23, 2009
    Tbh, if I was in your situation, I wouldn't drain my bank account for a high-end computer. There's a huge difference between "needs" and "wants", even more so if you don't have funds to bleed. The fact is that if you could get by with a cheap $115 Dell, you just don't need to make such a far jump, especially if its going to stretch your bank account.

    However, if you really, really, really want a mac, I'd say get the low-end 13" or low-end 15". All of them will handle "one or two games" fine, and it'd still be a huge jump from the Dell anyway.
  14. J&JPolangin macrumors 68030

    Jul 5, 2008
    Thule GL @ the TOW
    ...I'm out of collage and could have bought any Mac I wanted...portability is one of my major concerns and I have a 24" HP monitor to hook up to at home...

    This is my second mac in about 3 months as I liked my prev gen 20" iMac so when they were "clearing out" the prev gen white book at $747, the base uMB at $1047, the base uMBP at $1447... I considered all 3 and decided on the whitebook = mainly due to the fact that alum dents and people in my office aren't very careful with other peoples possessions.

    Weight and specs between the three models were minimal differences and the price jumps were incrementally more than I wanted to pay = lets face it, :apple:'s machines aren't cheap and I don't think my experience on the whitebook will be that much less than what I'd get out of the other two machines... if I want to game, I use my Wii or PS2 (yeah its old but you can get most of the same games you can on the PS3)...
  15. AdamLikesMusic macrumors 6502

    Jun 3, 2009
    I'd go with the base 13" MBP at most. The 15" for you is just paying a whole lot more money for nothing but 2 more inches of screen.
  16. bc008 macrumors 68000


    Aug 6, 2007
    I agree with what the others have said. You should save the money and get the 13" or low end 15".

    You would get more power in the low end iMac. You could use your laptop for notes in class and do all your heavy lifting on that. If I were you thats what I would do :)
  17. Richard1028 macrumors 68000

    Jan 8, 2009
    Another vote for the 13.3". This thing is made for the mobile student IMO.
  18. techfreak85 macrumors 68040


    Jan 13, 2008
    get the 13. Its meant for students. if you are only going to play a few games, then u should be fine with the 13's 9400m.
  19. MB98XJ thread starter macrumors member


    Jun 29, 2009
    Also, I was reading other threads and people were discussing the fact that when I upgrade to Snow Leopard, the 9600 will come in handy, is this true? Will this be true in my case? I'm really wanting to get the 15 inch because the 13 inch screen seems a little cramped tbh.
  20. techfreak85 macrumors 68040


    Jan 13, 2008
    the 9400 will take advantage of OpenCL as well.
  21. neteng101 macrumors 65816

    Jan 7, 2009
    Get the 13" 2.26... now that they fixed the screens, the 13" uMBPs are a go.

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