Nearly decided on Macbook - just need that final nudge

Discussion in 'MacBook' started by ideonode, Nov 17, 2008.

  1. ideonode macrumors member

    Jan 28, 2008
    Almost, almost, I've made my decision.

    I've been in agony. Analysis paralysis. Desperately trying to realise my urge to buy some precision-tooled aluminium, and satisfy my magpie-lust for the shiny.

    It's been swings and roundabouts. I'm trying to buy my first Mac laptop. I've got a Mac Mini at home, and earlier this year, I bought my other half a Macbook Air (I don't think she knows exactly how covetous such a device is, but was very appreciative of its light weight when she slung it around Guatemala for two months...). I've decided to go for one myself. My main uses are standard office productivity (Office), writing (Scrivener) and J2EE programming (Eclipse, Tomcat, Geronimo, commerical app servers). Inevitably, this would mean an element of Windows (and Linux) virtualisation. I'd imagine I'd be doing a lot of commuting on trains, so form factor is important.

    At first, I was going with the Macbook Air rev2 128GB SSD - especially following on from the xbench performance revelations on these here forums. (Plural of forum - should it be fora?). However, recently, I've become cautious about the lack of expandability - 2GB fixed memory limit is irksome, as is the irreplacibility of the ssd. The relatively low grunt of the processor is also a bit bothersome.

    After spending most of the last week reading through these beloved fora, I think I've been convinced to go for the Macbook. Rationale - MBA is too gimped. MBPro is too big. I had a look-see at the Regents Street London store today, and the Macbook was giving me a come-hither look, a wonderful lozenge of love.

    Anyhoo, all of the above is a bit tl;dr - the reason I'm posting is to ask, naturally, for advice:

    1. Should I wait until Macworld 09? I appreciate that there'll be no new hardware updates on the Macbook line, but perhaps an upgrade of iLife? Maybe the first ever case of an O/S shipping early, and Snow Leopard coming with the snow? Or do you think that the MBPro 17in will debut? Or something even more exotic - the MBA 17inch?! Netbook Air?

    2. Applecare or not to care? I'm sure that this has been asked umpteen times. Alas, I cannot search the forums with ease, as I'm on HSDPA. Is it worth it for a Macbook?

    3. I'm looking at the 2.4GHz 4GB mem, 128GB SSD BTO option. But I'm umming and ahhing over the SSD. Should I get a cheaper option, and then wait until Intel starting shipping a 160GB version of their X-25 series? Does anyone else here have a Macbook Alu with SSD?

    4. Are there any MBPro or MBA lovers here who think that, for my articulated needs, their Macbook preference would be the better option?

    5. Every now and then, I get the urge to buy a Thinkpad (I've been using them for the past 10 years, and just love the keyboard and nipple). The X301 is rubbish and not worth my consideration isn't it? Isn't it?!! Does anyone here ever get the urge to veer from the fold?

    I've agonised far too long on this decision, and I need help! I spent less time thinking about which car to buy than I did writing this post...

  2. CoreyMac macrumors regular

    Jul 10, 2008
    1. iLife 09 is very possible at Macworld 09. I believe if you purchase a new Mac within 30 days of iLife they will sell it to you at a discounted cost and you wont have to pay full you may want to wait until less than a month before macworld. I dont expect to see Snow Leopard released until Spring/Summer although reports are saying that the OS is nearly completed so you might expect an ANNOUNCED release date there, but not an actual release. 17" MBP with new design is a possibility. No other notebooks will be announced.

    2. I always recommend AppleCare for notebooks, I think its important. Keep in mind however, you have anytime within the first year to purchase it, so if funds are tight when you get the mac and dont want to cough up the additional $ can wait a couple months to purchase it.

    3. If you want SSD I'd wait. Next year faster SSD's will be available as well as cheaper & with more capacity. Stick with the 250GB drive for now....but do get the 4GB RAM as Apple's price with RAM is finally within competitive range.

    4. Cant answer that...still riding on a 2007 MBP.

    5. You're decision. Just remember people here prefer Apple over thinkpads.
  3. silverblack macrumors 68030


    Nov 27, 2007
    If you browse around, you'll notice the main controversy over the new MB is the screen quality, which is not as good as those in MBA and MBP. My guess is Apple will continue to put in a cheaper screen in the MB line, to differentiate this entry line from MBA and MBP in terms of quality and price. If that is true, there's no point waiting. However, there seems to be machine-to-machine differences in the screen quality too (some better than others). So, it's all the luck of a draw, or persistence in demanding for exchanges if you have to.

    The next two (smaller?) complaints are slanted keys and loose battery cover. Both of which can be 'repaired' by the owners themselves according to postings in this forum.

    As for the SSD, the Apple SSDs are Samsung drives, which you can purchase from 3rd party brands such as OCZ, patriot, etc, which are cheaper than the Apple CTO option. But no one knows if they are 100% identical. The Intel SSD, currently 80GB, is already more expensive than the Apple drive. The 160GB will be even more, I'm guessing at least $1000 when it comes out early next year. I do have the 80GB X25-m, and I love it. Very fast in launching apps, extremely quiet (all I hear is the fan noise now), and zero vibration. And 'almost' zero worries that I'll ever lose my data.
  4. mrmayor92 macrumors 6502

    Jul 12, 2008
    if you think that the MB will suit your needs then get it

    it is a wonderful machine and i will be getting mine very soon

    and if they come out with a new version of ilife you could always just buy a new copy of it or you could always download it from a torrent

    either way you want to go enjoy your new mac :)
  5. mac jones macrumors 68040

    Apr 6, 2006
    Well i've owned an Air and a MBP (both very very nice)

    But I like to use this one.

    A bit of the "Goldilocks" effect.
  6. Primejimbo macrumors 68040

    Aug 10, 2008
  7. bigfried macrumors newbie

    Mar 18, 2008
    Get it....from the online store.....and you have 14 days to decide to keep it or not, which is what I am in the middle of doing.

    I hung about in the Regents Street Apple Store for HOURS until I felt like I would get moved on, and could not make the decision, and really the only way to tell if you can live with it is to live with it.

    As people are saying in these forums for me it does just finally come down to the SCREEN. It is so frustrating continually adjusting the angle to get a decent view, and the blacks are grey and the colours are a little weak, so I am almost, almost decided to go pro instead.

    The macbook is so wonderful in most other respects though and really small, so I am hoping that I can live with the extra size of the pro. (oh and I have been held to ransom by the firewire port situation, which is another factor for me but may not be for you)
  8. ideonode thread starter macrumors member

    Jan 28, 2008

    Thanks for the encouragement so far!

    Regarding Applecare - I'd forgotten that I can buy it within a year. I think that what I'll do is not buy it for the present, and see how reliable the hardware is over the first year. If it appears flakey, then I'll take out the applecare towards the end of the first year.

    I think I'm gonna go for the Apple-supplied SSD. Evey rational molecule in my body is saying that it's overpriced, and that if I wait, I'll get a faster, larger and cheaper SSD, *and* still be able to keep my 2.5 HDD as an emergency backup. However, I suspect that buying Apple Mac products is never an entirely rational decision - there's always a bit of passion involved. At the moment, my heart has convinced my brain that spending £400 on the ability to launch my apps a few seconds more quickly is well worth it....

    I've never been that bothered about the screen quality from when I've seen it in the Regent Street store. I'm not a photographer, so probably won't notice it much - especially when running Scrivener in fullscreen mode ;) What's annoying is that in Regent Street, I cannot compare the laptops side-by-side for screen, size and weight comparisons. Perhaps that's deliberate?

    Fortunately, I'm not a slave to firewire (the only FW device I have is hooked up to my mac mini), and so the only appeal of the MPPro for me is the larger screen estate. Does the MBPro have the same DPI as the MB, just more of it?
  9. eXan macrumors 601


    Jan 10, 2005
    Can't give you exact numbers, but they seem to have the same DPI. Won't make sense to sell 1280x800 15.4" laptop for $2k+
  10. clyde2801 macrumors 601


    Mar 6, 2008
    In the land of no hills and red dirt.
    With a portable Mac, you want applecare. Period. No telling what sort of things will pop up between now and 2011 concerning your machine. 24 hour tech support is nice, too. Wait until the first year is almost up, sure, but then buy applecare. Buy it off of ebay or craigslist, as long as the box hasn't been opened, you'll be fine. Macs are not known for being easy or cheap to repair, and the laptops are certainly no exception.

    The difference between having it or not is that without it, you'll be sitting at your computer for two years every day praying that your computer doesn't break. With applecare, you'll be praying every day that it will....:D
  11. Ryffie macrumors member

    Oct 14, 2008
    You don't wanna know how many hours I've spent on this forum analyzing which machine to get...

    The biggest difference between MBA and MB is the screen, like others have pointed out. MBA is not so gimped out that you think it is and since you write a lot the superior MBA screen would be easier on your eyes when reading and writing and more fun to work with.
  12. Ironic macrumors 6502a


    Oct 6, 2008
    In my MBA!
    I just switched my New 2.4 alum macbook for a new MBA and I am happy great screen and its perfect also no problems that Rev A had.
  13. ideonode thread starter macrumors member

    Jan 28, 2008
    So what did you get?

    I ... I suppose I could buy an MBA for my writing needs, and also a MB for the development work. :rolleyes:

    And thus would the addiction begin. :eek:
  14. therealdt macrumors regular

    Oct 4, 2008
    northeast region
    So can test drive for 14 days or less and return if not fully satisfied.
  15. Ryffie macrumors member

    Oct 14, 2008
    I got the 2.4 MB and it's near perfection... if it wasn't for the screen. I'm not a perfectionist nor have high standards, it's just my eyes are saying no while the heart is saying yes.

    They are both good machines and you wouldn't go wrong with either of them. The MB is perfect if you don't mind the screen.
  16. jav6454 macrumors P6


    Nov 14, 2007
    1 Geostationary Tower Plaza
    1. MacBooks won't be updated. Maybe the 17" MacBook Pro.

    2. Applecare is worth it, I highly recommend it.

    3. Take the 2.4Ghz 4GB model with 320GB. In a year SSD will be cheaper. Just look how fast a 64GB SSD dropped price.

    4. I have a 2.4Ghz Al MacBook, Love it. I unluckily have to run Vista from now and then. Runs fine (I have 4GB in my Mac).

    5. Get a Mac, ditch PCs, believe me, the MacBook is an awesome machine.

    BTW, Honduran born writing here...;)
  17. dougnewman macrumors 6502

    Aug 9, 2006
    Long Island, NY, USA
    1. I don't see any reason to wait unless a new 17" MBP might interest you.

    2. Assuming you plan on keeping it longer than a year, get AppleCare.

    3. I would buy an SSD if I could afford it.

    4. If I were you I would be torn between the MBA and MB, frankly. The only qualm I have about the MBA is that 2 GB RAM limit - in fact, if you could get 4 GB in it, I would be awfully tempted to buy one myself. The display is a lot nicer than the MB's...really, I would not buy a fully-loaded MB (as you are thinking of) as the display just isn't good enough for the price.

    5. No, sorry, the X301 isn't rubbish. ;) I would own a ThinkPad if I weren't attached to OS X. The hardware is great, especially the keyboards, which are simply unmatched.
  18. drew0020 macrumors 68000


    Nov 10, 2006
    Id wait it out a little bit. I love the computer and the design, but personally ive had way too many screen issues. Im hoping Apple QC improves, but im not holding my breath.
  19. Roller macrumors 68020

    Jun 25, 2003
    I don't think we'll see any major changes to the 2008 Mac laptops at MW '09. As has been discussed in the forum ad nauseum, the MB's LCD isn't as good as the ones in the Pro or Air. Most of my time on my MB is spent writing (as opposed to watching movies or video), so it's not been an issue for me.

    I'd get it at some point.

    I would not get the SSD. I have the 250 GB HDD and it's very fast. I figure that I'll be able to buy an SSD next year, when they'll be much cheaper. (The removable drive was one of the features that made me buy the MB instead of the MBA.)

    Only you can say if the extra size and weight of the Pro would be important factors for you, and the Air is a compromise between weight and features.

    No, not even remotely.

    So, what car did you buy? :)
  20. mbleopard macrumors regular

    Sep 8, 2008

    I'm pretty sure you have 14 days either way, I just picked up a new macbook the other day from an actual Apple Store and the guy told me I had 14 days to return it no questions asked if I wanted

    I love the new macbook, it may be because its my first macbook, I came over from a 15.4" HP, I was split between the MB and MBP but the MB is so much lighter and portable.

    I really dont think the screen is as bad as people make it out to be, especially after you calibrate it. I also had no issues with crooked keys, the only real defect is that the battery cover doesnt sit exactly flush, its not loose and its not like anyone is gonna see it so i dont really care all that much.

    As i said i have only had this 2.4 MB for a couple days but once you get used to the new trackpad and gestures its amazing, i wont be going back and people love playing around with my computer, a couple told me it convinced them to pick one up
  21. tubbymac macrumors 65816


    Nov 6, 2008
    Be careful about the 14 day return. Most apple stores will charge a 10% restocking fee if the box has been opened. If you're fortunate sometimes you can get this fee waived. However, if you read the return policy at the apple store you'll see that in no uncertain terms are they obligated at all to waive the restocking fee.
  22. tubbymac macrumors 65816


    Nov 6, 2008
    1. If you're interested in a notebook don't wait until Macworld 2009. As has been reported on many news sites Apple is not updating the aluminum books at Macworld. The only maybe is the 17 inch pro and that's not what you want. Steve Jobs stated at the last shareholder conference call that Apple is not currently structured to put out a competitive netbook. He said something to the effect that Apple does not know how to build a good $500 netbook. So you can rule out a new netbook at Macworld.

    2. If Applecare covers battery replacements it's worth getting near the end of the first year if you're going to keep the laptop for three years. You can get it considerably cheaper off ebay than from the Apple stores.

    3. I don't think the SSD is worth it unless you really move your laptop around a lot. I have the HD and it's plenty fast enough. My usage pattern is to leave the computer on and let it go to sleep when I'm not using it. Since I never shut it off I don't have to worry about bootup times. Who cares if it takes 10 seconds faster to boot on an SSD when I don't reboot. It's practically instant coming out of sleep. Also with 4 gigs of ram you can simply leave your most used programs running. So whatever few seconds of time the SSD will buy you on loading up a program is also moot. I just leave my favorite programs running and then use Expose to switch between them. About the most disk intensive thing I have is BitTorrent and I max out my connection speed on the default hard drive with no problems.

    4. Like you I considered the MBA as well but 2 gigs of ram is too small to comfortably run Windows in a virtual machine since the integrated graphics card takes up 0.25 gigs of ram by itself. You really need 4 to get performance without compromises. The Macbook Pro would be a much better alternative.

    5. When the x300 first came out I was really tempted to buy one. By the time the x301 came out it has become extremely dated in comparison to it's competition. It's no longer worth the money. I really loved the Thinkpad nipple until I tried out the new glass track pads. Now there's no going back. Multitouch blows the nipple clear out of the water in terms of productivity and intuitive use.

    I have the new Aluminum Macbook myself and I am fairly happy with it. However, I would not recommend spending so much money on the high end model given the quality of the screen. When I was in the store the screen didn't bug me, but after about a month using it I do not like the vertical viewing angle and it's basically hopeless trying to get a proper black out of this thing. Black on this screen isn't dark at all. The backlight gives even pure black a white tone.
  23. timestoby macrumors 6502

    Jun 10, 2007
    north devon,uk
    get a grip. if you can wait then wait etc.i think post like this,should i get a macbook blah blah should be deleted or there should be a forum for the "should i buy" people
  24. hogfaninga macrumors 65816


    Aug 16, 2008
    Chestnut Tree Cafe
    Actually there is one, but still people use this one.
  25. ideonode thread starter macrumors member

    Jan 28, 2008
    Your nudges have pushed me over...

    Just a final follow-up, and then I'll shut up (since I was mistakingly posting to the wrong place...).

    Firstly, many thanks for the input. The nudges finally pushed me over - just ordered a Macbook 2.4 4GB 128GB SSD plus the applecare. I appear to have more money than sense with respect to the SSD, but I figure that it'll last me a couple of years, by which time Intel-built 512GB SLC SSDs will be going for £100...

    I had one final look at the Regent Street stores for the famed display issues.... and I couldn't see anything. I felt a bit of a wally looking at the screen trying to find flaws. I didn't really know which tests demonstrated them best, so I was stuck with looking at an Incredible Hulk trailer and an iphone ad. I'm reminded of that truism that says that audiophiles don't listen to the music, they listen to the noise: at that moment in time, I felt I was trying to look for grains of sand, when there was a beach to enjoy.

    Interestingly, I bought off the Apple rewad gateway site (since through my employer, I'm eligible for some discount - about 8%). However, there was at no point any attempt to validate that I was, in fact, an employee of the eligible employer. Whilst for me this isn't a problem since I am legit, I'm surprised that this discount appears to have been applied via the honour system.

    Oh, and by the way:

    It was a new Fiat 500, and it took me less than 5 minutes from first hearing about the car to placing my order. :)

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