I need to know if I'm getting what I want.

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by ZiggyPastorius, Sep 16, 2007.

  1. ZiggyPastorius macrumors 68040


    Sep 16, 2007
    Berklee College of Music
    Okay, so I'm getting ready to buy a new laptop (With a budget around $12-1300) and there's so much I need to know before I buy. I've been asking everyone various things, and I figure that these forums are a good place to ask as well (as you guys own the computers and know about them).
    I've used Macintosh minimally, but I love them, I know musicians love them, and I would much rather have one that my PC, however, I've been doing a lot of looking into it and I'm still thinking PC is the best way for me to go right now, so here's your chance to change my mind:

    This is what I am going to do with my new computer:
    Use Fruity Loops Studio
    Use Finale 2007 and beyond
    If I get a Macintosh, I plan on getting GarageBand and hopefully some of the Logic Studio programs.
    I want to be able to store large amounts of music, as well as create podcasts efficiently and professionally (I have a radio podcast hosted on a website and iTunes)
    I want to be able to (hopefully) create and maintain a professional website for that podcast, as well as my musical endeavours.

    Now this is all fine and good (except maybe Fruity Loops), but here's the kicker.

    I am not a hardcore gamer, but I play Counter Strike 1.6, and C&C3, Guild Wars, then smaller games like StepMania, et cetera. This sort of worries me with the Mac, because the Macintosh I would get if I do choose to get it has only a 64MB video card. Now, I talked to a representative on the phone and they said that with the 2.0Ghz Dual Core Processor and the 2GB of RAM (Which is what I plan to get), games will run fine speed-wise, but I still don't know in terms of the video card. And the compatability of certain things is also an issue. I do not want to buy a Mac just to run Windows XP on it so I can do these things, I want a mac for the great machine that it is, but these things lead me to believe that at this point, with the budget and such that I have, that going for a new PC is the best choice for me.

    Your thoughts?

    The Mac I am going to get is a regular Macbook (the one that starts at 1,099), except I am upgrading it ever so slightly.

    Here are the specs:

    2.0Ghz Dual Core processor speed (4MB l2 Cache)
    2GB 667Mhz DDR2 SDRAM
    80GB Hard Drive (kind of a kick in the ass for me)
    Intel GMA 950, 64MB DDR2
    And then I plan on improving the sound card and sound system in any way I can.

    What should I do?

    P.S. Not to be rude, but I know people for both sides of the computer world spectrum tend to be "fanboys" for their particular OS. Please don't be one of these people; I seriously want to get what I need out of this computer and can't afford to make a mistake. Thanks, everyone.
  2. irishgrizzly macrumors 65816


    May 15, 2006
    IMHO I'd save another pay check and buy the macbook pro
  3. ZiggyPastorius thread starter macrumors 68040


    Sep 16, 2007
    Berklee College of Music
    Well, the reason I'm not going to do that, is because I have other computers that, if this Mac is not going to give me something that makes me want it that much more than another computer, I'm going to go for. So I'm going to assume this is a vote in favour of, the Mac is not what I want. Thanks for the reply, though. =]
  4. suneohair macrumors 68020


    Aug 27, 2006
    No one here can tell you what you want. This is a Mac forum, and to come here and say "I know there are fanboys, but don't be one" is rather foolish.

    There is no reason you can't do research and figure out what you need and thus what you want to buy. Find out the requirements for your software and research. No one can hold your hand and no one here should attempt to convince you to go Mac. That is your job. It is your money.

    To run Counter Strike you will have to run Windows in some way. Virtual, natively with Boot Camp, or an app like Crossover (which works ok). And even then, the GMA950 is absolute garbage. The suggestion of a MBP was a good one as it would be a better choice for your uses.

    My intent here wasn't to be rude. But your post clearly suggests that you want a PC and need a PC for your uses. Furhermore you haven't even offered a PC to compare it to.
  5. ZiggyPastorius thread starter macrumors 68040


    Sep 16, 2007
    Berklee College of Music
    I have done a ******** of research on it, and I am not a very computer literate person. My intent here was to find people who own Macintoshes who can tell their opinion on whether or not I'm going to be able to get what I want out of this Macintosh. I made it very clear that I want a Macintosh, not a PC, but I do not want a Mac if it's not going to give me what I want. I also made it very clear that playing Counter Strike is not my only intent with this computer. My main concern is whether it has the ability to do more of what I want to do (which is make/record music and play a couple of games) than another computer. I didn't ask anyone to compare it to another computer, I just want to know how much of those things and how well this Macintosh would be able to handle it, but if you want the one I'm looking at to compare, I am looking at the dell Inspiron 1721:

    PROCESSOR AMD Turion™ 64 X2 Mobile Technology TL-60 (1MB/2.0GHz)
    OPERATING SYSTEM Genuine Windows Vista® Home Premium Edition
    SYSTEM COLOR Spring Green
    DISPLAY Anti-glare, widescreen 17.0 inch display (1440 x 900)
    VIDEO CARD ATI RADEON® Xpress1270 HyperMemory™
    HARD DRIVE Size: 160GB SATA Hard Drive (5400RPM)
    MEMORY 2GB Shared Dual Channel DDR2 at 667MHz
    OPTICAL DRIVE CD / DVD writer (DVD+/-RW Drive)
    WIRELESS NETWORK CARDS Dell Wireless 1490 802.11a/g Mini-Card
    INTEGRATED WEBCAM No Webcam Option
    BATTERY OPTIONS 56Whr Lithium Ion Battery (6 cell)
    SOUND OPTIONS Integrated Sound Blaster® Audigy™HD Software Edition

    My only reason for asking people not to be fanboys, is I don't want people to come on here and copy the mac slogans like "it just works" and stuff verbatim, or just say things like "Mac is much better than PC, go Mac." I was simply asking for a serious opinion on the state of this particular macintosh for my interests. I'm sorry if that's too much to ask in a forum called "buying tips, advice, and discussion."
  6. kuebby macrumors 68000


    Jan 18, 2007
    CS will work fine on the MB. It's quite a few years old now (but still great to play for sure) so it will run just fine. That goes the same for all the programs you mentioned. For the games I definitely recommend using Boot Camp though, as that will better utilize the computer.
  7. Carrot007 macrumors regular


    Sep 18, 2006
    From your past few comments here it seem you have decided price is your main concern.

    if that is the case then MAC is not for you.

    Do you not have a pc that you can use games on or is selling it part of the plan? (back to the price there then)

    MAC is truely wonderful (post OS X) and it has changed my computing life, if however price is all you care about then give it up it ain't for you.
  8. ZiggyPastorius thread starter macrumors 68040


    Sep 16, 2007
    Berklee College of Music
    Well, selling my Desktop is not part of the plan. I plan on keeping the desktop PC, which is capable of playing those games, (though not very well). I know Macs are very expensive, which is why I've been leaning towards going Dell instead for my laptop, but I was posting this just to check any other opinions and comments related.
  9. suneohair macrumors 68020


    Aug 27, 2006
    The Mac will not give you more if you:

    1: Don't enjoy the OS
    2: Can't run the apps you like/want/need to run
    3: Doesn't fit into your budget

    I would not recommend buying a Mac without trying them. I am assuming you have. If not, please do.

    We know that:

    1: Fruity doesn't exist for Mac
    2: Counter Strike does not exist for Mac

    You said Counter Strike isn't important but if you want it you will need the following:
    a. Parallels or Fusion, and buying Windows
    b. Boot Camp, which is beta. If you want the final version of it you need Leopard and of copy of Windows

    Same follows for other Mac Applications. Now, how important is Fruity Loops to you? Would you be fine shifting to something like Recycle, GarageBand, etc? If so, Mac is certainly viable.

    Now, the machine you are looking at. I would recommend going Core 2 Duo. And maybe a higher res screen on the 17". With coupons you can configure a nice Dell laptop, probably 17" for around the same price as the Macbook. When you figure that, how do you feel about switching? I will throw a Dell together with a price and report back.
  10. CRAZYBUBBA macrumors 65816


    Mar 28, 2007
    For your needs I'd say go for the PC, just because you'd need a MBP to comfortably get the performance that you'd require.

  11. the vj macrumors 6502a

    Nov 23, 2006

    I am agree and disagree with some people here.


    For the podcast stuff the Macbook is fine and for the audio software like Grageband is just fine. I am using Grageband with a 12" G4 1.5 Ghz Powerbook and the good things about Apple software is that they are optimise for the system and can run just fine in almost any computer even old G4s.

    Now, I have sen people upgrading because the computer was not enough, specially regarding Macbooks, I do not have one but if my 12" PB can handle lots of things I just do not get why a core duo doesnt.

    Gaming related... use your PC or get the actual hardware, I do not sue my mac for gaming, if there are games or not is indifferent for me.

    Remember you are getting the lowest of the line. I would get a MacBookPro but again, I haven't use MacBooks so I do not know.

    In conclusion:

    The system will work except for gaming, then... I do not know about your expectations.

    In my experience the only Mac that I didn't like was the Cube and that was ages ago.

    Tody I have a quad G5 and 4 12" Powerbooks and I am just fine with their capabilities. I work doing live video.
  12. ZiggyPastorius thread starter macrumors 68040


    Sep 16, 2007
    Berklee College of Music
    Okay, there's a bit of an update still...

    I've heard all this stuff from both sides, and i understand that the video cards in this Macbook is going to be ******, but there's a couple things that are still making me consider getting this Macbook...

    The biggest reason: Logic Studio.

    I looked up the recommended requirements for the entire $500 Logic Studio package, and the Macbook I looked at seems to be able to handle it all perfectly. This is a HUGE factor or me in my decision, because I would absolutely love to own and use this program, and would be an amazing asset to my computing and music world.

    And upon looking a bit closer at the video card in my PC choice, the video card seems to be (I don't know if it's as ******, but close) just as ****** or close to the 64MB one in the Mac. Another important thing is that I do still have this Desktop that I can play Counter Strike on.

    The important thing for me is not necessarily whether the computer can do everything I do with a computer right now, it's whether it will be a major asset to my traveling needs. I want something that can do my basic tasks, like taking it to school and typing papers and taking notes and stuff with it, and maybe play some simple, can-play-on-5-year-old-computers games, like StepMania and such, as well as surfing the internet, but besides those basic tasks that pretty much every computer can do, I want something that is exactly what Logic Studio is. I want to have this professional software because I am a musician and that is what is important to me in this computer, is recording, mixing, editing, and listening to music, and things like that. It would also be nice if there was a way for me to use, say, Fruity Loops on the computer, too, but from what I understand, with Logic Studio, I can do anything I could do on Fruity Loops.

    So, I've noticed people seem to get a bit angry regarding what people say on here, and please, don't be. Like I said before, I'm not very computer literate, and I'm trying my best to explain what I want, so I can get opinions. I don't want one person to say any magic words to convince me, I just want to hear what a ton of different people have to say about it so that I can make my decision when the time comes. So at this point, it comes down to this:

    I have until 2009 or 2010 before I go to Berklee College of Music, where I am required to buy a brand new Macbook Pro for their laptop program. If I get this Macbook and Logic Studio, will it satisfy me, musically, as well as satisfy me with those simplest of tasks (ignore the gaming for now), until then? If I seem to be reiterating the stuff I said before at all, I probably am, but I'm jsut looking for as many opinions as possible. Please don't be frustrated with me. :)
  13. CalBoy macrumors 604


    May 21, 2007
    I don't think anyone suggested this, so I will. You could buy a refurbished mbp. The price will be a good one, and you will get more performance out of it over the current macbooks. The mbp will be okay with games, but you will have to invest some more money in Windows (if you don't have a copy already).

    I haven't looked at the refurb store lately, but my guess is that the current SR mbps will begin to arrive soon. The base model will go for $1600 or so; quite a bargain if you think about it. If this is still too much for you, buy the previous revision mbp. It still has more VRAM than the macbook, and you might get free RAM out of it:) This should be a bit cheaper; I'm not sure how much cheaper, but my guess is that it will be a good $200 cheaper than the SR mbp.

    Honestly, if you just don't have the money for the right product that fits your needs (in your case, a mbp) then you should save up for a bit longer. I didn't really understand your response to irishgrizzly, because his suggestion made perfect sense. Since you have at least two other computers (you used the plural form in your post), I don't see why you can't wait a bit longer. In the end, if nothing we suggest works for you, just wait a few years and get yourself a great looking and working mbp for that music school you mentioned.

    PS, Garageband ships with all Macs; you don't have to buy it.
  14. ZiggyPastorius thread starter macrumors 68040


    Sep 16, 2007
    Berklee College of Music
    I will check that out and get back on you. And yeah, that would be an option, if I had a lot of money, but I'm still in High School and with needing to buy the newest Macbook Pros for the college anyways, I was looking more for something that served my purposes now, which I think if I got Logic Studio and could use that well, that would be perfect, however, I don't know. That's the only reason I responded like that, to him. Also, because to get a decent Macbook Pro instead would be another 4 or 5 paychecks, not just one =/ I appreciate the feedback, though, and all of this is (believe it or not) helping me with my decision. It's just a really hard one to make, because I don't want to make the wrong decision at any costs.

    And no, I don't have two other computers, I just have this desktop, which isn't that great, and I need a laptop mainly for the ability to take it places and move it around, et cetera.

    There are still reasons for me to consider buying a Macbook, and Logic Studio is the biggest one, so at this point, if I'm going to have to go for a Macbook Pro just to make getting the mac worth while, I'm going to stick with Windows, but we'll see.

    Does anyone think that Logic Studio is a better reason to get the Macbook than not getting it?
  15. CalBoy macrumors 604


    May 21, 2007
    Wait, you're in high school? I thought you NEEDED a new computer or something. If you still have a few years left before college, I don't see why you can't hold on. You don't need your Mac right now unless you're deriving some livelyhood from it (ie, cash). Work more, live your life, and then when you have the cash to get a sweet mbp, pull the trigger. Waiting for even six more paychecks won't be too bad.
  16. ZiggyPastorius thread starter macrumors 68040


    Sep 16, 2007
    Berklee College of Music
    I guess that's true. And I've thought about all that. Most of what makes sense about the decision points to just going for the PC at this point, but, godamn... .Mac and Logic Studio and all those are so enticing lol

    And I'm a Junior. The point of the laptop for me is to take my musical exploration to new places, which is why Logic Studio is such a big dreamy thing for me. It's not necessarily a need at this point, it's just that appeal of becoming a bigshot around these parts, haha. I'm definitely going for a laptop, it's just the decision that's the hard part, because while I was at Berklee, I got to try out the Macs they use there and they use Logic Studio and the midi keyboards and all that good shiz, and it was oh so amazing.

    Also, I have a ******** of stuff planned up besides this laptop lol

    Here's a short list, in order:

    New Laptop (around Christmas time)
    New Rickenbacker 4003 Bass, yum...
    Paying to go to Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp next summer
    Hopefully entering Berklee College of Music ($3000 Mandatory laptop program for brand new Macbook Pro), ~$12,000 a semester for Tuition.

    So, yeah...I have my goals set out for a while lol I'm a kid, what do you expect? =/
  17. CalBoy macrumors 604


    May 21, 2007
    It's nice to have goals, but be realistic when it comes to money. There's nothing wrong with wanting a good Mac and other good stuff, but you seem to be at a point of excess. You have other computers right? Take it easy and appreciate what you have. If you don't have the money for the right product, keep working and saving. You'll get there soon:) It makes it that much more valuable when you've worked hard for something, and have had to sacrifice for it.

    OK Brady Bunch moment over:p

    Like I said before, the refurbed models are a good idea for you, and you may want to think about unloading one of your other computers; when you get you Mac, you'll probably forget they even exist.;)
  18. Sirmausalot macrumors 6502a


    Sep 1, 2007
    I think if the boy wants logic, and plans on using it professionally with music school being the goal, then that outweighs all of the other considerations be they games or price or whatever. Save as much money as you can and buy the best Mac you can afford be it a notebook, refurb, or even an iMac. Honestly, a lot of people think they need a notebook and in reality they don't. They need a 'portable' You can move the iMac easily from one location (home) to another location (vacation home should you have one) and set it up easily. I doubt you'll be playing games or composing music in a car or on a train, though I could be wrong. take a serious look at the iMac as it might suit your needs. Just save all the packing material to get it from one place to the next.

    You might want to play games, you can hope they play well enough on the Mac you buy, but let 'Logic' and your music goals guide your decision. Make sure you get the educational discount on everything (though I think the free iPod promo is over)
  19. Abstract macrumors Penryn


    Dec 27, 2002
    Location Location Location
    Only read this thread halfway through, but if you're worried about the GMA 950 graphics, just note that many laptops at this price range also have this very same integrated graphics chip. Other laptops may allow for more RAM to be used in their GMA 950 (ie: more than the 64 MB in the MacBook), but gaming is hampered by the technology inside the GMA 950, not the amount of RAM.

    My point is that if you're looking for a laptop with a good CPU like an 2.0 GHz Intel C2D, and the MacBook is what's in your price range, you may as well get the MacBook, because:

    1. The apps you want to run in Mac OS X and WinXP (ie: Logic, Fruity Loops) are CPU intensive, not graphics intensive. You're better off with an Intel C2D than an AMD because your apps will run faster.

    2. Other laptops (at your price point) will not provide you with a much better gaming experience, so why buy another brand if they also use a GMA 950 or another sort of bad video card?? Apple's MacBook is quite a nice computer for the price, even compared to PC laptops.

    3. The GMA 950 is crap....but this opinion is from a forum full of computer geeks. The GMA 950 runs games OK. It won't run the latest and greatest games, but it'll run many games adequately enough. It will run CS well. ;)
  20. richardson.hila macrumors member

    Aug 31, 2007
    AVOID DELL AT ALL COSTS. The only PC that is really ever going to compete with MAC is either a Sony Vaio or IBM (in my opinion). The only reason i say this is because i've worked around a lot of tec guys who think Dell are complete s*** for performance and quality. Good luck :)
  21. richardson.hila macrumors member

    Aug 31, 2007
    OH and the other thing is, that even if you are young, and buy a mac, it's likely that it's still going to keep working in a few years without you having to buy a new one, as you would have to with a pc (e.g. as i have done several times with pcs...i think 4 now in the past 10 years??)

    Also, with Dell, you find that the base computers are cheap, but as you upgrade it really starts to get pricey and in the same region as a Mac.
  22. CalBoy macrumors 604


    May 21, 2007
    That's true, but the OP said he was going to be going to music school in two years, and they would make him buy a new mbp anyway. That's why I think a used one at this point would work out really well. It saves money, and it might tire out by the time he's ready for music school.
  23. mets1125 macrumors regular

    Sep 4, 2007
    Queens, NY
    I have never had a problem with the 3 Dell computers we own. My job also has 11 Dell computers and we have not had a problem. If you go PC I def recomend a Dell or IBM.
  24. ZiggyPastorius thread starter macrumors 68040


    Sep 16, 2007
    Berklee College of Music
    This is all becoming more and more helpful. I actually do think I'm going to go for the Mac at this point, if and only if I am able to afford to get Logic along with it, which will require a bit more saving, definitely, but I think it's worth it. I guess more questions I have at this point are these:

    Assuming I buy a new Macbook at this point, with the 2.0Ghz Dual Core Processor and the 2GB of RAM (Which I believe is plenty to run Logic efficiently and all its sub-programs in the package, someone correct me if they have actually running experience with logic on this machine), will I be able to sell it for a decent price in a few years easily, when I need to go and buy a brand new MBP?

    Also, any information anyone has regarding Logic and how well it works, and possibly some short tutorials regarding it and how easy it is to use or how to use Mainstage in a live playing situation. That kind of stuff...I know this is the wrong forum location, so I'm going to repost questions like that in a more appropriate forum, but I'm just throwing it out there in case.

    Thanks for the help, everyone, and I look forward to getting more =]
  25. ZiggyPastorius thread starter macrumors 68040


    Sep 16, 2007
    Berklee College of Music
    One thing about it, is, with Logic being so expensive, as well as any extra equipment I may need in terms of sound or whatever, it's going to be close to $1800 or $2000, even with the cheapest Macbook (upgraded, of course). So, yeah. I'm also not even sure what kind of other things I need (midi-related things, cabinets, et cetera) to make Logic more useful for me. I'm not very proficient in all the technical stuff surrounding music.

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