Late-2009 MacBook or 13" MacBook Pro?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by dandeco, Jan 12, 2010.

  1. dandeco macrumors regular

    Dec 5, 2008
    Today I was at a Best Buy store in another town near where I live and I was pleased to find they had Macs there! I tried out both a late-2009 polycarbonate MacBook and a 13" aluminum MacBook Pro. Now I'm not sure WHAT to buy when I get the money to do so! They both look tempting, but there are a few differences with each model. These are the differences, but none of the bad ones are really deal-breakers to me...

    It's $200 less than the MacBook Pro.
    It's strong and durable.
    It has a bigger hard drive than the 13-inch MBP (250 GB vs. 160 GB)
    It doesn't have an SD card slot, but that doesn't matter; on my eMac I transfer my photos from my digital camera via USB.
    It doesn't have FireWire, but again it doesn't really matter; my eMac has FireWire and if I wanted to edit video from my MiniDV camcorder on the more powerful (than the eMac) MacBook, I could just capture the video on the eMac, then put it on an external hard drive and move it to the MacBook. A clumsy process, but it would work.

    It's lighter than the MacBook, and is also pretty durable.
    It has a backlit keyboard and an SD card slot.
    It has a FireWire 800 port; I could easily buy a 6-to-9 pin adapter for this.
    It does cost $200 more than the MacBook, but at least it's not like prior to this summer when the MacBook Pros started at WAY more than that! And if I'm still in school when I get it, I could always use the Education Discount.
    It only has a 160 GB hard drive compared to the MacBook, but I don't want to have a customized one ordered from online, and I tend to put my big files on an external hard drive anyway.

    Both the MacBook and the entry-level MBP have the same amount of RAM, the same processor speed and graphics chip, two USB 2.0 ports, dual-layer SuperDrive, iSight webcam, etc.

    I do quite a bit of photo and video work. My understanding is that both models, even the low-end MacBook, can handle this really well. I don't do any intensive gaming, and I don't encode via Final Cut Studio, so it's not like I need to do stuff that requires a graphics card with dedicated video RAM. My current HP laptop does have a rather reflective screen, so I am already used to that, but I'm not sure if one is glossier over the other.

    I am wanting to be careful with my money, but I probably won't buy either until I have at least $1400 or something made from my job. So I can either save $200 and get the low-end MacBook, or spend extra on a few nice extra features (i.e. FireWire, the backlit keyboard) and get the 13" MBP.

    Any comments/opinions?
  2. MacVibe macrumors regular

    Dec 21, 2009
    I think once you get one of these machines you won't ever want to use your emac again, it will seem that slow. Since you aren't getting a machine until you have the money then you have probably read the speculation that there are new machines coming out at the end of Jan. So at that time for $1,400 you'll get a nicer 13" pro, or even a 2.53 GHz refurb within your budget. You'll be much happier transferring video directly to the machine. Why apple thinks firewire is pro feature is anybody's guess, but you probably do want firewire for any video work. Also, the sd slot is nice, its a feature found on netbooks so I don't know why it isn't on the Macbook, but I think its presence on the pro is one more decent reason to get the pro.
  3. TsuaSai macrumors 6502

    Jan 9, 2006
    For me personally I went witht he 13" pro cause i felt the keyboard and SD slot were worth the extra money. Since you still use an eMac I am going to guess you not the type that gets a new computer every year or even every other year. So in the big picture I think you might be at least a little happy to have those other features in the long run which in the long run the $200 might not be that big a deal. I haven't done it but the hard drive is suppose to be a pretty easy upgrade in the future if 160 wasn't enough. And with the way prices keep dropping on them not telling what size you could get for another 70-100 bucks in a year or so.

    Once again this was why I spent the extra cash. Oh I also had white macbook that cracked on me and I was scared of that happening again.
  4. safelder macrumors member

    Jan 9, 2010
    I recently went through the same decision as you. For my purposes (primarily basic productivity and internet, itunes, and Skype; no photo or video editing more advanced than the built in iLife applications), the MB was a better deal than the MBP. What the MB lacks vs. the MBP doesn't concern me (I no longer use my MiniDV camcorder with FireWire, but have FireWire in my work T400 in any event; both my point-and-shoot and DSLR cameras use CF; and I can live without the backlit keyboard).

    I planned on upgrading either the MB or low-end 13" to 4GB RAM and a 500 GB, 7200 RPM HDD. If you have a Microcenter near you, they are currently offering a $200 rebate on the MB and a $100 rebate on the low-end MBP. That ends up being a $300, rather than $200, price swing--plus a loss of 90 GB on the unused drive--which bought the RAM and HDD, with over $100 left over. All told, I was out the door with my "upgraded" MB for just over $1000, and I couldn't be happier (well, it could have been free...:))
  5. brendu macrumors 68020

    Apr 23, 2009
    I would wait and see but i think :apple: might up the specs of the hard drive in the base 13"pro model to 250 if not 320GB... if that comes true, then you would have a deal... The reason i went with the 13"pro over the MB is the backlight keyboard... I love the thing... the SD card is almost never used, but it is there when you need it and your glad it is... and the screen is supposed to be a little bit better but ive used the new MB and its really pretty nice.. every bit as fast as the pro (same specs).. and the new unibody polycarbonate is really solid... but... firewire is better for the long run... until light peak... so if you have the cash for the pro, it will pay off... but if your strapped for cash, then the macbook could be all you really need anyway...

    safelder: true +1 on microcenter... it takes about 6 weeks to get the rebate card but mine just came in the mail in the form of a $200 visa prepaid card... so its not a bad deal at all.. just don't let them try to sell you anything with it that you don't need..
  6. tmart15 macrumors newbie

    Jan 14, 2010
    Albuquerque, NM
    Buy the Pro now, I did and I love it. Who cares about updates, there will be another update in 200 days.
  7. J&JPolangin macrumors 68030

    Jul 5, 2008
    Thule GL @ the TOW
    ...if you've been on the eMac for this long you can probably afford to wait until the update cycle happens in ~30 days... good luck with your decision...
  8. Velin macrumors 65816


    Jul 23, 2008
    Hearst Castle
    Strong vote for the Macbook Pro. I got one a couple months ago, it's a fantastic laptop. You'll really want the aluminum unibody, the backlit keyboard, and if you move lots of files, Firewire. Macs are our work and office machines, it's Macbook Pros all the way for our portable machines (and Mac Pros as our desktops).

    Firewire is particularly important if you work on other macs (we have them in our office). Target disk mode (available only via Firewire) has been an invaluable connect method when trying to do certain things.
  9. Habitus macrumors 6502a


    Feb 26, 2009
    Where ever my life takes me...

    MBP all the way. Don't worry about hard drive space and RAM; you can easily change those when you have funds and time. Changing the hard drive in the 13" MBP was easy; I'm speaking from experience.

    Given that you plan to edit video and images, don't save money over performance. Apple built the MBP for users, like you, in mind.

    Lastly, don't forget AppleCare. Make sure to protect your new Mac; any computer can/may fail.

    Best of luck on your decision,

    Habitus :apple:

Share This Page