Macbook, Macbook Pro or Dell Lattitude??????

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by Planner Dude, Jan 10, 2007.

  1. Planner Dude macrumors 6502

    May 31, 2006
    I am torn.

    I'd really like to get an apple computer but I only have a budget of around $1,300. I am a student who will utilize ArcGIS, AutoCad, and Sketchup. Because of this, it would be really nice to have a dedicated GPU.

    So far I have been considering:

    a C2D 2.0 Macbook ($1,382 with Applecare)
    a CD 1.83 Macbook Pro ($1299 without Applecare; 1442 with aplecare)
    a C2D 2.0 Dell Lattitude (1387 with 3yr protection)

    I keep going back and forth about which one to get.

    the macbook fits me except for the lack of a gpu

    the macbook pro cost more than I want to pay plus will only have a 512 Ram and 80gb hard drive. Additionally it is not user upgradeable.

    the dell lattitude fits my budget and needs (256MB NVIDIA Quadro NVS 110M TurboCache) but....IT"S A DELL.....and can't run OSX

    Here's its stats:


    Maybe you can help set me straight. I have never owned a mac, but am tired of windows. Unfortunately, I still have to use for some programs though.

    I can hold off still, but I am pretty tired of waiting. What do you guys and gals think?.
  2. prograham macrumors member


    Jun 9, 2006
    New York
    I have been working at a New York University with Inspiron's and Latitude's for two years and Macs my whole life. I have had some really bad experience's with the D620, services not starting, random strange other things. I have nothing against Dell, just the D620. The body also feels cheaper than some of the models in the past, more plastic, push button instead of slide release, pointer in the middle of the keyboard - little things that bug ME a little.

    Plus, in my experience and personal preference, I could never go back to a non-glossy screen. I highly recommend a tried-and-true battle hardened Macbook Pro. I just can't stand having to 'baby' or 'fix' my personal computers these days. I've been working with computers too long and know it's something I don't have to stand for so long as I (gladly and wisely) shell out a little more cash than for run-of-the-mill computers at time of purchase.
  3. Manzana macrumors 6502a


    Jul 19, 2004
    Orange County, CA
    i'm in the same boat

    I just bought a gateway notebook for 600 out the door (Turion AMD) for my aunt who is leaving the country and I've been playing around with it setting it up.

    My wife has a 15" G4 powerbook and i'm buying a laptop for myself within the next 6 months.

    I actually have grown to like certain aspects of XP, and actually considered going to it but I will stick with OS X, mainly due to it's Unix underpinnings.

    With all that said, I believe I will buy a C2D MB from the refurb store, sell the ram and hd on ebay and upgrade it to 2 gigs and 160 gb 5400 rpm hd.

    For your decision it would help to know what your apps are and why it is you need the video card.
  4. Planner Dude thread starter macrumors 6502

    May 31, 2006
    I use sketchup alot.. This program requires a dedicated GPU from what I have heard from tech support.

    Here is their quote

    "SketchUp will work with the video card and system
    you list, however there have been reported issues in that environment.
    SketchUp works best with a video card designed for 3D modeling, however
    the Intel video card is primarily intended for 2D work. While we are
    reluctant to make a hard distinction on what kind of computer will run
    SketchUp, we do not recommend the MacBook for use with SketchUp. The
    MacBook Pro does have a 3D accelerator and will handle 3D much better than
    its "consumer" sibling."
  5. Planner Dude thread starter macrumors 6502

    May 31, 2006
    So have you had trouble with all dell laptops or just the latitude 620?
  6. Sesshi macrumors G3


    Jun 3, 2006
    One Nation Under Gordon
    The bulk of the body shell is magnesium. The pointer works for some and it doesn't get in the way when typing, just like the IBM's. It is a slide release. It's kind of pathetic when people put things down without even having used them :rolleyes:

    I like the D620 as a workhorse, especially with the assurance of Latitude support. The base unit is robust and really light for what it is. I have the huge ass battery fitted to mine, which runs almost literally all working day with maximum power saving enabled and is still I believe lighter than the Macbook Pro.

    If you need to ditch Windows the choice is clear. But the D620 is a pretty portable Windows laptop you can trust - even if it is somewhat on the uninspiring side, and is better engineered for a life on the road than any Mac laptop currently available. There's one cheap aspect of the construction that bugs me and it's on the lower screen bezel, where the plastic comes away a little too easily. But apart from that it's a very solid machine. I like it.

    FWIW I own a Dell D620 (general purpose all-purpose portable, the machine I take out with me the most), a Dell D520 (hackintosh toy), Dell XPS M1710 (transportable desktop), Sony SZ2VP (travelling laptop), Macbook Pro 15" (Mac portable), Macbook Pro 17" (awaiting repair and an uncertain future).
  7. TheBrazilianGuy macrumors regular

    Jul 26, 2006
    Neither one...IMHO.

    I have a single core Asus Z7000. There are dual 2 duo models available
    now and most of them are just outstanding (Asus cases were used by Apple
    for years). Just for an example, another day I found this :

    and I almost put my lappy on the closet.

    I work with a MacPro cluster everyday but I decided to keep my Asus and
    not buying a macbook. Why ? Well, it turns out OSX is beautiful but my
    Z7000 have 2 HDs, one with Kubuntu and other with Windows XP. I use
    XP for games only. Everything else is well handled by linux. OSX is powerful
    but in my field it does not have any "killer" application.

    Hence, if you NEED OSX, you should get any mac...if not, there
    are many, many other models that have the same build quality and
    cheaper price.
  8. ready2switch macrumors 6502


    Apr 7, 2006
    The Dell seems a little pricey. My husband got an Inspiron E1505 back in October for less than $1k delivered. It has C2D, 1gig ram, 256 vram (which is really 128 discrete and 128 shared. Make sure you do your homework on the components.) It's been great so far, no problems at all except for those caused by Windows.

    Personally, I wouldn't spend $1.3k on a Dell laptop when the MBP you're looking at is so close in price. Plus you have the option of OS X or Windows with the MBP. If you're still thinking about the Dell, check out the home store (not your university site) and look for some online coupon codes (aka and you might be able to find an even better deal. That's what I did and it was much cheaper than going through the higher ed store (as an employee).
  9. Planner Dude thread starter macrumors 6502

    May 31, 2006
    I have no real need....I am just sick of windows and my programs crashing all the time.

    I think that (and have been told) that manging the computer will be much easier on a mac.

    Plus I like the ilife suite

    Would you say that there is a windows equivlent to ilife?
  10. adamyoshida macrumors regular

    Jul 10, 2006
    That's an Inspiron (and don't get me wrong, I don't mind it at all - most of them are fine Computers), he's talking about a Lattitude, which is a fine PC business-class notebook. In my experience, I'd rate them right up there with the Thinkpad.

    You're in pretty much the same boat I was in - I had a budget of about $1500 at the time and either I could get a fully-loaded PC or I'd end up with a MacBook with crippled graphics - and once you started to add things to the MacBook Pro, the prices went beyond my control.

    I'd say go with the Dell. Or do a little bit more shopping,
  11. Planner Dude thread starter macrumors 6502

    May 31, 2006
    The latitude is supposed to be better built than the consumer inspirion.....If this is true...I really don't retails for like 1,700 do you check for that?????
  12. Planner Dude thread starter macrumors 6502

    May 31, 2006
    anywhere to get a better discount on apple products????
  13. ready2switch macrumors 6502


    Apr 7, 2006
    I'd actually recommend the Inspiron over the Latitude (I use one at home and the other at work). I also had a Thinkpad, and it was ok, but not worth the money. Since the OP is a student on a budget, I recommend looking around for a better deal than a $1.3k Latitude. A similarly spec'd Inspiron will be much cheaper and work just as well if not better.
  14. ready2switch macrumors 6502


    Apr 7, 2006
    When I ordered the Inspiron, there was a "help me choose" link at the video card section that had a little more information about it. Otherwise, take the card model and google it. There's always tidbits of information out there on hardware.
  15. TheBrazilianGuy macrumors regular

    Jul 26, 2006
    I are under the reality distortion field...
    Well, then there is option : get a mac. Yes, if you need
    to run some Windows games or do virtualization, you will
    also need a good graphics card and lots of memory.

    In this case, just close your eyes, open your wallet and
    grab a macbook PRO. Getting an integrated graphics card
    is something awful no matter what other people says.


  16. thejadedmonkey macrumors 604


    May 28, 2005
    So Apple needs to lower their prices and update their hardware.

    Latitude support (at least 4 years ago) was superb.

    that's all I have to say.
  17. SMM macrumors 65816


    Sep 22, 2006
    Tiger Mountain - WA State
    If you do go with a Dell, check the hard drive installed. We have found 6 refurbished ones over the past several months. Also, immediately check the programs Dell has installed (which you did not know about). They get a royalty for installing some SW that can cause you grief. You can find exact info on the web.

    The machines we have purchased (maybe 50) have been generally reliable. The performance about what you would expect. We have had several battery issues (will not charge, straight failure, low lifespan, shorter than normal times between charges).

    Finally, if you can get it purchased through a company, definitely do it. Customer support for home users is dreadful.
  18. xyian macrumors 6502


    May 24, 2004
    You do know that there are no real GIS programs for OSX, right? My dream at my job is to be able to get the 24" iMac and run OSX for everything except ArcGIS and MapInfo. You would still need to have XP for that...

    Go for the MacBook Pro.
  19. EricChunky macrumors regular

    Feb 12, 2006
    just... can someone kick this guy out of the forum :D
  20. Planner Dude thread starter macrumors 6502

    May 31, 2006
    Yes, I know

    That's why it's important for me to have a bigger harddrive.....bootcamp
  21. Planner Dude thread starter macrumors 6502

    May 31, 2006

    What's up with that

    Am i that annoying?????
  22. laravia18 macrumors member

    Nov 30, 2006
    Go with the apple if your hesistant

    I know how it is to be a student on a budget and I would suggest that you get the Macbook Pro if the graphics concern you that much. Besides you have up to a year to purchase the insurance on both macs. So you can save up the money in between time and have the computer you want.
  23. subwarm macrumors member


    Feb 4, 2003
    Westchester, NY
  24. adamyoshida macrumors regular

    Jul 10, 2006
    That's actually quite true.

    For about that price, I got the Inspiron listed in my sig. It was tough, because I like Mac portables, but in terms of hardware, it just wasn't a comparison.
  25. ready2switch macrumors 6502


    Apr 7, 2006

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