I need a new laptop by the end of July!


macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Apr 30, 2006
I am considering a new laptop. Currently I have a 1ghz 768mb 12" PB. I really love the machine but it is starting to lag -- even when watching avi files on VLC. My main complaint, however, is the lack of a high resolution and a not-so-bright screen.

I know universal support is becoming more and more widespread, but I'd like to spend as little money as possible to get a machine that will make me happy and do all I need it to do for three to four years. Is it even worth considering buying a high-res 15" Powerbook or is the new Inter Macs the way to go? I am not really sure how much I could get a used 15" PB for, but my guess would be less than a Macbook.

If that really isn't a smart option (and I know it really isn't as I could benefit from being able to run Windows-only apps without having to go through the hassles of Virtual PC), what are the main differences between the Macbook and the Macbook Pro? I know the screen resolution is much better on the MBP so I assume the screen will be much brighter?

And how much memory do I really need? Is 512 enough (usually the refurbed store has the 512 versions) for what I do ie., Fire Fox , Word, TextEdit, Dictionary, Colloquy, iCal, iTunes, VLC, Adium, Terminal, and Preview open all at once. I know the adage "the more ram the better", but will 512 suit me for the next few years running 10.5?

I would really like to buy a refurbished machine so I am at the mercy of what Apple puts out. And I do not feel comfortable installing ram myself.

Next would be processors. I don't really care about the GHz. But how will the C2D or C2D Santa Rose affect my performance? Is it really needed or will a CD be fine for the next few years? I don't see what applications I would have that would need 64-bit processing power. Past the applications listed above that I always have open, I do open Cyberduck (ftp program), Chess, Address Book, Photoshop (the most I use it for is to write something on a picture, resize and Save for Web), Acrobat Pro, Azureus, Calculator, Google Earth, Image Capture, Mathematica, StuffIt, and UnRarX.

Should I consider the MBP due to the larger screen, assumed higher brightness (I am not sure if this is true...), and most importantly, the higher screen resolution or is the 1280x1024 screen resolution going to appear so much sharper than my current 1024x768 res? I don't mind spending another $500 iff the screen is much better. I don't think I'd ever hook up a 30" screen, but I may a few years down the road. And if that's the case, then I know I need the MBP, but I don't think I'd have any qualms about "only" having a 23" ACD.

Thanks for your help. I really need help finding the best machine for me that will last me three to four years.


Jul 11, 2006
The MacBook would probably be fine for your needs. Since you seem to like to keep your computers for a while, buy the highest specd one you can afford, and get more than 512MBs of RAM, if you get it from the refurb store you can upgrade the RAM yourself easily.


macrumors 6502a
Sep 6, 2006
If you're running Word 2004 with all the other programs open, I'd probably opt for 1gb of ram or more.

As far as the difference between CD, C2D, and C2D w/ Santa Rosa, you're probably not going to see too much difference with the programs you're mentioning. I agree with the poster above... unless screen size is important to you, I'd jump on a refurbished MacBook.


macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Apr 30, 2006
Thanks. Do you know how much viewable area I will lose from a MB to 15" MBP?

And do you have any idea how much MB's are going for in the refurbed store?

Sun Baked

macrumors G5
May 19, 2002
Besides the case and some I/O (which doesn't affect performance) the major difference between the MacBook and MacBook Pro is the GPU.

The MacBook uses the Intel integrated GPU, and the MacBook Pro uses another 3rd Party GPU chip.

And over the next few years, you'd likely want to stick in as much memory as you can -- this drastically improves performance.

Heck, you might even try maxing out the memory on the PB12 for cheap -- this might boost the performance of that machine for relatively cheap. The lag may be the machine continuously resorting to the VM Manager which slows things to a crawl.


macrumors 6502a
Jan 20, 2007
Either go with a refurb macbook for the programs you're running it should be fine... however it depends if you can handle a glossy screen. Some people find that annoyin and as you are coming from a pb you are used to a matte screen so I would definitely go look at the current macbooks (the screens are the same now) to see how you like the way they look before you buy one.

A good option though would be to find either online (ebay with a good seller... or maybe even someone here has one) or if they still have any in the refurb store (which i doubt) is a a Macbook Pro CD 2.0 or 2.16 hz. I have a 2.0 CD on my si in matte and the screen is great and it would be way more then enough power then what you need it for, but you'd have the bigger screen, matte and still the Intel power, but at a decent price.

My bf got a new (in original box on clearance) 2.16 ghz CD for just about 1200 a few weeks ago. I'm sure you could find one on ebay my model (a little less ghz and vram) for just about 1000 now and there is a good chance you will still have a chance to add applecare if you want too at this point.

As for ram... if it isn't already upgraded a bit (if you find one refurb or on ebay it might be) I would def suggest you put another 512 or 1gig stick in it yourself you can get them for REALLY low prices now. Probably a 1gig stick for like 50 gskill (works great in mine) and it slides right in. Nothing to be uncomfortable about. Took me 5 min. DEFINITELY worth it.

I run 1.5gig in mine and it flys for the stuff you mentioned.

Just my 2 cents. :) Goodluck with whatever you choose!