Need help deciding between MB and MBP...

Discussion in 'MacBook' started by Ivan P, Feb 22, 2009.

  1. Ivan P macrumors 68030

    Ivan P

    Jan 17, 2008
    I could be like other people that write paragraphs and paragraphs trying to get there point across, so I'll just say the main points.

    I'm starting university soon and need a notebook. No Windows, OS X please. The only time I'm going to use Windows is via VMware Fusion for a single application that I need to use for my studies.

    This is what I'll mainly use it for:
    - Taking notes
    - Writing assignments
    - Managing iTunes and syncing my iPod
    - Web browsing, mail, instant messengers
    - Periodically running Windows via VMware Fusion

    The MBP entices me due to it's larger screen size, but the cost is what ruins it for me. I know that people say OS X, unibody, and whatever warrants the price, but $3200AU seems a bit steep considering my sister bought a Sony notebook for $1700 that runs fantastically (...for Windows :p).
    The only problem I have with the standard MB is the screen size - it's not bad, but it does look tiny when compared to my 20-inch alu iMac (by the way, I'm flat out refusing to buy the white MB, so please don't suggest it, I'm terrified by the terrible looking screen :p)
    I don't want to get a MacBook Pro if the processor on the standard MacBook will handle my tasks fine.
    I'm working for a year to save up for my move down to uni, and part of this means that I only have a limited amount of money that I'm going to use in the meantime, so I don't necessarily want to throw a large chunk of my money into a MBP and then have nothing left, when the MB will do everything fine. If you guys can convince me that the MBP is worth it, then I'll get it. If the alu MB will handle it fine, then I'll get that (the low end is $2100 here, with the high end being $2550).

    Thoughts? :)
  2. alexbates macrumors 65816


    Nov 24, 2008
    Georgia, USA
    For what you are looking for, a low level aluminum MacBook should work fine. Except, using VMware Fusion, you will probably want more than the standard 2GB of memory. I have VMware running Windows 7, and it uses the whole 2GB making my Mac very slow. You can replace one of the 1GB chips with a 2GB and order it for cheap from OWC.

    On the other hand, if you want the 15-in screen, go for it if you have the money. It is well worth the money and you will enjoy it much more.
  3. Ivan P thread starter macrumors 68030

    Ivan P

    Jan 17, 2008
    Haha yeah, I get what you mean about VMware Fusion - I run it on my iMac with just 1GB of memory...I've never gotten around to upgrading it :eek: :p
  4. NewMacbookPlz macrumors 68040


    Sep 28, 2008
    If you're going to need the following functions/features:

    -High performace graphics
    -1440x900 as opposed to 1280x800 pixels of screen real estate
    -$500USD less in your pocket

    then buy the MBP. Otherwise, go with the MB. That's what made my decision. Also, for me, a 15.4" screen is too large for day-to-day portability. I loved my 12" G4 iBook, so the 13.3" was a near perfect upgrade for me.
  5. chomby1991 macrumors member

    Jul 3, 2008
    Australia ->queensland ->Rockhampton

    I have an old old-spec white macbook which can handle these things and much much more than that. If i were you I'd get the updated version of the white macbook because its going cheap and the specs are nearly identical to that of the aluminium macbook plus if mine does the job then the new one will definitely be fine. but definately not a macbook pro. Far to expensive and it'll be wasted on these minute tasks.
    Seriously Macbookpro should only be considered if your into graphic design/video editing, or hardcore windows gaming.

    ^^Tell me where i can find a US$500 mbp and ill happily get it :p
  6. alexbates macrumors 65816


    Nov 24, 2008
    Georgia, USA
    You might not need to upgrade it at all if you are running XP. It should run good on any Mac with 768MB+ of memory. :D
  7. Knolly macrumors 6502a

    Jul 22, 2007
    Get a Macbook for sure. I used to have a Macbook Pro and swapped for an aluminum Macbook and it makes a world of difference for taking notes and stuff. The portability FAR outweighs the larger screen.
  8. azdunerat macrumors regular

    Feb 11, 2009
    If the poly mac book is avail I dont see any reason not to save the 300.00 and run with it. Its not the coolest looking mac avail but on a budget it does the job.

    On the other hand the MB unibody is a kick arse little notebook. I love mine its very solid and performance has been second to none. I was very tempted to take the 300.00 and drop it on an external HD but decided to just go with what I wanted. Either way you get a great machine.
  9. Chappers macrumors 68020


    Aug 12, 2003
    At home
    I thought a small screen would be a problem - but its fine. The only time you might suffer a bit is when you put two documents side by side - it can be done but no where near as easily as on a 20 inch.

    Generally for you - I'd say MB.
  10. nyry30 macrumors newbie

    Feb 12, 2009
    Los Angeles, CA / New York, NY
  11. Mikey B macrumors 65816

    Mikey B

    Jan 4, 2008
    the island
    To me, your situation warrants a MacBook. It doesn't appear that your usage is going to demand the MBP. I've been quite content with the 13" screen, and especially since you have an iMac at home, I wouldn't worry too much about real estate. Plus, you can always get a monitor and have the best of all worlds- portability and screen size, all in one. Plug in at home for a desktop experience and grab it and go for class, coffee shops, library, etc.
  12. 99MustangGTman macrumors 6502

    Dec 3, 2008
    Germantown MD/ Columbus OH
    Macbook should be fine unless you feel you really need the MBP.
  13. Bryan Bowler macrumors 68040

    Sep 27, 2008
    Definitely the MacBook! You get used to the 13.3 inch screen really quickly and the portability of the MacBook is superior to that of the MacBook Pro. With all of the things you are doing, mobility is key.

  14. dmmcintyre3 macrumors 68020

    Mar 4, 2007
    Alu MacBook with 4 - 6 GB RAM would be good for you.
  15. dan1117 macrumors newbie

    Feb 26, 2009
    I got the bottom end macbook myself , its runs just fine for what you need. The only big difference is, do you need a firewire port? Thats pretty much the only deciding factor.

    As for the 2ghz macbook, i duel boot xp, run matlab,mathematica, brl-cad, pro/engineer just fine.
  16. mbradyrn macrumors member


    Feb 10, 2009
    I went through the same thoughts as you, with the same needs as well. I eneded up with a macbook -- but got the black one at a good price to make me feel a little cooler. The funny thing is -- the two things that the MBP has -- backlit keyboard and larger, better screen -- eneded up being deal breakers for me. I sold my macbook and ended up with a MPB 2.2, Santa Rosa.

    It's made a big difference to me, and I am much happier -- though the price difference was a killer.
  17. darngooddesign macrumors G3

    Jul 4, 2007
    Atlanta, GA
    Don't forget that the MBP's screen is much higher quality than the MB, but for the needs you listed the MacBook would do.
  18. J71 macrumors member


    Jul 19, 2008
    You stated what enticed you most to choose the MPB over the MB is the screen size but the cost is holding you back. I know based on just CPU and hard drive size, the MacBook is perfect for your needs. I think most recommendations I read on these forums is based highly on the raw specs and not the most obvious reason, the screen size differences. Do you need the option of discrete graphics the MBP offers along with running at a higher 1440x900 resolution vs. the 1280x800 and integrated graphics only on the MB?

    The size was my dilemma in choosing between the MB and MBP. I tossed this around for a while and settled on the MB. I had sold my 17" HP and I wanted to downsize (also my wife wouldn't let be buy a new notebook without selling my current one!) to a smaller, more portable notebook. I was worried that going to a 13" screen would be too small of a difference. However since I have been using the new MB, I don't miss the size and I prefer for portability of the MB. Sometimes I do miss the higher (1680x1050) resolution of the 17" HP but not the weight! The new unibody design is so solid. Great battery life too. I am extremely pleased with this computer!

    Additionally, because I already had a 24" iMac, that also helped choosing the MB. You also say you have a 20" iMac, will you continue to use that computer? If it is nothing else but size differences, I would lean more towards the MacBook if you will continue to use the iMac.

    Hope this helps, good luck.
  19. alphaod macrumors Core


    Feb 9, 2008
  20. stabile007 macrumors regular


    Feb 21, 2009
    Philadelphia, PA
    For me in school the smaller screen was a +plus it is lighter to carry around and it fits on all the old desks that clearly were made before laptops even came out. Nothing was worse then trying ot shove a 15.4" laptop onto one of those lecture pullout desks. Had to keep balancing the damn thing. And then I would see all the mac people with their 12" iBook that thing had no problem with desks. I practically laughed at my roommate when he got a 17" HP laptop. He ended up buying a separate 12" tablet just for classes.
  21. clyde2801 macrumors 601


    Mar 6, 2008
    In the land of no hills and red dirt.
    Base alu MB would work fine for your purposes. Would recommend over MBP despite lower quality screen due to portability concerns. Would suggest refurb or buying from school to minimize costs.

    If you need firewire, new/old white macbook with nvidia 9400 would make more sense. May not be as durable over the long run as the aluminum, but it would meet your purposes and save you 3-400 usd.

    For what you're using it for, a netbook hackintosh would work, except for the whole no firewire thing.
  22. terriyaki macrumors 6502a

    Aug 4, 2005
    Get the MacBook and then take some of that saved money and use it to upgrade the RAM in your iMac (if the iMac is coming with you to school as well). You'll have the best of both worlds. A powerful but portable machine for when you're on the go and a powerful machine with more screen real estate when you're at home.

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