Student Macbook Pro 13" Advice

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by Fugue, Mar 19, 2011.

  1. Fugue macrumors 6502

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    Jan 14, 2011
    #1
    I am starting college next year (Rutgers NB) and I want to finally buy a Macbook Pro. It has been a desire of mine for quite a bit and my windows laptop isn't cutting it. It's too heavy and ugly.

    That's why I decided to get the 13" but I have trouble deciding whether to get the low end with 128GB SSD or a high end with 500GB HD.

    I will mainly use this laptop for Microsoft Office, browsing, torrents, light video and photo editing,iTunes, and occasional gaming. Obviously the ability to play the latest games would be great, but I understand that the video card is elementary and will run only low resolution, older games. How does the 13" stand up against Call of Duty Black Ops, Age of Empires, Team Fortress 2, and Torchlight for instance? Does it run them on low resolution with lag?

    So for the tasks I will use it for, would I see more performance gain with the low end 128GB SSD or the high end 500GB HD?

    Thanks!
     
  2. ECUpirate44 macrumors 603

    ECUpirate44

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    NC
    #2
    The 13" will run those games, but the 15" is really the better choice. An SSD will give you much better performance than a CPU upgrade.

    BTW, ECU is playing Rutgers in baseball right now. ECU won in 11 innings last night :D
     
  3. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

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    #3
    It should run those games okay at lowest settings though you may need to lower the resolution too (some benchmarks). The faster CPU in high-end might give you a few FPS more in games but in other usage, the SSD will speed things up more. I would go with the SSD if 128GB is enough for you.
     
  4. michael.lauden macrumors 68020

    michael.lauden

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    Dec 25, 2008
    #4
    I can play AoE III on my MacBook (in my sig) fine. I say go high end - don't worry about the HD right now. A bump in processor speed is more 'covetable' than an SSD that can be easily replaced/upgraded later on (probably cheaper too)
     
  5. engaged44 macrumors member

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    #5
    honestly for the things you are doing you should go with the 13 inch low end. It will still be able to do anything and you will save money.
     
  6. michael.lauden macrumors 68020

    michael.lauden

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    #6
    13" low end with SSD is only 50$ cheaper. I'd pay 50$ for .4GHz on an i7 (instead of an i5) any day.
     
  7. SuperCachetes macrumors 6502a

    SuperCachetes

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    #7
    +1.

    Upgrade to an SSD when they are bigger/cheaper, and it could be a nice mid-lifespan pick-me-up for the machine.
     
  8. michael.lauden macrumors 68020

    michael.lauden

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    Dec 25, 2008
    #8
    my thoughts exactly. and even if you didn't wait that long - I'm sure you could get a higher quality SSD for cheaper than Apple will sell it for (just like RAM) anyways
     
  9. nostylez macrumors member

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    Mar 4, 2011
    #9
    Yep no doubt agree with you,
    Go i7 if you don't plan to get a macbook refresh in the next few years.
    i7 is the way to go, you can easily upgrade to SSD later and by the time you would want to upgrade to SSD or add an SSD the prices would have dropped.

    i7 imo is a better investment. Even though it's only a small bump in performance it's still more future proof.

    As for the games, they should all run decent with the exception of Black ops, that would probably be set to lowest including low resolution.
     
  10. DeepIn2U macrumors 68040

    DeepIn2U

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    Toronto, Ontario, Canada
    #10
    Hey Michael you upgrading as well soon?

    NEVER EVER pay Apple your hard-earned $ for SSD unless its standard or cheaper than an after-market upgrade. Never.

    Quad Core i7 also has a faster core clocked (and overclocked with Boost) HD 3000 chip than the Core i5. Significant just enough for iMovie coding/decoding videos this will help. Anyone can get a 256GB SSD with high-end performance with probably cheaper than what Apple charges for 128.

    Personally I'll go for the dual core Corei5 & aftermarket SSD.
     
  11. sdneidich macrumors member

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    Feb 5, 2011
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    NC, USA
    #11


    I second that. Also, the i7 has hyperthreading, which allows it to operate as if it were a quad core machine. Much better.

    As for gaming... If you want to game, get a desktop PC for cheap in a year or two, and you will be good to go.

    Also, consider getting Renter's Insurance when you have an apartment, and schedule your computer on it. It will cost you about an extra $30 a year on top of a renter's policy (which is like $200/year for a very good policy), and will save you a TON of hassle if the machine gets dropped on your commute, etc.
     
  12. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

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    #12
    It's dual core.

    250$ for 128GB isn't that bad deal. Especially when you consider that it has no issues (unlike SandForce based drives for example) and has active TRIM support. 120/128GB SSDs cost over 200$ anyway, and 240/256GB SSDs are over 400$ so you aren't exactly getting a 256GB for the price of 128GB.

    So does the i5.
     
  13. gullySn0wCat macrumors 6502

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    Dec 7, 2010
    #13
    Ummm no.

    I like my base MBP, the CPU is slightly better than the one (two!) in the original Mac Pro, which means that it is good for pretty much anything even now.

    Gaming performance isn't that great (60FPS in CS:S at native resolution and medium settings) but is by and large passable.
     
  14. adnoh macrumors 6502a

    adnoh

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    Nov 14, 2010
    #14
    The 13" is no gaming machine but if you want to game for the I7 to give you the best setup. Also GPU is clocked with the CPU so the GPU in the I7 is ever so slightly faster than the I5.

    Upgrade to an SSD in a few months time when you have more money.
     
  15. Yizhimao macrumors member

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    Dec 17, 2010
    #15
    My advice: Go with the low end 15"... You can practically do all your work as well as gaming at the same time... Plus it's more future prove than the current 13"...
     
  16. Fugue thread starter macrumors 6502

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    Jan 14, 2011
    #16
    How hard would it be to install an SSD in place of the HD? I have never opened a computer up in my life.

    Also, I have read that non Apple SSD's are not optimized.
     
  17. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

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    #17
  18. ddehr026 macrumors 6502

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    May 1, 2010
    #18
    If you're thinking 3rd party. Lean towards intel maybe. I have heard ocz an kingston have sleep problems.
     
  19. Fugue thread starter macrumors 6502

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    Jan 14, 2011
    #19
    Wow SSD seems pretty easy to install, on the 2010 model anyways. Upon booting however, do I need to install the OS on it? How does that work?

    Also, what is the price of a non apple SSD 128GB for a low quality one, medium quality, and high quality? Also what are the differences between each? Is the highest quality simply faster and more reliable or is it just paying for brand name?

    I appreciate all the advice!
     
  20. Messy macrumors 6502

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  21. eaf7s macrumors regular

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    Nov 1, 2009
    #21
    Go high-end 13". Everyone in here is right: in a few years, SSDs will drop in price significantly and you can upgrade them. Spend $200 aftermarket and upgrade the RAM and stick in a 7200rpm drive for now. The i7 is going to "future-proof" your computer a lot better, and although it's not an ideal machine for gaming, it doesn't sound like you do it that heavily anyway.

    I ended up with the 13" i7 and I am absolutely loving it. Some people here mentioned going low-end 15" but as a university student that just switched from the 15", I've found the added portability and lower weight to make a HUGE difference. You can always have an external monitor (I do). I'll never buy a 15" again.
     
  22. ECUpirate44 macrumors 603

    ECUpirate44

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    #22
    Yup! Theres tons of guides on how to do it. All you have to do is format the drive for mac, then install OSX.
     
  23. ctbear macrumors 6502a

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    Dec 6, 2010
    #23
    Do you know if Apple's offering is a SATA II or SATA III? That will be one determining factor in deciding Apple VS 3rd party SSDs.
     
  24. kobyh15 macrumors 6502a

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    Jan 29, 2011
  25. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

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    #25
    It's SATA 3Gb/s.
     

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