Help with understanding the spec. of Macbook pro

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by MrWillsi3, Nov 8, 2009.

  1. MrWillsi3 macrumors newbie

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    Nov 8, 2009
    #1
    hey guys and gals. I have a question (obviously). I'm really looking into buying a macbook pro but i never totally grasped the concept of all the specifics...i'll list what apple.com says the macbook pro 17" has, and tell u what i DO understand, and what i dont, and hope someone can fill in the blanks for me in laymans terms so i can understand a little better:)

    # 2.8GHz Intel Core 2 Duo - I really have no clue what this is lol...

    # 4GB 1066MHz DDR3 SDRAM - 2X2GB - I THINK the 4GB is how much info it can process but again, not really sure what it means...can u break down each part (what the 4GB means, what the 1066MHz means etc.)

    # 500GB Serial ATA Drive @ 5400 rpm - OK even my slow ass gets that this means it has a 500GB hard drive...does the other stuff afterwards really matter/mean anything (serial ata drive @ 5400 rpm), i get that the rpm is how fast the disc spins, but what a good rpm rate is, and why its important, i have no clue

    # SuperDrive 8x (DVD±R DL/DVD±RW/CD-RW) - I'm guessing this means it takes DVD R's, DVD RW's and CD R's and CD RW's. Now does it just READ them or can it burn them also. (im sure it burns cds, i dont know about dvds thou)

    # MacBook Pro 17-inch Hi-Resolution Glossy Widescreen Display
    - Is there any real difference between this and the anti-glare screen other than the obvious (no glare), is it woth the extra $50?

    Express Card/34 Slot - No clue what this is...

    NVIDIA GeForce 9400M + 9600M GT with 512MB - I think this is relating to the graphics card(s), but again have no idea what it all means!


    Sorry for all the dumb questions, I'm hoping to start putting together a music studio, thou im sure it will take a cpl years at least to supply the $ etc for it...I know i need a reliable and fast computer as my recording foundation. I know a imac would work great, but i really want some portability. Also, I've seen where you can hook laptop's up to TV's and have the TV as a huge monitor, I'd really be intersted in that, how do you do that, and can the MBP do it...any details on that?

    Thanks again everyone
     
  2. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

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    #2


    It's the processor. Wikipedia article about it



    That's RAM. 4GB is the amount and 1066MHz is the speed of it. DDR3 is the type and SDRAM is the form factor. Wikipedia



    Serial ATA is the interface that the drive uses. 5400rpm is standard in laptops but you might want to get 7200rpm one



    Yes, it can burn DVDs too.




    Glare display has glass on it so you will get reflections. Anti-glare is worth it IMO



    It's like USB, you can attach something to it e.g. camera



    This means it has 2 graphic cards, intergraded 9400M and dedicated 9600M GT. Wikipedia
     
  3. iToaster macrumors 68000

    iToaster

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    #3
    The Core 2 Duo is the processor, it runs at 2.8 GHz and has two processing cores. The 4 GB of RAM refers to the amount of memory where things are easily accessible (unlike the much slower hard drive), the 1066 MHz is the speed at which the RAM communicates. Don't worry about the hard drive, 5400 RPM is fast enough for a laptop and SATA is just the connection type used by the computer. The superdrive can read and write to Dual layer DVD+/-R discs, single layer DVD+/-R discs, DVD+/-RW discs, and also to CD-R and CD-RW discs (RW stands for rewritable). The differences between the screen are simple, one comes with a metal bezel and a recessed antiglare screen, while the normal one is the edge to edge glossy glass display. The expresscard is and expansion slot, you can plug a lot of things into it, everything from a card reader to a card with more USB ports. The NVIDIA stuff refers to the graphics cards in the machine, the 9400M is slower but more energy efficient than the 9600 GT, you can switch between them if you require more power for, say, a game or some graphics software. Also, yes, you can hook your laptop up to a TV, but the issue there is that while the TV may have a larger screen size it usually has a vastly inferior resolution, especially when compared to the 17" MacBook Pro.
     
  4. psingh01 macrumors 65816

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    #4
    2.8GHz Intel Core 2 Duo - it's the cpu. The # is how fast it is. The Core 2 Duo is the brand. Basically bigger number means faster. The Core 2 Duo have 2 cores which is kind of like having 2 cpu's. All Mac's except the Mac Pro and the highest end iMacs use Core 2 Duo's. So you can judge how fast they are in relation to each other by the 2.8Ghz. The high end iMac and Mac Pro have better cpu's so you can't make the same comparison just by the clock speed.

    4GB 1066MHz DDR3 SDRAM - 2X2GB - Ram is the memory. Everything your cpu works on has to be loaded from your hard drive to ram first. So more ram means you run more programs at the same time more smoothly. Too little ram causes the computer to copy stuff back to your disk temporarily so it can make space in ram for something another program wants to use. This can slow you down big time. 4GB is pretty good for most people. If you run more programs and find your pc slowing down, add some ram and it might help.

    500GB Serial ATA Drive @ 5400 rpm - Faster rpm (higher number) basically means you can read/write stuff to the disk faster. If you have to ask about the rpm then it's not really important, trust me :) 5400 is plenty fast enough for most people and it's cheaper runs cooler than the faster 7200rpm drives.

    SuperDrive 8x (DVD±R DL/DVD±RW/CD-RW) - yep reads and burns cd's and dvd's. The ones that are listed are the different format disks it will take. This was an issue in the early days since DVD+R was different than DVD-R. But the drive works with all of them so you have less to worry about.

    MacBook Pro 17-inch Hi-Resolution Glossy Widescreen Display - Go to an Apple store and look at them. I personally can't stand the glossy screens other people love them.

    Express Card/34 Slot - It's for expansion cards just like on a big desktop pc. You can add USB ports, eSATA or other stuff through this. A lot of times you can find an equivalent USB peripheral so people don't use it (which is why Apple took it away from the other models). It's nice to have but if you have to ask then you'll probably never need it lol.

    NVIDIA GeForce 9400M + 9600M GT with 512MB - It's the video cards. It has 2 that you can switch between. The 9400M uses less power and is good enough for web browsing and watching videos. The 9600M is much better and you use it for games and other 3d stuff which the 9400 really sucks at.
     
  5. MrWillsi3 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Nov 8, 2009
    #5
    Wow you guys are fast, i go take a shower and come back and have 3 replies lol. That helps a lot. Now for the express card/34 slot, can you add on a firewire attachment using that slot?

    Also, how does the computer hook up to the screen, i understand that the resolution wouldnt be as good since its going to be doubling the size of the screen...but how do you go about hooking it up?

    Graphics im not too concerned with since im mostly going to be using it for music.

    I also should ask about wireless internet. Not too familiar with it. I have a router with some sort of wireless broadcaster (or whatever the proper name is lol)...but i was told you have to have some sort of a chip in your computer in order for it to hook up wirelessly, does this come with the MBP or do you have to buy it seperately, how much do they cost?
     
  6. MrWillsi3 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #7
    the feelings mutual
     
  7. chown33 macrumors 604

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    Aug 9, 2009
    #8
    Instead of trying to understand specs, why not post your requirements and let others advise what to get?

    Even if you understand what the specs mean in basic terms, it doesn't mean you'll understand what they mean in terms of getting your work done.

    So far, one requirement is for audio recording, but it's too vague. It's also stated as possibly happening some time in the future. That makes it a forecast, rather than a requirement. Requirements describe what you will do with the computer now and in the immediate future. A few years in computers is a lifetime, especially with mobile equipment.

    You also have to be definite about "want" vs. "need". "Want portability" is vague, because it doesn't say anything about what you'd do if you don't have it. "Need portability to record live shows at indoor locations, not outdoor" is specific about what will be done with it, and also clarifies that weatherproofing isn't needed (though a good transportation case would be indicated).

    And every MacBook Pro comes with FireWire and wireless networking builtin. It's in the specs, but maybe you didn't notice.
     
  8. psingh01 macrumors 65816

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    #9
    You probably can add more fire wire ports through with an expansion card. Go to http://www.sonnettech.com, they might have one. Yes you can connect an external monitor as well. I'm pretty sure it can drive large displays like the 30" Apple LCD. The built in screen is usually the limiting factor when it comes to resolutions. Your video card can handle much higher when using an external monitor.

    I think these all have mini display ports. So you have to get an appropriate adapter (like mini display port to DVI) to use it with monitors that don't have minidisplay ports.
     
  9. MrWillsi3 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #10
    Nope i didnt notice but thanks for the heads up. I plan to use pro tools LE 8 with it, its primarily for a home stuido but i would NEED the portability to go from home studio to another studio and be able to take my songs with me.

    I'd NEED something thats not going to cause latency while recording, but I'm sure 4GB will work well enough. I wont have 100 tracks going at once, but i want to be able to have enough processing to handle at least 32 tracks, with plug-in effects running as well.

    I'll NEED an exterior hard drive to save off my songs on because i dont want to clutter the HD up with huge 1GB files for every song. Plus I'm a back up freak now since ive had bad experiences with losing songs that wernt backed up (learning the hard way with first digital recorder).

    I WANT the 17", but could handle the 15", i just sometimes get my mind on something i WANT, and i go after it like i need it lol...but that is optional, especially if i can hook up to an exterior monitor or a TV or whatever (im guessing an exterior monitor would show up equally as clear as the laptop screen as opposed to it not being as sharp if it were hooked up to just a TV?)

    I NEED something that i can add extra USB/Firewire ports to eventually, but im gathering that most computers come with the option of adding on w/e you need as time goes on.

    I WANT something that isnt going to go to hell after a year or two...and that I can just upgrade (if needed) to keep up with my requirements, rather than having to buy a whole new computer (thus the reason im going with mac rather than the constantly bugging and becoming outdated PC's).

    Hope this helps....
     
  10. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

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    #11
    Get the best one you can afford. All extra speed you can get will be worth it
     
  11. MrWillsi3 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #12
    lol, yeah i hope to eventually.

    oh and to add one more thing to the need/want list...i would WANT the ability to hook up (eventually) to monitors...again not sure how it works but, I want to be able to have 1 window open in 1 monitor, and another window open in the 2nd monitor (for those familiar with DAW recording, 1 for the Mix window, 1 for the Edit window).
     
  12. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

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    #13
    That's possible. You just need an adapter for that depending on the input your monitor has
     
  13. MrWillsi3 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #14
    soooo who has the best prices on a macbook pro anyway, everywhere i see its $2300 for a 15" and 17" for $2500, is that just standard, or do you think it would be worth the risk getting one off amazon used or are there places who sell new ones for cheaper? Think they might have some x-mas sale prices?:D
     
  14. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

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    #15
    Black Friday is coming and then even Apple is going to give discounts. AppleInsider has a nice pricing guide so take a look at it!
     
  15. MrWillsi3 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #16
    i'll check that out. so will black friday effect online sales or think i'll have to go suffer in a crowd to get one :rolleyes:.
     
  16. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

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    It's online too as far as I know
     
  17. MrWillsi3 thread starter macrumors newbie

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  18. boston44 macrumors 6502

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    #19
    Yes, black friday sales usually indicate 5-10% off (tax) for computers. The others have explained the specs.
     

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