Mac buying advice for a confused switcher

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by mkgm1, Aug 19, 2007.

  1. mkgm1 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2007
    #1
    Now that I've got a place at uni, I want to use my higher education discount to switch to OS X and the whole Mac world. Only problem is I'm confused on a whole number of issues.

    First, let me say that I'll be using the computer for gaming, work, internet, video editing, music etc. In short, it's got to be multifunctional. I already have a 24" Dell 2407wfp monitor too (which is awesome).

    Anyway, in no particular order, this is what I want to know:

    1. Is the 2.4 GHz iMac (or even the 2.8 GHz) with 2 GB of RAM better than the 15" 2.4 GHz SR MBP when it comes to gaming? If so, is the difference significant? Btw, please ignore the whole portablity issue when making your judgements.

    2. If I do go with a 15" MBP, which HD should I choose - the 5400 RPM or 7200 RPM? I understand that the 7200 RPM drive would offer greater speeds, but if my drive is going to be full most of the time, then wouldn't the difference become negligble? Also, would having the 5400 RPM drive 'choke' transfer speeds over fw800 to and from an external 7200 RPM drive?

    3. Speaking of external hard drives, is getting one with fw800 really worth it? In all the online stores I've looked at, they're all approx. 25% more expensive then their USB counterparts. If I were using a 5400 RPM internal drive, would I really notice a difference?

    4. In previous years have the UK Back to School offers included the free printer deal that you get in the US?

    5. My Sony Vaio laptop is currently 4 yrs old, but still just about working - should I wait until Leopard, which will come out midway through my first term at uni, or pull the trigger as soon as the Back to School offer starts?

    6. If I do go for the MBP, I want to buy it in-store, so that I can open it up there and then and make sure there aren't any problems. What are the main things I should be looking for during this time?

    7. Am I right in thinking that there's no return policy for custom built, internet ordered machines? Do you still get a 14 day return policy for a stock config ordered from the net?

    8. Are Apple's prices negotiable at all? What I mean is will they be able to discount a case if I'm buying a laptop? Or perhaps a keyboard?

    9. Do Apple still stock new versions of the old keyboard?


    Thanks in advance. :)
     
  2. psycoswimmer macrumors 65816

    psycoswimmer

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2006
    Location:
    USA
    #2
    1. They would probably be on par to each other.

    2. I'm really not sure about this one.

    3. Yes, especially if you'll be doing a lot of video editing, etc.

    4. Not sure...

    5. Last year, (and probably in years before also), has released new products after the sale/offer was complete. Especially if you want to upgrade to Leopard anyway, I'd say wait if the Vaio can last it.

    6. Some things you'll probably only notice after using the MBP in your house for a while. However, you'll probably be able to notice any sudden defects such as a dent, or the screen having issues.

    7. AFAIK, you can not return a custom machine. You could probably sell it on eBay or somewhere else for about 90%-95% of what you bought it for.

    8. CompUSA did this for me with my iPod, but no, Apple won't.

    9. Check the refurb store.
     
  3. j26 macrumors 65832

    j26

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2005
    Location:
    Paddyland
    #3
    4. Last year they gave a rebate on a printer which if you choose the cheapest one it's as good as free. The iPod offer, IIRC equated to a rebate equivalent to the price of a 2gig Nano.

    5. If you are considering holding out, wait until near the end of the Back to School offer. You might get in just in time to get Leopard included, or at least a cheap upgrade.
     
  4. iToaster macrumors 68000

    iToaster

    Joined:
    May 3, 2007
    Location:
    In front of my MacBook Pro
    #4
    1) 15.4" MBP will probably be just a little better at games because of the extra VRAM, but the graphics card in the 15" is under-clocked a little, so the 17" would squeeze a little more performance.
    2) You'll be fine with 5400.
    3) FW is infinitely greater than USB, due to sustained transfer speeds and higher transfer speeds.
    4) For everyone buying a new Mac, you get $100 off a printer in the US (not sure how long it lasts).
    5) Any time spent on a Mac is well worth the price to upgrade later.
    6) Look for dead/stuck pixels (you know, dark spots on the screen, but not dust), yellow tint, fuzzy sound, dents, misaligned keyboards, etc (you won't get any of these I assure you).
    7) Yes.
    8) Nope, Apple's strict with those unless you see something like the printer rebate.
    9) If you're lucky, but prolly not. Refurb would be the way to go.

    P.S. when you get a Mac, remember to quit applications.
     
  5. mkgm1 thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2007
    #5
    Thanks a lot for all the responses. :)

    Btw, would apps I buy now such as Parallels/Photoshop etc. work with Leopard when it comes out?
     
  6. aliquis- macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    May 20, 2007
    #6
    1. Is the 2.4 GHz iMac (or even the 2.8 GHz) with 2 GB of RAM better than the 15" 2.4 GHz SR MBP when it comes to gaming? If so, is the difference significant? Btw, please ignore the whole portablity issue when making your judgements.
    - No.

    2. If I do go with a 15" MBP, which HD should I choose - the 5400 RPM or 7200 RPM? I understand that the 7200 RPM drive would offer greater speeds, but if my drive is going to be full most of the time, then wouldn't the difference become negligble? Also, would having the 5400 RPM drive 'choke' transfer speeds over fw800 to and from an external 7200 RPM drive?
    - 7200 will always be faster, no matter how much or little data you have stored on the drive (if it's the same size of drives..)
    What speed your internal drive uses has nothing to do with what an external one use, you can get a 10kprm raptor in a firewire case if that is what you want.

    3. Speaking of external hard drives, is getting one with fw800 really worth it? In all the online stores I've looked at, they're all approx. 25% more expensive then their USB counterparts. If I were using a 5400 RPM internal drive, would I really notice a difference?
    - I don't know, in barefeats tests the firewiredrives topped out 68MB/s read speed or something, and USB 11 ... USB where upwards 20MB in some other tests. I don't know if that was because USB sucks or because the case they used sucks. But I've got the impression Firewire is better for this so I would definitly go with firewire. 25% isn't much.. Will you get an empty case and whatever harddrive or all in one? The first alternative might be better because then you know that you can easily open it and replace the HDD later if you want to.

    4. In previous years have the UK Back to School offers included the free printer deal that you get in the US?
    - I doubt that, only the americans get all the love :(, no free ipod or printer for us european, and no apple store or cheap prices either.

    5. My Sony Vaio laptop is currently 4 yrs old, but still just about working - should I wait until Leopard, which will come out midway through my first term at uni, or pull the trigger as soon as the Back to School offer starts?
    - Whatever, what is the back to school offer? Does it give iPods to europeans aswell!?!! I know I wouldn't want for Leopard, because I've got my reasons ;D

    6. If I do go for the MBP, I want to buy it in-store, so that I can open it up there and then and make sure there aren't any problems. What are the main things I should be looking for during this time?
    - That the bottom part of the screen isn't yellow and play some music with your phones (or less than 32 ohm phones) and listen for any annoying noices (might be there on all mbps.)

    7. Am I right in thinking that there's no return policy for custom built, internet ordered machines? Do you still get a 14 day return policy for a stock config ordered from the net?
    - I have no idea, mine become CTO just for glossy display :(

    8. Are Apple's prices negotiable at all? What I mean is will they be able to discount a case if I'm buying a laptop? Or perhaps a keyboard?
    - I have no idea.

    9. Do Apple still stock new versions of the old keyboard?
    - Guess not, the new one are probably better anyway. If you don't like it there are plenty of other keyboards to choose from. I want the ez-reach 3020 dvorak style :D

    I think you should take the mbp because you get a portable and already have a large screen :)

    Get an Airport Extreme and wireless keyboard and mouse and put your MBP wherever but relatively close to your monitor and you wont notice it much anyway :)
     
  7. aliquis- macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    May 20, 2007
    #7
    I'm quite sure they will, Photoshop for sure will, I can't understand why Parallells shouldn't, it might get an update after of course, I have no idea if updates are free.
     
  8. zap2 macrumors 604

    zap2

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2005
    Location:
    Washington D.C
    #8
    Shocking as it is, the MacBook Pro is better at gaming
    http://www.barefeats.com/imacal.html

    Sad, but Apple went backwords with its GPU. Other apps might use the extra 400Mhz better, but gaming goes to the MacBook Pro.

    Faster is better in this case...but 5400 has been fine for me.


    I would with out a question spring for a FW harddrive, FW 400 is MUCH faster then USB 2.0. FW 800 must be a dream vs USB 2.0.


    No idea, sorry

    I'd suggest buying at the start of school...that way all your files will be sure to be on one computer. But if you want to save 129USD, then wait. I can't see MBP being updated if your worried about that.


    I'm guessing this changes from store to store...if they let you look for dead pixels, screen tint, bent metal etc, fans aren't too loud.



     
  9. ktbubster macrumors 6502a

    ktbubster

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2007
    Location:
    US
    #9
    he's a student. the Student price will most likely be 69USD or 79USD similar to what it is now. That's less then the printer rebate... so in theory you'd save more by buying the student discount instead of waiting till leopard and missing out on the printer.

    :)
     
  10. mkgm1 thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2007
    #10
    Thanks for all your help.

    I bought the MBP 2 days ago. It's awesome. I couldn't wait for any potential Back to School offer in the end.

    I do however, have a few more questions.


    Firstly, on the UK keyboard, how do I use the delete function?

    Secondly, how do I stop the MBP screen from dimming?

    Thirdly, how can I stop it from going to sleep when I close the screen?

    Also, what exactly do F9 and F10 do?
     

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