Looking for the absolute best fit for me!

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by codycalifornia, Jul 16, 2008.

  1. codycalifornia macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2008
    #1
    Hello, well, just a short introduction... I will be attending college starting August 25th and I will be looking to buy a laptop and many people my age are getting the Macbook Pro's or Macbooks. Both look good to me, however I am leaning towards a MBP.

    Here is some info about my computer usage:

    - I like fast internet. I have read tons of posts and it appears that the MBP does that have that large of an increase in internet speed than the MB.
    - I enjoy playing video games. I play Counter-Strike 1.6 on my current computer (HP Year 2002) and it is a desktop. It is currently becoming slower as more things have been put on and I am interested in possibly purchasing CS:Source and Day of Defeat:Source on steam. Are MBP's able to use Steam? What other high-end games can this computer handle well? (I am too limited on my current desktop to be able to run high-end games and granted the ability to play them, may be very interested in doing so).
    - I love music. One of the main ways of obtaining music for me is LimeWire. Can MBP's use LimeWire or is there another program similar to LimeWire that can be used on MBP's? I also heard the sound quality is better on MBP's than on regular MB's.
    - I am interested in graphic design. I have read that the MBP's are much better for graphics all around with the 8800 built-in.
    - Multi-tasking is a must. Will I be able to listen to music on iTunes with an internet browser open and a download program open and downloading?
    - Internet. How does it work on Mac's? I am moving from a PC to a Mac. I understand any area with Wi-Fi lets you access the internet on a MBP, but say I have a wireless router in my house, will my MBP be able to tap into that? Are there any additional internet plans I will need to pay for?

    Now.. for the analysis on cost:specs...

    The only MB I am interested in is the black one. The specs are as follows: 13-inch screen, 2.4GHz Intel Core 2 Duo, 2GB memory, 250GB hard drive, SuperDrive. The cost coming to $1,499.00.

    For the MBP, I have options. I want the 15" for cost reasons as the 17" is more of a luxury than a necessity. This leaves me with various different combinations, listed next.

    1.) 2.4 GHz C2D, 2GB memory, 200GB hard drive, SuperDrive, GeForce 8600 (256 MB) ranking in at $1,999.00
    2.) 2.5 GHz C2D, 2GB memory, 250GB hard drive, SuperDrive, GeForce 8600 (512 MB) coming in at $2,499.00

    The only main differences I can see from the specs are an extra 50GB of hard drive space, and another 256MB on the GFX card. I have no clue how significant of a difference this will make, please inform me. If the 256MB on the GFX card and 200GB hard drive will not limit me too much in playing mainly steam games then I would much rather save the $500 and use it on accessories.

    Questions on accessories:

    Do MBP's come with a mouse other than the touchpad? Or should I invest in the wireless mighty mouse? What kind of laptop bags are recommended (Not a backpack.. just to carry cords and the laptop).

    I am leaning toward the 15" MBP, most likely the $2000 version, with the matte screen. I know that you can't really upgrade the 256MB GFX card to a 512MB, so I was wondering if 256 would work well for steam games and such.

    Thanks if you take all the time to help me make the best pick!

    :apple: Cody
     
  2. Tallest Skil macrumors P6

    Tallest Skil

    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2006
    Location:
    1 Geostationary Tower Plaza
    #2
    1. Your Internet connection has nothing to do with the speed of your computer.
    2. Install Windows for games.
    3. Don't steal music. Or any software, for that matter.
    4. It's not an 8800. It's an 8600. And nVidia's chips are supposedly borked anyway.
    5. Heck, yeah. Try ten apps at once.
    6. Same as on a PC, only easier to set up.
     
  3. thejadedmonkey macrumors 604

    thejadedmonkey

    Joined:
    May 28, 2005
    Location:
    Pa
    #3
    You don't want a mighty mouse. They're overprices pieces of crap. Get a logitech mouse for $30 from best buy [link]

    Also, get a sleeve for your laptop. Incase makes nice ones, and they keep the computer from being scratched or beat up in your bag.

    Steam and the like will run on a macbook pro, but you need to install Windows on it. Basically, walk into the apple store, buy your computer, take it home, set it up, and go. It's no different then windows, just... nicer. the internet is the same internet, IM is the same IM, and if you play any blizzard games, they're the same too.

    As to which one to get... Get the low end macbook pro. It's the best value mac that can run games, and it has a backlit keyboard:D

    Music... don't steal. But if you use limewire to download indie bands that release their music onto limewire under an open license, well, I guess that's ok ;) There are all sorts of programs for OS X, just like there are for windows, you just have to know where to look. The sound quality is actually the same (I think they use the same chip in both the macbook and macbook pro) but the pro model has better speakers, so unless you plug external speakers in, you'll perceive that it sounds better.

    Multi-tasking.. You've been able to do that since we moved to the GUI from the command line.

    Graphic design is generally considered 2d work, and ergo the 8600 graphics card doesn't make a difference. The 15" model has a nicer screen, but for graphic design work, such as with photoshop/illustrator, or any film editing, the macbook is just as capable as the macbook pro as the graphics card is not relevant.

    P.S. I'm pretty sure that the 2.5ghz CPU also has a larger cache size, making it faster then the .1ghz increase would suggest.
     
  4. eXan macrumors 601

    eXan

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2005
    Location:
    Russia
    #4
    Haha! :D And you call that multitasking?

    How about encoding DVD to H.264 for use on your iPod, playing iTunes, chatting in Adium with browser, Mail, torrents open and finishing lens corrections on your latest photo, transferring 100 GBs of data from one HD to the external and synchronizing data with your bluetooth phone - all at the same time as running Windows via Parallels Desktop in a window for that app you can't find Mac OS X version for? ;)

    As for your original question, 2.4 Ghz MBP is the way to go - you'll need the graphics card for your games and its more pleasant to play on a 15" LED screen, than on a oiss-poor 13" :)
     
  5. Tomorrow macrumors 604

    Tomorrow

    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2008
    Location:
    Always a day away
    #5
    Your internet speed is a function of your internet service (cable, DSL, fiber, etc.) and the modem. Your computer won't have anything to do with how fast your internet bandwidth is.
    You'll need to use Boot Camp and install Windows for gaming - at that point, you can run pretty much any software that runs in Windows. I have a MacBook, and I wouldn't recommend it for gaming - no dedicated GPU and the screen is a bit small.
    At the risk of sounding like I'm on some kind of moral soapbox, I strongly recommend you not use Limewire or any other service to download music (or anything else) illegally. They're suing people for that, and they're winning. There are thousands of people out there who also thought it wouldn't happen to them. Just a thought.

    That being said, yes, there are applications available for OS X that use peer-to-peer filesharing. I can't recommend one in particular, though - I'm sure if you do a search you'll find something.

    As for sound quality, you won't notice a difference between the MB and the MBP.

    It's an 8600 but yes, having a bigger screen and a dedicated GPU will definitely be noticeable.

    Depending on your internet bandwidth, either machine should be able to handle this without a hitch. If you're a hardcore multitasker, I'd recommend upgrading the machine (either one) to 4 Gb of RAM.

    Both of my Macs connect to my existing wireless router using WPA - I found it far easier to connect than I did either of our Windows machines. You shouldn't have any trouble at all.

    I like to ask people one very important question before making this decision: will the MB or MBP you're going to buy be your only computer, or will it be a portable that you use in conjunction with a desktop that you use as your main computer? If you're going to choose a laptop as your only machine, I'd recommend going with the MBP; otherwise, I think you'll be more than happy with a MB.

    As for the MBP options, I think many people would rather save the $500 and buy an external drive or monitor. I don't think you'll see much difference between a 2.4 and 2.5 GHz CPU, and the GPU with 256 Mb will play most games without a hitch.
     
  6. codycalifornia thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2008
    #6
    Thanks everyone! I think I've decided on the $1,999.00 Macbook Pro. I will also purchase the black incase sleeve and look around at mouses.
     

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