Thinking of buying a macbook pro

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by jedirunner, Aug 1, 2007.

  1. jedirunner macrumors member

    Aug 1, 2007
    Well, I've been lurking here in the forums anonymously for a couple weeks now, trying to get a feel for the new notebooks. I've been watching apple since they announced the move to intel, and have even had a chance to do some programming on an imac back in 2005.

    I'm a programmer and web-developer by day, and will be heading to school for a graphic arts degree in a few weeks (general ed almost out of the way -- time for all the art stuff).

    Currently, I have always been a windows user at home. My current home setup includes:
    - AMD 5600x2 desktop system with 2x500GB Sata drives, blah, blah, blah.
    - Dell Inspiron 1505 notebook with 2GB RAM, 160GB 7200 RPM HDD, C2D 2.16 CPU, 15.4" 1680x1050 display.
    - iMac 20". This is a recent purchase to get a mac in the family. Kids currently use it, and I play with it from time to time with handbrake, and want to get into programming on the mac.

    I have permission from the wife to get a new notebook. I'm debating between a similar notebook to what I have (but smaller) to be a tad more portable, or to get something similar in size but a bit more powerful than what I have.

    I'm considering the following:
    13.3" macbook
    Dell XPS 1330
    Dell Inspiron 1420
    15" macbook pro

    Here are some questions I have for all of you:

    - Display: the MBP is only 1440x900 resolution. While I prefer a higher resolution (currently at 1680x1050 on my notebook) I did set my notebook to 1440x900 and ran with it for a while to see if the drop in resolution would bother me. It doesn't so far. My question is related to photoshop... I understand it has about a bazillion tool windows open at once. Is 1440x900 going to be too small of resolution for photoshop work? Similar question for the 13" notebooks (macbook and xps 1330). Is 1280x800 too small for photoshop work?

    - Processor: This is a no-brainer. The more the merrier as far as I'm concerned. I run vmware on my systems now, and will be running parallels if i switch to mac. While a small bump in cpu is not always noticable, once a vm is running, it can be *very* noticable. 15" MBP @ 2.4 has the edge here.

    - Warranty: I tend to buy my notebooks with accidental damage warranties. Have used it twice over the past 10 years. If I get an AppleCare extended warranty does it cover accidental damage similar to Dell's accidental damage warranties?

    - Machine construction: Dells feel cheap. Just plastic with wires inside. I haven't tried the xps 1330 cause there's nobody I know that has one, so I can't comment on the xps model. The MB is all plastic. The MBP is ... what? I hear it's just painted? How easily will the paint scratch/chip? What about the casing itself? Is it sturdy and strong? Does the MB plastic housing scratch easily?

    - Casing aesthetics and sweaty palms: Right now, I have the cheap solution for my dell -- I have post-it notes covering the palm areas of the notebook as I tend to notice discoloring in the palm area. How does the MB/MBP hold up to this? I would think the MB is going to discolor (does white vs. black make a difference here? Is it easily cleanable or is it true discoloration?); and I would think the mbp paint coudl have an issue and the exposed aluminum underneath (already could be ugly if it gets exposed) could have a problem if it "pits" which I've read about a bit. Can anyone comment on this?

    - Casing aesthetics part 2: If I move to the MB, am I constantly going to be disappointed with having to wipe fingerprints off the shiny surface?

    - Finally, purchase timing: Is apple expected to announce any changes in the MB or MBP line any time soon? I don't see any real rumors about this in the forums other than the persistent "ultra-sub, miniscule, teeny-tiny subnotebook" rumors.

    Welll, that seems to be it for now. :) I appreciate anyone patient enough to read through and reply to this. I've had a MBP in my "shopping cart" over and over again for the past week or so. I appreciate any help you guys/gals can give to a wannabe mac user.

    PS - I'm a .Net game programmer by night. Thinking of switching the newest in-development game over to mac. Any comments on that?


  2. iBookG4user macrumors 604


    Jun 27, 2006
    Seattle, WA
    I personally don't find 1440x900 on my MacBook Pro too small for photoshop work, although I do prefer to use my external display, but that's because it's a lot bigger. I'm not sure about 1280x800, but I found working on my 14" iBook to be annoying.

    No, it doesn't. Although I have had my LCD panel damaged by my counselor and Apple replaced it.

    No, the MacBook Pro is made of Aluminum and it is quite sturdy. I haven't had it scratch or chip so far and I've had it since October of 2006. My old iBook on the other had, which uses the same casing as the MacBook, scratched VERY easily, after nine months the top looked terrible to me.

    Any dirt or stuff from my hands that finds its way onto the MacBook Pro casing wipes right off with a computer wipe. (I use iKlear) I've heard of pitting, but I've never had it happen to me, I would say don't worry about it.

    What part of the case? You don't look at the top of it, so don't worry about it. Although glossy screens do tend to pick up fingerprints easily so you might have to worry about cleaning that more than the case.

    I wouldn't expect a MacBook Pro/MacBook update until January at least.
  3. NateNateNate macrumors newbie

    Aug 1, 2007
    1440x900 isn't too small for photoshop work but I believe 1280x800 would be pushing it.
    I was on a Dell Inspiron 9300 (1440x900) for about a year and it was perfect for photoshop. Now I have a MBP 17 inch (1920x1200) and using my friends Macbook just kills me every time.
  4. Zel macrumors regular

    Jul 7, 2007
    I dont think the fastest MBP is terribly much faster than your 2.16C2D dell, so you need to make the decision based on other factors.

    It is sturdy, but also scratches. contrary to what iBookG4user said, I've had my MBP for nearly one month and there's one deep scratch on the bottom from merely setting it down on a stone surface, and numerous fainter scratches from throwing my keys in the back with it.

    It's not going to look new forever, but you cant expect anything to keep perfection with daily usage. Dont let scratches both you...

    I think the 15" screen is good, I use VMWare on it and it's fine. If you need more space there's always the DVI port that lets you plug in any LCD monitor up to 30 inches!
  5. jedirunner thread starter macrumors member

    Aug 1, 2007
    Thanks for the replies - two more questions

    Thanks for the replies.

    As to the speed... the 2.4 is going to be 240 MHz faster (per core) than my 2.16. that adds up to 480 MHz over what I have now, and I have to think that's going to make a difference not all the time, but at least when doing vms, compiling, etc. Plus, it's santa rosa, and will give faster memory speeds. So, there's a potential theoretical gain. ;-)

    As for aesthetics, I'm gonna head over to the college bookstore again today and take a look around the different models they have there, and see what they look like.

    As to the scratching on the MBP -- if/when it gets scratched, how bad does it look? It's one thing to have a scratch, but if it's scraping off silver-colored paint and exposing black materials -- that's not so good. :( Do you think those platic cover things (those thin plastic case and palm-rest appliques I've found on web sites) will give enough protection to prevent the scratching?

    I've also found the apple developer connection, which allows students to get a one-time system discount. So I could have the following options:

    1- 15" MBP (base price of $2299), then $199 for ipod, and get that price back in the rebate, then either sell or keep the ipod nano. And get the steep discounts by purchasing Adobe CS3 suite at the current student discount price.
    2- 15" MBP through student ADC (base price $1999), plus $99 to join Student ADC. No ipod (not a big deal -- I have ipod video right now).

    Thoughts on which of these purchase programs I should use now?

    Thanks again.

  6. L3X macrumors 6502a

    Oct 18, 2006
    Chesapeake, VA
    if you use Photoshop on your notebook, then use "tab" frequently to hide/show your palettes. This is definitely a space saver.
  7. chaoticbear macrumors 6502

    Jul 25, 2007
    I'm pretty sure that the MBP's aren't painted. They're actually made of an aluminum alloy that is that color.
  8. Zel macrumors regular

    Jul 7, 2007
    Theyre made of aluminum that is actually a darker color, the scratch on the bottom of mine is very visible.

    Still, I feel there's no point is buying something for the looks only to cover it up in some kind of shell. Scratches happen, deal with it.
  9. chaoticbear macrumors 6502

    Jul 25, 2007
    Wow. Were the TiBooks that color, or was that paint too?

    (Also, apparently, you can keep your laptop pristine if you're crazy.)
  10. pasquazzo macrumors newbie

    Jun 22, 2007
    Aple Care won't cover.
    But my question is: how can you get an accidental damage warranty for a MBP?
    In europe there's plenty of retailers offering you 2 extra years + accidental damage warranty for 50-70 extra euros.

    Does anybody know if you can get something similar from any US retailer?

  11. Gandhi macrumors regular

    Jun 27, 2007
    Why are you switching to Parallels. If you already use VMWare products, get the VMWare's Fusion (currently on sale through August 5 for $40). I have used both, and Fusion is a better overall product than Parallels - it is faster, the UI is better to work with, and it integrates better with the OS in look and feel. An added benefit of Fusion is you can simply move over your existing VMWare virtual machines without having to do any fiddling.
  12. Wolfpup macrumors 68030

    Sep 7, 2006
    Are you sure the half price cut off is August 5th? If so, I guess I need to get serious about buying it this weekend!
  13. Andy9589 macrumors newbie

    Jul 26, 2007

    Yes! I just bought the MBP 15" 2.2 GHZ and had it covered by an insurance company called Safeware. ( )

    Great premiums for students too. I live in NY and my laptop coverage ($1800) for 4 years is $215. Definitely worth it.
  14. CD3660 macrumors 68040


    Jun 6, 2007
    Cheshire, United Kingdom.
    Or treat it with care.

    I don't wish to tempt fate but I've had mine for five weeks and there is not a single scratch on it.

    Mind you, I've not taken it out of the box yet. ;)

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