Get 1,499 MBP or get 1,199 MBP and upgrade myself?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by KKKL, Aug 20, 2009.

  1. KKKL macrumors 6502

    May 16, 2005
    13-inch MacBook Pro with 2.26G CPU, 2G RAM and 160GB HDD = $1,199
    4G RAM (2g*2) = $60
    500GB HDD = $75
    subtotal = $1,334
    13-inch MacBook Pro with 2.53G CPU, 4G RAM and 250GB HDD = $1,499

    Save $165 for less cpu power but double the hdd capacity. Any ideas?
  2. Fuchal macrumors 68020

    Sep 30, 2003

    Upgrade yourself, it's way cheaper.

    Consider buying your MBP on Amazon where 1. it's cheaper, 2. you don't pay tax. and save some more money. :)
  3. DivineEvil macrumors regular

    Feb 7, 2009
    I did the thing that you are proposing!

    I upped the HDD to 500GB Hitachi and will get 8GB of RAM when the prices aren't so ridiculously high!
  4. Bill Gates macrumors 68020

    Bill Gates

    Jun 21, 2006
    Upgrade yourself. I just helped a friend who bought the lower-spec 13" MBP and upgraded the RAM. A HD upgrade is in the future.
  5. kryptonianjorel macrumors 6502

    Jul 3, 2009
    You might miss that CPU power!
  6. jav6454 macrumors P6


    Nov 14, 2007
    1 Geostationary Tower Plaza
    For me, CPU clock was a important factor. At the time there was an 400MHz difference.

    I know in the long run my higher CPU clock will come in handy, it already has in numerous situations.
  7. Gabriel GR macrumors 6502a

    Gabriel GR

    Jul 12, 2009
    Athens, Greece
    When you don't have a lot of CPU power, things just take a while more to run. When you don't have a lot of RAM, your computer caches stuff and the handicap is much greater. At work we have many old computers (4-5 years old) and by maxing out their RAM and putting a fast HDD there, not only they are much faster than brand new, but they can pull today's tasks pretty effectively.

    I would get the basic MBP and wait to upgrade the drive (SSD) and RAM when they become cheaper. You will want more RAM and an SSD even for the 1499 version once they are cheap and available. So save that 300 bucks to upgrade earlier down the road.
  8. vant macrumors 65816

    Jul 1, 2009
    .26GHz is not noticeable.

    MS Word might open up .2 seconds quicker.
  9. bugout macrumors 6502a

    May 11, 2008
    is everything!
    ...unless you live in NY, then you pay tax with amazon :(
  10. Smoothie macrumors 6502a

    Jun 23, 2007
    Upgrading yourself makes sense except for one unresolved problem. Apple still hasn't solved the problem with the performance of the SATA 2 interface with many third party hard drives (and some stock drives). If you replace the hard drive, you may have significant interruptions with data transfer from the drive if you have EFI version 1.7 installed on your MBP. It doesn't happen to everyone, but there are enough complaints for you to think about it. I think most new MBPs are shipping with this EFI version. If the MBP you buy still has version 1.6, I would suggest not updating the firmware to 1.7 if you want to install your own hard drive until Apple sorts this out.
  11. jmcguckin macrumors regular

    Nov 26, 2008
    Akron, OH
    I don't know, maybe it's just me, but when I think processing power the first thing to come to mind isn't word processing... on the other hand, that additional 0.26GHz will definitely be noticeable if the OP plans to do any amount of audio/video encoding (even if just using iTunes and iMovie) or photo editing.

    that said, I guess I tend to look at these kinds of decisions with a "buy the fastest/best hardware available at the moment" mindset, mainly so my computer will remain close to the cutting edge of technology for as long as possible (meaning I won't feel the need to go out and purchase a new computer every time another version is released)... in the end, though, your decision is going to come down to what you plan to do with your notebook- if you'll be doing any audio/video encoding/editing (or photo work in Aperture/Photoshop/etc.), I'd highly suggest going with the 2.53GHz version just because the extra speed will save you quite a bit of time in the long run. otherwise, if you'll be doing mostly word processing and browsing the internet or watching movies, then the 2.26GHz version should suffice.

    *on a side note- if you're at all focused on performance, may I suggest investing in a 7200rpm HDD? the only reason I mention this is because I upgraded to one a few months back, and everything loads significantly faster, and at very minimal additional cost over a standard 5400rpm drive... just thought I'd throw that out there.
  12. JamesGorman macrumors 65816


    Dec 31, 2008

    What would the .26ghz Make faster? Maybe a video would be done encoding in 5 seconds less or so. Even if it was 2 minutes quicker, Thats still not a huge deal. And besides, if it is a huge deal, than why are you encoding on anything less than a quad core mac pro? And if your really serious about video or audio encoding, you would be using a octo core.
  13. HLdan macrumors 603


    Aug 22, 2007
    Well, I look at it this way, while the OP has figured out that he can get a 500GB HDD for only $75 plus cheap ram, one thing is certainly left out. Both his ram upgrade and the hard drive upgrade are not supported under his warranty. Sure, he could replace them since they are so cheap but that's most likely what he will be doing, at least with the hard drive. $75 for a 500GB HDD is a bit on the cheap side and I would be careful of being so cheap in that area where your files are concerned.

    Also, sure you can upgrade those things on the cheaper Macbook Pro but you can also upgrade them on the 2.53 GHZ Macbook Pro for an even more beefier computer, plus with the higher CPU, it's more future proofed for certain apps and it will have a higher resale value. When buying stuff, I always look into the long haul of it, not the immediate.
  14. jmcguckin macrumors regular

    Nov 26, 2008
    Akron, OH
    if I had wanted to buy a 50lb desktop computer I would've gone with a Mac Pro, but considering I'm in college and portability was more important to me than raw power, I went with the best, smallest notebook Apple offered at the time when I bought my aluminum MacBook- and I consider its size a worthwhile trade-off... I consider my needs to be in the "pro-sumer" range (i.e. using Aperture and Final Cut on a regular basis) and will definitely be investing in a Mac Pro once I've graduated and have the money for such a ridiculously high-end machine, but for now my MacBook is powerful enough for the photo and video editing that I do- not to mention a fair bit lighter :).

    my thoughts exactly... like I mentioned in my original reply, I want to have a computer that's as future-proofed as possible so my computer holds its own against the "latest and greatest" for as long as possible. I'd be the first to admit I have a different mindset than the average student who just needs a decent notebook for the basics and occasional processor-intensive stuff, but that's why I mentioned that the decision comes down to the OP's needs...
  15. vant macrumors 65816

    Jul 1, 2009
    .26ghz isn't future proofing.

    Take that money and save it for the next, now thats future proofing.

    Back in the old uMBs, it was somewhat worth it for the .4GHz + Lighted keyboard in terms of unchangables. Now it's just .26GHz, definitely not worth it.
  16. LReyes66 macrumors member

    Aug 21, 2009
    ok well just yesterday i got the 2.53 macbook pro... but it wasnt til after i thought to myself whether i should have gotten the low end 13" version instead because it was my mom that bought it and not myself.

    I was determined to get the high end 13" soo it would last me throughout college... but i see from previous posts that i can save the $300 and use it to upgrade the ram and to a 500gb hd. But wouldnt all of that void the warranty? I decided not to get the extended warranty because i felt bad for my mom.

    I plan on using my mbp on school stuff, web surfing, watching movies/videos, and occasional gaming (wow,l4d). Currently im in seattle and bought it while i was on vacation but in a few days ill be going back to houston, tx.

    Well should i just stay with the high end mbp to save myself the hassle of returning it and the troubles of doing that, or should i exchange it for the low end and upgrade myself and possibly void the 1 yr warranty?
  17. gnasher729 macrumors P6


    Nov 25, 2005
    The upgrades are pretty easy as long as you can handle a screwdriver _and_ you make sure you have exactly the right screwdriver size.

    These upgrades will _not_ void your warranty. What _will_ void the warranty is if you damage your Mac while doing the upgrade, and obviously Apple won't give you any warranty on the new RAM and hard drive, because it is not theirs. But if you have ever unscrewed anything and screwed it back together, you should be fine.
  18. LReyes66 macrumors member

    Aug 21, 2009
    oh ic thats what i say when i mod my car....

    kinda thought mac had like a special seal when u open it it tears and voids ur warranty like game consoles.
  19. LReyes66 macrumors member

    Aug 21, 2009
    whats the max mem on the 2.53 version?

    well i decided to keep my 2.53.... in the future i might swap out the hdd
  20. Andrew Henry macrumors 6502a

    Mar 4, 2008

    I have the 2.53, great computer, I upgraded the HDD to a SSD, and it's VERY fast, I really enjoy it, no there's less of a gap between switching from my MP to a laptop.

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