First Time Buyer - Looking for a laptop

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by sbauer, Feb 7, 2009.

  1. sbauer macrumors member

    Feb 7, 2009
    Baltimore, MD
    Hi all,

    I'm looking to get a laptop and I'm not sure which one would be a better fit. I'm a software/web developer so I'll be using apps for that (TextMate, Apache, MySQL, etc..). I'll also need to run a Windows VM for Visual Studio.

    What would you recommend? MacBook or 15" MacBook Pro?
  2. ceezy3000 macrumors 6502


    Jan 10, 2009
    The Valley!!
    macbook, it can do pretty much everything now with the new graphics chip, and for what your doing you could of used the old intel gmax3100 and it wouldve been fine
  3. Eidorian macrumors Penryn


    Mar 23, 2005
    9400M G WhiteBook or a refurbished Aluminium MacBook.
  4. CSilver macrumors 6502

    Jan 14, 2009
    +1 on Refrub Alum Macbook ;) I am never going back to pc :rolleyes:
  5. Scottsdale macrumors 601


    Sep 19, 2008
    Depends on size of display you want.

    For 13.3" is MacBook aluminum unibody or revB MacBook Air. The MBA costs more but is an amazing Mac. I own one and love it. Fastest Mac I have ever owned due to SSD. It's super portable but amazingly powerful.

    Want a 15.4" buy a refurbished unibody MBP for $1699. Want a 17", you can buy a past generation for around same price - the new one will set you back more.

    All the Mac notebooks are excellent computers. I love the portability of my new MBA, and I am glad I paid the extra money over the standard model for a 1.86 and SSD. I would not say any of the three Mac notebooks is a bad choice. All comes down to your preference as they all can do the job nicely.
  6. mattniles007 macrumors 6502


    Dec 4, 2005
    MacBook Pro if you can afford it. More powerful.
  7. Scepticalscribe Contributor


    Jul 29, 2008
    The Far Horizon
    I agree that the new MB is a lovely machine, while the MBA is stunning if portability is your main need. However, from what you write, your needs seem to call for an excellent screen, and for that, and for performance and power, the MBP is still the best on offer.

    Cheers and good luck
  8. Demosthenes X macrumors 68000

    Demosthenes X

    Oct 21, 2008
    As a developer, you would probably appreciate the extra screen real estate afforded by the Pro. I'm not sure how graphically intense Visual Studio is, but the Pro also offers more graphical processing power.

    That said, the MacBook is far more portable, and I would probably choose that plus a decent external monitor. The 13.3" display is enough to do most work on (I've written long essays on it), and when you're at home, you have the benefit of lots of screen space. :)
  9. mgridgaway macrumors 6502


    Feb 25, 2006
    I'm all about new whitebook + nice external display.
  10. Abstract macrumors Penryn


    Dec 27, 2002
    Location Location Location
    If you primarily do your work at your desk, and will rarely use it outside of home or the office, go with the MacBook + external display. If you're programming, a higher resolution screen is better, so the external LCD is essential. The MB's resolution is too low for such work, but in the case where you don't leave the desk often, the display is tolerable for doing a bit of work here and there, and it's a small, neat little computer that you can use easily on airplanes, buses, cafés, etc.

    However, if you plan on using your machine away from your home or office quite often, go with the 15" MBP despite the fact it's heavier and larger in size. You'll need to use your laptop's LCD more often, and the 15" MBP will give you a bit more resolution to work with. The 13" MB's screen resolution is too low to work comfortably for long periods of time away from the desk, so despite being lighter and smaller in size, it may not be the best work computer for a programmer.

    I know that's the opposite of what others may suggest since the MacBook is more portable, but that's my recommendation. ;)
  11. SkyBell macrumors 604


    Sep 7, 2006
    Texas, unfortunately.
    ...Yes, but does the OP really need that power?

    A MacBook should do just fine.
  12. sbauer thread starter macrumors member

    Feb 7, 2009
    Baltimore, MD
    Thanks a lot for all the replies.

    Because of the screen size, I'm leaning towards the MBP. I don't need anything extremely portable, but I also won't be near a monitor all the time.

    Also, VMWare Fusion seems to be pretty slick. How is it? Pretty positive? I'm thinking that might be perfect for my situation.
  13. Rayban macrumors 6502


    Sep 5, 2008
    VMWare is great. I have the Windows 7 Beta running on it's very responsive and fast.
  14. sbauer thread starter macrumors member

    Feb 7, 2009
    Baltimore, MD
    Nice. Good to hear.

    Anyway, thanks for all the advice. I just purchased a MacBook Pro. I guess I'll be around here a lot more often now. Again, thanks for the help everyone.
  15. JonMcDonald macrumors member

    Jan 18, 2009
    Congrats on the buy. I'm sure you'll quickly see how Mac > PC :). And the set up is literally as easy as 1-2-3. Just some advice for someone who just bought a Mac that hasn't used a Mac trackpad tricks for Mac. You'll be amazed at what you can do! Learn Expose and Spaces, it'll help you keep the machine clean and simple :).

    Anddd stick around!
  16. Hoo03 macrumors regular

    Feb 23, 2007
    I am sure you will be very happy with your new MBP. Congrats on your purchase. Which model/version of the MBP did you end up choosing?
  17. sbauer thread starter macrumors member

    Feb 7, 2009
    Baltimore, MD
    Thanks a lot. I hope so. When I get home I'll check out the video. Is Expore the window moving tool that's mapped to the F10/F11/F12 buttons? I've heard of Spaces, but I can't remember what that actually is. Looks like I have some reading to do.

    Thanks a lot. I got the 2.4GHz 15" MBP. I didn't modify anything from the base. I did buy a 4GB RAM upgrade from another site, though.

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