Macbook Pro Accessories

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by uMBP 17', May 24, 2009.

  1. uMBP 17' macrumors newbie

    May 24, 2009

    After closely following Apple news for a year, I've finally decided to buy a uMBP 17' when the back to school promo comes out.

    I know this has been asked before, but that was for the Macbook, not the Macbook Pro, which has an ExpressCard slot that can offer a whole range of uses.

    I currently have a VX Revolution mouse and is looking forward to buy a 500GB My Passport Studio for general backup and Time Machine, and Apple In-ear Headphones for listening to music.

    For the ExpressCard slot, I am still deciding whether Firewire, USB, Card Readers.... would be more useful.

    Any input would be appreciated!
  2. Aboo macrumors 6502a

    Jul 7, 2008
    From several reviews, the WD Passport Studio with FW800 is a really slow drive. The transfer speeds max apparently around 30 mb/sec on FW800. If I were you, this is what I would do:

    Get an eSata Express Card 34 - I have the rosewill one, bought from Newegg. Works well with my mac.

    Then get an eSATA enclosure. There are several really nice ones. I once again bought a Rosewill one from Newegg. Its really well designed and looks like the Mac Pros. I then picked up a 1 TB drive. There are several specials on these, and the mean price is around 85 bucks these days. That added to the cost of the enclosure which was 25 dollars - I had a 1 TB external hard drive solution for about 110 dollars. Here comes the best part - when connected with eSATA, the transfer speeds are phenomenal. For me, they have averaged around 60-70 mb/sec depending on the files I am transferring.

    If the whole external enclosure seems a little too complicated/too much work, get a retail drive that has esata. WD makes a couple of good MyBook series drives that have eSATA. They are probably going to be a little more costly, but the transfer speeds are worth it.

    If you want portability, there are several 2.5" drives that offer eSATA capability as well, in addition to the standard usb capability. Again building your own is probably cheaper. If you build your own, I recommend the Vantec eSATA 2.5" enclosure with a 500 GB WD Scorpio Blue hard drive.

    As far as other accessories go, consider getting a good microfiber cleaning cloth and the moshi clear guard. The moshi clear guard is basically a keyboard cover which will prevent the shiny black key effect (due to finger oils) that has plagued several unibody macbooks/macbook pros. MRgoogle the forums for a review if you would like.

    As far as protection goes - you should definetely get a good sleeve or invest in the Speck Incase hard cover shells. Those are good against dings and dents. If you think thats too bulky, you may want to consider an invisible shield or body guardz product (both are running a 50% sale this weekend, so you can get a protective film for you macbook pro for around 20 bucks).

    How's that for starters?
  3. uMBP 17' thread starter macrumors newbie

    May 24, 2009
    Many thanks for the detailed reply!

    I'll definitely look into the eSATA drives. A combination of a 1TB WD Caviar Black 3.5" drive and an eSATA enclosure seems to be fine for me.

    For the moshi, would you recommend the palm guard as well, seeing that the unibodies have quite sharp edges? And would the iKlear kit be a sensible investment?

    Finally, do you guys use USB card readers often? Or should I buy an ExpressCard one instead?

    Thanks again for your help. Really looking forward to WWDC and SL.
  4. macjram macrumors 6502a


    Dec 20, 2008
    Maybe an M-Stand, Invisibleshield?, I also second the sleeve/case recommendation. Not so much the moshi guard tho, just wipe your keys down every once in a while ;)
  5. steve-p macrumors 68000


    Oct 14, 2008
    Newbury, UK
    I would definitely give 500GB disks a miss nowadays when 1TB disks aren't much more expensive and allow for a much longer lifespan before you just need to get a bigger one anyway. You can never have too much disk capacity. eSATA is a lot faster than FW400 (or USB) but may not be hugely different to FW800 because you are already getting close to the limit of the 3.5" disk rather than the interface. Firewire has the advantage that you can boot off it instead of the internal disk, which can be handy if you want to clone your internal drive and put a new one in. I'm not sure if you can boot from eSATA too, maybe you can.
  6. uMBP 17' thread starter macrumors newbie

    May 24, 2009
    Target Disk Mode would obviously be a nice touch, so are there any good eSATA + Firewire 800 enclosures that I can look out for?

    The Invisible Shield and a sleeve would provide the protection I need. What brands offers sleeves for uMPB 17's? Incase neoprene ones are very popular but I don't believe Aluminium and zippers should come together.
  7. Aboo macrumors 6502a

    Jul 7, 2008
    Hi there - for a FW800/eSATA enclosure, the Rosewill option is quite good. The link is below:

    Second regarding the Invisible Shield - I would actually recommend getting the BodyGuardz shield instead. I had initially purchased Invisible Shield and returned it because I wasn't satisfied with the texture/quality. I think BodyGuardz is a lot nicer. Both companies had a 50% discount just this past weekend, but I have had experience in the past where if I called them a few days after missing the promotion, they still went ahead and applied the discount for me.

    As far as sleeves go, I currently use the Zeroshock Shinza III. Its got a memory foam lining and its really great at absorbing impacts. I am extremely pleased with it and highly recommend it. Its a little cheaper than the the Incase also. I got mine from an eBay seller who sells a bunch of these. I think I paid around 27 dollars shipped. Also, this sleeve as a zipper "lip" (i.e. a piece of material interfacing between the zipper and the actual inside of the sleeve. This ensures that you mbp never comes in contact with the zipper teeth or the zipper itself.

    Regarding your original question of the Moshi Palmguard - yes, I do recommend it. I actually have that installed on my palmrest instead of the Bodyguardz palmrest portion. Its been really great, and finally, I don't have to take off my watch when I am typing on my laptop! The watch strap is stainless steel so I am pretty sure that even resting the hand on the palmrest would have scratched it. For both the Moshi PalmGuard and ClearGuard, I got them at They are usually about 20-25% cheaper than buying directly from Moshi or Apple and they offer free shipping as well.

    Lastly, the iKlear solution. Again, I only bought this because many people both on these forums and at the Apple Store highly recommended it. In fact, I have seen employees at the Apple Store wipe down the screens in the store with this product to keep them nice and shiny. Heck if they were using it themselves, I thought why not. The problem is that the "kits" of iKlear they sell at the Apple Store are ridiculous, around 30 bucks! I just went MyGearStore and ordered a 8 oz spray bottle for about 9 dollars shipped. That bottle is big enough to last at least a year. I just use a regular microfiber cloth that I have at home along with the solution to polish the screen.

    (BTW, I don't work for MyGearStore or NewEgg - just listing my experiences)
  8. h0e0h macrumors 6502a


    Aug 30, 2004
    West Monroe, Louisiana
    I would add to the keyboard cover by expanding your options from Moshi to I have one on my MBP and had the same on on my Black MacBook. It's very easy to deal with, not thick and bulky like the iSkin products. I even have one for Photoshop shortcuts on my iMac keyboard.

    For a sleeve I would recommend something from Booq... I'm still using the Booq backpack that I bought for my 12" PB 5 years ago. I've used it for 4 solid years with PB, BlackBook, and 15" Uni MBP and it's been very protective. I've also ordered a Speck Satin finish SeeThru for added protection. I think you'll be happy with these.

    Another recommendation is a keyboard cover, ScreenSavrz from It's not a cover that you leave on all the time, but rather when you're not using the machine. I think that you'll be happy with one of those. I use it in conjunction with my KBCover and it doubles as a cleaning cloth.
  9. uMBP 17' thread starter macrumors newbie

    May 24, 2009
    Excellent! Your replies are more than helpful to me.

    I'm going to get both Moshi products - PalmGuard and ClearGuard. I've read far too many stories about spilled liquid on Macbook Pros.

    As for the InvisibleShield and related products, they do cost quite a fortune. Obviously for such an expensive laptop, protection is of utmost importance, but is that thin layer of film really necessary? I mean, the unibodies shouldn't be that prone to dents or scratches, right?

    BTW, although I didn't search for this, but I don't think anyone has compared WD, Seagate and LaCie external hard disks in one thread. The rugged LaCie has the best record at Amazon, but would anyone recommend the other two (Passport Studio and Freeagent Go for Mac) over the LaCie? I'm sure at least some people out there are interested in this comparision.
  10. steve-p macrumors 68000


    Oct 14, 2008
    Newbury, UK
    I found this when I was looking 3 months back:

    I went for the 1TB LaCie. There is another version of it which has eSATA and FW400 as well as USB. It's the fastest external drive I've had so far, especially with eSATA.
  11. Aboo macrumors 6502a

    Jul 7, 2008
    I think BodyGuardz is definetly worth it. You would be surprised to see how easily the unibody dents/scratches. Aluminum is a soft metal and tends to dent quite easily. If you search the MBP forums, you will see how badly the unibodies get damaged after a fall from a short height.

    Yes they are expensive and they are a pain to get on perfectly. Just wait around for one of the 50% sales since the markup on these products is huge. For around 20 dollars (which is the price after the 50% discount, I think its definetly worth it)
  12. uMBP 17' thread starter macrumors newbie

    May 24, 2009
    Any more thoughts on the external hard drives? Especially the portable ones?

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