MacBook purchasing questions...

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by iTim314, May 5, 2007.

  1. iTim314 macrumors 6502

    Jun 5, 2005
    Okay, we're thinking of purchasing a MacBook before we go on our 3-week vacation in about 4 weeks. I've done my homework on stats, but I have a few questions that I won't find the answers to on the Apple website.

    First of all, I know Apple is very unpredictable about their future products, but are any renditions possible in the near future to make us totally regret buying this MacBook within the next 3 months? So far, the main thing I see awaited on are the Santa Rosa MacBooks. How drastic will the performance be?

    Secondly, I understand the MacBook has no dedicated graphics card. The only game I plan to play is Halo, at least that's the most graphic-extensive game I'll play. Currently, I'm playing it on an iMac G5 with 64MB of VRAM. Will the 64MB of shared system memory on the MacBook be comparable to the way it looks on our iMac now? We're definitely going to get 1GB or more of Ram, will more help with video performance? Is there anyway to set how much RAM is shared for graphics support?

    My last question is a question of preference. Has anyone tried or used both Boot Camp and Parallels to run Windows? I want to know what people think is the most convenient, yet efficient way to run a few, simple Windows-only programs.

    That's all I can think of for now.

    Thanks in Advance,
  2. Schroedinger macrumors regular


    Feb 12, 2004
    Baltimore, MD
    I'll answer what I can for you. Regarding regret, that's a function totally of your personality type. The rule I like in this regard is if you need/want it and you think it is worth the money go ahead and buy it. It doesn't matter what you get, it will be upgraded. As a counter example, I actually waited until the mac pro came out b/c for a while the intel machines weren't the powerhouses I wanted and the powermacs were still G5s. But, once the Mac Pro came out I was all over it. It has now been superseded by the 8 core version, but hey, I'm happy with the machine I got. If you play the waiting game, you'll just keep waiting: new chipset, revision B of the product, different enclosure, etc. etc. etc.

    I've used both boot camps and parallels. The only weakness with parallels is that you don't have the same graphics support. I use windows on the mac pro for gaming, and I use boot camp. That way I get all the juice out of the graphics card. For gaming I'd say go boot camp. For everything else I'd say Parallels will work well.

    good luck
  3. Yoursh macrumors 6502

    May 28, 2006
    I agree with the last post. If you want it now get it now. I have a first version Macbook. Its doesn't have a Core2Duo processor or an 802.11n, but it's still a great system I plan on keeping for a long while.

    As of right now I beleive that the shared video ram is 'locked' at 64Mb, no matter how much ram you install. I think the hardware does support the option to increase it but it isn't used at this time by Apple.

    I've used parrallels and bootcamp on my Macbook to run windows. I ended up sticking with parrallels running Windows 2000 for now since I only use a few apps like Active sync and don't use it for anything graphic intensive. Bootcamp only supports XP service pack 2 and Vista, while parrallels supports most windows versions and linux(I've also got Ubuntu on my Macbook). Also take space into consideration. I use windows 2000 since it takes up less space than a copy of xp would. In the end, they both work fine. It just boils down to what you need to run and which version of windows you want to use.
  4. iTim314 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jun 5, 2005
    Thanks for all your help!

    Still one question remains unanswered, is the 64MB of shared memory enough for Halo?

    Not a vital factor, but it'd be nice to chill out every once and a while. :)
  5. iTim314 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jun 5, 2005
    Okay, I was using my Pastor's Toshiba Laptop today, and I noticed it had that fingerprinting scanner... thing. I asked him if he liked it..

    "I'd give it up in a heart beat for a graphics card."

    Now I know Toshiba is not equal to Mac, but does it really make everyday processes that painfully slow? I'm just concered about purchasing a computer without a graphics card. Will I be better off with the pro?
  6. Burnincoco macrumors member

    May 6, 2007
    Pro is Better

    You might as well buy the macbook pro, it only looks alot heavier than the macbook, but it's really only 180grams heavier, so it's perfect for trips!
    And the graphics card rocks of course. And then there's the screen, and the backlit keyboard, and the FW800 and...
  7. Wolfpup macrumors 68030

    Sep 7, 2006
    For games, Intel's video is a joke. The Radeon x1600 in the Macbook Pro is low end too, but many, many, many times more powerful than Intel's video.

    For general stuff Intel's video is fine. I have heard that it can't really drive large external panels, but I don't have first hand experience with that.

    Intel's newer integrated video supposedly finally has hardware T&L and vertex shader support. (In direct x terms, the current Intel video is DX 6, the new one is DX 9...though it sounds like the drivers may not really enable the new features on Windows).

    If you can, I'd wait as it would be surprising if we didn't get an upgrade within 3 months.
  8. iW00t macrumors 68040


    Nov 7, 2006
    Defenders of Apple Guild
    LED screens... a greener Apple!

    I'd save myself the regret and wait =)
  9. Wolfpup macrumors 68030

    Sep 7, 2006
    That's a good point-at least some Apple products are going to move to LED backlights on their LCDs this year. No way of knowing what though, although LED backlighting is supposed to be cheaper and easier to do on smaller screens...

    (though it could be the hypothetical super-small Macbook Pro, or the hypothetical tablet-esque device)
  10. iTim314 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jun 5, 2005
    The WWDC keynote will be right around the time we're making our way towards our destination. It's about a 3 day drive.

    What's the possibility we'll see updates to the MacBook Pro (or MacBook for that Matter) at WWDC?
  11. Mr. MacBook macrumors 6502

    Feb 28, 2007
    Actually, ATI X1600 is actually in the high-end class. 128/256mb is good, but asus makes a 512mb version(rarely ever seen)

    It's probably equal to around a geforce 7600

    Oh, also, yes, Halo will probably run on it, because Halo is such an old game.
  12. RaMaz macrumors regular


    Apr 6, 2007
    My MacBook runs everything great (read Signature for Specs)
    i run a bunch of games such as Call Of Duty 2, Halo, Need For Speed Carbon And Most Wanted, WoW and others,
    Windows Vista Ultimate in BootCamp (With Flip 3D and Aero Spit :p), Photoshop CS3, Parallels, VMware, CrossOver Mac, etc.

    They all run great, and for the Intel GMA its great, and fine for me,
    But if you do buy a MacBook make sure you at least have 1 GB Of Ram, :apple:
  13. Wolfpup macrumors 68030

    Sep 7, 2006
    By the way, I forgot to mention that you might want to wait for VMWare's virtualization software rather than going with Parrellels. It's in beta right now, and seems to be the better product. It can use multiple cores (last time I checked Parrelels could only use one core), and it can use the GPU directly-at least to give games Direct X 8.1 support. Also supposedly it can use your boot camp install, so that you can run the same install through both VMWare, and boot camp (although I'm less sure about how that works).

    Nope, the Geforce 7600GT would probably still be considered a mid-range part, and certainly was a year ago. The Radeon x1600 has always been low end. It only has four ROPS (like the Geforce 1-4), and was destroyed by the Geforce 7600 line when it debuted. There were later desktop versions with more ROPS that were competitive, but by the time they launched you could get a Geforce 7900GS for the same the x1600 has always been dead in the water.

    It's still a gazillion times better than Intel's video, but that's not saying much since Intel's video is the equivalent of an early 1999 part in terms of it's Direct 3D support.
  14. iTim314 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jun 5, 2005
    Well, if we can scrounge the money up, we're gonna try for a MacBook Pro.
  15. macsforme macrumors member

    Mar 16, 2007
    It's been a while since a MacBook update (and the last update was relatively minor), so it's possible that there's something good coming soon. However, the current MacBook is a really good machine, and I don't think you'd be regretful in the least if you purchased it now.

    The graphics card is has quite inferior performance in games. Worse than the last 14-inch iBook. Your games will work, but you will notice a difference in performance. I'd go for the MacBook Pro if you're going to do serious gaming and you can afford it.
  16. pudgy macrumors newbie

    May 8, 2007
    Halo, Boot Camp, and Parallels

    I have a new Macbook with the 64MB of shared VRAM, and I play Halo (Macsoft) online with no problem at all.

    I bought Parallels so that I could play AOE III (Windows). Parallels, Windows Vista Home Basic, and AOE III all installed easily with no problems at all. But when I tried to play the game, an error dialogue box said that I had zero MB of VRAM, and therefore couldn't run the game. I don't understand the reason for this, but I read in another forum that this in unfixable.

    Next I tried Boot Camp. Again, everything installed easily enough, but this time I was told that I only have 32 MB of VRAM. Again I don't know why. I guess it is somehow related to the shared situation. Although the game would still run (AOE III requires at least 64), the graphics were so bad, it wasn't worth continuing.

    Sorry I can't help you out with your first question, but I hope this helps you with the second and third.

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