My first ever Mac, some questions

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by D A, Dec 4, 2008.

  1. D A macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2008
    #1
    I'll be getting my first Mac ever in two weeks time (my birthday is on the 17th, I'll place the order then), though I was able to try an iMac at my uncle's last year (for about half an hour or so) and I liked it expect for the Mighty Mouse, it simply didn't fit in my hand.

    It will be the base 2.4 GHz MacBook Pro model. I won't be getting 4 GB of RAM yet as it still a bit expensive for me. I'm not sure I'll really need it either.

    Now some questions:

    Buying it:
    I'll get the mini displayport to DVI cable, will it ship with the MBP or will it ship separately?

    I know you can buy the 3-year AppleCare later on, but where should I get it so I don't get screwed over? I live in Sweden if it matters.

    I'd probably get a memory and harddrive upgrade if I need it in a few months. What manufacturer should I choose for the RAM and hard drive? The hard drive would probably be 500 GB.

    What to check when getting it:
    So what should I check when I get it? Battery cover, crooked keys, GPU:s and screen (dead pixels and such) I've read about here. Stress testing it to see if it overheats or not will probably be a good idea as well.

    So far I've been lucky in the regard that no electronic gadget has been broken or damaged when I first got it. The problem only show up after a few months of usage.

    Battery:
    When I start the MBP for the first time should I run it on battery or should I plug it in? When should I calibrate the battery and how?

    Hard drive usage:
    On my current notebook (a crappy 2.5 year old Asus) I have the 80 GB drive partitioned in two parts, one for windows and all applications and one for all my saved stuff including my Firefox and Thunderbird profiles. That way if it would ever need to reinstall the OS I don't have to spend time backing up my data.

    I'd like to keep something similar on the MBP. So I'd have 1 partition for OS X, 1 for WinXP (for bootcamp) and a final large one for all my saved stuff shared between the OS:es.
    What file system should I use for the storage drive to get the most performance out of the drive?
    I can't use FAT32 as I'd be storing files larger than 4 GB on it.

    Applications:
    Is there any easy way to sync a WinXP Firefox profile with a OS X profile? I'm interested in syncing my bookmarks and saved passwords.

    I'd like to have OS X alternative to two of my XP applications: ACDSee Photo Manager for viewing/organizing/batch converting photos and Flash Renamer for batch renaming files.

    What I like about Flash Renamer is the number of options for file renaming, everything from EXIF data to MP3 info to information about the files themself (size, date created etc.), as well as counters that may or may not reset when the folder changes. It is also has the option to use (any) parent folder's name when giving file names.
    Is there any application for OS X with a similar feature set? Is AppleScript able access any of the data that is available in Flashrenamer (EXIF data etc.)?

    HD playback, what decoder will give me the best performance and is able to keep the correct colors and such? I'd probably be playing 720p stuff.
    Currently I use Media Player Classic / Haali Splitter / CoreAVC decoder / ffdshow audio decoder and it plays everything without a single problem. I really love MPC and it is the best media player I've ever used. Sadly it is only for Windows, so what would be my best choice for OS X?

    Any good text editor for OS X? All I need is syntax highlighting, tabs for open files and some RegEx search and replace. I currently use EditPad which works great.

    What download managers are available? I currently use FlashGet which works for my needs.

    Temperature / Fan control / Undervolting (Windows):
    What program can control the fan speeds in both OS X and Windows? I'd rather have cool computer than a quiet and hot one. What programs support undervolting of the MBP? I currently use RMClock on my Asus.


    --

    All I can think of at the moment.

    Anything I have missed that is useful to know for Mac convert?
     
  2. drewsof07 macrumors 68000

    drewsof07

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2006
    Location:
    Ohio
    #2
    Buying:
    If you order online, the displayport -> DVI should ship at the same time of your computer

    Applecare:
    From my personal experience, I would not purchase extended Applecare until the last 2-3 weeks of you 1 year warranty. Because should your machine need replaced within the first year, you will only receive a pro-rated refund of the original amount paid. Don't pay for something they give you for free.

    For RAM, you can't go wrong with http://www.otherworldcomputing.com/ or http://www.crucial.com/
    (I feel zippy with stock 2gb right now, but have the 7.2k HD upgrade)

    Hard drives: basically any 2.5" SATA drive will work. I would suggest buying Western Digital whenever possible, they are very reliable. Newegg usually has good deals on components.

    What to check:
    So many people open their computers and look at all the new features and how cool it looks and how fast it runs. Those of us who are (un)fortunate enough to hear the horror stories that originate here, begin looking for faults before the seal is broken. It's a rev.A product PLUS we're dealing with computers... there are bound to be bugs and quality control issues. If you feel that you are experiencing issues that are unacceptable for a new computer (>8 dead pixels, scratches, power/fan issues, hardware failure, etc.) call or make an appointment to see a genius ASAP. If you go looking for defects though, you will surely find them. I used to be the same way though :eek:

    Battery:
    I always plug it in right out of the box until fully charged, then begin the first discharge cycle. To properly calibrate the battery, you should fully charge it, then unplug and work until the computer says "PLUG ME IN NOWW" to which you continue using it until it goes into hibernation. You should leave it in this state for around 6 hours to completely drain the battery then plug back in and allow to fully recharge. You have now completed a calibration cycle.
    I find it's easier to do this at night and just leave hibernating while you sleep, then charge in the morning.

    I'm not sure about the rest of these, but I can recommend an excellent video player which most any mac user would suggest, called VLC. You can read about it and download here.

    Good luck! and happy early birthday :)

     
  3. ryannazaretian macrumors 6502a

    ryannazaretian

    Joined:
    Sep 21, 2008
    Location:
    Mississippi
    #3
    The laptop does not ship with a Mini DisplayPort -> DVI adapter... or at least mine didnt!?!? :eek:

    Just got it in 2 weeks ago.
     
  4. drewsof07 macrumors 68000

    drewsof07

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2006
    Location:
    Ohio
    #4
    Did you order the computer before the adapters became available? I know it took them a long time to keep them in stock.
    Whenever I have purchased extra accessories they have shipped at the same time as my computer. Albeit not in the same box every time.
     

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