Questions before buying a blackbook

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by weizilla, Feb 13, 2008.

  1. weizilla macrumors regular

    Feb 7, 2008
    So I'm on the razor edge of the tipping point for buying a blackbook. The biggest reasons why i haven't already is because i have a working IBM T40 laptop, I'm graduating soon (see here), and I'm hoping the MB will get updated along with the soon to be updated MPB. Plus it seems like they'll be updated in late april/may and I don't like having a laptop for only ~2.5 months before it's outdated with shiny new features.

    I was thinking of going to the apple store soon to see to check out and play around with them in store to see if looking at the real thing will help or hurt my wallet. I just have a few questions beforehand:

    1.) Battery: How long does the macbook battery usually last in terms of hours (realistic) and battery lifespan? If I use the battery daily and plug it in all the time at night, would the battery degrade to lasting only 20 mins after 2 years like my IBM? How many years does Apple cover the battery before you have to go out and buy your own and how much do they cost?
    edit: how does it compare with the battery in a macbook pro?

    2.) Returning: There that big rumored event at the end of the month but I figure if there's a new product, I could just return the laptop and get the new one. What's the apple store return policy and window? I read something about 14-days so after 2 weeks, would that mean you're stuck with that machine? Also, if I buy a refurb product from Apple online, would I be able to return it to the store for a full refund?

    3.) Pricing: What is the best place to buy a MB/MBP? A lot of people are confident with refurb products but the problem is that I live in NY and with 8% tax, it would almost be cheaper to just buy online at Amazon/NewEgg because they don't charge tax. The only benefit that I see (correct me if i'm wrong) is that it's a lot harder to return stuff bought online. I'm also a student but the educational discount isn't all that great because NYS tax > edu discount.

    4.) AppleCare: I'm thinking about getting applecare with my laptop (unless I decide to sell it in a year). What kind of things does it cover? Would I be able to add it onto a laptop I buy from Amazon/Newegg? If it breaks at 2 years and 11 months, and I bring it in, will they automatically replace it with the newest macbook model out at the time if they can't fix it?

    5.) Getting discounts: With buying extended warranties in store, I've heard that since sales people make commission on it, they sometimes throw accessories in for free or discount it to try and get you to buy it. Does this happen often? I figure since I'm getting it anyways, I might as well try to get a discount. If there's no possibility of this, I would just buy online.

    6.) Depreciation: How does the MB/MBP hold up to depreciation? I will definitely upgrade it to 4GB of memory so in 1 year, how much would I be able to sell it for? What about in 2-3 years?

    7.) If I upgrade the ram to 4GB, would that mean I'll have an extra 1GB of ram laying around because there's not enough slots or is there a way around this?

    8.) Also, I've been using Ubuntu Linux for the past few months and love using the terminal for everything. Since OS X is built on Unix, would I expect the same power and features from the OS X terminal as the linux one? Or does apple put limitations on what you can do and it's more like the fake terminal aka command prompt in windows?

    This forum is the best one I've found for mac related stuff and I'm hoping that I'll finally be able to answer those mac related questions soon because I own a real mac :D
  2. samh004 macrumors 68020


    Mar 1, 2004
    Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPod; U; CPU like Mac OS X; en) AppleWebKit/420.1 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/3.0 Mobile/4A93 Safari/419.3)

    Battery lasts 4.5 hours. You don't have to think about AppleCare until your warranty is about to expire. 2 RAM slots, so you'd have 2x512MB RAM left over at the end, no way around it, don't buy it from apple. 14 day returns is correct.
  3. Dorv macrumors regular

    Feb 11, 2008
    I've had my BlackBook for about a week now.... (Actually, a week to the day) I can respond to some of these, but not all:

    1) I've been pleasantly with my battery life. I have my battery indicator set to time, so I can follow where its at. I think just browsing/iTunes simple usage, no big HDD/Superdrive usage has put me in that same 4.5-5.0 hours that everyone else talks about. Not sure about the Warranty on the battery, as that depends if you get the warranty from the store or from Apple (I'm still researching those questions, I have another week before I have to make the decision at Best Buy).

    2) I'm pretty sure returns are 14 days, and there's a restocking fee. Best Buy's is 15%, and I think its the same at the Apple Store. Based on what MacRumors is saying, it seems that the MacBook is in the middle of its product cycle, and its the MBP that's due for an update.

    3) Is that an 8% Sales tax, or something in addition to the sales tax. 8% of 1500 = 127 bucks... So $1627. Refurb for 1299 + 8% = $1409.

    4) I'm still not sure what I'm doing, so I'm sure I'd be of no help here.

    5) Bought mine at Best Buy with their 18 months no financing, so I'm not sure... But if I were to buy my Applecare at the store and get some free stuff thrown in, I might just think about that... Doubt it, though.

    6) Dunno. I'm afraid work might give me a laptop next month, and will be pissed, because I'm not carrying two (especially if I can talk them into a MBP, which again, is doubtful).

    7) Yes, there are two slots... A four gig kit comes with two chips. Like the other poster said, obviously don't get it from Apple. There are several different options for you... I choose (can never remember which gets two o's and which gets one) to go with Crucial ($113), just because I've had such good luck with them in the past. Had a mite bit of trouble there, which is detailed in this forum somewhere.

    8) I just don't get that... While I cut my teeth as a kid working in DOS and programing in Basic, I love the ease of using a GUI. I'll roll up my sleeves and get into the Terminal if I need to, but would rather be lazy and not. I haven't had to use it once since I've had my BlackBook (Though, admittedly, I've only had it a week).
  4. kuwisdelu macrumors 65816

    Jan 13, 2008
    Mine and my girlfriend's MacBooks batteries can last up to the five hours if used conservatively, and we've had them about a year. You definitely can't be watching movies with max brightness while downloading files for that nearly long, but with low brightness and browsing webpages + word processing, etc., you should see at least 3 - 4 hours, I think, and if you're very careful you can get longer than that. I think spare batteries are pretty expensive, but you shouldn't see it degrate to 20 minutes that quickly, and if you do, Apple should cover it, especially if you have Applecare.

    Sorry, I have no idea on this one. Hopefully someone else will.

    I just got mine online through the Apple store, but wherever you get it, it should be as easy to return as long as they're legitimate, which Amazon and NewEgg should be. Go with whatever gives you the lowest price tag in the end.

    Yes, you can buy it for any Mac up to a year after you'd gotten it, and I'm quite sure it doesn't matter where you got it. Someone else should confirm this first, though, because I'm not 100% on it. I don't have much experience with Applecare, so sorry I can't answer these questions as well.

    True, this does happen sometimes, especially if you get a nice guy and he really wants to sell you something. It's a possibility, but by no means a guarantee, so don't count on it.

    It'll hold up to depreciation a lot better than a PC laptop would. I don't know how much it will sell for 2-3 years down the line, but try to think how much you could sell an equally-priced PC laptop for after that much time. I can safely tell you it will, at the very least, be more than that.

    I'm pretty sure there's two slots in the current MB/MBP's. I've never fiddled with my RAM, so someone else could answer this better, but there are two slots on the current ones.

    Everything you can do in a Linux terminal, you can do in OS X's Terminal. The way you go about it may be a little different because of OS X's Darwin architecture, but a Terminal geek should adapt fairly quickly. The only major change is that the root user is disabled by default in OS X for the user's own protection (both against himself and against possible viruses, worms, and trojans), but there's an easy way around this. You can either enable the root user manually, if you so desire (I'm pretty sure), but the safer workaround that OS X would prefer you to use is simply prefix any command that requires root access with the term "sudo," which will prompt you for your admin password, and then allow you to do whatever you wish, e.g "sudo defaults write yadayadayada" "please enter your computer's password" "password" *allows*

  5. GfulDedFan macrumors 65816


    Oct 17, 2007
    2. There is a 14 day return policy at the Apple Store - full refund if unopened, 10% if opened.

    4. Applecare can be purchased anytime in first year. The major difference between Applecare and the standard warranty in the first year is the phone support. Standard phone support lasts 90 days, Applecare lasts the whole 3 years. Most machines are repaired rather than replaced so it's hard to say what would be done with your 2 yr, 11 mo machine. I quess it's possible if it can not be repaired.

    7. 2 slots that work best if they are matched pairs. Actually you'll have 2x512MB laying around.

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