Macbook As Primary Computer Good For Long Time Use?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by lyte edge, Feb 4, 2008.

  1. lyte edge macrumors newbie

    Feb 4, 2008
    Kanazawa, Japan
    I've been an Apple user almost all my life until 2004, when I decided to try out PCs, mainly for gaming. I purchased an Alienware Area 51-M laptop, and for the most part, it's served me well for the last few years. But now I'm ready for a new computer, and I'm interested in buying a Macbook.

    I've found that I'm not much for PC gaming, and primarily just use my current laptop for web browsing, typing, watching videos, and the occasional emulator. I'm interested in getting a Macbook; I like the small size and I'm likely going to be moving around a lot come this summer. For my needs, it seems like it will work fine, and there's no reason to spend the extra cash on a Pro. That said, if I did want to run something like Unreal Tournament 3 on a Macbook, would it be possible?

    However, I'd be getting the Macbook for use as my primary computer, and am concerned it might not be the right choice for 3-4 years of use, and that paying extra for a more powerful Macbook Pro might be the way to go.

    I really do like the 13" Macbook, but if the 15" Pro would be better in the long run, perhaps I should go with that instead. If I have to sacrifice some gaming, it's not that big a deal since I'm not looking to buy a computer for that reason. I'm used to using a desktop replacement PC laptop though, and I'm not sure if the Macbook would work well in that way. Looking for any advice and recommendations.
  2. forafireescape macrumors 6502a


    Jan 16, 2008
    I don't think you need to go Pro. Of course, if you have the money then you should do it just because it's a better machine overall (hence the 'Pro'), but I think you'll find that the MB will serve you well for 4 years at least.
  3. airjuggernaut macrumors 6502a

    Oct 16, 2007
    Well, I'm using my MB as my Primary computer as we speak.
    I personally think its amazingly powerful for what I need, It runs all the applications, games, videos,music, etc that I need.
    The only thing I dont like about it, is the fact that gaming is kinda limited. I play a lot of CS, Half Life 2, WoW, etc. Though the Macbook can run all of these games fine, I kinda worry about in the future how it will lack graphically.
    I'd say if gaming is somewhat important to and you have the money go pro, it will definetly serve you well for 4 years, but if you can settle for the slight gaming snags, and you really only care about applications and browsing then go for the Macbook, which will also last a good 3-4 years and it will for sure handle anything you throw at it.
  4. Hankster macrumors 68020


    Jan 30, 2008
    Washington DC
    The MacBook would be fine for what you listed as things you'd do. A MacBook Pro would be nice but is a bit more than what you need and it's more $$$ and larger. I would really look at what you want to do again and see which laptop fits your needs best. Right now my MacBook is my main computer and I run PhotoShop regularly along with MS Office, etc and it works fine.
  5. ChristosK macrumors newbie

    Feb 4, 2008
    Hi, sorry to jump in but I am in the same position (want to buy a MBP but I'd rather stay below $1500 unless it's really worth it). I really like the looks of MBP over MB in addition to the extras(graphics card/LED display/keyboard).

    I am definitely not a gamer but would like to do some photo editing (photoshop and raw conversion). Do you think that I would benefit ,in this aspect, by buying a 2GB RAM MBP over a 4GB RAM MB???

    Are there any limitations you can think of of the MB over the MBP?
  6. lyte edge thread starter macrumors newbie

    Feb 4, 2008
    Kanazawa, Japan
    Thanks for your input, guys. I went and looked at the various Macbook and Pro models recently and definitely preferred the Macbooks over the current Pros. I'm very interested in seeing what the new Macbooks rumored to come out next week look like though.

    Is 2gb of RAM enough, or should I just go all out and get 4gb?
  7. vchalupa macrumors member

    Jan 24, 2008
    Something to possibly consider might be a refurbished MBP. Apple is trustworthy unlike many other companies and you could try out a refurbished one so that it's easier on the wallet. That way you're getting the power and the price. Of course that limits you to look into the upcoming rumored MBP update but by the looks of what you intend to use your laptop, it doesn't seem like it'll be that important for you.

    Over the long run, the MBP should last you but how much will the new update change the MBP is the question, and that's something that we get to eagerly wait for. Another thing you could possibly consider is waiting till the MBP and seeing if any of the new updates will be useful to you. And then you can decide on either a new MB, new MBP, or "old" MBP.

    Just something to consider...:)
  8. maestrokev macrumors 6502a


    Apr 23, 2007
    I have a MB, MBP and iMac. The iMac is my main computer, the MB is the second most used and I prefer it more than the MBP when I'm not doing photo editing. Performance wise they're very close. 2GB is more than enough for what you describe you're going to be doing. I watch my activity monitor a lot and have not seen many instances where more than 2GB would have helped.

    If you're going to be travelling, the weight savings and size is very noticeable.

    Where did you see rumours of MB updates?
  9. ChristosK macrumors newbie

    Feb 4, 2008
    Do you mean that you do your photo editing in your MBP over the iMac? If so, why is that?
  10. maestrokev macrumors 6502a


    Apr 23, 2007
    When I'm at home I'll use my iMac to do all colour corrections as the MBP isn't accurate enough. When I'm travelling the MBP used to come along, but now I find it's easier to bring the MB along.
  11. Mord macrumors G4


    Aug 24, 2003
    Mine's not lasted too well, I purchased it directly after they were released.

    I do however treat my laptops pretty badly.
  12. doctor pangloss macrumors regular

    Dec 30, 2004
    The MB is hard to beat value wise. If you can make do with a smaller hardrive the refurbished MB is a good savings.
  13. eswank macrumors 6502

    Sep 26, 2006
    I'd say max out your RAM to 4GB. Their not as expensive as they used to be.
  14. lyte edge thread starter macrumors newbie

    Feb 4, 2008
    Kanazawa, Japan
    No refurbished Macs for me, I'll be getting a new one. Plus I'm in Japan anyway, and I don't even know if they do that here. There's not even an Apple store around here.

    This site has had several threads about the new Pros showing possibly this week (clearly not happening!) or next week. But the more I think about it, the more it seems like the Macbook is what I'm going to go with...I'm still going to wait though, just in case.
  15. dwd3885 macrumors 68020

    Dec 10, 2004
    i had a macbook as a primary computer for 4 months and it was ok, but i couldn't stand the size. 13.3 inch screen isn't big enough for me. i decided to sell the macbook and get the 20" imac since it's bigger, faster, etc.

    So if you can stand the 13.3", the macbook is fine. But the lack of dedicated graphics and small screen is what did it for me
  16. TallManNY macrumors 601


    Nov 5, 2007
    Go with MB or wait for the Mac Book Pro refresh and then decide.

    Two advantages to the MB that haven't been addressed yet. One, the fact that it is cheaper just reduces your stress level when you are carrying it around and using it. If you can afford to buy the MB Pro you can afford to buy one MB and then another if the first one gets stolen or run over by a truck. Two, the slower processor, integrated graphics card, and plastic case means the machine runs cooler and feels cooler to the touch. No hot lap or hot hands from a scorching hot aluminum case conducting all that heat out to you. My MB's fan only runs if I'm processing some sort of video or playing WoW. Otherwise it is cool and quiet, which is the way I like my computers.

    FYI, don't weigh RAM into this equation. On either machine, you buy the lowest ram configuration from Apple, then you buy and install for yourself the highest amount of RAM you can. I think 2x2GB of RAM will run you about $110 from respected third parties. For most of us that is a meaningless expense and if it isn't for you, well you probably only have to save for a month or two at the most. By then the RAM will cost $100. So you won't save money either way and extra RAM won't really make your MB closer to a MBP. You should put the extra RAM in the MBP too. The stuff is just too cheap right now not to do it.

    So in the end I'm a fan of the MB over the MBP. That might change with MBP refresh, but it probably won't. And as for games, it runs stuff now and it will get a little bit of boost as better drivers come out. So, in essence, there is a built in free upgrade path for another year. But yes, I wouldn't expect it to be able to run any first person shooter that comes out in 2010. Though I'd be surprised if that is a deal breaker for anyone.
  17. cdcastillo macrumors 6502a


    Dec 22, 2007
    The cesspit of civilization
    Macbook as primary (read: "only") computer

    Well, it seems you've made your mind on this already, and I agree with you on the MB being what you need.

    I've been a Mac user since 2001, and my first computer was an iBook. Since then, I've had 6 apple laptops (iBook, PowerBook, iBook, iBook, PowerBook, MacBook). All of them had been my "primary/only" computer. I'm a physician in postgraduate training (I've been since 2001) and I don't have an "office" where I can have a desktop computer, so I always work on my laptop wherever I am.

    Now, from what I said, you may imply that my computers only "last" about 1 year. It's not that they broke, they're actually pretty reliable, and all of them are still working.

    The first one I kept for about 3 years, and sold it for about 70% of what I paid for it. Then I upgraded to my first Powerbook, which was stolen. My second iBook I sold (for about 80% of what I'd paid) to a friend which was in need of one and couldn't afford to pay fully for a new, he paid me over 2-3 months, and that money I used to buy a "New" iBook, the last revision, with a 1.33 GHz G4 processor. Then, 2 years later, when my father needed a portable computer, I send it to him as a "Christmas present". That's when I got my second powerbook, a well kept second-hand one, 15 inches 1.33 GHz G4. This went, after a few weeks, all the way to my wife because I found I was not comfortable with its size, being too big for me. After toting it around I realized a few more pounds and a few more inches really can weigh you down; after all, before this, I've always had 12" laptops.

    And now, for the last 2 months I've been enjoying my new MacBook Santa Rosa, and it is more than what I need. It's size is perfect (much more screen state than my previous 12" books without that much bulk) and I plan on it being my primary computer for at least 3 years more (unless I receive an offer for it that I can not refuse) ;) And besides the size, for what I need (mainly word processing, presentations, reading pdf's, SPSS data crunching, web site maintenance, photo editing and small movies, also the usual: music, web surfing, mail, etcétera), MB is much more than enough. I even copy DVDs with the MB Dual Layer DVD drive...

    So I think you'll be more than happy with your new MacBook as a Primary computer. I've used both pro and consumer lines of apple notebooks, and can testify that for "mundane" use (and throwing the price in the equation) the iBook/MacBook line beats the crap out of the Pro line.
  18. ghostee macrumors 6502

    Feb 25, 2004
    Villa Park, IL
    I'd recommend the MBP if only for the increased screen size / resolution and the video card. The size difference between the MBP and MB when closed is negligible in my opinion, so I didn't take that into account when buying mine. If you think you're going to be playing any modern games besides WoW, I'd definitely recommend the MBP.

    Plus, the backlit keyboard is just awesome. :D
  19. heatmiser macrumors 68020

    Dec 6, 2007
    The Macbook will be fine. I'm using mine in college now, and, barring any breakdowns, I plan to use it for five years (sixty months). So far, I've tallied two.
  20. quixotic macrumors regular

    Aug 4, 2003
    San Francisco, CA
    I think a MB would hold up very well for what you want. I'm still using a PowerBook G4 as my primary machine (almost 5 years old). I do a fair amount of programming and graphic design work, and it's been doing very well for me for years. It's a bit long in the tooth, and I will be getting a MBP (I want the bigger screen and rez), but I have to say I'm impressed with how well it's held up.

    I could even eek out another year with it, if it weren't for the fact I need XP as part of testing. Damn good for a laptop.

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