Need help deciding on MacBook specs

Discussion in 'MacBook' started by andrewheard, Oct 20, 2008.

  1. andrewheard macrumors regular

    Joined:
    May 16, 2005
    Location:
    Ontario, Canada
    #1
    Hi,
    I'm getting a new MacBook and I'm wondering what would be better:

    2.0GHz
    4GB RAM
    320GB 7200RPM HD (will install myself) or a 500GB Western Digital 5400RPM for $45 more
    $1609 CDN


    or

    2.4GHz
    2GB RAM
    250GB 5400RPM HD
    $1650 CDN

    I want it to last as my secondary computer for the next 4 years of school. I'm leaning towards the 2.4GHz model as the rest of the components can be upgraded later.
     
  2. mcdj macrumors 604

    mcdj

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2007
    Location:
    NYC
    #2

    Bingo. And in 2 years, when you really need the upgrades, those components will be dirt cheap.
     
  3. neiltc13 macrumors 68040

    neiltc13

    Joined:
    May 27, 2006
    #3
    You need to tell us what you'll be using the computer for.

    I have the 2.0 model and it is plenty fast - no real need for the tiny increase in performance that 2.4 brings. As for 4GB RAM, do you think you REALLY need that?

    Very few people do things which require 4GB RAM and it is expensive in the new MacBook. Why not just get the stock 2.0GHz model, upgrade the disk yourself and see how you get on?

    If you find you need 4GB RAM then down the line it will be cheaper than it is now.
     
  4. andrewheard thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    May 16, 2005
    Location:
    Ontario, Canada
    #4
    I use it for taking notes mostly, some programming, some video editing with iMovie. The 4GB would mainly only be useful when I'm using VMware. My laptop becomes my primary computer when I go home on weekends.
     
  5. hamzab macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2008
    #5
    Yes, Im having the Same Problem, dont know wether i should get base 2.0 model or 2.4 model is it really worth the extra $300? I raelly love the Backlit keyboard, doubt you can up grade them though from a base model like the rest of hardware (besides processor)

    BTW, doesnt the Backlit keyboard drop battery life, considerably?
     
  6. CoreyMac macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2008
    #6
    Get the 2.4....you cant upgrade the CPU at a later date, but RAM & Hard Drive can always be upgraded.....not to mention you'll regret not getting the backlit keyboard if you ask me. I cant live without it now
     
  7. andrewheard thread starter macrumors regular

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    May 16, 2005
    Location:
    Ontario, Canada
  8. neiltc13 macrumors 68040

    neiltc13

    Joined:
    May 27, 2006
    #8
    That's unfortunate. The more people that buy it the more Apple thinks it is justified to charge such a ridiculous premium for it.
     
  9. CoreyMac macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2008
    #9
    Ridiculous premium?

    MacBook Pro: $1999, 2.4GHz, 2GB RAM, 250GB HD, 9400M+9600

    MacBook: $1599, 2.4GHz, 2GB RAM, 250GB HD, 9400M

    .....the only thing lost is the dedicated graphics chip and firewire really, for $400 less. You also get better value in the sense that the MacBook is far more portable, lighter, smaller footprint and has better battery life than the Pro. So unless you're an avid gamer or need the dedicated gpu for professional use, the MacBook even at $1599 is a FAR better value than the entry-level Pro. Not to mention if you use education discount its only $1499.
     
  10. neiltc13 macrumors 68040

    neiltc13

    Joined:
    May 27, 2006
    #10
    $1299 gets you the same processor (clocked slightly slower) and a slightly smaller hard drive. Why spend $300 extra on what is basically the same computer?
     
  11. CoreyMac macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2008
    #11
    1) Its not the same processor
    2) People like larger hard drives
    3) Backlit keyboards to some people are necessities. (Including myself)
     
  12. neiltc13 macrumors 68040

    neiltc13

    Joined:
    May 27, 2006
    #12
    1) Intel might not brand it the same product but underneath the skin it's the same thing. The only difference is the clock speed and MacWorld's benchmarks show it is only slightly faster. It's not like it's a totally different chip design or anything.
    2) Install one yourself - they are extremely cheap!
    3) Did you notice how BRIGHT the displays are on these new laptops? I'm sitting in a completely dark room right now and the light from the display alone is more than enough to illuminate the keys. If you want to spend $300 on a couple of LEDs though, that's your choice!
     
  13. CoreyMac macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2008
    #13
    I forgot to add something to the list.....

    4) Its not your money. People can spend it as they see fit. They wouldnt put options for computers if people didnt want them. Isnt that the point of an option? To meet the needs of a larger group of people? I always thought so. Why do you care, go buy a 2.0 with a 160GB HD and 2GB RAM without a backlit keyboard and be happy.
     
  14. neiltc13 macrumors 68040

    neiltc13

    Joined:
    May 27, 2006
    #14
    Yes, but when they come asking for advice here the least we can do is help them to be frugal.
     
  15. 8theapple macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2008
    Location:
    North
    #15
    You have to aware that he lives in Canada. The price for the 2.4 Ghz is 1749.99. I'm assuming since he is a student he is applying his education discount of close to $100. But nevertheless, it's a hefty premium to pay for a laptop especially if you're a starving student.
     
  16. 8theapple macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2008
    Location:
    North
    #16
    That is true.

    Students in University do not NEED the 2.4 machine unless you are doing major film editing, graphics design etc on a daily basis.

    The 2.0 is plenty fast enough for regular students.

    Also, please don't lose perspective, 2 or 3 year ago students were getting through university with computers that were less powerful than they are now and students were graduating still.

    Long before the invention of the led backlit keyboard lol!
     
  17. darngooddesign macrumors G3

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2007
    Location:
    Atlanta, GA
    #17
    And ten years ago people were making do with G3s, OS9 and 256MB of ram. You should recommend a Pismo, it has Firewire after all.

    Get the fastest machine you can afford as it will last you longer, and I consider the backlit keyboard to be extremely useful.
     
  18. arthursiew macrumors 6502

    arthursiew

    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2008
    Location:
    SF Bay Area
    #18
    I would go with the first option. You get a larger hard drive and more RAM. The performance should be about the same then. Since you are in University, I don't think you will need the power of a 2.4GHz even though it's not much of a difference. Go for the first option. You save more money for more RAM and a bigger hard drive which you will upgrade yourself.
     
  19. andrewheard thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    May 16, 2005
    Location:
    Ontario, Canada
    #19
    The purchase price wasn't too hard to swallow as it was mostly paid for by the MacBook Pro that I sold. I ended up getting an iMac over the summer so I wanted a smaller laptop to go with it. I will justify the price premium by saying that I'm a Biomedical Computing student. My C programs will compile several milliseconds faster ;)
     
  20. BwanaZulia macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2002
    #20
    The other option, would be to get a 2.0 with 2GB and 250GB drive, save the money and buy the upgrades in a few years.

    BZ
     

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