Purchasing MBP First Time

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by pelicanflip, Jul 7, 2009.

  1. pelicanflip macrumors 6502a

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    Jun 24, 2009
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    NYC
    #1
    Hey everyone, I have a few questions.

    I'm buying a MBP for the first time, and I have a few things I need to bear in mind.

    I need to be able to run Photoshop, AutoCAD, and most importantly Revit 2010 smoothly. I mostly utilize AutoCAD and Revit.

    I would also like to be able to play games such as WoW and it's expansions, Diablo 3, Starcraft 2, etc. I'm dying to play both Diablo 3 and Starcraft 2 when they come out, so gaming performance is important as well.


    I've heard that the 17" MBP is really heavy, and I like to take my laptop with me to my different classes on my college campus.

    I was thinking of getting the 15" MBP and upgrading the processor from 2.8 GHz to 3.06 and upgrading the hard drive to 500GB Serial ATA Drive @ 7200 rpm.


    Is that a good idea to do so, or should I maybe focus on RAM? Any advice would be really helpful.

    -Dustin
     
  2. joro macrumors 68020

    joro

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    #2

    AutoCAD I know does not have a native MAC Version although it can be run through Boot Camp. I believe Revit is the same.

    In terms of the weight difference, I don’t think you would notice a large amount of difference between the 15” and the 17” although it depends on what you want to do with it. You suggest that gaming is important, so a 17” might suit you better or get a 15” with an external monitor for when you are playing. Also, I would focus on upgrading RAM first, then the processor second. Accordingly max out your ram and if you have money left over then I would go for the faster processor.
     
  3. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

    Staff Member

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    #3
    Don't waste your money in 3.06, it's unnoticeable. Even 2.66GHz model is enough for you.

    I would get 2.66GHz model and wait for SSD and RAM prices to drop.
     
  4. MacDawg macrumors P6

    MacDawg

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    #4
    But... upgrade your RAM yourself


    Woof, Woof - Dawg [​IMG]
     
  5. Consultant macrumors G5

    Consultant

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    Jun 27, 2007
    #5
    17" MBP is NOT heavy.

    The 17" MBP weights the same as 15" pc laptops.

    I carry my 17" MBP around almost every day.
     
  6. joro macrumors 68020

    joro

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    #6
    Agreed, the prices Apple wants for RAM are crazy. If you have a local Best Buy that sells Apple produces they can also do the RAM install for $39.99 if you don’t feel comfortable doing it.
     
  7. kmac88 macrumors member

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    Jun 11, 2009
    Location:
    AUSTRALIA
    #7
    Get the best you can get. I am an archi student as well, and going to order my first macbook pro. will be ordering 15inch 3.06Ghz and 500gb 7200rpm 4gb ram. Cad programs are very demanding. specially when you need to render things..plus if you are planning to keep your laptop for abit you'd be better off getting the best you can get. I know that autocad and revit isnt native to mac os, and some people said it's better off getting a window machine, but i think it's more than that. i believe that photoshop, illustrator... etc runs more smoother on mac os (correct me if i am wrong) plus you can run archicad and other programs...etc oh and 7 hours battery life is a plus too, cannot get that on other laptops with this much power. it's made from aluminum and as an architect student u should know what that means :)

    i suggest getting the best you can get, apart from ram. upgrade ram when the price goes down.

    cheers, all the best
     
  8. pelicanflip thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    Jun 24, 2009
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    NYC
    #8
    Thanks for the quick responses!

    I already have a monitor, so the size of the screen that I have for the MBP isn't really a priority. I'll have to think about which to get, the 15" or 17".

    So the general consensus is to upgrade RAM (but not through apple because apple rips you off for RAM) and then to upgrade the processor if need be.

    I think right now, 3.06 GHz is a bit of a stretch, so I'll stick with the 2.8 GHz processor. If I have some extra cash when I buy the MBP, i might upgrade it to the 3.06 GHz for that extra oomph of power.

    As for the RAM, I was thinking about buying RAM off of newegg or another site, but I'm not sure what kind of RAM i should buy. Any suggestions?

    Once again, thanks for all the help.

    -Dustin
     
  9. opera57 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2009
    #9
    Yea personally I wouldn't upgrade the cpu, not really good value for money. Same with upgrading the ram from apple, do it yourself :) It should be DDR3 laptop memory (sodimm if I remember correctly?). It will handle pretty much everything you throw at it! They are such awesome machines [​IMG]
     
  10. pelicanflip thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    NYC
    #10
    Thanks for the input.

    Is there any difference in the RAM used for the old MBP's and the 2009 MBP's? I just don't want to buy the wrong type of RAM and end up damaging the MBP i'll buy.


    As for the hard drive, what exactly is the difference between using a 500GB Serial ATA Drive @ 7200 rpm versus a 128 or a 256 GB solid state drive?

    And finally, is there any way to upgrade the hard drive after I buy the MBP? I've been recommended to use a 10,000 rpm hard drive, so i'm a bit hesitant.

    Thanks,

    -Dustin
     
  11. kmac88 macrumors member

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    #11
    Rendering 3d is hardcore work for computers. so you do need everything you can get. If you want hardcore rendering you'd be better off getting a desktop. But if you are like me, and have laptop has only computer, then you should get the best you can get. but yes, 2.8ghz should be fine for uni stuff
     
  12. pelicanflip thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #12
    The thing is, my computer lab at my college has the pc's that can handle Revit and AutoCAD and other 3D rendering programs.

    I mostly need my laptop for when I'm on the go around campus, especially when I take it to the library or different study lounges. Lugging around a Mac Pro isn't exactly an option :eek:. So MBP it is.


    Any other input as for the RAM and the hard drives? Can I just pick RAM from the Macbook Pro section of newegg, or is there anything else I should bear in mind?

    -Dustin
     
  13. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

    Staff Member

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    #13
    Buy from Crucial and you can't buy wrong RAM

    I would get stock HD and wait for new SSDs, Intel is launching new SSDs in few weeks which will provide more speed and bigger capacity for lower cost. Yes, you can upgrade the HD later on and that doesn't void your warranty. I think there's no 10k rpm 2.5" drives available :confused:
     
  14. pelicanflip thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #14
    Yeah, I heard about the SSD's. Too bad there isn't a 2.5" 10k rpm HD out yet, or at least I haven't heard of one either.

    I still have about 2 months to wait on fully upgrading the MBP anyway, so I guess I'll buy the stock HD as suggested and upgrade once school starts.

    Thanks for the link to Crucial, btw. T'was very helpful :)

    -Dustin
     
  15. geoffreak macrumors 68020

    geoffreak

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    Feb 8, 2008
    #15
    Keep in mind, that if you plan on future-proofing your laptop for the next 3-5 years, you should go ahead and prepare for the upgrades you will want to do down the road. You can always change out the HDD and RAM at any time, but the processor can't be changed.
    I would recommend getting only 4GB (2 x 2GB) of RAM (standard config for all 15"+ models) at first, because even outside of Apple, 8GB (2 x 4GB) is $700+. More RAM will only help if you have used up all existing RAM, so don't get any more if you don't need it.
    As mentioned before, a SSD is the best speed increase you can get for your money, but don't bother with Apple's SSDs, they are overpriced. Instead, you should buy an Intel X25, which is recognized as the fastest SSD lineup during everyday, practical use (ie: not just benchmarking). Intel is rumored to be releasing larger, cheaper SSDs in this line soon, so hold off on the purchase for the moment, and just get the stock drive that Apple puts in.
     
  16. pelicanflip thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #16
    Sorry for the double post, but I have another slight concern.

    For upgrading the MBP 15", 2.8 GHz processor, 4GB RAM, 500GB Serial ATA Drive @ 7200 rpm:

    Would I have to remove the original 4GB RAM and buy a 8GB RAM kit (4GBx2), or could I just buy a 4GB RAM and just install that?

    -Dustin
     
  17. pelicanflip thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #17
    Revit 2010 barely runs on 3GB of RAM, and the recommended usage of RAM is about 8GB or more. So upgrading RAM is a somewhat important factor for me.

    Is the difference between a 2.8 GHz processor and 3.06 GHz processor that significant?
     
  18. geoffreak macrumors 68020

    geoffreak

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    #18
    You can have 1x2GB and 1x4GB if you wanted. You have two RAM slots and can put in any size RAM so long as it meets the requirements for the machine.

    It is likely about a 10-15% increase in speed, which can make a difference if you are constantly working your computer to the max.
     
  19. pelicanflip thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #19
    So since I'm buying the MBP 15" with a base of 4 GB RAM, could I just stick in a 2GB or a 4GB stick of RAM and call it a day? Would everything be peachy?


    I'll be working on Revit every now and then, AutoCAD more often. I prefer to use AutoCAD just for laying out floor plans and other 2D drawings, nothing too hectic with 3D rendering. I'd probably be using the processor's potential more often for gaming, to be honest. I think that the 2.8 GHz would suffice for now, but like I said, if I have the cash around, I'll upgrade to the 3.06 GHz for the extra oomph.

    Is there anything else you would suggest? Thanks!
    -Dustin
     
  20. geoffreak macrumors 68020

    geoffreak

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    #20
    Yep. No troubles.

    Short of a SSD down the road, I would recommend a padded carry case of some sort to protect it as you carry it around to class.
     
  21. pelicanflip thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #21
    I think I'll get the 500GB Serial ATA Drive @ 7200 rpm for the $45 upgrade. Just so I have a 33% increase in speed for a better performance rate. And then I'll upgrade to the SSD when it comes out.


    Thanks for all the help geoffreak. Appreciate it :D

    :apple: here i come.

    -Dustin
     
  22. kmac88 macrumors member

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    #22
    is SSD faster? reduce heat? and use less battery?
     
  23. kmac88 macrumors member

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    #23
    3GB of DDR2 RAM? so wouldn't DDR3 RAM be different? please confirm this
     
  24. xIGmanIx macrumors 6502a

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    #24
    If that is the case than just get the 13", a monitor, SSD, Ram and save the $$$$
     
  25. geoffreak macrumors 68020

    geoffreak

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    #25
    Yes to all three and add less noise to the list.

    The only difference is speed. It still doesn't change the fact of the amount of RAM needed. Think of a truck on a highway. It can go faster, but it doesn't change the amount of stuff it can carry. You need more trucks.

    The 15" and 13" weigh the same, so you might as well get more screen real estate, especially if you spend most of your time away from wherever your monitor stays. The 13" is also less powerful than the 15" and can't get as fast of processor.
     

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