Free Mac: Which one?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by mehanika, Mar 7, 2011.

  1. mehanika Guest

    Mar 7, 2011
    Copenhagen, Denmark
    Hello guys,

    I have been blessed (cursed?) with the oppotunity to get a free mac, which also will be my first.
    It is a gift from my mother – so even if it's free, im not going to nuke her account, just because i can.
    This is why i seek your advice, to confirm that my thinking is rational and logic enough, regarding my choice of Macbook.

    My needs of the computer are
    - Watching Movie
    - Coding
    - Surfing
    - Gaming, as in L4D, Portal, COD4 and such.
    - Possibly 3D-rendering (Nothing hardcore)

    I have identified 2 possibly computers:
    Macbook Pro 13" 2.3GHz
    Macbook Pro 15" 2.2GHz

    My thoughts of the computers:
    Macbook Pro 13" 2.3GHz
    - A solid 13 inch, which is a side i cherish the most.
    - Integrated graphic card, which has proven itself overpowered, compared to other.
    - "Only" $1199, could be worse.
    - Does the job of my most basic tasks

    Macbook Pro 15" 2.2Ghz
    - A big 15 inch screen
    - Wicked graphic card, that should last for the years to come
    - Juicy $2.119 pricetag.
    - Should be a solid computer for my gaming needs, and should possibly make me avoid to buy a new gaming computer any time soon.

    Now, the things that i'm having of concerns are:
    - Price
    - Screen size

    Price: I could be seen as a investment, buying the 15", as my need for a stationary pc, would not be needed for a great period of time. But then, i could save the $1000, and when i need / want it, go buy a stationary computer, that would probably preform better than the 15" laptop. Now, why not just go with the 2.0GHz 15"? I define this one, for my needs as "the worst of both worlds", to slow proformance graphics wise, and too big a screen. Should i go for the 15", should be to make sure i came out with the best solution for future assignments and programs.

    Screen Size: I'm have second thoughts regarding the screen size. When i look at the them, side by side – it seems absurd to even imagine having a 15" computer. The space the speaker grills takes up, the wristpads are just enormsly. Here also comes the thing about transportation. As i do i need to bring it back and forth from university, im sure 13" would do better, but i guess even i would adapt, should i end up with a 15 inch (i used to have 15" back in the days). Then again, for coding, which is, in the end, the reason i am even getting this computer, could be a issue with a screen that is "just" 13"? I really can't tell...

    As for now i am leaning towards the 13". But then again, i am unaware if im being irrational enough regarding my choice. If anyone is either in the same position, regarding what size to pick, OR just have knowledge/advice to share – please, bring it!

    - Regards Mehanika
  2. iPhone1 macrumors 65816


    Apr 2, 2010
    San Diego, CA
  3. Spanky Deluxe macrumors 601

    Spanky Deluxe

    Mar 17, 2005
    London, UK
    Taking a 15" MBP to University isn't a chore at all. If you didn't mention any gaming requirements then I'd highly recommend the 13" though.

    If portability's what you're really after and you're not too fussed about the speed then I'd say the 128GB 11" MBA is better. Of course, if you're not in a hurry you could always wait for the likely refresh with i3/i5 processors. I'd say that most users would find a MBA faster than a current gen MacBook Pro - the speed of the SSD is more noticeable than the speed of the processor in most day-to-day usage.

    The real question you need to ask yourself first is: Do you want to play games on your laptop or not?

    If the answer is 'yes' then for any 'real' gaming you'd want the 15" MacBook Pro you listed.

    If the answer is 'no' and you want this for mainly coding then save the money and get a 13" MacBook Pro (or 11" MacBook Air).

    Bear in mind that gaming on laptops is never going to be as good as on a desktop - particularly a PC gaming machine. The 6750M in the MacBook Pro is nowhere near as good as the desktop 6750. I'd be surprised if it's even half as powerful. $1000 can go a long way towards building an i5 gaming machine (and if you're into coding and comfortable with the terminal then you could even look into building a 'hackintosh').

    Another option to consider is that getting a 13"MBP/11"MBA would leave you just enough extra to get a 27" Apple Cinema Display.
  4. mehanika thread starter Guest

    Mar 7, 2011
    Copenhagen, Denmark
    Thank you both for the answers.
    As you, Spanky Deluxe, points out, the MacBook Air is a totally other alternative. But design-wise, im probably more into the MacBook Pro. As i allready own a SSD, i planned to swap that into whatever i end up buying.

    Your points regarding gaming is the same as mine. But the gaming done on my laptop should be "casual 3d" gaming, if thats even the term for COD4, L4D, Portal and so on.
  5. ghostlyorb, Mar 7, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 8, 2011

    ghostlyorb macrumors 6502a


    Jan 9, 2010
    Virginia, USA
    I would ask your mom. If she says the 15" isn't a problem.. and it's something that you could use.. and last longer... then why not? If it is an issue.. then get the 13". That is my honest opinion.
  6. Ace134blue, Mar 7, 2011
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2011

    Ace134blue macrumors 6502a


    Sep 17, 2009
    Actually, it is HALF as powerful.
  7. applefanDrew macrumors 65816

    Jul 17, 2010
    get the 13 but I'd say get the i7. Since it's not your money. And an SSD
  8. Apple OC macrumors 68040

    Apple OC

    Oct 14, 2010
    Get the 13 ... it will do you fine ... plus, mom will be proud that you are also thinking about her Bank Account.
  9. vincenz macrumors 601


    Oct 20, 2008
    Get the 15. I think it'll be better in the long run. But if size means more than anything else, then 13.
  10. 100Teraflops macrumors 6502a


    Mar 1, 2011
    Elyria, Ohio

    Tell Mom that you have decided between two MBPs and that you seek her advice. Tell her the specs etc.. and see what she says. You may earn brownie points and she may say " you should have a bigger screen, a faster cpu, and a juicer GPU for gaming!" ;)

    The screen size may be the deal breaker though. If you want the 13," then snag it up and it will save your Mom mucho dinero! You already know this though. :D

    Personally, I would buy the 15", since you plan on utilizing the extra juice from the GPU. Also, you can return the 15" and get a 13" or vice versa! Food for thought! I think Apple has a 14 day return policy. Of course I assume that the return policy is honored in Denmark. Happy Shopping!
  11. robotvan1980 macrumors newbie

    Feb 28, 2011
    Wrong, wrong, wrong. I'm tired of hearing the b/s coming from you guys about mobile GPU's being just as good as the desktop versions. They are NOT. They are designed to only draw about half or less of the power of the desktop versions. That means less power. So what's next? Your 320M's are just as good as my fu**ing 5870?
  12. notjustjay, Mar 7, 2011
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2011

    notjustjay macrumors 603


    Sep 19, 2003
    Canada, eh?
    Don't forget that no matter what size you end up with, when it's at home on your desk you can always keep it connected to an external monitor, up to 30".

    I have a 15" MacBook Pro that serves as my primary computer now (no external monitor) but for many years I ran on a 12" PowerBook attached to a 20" widescreen LCD. The PowerBook served as a second monitor while connected to the LCD, but could easily be detached and taken with me whenever I needed it. I think a 13" MacBook Pro and a nice big monitor would be a good combination.
  13. jbyun04 macrumors 6502a


    Aug 31, 2008
    Half as powerful, yes. As powerful? Not a chance.
  14. steeex macrumors member

    Feb 9, 2010
    Anther option: if money is an issue, go to and look for 2010 15s..they are ridiculously cheap here in dk, and you still get very solid performance out of them!
  15. Inakto macrumors regular

    Oct 29, 2007
    I have never owned the 6750 desktop but my mobile played starcraft 2 maxed settings at 1920x1200 so i don't have any issues with it
  16. mariannukka macrumors newbie

    Feb 6, 2009
    Hard to choose

    It all depends on what you need. 13" is a MONSTER on processing , but to be honest, I ditched it because of the integrated graphics card. The 15" is a HEAVY-WEIGHT SUPERMONSTER, because of the graphics card, and the quadcore processor. If you are big on Final Cut or gaming, I would certainly go for the 15". But for more mobility, I would go for the 13". That handles everyday tasks great (FaceTime, mail, watching (HD) movies, iMovie, iLife, iWork etc.), maybe even better. But, as already said above, 15" gives you more power. A LOT of more power. And that power is what you need for (for example) gaming or video editing. My advice: stick with the 13" if you don't need that extra power and do need slightly more mobility.

    REMEMBER: even the low-end 13" model is faster on processing than the 17" model of last year (!), and don't even get me started on 15" ;)
  17. omegaphil6 macrumors 6502

    Jul 19, 2002
    Fort Myers Florida
  18. barebackbadger8 macrumors 6502


    Mar 23, 2009
    Wolverhampton, UK
    sorry got to pick you up on this! why would you be cursed?

    anyway i would pop along to an apple store etc and have a look and feel of them.
    i thought the 11" mba would be too small and that the 13" would be just right, but seriously until you see these babies in action etc you could change your mind.
    the 15" could be too big
    you might not like the screen on the 13"/15" so you could pay the extra on the 15" to get the anti-glare screen
  19. mehanika thread starter Guest

    Mar 7, 2011
    Copenhagen, Denmark
    Hi Bareback!

    Well, from a personal POV, i find the whole "Apple strategy", regarding what Macs gets to be upgrade when, is very provocative. Apple are playing shepard and sheeps with the consumers. 13" did not get a screen upgrade, the white Macbook, is yet the most affordable - so did not get a upgrade. I find, in genereal, their hardware the best integrated with software - but absurdly expensive, no matter how your twist and bend the numbers.

    In the end, you can probably get a Windows PC with the same specs as a Mac, but for about half the pricetag..!

    As i am not paying, this part, is no longer a hurdle.

    I have been to the store (many times), and been turning and twisting these products. Been opening programs, closing them, writing, surfing - just about everything i could think of.

    I do find the 15" to the biggest issue for me.
    Just as today, a guy in the train to university, pulled out a 15 inch, he hardly had any room for it, even with the two-rowed tables. Not that i am going to use it more in the train than other places - but it just reminded me of the general issues of a computer of that size.

    Thanks for your input! :)
  20. notjustjay macrumors 603


    Sep 19, 2003
    Canada, eh?
    Based on what you've posted (especially if you think a 15" might be a bit too big), I think you'll really enjoy having the combination of a 13" MacBook Pro and a nice big monitor (24" perhaps) that you can plug it into when it's at home.
  21. 184550 Guest

    May 8, 2008
    Have you considered purchasing an additional monitor to plug in to the 13 inch when you're at home/ at university etc...?

    Perhaps you could ask your mother to consider purchasing a nice midrange monitor as well as the cost still wouldn't be up there with the 15 inch option.
  22. Ace134blue macrumors 6502a


    Sep 17, 2009
    WTF is wrong with you. He said the Fu**in 6750 is half as good as the desktop 5770. Get your **** together before you talk crap to someone.
  23. Ace134blue macrumors 6502a


    Sep 17, 2009
    Its half, who said it was as powerful?
  24. Incindium macrumors member

    Apr 3, 2009
    Here's another vote for 13" plus an external monitor. You can get a really nice
    21.5" Dell Monitor for $200(or less).
  25. Yebubbleman macrumors 68030


    May 20, 2010
    Los Angeles, CA
    The Intel HD 3000 graphics on the current 13" MacBook Pro are slightly worse than last generation's (Mid 2010) 13" MacBook Pro's NVIDIA GeForce 320M, which itself, was passable for things like StarCraft II and Valve Source-based games, but I wouldn't want to be using worse than that, and the HD 3000 is worse. Not sure how Call of Duty would fare on either, but my guess is that it wouldn't be all that great, but I could be wrong. I'm not too huge on the Call of Duty games. If you had another computer for gaming and graphics-intensive activity, I'd say that the 13" MacBook Pro would be more than adequate for absolutely everything else. Otherwise I wouldn't go lower than the lower-end 15" MacBook Pro (2.0GHz; Radeon HD 6490M), though if you can afford it, the higher-end model (2.2GHz; Radeon HD 6750M) is unarguably the better machine all around. If you want this machine to last you for at least five years before you next want to upgrade, I'd go with that model as it'll definitely last you.

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