New to Macs, Looking to Buy Macbook

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by kmac07, Dec 21, 2007.

  1. kmac07 macrumors newbie

    Dec 21, 2007
    Hey everyone, this site & forums have been very helpful in my Mac research over the past few months, thanks!

    I've decided to buy the high end white macbook and I'd like to add 1GB ram to it myself. Is this a notable improvement or should I fill it to the max usable capacity (3GB I believe)? I am waiting until Macworld to see if new notebooks will influence my decision on the 2.2GHz macbook which I would get with a student discount.

    I've heard of some kind of keyboard protector, snap-on cases, and also a self adhesive palm rest that can be used on the notebooks to help reduce the wear of the macbook plastic and keep it super fantastically clean! Have any of you had personal experience with these types of products, or any comments on their contributions to macbook overheating?
    ...Or is it better to just clean the macbook often with the magic eraser and such recommendations given in the forum without inhibiting its performance?

    Also, is Applecare worth the $, and would you be able to get a notebook repaired even if the issue didn't concern manufacturing defect? Applecare extends my warranty service to 3yrs, could I purchase a kit after the original 1yr is up or do I have to buy it right when I get my macbook?

    Thanks for any advice! I have a lot to learn; this is a big OS switch as I've wasted a lot of time learning how to deal with you-know-what's OS.
  2. Eidorian macrumors Penryn


    Mar 23, 2005
    Get a 2 GB stick and go for 2.5 GB for now.

    AppleCare is worth it on a laptop.
  3. CalBoy macrumors 604


    May 21, 2007
    I agree with the above advice about RAM. Buy a single 2GB stick right now from a third party (can be had for really cheap these days) and install it yourself. Then, a couple years down the line (or however long it takes you to need more RAM due to apps, new OS, etc) you can get another 2GB (or more) stick and put it in.

    Now, as for Applecare. You can buy it anytime within the first year of the purchase date. However, I have personal problems with Applecare because it is rather pricey for only providing manufacturer-defect protection. If you buy your macbook with a credit card, check out the policy on your credit card. Many offer free extended warranties. Mine does, and that's why I have no reason to bother with Applecare.

    As for keyboard protection, I don't really bother with anything (I'm a purist :p) and my mbp is still pretty clean. It all really depends on your use though.
  4. kmac07 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Dec 21, 2007
    Calboy, your credit card provides extended warranties on your purchases? I have never heard of this coming from a credit card company, hmm better do some research. Could you provide the name of the company? I always just buy stuff, pay the bill, that's it, not taking advantage of possible credit card perks!

    Thanks for the advice about RAM, sounds like a good idea.
  5. tuneman07 macrumors regular

    Nov 25, 2007
    Make sure you are VERY familiar with your card's policy before depending on its extended warranty. My card actually offers the warranty on purchases over 100 dollars I believe and it is a very good warranty but only is good for 90 days even though at first glance it appears to be a much longer warranty period.
  6. CalBoy macrumors 604


    May 21, 2007
    Yup. I have a Citi MasterCard. I didn't know the policy exactly, so I called the 800 number and found out. The woman on the other end looked up my policy, and sure enough, I get an extended warranty as long as I don't purchase an extended warranty from another source (ie, Applecare).

    It's for one additional year after the standard 1 year warranty (so 2 years total), which isn't as long as Applecare, but it cost me nothing. I figure with the money I could have spent on Applecare, I'll be able to replace my machine 10% sooner. ;) :p

    Oh yes, you must get all the important info first. Never assume you have a safety net you don't actually have.
  7. crazydrumma macrumors regular

    Jan 31, 2006
    Hey, that's a pretty cool perk! I would say though that no matter who you go through, getting insurance or an extended warranty is essential. Macs are a huge investment (not to mention amazing... okay, irrelevant.), and you want to make sure that you can repair it asap in case of an accident, like a skateboard falling on top of the case and crushing it... and yes that has happened. Don't ask how.
  8. CalBoy macrumors 604


    May 21, 2007
    I don't know if I would use the word "essential." Electronics have become more and more reliable these days (despite what these forums would have you believe). It's well known that extended warranties are cash cows for tech companies (yes, even for Apple). In the probability equation, you're far more likely to have wasted your money with Applecare.

    Essentially, Applecare (and other extended warranties) function like insurance. If you cannot afford to replace the insured item (ie, a house or a car) very easily, insurance is a great idea. If, however, replacing the item wouldn't be too much of an undue burden, then insurance loses its point.

    BTW: Applecare will not repair damaged caused by a skateboard, as that would be a "user-end" fault, not a defect in the hardware. ;)
  9. drrich2 macrumors member

    Jan 11, 2005
    A few years ago I bought an aluminum 1.5 Ghz PowerBook with 1.25 gig RAM.

    I bought AppleCare. And I'm glad I did.

    After I'd had it awhile, one of the DIMM sockets quit working. I took it to my reseller, they evaluated the matter, determined it needed a logic board replacement & did it.

    Quite some time later, the battery quit holding a charge. Or so it seemed. Took it in. Turns out the computer wasn't charging it.

    Another logic board replacement. Free. Very nice.

    Now, the kicker is, a couple of years later, our Jack Russell's accidently got caught in the power cord & yanked it off the top of a big screen t.v., to plummet to a floor that's a thin (no shag) carpet over a concrete slab. Dented up a corner badly, so it juts out, but otherwise the thing works good as new & has continued to work fine every since. I was out of warranty & only bring this up to say that the one time I would've thought the think would be dead & gone, it was tough as nails.

    I get AppleCare!

  10. MikeTheC Guest


    Apr 26, 2004
    Gallifrey -- Capitol City, Prydonian Sector

    Welcome on board!

    The prior folks here have pretty well covered the questions you've asked. However, I would like to add a couple things.

    First off, not that I or anyone else here would discourage you from posting questions, or becoming involved in discussions here on, but make sure to avail yourself of the services of the Guides posted on this board. They're pretty good and may save you time by giving you answers to questions you never knew you had.

    The second thing, vis a vis learning to use Mac OS X, is that as a "recovering Windows user" you will probably find you are your own worst enemy. So much of the Windows ownership experience involves overly formalized processes to accomplish even relatively mundane tasks. I'll give you a case in point:

    A friend of mine, who is a professional photographer, switched from Windows 98 (he'd never upgraded to WinME, Win2K or WinXP) to Mac OS X 10.4. At some point he wanted to reclaim some space on his PB G4 12" internal hard disk, and hit upon the idea of moving an installed app to an external HDD that's normally attached to the notebook. So, he went to look for the Tiger equivalent of "Add/Remove Programs" and spent basically all day on this fruitless cause. Fortunately, he's savvy enough to look online for reference materials, help, etc., and eventually stumbled upon the fact that there IS NO such utility on the Mac. It took all of a couple minutes to "move" the app off the internal HDD to the external one, but of course he wasted all day getting to that point.

    So just be ready for simpler, sometimes even somewhat "informal" feeling processes to replace the more technical ones you're familiar with.
  11. ktbubster macrumors 6502a


    Jan 20, 2007
    I'm surprised no one corrected you yet. The mac capacity on the NEW SR macbooks (aka the 2.2s etc) is 4gb not 3 :)
  12. kmac07 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Dec 21, 2007
    I'm definitely going to call some credit card companies this week, a FREE extended warranty vs Applecare is a great option if I can make it work with my CC.

    MikeTheC, thanks for the welcome. I definitely don't want to bug everyone to repeat the same things to the newbies over and over, but there is SO MUCH material on this site, sometimes it's good to confirm things with others first-hand to make it all clear. I appreciate your patience.

    I've definitely mastered the tragic daily routine of moving, modifying and deleting files/programs on windows, so I'll most likely experience something similar to your photographer friend. It's going to take a while to get used to this simpler computer world, but I'm looking forward to it!

    So, after the latest macbook upgrade, the RAM capacity was heightened to 4GB? I read somewhere that they can hold 4GB but don't actually USE more than 3GB...
  13. daneoni macrumors G4


    Mar 24, 2006
    That was previous gen, this gen uses all 4
  14. CalBoy macrumors 604


    May 21, 2007
    ...And possibly more; we'll find out how much more once those 4GB sticks start coming out...
  15. sublicon macrumors member

    Dec 23, 2007
    Word, it sort of depends on your personal experience. My old laptop and iPod had a bunch of manufacturer defects, and I got a lot out of my AppleCare - so I'm a person who would probably buy it.

    All depends on you!
  16. CalBoy macrumors 604


    May 21, 2007
    But see, that's how you're more likely to have wasted your money the second or third time around. Most of us just don't have that kind of bad luck, but we feel "safer" by buying Applecare the second and third time around because of that one bad notebook/iPod.

    I know that personal perception is a large part of the decision making process, but statistically speaking, Applecare isn't your friend simply because the odds of having made a "sucker's" bet is much greater with any extended warranty.


    Now then, what were we discussing?...:p
  17. sublicon macrumors member

    Dec 23, 2007
    The point of AppleCare is to get it in case something goes wrong that isn't your fault. All things are not certain, unfortunately.

    One bad notebook that had an effed up motherboard, a defective superdrive. One iPod that died, two iPods that all cases, the repair would've resulted in them saying "Uhhh, you might as well buy a new one"...however I had AppleCare, so they packed it up and shipped it off, or replaced what I had on the spot.

    The only sucker is the one left with the bill. From what I can tell there are tons of suckers on here blaming Apple for their plight, when all troubles would've been averted had they been smart when they made their purchase and got a little insurance.
  18. CalBoy macrumors 604


    May 21, 2007
    Yes, I know what it's for. However, if you do the math, you'll find that most of us will never need it. All things might not be certain, but that doesn't mean money needs to be thrown at it.

    That's some terrible luck, but I wouldn't have had any trouble either. Free extended warranty on my end thanks to the CC. And, even if I didn't have that, is it really worth it to pay $60 to insure an iPod that only costs $300? That just sounds like an awful deal.

    I think I'd much rather live "on the edge!" :p ;)

    Right, and that can be the person who bought Applecare and never needed it (the vast majority of customers btw, as Applecare's profit margins are ~50%) or the person who needed it and didn't get it. It goes both ways, and statistically speaking, the sucker is the one who bought Applecare.

    Welcome to an internet forum. ;)

    You're coming to a place that seeks those with trouble. Naturally, you're going to hear the worst of the worst here.
  19. sublicon macrumors member

    Dec 23, 2007
    Yes, there are probably a good many people who never will need to actually use AppleCare. There are probably a good many people who never cash in on their homeowners insurance, or their flood insurance, or their volcano insurance too. It's there so you have a safety net.

    As for Applecare's profits - given the standard markup of repair, labor charges, and other intangible costs, a 50% profit margin is a guarantee, at a minimum - especially since Applecare doesn't cover user-caused damages. I'd be curious to know where you got that data, btw.

    And whether or not the AppleCare purchaser is a sucker, again, it's a point of view issue. When your computer gets effed up, and you're past your credit card warranty, and you didn't get AppleCare and you're basically up sh*t creek . . you'd be singing a different tune.

    And hey, if it never happens, or the extended warranty afforded by your credit card is like 10 years - then you have the luxury of never knowing whether it'd be useful to you or not, and can therefore hand down judgments of those who buy it.

    That being said, I'm an AppleCare sucker and I'll be cackling all the way to the Genius Bar. :)
  20. CalBoy macrumors 604


    May 21, 2007
    The difference with home insurance and flood insurance is that the damage is usually far more than you can afford out of pocket. With an iPod, I imagine most of us (excluding college students) would be able to replace the item without too much grief. In that sense, Applecare makes for a poor 'insurance' policy.

    Well not only are the charges over-stated, but only a fraction of Applecare buyers will ever come in for repairs.

    The info comes from a CNN article I read a while back (more than six months ago IIRC). It was examining all extended warranties for computers (all brands) and there was a sentence that went, "Computer makers like Apple and Dell enjoy profit margins of 50% or more on their extended warranties..."

    That's true, but that applies to many things. It doesn't always warrant insurance. For example, my alarm clock might decide to stop working tomorrow. Does that mean I should buy an extended warranty for it? O/c not, because it isn't hard to replace. That's the same way I view Applecare. I've got some time to see if my mbp will go bad on me, and if it does go bad outside that set time period, oh well. With the way Apple charges for Applecare, I'm already 20% towards a new notebook if I just don't buy the Applecare!

    Well if it never happens, you basically find out that it wasn't useful. ;)
    Ok, we'll agree to disagree! :p :)

    Merry Christmas! :)

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