PC user looking for a Macbook; white or Pro?

Tbone17

macrumors member
Original poster
Jan 6, 2010
34
0
I've always had PC's until now. My current laptop crashed and I'm thinking of trying a Macbook this time. I've heard a lot of good things.....

I know there's lots of info here but it takes a long time to filter through it all especially when I know so little about Mac's. I almost settled on the white Macbook but the Pro offers a few features which would be nice.

The most useful thing the Pro has is the SD card slot which is something I used lots on the PC. How do the USB SD card readers compare to the built in unit? It's a lot more money just for that but the backlit keyboard looks nice, though I've never had one before.

The battery life is confusing, some sites claim the white has 5 hours, some say 7. The Pro says 7.

The machines I'm looking at are:
Macbook-250gb, 2gb ram
Macbook Pro-160gb, 2gb ram
both have the same processors and speed. Both are 13.3"

Any advice would be appreciated.

Thanks
 

elfxmilhouse

macrumors 6502a
Oct 15, 2008
579
97
Northeast USA
the newest white macbook has the 7 hour battery. the websites quoting 5 probably are referring to the older model.

if you have the money you should get the pro version. the sd slot is convenient and i cant imagine not having a backlit keyboard anymore. (for the record i always used thinkpads in the past and they had the keyboard light)

the only difference youll see between a usb sd reader and the built in one is that you wont have to carry it with you. the speed should be the same. the internal sd card slot is probably connected via internal usb anyways.
 

Ca$hflow

macrumors 6502
Jan 7, 2010
447
67
London, ON
If the MacBook pro is in your budget then get it. It's also lighter, looks elegant and most likely be using it everyday. That there is worth the extra bit of cash that would be laid out.
 

Bozley0621

macrumors 6502
Mar 25, 2009
368
105
Tuesday night my PC laptop crapped itself one too many times and marched into BB at 8 pm and bought the MacBook. I was debating the white Macbook or the MacBook Pro with 2.56/250 priced at $1500. I bought the MacBook figuring I could buy an SD reader. I'm overjoyed with it. Some friends have MacBook that are 3 and 4 years old and are still as happy as a clam with the comps as the day they bought them.
 

excommie

macrumors regular
May 12, 2009
205
1
I would get the refurb MBP and not the White MB. Refurb MBP 13" is $999.99. Also, consider buying from sites like amazon - if you can avoid paying sales tax.
 

ftaok

macrumors 603
Jan 23, 2002
6,138
1,162
East Coast
Not sure if it means much to the OP, but the new MB does not have a FW port. Also, there's no external battery indicator and the screens are reported to be inferior to the 13"MBP.

On the other hand, the MB has 90GB more HDD space. Plus, it's loads cheaper.

Microcenter is selling them for $1000, plus they'll give you a $200 Visa gift card via rebate. The kicker is that it's in-store only ... but if you have one nearby, it's worth a look-see.
 

Tbone17

macrumors member
Original poster
Jan 6, 2010
34
0
Thanks for all the input. I would also like to find the best deal. I live in the lower mainland, BC. Is there any difference/problems buying a Macbook from the US if I live in Canada? Warranty might be an issue, it would depend on the savings once all the taxes and duty are paid.

I know the SD slot would be nice to have but I haven't ever used firewire for anything. What sort of thing is the firewire used for? don't know if I really need it but don't want to regret not having it either.
 

vistadude

macrumors 65816
Jan 3, 2010
1,423
1
I just bought my first mac a few weeks ago, it was the new white macbook. For me the SD card reader is useless, my past 2 laptops/desktops had an sd reader but I never used it because if you do, you lose some of the metadata on your camera pictures (rotation for examples). The macbook, like all computers, works fine when you connect your camera to the laptop via the usb cable, which is a lot simpler then swapping cards from a camera.

The firewire port is used mainly for video editing - if you don't have a video camera and don't plan on buying one, it won't be useful for you. You could also use it with a firewire external hard disk, which is faster than usb hard disks, but not dramatically faster to make it worth the price.

By the way, I'm getting 6-7 hours battery life on the macbook with wifi on. In windows I get about 4-5 hours.
 

slocraiger

macrumors newbie
Dec 9, 2009
7
0
same for me... just came from multiple years and multiple PC laptops to the white macbook about 1 month ago... am very happy and will probably never go back to pc! I bought from MicroCenter with $200 visa rebate; great deal.
I used the sd card slot alot but no big deal without it... either use my usb cardreader or just plug the camera into the Mac.
The Mac is so much more efficient than PC that it makes up for any inconvenience of not having the SD slot.
 

leekohler

macrumors G5
Dec 22, 2004
14,162
19
Chicago, Illinois
Thanks for all the input. I would also like to find the best deal. I live in the lower mainland, BC. Is there any difference/problems buying a Macbook from the US if I live in Canada? Warranty might be an issue, it would depend on the savings once all the taxes and duty are paid.

I know the SD slot would be nice to have but I haven't ever used firewire for anything. What sort of thing is the firewire used for? don't know if I really need it but don't want to regret not having it either.
If you don;t need firewire, just get the MB and get a USB card reader. They work just fine. Save yourself some cash.
 

ARF900

macrumors 65816
Oct 30, 2009
1,119
0
Depends on your preference. Personally I have the pro 160 GB HDD but with 4 GB RAM and I love it. Now that the MB has the multitouch trackpad (or at least I think it does) the only real difference is that the pro has better portability. I think its lighter, and the backlit keyboard is great for a plane or train in the dark. When I bought the thing i expected to just have the keyboard to show off but its actually very useful. Also keep in mind just because Apple says 7 hours doesnt mean 7 hours. 7 hours with birghtness all the way down keyboard lights off and nothing running. otherwise youll get about 5 doing average tasks (itunes, browser, and mail) It really depends on preference, go to an apple store and check them out. the MBP is visually stunning. Its beatifull, light, and feels good in your hands. the MB is more plain. Personally I think the pro is worth the extra $200. I dont know where you live but you could always go to Delaware to avoid sales tax. I do that for alot of larger purchases and its a 3 hour drive! Enjoy your first mac! Remember youll HATE it for the first 2 weeks but after that youll never go back to PC.
 

Tbone17

macrumors member
Original poster
Jan 6, 2010
34
0
I live in Canada, quite a ways from Delaware.

My main uses will be surfing the internet, downloading and storing my camera pics and things like youtube and streaming audio.

The most frustrating thing about my pc laptop before it crashed was it's inability to stream music and surf the internet at the same time.

Also when on the internet I often have 2 or 3 windows open which can slow things down.

I hope 2gb ram will be enough. With the extra cost of the Pro I could upgrade the white with more ram and it already comes with 250gb whereas the Pro comes with 160.

What do you guys think about the Applecare, is it worth buying it?

As for programs I think iworks in addition to what comes with it should be ok.
 

PracticalMac

macrumors 68030
Jan 22, 2009
2,745
3,710
Houston, TX
you looking at this one?
13-inch: 2.26GHz

I would recommend this one:
15-inch: 2.53GHz

But at least this:
13-inch: 2.53GHz

Not only do you get 4GB RAM with either choice, but 250GB of HDD, and that is is really good to have.

Apple care is very good if you will be rough with it.

I really love the wide 15" screen and capabilities of the MBP, but the new MB is a really nice design.
 

Tbone17

macrumors member
Original poster
Jan 6, 2010
34
0
Well, I know which Macbook I'd like to have but I also have to keep within my budget. I've decided to give Mac a try but can't help but notice all the pc based laptops around for half the price(and bigger screens).

I don't want to break the bank but also don't want to regret my decision down the road...makes it a very difficult choice.

In all reality I should just be looking at the macbook white, start with the cheapest and see how I like it. I was looking at the 13 inch 2.26. The bigger ones are nice but push the budget up considerably. Of course 2.53 would be an upgrade over 2.26 but how noticable will it be considering what I'll be using it for? No doubt either will be an improvement over my old pc (.5gb ram, 80gb hdd) The macbook white has a 250bg hdd over the 160gb of the mbp which would be the one I'd get if I step up to mbp.

I currently have a wireless g router and would like to get a wireless n router to further increase the capability of whichever macbook I choose. I've also considered the mac routers(airport express and extreme) but that might be better left to a new thread. The main thing here is that along with the laptop I'll also be upgrading my router and probably buying a program or two(iworks) which will up the total.


Sorry for the rambling, I appreciate all the advice, keep it coming please.

I almost feel lost trying to figure out all this Mac stuff......
 

ftaok

macrumors 603
Jan 23, 2002
6,138
1,162
East Coast
Well, I know which Macbook I'd like to have but I also have to keep within my budget. I've decided to give Mac a try but can't help but notice all the pc based laptops around for half the price(and bigger screens).
That really is the toughest thing for a switcher. You see the MB at $1000, but then right next to them you have the 15.6" Windows laptops selling for $600 with more RAM and larger HDDs. It's not until you dig into the specs that you see that perhaps some of the specs aren't as good, plus they don't come with all of the software goodies that Macs do. Sure, you can probably buy a really decent Windows laptop for $700 and load up with freeware apps that are similar to iLife, but it's not the same.

I don't want to break the bank but also don't want to regret my decision down the road...makes it a very difficult choice.
One thing you'll notice is that Macs hold their resale value pretty well. As long as you take care of it and it's not a notoriously bad model, you should be able to get back a decent amount of money for it in a couple of years. Just look at how much older Macs go for on eBay or places like LA Computers.

In all reality I should just be looking at the macbook white, start with the cheapest and see how I like it. I was looking at the 13 inch 2.26. The bigger ones are nice but push the budget up considerably. Of course 2.53 would be an upgrade over 2.26 but how noticable will it be considering what I'll be using it for? No doubt either will be an improvement over my old pc (.5gb ram, 80gb hdd) The macbook white has a 250bg hdd over the 160gb of the mbp which would be the one I'd get if I step up to mbp.
Since you're in Canada, I don't know if this applies. But Microcenter is offering a $200 Visa Gift Card rebate if you buy the 13.3MB. It's in store only, and I don't know if they have MC's in Canada. Perhaps they have MC's in Washington and you have friends there that could sign for the rebate (I don't know the terms of the rebate). As for taxes and duties, I would guess that Washington's sales tax would be less than Canadian import duties. Just bring along a computer bag on the trip and put the MB in the bag when you go back to Canada. If you need the box, just ship the empty box via UPS or FedEx.

I currently have a wireless g router and would like to get a wireless n router to further increase the capability of whichever macbook I choose. I've also considered the mac routers(airport express and extreme) but that might be better left to a new thread. The main thing here is that along with the laptop I'll also be upgrading my router and probably buying a program or two(iworks) which will up the total.
I will tell you that Apple's routers are more expensive than comparable routers out there. But the latest AEBS and TC's are really nice. I don't need it yet, but the Simultaneous Dual Band feature will be useful for me (I have a lot of b/g equipment) when I get more 11n devices. I also love the USB port ... currently have both of my printers hooked up and I've tested it with a couple of external HDDs. (note - I have not had any luck with AirDisk and NTFS drives ... only HFS and FAT32)

Anyways, good luck with your decision.
 

iphonegeek786

macrumors 6502
Nov 18, 2009
463
0
I have heard that you don't need a wifi router, because macs come with built-in wifi. Is this true?
 

ftaok

macrumors 603
Jan 23, 2002
6,138
1,162
East Coast
I have heard that you don't need a wifi router, because macs come with built-in wifi. Is this true?
It's true that Macs come with wifi, but just about all computers do these days. A wifi router is different and it's not something that's attached to a computer anyways.

A wifi router will take the incoming internet signal (from a cable or DSL modem) and distribute it to users in the area.
 

PracticalMac

macrumors 68030
Jan 22, 2009
2,745
3,710
Houston, TX
Well, I know which Macbook I'd like to have but I also have to keep within my budget. I've decided to give Mac a try but can't help but notice all the pc based laptops around for half the price(and bigger screens).

I don't want to break the bank but also don't want to regret my decision down the road...makes it a very difficult choice.

In all reality I should just be looking at the macbook white, start with the cheapest and see how I like it. I was looking at the 13 inch 2.26. The bigger ones are nice but push the budget up considerably. Of course 2.53 would be an upgrade over 2.26 but how noticable will it be considering what I'll be using it for? No doubt either will be an improvement over my old pc (.5gb ram, 80gb hdd) The macbook white has a 250bg hdd over the 160gb of the mbp which would be the one I'd get if I step up to mbp.

I currently have a wireless g router and would like to get a wireless n router to further increase the capability of whichever macbook I choose. I've also considered the mac routers(airport express and extreme) but that might be better left to a new thread. The main thing here is that along with the laptop I'll also be upgrading my router and probably buying a program or two(iworks) which will up the total.


Sorry for the rambling, I appreciate all the advice, keep it coming please.

I almost feel lost trying to figure out all this Mac stuff......


Ftaok is right, you will get years more service out of a Mac then a PC.
My first Mac notebook I used for 7 years before retiring. My second I purchased used and used that for 5 years, and I am now 3 years on my current MBP (but my 2ed NB I found new use for it).

So you do have a tight budget, then I suggest the prior White Polycarbonate MacBook, you might still find a new one, but used ones will be cheaper still.

I got my 2ed 'Book from eBay after 2 months of looking, and have been 200% happy with it, but with eBay, it takes time to find the right one.

GL!
 

Tbone17

macrumors member
Original poster
Jan 6, 2010
34
0
Any laptop you buy these days comes with built in wifi, most new ones now come with wireless n capability.

My question was wether there is an advantage to the airport over other wireless n routers(eg linksys or cisco) which can be had for half the price

I was browsing around yesterday and found these(all 13.3"):
1)white, 2.26, 2gb/250gb $1099
2)white, 2.26, 4gb/320gb, bluetooth $1299
3)Pro, 2.26, 2gb/160gb, $1299
4)Pro, 2.53 4gb/250gb, $1599

Only the one white says it's got bluetooth but I think they all do(?). From what I read, the bluetooth enables you to use the wireless mac mouse and keyboard or up/download from your phone. I can't see myself spending an extra $300 to step up to #4 but #2 seems like the best bet. The pro has some nice features but the white has more ram/hdd and would probably be a better machine.
 

iphonegeek786

macrumors 6502
Nov 18, 2009
463
0
It's true that Macs come with wifi, but just about all computers do these days. A wifi router is different and it's not something that's attached to a computer anyways.

A wifi router will take the incoming internet signal (from a cable or DSL modem) and distribute it to users in the area.
So wait what do you need to get a wifi signal, because I have a windows. Sory for the stupidity.
 

ftaok

macrumors 603
Jan 23, 2002
6,138
1,162
East Coast
My question was wether there is an advantage to the airport over other wireless n routers(eg linksys or cisco) which can be had for half the price
I was in the same boat recently when my Netgear 11g router died. I could have gone with a cheaper 3rd party 11n router, or the Airport Extreme. In the end, I decided to splurge for the AEBS because of the simultaneous dual band feature, plus the ease of running shared printers and hard drives. I think the cheaper 11n routers don't have dual band ... and I really didn't need stuff like QoS (although admittedly, I didn't know what that was when I bought the AEBS)

So wait what do you need to get a wifi signal, because I have a windows. Sory for the stupidity.
There are no stupid questions. For any computer, windows or Mac, you need two things. You need a wifi router, plus you need wifi on the computer. Most new computers these days have wifi built in, so there's nothing extra to buy on the computer side. If the computer doesn't have wifi, you can get a wifi adapter, usually USB for a laptop or a PCI card for a desktop.

In either case, you'll need a wifi router that connects to your cable/dsl modem to broadcast a wifi network. That's with the airport Extreme is.
 

Primejimbo

macrumors 68040
Aug 10, 2008
3,294
131
Around
Any laptop you buy these days comes with built in wifi, most new ones now come with wireless n capability.

My question was wether there is an advantage to the airport over other wireless n routers(eg linksys or cisco) which can be had for half the price

I was browsing around yesterday and found these(all 13.3"):
1)white, 2.26, 2gb/250gb $1099
2)white, 2.26, 4gb/320gb, bluetooth $1299
3)Pro, 2.26, 2gb/160gb, $1299
4)Pro, 2.53 4gb/250gb, $1599

Only the one white says it's got bluetooth but I think they all do(?). From what I read, the bluetooth enables you to use the wireless mac mouse and keyboard or up/download from your phone. I can't see myself spending an extra $300 to step up to #4 but #2 seems like the best bet. The pro has some nice features but the white has more ram/hdd and would probably be a better machine.
I agree, set up #2 is the best set up I think.
 

iphonegeek786

macrumors 6502
Nov 18, 2009
463
0
I was in the same boat recently when my Netgear 11g router died. I could have gone with a cheaper 3rd party 11n router, or the Airport Extreme. In the end, I decided to splurge for the AEBS because of the simultaneous dual band feature, plus the ease of running shared printers and hard drives. I think the cheaper 11n routers don't have dual band ... and I really didn't need stuff like QoS (although admittedly, I didn't know what that was when I bought the AEBS)

There are no stupid questions. For any computer, windows or Mac, you need two things. You need a wifi router, plus you need wifi on the computer. Most new computers these days have wifi built in, so there's nothing extra to buy on the computer side. If the computer doesn't have wifi, you can get a wifi adapter, usually USB for a laptop or a PCI card for a desktop.

In either case, you'll need a wifi router that connects to your cable/dsl modem to broadcast a wifi network. That's with the airport Extreme is.
Ok so lets say I have an iphone and I want wifi for the iphone. But I have a windows that doesn't use wifi (XP and compaq). So I would use the wireless router to connect with my windows and that would emmit a wifi signal, that I could anywhere.
 

vistadude

macrumors 65816
Jan 3, 2010
1,423
1
With the wireless router, you don't need a computer to have it running. It will run by itself, and send the wireless internet to your iphone, your macbook connected via wifi, and your computer connected by an ethernet wire. All of those devices will work perfectly fine by themselves with the others shut off.


Ok so lets say I have an iphone and I want wifi for the iphone. But I have a windows that doesn't use wifi (XP and compaq). So I would use the wireless router to connect with my windows and that would emmit a wifi signal, that I could anywhere.
 

Tbone17

macrumors member
Original poster
Jan 6, 2010
34
0
Well, I had decided on the white 4gb/320gb but pulled out my video camera last night and found I need firewire to download from it to the computer! It's a miniDV. It looks like I might lean towards the Pro.

The pro for the same price is 2gb/160gb. The question now is how hard is it to upgrade the ram and hdd in the future? I might upgrade the hdd right away to 250, I think the ram would be easier to upgrade down the road since you don't have to transfer any files like changing the hdd.