Pro vs. MacBook for College

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by TopGear300, Nov 8, 2008.

  1. TopGear300 macrumors regular

    TopGear300

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2007
    #1
    Hi everyone!
    Huge apple fan and wouldn't consider buying any other kind of laptop for college. Basically I am asking for opinions on the $400 jump. Is it worth it? ( I am considering only the most expensive macbook or the cheapest macbook pro, no air for me thanks!) What I do know I will be using this machine for is note taking, paper writing, listening to music constantly and playing an occasional game or watching movies. To me they seem to be the same machine except for the 2 inches on the monitor and the extra graphics card. Except for one thing that no one mentions on here often, the MBP speakers are impressive and the MB speakers were rather abysmal in my opinion. I am bringing my 20" Aluminum iMac :apple: with me and leaving that in my dorm. My stationary mac :D. I truly want this machiene as my portable iMac

    Any advice is appreciated!!! :D
     
  2. matperk macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    May 6, 2004
    Location:
    Milwaukee, Wisconsin
    #2
    If you've got an imac, definitely go for the macbook. No need for that much power in your portable if you've got an alu iMac.
     
  3. FrankieTDouglas macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2005
    #3
    The Macbook is definitely more portable and easier to use in class. Keep in mind that it lacks firewire and its screen is not as good as the Pro. If you can deal with that, go for it.
     
  4. Demosthenes X macrumors 68000

    Demosthenes X

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2008
    #4
    I know you said you're not considering the Air, but if you've already got an iMac I would give the Air serious consideration. When you're lugging around several binders, notebooks, and texts, the size and weight of the Air will be really appreciated. And you're not giving up any computing power, since you have a phenomenal machine for when you do need the grunt.

    Hell, if you're taking the iMac I would even think of getting something like the MSI Wind, installing OSX on it, and using that for taking notes and such. No need to have $3000-4000 worth of computing equipment at college...
     
  5. blurb23 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2007
    #5
    You might not even need a MB or MBP at all.

    I survived on a 20" Alu iMac for about an whole semester. Only reason I bought an MBP is because I just wanted something portable. The iMac is perfectly fine though.

    But, if you're set on a notebook, then go with the MacBook. You don't need the dedicated GPU/screen on the MBP if you've got an iMac backing you.
     
  6. Srai-W macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2008
    Location:
    Singapore
    #6
    This reminds me of when I was in uni back in the late '90s. I ended up buying a Powerbook 2300c precisely because of it's light weight (around 2.2kg/4.8lbs or something if I remember). It was fantastic as all my friends had these 4kg/8.8lbs laptops and most ended up not carrying them that often. I've still got the laptop and I guess the only big problem was the crack that developed near the trackpad (don't use it though as whilst it powers up the battery is dead). Thus I would definitely suggest the MB or even the MBA if you have an iMac back in your dorm!
     
  7. SnowLeopard2008 macrumors 604

    SnowLeopard2008

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    Jul 4, 2008
    Location:
    Silicon Valley
    #7
    The MBA of course, it can game pretty much the same the MB can, but not as good as the MBP of course. It's smaller and between the MB and MBP in terms of budgeting. A sort of compromise if you will.
     
  8. morrisman1 macrumors 6502

    #8
    buy the macbook. even go for the base model one, its still grunty and a couple hundy cheaper. thats $600 cheaper than the base macbook pro. $600 buys you a lot of booze! or an ipod touch or whatever.
     
  9. macsmurf macrumors 65816

    macsmurf

    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2007
    #9
    I just got the macbook two days ago and have been playing with it ever since. I use it for my university courses (Computer Science) and to a lesser extent in my job (software development).

    I decided against getting the Air because of its v1 track record with scores of problems stemming from a, IMHO, dismal thermal envelope design. These might be fixed in v2, so assuming they are, I would definitely suggest that you consider it. For me, the added benefits of a lesser weight and better screen were not enough to justify the extra cost.

    With regards to gaming, I don't look at it as a gaming machine and don't use it as such. Nevertheless, it should be usable for playing older games. Neither the macbook nor the pro is a powerhouse in this respect, so it seems silly to get a Pro just for the extra graphics capabilities, when you can get an xbox for next to nothing.

    With regards to movie watching, the vertical viewing angle (and small screen size) is not optimal, to say the least. It's usable, but not much more. Consider getting an external monitor for that, such as a dirt-cheap 24" Dell.

    For my needs, the Air would be perfect. Factoring in the cost, I chose the macbook instead and haven't regretted it for a second. Although the viewing angle is small, it's not really much of a problem in practice when on the road.

    In conclusion, I think the perfect combo would be a Macbook (Air), an external monitor, and an xbox or something like that. If you select the 2.0 Ghz version, that would cost you around $2000 which is on par with the cheapest pro, but you'll have less weight to lug around, a big and very usable external monitor, and a dedicated gaming machine that also can be hooked up to the monitor. I don't understand why you would want the most expensive macbook.

    EDIT: Ahh, I just noticed that you already have an iMac. In that case, I guess the screen quality is something you'll have to consider. I would probably get the Air because of the better screen and small weight but then again, I'm not much of a laptop gamer.
     
  10. peapody macrumors 68040

    peapody

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2007
    Location:
    baltimore, md
    #10
    Seems like the macbook is the best way to go. The pro for portability is kind of ---well it's 15inches! I wouldn't bring my pro into my classroom for notetaking ever. Since you have an imac, the pro seems excessive, and I think you can get by with the macbook.
     
  11. astudentis macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2007
    #11
    if u have the imac... then u need something portable to go along with it



    comparing my glassbook pro to the blackbook, in terms of portability macbook wins... pro is a little on the bigger side to lug around everyday


    if i were u, i would consider base macbook or the air
     
  12. firstapple macrumors 6502a

    firstapple

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2007
    #12
    Since you already say no to the Air, I would say go with the MacBook. You have an iMac, so no need for a MBP. If portability is important here, the MacBook would be my choice.
     
  13. yoppie macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2007
    #13
    I would go for the MacBook or the Air. The MacBook Pro is too heavy to carry around with textbooks and other supplies.

    The Pro will become a second desktop because of the weight and then you'll feel like you wasted your money.
     
  14. ditzy macrumors 68000

    ditzy

    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2007
    #14
    As you have an iMac already I would go along with the concensus here and say get the macbook. You'll just have to game on the imac.
     
  15. teflon macrumors 6502a

    teflon

    Joined:
    May 28, 2007
    #15
    +1 for the macbook air suggestion. People often think it's not powerful enough or too problematic, but the v2 seems pretty problem free and cooler than v1. It's plenty powerful enough for day to day computing, and it has about the same graphic abilities as the macbook. It's lighter, has a better screen, and it's within your price range. Macbook air is made for users like you, it's perfect for a secondary computer. I see no reason why you would want to lug around a heavier computer when it contains no benefits.
     
  16. ditzy macrumors 68000

    ditzy

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    Sep 28, 2007
    #16
    It's cheaper, has a bigger hard drive, better graphics though not by much, has better processor, more upgradable and has more expansion ports.
    Really the only advantage the air has is it's weight, and screen.
    The macbook has far more advantages. As the OP has already said that he does not want the MBA I'm thinking that weight is not an important concern to him.
     
  17. Demosthenes X macrumors 68000

    Demosthenes X

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2008
    #17
    All reasons which make it a poor choice as a primary computer, but which go out the window when considering the Air as a secondary computer (except price, obviously...).

    For someone in the OP's situation, the Air is perfect.
     
  18. teflon macrumors 6502a

    teflon

    Joined:
    May 28, 2007
    #18
    If the OP is considering MBP, then MBA is definitely in his price range. 120gb is more than enough on a secondary machine, and the extra processor/graphics won't come to use with what the OP is doing. The computer in my sig usually shows the processor at around 70% idle when I do the activities that the OP is describing.
     
  19. ditzy macrumors 68000

    ditzy

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    Sep 28, 2007
    #19
    It depends whether the OP would believe the Air's weight is worth the additional cost. If it is the Air is the right choice. If weight isn't a primary concern the macbook is the better choice.
     
  20. ditzy macrumors 68000

    ditzy

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    Sep 28, 2007
    #20
    You're right the Air is within the OP's price range. However the Air is only good value for money if weight is important to you. The OP has not suggested that it is. If anything has suggested the other way around by dismissing the air straight away.
    If weight is not a primary concern the macbook is better value for money.
     
  21. Demosthenes X macrumors 68000

    Demosthenes X

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2008
    #21
    True - and the OP makes no indication that weight is important, other than that he wants a laptop to be portable. The Air is clearly the best in class there.

    As a university student, if I already had a desktop computer, then the Air would be my first choice. The Pro is a fantastic desktop-replacement machine, and the MacBook is a good compromise machine (good performance and good portability), and the Air is a fantastic portable machine.

    I would revisit it as a serious option. It might seem like the weight and size difference is minimal on paper, but when you're cramming texts and binders into a backpack, the form factor of the Air will be very much appreciated. :)
     
  22. clyde2801 macrumors 601

    clyde2801

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    Mar 6, 2008
    Location:
    In the land of no hills and red dirt.
    #22
    other consideration

    No matter which one you buy-BUY A GOOD LAPTOP LOCK AND LOJACK FOR IT!!!
     
  23. melissaur macrumors newbie

    melissaur

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    Nov 5, 2008
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    Decatur, IL; Boston, MA
  24. TopGear300 thread starter macrumors regular

    TopGear300

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2007
    #24
    Thanks!!

    To all the people on here throwing their advice my way is much appreciated. Especially people talking from experience, I can read the specs and make my own conclusions myself but what these machines are like to live with everyday is where u guys come in! :D Portability is a top priority, that is why i am kind of turned off the MBP. The MB is only 4.5 lbs, so the air at 3.0 is lighter but by a significant difference? Idk if i can justify the air because it is such a high premium for the form factor. Money isn't really a top concern to me here, what can I say I am blessed with my own business and $500-$800 either way won't persuade me, The MB seems to be such a better machine for a cheaper price. As far as specs go.

    What do you guys think of my MBP vs MBA vs MB speakers dilema? ( I am thinking I will take a second look at the Air here because you guys highly recommend it. I am in love with this new unibody design and wanted to be a part of it but idk.)

    And how do all the monitors stack up spec wise. Not size wise obviously but performance.

    THANKS again for all the help, it is much appreciated :D
     
  25. Vulcan macrumors 65816

    Vulcan

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    Jul 17, 2008
    Location:
    Pittsburgh, PA
    #25
    If portability is a must, BB has old Air's for $1299. The weight difference is highly noticeable.
     

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