MacBook vs. MBP dilemma

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by movingtoamac, May 9, 2011.

  1. movingtoamac macrumors newbie

    May 9, 2011
    After longing for a Mac for the last four years I'm about to take the plunge. My PC laptop is dying and I will soon need to replace it.

    After looking at the prices and specs and coming from the PC world I now realize I'lll have to spend more money to get a MacBook or MBP. But I'm not sure what to get.

    The laptop will be used mostly for email, websurfing, YouTube and games like Spore for my kid. I would like it to be useful for five years. For this "easy use" I think a MacBook will suffice. But the clincher is that I will have to use it very, very occassionally in Windows 7 mode. I have software that is Windows specific and not available for Macs (accounting software). I'm not sure if the MacBook will be able to boot up OK in the Windows mode with the base model...I would probably add the 2 gigs of RAM.

    The other issue is the screen size. My old laptop was 15" and I would prefer the MPB 15.4" screen to the MB 13.3" screen. I think it would be more enjoyable for surfing and for my son to play his games on.

    I'm stuck at the price though. I can't afford to buy the current model MBP so am looking at last years models (it will be a secondary computer). I think I can get one for about $200-300 more than a current year MB.

    Or maybe I should ditch the whole idea and stick with a PC!

    Any ideas or thoughts would be really appreciated.
  2. stridemat Moderator


    Staff Member

    Apr 2, 2008
    Go for the Macbook. It will be able to run Windows as well as the applications you suggested within OS X.
  3. macrominnie macrumors member

    Nov 20, 2010
  4. francis21 macrumors member

    May 2, 2011
    Mississauga, ON, Canada
    I agree with macrominnie : the current model of Macbooks can run Windows 7 enough for your needs. As what Apple claims, Macbooks are consumer-based laptops, while the MBPs are for more hardcore tasks such as video editing, etc.

    Unfortunately, the Macbook does not offer enough screen estate for your child's needs. I would, personally, prefer a bigger screen. I was a gamer before, and my former PC with a 15" screen is pretty good.

    Furthermore, as it was said here, look into some of the refurbished 2010 models. They are still pretty good - especially if you're looking at the 15-inch models of MBP. They have the Intel Core i-series of processors - but obviously, they are not equipped with the second generation of these processors, but still fast enough for your needs.

    Lastly, you should consider the factor that plays a (somewhat) big role when looking at laptops - portability. 13-inch laptops offer you enough screen estate while not compromising portability. 15-inch models offer you a somewhat portability. Its all about personal preference - so I will not touch more onto that topic.

    I hope my advice helps you somehow. Good luck deciding, and let us know what you got. :)
  5. movingtoamac thread starter macrumors newbie

    May 9, 2011
    That's for all the input. I did mean a refurbished MBP rather than "last years model". I'll go to an Apple store tomorrow and have one last look at them.

    Not to deviate too much...maybe a MacBook Air would be OK. But portablility isn't an issue so maybe not. It's also not available in a 15" model. But would it run Windows 7 OK?

    Apple has such beautiful products. I want them all!
  6. crush500 macrumors member

    Apr 23, 2011
    I loved the size of the MBA when I checked out the Macs. However, my problem with the MBA was lack of HDD space. Most MBAs come with very little HDD space which would be a real pain if you are using boot camp to run windows. There would be very little space on the HDD. You'd almost have to use an external HDD. That'd annoy the hell out of me.

    I was concidering a Macbook when I first started looking but after comparing the MBP and the MBs I couldn't justify spending the money on a regular MB. They are overpriced in my opinion. The rumor is the Macbooks will have a refresh here pretty soon so if possible I would wait a couple of months and see what, if anything, happens.

    If you're on a tight budget a PC might actually be better. Spec for spec a PC isn't that much cheaper than a Mac but PCs are a lot more flexible. You can get a decent PC for $500-600. Macs don't give you that freedom. It's high quality or nothing. There's no in between. I was on a tight budget but was able to make a Macbook Pro work. I went with the baseline 13" and it was not that much more expensive than the regular Macbook. The Macbooks are outdated for the price right now. Hopefully in the next couple of months we will see a refresh.
  7. Repo macrumors 6502a


    Feb 11, 2009
  8. francis21 macrumors member

    May 2, 2011
    Mississauga, ON, Canada
    Well, I guess that it can run Windows 7, but the lack of HDD space limits you to install further programs in your Boot Camp partition. Macbook Air is really meant for travellers - with that unique, thin design, it is really made for portability and travelling use. For me, I would prefer a Macbook or MBP for my type of work.

    And I remember from your first post that you are running some accounting software. Since the MBA's have the C2D processors, I guess that it can run it well, but not as fast as the Mac laptops (e.g. Macbook or MBP). That's what I think.

    If I were in your situation, try the Macbook line of laptops (I mean both MBPs and MB White laptops). Again, as I have stated before, MBPs are meant to be used for more intensive work - video editing, etc. Meanwhile, MBs are the consumer-based laptops that Apple offers - good for everyday use: watching videos, playing some non-demanding games, surfing the web - all of your typical computer needs can be run by MBs.

    At least when you consider a laptop, you can guarantee in the long run that it can run many upcoming programs that may need some more computing horsepower. Lastly, if you can add some more bucks to your budget, I would highly consider the MBPs (again, given that you have more bucks to add on). The second generation Intel Core i-series is worth having.

    I hope this helps. :)
  9. movingtoamac thread starter macrumors newbie

    May 9, 2011
    Again, thanks for the input!

    I've decided on either a new 13" MBP or a refurbished 15" MBP. The price will be about the same. From what I've read it looks like the base, new 13" has the same chip as the an entry-level refurbished 15' (2.3 i5 dual core vs. 2.4 i5 dual core).

    Ideally, I would like a new 15" MBP but at $1,800 I think it's too much for web surfing and normal computer use.

    I will go into an Apple store this week to decide on the screen size.
  10. dukebound85 macrumors P6


    Jul 17, 2005
    5045 feet above sea level
    for your needs, get the mb, save the 200 for a future upgrade

    look into microcenter. you might still get a new mb for 800
  11. movingtoamac thread starter macrumors newbie

    May 9, 2011
    If I get the MB should I order the extra 2 GB of RAM through Apple or do it myself? I've changed RAM on PC's I guess a MB would be similar. Is it easy?
  12. crush500 macrumors member

    Apr 23, 2011
    RAM is pretty simple. If you've done it before I have no worries that you will be able to do it with a Mac. Here's an online guide on how to upgrade the memory:
    I'd recommend you do it yourself. Apple charges way too much for RAM. You'll save yourself a decent amount of money. Just follow the guide and you'll be fine.
  13. ActionableMango macrumors G3


    Sep 21, 2010
    Contrary to most of the advice here, I'd get a MBP with the better GPU if you really want a laptop to be relevant 5 years. 5 years, including gaming, is a pretty tough requirement. The MB has a nearly crippled GPU that might be barely okay for lightweight gaming today, but no way 5 years from now.

    I definitely would upgrade to at least 2GB.
  14. alexpotter macrumors newbie


    May 7, 2011
    The white MacBook (2.4 Core 2 Duo) will do all of that just fine, however if you really want to be future proof get a refurbished 2011 i5 MBP .They will serve you better down the road. Remember, the Core 2 Duo processor is already nearly 5 years old. The MBP also has little quirks like a backlit keyboard and an aluminium casing. If you don't care about that, go for a white MB.

    About RAM, I would definitely upgrade it to 4GB at least if you want it to last. Apple is renowned for charging lots for memory and hard drive upgrades. If you know how or if you know someone who is quite good at computers, buy the RAM from OWC or Crucial or somewhere like that and install it yourself. It will be a lot cheaper. 2 things - Make sure you get the right RAM and if you feel uncomfortable about doing it yourself, get Apple to do it.
  15. movingtoamac thread starter macrumors newbie

    May 9, 2011
    This has been very useful information. Thanks eveybody.

    I went into my local BestBuy last week and decided I am only happy w/ the 15" screen. When I look at similar refurbished specs on the Apple website as the new 15" MBP's is only about a $250 price difference (I'm looking at a refurbished i7 with a 500 GB hard drive to compare Apples to Apples, Cdn $$) which is not a big enough difference for me to go the refurbished route.

    So now it's either new (w/ a wooping 6% discount I'll use from my sister) or a refurbished i5. I'll upgrade the RAM myself either way.

    I'm typing this on my very fast PC desktop which is a Core 2 quad. I love the speed and think that with the new MBP I will even surpass what I am now used to. I think it may also be a good test to run Windows programs on to see what the performance is like. If it's seamless I may buy an iMac when my desktop needs replacing. This is quickly becoming a slippery slope.

    I hope to figure out something by the end of this week. For once, I'm not being impulsive!
  16. movingtoamac thread starter macrumors newbie

    May 9, 2011
    One last question....when should we expect to see the new 2011 15'MBP on the refurbished site? Would June be a possibility? I don't think I can wait until July...
  17. nate13 macrumors 6502


    Feb 16, 2004
    Fargo, ND
    I'd expect refurbs by then. If not that, then someone willing to take a loss on ebay or forums. Or, possibly, you could have a college kid who owes you a favor buy it for you, and then buy it off him (even though I'm sure that violates the sales agreement, but then again, you're still buying their product)

Share This Page