Do I Even Need to Wait?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by cleanbreaks, Feb 16, 2010.

  1. cleanbreaks macrumors newbie

    Feb 16, 2010
    I'm a first time Mac buyer, and of course like everyone else I'm wanting to wait for the anticipated MBP refresh. I'm desperately in need of a computer though. I'm a student, and I'm having to take the bus to get to a lab on campus just to submit assignments's miserable. I can't afford a tide-me-over PC and then the MBP I want when it finally gets refreshed. I was planning to get a MBP because the Apple Store rep told me if I want to do any video or image editting, I should go for the Pro because the RAM is a better kind and it has a dedicated graphics card. (I'm just learning on Final Cut and Photoshop so I'm not sure what my hardware needs will be, but I'm going to assume they will increase at least slightly as I learn.) But I have one major constraint, and that is that I'm not getting anything but a 13" MBP. I like the size, I need the size, it's just overall the right one for me.

    (This is probably a good time to say I'm not really savvy about computer hardware.) Does the 13" MBP even have a graphics card, or is it just an integrated graphics chip? Looking at the Apple Store, I see GeForce 9400m listed on 13" models, and 15" with the option to upgrade to "9600m GT with 256MB". Does that mean that I won't even have a graphics card on a 13"?

    I say all that to ask this: If I'm dead-set on a 13" MBP, am I even going to benefit from waiting? I'd hate to wait for a refresh only to find out that it didn't really do me any good because only the models I'm not buying get an upgrade. I know there's the whole thing with the Intel i3, i5, and i7 processors, and that would be great, but I figure that at my beginner's level of hardware needs, even if I start doing more complex stuff, I should be alright to use the processor that has been working for everyone else for a while now.
  2. kyzen macrumors regular

    Feb 8, 2010
    First off, no updated models are going to make the old ones slower, so if the computer can presently do what you want it to, it's going to keep doing that :p

    Secondly, all 13" models have the integrated 9400 card I believe - both the MB and MBP 13" have the same integrated card. You only start seeing dedicated options at 15" and higher. Not selecting a dedicated card will just leave you with the integrated 9400 card.

    Thirdly, no, the RAM between the MB and MBP is NOT different. That's stupid. You can get *more* in the MBP, but it's not "better"

    Lastly, if you live near a Microcenter, you can currently score a MB for $800, which is a pretty slick price, and the $400 savings definitely outweigh the benefits that the entry level MBP would have.
  3. cleanbreaks thread starter macrumors newbie

    Feb 16, 2010
    Guess the Apple Store guy was just trying to make a sale. So then, he also told me if I plan to run Final Cut and do anything remotely serious with Photoshop, I would need the dedicated graphics card, and that's why I should get the MBP. Does this mean a 13" won't even suit those needs then since it doesn't have the dedicated card?
  4. kyzen macrumors regular

    Feb 8, 2010
    Well, a dedicated video card would definitely make your video editing a bit easier, but there's plenty of people on these forums who use a 13" MB/MBP for light video editing without issue.
  5. Shownarou macrumors regular

    Sep 15, 2008
    Newton, IA
    If you've ever been through their entire sales pitch, the Apple employees are told to upsell as far as possible. The computers are arranged so that they can flow up in price/power throughout the store. Basically, determine your own needs, asking the people on the forums is a good idea.
  6. RaZaK macrumors regular


    Jul 13, 2008
    Also, i have noticed some stutter when trying to watch HD movies from my MBP13" on a larger monitor. I'm sure a dedicated Graphics card would provide better performance in that regards as well.
  7. fruitpunch.ben macrumors 6502a


    Sep 16, 2008
    Surrey, BC
    It's impossible for anyone here to answer most of your questions since no one except a few guys at Apple have any idea when the new MBP's will be released and what specs they will contain when they do.
    The 13" MBP does not have a dedicated graphics card nor the option to BTO one. It is likely that the new one won't either, but no one knows for sure.
  8. stouset macrumors newbie

    Feb 16, 2010
    I've only registered to post here because I'm tired of reading people making the argument that the current laptops won't get any faster, so you should go ahead and buy.

    I'm just going to put it to you this way. Do you want to get the laptop you're looking at for several hundred dollars cheaper? It depends on the model, but you could easily find them from anywhere between $300–$500 cheaper once the line is refreshed. As a student, I think you would find that pretty compelling. And if you choose to go with the newly-released version, that has benefits, too: it will almost certainly meet your needs for at least a year longer, and will likely retain more of its value if you choose to sell it later.

    The argument behind waiting or not waiting ought to come down to one thing: value per dollar spent now versus value per dollar spent later, minus the cost of waiting. Buying it now is effectively a waste of money, and very inefficient in terms of value per dollar compared to waiting. However, that can often be outweighed by urgency, if the cost of waiting is particularly high (i.e., it's 100% necessary for work or schoolwork). But that judgment call is up to you.

    But again, as a student, I'm guessing money is going to be a significant issue for you. So I recommend doing yourself a favor, starting to learn how to make good monetary decisions now rather than later, and saving yourself several hundred dollars that can go towards tuition, rent, and/or food.

    Edited to add: I want to recommend the suggestion of a MacBook rather than a MacBook Pro. It's unlikely they'll be updated in the imminent future, and if it currently suits your needs than you should definitely consider going with one.
  9. Abstract macrumors Penryn


    Dec 27, 2002
    Location Location Location
    1. For Photoshop, you won't notice a practical difference between the 9400m and 9600m.

    The difference between the integrated 9400m, and the dedicated 9600m video cards is that the 9600m is on its own separate card that includes its own video RAM on it.

    The 9400m is integrated onto the main board inside the laptop, and it doesn't have its own RAM. Instead, it uses your system's "normal" RAM for video processing. Technically, I believe it has slower access to this RAM, which should theoretically affect performance, but I admit that I'm not certain. What I can tell you is that you wouldn't notice a difference for what you're doing within the next few years. ;)

    2. In terms of overall CPU speed, you'd be perfect OK with a current 13" MBP. In fact, you probably wouldn't notice a practical difference between the current 13" MBP, or a 13" MB from two years ago. ;) You'll be fine.

    You may observe a practical difference when using FCP, but the differences would be very small.

    3. Personally, I'd wait. Normally, I'd say get what you need when you need it, but the update is (probably) sooooo close. For the same amount of money, you'll get a faster computer. You may not notice any practical difference for your uses, but there you go.

    Alternatively, you may want to wait because today's computer will probably be around $100-150 cheaper in 4-6 weeks (or whenever the new MBPs are announced).
  10. elpmas macrumors 68000


    Sep 9, 2009
    Where the fresh snow don't go.
    You can choose an alternative, a netbook and hackintosh it :]
    Then you can wait until the refresh is here and sell your hackintoshed netbook ^_^
    win win situation.
  11. cleanbreaks thread starter macrumors newbie

    Feb 16, 2010
    Yeah, I really didn't want to start the 10,000th "Should I buy now or wait?" thread. I'm brand new here and already sick of reading about it. I mostly wanted to get an answer on whether I was right to observe that the 13" has no dedicated graphics card, then discuss whether I actually need that for what I plan to do. I'm willing to work under the assumption that the 13" will not have an actual graphics card added in the refresh, but I know that's not a guarantee.

    Thanks for all the input. I think my decision is a little more clear now.
  12. Doowstados macrumors newbie

    Feb 8, 2010
    I agree with just about everyone who has posted here. A Macbook though is for all intents and purposes BETTER than the current 13" MacBook Pro. The current macbook pro has a smaller hard drive than the macbook, and all the other specs are exactly the same. If you do light video editing you would be better off buying the current macbook and when given the option upgrading the RAM to 4GB. Apple claims that the color gamut is 60% better in the pro than the MacBook but through using both of them multiple times and comparing them side by side there is hardly a difference, the MBP has a slightly brighter screen though they are both illuminated by the same backlight, probably due to the glass screen on the MBP.

    If you are seriously set on wanting the 13" MBP I recommend waiting for the refresh, buying a refurbished one from apple for most likely $799-$899 and then upgrading your RAM to 4GB. To be honest this is my plan as well.
  13. Alonzo84 macrumors 6502a


    Dec 18, 2009
    North Carolina
    If you compare the spec page of the MB to the low end MBP, they are EXACTLY the same (except for the larger HD on the MB). The only differences on the MB are the lack of an SD slot, Firewire, backlit keyboard and the unibody is plastic instead of aluminum. If you believe those differences are worth $200, than go with the MBP. And like others have said, if you wait for the refresh you can get more for the same money, or the current model for cheaper.

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