Planning on buying a Macbook Pro, advice?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by jbaird77, Jun 7, 2008.

  1. jbaird77 macrumors member

    May 30, 2008
    I'm a 17 year old guy who just graduated from highschool and is getting ready for college. I have been saving up for a Macbook Pro for about 6-7 months (not to mention I just got lots of graduate party money :D )

    I am wanting to go all out on a Macbook Pro while using my education discount, these are the specs I have in mind.

    17" High-res 1920x1200 matte
    2.5 Ghz Core 2 Duo (Penryn)
    4GB of RAM (yes Apple RAM, I hear it has better reliability/proformance than 3rd party)
    200GB @ 7,200RPM
    and of course the AppleCare Plan :p

    this comes out to be around $3,200 roughly (EDU discount)

    I have three questions though...

    1) Is the 2.6 GHz worth the extra $225?

    2) Should I just get the 250GB 5,400RPM or lose some space and get the faster harddrive (7,200RPM)?

    3) Should I wait longer than I am going to, to get a Macbook Pro? (planning on getting one Friday, after WWDC week) I don't believe there are going to be revisions until September 16th or something like that because of the Back-to-School deal (would like to know what you guys thing :D )

  2. aaronw1986 macrumors 68030

    Oct 31, 2006
    Do NOT get RAM from Apple, it is way overpriced. It's not like they make it. I don't know where you hear it's more reliable, this is not true. Save yourself hundreds, and get it from Crucial or something. The upgrade to 2.6 is really not worth it, this has been discussed. It's good to wait till after WWDC. If there is nothing updated then, and you need it for school, then go ahead and get it. It will be nice to get the ipod as well.

    Edit: may I ask why you've chosen the 17 inch model? For the high rez screen? 15 inch is much more portable.
  3. jbaird77 thread starter macrumors member

    May 30, 2008
    ok, so i probably wont get 2.6GHz, I'll stick with 2.5

    I'm still thinking about getting the 4 GB, on the fence

    I hear the Hard drive makes the biggest difference next to the RAM. is this true? the 7200 worth sacrificing the 50GB?
  4. Michael CM1 macrumors 603

    Feb 4, 2008
    Save a whole lotta money and get the lowest-spec model, which will cost you $1799. I bought that model when it was 2.16Ghz, and it's still pretty fast.

    Don't waste $225 on an extra 100Mhz of speed. You're better off waiting until a Blu-ray Disc player hits that price or buying a Nintendo Wii.

    No, don't do the Apple RAM upgrade. Go to and get an extra 2GB. They have an app that'll make sure it's compatible. In fact, you won't even need 4GB unless you doing some sort of crazy stuff in college, which most people aren't. If you're majoring in English, you could almost get away with 512MB. :)

    Basically I wouldn't throw $3200 on a laptop when in college. You will NEED that money for other things (check out book prices). Take whatever hard drive comes with it and you can either upgrade later or buy an external one if needed. 200GB will suffice unless you start cramming it with video. If you're doing that, buy an external USB-powered drive (the notebook-size ones, which I think WD calls "My Passport").

    I would suggest waiting until next week at least to see if a Blu-ray option is added. It's way past time we got at least that option.
  5. jbaird77 thread starter macrumors member

    May 30, 2008
    I'm getting the 4GB to make my Mac more "future-proof", at least for about 3-4 years :p

    I do hope that they add atleast SOMETHING new to the Macbook Pros at WWDC (even if it isnt a redesign), I'll watch the rumor sites like a hawk and if there is a rumor of the Macbook Pros being updated within 2-3 weeks I'll wait :p
  6. aaronw1986 macrumors 68030

    Oct 31, 2006
    I totally understand wanting the 4GB. Just get it from crucial, a kit is only $100. I went with the 72k rpm hd, and am glad. It really depends on how much stuff you have, but I would suggest it over the 5400. Hard drive speeds are always much more limiting than other hardware, so the faster the better. You can always get an external at a later time for mass storage of movies, etc.
  7. jbaird77 thread starter macrumors member

    May 30, 2008
    thanks! Yeah I plan on getting an external hard drive (320GB or something like that :p). Probably going to use it for time machine although I would also like to use it for file transfers. Can you do both? or does Time Machine require the whole drive? maybe I can just partition it :p
  8. aaronw1986 macrumors 68030

    Oct 31, 2006
    I think yes, you'd be able to partition it, but don't quote me.
  9. jsbarone macrumors regular

    May 8, 2007
    You can partition an external HD as much as you like. Consider spending your $200 saved from apple memory on a time capsule. The convenience of Wireless backups is well worth the money.
  10. aaronw1986 macrumors 68030

    Oct 31, 2006
    I know you can partition external HD's...was just not clear if for some reason TM would demand the whole drive.
  11. greekpaz22 macrumors regular

    Feb 25, 2008
    Unless you need the screen space for anything else, get the 15 inch. I just graduated and feel that anything over a 15 inch laptop is too much to carry around to class---and trust me, you're going to want to bring it around with you. I think someone else mentioned this but again, unless you have a huge need for it, the 17 inch is a waste and is going to be really cumbersome.

    But enjoy it! wait until after WWDC to get it but there really shouldnt be any upgrades to the MBP!
  12. chapel321 macrumors member

    Mar 4, 2008
    Montgomery, Alabama
    You would be crazy to get the ram from Apple. Like everyone else is suggesting, get it from Crucial or somewhere. That's what I did for my 4Gigs and have never had a hiccup!!!
  13. gwsat macrumors 68000


    Apr 12, 2008
    I am working on my second Mac 17 inch laptop and have concluded that it is the only way to go. I still have my old PowerBook G4. Although it is now more than 5 years old, it looks brand new. My new MacBook Pro, which I bought in late March, was a recently discontinued model, which I was able to buy for a net $2,250. There may be some of them still available.

    I have not upgraded my memory from its factory delivered 2 GB. I am running Windows XP under VMware Fusion; it’s plenty fast and leaves enough resources to simultaneously support OS X apps, too. Thus, unless I start putting my MB Pro to different uses 2 MB of RAM seems to be plenty.

    I also suspect that you wouldn’t need the top of the line high resolution display. Unless you have intensive video needs, which as a student you probably won’t have, the standard 1680 x 1050 should be more than sufficient, it seems to me.
  14. jbaird77 thread starter macrumors member

    May 30, 2008
    wait a minute, so if I go to the nearest Apple Store, chances are they wont have what I need? I have to buy it online to get the customized one? o.o crap...
  15. aaronw1986 macrumors 68030

    Oct 31, 2006
    Yep, that'll be a BTO machine.
  16. cherry su macrumors 65816

    cherry su

    Feb 28, 2008
    - buy the 4GB RAM elsewhere
    - if you don't regularly use the optical drive, chuck it and put another hard drive there (see for more details)
    - a high quality SSD will totally pwn a 7.2K HDD while extending battery life
    - stick with 5.4K drives; the platter density of current drives close the speed gap between 5400rpm and 7200rpm drives
  17. alphaod macrumors Core


    Feb 9, 2008
    The only MBPs they carry are the base configurations on this page:

    And a fully stocked MBP 17" (2.6GHz, 2GB RAM, 200GB 7.2k HDD, HR Matte)

    They might carry a fully stocked 15" as well, but I'm not sure; I know they carry the base configurations and that 17" fully stocked model.

    1) That's a terrible suggestion, no offense.
    2) No kidding; it will also cost 10x the price for the half the capacity.
    3) Obviously a 320GB 7.2k drive will beat the 320GB 5.4k drive, but the 320GB 7.2k will also beat the 500GB 5.4k drive simply because the 320GB drive is 2 platter and the 500GB drive is 3 platter, so same densities.
  18. Michael CM1 macrumors 603

    Feb 4, 2008
    Who are these phantom people that don't use optical drives? Does nobody ever buy a $3 CD on clearance or something and then need a way to put it in iTunes? It's much easier to just buy an external hard drive if you're that tight on HDD space.

    I would also recommend not getting a SSD yet. They're too expensive for what you get and reliability is unknown. Next year should be when both issues are fixed big-time.

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