MBP $2000 or 2500?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by Gordon90s, Oct 15, 2008.

  1. Gordon90s macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2008
    #1
    Like many people here I waited for these macbooks for like forever, I was patient enough to wait for the macbook refresh for 4 long months! My last macbook crashed of unknown causes one year and a half after purchase :/ (no apple care... no warranty, rest in peace macbook / motherboard and HDD fried).

    I will therefor take a warranty extension for my coming MBP 400$ (aouch), by the way I think that one year of warranty (i guess it is still the same for the new MBs) is pretty bad for those notebooks, when you know that even the cheapest notebooks get at leat 2 years of warranty... (my 250$ eee Asus pc for instance)

    But that's not why I'm here. I am wondering which MBP to chose? Are the additional 500$ worth it?

    I'm not using the MBP for any special things (at least not for now) but I like things to get done quick and also like to have a bunch of applications running all at once and I'm spending a lot of time in front on my computer that's why i'm investing in a MBP. Maybe in a few i'd like to do some music on it and some photo / movie edditing...

    I guess my primary concern is about the 2 MB RAM, I'm wondering if this is enough for a MBP? 2 MB is standard today, isn't it?

    I'm also interested in the difference between a 256MB graphic card and a 512 MB one? Does it make like a huge difference?

    I don't care much about the HDD size but i'm wondering if the upgrade to 7200 rpm is worth the extra 50$?


    Thank you in advance for your answers! In any case I'll buy a 15 inch MBP for Xmas!
     
  2. nope7308 macrumors 65816

    nope7308

    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2008
    Location:
    Ontario, Canada
    #2
    Good questions to ask.

    Given your current interests/uses, 2GB DDR3 RAM should be plenty. If you want top performance in terms of "snappiness" - given your potential interests/uses - 4GB of RAM is guaranteed to get the job done. I looked into buying DDR3 RAM from various third party vendors, but the savings weren't very good - just go with apple (surprisingly!).

    In terms of vRAM (i.e. 256 vs 512), you will only notice a difference if you're playing really demanding games. That said, Snow Leopard (when released) will offload some of the computing tasks to the GPU, so it may be beneficial to get the extra vRAM. Additionally, future software may be capable of utilizing that extra vRAM.

    NOTE: This last point is heavily contested (usefulness of extra vRAM).

    In my humble opinion, we do not exactly know what SL will be capable of, and we cannot be sure that future software will not benefit from the extra vRAM. If you're going to drop 2k+ on a computer, it's better to be safe than sorry! I would also upgrade the HD to 7200 rpm - 250GB or 320GB, depending on your storage needs. The price is more than reasonable.

    In terms of CPU, go with the 2.53/6MB cache - do not get the 2.8. The performance difference between the two top processors is negligible unless you're running extremely demanding apps. Even then, the difference isn't huge - not big enough to justify the price, anyway.

    So, if you're hell bent on the MBP and you have the money, I would opt for the 2.53 model because:
    (1) Double cache
    (2) Extra vRAM (insurance purposes)

    That said, the base model is pretty darn good too. If you don't need the 6MB cache and aren't worried about the vRAM, then that would be your best option. That said, if you want to install 4GB of RAM, then the difference between the two models is only $210 CAD (edu discount) - take that for what you will.

    So, to recap, the best option would be the following:
    - 2.53G/6MB cache
    - 4GB DDR3 RAM
    - 320GB, 7200

    Why is it the best option, you ask? Simple. It's the configuration I just bought and so it has to be the best - I cannot be convinced otherwise. QED

    :D

    Enjoy your MBP my friend!
     
  3. MICHAELSD macrumors 68040

    MICHAELSD

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2008
    Location:
    NJ
    #3
    It's not worth it at all. Think of it this way: You're paying 25% more for performance that will be 2%-3% better. Since the 9600M GT only has a 128-bit memory interface it won't be able to handle 512MB efficiently, resulting in about one (usually less) extra frame in games. The difference between the 2.4GHz processor with a 3MB cache vs the 2.5GHz with a 6MB is a little bigger than the video card, but in most cases the performance difference is very small. I would save the $500 for next year's revision, which will be a lot faster. You can sell the MBP you buy now on eBay for around $1700-$1800 the week before the new MBPs come out, and you'll still be saving money.
     
  4. Project-79 macrumors 6502

    Project-79

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2008
    Location:
    Canada
    #4
    Wow, that was extremely helpful (I'm in the exact same position)! How did you get the difference between the MBPs at $210 ( I really want the higher MBP, but don't know if I can afford it)?

    Thanks!

    Pro-79
     
  5. nope7308 macrumors 65816

    nope7308

    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2008
    Location:
    Ontario, Canada
    #5
    Yeah, because it makes total sense to sell a notebook that's less than a year old to buy the latest one... :confused: I really don't see how you would be saving money on that. No offense, but that just sounds like a stupid idea to me.

    Like I said, the 512 vRAM is for insurance purposes, and neither you nor I have any idea of how it will be used under SL with (presumably) more demanding apps coming out. I'm also not sure where you get "25% more" in terms of cost - I worked it out and the difference, after the RAM/HD upgrade, was $210 CAD (factoring in varying edu discounts). Last I checked, $210 is not 25% of $2050...

    Go to Kumon.

    j/k :D (I suck at math too)
     
  6. Project-79 macrumors 6502

    Project-79

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2008
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    Canada
    #6
    But, isn't the higher MBP $2,500 after edu discount?

    Thanks!

    Pro-79
     
  7. nope7308 macrumors 65816

    nope7308

    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2008
    Location:
    Ontario, Canada
    #7
    Glad I could help.

    First, I signed into the educ. store to see the discounts. The base MBP is reduced by $100 CAD while the high end MBP is reduced by $200 CAD.

    Now, I knew I wanted 4GB of RAM and 320GB 7200 HD, so I just opened two browsers and compared. Because the higher-end MBP comes with 4GB standard as well as the $200 discount, the difference amounted to $210 CAD (that is, 2.4 = $2,335 CAD / 2.53 = $2,545... difference of $210)

    So, for an extra $210 I could get the following:
    - Incremental processor improvement (nothing spectacular)
    - Double the vRAM (again, insurance)
    - Double the MB of cache (I'm sold)

    I'm not super tight for money, and like I said before, if I'm dropping 2k+, I rather be safe than sorry. Additionally, if you really want the higher-end MBP but are stretching the funds, you can always drop down to the 250GB HD at 7200.

    With that said, the base is still an excellent machine. Whether the $210 CAD is worth the upgrade depends on (1) your needs, (2) your wallet, and (3) your conscience.

    Good luck buddy!
     
  8. nope7308 macrumors 65816

    nope7308

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    #8
    Yes, but I was responding the claim that the MBP 2.53 cost 25% more than the MBP 2.4

    From my edu discount perspective, after the relevant upgrades, the difference between the two models was $210 (not $500). Keep in mind that I had to upgrade the RAM for the 2.4, whereas the RAM for the 2.53 came standard. Just trust me on this one haha
     
  9. MICHAELSD macrumors 68040

    MICHAELSD

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    NJ
    #9
    It does make sense when the next revision is going to be a huge improvement performance-wise. All you really have to do is put your current one on eBay, get paid, buy the new MBP, and ship out the old one. You would pay a difference smaller than the $500 you would've paid to get the new one. On top of that, you're getting a brand new MBP without any wear or scratches you would get through normal use. You could back up all of your files and then restore them to make it seem like the same computer, only faster. 512MB VRAM will never be used well with the 128-bit memory interface that the 9600M GT has. The speed that the card processes data isn't fast enough to use the 512MB VRAM. Any cards with a 256-bit memory interface can take full advantage of it, which is why you almost always see any cards with a 256-bit memory interface have 512MB VRAM standard. By the 25% difference, I was talking about the different models, the $2500 MBP is 25% more than the $2000 MBP. I'd recommend upgrading the RAM to 4GB yourself to save some money, since a lot of OS X applications are 64-bit and the MBP will run noticeable faster, which is one of the best upgrades for around $60-$70.

    Selling and buying a new MBP next revision to get a much faster MBP is really worthwhile in my opinion instead of spending $500 extra to get a slightly faster MBP.
     
  10. nope7308 macrumors 65816

    nope7308

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    #10
    Bah, to each their own I guess. I just don't see the point in continually buying/selling computers - I really doubt that the current MBP is going to be outdated/obsolete in less than a year. You may like new shiny computers, but I prefer a reliable one that will last for years. End of that discussion.

    Concerning RAM from the third party vendors, are you sure about that? Usually I would agree with you, but DDR3 notebook memory is really expensive and I only noticed an average savings of about $10 ($20 max). I could sell the 2GB RAM that came with the computer (there would be no room, after all), but I'm not ebay savvy and I don't have any friends looking to buy DDR3 memory.

    Also, have you heard anything about upgrading RAM in the new models? I heard it's a bit more legwork than before (just curious).
     
  11. MICHAELSD macrumors 68040

    MICHAELSD

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    #11
    According to iFixIt upgrading the RAM should be a little easier than before, though the hard drive needs a screw driver to upgrade.
     
  12. QCassidy352 macrumors G3

    QCassidy352

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    Mar 20, 2003
    Location:
    Bay Area
    #12
    base model is by far the better deal. You'd be very hard pressed to notice the difference in either VRAM or processor speed. And you can upgrade the RAM or HD yourself at a considerable savings over apple's offerings.
     
  13. nope7308 macrumors 65816

    nope7308

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    #13
    HD yes, RAM not so much.

    And for the record, I agree that a $500 difference is way too much. However, if you're getting 4GB of RAM and you're using the edu discount, then the difference drops dramatically (to $210 CAD). Like I've said multiple times already, it depends on (1) your needs, (2) your wallet, and (3) your conscience. Go with what you're comfortable with.

    I'm surprised the HD requires a screw driver. I guess it's not that accessible after all haha. OK, back to homework :(
     
  14. dougnewman macrumors 6502

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    Long Island, NY, USA
    #14
    You can upgrade the RAM (even from Apple) for a lot less than $500 if that is your concern.
     
  15. Gordon90s thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2008
    #15
    Thank you very much for all these answers!

    I will think about it.
    I guess i'll get the discount =).

    If i take the higher end MBP i'll take the 250 HDD at 7200, i don't need the extra memory (got a 1TB external HDD) which will save me 100$ (upgrading to 7200 at 320 GB, that's an additional 50$). (thanks for that hint by the way)

    Also, I will take the apple care plan so the prices will be 2400 and 2900 (so it's less than 25% now :D).

    I'dd very much like the 4GB ram, and upgrading the first one will cost me 150. with - 50$ for the downgrade of the HDD the difference is now 300$... I'll think about it.

    P.S. : The ebay thing with selling and buying is very intresting but I'm going for the long period use (hopefully, last time didn't work out so well xD), and I don't have desktop computer so i'll be forced to stay without computer if I want to switch and I really hate that!*

    Thanks again for your help!
     
  16. turtlebud macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2002
    #16
    price comparison

    I did a little digging into prices and 3rd party upgrades since I'm interested in this discussion and deciding between the low and high end MBP.

    I'm using the standard US Educational Discount:

    2.4Ghz MBP - $1899
    + 7200RPM 250GB upgrade +$45
    + 4GB RAM upgrade +$135
    Total - $2079

    OR 3rd Party RAM from OWC = $140 - $15 trade in rebate (for 2x1GB 1066 RAM) = $125
    http://eshop.macsales.com/item/Other World Computing/8566DDR3S4GP/
    3rd Party 7200RPM HD from OWC = $88 - $35 trade in rebate (for 250GB 5400RPM) = $53
    http://eshop.macsales.com/item/Seagate/ST9250421AS/
    Total = $2077

    2.53Ghz MBP - $2299
    - 7200RPM 250GB downgrade -$45
    Total = $2254

    The difference between the do it yourself upgrade and apple upgrade is only $2. Of course you might be able to get a bit more from ebay if you sell the RAM & HD yourself, but when I upgrade my RAM, I usually keep it just in case I need to bring my MBP in service - Apple usually tells you to put the stock RAM back in.

    So in the end, the price difference is $2254 - $2077 = $177 USD
    for the upgraded video card, double L2 cache, and slightly faster processor.

    Thanks for the initial analysis nope, I didn't really consider making the two models "equal" in terms of RAM & HD until you mentioned it. And after looking into the 3rd party alternatives for upgrades, I'm surprised that the cost that apple charges is actually reasonable.
     
  17. flyin3d macrumors newbie

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    Jan 31, 2004
    Location:
    Hilo, Hi.
    #17
    How much difference does cache size alone make

    Comparing the L2 Cache sizes (3mb vs 6mb), how much performance difference would be seen. Assuming both machines had 4mb ram.
     
  18. ntrigue macrumors 68040

    ntrigue

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2007
    #18
    I read 90% of this thread and I can't help but think you'd be very pleased by the high-end Macbook 2.4gHz upgraded to 320GB HDD and 4GB Ram.
     
  19. Gordon90s thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Sep 11, 2008
    #19
    I just went to my local apple reseller to see the new macbooks (when I went wednesday they weren't there yet) and they look really amazing!! They also look somehow bigger than the previous onces (especially the macbooks!), I guess the new dimensions of the notebooks made the area of the screen a little bigger or it just seems that way.

    I asked the same question than above the seller and he said that the 2000 model would be fine even with 2MB RAM. He told me that the the price of the 2MB chips will fall down pretty fast and that I'll be able to get 4MB in the future for a lot less than know.

    About the processor speed like said here, it doesn't change much, just the graphic card that might make a difference with gaming and stuff like photoshop.

    I still have not decided yet but I have a little time ahead till Xmas so I'll still think about it.

    I both cases I think I will be very please with that notebook, I already fell in love with it :D.
     
  20. nope7308 macrumors 65816

    nope7308

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    Ontario, Canada
    #20
    No problem. I was really surprised myself - I never thought Apple would be competitively priced when it comes to upgrades. The price difference between the two models is very deceiving - you have to factor in the different edu discounts to get a true idea of the difference. Thanks for breaking down the third party RAM upgrades!

    Now, in response to the OP, I completely agree that the 2.4 is ample for your present needs. To help put things in perspective, I chose the 2.53 because the price difference wasn't astronomical and there were actual improvements to the CPU and vRAM (things that cannot be upgraded in the future). I also agree that the performance difference right now isn't substantial, but that extra oomph may come in handy when Snow Leopard and more demanding software applications are released. The processor bump probably won't make a difference, but the extra cache might.

    At the end of the day, I justified the higher-end model because:
    - The price jump wasn't substantial
    - It *may* improve performance once more demanding applications are released (factor in SL too)
    - Peace of mind knowing that I won't regret this decision.
    - I'm already dropping $2,000+ (better to be safe than sorry)

    So, in my opinion, if you don't feel comfortable spending the extra $$, then stick with the base. Just remember that the performance differentials will probably matter most in the future when new apps are coming out. I'm sure you'll be happy with either model, so don't fret too much!

    Also, you won't save an additional $100 downgrading to the 250G (7200) HD on the base model - the 2.53 has that same option. If you opt for 4GB of RAM and the same HD, the difference will be $210 CAD; no more, no less.

    Best of luck!
     
  21. SilentCrs macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2006
    #21
    I bought the base model. I previously owned a high-end model.

    The extra 256 MB of video RAM is not going to really make a difference. Regular RAM is cheap from a 3rd-party and can easily be installed. So can a bigger hard drive. Processor-wise there isn't a huge difference. The only major difference is the processor cache, which'll give the higher-end model a slight advantage. I don't think it's a $500 advantage though.

    FYI.. many companies and schools have Apple discount programs. I bought my $2000 laptop for $1840. I put the extra money towards a 4 GB upgrade.
     
  22. nope7308 macrumors 65816

    nope7308

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    #22
    Wow... have you not read any of the posts above? You're completely wrong on the RAM and all other matters have already been discussed.
     
  23. Gordon90s thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2008
    #23
    After calculating the exact price between the two models (the price I will paye, I'm buying it in Canada but paying in euros so for me the price will either be 1650 or 1850 euros (with apple care, instead of 2200 or 2650 euros in Europe)), I will go for the higher end MBP (with a 250 harddrive at 7200).

    By the way, with the student discount you also get apple care à 280 instead of 400$!! I would recommend taking it you never know, 3 years is safer than just 1.

    Now I'm even concidering taking de 2.8 ghz (for additional 280$), no just kidding (hummm, it's temting though :D).
     

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