Need some buying advice/configuration for a 13"

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by corruptshadow, Aug 14, 2011.

  1. corruptshadow, Aug 14, 2011
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2011

    corruptshadow macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2010
    Location:
    SF Bay Area
    #1
    Hello all I'm a new so please go easy on me. I've been looking through lots of threads on here trying to figure out what would be best for me but can't seem to come to a decision so now I'll just ask.

    My situation:
    I'm starting grad school in the fall and need a new laptop my computer is dead(typing this on a friends machine.) I've settled on a 13 pro, 15 is out of my budget ~$1400 and while I like the air I'm not confident that it will last me the 3-4 years I need because I can't put more ram in it and the processor is a little slower than the 13 pro.

    My question is should I go with the base i5 13 or should I get the i7 13 as configured below?

    i5 with 128 ssd upgrade from apple store educational discount: $1325 with $100 app store card back to school promotion

    i7 without ssd price from microcenter: $1299 (A rep at bestbuy said they will match the microcenter price and I could still get the back to school bestbuy card $100)

    I will upgrade the ram to 8gb on my own. Also, if I go with i7 I will put in a ssd around Christmas time.(Is this hard to do? I've read about problems with 3rd party ssd's on the 2011's, has this been resolved or is it rolling the dice?)

    In my case what would you all do? Thanks in advance and sorry for the long post.
     
  2. Man9z0r macrumors regular

    Man9z0r

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2011
    Location:
    SLO, CA
    #2
    I was actually in the same boat a while ago. Out of the reviews I have read and benchmarks I saw you don't get that much of a difference between the i5 and i7.

    I ended up going with the i5 and have been very happy. Upgraded to the 8 gigs of ram and this thing doesn't miss a beat. I also plan on the ssd upgrade soon although I am happy with the standard hard drive for now. :D

    I hope that helps in making your decision!
     
  3. njsa04playa macrumors 6502

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    new joisey
    #3
    go for the i5 but do the SSD upgrade yourself and then u can use the HDD as a backup drive
     
  4. corruptshadow thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #4
    Ok I will go with the i5 and do the ssd myself is there still problems getting this to work? I remember a bunch of threads with people having problems with 2011 macbooks getting 3rd party ssd's to work?
     
  5. njsa04playa macrumors 6502

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    #5
    I wouldnt worry about it, as long as you follow an indepth guide that you can google then you should be good to go :cool:
     
  6. treestar macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2010
    #6
    Changing the disk drive is very easy, but I understand you are worried about compatibility. There are a lot of users on these forums that have posted which SSDs work and which don't. The most reliable, but not the fastest, is the Samsung 470 Series (it might be the same model Apple uses). There are a lot of reliable Intel drives, like the 320 Series and the X-25M Series. People have problems with the OCZ Vertex 3, the Intel 510 series, most SLC based drives, and most SATA 3 drives. Find a drive you like then search these forums for reported problems. The Samsung is a strong drive. I use the 320 but I saw something today that said there was a firmware problem.
     
  7. palpatine macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    May 3, 2011
    #7
    i'm a grad student as well. i have the base 13" mbp with 8gb ram. primarily i use acrobat pro, which devours resources, but this computer is lithe like a leopard ought to be.

    the i7 seems to get you very little performance for the price you pay, mainly (i think) because it is dual core.

    by the way, if you are in the humanities, you might find the ipad to be really useful in addition (not as a replacement, but as a supplement). take a look at my threads (see my profile) for details if you are interested.
     
  8. njsa04playa macrumors 6502

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    #8
    Same but i get by on a 2.66ghz core 2 duo and 4gb of ram
     
  9. corruptshadow thread starter macrumors newbie

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    SF Bay Area
    #9
    Thought I would update, I got the i5 last night thanks for the advice I'm loving it
     
  10. njsa04playa macrumors 6502

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    #10
    nice, how much of the power do you actually use... as in what persentage of cpu being utilized
     
  11. corruptshadow, Aug 18, 2011
    Last edited: Aug 18, 2011

    corruptshadow thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #11
    Would be happy to answer but, how do I check this?

    Edit: Never mind found activity monitor, it idles around .5-1% Jumps up when something is launched (3-4% when launching iTunes) then quickly turns itself back to idle. I will stream some hulu latter and post the figures if you want and rip a dvd with handbrake. This is on the base macbook pro i5 4gb ram 320gb hd running lion.
     
  12. njsa04playa macrumors 6502

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    #12
    applications--> utilities --> activity monitor, watch that while you are performing the regular tasks you use the computer for
     
  13. corruptshadow thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Apr 15, 2010
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    SF Bay Area
    #13
    Ripped a DVD using hand break last night, with only the activity monitor and hand break going, this used all the cpu, hand brake was using 98-99% of cpu during the rip using apple TV preset and constant quality, finished in around an hour. I also launched safari to play around and it launched without delay and was able to surf around; this caused hand brake to drop its usage by about 8% when loading web page but after the page load the cpu would allocate the resources back to hand brake. All CPU cores were green/being used.

    Overall quite happy, though the bottom rear of the macbook did heat up quite a bit, but thats to be expected I guess when running that hard.

    On a side note battery life is very nice, but I didn't do the rip on battery.
     
  14. Young Spade macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2011
    Location:
    Tallahassee, Florida
    #14
    The processors on the 2011 MBPs are amazing; and yea, I really wish Apple didn't sell the i7 due to them basically ripping people off. THe actual jump in price of the processor itself is under 50 bucks.

    They go for a little over 200 at Intel's site (which means Apple gets them for less in bulk) and they charge an EXTRA 200 for the clock when it's only a few bucks more at the site.

    Plus you don't really get a speed increase; if you need that power, going fo the 15 inch would be your better option. (Only if you're rendering video of course).

    It does allow me to find out who's ignorant and doesn't read up on the products they buy though. I always get a good laugh when people brag about ordering the "top tier" anything from Apple's site.
     

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