MacBook woes :(

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by JustLikeYou, Dec 6, 2007.

  1. JustLikeYou macrumors member

    Aug 29, 2007
    So hello there. I've got some wonderfully disheartening news. Yes, it's joy and sorrow all wrapped up into one little package.

    I'm graduating from community college finally, and going to university to get my BFA in Graphic Design. My mom called me about a month ago and told me that she wanted to help buy me a new laptop as a christmas/graduation present, a Mac. I said that was very thoughtful and wonderful, but to call me before they bought one, as I had a lot of money I wanted to put towards a 15" MacBook Pro. The main reason for the MBP was that, well, it was "strongly reccomended" (basically required) by the school that every Graphic Design student have one.

    Yesterday, my boyfriend told me that my mom called him, hitting him up for money on my christmas present they've already bought. It is a 13" base model MacBook. Obviously, not what I *need* to have. They bought it online and just got it a few days ago, but I'm not supposed to know, it's supposed to be a "suprise". I told them I knew about it, but that I was required to have the other kind of laptop. But it gets worse, they bought it on some third-party discount website and it can't be returned.

    So here's my dilemma. I will now have a computer that I can't fully use. I mean, I can use it, but I don't think it's going to be sufficient for what I need, I'll be doing Graphic Design and some digital media video rendering as well. I know I can switch out the RAM, so I'm not worried about that, and obviously I'll need a seperate display, but do you think I should even attempt to use it? Or should I keep it in the box and try to resell it, using the cash for the MBP?

    I appreciate their help, but they bought the MB instead, citing that it was "$700 less and had 'basically' the same stuff"... they don't know a thing about computers other than how to turn them on and use the internet, so I feel reeeeeaaaaaaallllllllyyyyyyy bad now. I don't know what to do :(

  2. iBlue macrumors Core


    Mar 17, 2005
    London, England
    Are you in a position to be able to sell it and spend the extra cash needed to get the Pro model?

    How much do you really need a Pro model in laptop form though?
    Do you have a pro machine (desktop) at home... where you can do the bulk of the grunt work and use the macbook for more light duty? (not sure how about your school's way of doing things)

    I know pros are better, totally understand, but it might be doable with the macbook.
  3. koobcamuk macrumors 68040


    Oct 23, 2006
    You can do it with a MacBook.

    Remember how some people still use G4s and G5s for making things? Photoshop and Final Cut still ran on these and people always thought they were more than fast enough.

    The MacBook is a very capable computer. I say give it a go and if you feel that it is not working out at all, then sell it and get the MBP after MacWorld.

    I 'downgraded' to a PowerBook 12" G4 from my CD MacBook and I really don't notice *that* much of a difference. The MacBook toasted it at encoding video, which is why I bought a mini...
  4. Redline13 macrumors 6502

    Feb 20, 2004
    My advice is to give your Mom a big hug when you open the present and let her know how much you appreciate the gift. Try out the Macbook. It might be sufficient for your work. If you need to sell it and get a MPB I am sure your mom will understand. Odds are she just wants you to be happy so I don't think she will take it personal.
  5. Consultant macrumors G5


    Jun 27, 2007
    I have not heard of any reputable merchant that does not have a return policy. The norm is no restocking fee if the package is unopened.

    If you really want to sell it, there is
  6. eXan macrumors 601


    Jan 10, 2005
    Do you use Motion or Aperture?

    If not, MB should be fine. Just don't forget to calibrate the screen
  7. motomac macrumors member

    Oct 19, 2007
    Cheer up! I have a friend that works for the local newspaper and when hes not at work using his G5 PowerMac, hes working on ad design and layout on his 2.2Ghz black Macbook. Sure the screen is small-ish, but adding a large LCD monitor when your docked at home (or in your apt / dorm) will make it feel like a powerfull machine, which the MB actually is.

    We even uploaded 5 hours of High Def digital video from my trip to Asia on it, and it played it without skipping a beat or dropping a frame in FCE and iMovie.

    I think you have a great opportunity to use the extra dough you saved up to buy a nice FW400 7200rpm external HD, 4 gigs of ram, and a large 18+" widescreen monitor to make editing and working in photoshop easier!

    Thats what i'd do!
  8. Igantius macrumors 65816

    Apr 29, 2007
    I'd go along with motomac's advice.

    If you were going to be chiefly using apps that are hugely GPU-intensive, then the MB Pro would be a no-brainer. From what you've outlined, that's not the case.

    I can understand why you would be concerned if your university says a MB Pro is 'strongly recommended' - but I infer that this is the main reason for your concern, rather than an objective look at what the MB handles the software you'll be using.

    There're plenty of benchmarks for creative apps running on MB and MBPs, so I would have a look at those.

    However, this fundamentally depends on whether you've got your heart set on on MBP.
  9. ktbubster macrumors 6502a


    Jan 20, 2007
    The macbook would be fine for a while, if not all of college, but, being in design school myself, I find a lot of people tend to branch out to more intensive things, and especially in graphic design, video and editing and more graphic intensive things... so although you'll have access to a bunch of computer labs and the like, you may end up finding yourself wanting more power.

    If it's highly recommended, maybe there is a reason. Ask your school about the curriculum perhaps and see what specifically the macbook pro is better at in it. If you feel the pro is the best option still then (personally i love mine)... oh and the base level macbook only has a combo drive, burning dvds might be useful for you too especially since you are doing video stuff, that could pose a problem)... if you already have a powerhorse, maybe this should be AOK...

    Anyway, all things considered, after talking to people in the school etc, if you feel the pro is still the best option, open it and play with it if you want to see how it is at what you do, but keep it in good care, take some awesome photos of it, and stick it up on ebay. You'll get a really good price for it there probably, possibly even more then your parents paid for it at the discount place... and then just buy a macbook pro.

    I'm sure they will understand if you explain that it wasn't enough and how much you appreciate their help... so on and so forth, and how you couldn't have gotten the pro if it wasn't for their help .. yadda yadda.

    I'd still look into an external 19-22inch eventually if i were you btw.


    P.S. if they got it from a discount website... is it the New SR macbook? or an older model, seems they float around at discount sites a lot. That could also make a difference, if you can't get 4gig of ram.. and only 2 (or i guess 3) the new chipset helps a lot.. and the newer integrated graphics card is better apparently......
  10. JustLikeYou thread starter macrumors member

    Aug 29, 2007
    Ignatius basically hit the nail on the head. I was concerned because of what the University said that I NEEDED to have. Plus I had stars in my eyes over the Pro... it's just so niiiiceee.....

    Don't get me wrong, I am really super happy they wanted to help me, and I really appreciate what they've done - I couldn't afford any Apple by myself. Also, for the past six years, I've been doing design work on a 17" Toshiba notebook. The screen on it died two years ago, so I've been using an external, the power plug connection is finnicky so I can't always charge it, only 1 of 4 USB ports still works, and it has a 60 gig drive with a celeron processor and 512 megs of ram and no graphics card and only a CD drive. So ANYTHING is an upgrade.

    I was just nervous about the pressure the school was putting on the necessity of a MBP.

    I already use a 22" widescreen external for my current brick (err, notebook), so that would obviously be the screen when I'm docked at home. And honestly I wasn't thrilled about spending an extra $800 on the Pro model...but like I said, the school puts a spotlight on it. But, if you guys say it will get things done, then I trust you. I will be doing about 90% design work using the adobe suite and quark, and about 10% 3D rendering. So I guess I can give it a shot, but I'd definetly need to upgrade the ram, because it only has 1 gig.

  11. mankar4 macrumors 6502a


    Aug 23, 2007
    i have a friend here at UW in design, and she uses a macbook with adobe cs3 suite and solidworks for 3d modeling and the mb works great for her. i wouldn't worry about it. the dedicated graphics on the mbp is really only necessary for gaming or cg work, neither of which it sounds like you will be doing. enjoy your money! buy your parents a nice gift in return. and make sure you act excited.
  12. Consultant macrumors G5


    Jun 27, 2007
    Just show them the university page, and get a refurb MBP instead...
  13. Cybergypsy macrumors 68040


    May 16, 2006
    Central Florida!
    Its a gift, be thankful...if you need a pro get a part time job and buy one ......

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