pro? keyboard? glossy? Help me decide please :-)

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by StefanCourteaux, Feb 21, 2010.

  1. StefanCourteaux macrumors newbie

    Feb 21, 2010

    I'm looking into buying a new macbook pro. In fact, I'm on the verge of doing so, but some questions are left unanswered. I'm hoping to find some answers right here. Answers I'd like to have before blowing 1000+ Euros on a computer.

    I will detail my situation, so that you know my situation as a potential mac buyer.

    3 years ago, my computer stopped working, so I got a new one. Weeks after that, I enroled in college and noticed I absolutely needed a laptop for that. Because I just got a new desktop computer, I decided to get a second hand laptop. I got an IBM T41. 14", 5+ hours of battery life and enough performance to run the apps I needed for school.

    Months later it started to annoy me that all my files were spread over 2 computers (with 3 operating systems), a thumbdrive and an external harddrive. At that point I realised that having two computers is not the way to go. But because my desktop pc is fast and my laptop is portable-but-not-so-fast, I could not just eliminate one of them and would have felt stupid for getting rid of two recently purchased computers.

    Anyway, now I would finally like to break with the past - computer wise - and have a clean start.

    I want my new computer to be both fast and portable and to not run windows. I can get linux to run on any laptop out there, but an apple computer with osx is the way to go as far as I can tell. I want to use this computer for at least 3-5 years. And when I say fast, I mean it should be noticably more capable then a 1.6GHz single core pentium M cpu. I want to be able to edit the movies from my camera (SD MPEG2 footage on SDHC memory card, it's a CANON FS1000).

    So there it is, I'm buying a mac. I was looking at the white macbook 13", but the scratch-prone surface and lack of SD card slot made me have a look at the pro. This would however mean I'm paying 200+ Euros more just for an SD slot, alu and LESS hard drive space. I do not download movies of the internet however.

    Is the durable chassis and other stuff worth the premium?
    It's not that I don't have the money. I could buy dozens of macbooks, but I don't want to feel like I spent money in the wrong way on computers (again :p).

    Should I get a QWERTY or an AZERTY?
    AZERTY is the standard layout where I live, Belgium. I will use this laptop to communicate in at least 4 languages. Dutch, French, German and English. AZERTY keyboards are good because they have all the funny symbols on them, but they are a drag when used for programming, which I will be doing as well. AZERTY mac keyboards don't even have the []{} etc on them!
    I would like to know if you can configure the mac so that it stacks symbols and letters so that you can form all the different letters using a QWERTY. So, if I were to use french as language on the QWERTY, and type ' and then e, it would put the thingy on top of the letter.

    I have never owned a glossy display and I'm somewhat concerned about the reflections. I must say though, I've only seen glossy screens on low end cheap laptops, which have bad screens anyway. I'm not really planning on using the computer outside all the time, but it will happen sometimes.

    Thanks to anyone who bothered to read the whole thing and provides information.
  2. miles01110 macrumors Core


    Jul 24, 2006
    The Ivory Tower (I'm not coming down)
    These are just personal choices. One is not "better" than the other despite what some forum members will tell you. If you're used to AZERTY you might want to go with that; you can always change the keyboard settings later.
  3. MrBrekke macrumors 6502


    Oct 1, 2009
    The MBP is due for an refresh within the next weeks.
    but to answer your question. the alu body is worth the 200 alone.
    and the backlight keyboard is something you will love.
    the MB does also have the glossy screen but lack of SD card slot and no backlight keyboard.

    At the moment the difference is 70GB HDD space. not much.
    if you need HDD space as i understand you really don't do. then get a SSD if you can afford it. it will speed up everything.
    But then only if you need the extra speed.

    I would go for the english keyboard.

    I am from Norway and i have the English keyboard even that we have qwerty as standard keyboards. it is all about what you are used to and what key layout you prefer
    qwerty keyboard is more widely used and since you mention programming you would be better of with qwerty.

    the 13" pro is an incredible work horse. for its use.

    the screen is good but need to be calibrated for your eyes.
    the glossy can be a issue if you are outside in very bright light.
    i normally don't have any issues with it. and for home use the 30" is a perfect work buddy and that one is not glossy.

    if you have the chance go to an apple retailer and try the 13" move it around so you can see how the screen is in different light.

    bottom line in my opinion. The 200 premium for the pro is worth it.
  4. splitpea macrumors 6502a

    Oct 21, 2009
    Among the starlings
    Anything in the Macbook line will be far faster than your Pentium M, but for video editing and a 5-year lifespan, I'd look at at least the middle of the 15" MBP line.

    IIRC, it's possible to switch keyboard layouts on the fly in OS X, although the symbols won't be displayed on the keyboard itself unless you add some sort of overlay. You can even put a menu for it in the menu bar. I was playing around with Dvorak for a while on my QWERTY keyboard.

    This is how OS X handles most accents by default, even when you're using English as the keyboard and OS language. Type Opt-E then E, and you get é. Opt-u + E = ë. You can find lists of the codes online.
  5. MrBrekke macrumors 6502


    Oct 1, 2009
    change settings yes but you can not change the layout on the keys.
    for programming azerty is a no go... this dud to the fact that programming languages are in english. the keys are assessable directly on the keyboard and not as a sub key. ;)

    the current NV9400 works fine for video editing. its more about the CPU.
    of course depending on what program used.

    final cut studio runs very well on the 13" but it needs RAM and a lot of it.
  6. StefanCourteaux thread starter macrumors newbie

    Feb 21, 2010
    Some interesting points have been brought up. Thanks for that. I have decided I will
    - Get a pro
    - Get a QWERTY
    - Not worry about the HDD Space
    - Go to an apple store to see the device in real life
    - Have to know more about this 'refresh'


    I do not really know what final cut does. Is it professional software?. I mean iMovie. I want to cut parts out of my home videos and then merge the pieces together and put them on a dvd. iMovie can do that right?
  7. MrBrekke macrumors 6502


    Oct 1, 2009
    The refresh is imminent and could happen any tuesday the next month or so.

    The MB was updated not so long ago and therefor the lower HDD in the MBP.

    but 3 things to consider:

    1. Replacing the HDD with a SSD and get a NAS storage with RAID 10 for your video editing needs and file security (backup)

    2. external monitor. The 13" is to small to do serious work on. programming and video editing would benefit from at least a 24" or better the 30" non glossy. but that is a price question. if you don't need a IPS panel monitor there are several good 24" and 26" TN panel monitors out there. the price is not bad on those.

    3. upgrade the RAM yourself if you need it. don't pay extra for more RAM if you don't need it. 4 GB is just ok for me. but i am currently looking to get 8 GB. but i need it. i did not when i bought my MBP
  8. brendu macrumors 68020

    Apr 23, 2009
    you said you're a student.. does apple offer student discounts for other countries? If so then you should be able to knock $100 off the mbp price tag. I would say get the entry level pro, it is perfect for what you want to do... eventually you might want to add a HDD but to be honest if you can manage with the stock 160GB and wait for SSD's to reach a justifiable price, then thats the way to go...

    and yes iMovie will work for your movie editing needs. No need to spend hundreds on pro software. some people here have a lot more money than the rest of us and ignore budgets that are listed.. since you said ~$1000 just buy the macbook pro 13" and add other things like extra monitor later IF you decide you need them.

    all in all the 13"mbp makes the most sense IMO
  9. MrBrekke macrumors 6502


    Oct 1, 2009
    iMovie will do just fine for your needs. :)

    Final Cut is a pro editing tool.
    and you will be good with the 9400 graphic card in the current MBP for your needs. as long as you don't plan to do a lot of game playing.

    but there should be a better graphic card in the new MBP coming out and it will have the i5 intel cpu. so there might be the issue of it having only the integrated GPU. tests show the integrated GPU to be almost on the line with the 9400 currently in the MBP. CPU speed will not really be a big difference.

    best tip from me. wait and see if it is a better buy for you the new model. if it is not better for you then you should be able to get a nicely used current Top line 13" MBP for around 900 - 1000. so it might just be a win win situation for you.

    tread starter say he wants to have it for 3-5 years. that means that he will be better of with a top line 13" considering CPU speed. but this might change with the refresh.

    Fair it is not much, but the extra CPU power is not to put to the side.
  10. StefanCourteaux thread starter macrumors newbie

    Feb 21, 2010
    Thank you for the information. I am going to gather all the information I can on this refresh. It would be stupid to buy a computer that is meant to last years just before a new one is released :)

    The stuff i do at home is not that important that it needs a NAS or the likes. My current laptop has a 1024x768 screen, so the new screen will be super for me already! :) I don't do anything professional at home.

    I will however keep in mind not to buy the laptop with more ram than needed. Prices will probably come down, so if I want more in a year or 2, it would be cheaper to just upgrade it at that time. The price for 8GB is really high on the apple store!
  11. StefanCourteaux thread starter macrumors newbie

    Feb 21, 2010
    Yeah you are right, I want to save up money so I can buy a house someday! There is a student discount, but will not be a student for much longer :)
    The entry macbook pro with the discount lands at 1080 Euros, which is 1460 USD.
  12. StefanCourteaux thread starter macrumors newbie

    Feb 21, 2010
    Are they really going to put a quadcore in such a tiny computer?!
  13. MrBrekke macrumors 6502


    Oct 1, 2009
    i don't think so. :)

    but no one knows until it's out.

    most likely not but there might be a faster dual core.
  14. StefanCourteaux thread starter macrumors newbie

    Feb 21, 2010
    Because if they are changing from c2d + gf9400 to i3 with inferior integrated graphics, I do not think of that as an upgrade. Unless the i3 would be a lot faster than a c2d.
  15. talmy macrumors 601


    Oct 26, 2009
    An issue not yet addressed is ergonomics, for which a notebook computer is terrible. Assuming you intend to be using your computer as a portable for notes and do the programming at a desk, I'd suggest the basic MacBook with AZERTY keyboard, and a separate QWERTY keyboard, mouse, and large monitor for use at the desk. These later items don't need to be Apple products, so the whole package should end up costing little more than a MacBook Pro would alone.
  16. MrBrekke macrumors 6502


    Oct 1, 2009
    You are correct but if they go with the i3 something would be wrong. then apple is shooting then self. i5 540M or i7 620M.
    that is the only upgrades i can se possible.
    Or they go with c2d for the 13" but the c2d P9700.

    Personally i think the top line 13" is a very good buy even now.
    2.53Ghz c2d should hang in there for some years anyway.

    just look at the mainstream laptops out there today they come with the 2.0GHz T4200 and T4300 and T7250 2.0 GHz intel cpu.

    there is not much they can do to actually give a upgrade over the 2,53 Ghz current model.
  17. StefanCourteaux thread starter macrumors newbie

    Feb 21, 2010
    If they put in something like i5 540M, it will have been worth the wait. The current c2d would still be really good though.

    It would also make sense.
    The P8400/8700 cost 209$.
    An i5 520/540M costs 225$/257$
    An i7 620M costs 330$
    A p9500 costs 348$.

    It seems like an i5 with the integrated graphics would cost about the same as a c2d with the 9400m. The i7 could be the high end option, and seems like a more valid choice than the p9500.

    I hope they don't do 13"=>i3, 15"=>i5, 17"=>i7 lol

    I need to find out how the integrated graphics compare to the gf 9400 now.
  18. Cam42 macrumors member

    Jun 28, 2009
    i5 mobile is a dual core CPU, as is the i3, both seem like logical choices in the MBP 13
  19. zeemeerman2 macrumors 6502

    Feb 21, 2010
    About the AZERTY,
    The { } and [ ] can be accessed by typing ( or ), but pressing ALT (Option) or Shift-Alt (Shift-Option) first.

    Never had any complains about my AZERTY.

    The only issue you might notice:

    WASD game controls are mixed up. For QWERTY-users, it looks like "ZQSD".

    You can change quickly though in your System Preferences "International" pane (Dutch version: Systeemvoorkeuren > Landinstellingen), add the American (or any other qwerty) input source and put the icon of your International Pane into your menu bar. Now you can switch with ease.

    Hope you enjoy your new mac. :)
  20. StefanCourteaux thread starter macrumors newbie

    Feb 21, 2010
    Correct. Until a couple hours ago, I thought i3 was dual and i5 was quad. The exact difference between 3 and 5 is not yet clear to me.
  21. StefanCourteaux thread starter macrumors newbie

    Feb 21, 2010
    Thanks for the input.
    Al bij al klinkt dat niet zo lastig ;)
  22. zeemeerman2 macrumors 6502

    Feb 21, 2010
    No problem.

    Under nearly every key, there is a ALT-modifier. The modifier is mostly very logical. Use also Shift+Alt for more combinations.

    Some examples (on azerty):
    < and > become ≤ and ≥
    = and + become ≠ and ±
    ? becomes ¿ (for Spanish questions)
    ! becomes ¡ (for Spanish exclamations)
    % becomes ‰

    The $ becomes € when pressing ALT, or ¥ (Yen) when pressing Shift-Alt.

    And the -sign :)apple: if you can't see it (used a smiley between the ()'s)) is found under ALT-& .

    If there's anything else (`, for è is on your keyboard, ´, FOR é is on Shift-Alt-&), just ask.
  23. Cam42 macrumors member

    Jun 28, 2009
    I'm not sure, but clock speeds and hyperthreading come to mind.
    If you want a quad-core... i7 mobile
  24. polotska macrumors 6502

    Sep 23, 2007
    Glossy vs. matte display is a very personal thing. The glossy displays drive some people nuts (myself included), but not everyone feels that way. Tough call if you can't try one of each before you buy.

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