is macbook pro good fit for my needs?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by palpatine, May 3, 2011.

  1. palpatine, May 3, 2011
    Last edited: May 3, 2011

    palpatine macrumors 68040

    May 3, 2011
    hi. this is a great forum. i am looking for some advice about possibly purchasing a mac. my question is at the bottom.

    *i do most of my work on an eee pc (atom n280, 2gb ram, windows 7 starter) and i am quite pleased with the weight (2.7 lb), battery life (nearly 8 hours on dim screen--11 hours when first bought 1.5 yrs ago), and price ($400) in that order. however, i am very unsatisfied with its processing power. how do you think i would fare with a mac?

    what do i do?
    1) word processing (writing--i am a historian/researcher)
    2) pdfs (creating, ocr, optimization, and searching (mainly this))
    3) internet
    4) spreadsheets

    i've got windows stripped down--empty hard drive, defragged, visual effects off, and hardly any programs running. but, when i try to do two or three of those tasks at once, the computer lags. sometimes it is so bad i have to wait for words to appear after typing. in particular, pdf work (adobe pdf pro 9.0) is really slow. i know. that is the price you pay for a cheap netbook :(

    special issues
    1) i need to be able to use both european (portuguese, spanish, etc.) and asian fonts (japanese, chinese, and korean).
    2) i need to be able to make macrons (straight lines) over vowels, and circumflexes (triangle like hats) are no good. is there a universal shortcut that i can use? in windows, only word lets me do this.
    3) do i have to purchase adobe pro again to run on the mac?
    4) do i need to purchase microsoft office again, or is the mac stuff good enough to handle footnotes, endnotes, multiple languages (full character asian and half character western) without messing up the formatting?

    MY QUESTION: given all of this, should i just get a bigger sandy bridge pc notebook, or a mac (i think i know what you will say)? if a mac, which one (air is gorgeous but seems weak and in desparate need of updating, 13 has dual core so maybe too weak, and 15 is kind of large + more expensive)?

  2. Wanderer509 macrumors member

    Oct 28, 2007
    the 13" macbook pro is definitely no slouch, it is a dual core i5 sandy bridge (faster than last gen fastest clocked i7) . in terms of processing power, it should be more than enough for everything that you will need to do.

    unfortunately i dont know how to answer your other questions.

    I do believe office for mac is a different license then office for windows though.
  3. AdrianK macrumors 68020

    Feb 19, 2011
    It sounds like a regular windows notebook would suit you just fine, however I'd still recommend a mac (simply because Windows makes me want to punch people in the face).

    A MacBook Pro or Air would suit you just fine, even a regular MacBook would easily suffice. What you're doing really isn't too intensive but netbooks choke on pretty small tasks (I used one exclusively before getting a MBP).

    You will *probably* has to buy office again. Call MS and ask? If you can live without office you can purchase 'Pages' which is the document writing app from Apple's iWork suite. You can buy it on it's own for just $20 (I believe). It can open and save as doc but formatting won't always be 100%, especially for advanced features.

    Personally, If I was in your situation I'd go with the 13" MBA. Stock configuration with 4GB RAM. It's just as portable as a netbook and has enough horsepower for what you need.
  4. palpatine thread starter macrumors 68040

    May 3, 2011
    i went to the store today, but because the computers really had nothing in them, i couldn't see any difference in processing speed between any of the models. the staff was helpful only up to a point. it was very frustrating not being able to put the computers through their paces with more than silly photo apps and music.

    i should have also asked here about ram. would it be a good idea to upgrade to 8gb? i hate to spend so much money, but also don't want to be frustrated by sluggishness.
  5. palpatine thread starter macrumors 68040

    May 3, 2011
    thanks. i like windows well enough, esp. 7, but i prefer the mac os experience. i just don't use it very often, so i am unfamiliar with its full capabilities.

    i will contact microsoft about the possibility of changing.

    glad to hear you think the 4gb 13" is sufficient for what i am doing. like you said, my tasks aren't so tough, but the netbook isn't really designed for what i am doing.
  6. bcburrows macrumors 6502


    Mar 25, 2009
    Mac and dual boot osx and windows

    Then you can use your already purchased licenses on the windows and enjot the great osx media side as well....before realising windows should be left in the past....

    But this is just my opinion
  7. palpatine thread starter macrumors 68040

    May 3, 2011
    i'm leaning toward a 13", 2.7ghz, 8gb mbp. i like this size better, and even though it does not have the quad core, it sounds like it will be enough power for me.

    i am not too keen on the idea of buying windows for boot camp. i'll have to give it a think. i hate to buy all the software again, but at academic discounts it might be less than getting the windows os. personally, i think windows is fine as an os, but it seems a real shame to use it on a mac, when the mac has such a great os already.

    would iworks be sufficient for creating documents with footnotes, endnotes, and so forth for publications?
  8. acedickson macrumors 6502a


    Dec 6, 2004
    You're really not going to see a difference between any of the current Sandy Bridge MackBook Pros when it comes to word processing. It's cake for all of them to handle that. You would notice a difference when encoding.

    There's nothing wrong with getting 8GB of ram but I don't think it's necessary for your needs and, if it is, you can upgrade it yourself and for cheaper later on. The 13" would more than suffice for what you're trying to accomplish.
  9. Rhyalus macrumors 6502


    Mar 4, 2011
    Netbooks are absolute junk. They are my only experiment in personal computing that failed miserably.

    A base 13" MBP would be great for you, I think. It weighs more than an Air, but you would get the ports, etc.

    Of course, you can always buy a PC laptop for less money, but the Mac is fun to use, well built, and if you have the cash, you should go for it.

  10. snaky69 macrumors 603

    Mar 14, 2008
    An iPad is powerful enough for your needs. Word processing, spreadsheets, browsing and PDF is anything but demanding. Heck, most computers from 5 years ago are powerful enough for you. I'd keep the netbook unless you're set on buying a MBP.
  11. mac00l macrumors 6502

    May 3, 2011
    I have used several computers in the past couple of years, and just got my macbook pro 13" a few weeks ago.

    I use my machine mainly for programming, word processing, presentations, web surfing, and multimedia (IE music, video)

    Just to make it easier for you to understand. My macbook pro 13" is twice as fast (and powerful) than my 2 year old Core 2 Duo, and 4GB ram Toshiba, which in turn is four times faster than my 1 year old Atom Z520, 1GB ram Asus Eee PC

    So basically my i5, 4GB ram MBP 13" 2011 edition, is at least 8 times faster than the average netbook. (weighted in a completely unprofessional fashion, just to make easier to visualize the perceived differences)

    Battery wise, both have the same initial juice, with the difference that I expect my MBP to retain its capacity at least the first 2 years.

    Now with my experience with the MBP so far... My typical use is:

    Safari with around 10+ tabs open at once, sometimes even with 2-3 720p youtube videos.
    Itunes playing music from my 40GB library
    2-3 Pages files (Mac counterpart of Word)
    2-3 Keynote presentation (Mac counterpart of PP)
    Messenger 8.0 (which crashes A LOT Microsoft's fault btw)
    VirtualBox with 1GB of RAM running Microsoft XP (running VB 2005, sql 2005, and some other stuff)

    Everything with 0 freezes, and 0 delay. So reading your potential use, the i5 MBP 13" should be more than enough.

    Only issue tho, is that my experience with Pages, and it's ability to support multiple language at once, has been worst than bad when trying to use check spelling function. It's not as easy as in Win7 quick swap keyboard layout functionality that changed Word default language as well.

    Hope it helps
  12. acedickson macrumors 6502a


    Dec 6, 2004
    What are your temperatures at idle and load, if I may ask?
  13. palpatine thread starter macrumors 68040

    May 3, 2011
    i am afraid not. creating pdfs, running ocr, searching through multiple files at once, etc takes up a lot of processing power. my ipad is fine for displaying most pdfs (many have to be reformattedor they crash apps like goodreader and the native pdf reader), and i quite like it for that purpose. the netbook is simply too weak. you'd be surprised at what a few open programs do to the poor thing. i type 75+ words a minute and it can't keep up if i am running much in the background. the computers from 5 years ago running xp in my office are infuriatingly slow on everything. i try not to turn them on at all :)
  14. palpatine thread starter macrumors 68040

    May 3, 2011
    i like the netbook well enough, but i can see it isn't good for multitasking. however, if the mac is anything like you say, i won't miss the netbook at all.
  15. palpatine thread starter macrumors 68040

    May 3, 2011
    thanks for the advice. very helpful! so, now i am thinking a 13" base model. i've been looking at windows stuff as well, but as far as i can tell, all of the below 14" ,odels seemto be lacking the newer processors, so they are not looking viable at the moment.

    as for pages, that is sad to hear. whatever complaints i have about word and ms, support for languages is pretty phenomenol. they have overcome some major hurdles in the last decade or so. i will have to think about that.
  16. palpatine thread starter macrumors 68040

    May 3, 2011
    good question. i don't know, and my bios won't tell me. i will download something and find out.
  17. jamisonbaines macrumors regular

    Dec 14, 2007
    i would (if possible) go to an apple store and either find or ask for a computer with ms office and put it through the motions in terms of the formatting requirements you mentioned. if it doesn't do it then case closed.

    everything else is trivial. any new mac will run laps around an eee pc. i would suggest the 13" macbook air. lightweight, more battery than the 11, plenty of speed for what you're doing and ssd which may be of more benefit than the newer processor. be sure to opt for 4gb ram though.
  18. palpatine thread starter macrumors 68040

    May 3, 2011
    i figure if i am going to get a 13 inch, i might as well add a little more weight to get the all glass monitor, faster processor, and larger hd. my favorite computer is the 11 "mba, but it is underpowered.

    i took your excellent advice and went to bug the staff at the store again. they are surely tiring of me by now! no computers have ms word, but we discussed pages. they have no idea how to produce macrons with it, and more importantly, they mentioned it cannot write text vertically. i hadn't even thought of that. this makes it useless for japanese and chinese. what a waste.

    i confirmed with a colleague that ms word produces the macrons, so it looks like i've either got to buy the mac version of the software or buy and run the os in boot camp. neither option is good (roughly $400 or so to get the mac stuff), so i've got to give it a think. this is turning out to be a lot of money! i hate the idea of running windows on it, but that may end up having to do for the short term.

    anyhow, you've all been a great help! if i end up getting it this week, i'll pop in and say something about it.
  19. Macsavvytech macrumors 6502a


    May 25, 2010
    Any Mac will do the job (Even the Macbook Air), really power is only necessary for HD movies and Games. As for 1 - 2, all easy I study French and have to do the same thing.
  20. acedickson macrumors 6502a


    Dec 6, 2004
    What would cost you $400? MS Office for Mac? The home and student addition is only $150 is only missing Outlook, which I don't think you said you need.
  21. palpatine, May 4, 2011
    Last edited: May 4, 2011

    palpatine thread starter macrumors 68040

    May 3, 2011
    good catch. you are correct. i was using the approx. 250 dollar price of the japanese version of office (that seems really high, and i am wondering why the store has it at this price), but i have confirmed that the english version has everything i need, so i can get it in the us, and it isn't so painful.

    adobe acrobat pro = 119 (academic)
    office = 149 (academic)

    in fact, it will be adobe 10, so i can at least justify it to myself as an upgrade. this is looking a little more doable.

    *I checked online and the Japanese version is only about 200 dollars. I don't know why they were quoting me such a high price at the store.
  22. ScottNWDW macrumors 65816


    Jul 10, 2008
    Orlando, Florida

    I bought a new 13" MacBook Pro about 5 weeks ago. I started out thinking that the iWorks programs would be enough for me, so I picked up iWorks on the day I got the Mac for a special price they were offering at that time. After a few weeks, I ended up buying Microsoft Office:mac. I mainly bought Office for the compatibility with documents I work on for work, which is all based on the Windows version of Office. The compatibility issues were more than I expected. The iWorks programs are fantastic and I do see myself using those more for personal stuff, and using Office for work related stuff.

    As for Office, I got my copy of the home and student version for just $99 on sale at Best Buy. They sell Office in many configurations...

    Home & Student 1 user, 1 computers $119
    Home & Student 3 users, 3 computers $149
    Home & Business 1 user 1 computer $199
    Home & Business 2 users 2 computers $279

    Home and Student version does not include Outlook. I loved Outlook on the Windows computer, but on the Mac, well it's pretty much useless since it won't sync to my iPhone or iPad through MobileMe like the Windows version does. iCal, Mail and Address Book are much more flawless in that regard anyway. Don't really miss Outlook at all.

    Microsoft does have a 30 day trial of Office if you want to check out which works better for you. I started the 30 day trial and about 10 days into it bought the copy at Best Buy since it was on sale at the time. The prices I posted above are the regular, not sale, prices.
  23. palpatine thread starter macrumors 68040

    May 3, 2011
    Wow. With the free trial that will give me a bit of time to get used to it, and the 99 dollar price is spectacular. Thanks for mentioning that.

    By the way, I just got an email from Amazon saying that the newest Asus netbook is on sale for just 250 dollars (11/02/10 release, atom n450, 1gb, 250gb, 8.5 hour batter). That is incredible. Better specs than my netbook at a fraction of the price I paid just 1.5 years ago. Maybe if I got four it would equal one quad core of the mac! Of course, it would be a real pain to carry those around, LOL :)

    If only I didn't have work to do, and could just surf around the net. I think I am ready to stop suffering with cheap computers. But, I'll sleep on it some more.
  24. palpatine thread starter macrumors 68040

    May 3, 2011
    Do you really think the Air could handle it? Ideally, I would love to have the 11 inch Air. That is quite possibly one of the most beautiful pieces of technology I have ever seen (I said the same thing about the ipod, ipad, and wireless apple keyboard back in the day). I used it again today at the store and was just floored by how gorgeous it is.

    It would be really frustrating to pay so much and put myself in the same position I am in now. I really miss speedy computers. Editing a journal (a massive pdf file with lots of heavy stuff inside) a couple of years ago I used one of the university's new desktop Macs in the computer lab and was blown away. What had taken me half an hour or more to do on my home laptop (a 13" Toshiba back then) only took a couple of minutes. My attitude toward computers has never been the same, and I keep unrealistically expecting my portable laptops to get up and go.

    Of course, I know it won't be THAT fast, but I thought the sandy bridges might go a long way towards closing the gap.

    On the other hand, I don't want to buy a computer that can run the banking system of a third world country when all I really need is an Air.
  25. Ca$hflow macrumors 6502


    Jan 7, 2010
    London, ON
    You are a instinctively a high researcher and really over analyzing.:eek: You are over emphasizing power and specs which is unnecessary with your needs.:rolleyes: You are doing allot of office type work. No gaming, no encoding or anything that taxes the processor. I recommend the 11" ultimate MBA if you really enjoyed the netbook form factor or 13" MBA with 4GB ram.:cool: If you can wait then wait for the next MBA revision. I guarantee you will get 5 years of use or more with those types of tasks and not 1.5 years like you experienced with your net book.:eek: I have a 5 year old white core duo iMac that can do the tasks you do without breaking a sweat.:D

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