please help mac newbie decide which generation macbook to get

Discussion in 'MacBook' started by absolutic, Nov 1, 2009.

  1. absolutic macrumors regular

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    Jun 5, 2008
    #1
    ok I've been a pc user forever, never had a mac. When my 10th pc laptop broke after two month (this time at least it was a $250 garbage netbook), I gathered some bestbuy gift cards I got for my birthday and I decided to get a macbook. Of course now I am stuck:

    Best buy has previous model for $899
    New model is $999.

    Previous model has firewire (I think one of my external hard drives is firewire) also it appears that battery is not integrated, which means easy access to replace hard drive and to upgrade RAM if needed, which is a plus. 500GB hard drive cost $89 so it is a no brain upgrade.

    New model has better display it appears, faster processor, better battery life, more capacity hard drive, new type mousepad (which could be a good or a bad thing I have not tried it). Integrated battery now so I assume it is a pain to replace anything and to upgrade memory and hard drive is a pain, right? They removed firewire. They removed ir port. And it will cost me a $100 more.

    Neither model has illuminated keyboard which is nice but I don't want to pay $200 for to get to Pro.

    So what are your thoughts for a newbie like me? Should I get an older model or a newer model? It seems new model has advantages but also a lot of disadvantages and costs more.
     
  2. jb1280 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2009
    #2
    This is entirely a question if you need firewire or the IR sensor.

    If you do, your hands are pretty much tied into the old revision unless you step up to a macbook pro (that you can have for $999 refurbished from Apple).

    Regarding your concern about upgrading things inside the new Macbook - it is like the Macbook Pro - you remove screws and you change out the drive and memory. It's not that much more complicated than the old revision.

    I personally like the built-in battery, again a matter of preference. The trackpad is also nice.

    For the macbook you basically have to choose between firewire/IR sensor/removable battery versus more robust casing/much longer battery/much better display.

    Seriously look at the refurbished Pro though.
     
  3. Vashed555 macrumors newbie

    Vashed555

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2009
    Location:
    Ohio
    #3
    I'll make your choice infinitely simpler...

    Apple.com has been selling the previous generation MacBook 2.13 as a refurb unit for about $750. Keep an eye out in their store, and you'll get the product with a full warranty from Apple in like-new condition for an insanely cheap price...

    You'll have to beat me to it first though... :p
     
  4. Badger^2 macrumors 68000

    Badger^2

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    Oct 29, 2009
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    #4
    new one is built way better

    and its not that hard to replace the drive or ram, just a few screws

    and the new one is $924 after rebate from macconnection, with no tax and free shipping -- so only $25 more -- but then even cheaper if you factor in the tax apple charges

    same deal with a new 13" MBP, $1120 AR, no tax, free shipping

    http://www.macconnection.com/IPA/Shop/Product/Detail.htm?sku=9899411
     
  5. absolutic thread starter macrumors regular

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    #5
    Thanks for a pointer re refurb pro
     
  6. absolutic thread starter macrumors regular

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    Jun 5, 2008
    #6
    thanks everyone for your pointers. The reason I was thinking bestbuy is because I had several gift cards from them. Unfortunately, they don't sell refurb and they do charge sale tax. perhaps I should check out places you noted here. Thanks
     
  7. absolutic thread starter macrumors regular

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    #7
    but am I correct that the previous model Macbook you are ok to replace drive/ram there is even instruction from Apple to do it, while with a new model same with MBP, you are voiding warranty if you are doing it yourself?
     
  8. jb1280 macrumors 6502a

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    #8
    The owner's manual for the new macbook has instructions on how to replace the hard drive and memory - this does not void your warranty.
     
  9. absolutic thread starter macrumors regular

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    #9
    Thanks!
     
  10. clyde2801 macrumors 601

    clyde2801

    Joined:
    Mar 6, 2008
    Location:
    In the land of no hills and red dirt.
    #10
    You want answers, I only have more questions...

    Find a friend that has a prior gen mb and lay hands on it. Do the same for the new model. We can't tell you how you'll like the new build or trackpad, we can only tell you what we think about it. To a certain degree, buying a computer is a subjective, visceral decision. Have your friend go with you to an apple store and stick his model beside one of the new ones. Unless you know you can afford a mbp from the refurb site, don't have your friend put his mb beside a 13" pro; that's just self-abuse.;)

    Is the amount of the best buy cards substantial? Can you afford to buy a computer without them? Unless you have to use the cards, you can find a better deal on a mb/mbp on the apple refurb site or a prior gen mb on craigslist (more on this in a minute).

    Does your external firewire hard drive also have usb (many do) and is it necessary that you continue using it? If its an older, smaller hard drive, that may not be a valid consideration on which new computer to buy.

    Are you doing anything processor intensive with the machine? If you'll just be living the iLife with it, it's doubtful you'll tell a difference between the old and new model performance wise. Same graphics card, and basically the same processor and ram. Unless you'll be encoding a lot of video on the laptop, it's doubtful that even Mr. Data could tell a difference between the two models.

    Are you planning on replacing the hard drive for a bigger or faster one anyway? If so, negates the bigger hard drive on the newest model. And yes, you can replace the hard drive or ram on either model without voiding applecare so long as you don't damage anything during the installation.

    Do you really need seven hours use without a power source? Prior gen mb's can get five hours or slightly more with the older battery.

    Have you considered craigslist, and do you know what you're looking for? Whenever apple introduces a new model of a system, lots of people try to sell their prior models in order to buy the new one. Case in point, I got a five month old 2.13 mb for $500. :D It had a crack on the topcase which apple promptly replaced and it's otherwise nearly flawless. If you do get a mb on cl, make sure it's a 2.0 or 2.13 ghz core 2 duo with nvidia 9400 graphics; the earlier gma 950 or x3100 graphics are much less capable. You can get extended applecare (i.e., warranty) on a system within one year of the original purchase of it. Always, always, always get applecare on a mac portable. With the exception of the hard drive, it is neither cheap nor easy to repair the hardware on them.

    Anyway, take a hard look at your needs (not wants) and budget, and go from there. Both are capable little machines. Good luck!
     
  11. absolutic thread starter macrumors regular

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    #11
    You are a brave soul buying a comp on craigslist. I bought/sold a lot of items on cl, and there are items I will buy on cl without thinking twice (like digital cameras or lenses) because I know what to look for. With something as complex as a computer, I probably would not risk buying on cl.

    I have a recent desktop (windows pentium quad-core) at home which is my main machine used for everything (photoshop/ video editing/ word processing if needed etc)

    I also have a windows laptop at work supplied by my employer. My wife has a personal windows laptop.

    This (macbook or pro) will be strictly my personal machine for pleasure. I am basically just tired of having pc laptops and netbooks dying on me every 6 months to a year for various reasons whether I spend $900 on them or $250. I've seen macs last for my friends, so I am just hoping that if I spend a grand for a mac, I will have a laptop that would last for couple of years. This would be ideal.

    Things you mention:

    Financial: I cannot afford to buy it with cash now, I need to finance it. Plus with Best Buy same as cash for 18 month or Mac same as cash for 12 month, it is probably not a bad idea. Plus my wife is in school and I work for the Government and small discounts are available to either (at least they used to have them the last I checked).

    Firewire: It is not critical, I do have one 120GB hard drive with it, filled with music, but it also has a USB on it.

    Hard drive: Will I immediately replace it? Good question. Yes, if it is 160GB, but NO if it is 250GB. Since it is not my main computer I believe 250GB will be more than enough. 160GB is marginal.....especially when I bought a $89 500GB hard drive for my PS3 several months ago.

    Trackpad: with my windows laptops/notebooks/netbooks, I still like to use external mouse, my understanding I can still use it with a macbook, am I correct? Then this won't matter, right?

    Battery: since I know 7 hours is not real 7 hours and 5 hours is not real 5 hours I prefer the 7 hours; I do travel sometimes and it is nice to be able to have a power the entire flight.

    Other things that concern me that you did not mention:

    1) light up keys - never had it before, sounds nice, is it really useful?
    2) only two usb ports - all my windows notebooks had at least 3 and that was not enough at times, and these guys only have 2
    3) white color of non-pro macbooks, is it really gonna look gray in 6 months? laptops do attract dust......
    4) lack of ir port - so no ir mouse? bt mouse perhaps?
     
  12. nullx86 macrumors 6502a

    nullx86

    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2009
    Location:
    Wilmington/Jacksonville, NC
    #12
    Get a refurb Macbook Pro.

    13" has
    2 USB
    1 Firewire 800
    1 SD
    1 combined audio
    1 Mini Display port.
    1 ethernet
    magsafe

    You can always get a hub for your USB stuff.

    Personally, I would get a macbook pro over a macbook any day.
     
  13. clyde2801 macrumors 601

    clyde2801

    Joined:
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    Location:
    In the land of no hills and red dirt.
    #13
    1. I don't have to be a brave soul to buy on craigslist-the 2.13 prior gen came out in late may 09, therefore it is covered by applecare until may '10 and can be extended for another two years until then. I've seen another 2.13 mb on CL for $600 loaded up with software.

    2. Firewire is then optional. IMO, an IR receiver is a nice feature, but not a make or break when choosing a system.

    3. The macbook prior gen battery does last 5 hours with normal use (wi fi, screen halfway lit, email, word processing, etc.). I've read reviews saying the 7 hour estimate is legit for real world use.

    4. If the extra hd space in the white uni mb will keep you from running out and buying a hd, then the advantage goes to the new model.

    5. Either model will use mice, even those made by MS.:eek: As for the multi touch trackpad, you just have to touch it. Either will also use bt mice.

    6. I'd compare the old version mb to the new version directly, as stated previously. The led backlighting on the old one should theoretically deliver quicker backlighting and a longer useful light than the ccfl on the old models.

    7. Light up keys are useful if you do any computing at low light levels. Neither whitebook has this feature.

    8. Only 2 usb ports? Eh...you're right. Both models.

    9. Should be no problem with discoloration or graying on either whitebook. The first gen whitebooks ('06 core duos) had a problem with yellowing, but this has been corrected with new plastics. I can't absolutely vouch for the unibody macbooks, since they've just come out. But nothing's been reported yet.

    You may as well get the new mb if you're stuck with best buy. Check with your local manager and see if anyone has returned their 2.13 prior gen since the new models came out for a bigger discount. Otherwise, for only a $100 discount, it sounds like you may as well just get the new model.
     
  14. nullx86 macrumors 6502a

    nullx86

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    Wilmington/Jacksonville, NC
    #14
    No. Just no. DO NOT buy from Best Buy. :mad::mad::mad::mad::mad::mad::mad::mad::mad::mad::mad::mad::mad::mad:
    They will rip you off any way they can. Trust me. If they cant tell why a computer wont power on and its unplugged, then do not buy from there. Go online to store.apple.com, go to the refurb section and get yourself a refurb 13" Macbook Pro. I have a refurb 24" iMac and it works perfectly fine, no problems whatsoever. Trust me, buy from Apple directly.

    In the refurb store, there are these two
    First is a unibody aluminium macbook (same as the white model, except it is in aluminum and not plastic)
    http://store.apple.com/us/product/FB466LL/A?mco=MTA4MzIyODg
    second is a 13" macbook pro.
    http://store.apple.com/us/product/FB990LL/A?mco=MTA4MzIzMzA

    Get one of these instead of listening to people saying to get the macbook. Get more for your money. The refurbs get their enclosures replaced, and are ran thru tests to make sure they are fit to go back on the shelf. A apple refurb is basically a open box, because they have a strict 14 day policy. if you buy a computer new and anytime between the purchase date and the 14th day after, if you return it, you get your money back and it gets sent to the refurb store. They arent like all damaged or anything like other refurbs with other companies. Now, trust me, get a 13" Macbook Pro. You will be much happier with it then you will the Macbook or something from Worst Buy/Fraud Squad(best buy/geek squad).
     
  15. clyde2801 macrumors 601

    clyde2801

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    #15
    Read post number 11 from the OP.
     
  16. absolutic thread starter macrumors regular

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    Jun 5, 2008
    #16
    Do local apple stores offer these refurb macbooks or is it online only?
     
  17. bryanc28 macrumors 6502

    bryanc28

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    Arlington, Va
    #17
    I was in the same boat as the OP. Should I get the newly released Macbook ($999) a refurb Macbook Pro or the previous gen Macbook for $899. I, too, had a bunch of unused Best Buy gift cards plus an extra $50 in reward zone points. I just got the $899 previous gen as I am not that user intensive and didn't need all the extras of a Mac Pro. I figure this is my first mac so it will be my learning ground computer. With the gift cards and reward zone points my total cost came to $735 out of my own pocket. More importantly, I am absolutely satisfied with my choice and love the computer!!
     
  18. absolutic thread starter macrumors regular

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    #18
    Wow you were in exact same situation as I am.
     
  19. bryanc28 macrumors 6502

    bryanc28

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    Arlington, Va
    #19
    Also, to the OP, if you are buying from Best Buy, go to BestBuy.com and see if they have in-store pick-up. These things are selling fast so you may want to check up on that. When I went to BB last week in my area they only had 5 left in stock.
     
  20. js81 macrumors 65816

    js81

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    Dec 31, 2008
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    KY
    #20
    My Macbook came from BestBuy... no problems at all. Just don't expect the employees at BB to know anything - do your homework first (which it seems like you are).
     
  21. absolutic thread starter macrumors regular

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    Jun 5, 2008
    #21
    Oh I never expect employees at any electronics store to know anything about anything and I would never trust them anyway on any subject.

    I only go to a store to physically purchase something that I know I want, or to physically try it.

    Thanks to educated people like you guys!
     
  22. js81 macrumors 65816

    js81

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    #22
    Now THAT'S the way to do it... :D I'm terribly bad to head to BB and try it out only to order it online cheaper. But then again, I do have a BB credit card that gets 0% for at least 6 months (sometimes 12 or 18), so sometimes that sways my decision. I just get it NOW and pay it off in the allotted time and pay no interest. :D
     
  23. absolutic thread starter macrumors regular

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    #23
    I do the same so I now have
    Toshiba 55 inch LCD - 36 months same as cash and
    ASUS Quad-core PC Desktop - 12 months same as cash
    all from BB
    Being able to pay off things with 0% interest makes a difference
     
  24. absolutic thread starter macrumors regular

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    Jun 5, 2008
    #24
    Got the MACBOOK UNIBODY LAST NIGHT:))))

    Well thanks everyone :) With my BB gift cards got my macbook new unibody last night.....cost me only $300 with all my gift cards.....and I will pay it for 18 months with no interest.

    I am very excited. It is all new to me and I already have a lot of questions. First I've been having a problem setting up a network between a macbook and my Vista-running desktop. My macbook sees my drives on Vista but cannot open them. I unlocked and shared everything on Vista and even turned off passwords on everything and turned off V6 but still my macbook is not able to access the contents of my hard drives on my desktop over the wireless....

    my second question is what's up with quicktime player? when I want to play music on macbook, simple as that, quicktime each time defaults to the highest volume, and there is nowhere to click on any option to change that default volume. I thought hmmm, strange, but then I thought, lets just download my favorite music player, winamp.....not so fast....not compatible with mac.....that was something I've never experienced before.

    Overall I am very excited.
     
  25. Angelo95210 macrumors 6502a

    Angelo95210

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    Location:
    Paris, France
    #25
    Good to know that you made your choice ! Congrats !

    For your windows hard drive, how is it formatted ? If it's NTFS that might be an issue...

    PS : You should either post a new subject for these issues ;)
     

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