I'm Poor, Get a MBP 15 Anyways?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by waynechriss, Aug 26, 2010.

  1. waynechriss macrumors regular

    Sep 7, 2009
    So i been fighting myself whether or not i should buy a macbook pro 15. I have one year left to get my associates of art degree before i transfer to another school to major in film production. I have a white macbook and its done me very well so far with my studies and other activities but its chugging so bad with what i do and want to do with it (steam, adobe illustrator cs5, editing HD videos, photo editing, etc). I fear my macbook, while good for what its capable of, won't do me justice in grad school when we start using Final Cut Pro and i get into serious editing.

    I got by fine so far cuz i'm in community college to get my A.A, pretty much school has been paying me to learn but that won't be the case when i move to graduate school. I only have a work study job (11 hours a week, 7.25 an hour) and paid off my final year to get an A.A (leaving me currently broke), i dunno any future expenses i would need to tend to right now.

    So as of now i'm broke, but should i invest in the macbook pro 15 for future school and personal needs (final cut studio, photoshop, illustrator, word processing, etc) or keep the white macbook 2.13GHZ 2GB 160GB till the end of college? I would love to hear from the perspective of current or graduated owners in the same/similar fields. Thanks.
  2. richardhunt macrumors regular

    Oct 2, 2007
    Personally, I do not invest in replacement technology until the current one is absolutely not adecuate. You cannot "foresee" that your macbook will not perform what you need it to do until you put the workload on it. Also if it is now "chugging" maybe you should invest $100 and upgrade the memory if you have not already done so? Also doing an OSX restore from fresh sometimes breathes new life into an old Macbook. But if I was in your shoes I would wait until the last moment. Technology prices go down the longer you wait anyway.
  3. aarond12 macrumors 65816


    May 20, 2002
    Dallas, TX USA
    Your MacBook is likely to "chug" when it comes to 3D games and graphics compared to a MacBook Pro. Regular applications such as Final Cut Pro won't see as much of a difference.

    I agree with Richard, add more RAM to your MacBook and even consider an SSD if things still aren't fast enough for you. The CPU in your MacBook is plenty strong; the video is the weak link when it comes to games.

  4. talmy macrumors 601


    Oct 26, 2009
  5. briansolomon macrumors 6502


    Apr 1, 2005
    Murfreesboro, TN
    Bump it to 4 GB (can yours max out to 4?). Get a faster hd. Not necessarily SSD. Anything 7200 RPM or faster. More bang for you buck. You're going to end up selling that drive with the machine when you do finally get a new machine so I wouldn't invest in a SSD.
  6. waynechriss thread starter macrumors regular

    Sep 7, 2009
    I keep hearing stories that it can only max to 3GB, others say 4GB so its hard to say.

    But in that regard, will doubling the ram really make a significant difference?
  7. FieryFurnace macrumors 6502


    Sep 19, 2008
    Berlin, Germany
    I guess you will most likely end up using your university lab for all the heavy work like rendering and working with huge movie files.
    Your school should have Mac Pros (or Windows Workstations) with 23"-27" screens which are 10x better to work on then a 15" MBP. They probably have a render farm too.

    I was a Multimedia Development Major and that was how I did it most of the heavy stuff.
  8. B. Hunter macrumors regular

    Dec 20, 2005
    Pacific Northwest
    Unless you have the programs. You will also take it in the shorts to pay for them.

    Take advantage of what the campus has to offer. Use their computer lab.
    Otherwise buy a MBP, FCE & Photoshop Elements. :)
  9. Giuly macrumors 68040


    2.13GHz = Mid-2009 with GeForce 9400M? There you go, 4GB of RAM for $79.

    Any other 2.1GHz MacBook will max out to 4GB as well, but using this RAM for $3 less.

    And get a Seagate Momentus XT, which is a hard drive with "self-learning" 4GB SSD-Cache - aka poor man's SSD.

    = $180-210, and the MacBook is as fast as it can be. Also raises the resell value once you decide to go MBP.
  10. JaSuS macrumors regular


    Jul 22, 2010
    I agree 100% .....the take advantage part though. If the campus resources are lame then do your do :)
  11. js81 macrumors 65816


    Dec 31, 2008
    My wife's Macbook is older than that and hers is still very usable. Upgrade to 4GB of RAM and get a fast hard drive (not necessarily 7200rpm, and SSDs are nice but outrageously expensive; check here and get one with the highest score you can afford).
  12. briansolomon macrumors 6502


    Apr 1, 2005
    Murfreesboro, TN
    I would think so. Are you willing to throw $200 at it for a new HD and Ram and not feel bad about using that toward a new machine instead.

    Let's say you take that $200 you would have used for upgrading...couple that with $600 you would get selling the Macbook on craigslist. You are already $800 toward a $1500 machine. I think you have a solid machine, but I like you, hate throwing money at upgrades to put off an inevitable purchase when you could have just been using that money to buy a new machine. It's a tough decision.
  13. Giuly macrumors 68040


    You still have a deficit of $700 then, which more than 2/3 of a complete MacBook.
    Upgrading the current machine raises the resell value to $750-800 as well, but while you save up those $700, you have a faster machine to work with.
  14. jmazzamj macrumors regular

    Jun 11, 2009
    I'm also not rich, I would have loved to get a 15" but I could not afford it.
    I got a 2010 13" that I will give to my sister in February (she's going to Australia for a semester) and get myself a 2011 MBP (or perhaps wait for a future Liquidmetal MBP).

    According to OWC your MB holds up to 6 GB RAM (with dual channel off). That's a good amount of RAM for your needs.

    If I were in your shoes, I'd go for a 4 GB upgrade now and sell your MB in a year or so. By doing this, you'll get a faster or cheaper i5 15" (or perhaps a 13" i3) without losing too much money on your current MB.
  15. waynechriss thread starter macrumors regular

    Sep 7, 2009
    Yeah, the university I'm aiming for has their own lab with iMacs and Mac Pros equipped with Final Cut and other whatnots but they suggest that students could buy their own software/equipment to do the work at home.

    Briansolomon: Exactly, i feel that way too. I was already planning a hard drive upgrade prob to 500GB (no one can survive with 160GB) but held it off in case i wanted to get a newer computer. I just feel weird upgrading my computer now and selling it later, mostly because i'm not sure of the resale value later on.

    I also must note that the macbook i have has a skin from infectious.com so i dunno if i could sell it? I think its permanent, i never made an attempt to take it off...

    Jmazzam: What is dual channel?
  16. Mike225 macrumors 6502a


    Jul 15, 2010
    SF BAY

    Why'd it take that long to get to the correct answer?

    Dont buy thing you cant afford. Its pretty simple.
  17. DaveF macrumors 6502a

    Aug 29, 2007
    You're one year away from an Associates and you're worried if you computer will be good for Graduate school? That's two or three years from now. You don't buy a computer today because you'll need it in three years.

    You've got to finish your AA, then your BA, and then get into a grad program. :)
  18. waynechriss thread starter macrumors regular

    Sep 7, 2009
    Wait...i think i made a mistake with my original post, i'm going to transfer schools to get my B.A., that's where i'll be studying my film major. That'll be next year.
  19. mdatwood macrumors 6502a

    Mar 14, 2010
    Denver, CO
    This, it's not even an argument. If you can't afford it then don't buy it.
  20. waynechriss thread starter macrumors regular

    Sep 7, 2009
    I can't afford it right now. but i said i paid off school for the whole year and as of this moment i don't have/know any expenses i would need to make within the year so i can potentially get one by December.
  21. thejadedmonkey macrumors 604


    May 28, 2005
    No. But unlike others, I have legit advice from the "field".

    I was in Engineering, taking a single video production class. My professor, who had worked for NYU, used a white Macbook when he wasn't near his mac pro. At the time they were, at best, 2.16ghz with intel gma950's in them. aka crap video cards.

    I have a 15" Macbook Pro, from early 2007. It's the late 2006 model. I use it more for writing papers than editing. Don't get me wrong, editing on a 15" screen beats editing on a 13" screen, but what hampers me isn't the size of the screen or the processor speed, it's the lack of hard drive space while editing HD footage.

    A 13" Macbook is a fine computer until you start editing with Motion or something likewise that needs a better video card. That means, you won't see much improvement in Photoshop, Illustrator, or Final Cut, going from a 2005 Macbook to a 2010 Macbook Pro.

    Long story short; wait until you start running into problems with the macbook's crappy video card before you upgrade.
  22. waynechriss thread starter macrumors regular

    Sep 7, 2009
    I wish there was a way to test the software on my current macbook to see how it works. There are no trial editions for the Final Cut software as far as I know.
  23. wvuwhat macrumors 65816


    Sep 26, 2007
    I apologize, but I didn't read most of this thread. Are you getting a scholarship/grant for the next step in your schooling? If so, I'd go ahead and try to make that money work for this computer. I would think you'll be severely limited by your old hardware if you're trying to work in film, or any other related B.A. or M.S.
  24. waynechriss thread starter macrumors regular

    Sep 7, 2009
    I'm not sure what grants i'll be getting for the next school, Bright Futures at best (covers 75% of tuition).

    My machine is only a year old i just need to know if its capable of running stuff like Final Cut Studio, at least with the upgraded ram. If not then i should get something better. But from a good lot of opinions here, i might just end up using the lab's macs if worst comes to worst.

Share This Page