switching to mac: macbook vs pro

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by thisisvb, Jan 13, 2009.

  1. thisisvb macrumors newbie


    Jun 11, 2006
    Hi All,

    I've almost made up my mind to switch to a mac.

    I'll be going for an MBA soon, and am wondering if the macbook or the 15" pro (2.4 Ghz) would be better for me. I usually browse the internet, use office and mostly use torrents.

    However, as everyone else, I have a few questions:

    1. The snow leopard (OSx 10.6) will be out this year, which is the primary reason I'm inclined towards buying a 15" pro. I've heard that 10.6 will utilize the dual graphic processors' capabilities.. is that true?

    2. should I wait? since there will be changes to the macbook & pro's physical architecture, should I wait to buy a mac?

    EDIT: 3. Is 2GB RAM enough to run windows through parallels/VMware most of the time? If I do get 2GB now, can I later upgrade it to 4GB, OR can it only be done while buying the machine?

    Also, I've figured out transmission for torrents, vlc for video. could you pls provide me with a few blogs or websites that you visit daily to keep a track os new developments/softwares, etc.

    Thanks so much!

    I look forward to being part of a close-knit community.
  2. kastenbrust macrumors 68030


    Dec 26, 2008
    North Korea
    Yes, amongst other things such as better graphics chip power management, and parrallel processing. Overall you'll get double graphics performance from the Pro, 100% increase in computing speed, and an extended battery life with no new hardware.

    There wont be any changes to the Macbook or Macbook Pro in terms of physical architecture for at least a year (14 months). You may want to wait 6 months so Snow Leopard comes preinstalled on your Macbook / Macbook Pro rather than having to upgrade yourself, but I wouldnt wait.

    With the Macbook you'll be limited to always having 4GB of RAM, however with the MacbookPro you can upgrade to upto 6GB later. Parallels/VMware will run Windows on 2GB of RAM but it wont run as fast as if you just installed Windows properly using Bootcamp.

    I would use Vuze (Azureus) for torrents and not Transmittion but thats my opinion.
  3. sclough macrumors regular

    May 23, 2008
    Kansas City, MO
    I would say it probably is but that it would ultimately depend on which version of Windows you are running and what you are using Windows for as well as what other Mac apps you run simultaneously.

    That being said, memory is so cheap these days, that I immediately upgraded my pro to 4GB after I got it. I ran Windows via VMWare with the 4GB setup and the performance was great.
  4. kastenbrust macrumors 68030


    Dec 26, 2008
    North Korea
    I should also mention if you plan to use your Macbook for playing any recent games with decent graphics then you need the Macbook Pro, due to it having a graphics card, which the Macbook doesnt have. for example Call Of Duty 4, 5 etc and if you want to play any games on windows its advisable to install Windows properly using bootcamp.
  5. natebookpro macrumors 6502a

    Sep 25, 2008
    concerning the memory, apples prices are actually pretty much in line with what it would cost to upgrade yourself. There have also been some issues with 3rd party ram in the new mbp. If it were me and I could afford it I would probably just pay for the ram from apple.

    As for everything else your saying it sounds like you researched it pretty well.

    I would get the mbp.
  6. thisisvb thread starter macrumors newbie


    Jun 11, 2006
    thanks guys!!
    So, I could just get the macbook pro and then later upgrade the ram (from an apple store) if need be?
    [I'll see if I can run windows xp using 2GB ram (via parallels, etc) and then upgrade if need be..]

    finally, are there any issues with the 'glossy screen'? it's not like the macbook/15" pro let you have an option with the screen?

    PS: I've tried searching for some mac software blogs, but it'd be super if any of you could provide your personal favorites. thanks again!
  7. nope7308 macrumors 65816


    Oct 6, 2008
    Ontario, Canada
    I'm surprised at the answers being given... it's quite a far jump from a MBA to a MBP!

    Here are some things you should definitely consider:
    - Size
    - Weight
    - Battery Life
    - Screen Quality
    - Intended Use
    - Cost (!!!)

    If you originally wanted the MBA, then it would appear that portability is important to you, while gaming is not. IMO, the MBP has an advantage over the MB in three distinct respects:
    1) GPU
    2) Screen Quality
    3) Additional Ports

    Now, you need to ask yourself how important are these advantages given your needs. Judging by what you have written, I don't think the graphics performance is going to make a huge difference (if any). That is, you can easily complete all of your intended tasks using the integrated 9400 instead of the 9600. Because those are very simple tasks, you probably won't notice any difference between the two video cards.

    Concerning Snow Leopard, although SL will improve system performance by better utilizing the GPU, given your intended use, I doubt you will notice a substantial performance difference between the MB and MBP. Again, because your intended use is fairly simple, you won't be using the extra power of the 9600. Truthfully, you will notice a much greater performance improvement if you upgrade the speed of your HD (again, this is based on your intended use). To drive the point home, you will not be 'future-proofing' your investment if you decide to buy the MBP.

    Keep in mind that the 2.4Ghz MB and the 2.4Ghz MBP are identical, performance-wise, save for the 9600 video card. So, given that the 9600 is not particularly important for your needs, I would recommend the MB and use the money you save to upgrade the RAM and HD (where you will notice performance improvements).

    That said, the MBP has a FAR superior screen. Naturally, the sub-par screen of the MB can be offset with an external monitor, but this isn't feasible in all cases. Your decision should be based on the points I listed above, but don't underestimate the importance of size, weight and screen quality. 1lb makes a huge difference if you have to carry the machine everywhere! In the end, the best machine is the one that suits your needs. I think the MB does this perfectly well, and with the money you save, you can easily upgrade the RAM and HD. I would also recommend that you wait to upgrade the RAM so third party vendors can iron out the wrinkles (if you choose to upgrade yourself, that is). From what others have told me, 4GB of RAM does a make a difference when running Parallels/VMware.

    Finally, I'm not bias toward the MB (I also owned a MBP). I think the MBP is an excellent machine, but you should buy according to your needs. Personally, I'm not a fan of the MBA because of its lack of ports, power and expandability, but to each their own...

    Good luck with the decision!
  8. Abstract macrumors Penryn


    Dec 27, 2002
    Location Location Location
    If you thought you'd be OK with the MBA, then an MacBook will be absolutely fine for everything you do. From your description, I'd just get a higher end MacBook. You don't get the video card, but that's it.

    And don't worry about Snow Leopard. Apple's new machines have been spec'ed like this on purpose, and are equipped for SL. They're not going to sell you a machine 5 months before the release of SL that can't run Snow Leopard well.
  9. MattZani macrumors 68030


    Apr 20, 2008
    The MacBook and MacBook Pro RAM can be upgraded.

    I Would go for a MacBook if you want to run Parallels or similar software.

    I Use Transmission for my Torrents, easy to use, simple, quick.

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