New late 2008 Macbook High-End or MBP High-End? MBP Worth the extra $$$??

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by FriedPotatoes, Nov 17, 2008.

  1. FriedPotatoes macrumors newbie

    Nov 17, 2008
    Ok, this is my first post and I'm about to dump a whole lot of money and invest in some apple products.

    Here's what my current computing environment is and what I would like it to be:

    I currently have a fairly new Desktop PC - 3.6Ghz Quad Core, ATi 3870 X2 - Crossfired on a 22-inch Samsung Monitor. However, I am getting sick of Vista. It just sucks. I might still play games on it, but that's it.

    So I'm going apple...but which one??

    Ultimately, I'd like to bring my new apple notebook around to work occasionally and when home, connect it to either my current monitor that I own or get a new Cinema HD display and connect it to that. The desktop will sit at home collecting dust unless I want to use windows or play games.

    I've read the macrumors guide on "Which Apple Notebook", but this didn't really help in settling my decision - Macbook or MBP high-end? The Low-End MBP doesn't really interest me.

    Besides the obvious differences, which is really better value for money/performance? If I buy a Macbook, I'll save almost $1000.

    Here are some questions:

    1. If I were to use the savings from Macbook towards upgrading HDD (500GB) and 4GB RAM, would there be a noticeable performace difference between MBP and upgraded Macbook?

    2. Can Macbook connect to 24 or 30-inch Cinema HD using the Cinema HD's native resolution (which can be set higher than 1280 X 800) with the notebook's screen off? I don't want to extend my desktop at home. I just want a larger screen to work with. I know the MBP connects to cinema 30 without problems, but can standard high-end Macbook do this? Can the 9400M NVIDIA chips handle the full-HD resolution without any lag?

    Thanks for the help and reading this long post.
  2. Scottsdale macrumors 601


    Sep 19, 2008

    1. The MacBook is powerful enough for most people. Yes, with 4 GB of Memory and a faster 7200 RPM drive it would be slightly faster. And, it would be an amazing machine even though not the Pro. If you need to run graphics apps, probably get the Pro. If you want a 15" display, get the Pro. If you want to run games on it, get the Pro.

    2. Yes, the MacBook will run Native Display resolutions much higher than the Notebook's own display. Even a 30"!

    straight from Apple's website tech specs:
    Simultaneously supports full native resolution on the built-in display and up to 2560 by 1600 pixels on an external display, both at millions of colors

    Good luck whichever way you go.
  3. six.four macrumors 6502

    Oct 24, 2008
    I agree with everything said by the poster above me.

    A 500gb HD would not increase your performance, just space - and I don't believe there currently is a 7200rpm option at the 500gb size - although I remember reading that one is to be released in the next month or so. Drop an Intel SSD and you WILL see a performance increase.

    If you are concerned about saving money/ getting the best value for your dollar why would you not be interested in considering a low end MBP?

    Anyway, the MBP in my opinion, is always the way to go if you can afford it. Better screen, firewire, and discrete graphics make for an overall more robust system. The only reason why I could see anyone purchasing a macbook over a MBP if money wasn't a large concern is size. If size is not a big issue to you, then you should go pro.

    If money is of higher priority, you don't plan to play games or do anything that would require a more powerful GPU, and aren't really particular about the screen, then the MB should be perfect for you.

    Performance wise, if you're not planning to do anything GPU intensive, the speed difference will be small between the upper end MB and upper end MBP. In real world use, you'd probably notice more of a difference swapping out the HDD for a high end SSD.
  4. mcavjame macrumors 65816


    Mar 10, 2008
    phased to this universe
    When you look at the benchmarks for pro vs regular mb, the difference is not staggering. A few seconds longer for renders and effects. The big difference comes in the frame rate for games, which you said you'll be doing on your PC anyway. You can check out various benchmarks at barefeats:

    The deal breaker for me is the lack of firewire support on the new MB. Except for a new low end handy cam, I have my DV camera, DV deck, and external HDD which are all firewire. I cannot afford to upgrade my computer and all my peripherals too. Take a look at what you'll be connecting to the machine.

    I like the expresscard slot that can accommodate a eSATA port for about $30 (Futurshop in Canada: Two of my new external drives have SATA connections that I am looking forward to taking advantage of.

    My big dilemma is:
    - keep my current macbook: 2.16, 4GB, 200 GB HDD 7200 RPM and get a Mac Pro
    - or... sell the macbook and get a macbook pro and always carry the power with me

    I am torn between having speedy renders and encodes on a home machine vs the savings I'd get by selling my current laptop. *sigh*
  5. NATO macrumors 68000


    Feb 14, 2005
    Northern Ireland
    Check out the screen quality of the MacBook and MacBook Pro if you have an Apple Store close by. For me, the difference was worth the extra $$$ (well, £££ in my case)...
  6. SWLinPHX macrumors regular


    Nov 11, 2008
    Phoenix, AZ

    I just bought a current MBP and am selling my iBook G4 (w/all extras) for $600 after 3 years which I bought to replace my iBook G3/600 I had for about 3.5 and which I also sold for $600. I grow sentimental about my trusty machines, but if you wait 3 years you've usually gotten your money's worth (the depreciation part) and something much newer or updated is usually out by then to justify the upgrade. Also, 3 years is still not too old (for a Mac) to get a decent price for it (they depreciate roughly $100/year). You will feel better and less guilty focusing on one nice new powerful laptop only. Also, you won't risk the possibility of waiting then not getting much money (or anything at all) for your old one, if you hang on to it and sell it further down the road. I am selling to a friend anyway so I can always "visit" it.... LOL. :D
  7. mcavjame macrumors 65816


    Mar 10, 2008
    phased to this universe
    Thanks for the input, although my quandary is about choice of hardware. I either:
    A) Keep macbook and buy a Mac Pro (tower)
    B) Sell macbook and buy a Macbook Pro

    I like the idea of a laptop, and both scenarios provide one. I also like the idea of the power the Mac Pro gives, especially for renders and encodes. I guess the question is what dollar value I can put on the power. I am afraid I will be disappointed with the small increase in power I would see with the Macbook upgrade. I don't play games, so the GPU isn't a huge deal for me. The ports, expresscard slot, faster bus, larger cache are what I am looking at.

    Going to the Mac Pro, all those features are amplified even further, but the cost is so much greater because I need to keep my MB so I can take my work with me.

    I hate to admit it, but part of me knows the new tower is due soon and two things can happen:
    1 - the current refurb cost of current mac pros will go down
    2 - a decent mid range tower/desktop is developed

    I don't want to be one of those wait-and-see types, but I am getting by and I can wait until after the January dog and pony show.

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