Help needed for getting a new MBP

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by Athonline, May 11, 2011.

  1. Athonline macrumors member

    May 11, 2011
    Hello all!

    Before you say this is another "recomend" me a Macbook thread, please read my case first. I spent hours and hours using the search button on this forum and want to ask you some questions, whose answers I may missed during my search.

    I am finnishing my national duty (serving in the army) in two months and after that I will go to University of Surrey to study Computing and IT. Thanks to army and some side-jobs money isn't as much of an object for me for getting something top-end, with a value-for-money. My budget is arround 2000-2500 euros.

    I decided to step away from Windows and return to my roots, to Apple. I haven't owned a Mac computer since 1998 with an iMac G3, my first computer. However due to army and some friends of mine, I came in touched again with them and I amazed by the speed, the stability and the overall perfomance and appeal of them. Over the last 3 years I also got a work as a part-time photographer, so a Mac will help me increase my workflow. While I am not the gamer I used to be, playing games with a high-end MBP 17'' in a VM won't be a problem right? I plan to get 8GB of memory and dedicate 4-6GB to the VM depending on the game and my background needs. I also don't play in full screen, so lower resolutions will be used. Do you recomend a Mac to a guy like me? Computing students, part gamer, part photographer? Do you think I may have problems with my course? I asked a university teacher about it, told me he and most of the lecturers is a Mac user himself and recomends me, but still doesn't know for all the course.

    Now my final choice is a Macbook Pro 17'', with 8GB Ram upgrade and either the 500GB drive or the 128SSD + 1-2TB external drive. Is that a solid setup for the above usage? I don't mind if it is an overkill, since I am a multitasker and usually gets my computers to their limits.

    A topic I couldn't get a clear answer for is about connecting a PS3 to the Macbook and use the laptop as a monitor. I am well aware that PS3 have a compoment output, that can produce HD signal. AverMedia and other TV tuners provide video capturing devices with such input, if I get one (Mac or not compatible -will use it in VM) I will be ok, won't I? In theory at least, since I did similar thing in my desktop computer.

    Lastly but yet most importand is where should I buy my Macbook from! You see I can't wait until September to go and get it! I need a month with it at least, to learn the new OS and the programming tools UI which maybe different than their Windows counterparts. Apple doesn't ship to Cyprus, however I can find some dirty cheap tickets and go to London for a nigh to get it with the Education discount. If I go to an Apple store and order the aboved Mac, will they have it ready within the day? Can I order it from before and just pick-it-up and pay it? If I get it that way, I want a Matte screen aswell. If the answer to that is no, I am left with the following options:
    a) Order it from eBay, I already found this "deal":
    The seller upgraded the Mac with third-party RAM and HDD, but his feedback looks solid. Do you recomend it? after taxes, etc it may even be a little bit cheaper than buying it from UK. The Warranty is international, right? Anything I should look after if I get it from USA?
    b) Order it from an online store. The only one I could find, that orders to Cyprus is B&H. However it is much more expensive that other shops. Is there any other stores you recomend with itnernational shipping?
    c) Ask a friend of mine who studies there to buy it. If she buys it under her name and student ID, will there be any problem with warranty afterwards? Can she buy the laptop with my info and have it shipped to her? I need to have the laptop register to me.
    Other ideas/suggestions are more than welcomed!

    I know I wrote a big text block, sorry for that and I will like to thank you from advance for your reply and help! I am getting a little bit desperate here to get everything right! :)
  2. alust2013 macrumors 601


    Feb 6, 2010
    On the fence
    That model will work fine for what you want, although you may find gaming in a VM to be difficult. Personally, I would recommend using bootcamp, and gaming in Windows natively, then just run the same bootcamp partition in a VM for the non-gaming stuff. I'm not sure about the display in. I have heard that there are workarounds for it, but I'm not sure what would be an easy/cost effective way to do it.

    If you're going to upgrade the RAM, I'd recommend doing so third party, simply because it's half the cost or less. Apple doesn't use special or more high-quality RAM that you need to buy from them, they just take advantage of people not realizing that.
  3. xxBURT0Nxx macrumors 68020


    Jul 9, 2009
    Yeah, macbook pro will be fine for your needs.

    You probably won't be able to play many games through a virtual machine, you will need to use bootcamp to set up a windows partition so that you can play the games natively in windows

    Due to your gaming needs, you will probably want to get a larger ssd, stick with the hdd, or look into an optibay setup. 128gb on an ssd isn't going to be very much if you have to partition it for windows and want room for your apps and games. It's also good to note you can save money by buying ram and hdd on your own and installing them, which is also very simple.

    AFAIK, no macbook pro displays CAN'T be used as an external monitor, only iMac screens have that ability.

    If you aren't getting anything BTO (ram or hdd upgrades) from apple, then just go to the store and buy the base 17 and upgrade the ram and hdd on your own, you will save time and money.

    If for some reason you absolutely have to have apple install the ram and stuff for you, idk why you would, but some people are weird like that, then why not just order online, have it shipped to your friends, then go pick it up when it arrives. This will also take more time and be more costly fyi.

    Don't worry about the warranty, you can put it in your name when you register the mac regardless of who buys it.
  4. Athonline thread starter macrumors member

    May 11, 2011
    Thanks you and the rest for your replies. I won't care if the ram is or not third party. I will stick with a 500GB hydrib drive until bigger SSD become more affordable or the next paycheck arrives. How is that "deal" on eBay? Do you think the seller is a trusted one? Or do you think there is any catch or that relatively low price?

    When you buy with Education discount don't you have to register the Mac to the account who bought it? How they know that each student only gets one MacBook with discount as their terms of agreement suggest so?
  5. xxBURT0Nxx, May 11, 2011
    Last edited: May 11, 2011

    xxBURT0Nxx macrumors 68020


    Jul 9, 2009
    No, you don't have to register it, and they don't know really. I could go buy 4 or 5 macs with student discount, they won't turn me away.

    I would personally stay away from ebay, i didn't look at your link though.

    -edit- just looked at it, i don't see how they could say it's unused, unopened, but it comes with a seagate momentus, apple doesn't offer that drive as a bto last time i checked so they would have had to open it to put the drive in there.

    Not to say it's used, but they had to have opened the box and the computer to install the hard drive, then they had to reinstall osx on it. Plus you will likely pay a decent amount to get it shipped, sometimes in other countries you also have to pay taxes and stuff on electronics that you receive, not sure how this would work for you, but may be more of a hassle than it's worth imo.

    -edit 2- well looking on apples site you can upgrade the hdd to a 500gb 7200rpm drive, not sure if that means apple puts the momentus in there, i guess they could. Maybe another user will know for sure...
  6. Athonline thread starter macrumors member

    May 11, 2011
    Thanks for clearing that up. If she accepts to order it for me I will go that way. She is kinda afraid of taking te responsibilities for a such expensive piece of equipment. Is there any UK based online shop with europian shipping?

    The drive is 3rd party OEM product. It is hydrib drive (SSD for buffer and running files and HDD for rest of the files). The RAM are upgraded by the seller as well. The seller told he opened the laptop to install the upgrades and make sure it is working. He maybe able to send it with a Gift label, so to avoid import taxes, but even with them it is 200-300 euros cheaper than Apple UK and B+H which is an official reseller. If I get it from Apple in any way I will be able to get that 50 pounds AppleCare for students.
  7. xxBURT0Nxx macrumors 68020


    Jul 9, 2009
    i'm in the US, not the UK so I don't know about places to order nor pricing differences.

    The ebay link is $2640 US, base price of a 17" here is $2500 + $90 for 3rd party ram. We also have student pricing here.

    I see the UK apple store has the 17" for £2,099.00.... not really sure what that equates to in US dollars (are UK prices in euros or pounds?) but apple also offers free shipping so I would think that is cheaper than paying the import taxes, depending on how much they are. IDK you would have to figure that out to be honest!
  8. jason221 macrumors 6502

    Jun 26, 2009
    £2,099.00 = $3,430.61, which is ridiculous.
  9. Athonline thread starter macrumors member

    May 11, 2011
    As Jason221 suggested £2,099.00 = $3,430.61! Which is expensive and waste of money. After Edu discount, for 2000 pounds (arround 3000 dollars or 2200 euros) I can get a 17inch MBP with 8GB, 500HDD, Matte screen and 3 years applecare. However UK store doesn't deliver abroad and I am left hoping if a friend of mine agrees to help me. B&H price is 3000 dollars, 3600 with shipping and taxes, without the 3 years applecare. Do you know any other online shop that ships international? I am still kinda worried about the ebay seller (if the macbook is a refurb and sells it as new...)

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