Help me choose a MBP! Please?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by hushmartin, Mar 5, 2011.

  1. hushmartin macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2009
    Location:
    Kansas
    #1
    Sorry for mucking up the forum with yet another decision making thread, but I've been plagued with indecision over the last couple weeks and am no closer to a decision. This is going to be my first Mac! I'm a student so I get the edu discount and my max budget it 2k, of course I'd rather not spend any more than needed. I'm frugal.

    Right now I have a 13.3" Vaio in need of replacement. I don't take my current laptop out of the house much. I surf, watch videos (netflix, youtube, dvds), do word processing & power point. Also, do I need MS Office or will iWork suffice? I have the occasional professor that wants computer file copies of papers in office format, plus all the notes/syllabus/slides we get from teachers are in office format; I'm a little concerned about this. I do a little photo editing, I plan on trying my hand at some casual video editing (for fun). I am an old-school adventure game fanatic and will play mostly point and click type adventure games. I want enough future proofing that I don't have to buy another laptop for at least 2 years.

    While I'm used to my 13", occasionally I find myself wishing for more space, usually when I'm moving files around on my pc or trying to multitask. I can upgrade HDD and ram on my own and at a later date if need be, but I have noticed that the 128 SSD is most economical if ordered from Apple. For some reason I have this crazy idea that I should get the 15" for the graphics card.

    Anyway, I'm all over the place. 13 or 15? Do I need the graphics card? How much difference does a ssd make over the standard hdd? What about the 7200 hdd? I think I suffer from "Tim Taylor syndrome"... "More power!" *grunt grunt* And yeah, I'm a chick. Weird, I know. I just don't want to cheap out and then regret it hard core in a year.
     
  2. HBOC macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2008
    Location:
    SLC
    #2
    Well from what you wrote, perhaps a refurbed (essentially brand new) 2010 MBP. They are WAAAY under your budget and still an amazing laptop. I believe they have 15" for like $1400. Just check apple.com and then search on the left tab for "clearance Mac". I will link it in a second..

    Here you GO
     
  3. alust2013, Mar 5, 2011
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2011

    alust2013 macrumors 601

    alust2013

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2010
    Location:
    On the fence
    #3
    If you were to buy the 15", I would buy that for the bigger screen rather than the GPU. For the type of gaming you described, it doesn't sound like you'll need a ton of power for it to play decently. It all just depends on whether you want to spend the extra money. I have a 13" with an external monitor, which works great. That way I can have plenty of screen space at my desk, or still enjoy the portability of a 13"

    I also like the refurb idea above^

    Also, I'd go for Office for Mac. iWork is great, but it has some pretty annoying compatibility issues. On the other hand, Office 11 is also actually really good, and you won't have the compatibility issues. You can probably get it through your school for fairly cheap. It cost me about $65 rather than whatever apple charges for it
     
  4. Prodo123 macrumors 68020

    Prodo123

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2010
    #4
    I think she's better off with a high end 2011 13" MBP, as she's more used to a 13.3" screen. Sure, graphics are a dump, but the CPU makes up for that.
     
  5. Rhyalus macrumors 6502

    Rhyalus

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2011
    #5
    I am not sure why the 13.3" i5 with the 340mb HD would not be the perfect choice?

    I would also buy MS Office.

    I am using this setup right now and I am very happy. My office laptop is a super high end i7 Sandy Bridge with discrete graphics and 12 GB of RAM, and this MBP is really impressive.

    With the 340HD you get the space, and the processor with 4GB of RAM is plenty for the apps that you talked about.

    And for $1199....that leaves money for peripherals and software.

    R
     
  6. thejadedmonkey macrumors 604

    thejadedmonkey

    Joined:
    May 28, 2005
    Location:
    Pa
    #6
    Keep in mind that future-proofing is a non-sequitur. Any laptop you get now will be in the same league as any other one. In 3 years when it starts to slow down as software requires more resources, the difference between the 13" MBP and the 17" i7 won't be all that big.
     
  7. Winooski macrumors newbie

    Winooski

    Joined:
    Mar 5, 2011
    Location:
    Hawai'i
    #7
    Last-gen is budget friendly

    The current 13" GPU gets worse performance than the 320M. I would almost point toward a refurbed last-gen 13" for $929 and an SSD. Amazon has the Intel 120GB x25-M right now for $229 with free shipping. That's half your budget right there, and still some rock 'em sock 'em performance.
     
  8. suckatcomputers macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2011
    #8
    I have the 13" and after a week of using it, I longed for a 15". I saw my friend's 15" the other day and I thought it was the 17". Unfortunately, I can't afford it.

    If in any way a larger screen matters to you, which it seems like it does, go with a 15" or 17". Worth the price difference.
     
  9. Rhyalus macrumors 6502

    Rhyalus

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2011
    #9
    As a new Mac guy, I have to say that the beauty of the MBP (for me) is the form factor.

    I think this is the best 13.3" machine around for the money.

    When you get to 15"+, there are now hundreds of PCs that have much more horse power for much less money...

    ...I am just saying! :) (Please note that I have donned my flame retardant gear, and I am speaking only my opinion....)

    R
     
  10. Prodo123 macrumors 68020

    Prodo123

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2010
    #10
    First off, there's no such thing as a 340GB HDD 320GB is also puny. Second, higher clock and CPU performance would mean better graphics, as well.
    High-end 13" with 8GB aftermarket RAM paired with iWork is perfect for her.
     
  11. hushmartin thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2009
    Location:
    Kansas
    #11
    I'm really appreciating the advice steering me toward Office...this is one of the things that really concerns me about switching. One thing, someone mentioned being able to get that though school for ~65 bucks. I don't think my school bookstore stocks anything computer related anymore and I have only been able to find the $200 Office for Mac Academic online, with the student discount bringing it down to 99-- the difference being that outlook is included. Which, by the way, I could give a rat's behind about. I cannot seem to locate Office for mac home and student on a student discount. Ironic, huh? So, any ideas whats up with that? If I can't get the price down, then I may as well purchase Office Mac Home & student in BB, because the cost will end up the same. At least I'd get the BB points.

    Normally I'm all about refurb products...but not in this case. I have a list of reasons but it's inconsequential to you all, I'm sure. ;)

    I've narrowed it down to the high end 13 or the low end 15 and I will be getting one stock from Best Buy (the premier silver points on our BB card are too much to resist!). They said they'd match the edu discount. At this point it's all about what size screen I want and whether satisfying the desire for a larger screen is worth the added weight and cost. The Vaio is only ~4.15 lbs.! A nearly 5.6 lb 15" might feel heavy as King Kong... ha ha.
     
  12. Rhyalus macrumors 6502

    Rhyalus

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2011
    #12
    Yeah sorry - I meant 320, not 340. Feel better?

    Also, the OP did not indicate any need for better graphics performance. Therefore, I am suggesting that the basic MBP 13.3 would be just fine.

    R
     
  13. Prodo123, Mar 5, 2011
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2011

    Prodo123 macrumors 68020

    Prodo123

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2010
    #13
    The OP suggested casual video editing and Netflix, which an Intel IGP, which already is less than average, is simply not enough. By getting an i7 processor and getting a higher CPU clock, the IGP, which is on the same die as the CPU, also gets a bump in performance.
    Most people agree the words "Intel" and "Graphics" should not go together, and after 8 years of living with Intel IGP's, I know how bad they can get.
     
  14. Miss Terri macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Nov 11, 2010
    Location:
    US East Coast
    #14
    Really? The brand new, 2011 13" MBP is not good for casual video editing and Netflix? I have a 2010 MBP 13" and I have entertained the idea of getting a 2011 MBP 13", but I also do casual video editing and watch Neflix. (My uses sound similar to the OP's.)

    From what I've been reading it sounded like the 2011 would be even better than my 2010 for these things and would be downright speedy (and would not really use the GPU). Can you elaborate on your statement?
     
  15. Prodo123 macrumors 68020

    Prodo123

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2010
    #15
    It fails to play a 4-year-old game at its native resolution of 1280x800. Taking in to account that most camcorders are now 720p (1280x720, resolution of FaceTime HD) or 1080p (1920x1080), editing files of these caliber will take a lot of brainpower. When the CPU is being used heavily, less power will be focused on the IGP, which lowers the graphics performance of the computer overall. You would not see a noticeable difference when you run something like Handbrake in the background and you're going through Finder, but when you bring up a program like iMovie or Photo Booth, you see the high-resolution video in, more or less, real-time.

    That being said, with CPU-intensive tasks, graphics will be stressed a little. Little lag here and there, but enough to make the computer feel a bit slower.
    Also, the 13" do NOT have a GPU. A GPU is a CPU specialized with a lot of cores, and dedicated for graphic processing. If a computer has a GPU, that means it has 2 processors, a CPU and another one dedicated to graphics. The 13" MBP have a single CPU, which sports a graphics processing portion known as Integrated Graphics Processor. It's all on one big chip. So, if the chip is overall more powerful, the graphics will be too. That's why a 2.3Ghz i5 will have lesser graphic power than a 2.7Ghz i7.
    Netflix streams high-quality videos, which requires CPU power, which lowers IGP performance. An 2nd gen i5 might be able to handle it, but i7 is much, much better.

    Finally, by getting the i7, you future-proof your computer.

    In the end, they will both be able to do casual video editing, just that the i7 will do it much smoother and nicer. Also, watching 720p+ and/or streaming videos will be nicer on the i7.
     
  16. timsq macrumors regular

    timsq

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2004
    Location:
    New Orleans
    #16
    15" all the way. You can always get an SSD later.
     
  17. lukta macrumors member

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2011
    #17
    I would say that the top end 13 would suit your needs okay. If you absolutely want to have no regrets then get the top end 15 (with the better GPU) with a 7200 rpm drive and a high res screen (more real estate).

    Not sure what your budget is like, but those are my 2 cents.
     
  18. Prodo123 macrumors 68020

    Prodo123

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2010
    #18
    +1, a 15" would future-proof you for a good 8 years, but it's a big investment.
     
  19. Miss Terri, Mar 5, 2011
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2011

    Miss Terri macrumors 6502

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    US East Coast
  20. adnoh macrumors 6502a

    adnoh

    Joined:
    Nov 14, 2010
    #20
    For the tasks listed you do not need the power of the latest MBPs. You have a few options:

    - refurb 13"
    - refurb 15" for bigger screen
    - refurb 13" MBA

    I would recommend a refurb MBA because its perfect for the tasks you mentioned, comes with an SSD and has the resolution of the 15" MBP in the 13" form factor.
     

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