First-time Purchaser - Want MacBook, not sure where to start

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by JonathanWarrick, Dec 4, 2008.

  1. JonathanWarrick macrumors newbie

    Jun 7, 2008
    Hi all,

    So I've decided that I want a Mac and now is the time. I've always been a fan of Apple, but have never had the money to switch. With my laptop being 5 years old, having no battery life, and missing a few keys, I really need to upgrade, so...

    I've decided that for my usage, I don't need anything more than a MacBook. I'm using it for the most basic things; browsing, chatting with friends, photos, music, videos, etc. I don't need to do extreme film/video/audio work, I'm a console gamer, etc. so unless someone can REALLY justify it, I don't think a Pro is necessary for me.

    My problem is deciding which model to get. For starters, I don't know anything about processors, graphic cards, RAM, any of that stuff. I don't know how much difference I'm going to see in 2.0 GhZ to 2.1 to 2.4. Likewise, I don't know how much RAM I need.

    Secondly, I don't know if I should get one of the new MacBooks or get a refurbished one from the last generation. If there's no huge increase in value to me, then I can't justify the price increase.

    All I want is a Macbook that runs smoothly, lets me talk to my friends, share pictures, video, music, etc. and gets what I need done. I like it being fast with no slowdown, no freezing, crashing, etc.

    Any suggestions on what to do? Refurb old gen or new? GhZ/RAM? For a basic user, please help me pick the right one so I get the best value for my money!
  2. vienta macrumors newbie

    Nov 30, 2008
    I'm in a similar situation to you (new switcher, similar usage) and got the entry level aluminum MacBook (the 2.0 GHz version) and have been very happy with it so far. The only time it's been anything other than super snappy was using iDVD to encode a movie- but I think that would be slow regardless and I very rarely do it.
  3. three macrumors 65816


    Jan 22, 2008
    Washington State
    I'd recommend getting a new 2.0 GHz aluminum MacBook. I'd recommend at least 2 GB's of RAM.
  4. jamin100 macrumors 6502

    Sep 22, 2008
    for what your doing i'd recommend the basic refurb model and save yourself some cash. Max out the RAM at 4GB's and your good to go.
  5. techound1 macrumors 68000


    Mar 3, 2006
    I'm a big fan of maxxing out the ram. Since it's a really easy swap on a MB, you don't need to shell out the cash right away to do it. There are a ton of after-market RAM dealers who carry Mac-compatible stuff and you can usually find a nice deal.
  6. Vulcan macrumors 65816


    Jul 17, 2008
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Apple has refurb white MacBooks going for $799 from time to time, it's about $500 less than the aluminum, and if you aren't a huge gamer, it still will be very fast.
  7. SnowLeopard2008 macrumors 604


    Jul 4, 2008
    Silicon Valley
    The last gen refurbs are a great way to start off.
  8. Roy Hobbs macrumors 68000

    Roy Hobbs

    Apr 29, 2005
    That was true prior to the new generation of MacBooks, Apple's pricing on RAM is very close to 3rd party RAM providers.

    If I had to guess (after reading the original post) the OP may not want to bother with taking out the 6 or 8 very tiny screws that it takes to remove the back cover to expose the innards of the MacBook.

    My advise just get the RAM from Apple and save the hassle. You also have everything under the same warranty. That way if the RAM dies you call Apple and you don't have to deal with a 3rd party
  9. gnasher729 macrumors P6


    Nov 25, 2005
    I have a 2006 MacBook doing all these things absolutely fine; any MacBook that you can buy, new or refurbished, will be at least 30% faster, so the processor is nothing to worry about at all.

    The new aluminium MacBooks give you two things: A more professional looking case (but I must say I like the way the white MacBook looks), and a faster graphics card, which is mostly interesting for gamers. If you are not a gamer, the white MacBook is perfectly fine.

    Having as much memory as possible is good, and having a large hard drive is good. This is something where you can save money by buying from somewhere other than Apple and installing yourself; installing memory and hard drive is very, very easy as long as you can handle using a screwdriver. For example, 4 GB of quality RAM and a 320 GB hard drive can be bought together for about £100. If you don't feel like doing this yourself, buy a Mac with 2 GB of RAM.

    There is nothing wrong with refurbished Macs at all, and they can offer significant savings. They all look brand new and have the full warranty; you may not get the original packaging. Many are indeed brand new (older models that Apple didn't manage to sell when a new model was released), or they may be returns (unwanted present, customer changed their mind or cheque bounced). You save about 15% to 20% compared to new models. Don't get carried away if higher savings are displayed: When older models are sold as refurbished, your savings are relative to the original sale price. So you may find something 40% cheaper than original price if it is a really old model; in reality it is always 15-20% less than what it would be worth today brand new.
  10. thejadedmonkey macrumors 604


    May 28, 2005
    Quite true, I was working on a quad-core Mac Pro, and when I was exporting video out of Final Cut Pro (like iMovie on steroids) it took some time too ;)

    As to the OP's question, get the base Macbook if you want a new aluminum look, or get a refurb if you want plastic and don't mind refurb.
  11. JonathanWarrick thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 7, 2008
    I appreciate all the helpful advice. I really don't mind refurb and I don't mind going with the previous gen MacBook (I was actually leaning toward this rout anyway). Thanks for the help!

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