Torn between two laptops for college

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by thenamesguy, Aug 7, 2009.

  1. thenamesguy macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2009
    #1
    Ok this is going to be my first mac and I think I'm ready to make the switch. I need a laptop for the upcoming semester because my 5 year old dell just isn't cutting it anymore but I really can decide between these two laptops. The first is the current Macbook pro 2.53 13in but it is refurb (trying to save as much as I can haha) and the second is the what I guess was last years Macbook pro 2.4 15in which is also refurb

    Here are the links:
    HTML:
    http://store.apple.com/us/product/FB991LL/A?mco=MjE0NDk5Mw
    HTML:
    http://store.apple.com/us/product/FB470LL/A?mco=MjE0NDk5Mw

    I will mostly be using these for school work so light tasks and whatnot but I do have a love for photography and use photoshop quite often so I am wondering which do you feel would be the perfect balance between school work and play.

    My pros and cons so far:

    Macbook Pro 2.4 15in
    Pro:
    Larger display
    Better graphics

    Con:
    Heavier and less portable around campus
    less battery life

    Macbook Pro 2.53 13in
    Pro:
    Smaller and more portable
    More ram and slightly faster processor (even noticeable?)

    Con:
    Strain to see on small screen
    Enough power for constant Photoshop use?


    I have really been thinking about this way too much and it is truly driving me crazy so I figured I would ask you guys and hopefully you could help me make the best decision for my situation.

    Thanks!
     
  2. Branskins macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2008
    #2
    Your best bet is to go to an Apple store and play around with both. Honestly, you will be able to decide after having both in your hands.

    Also, the 13" really doesn't cause strain.
     
  3. Jack Flash macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    May 8, 2007
    #3
    Get the $999.00 13" 2.26 GHz MacBook Pro when it shows up again on the refurb store. If you want to spend $1,299.00 then definitely opt for the model with 9600M GT.
     
  4. thegoldenmackid macrumors 604

    thegoldenmackid

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2006
    Location:
    dallas, texas
    #4
    You have to determine on your own about screen size and weight; that would be the determinant for me.
     
  5. ChrisN macrumors 65816

    ChrisN

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2007
    Location:
    Demarest, NJ
    #5
    I have been looking at the second one and although it doesn't have the better battery, better screen and sd card slot it does have the 9600 which is a big bonus in my eyes.

    ChrisN
     
  6. thenamesguy thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2009
    #6
    yeah I'm real indecisive in this situation I cant make up my mind I do like both machines but will photoshop run smoothly on the 13in? And I guess this is a question I should ask myself but is the extra power also worth the weight? =P
     
  7. SilentPanda Moderator emeritus

    SilentPanda

    Joined:
    Oct 8, 2002
    Location:
    The Bamboo Forest
    #7
    You might also see if the 13" with a 20" screen when you are in your room would work. You can get a decent 20" widescreen monitor for $200 or so I'd guess.

    edit: yeah Dell has some 20" monitors for < $150 at the moment. Not sure on the specs.
     
  8. thenamesguy thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2009
    #8
    yeah that would definitely work I think I will look into that because I only really need the larger screen when I'm in my dorm room. Thanks
     
  9. WeedKiller87 macrumors member

    WeedKiller87

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2009
    Location:
    East Brunswick, NJ
    #9
    I was using a 15.4" Sony Vaio with a Pentium 4 processor in college. It weighed about 8 pounds. I just got my first Mac and going down to a 13" screen was not a problem at all. In fact, I like the smaller screen even more and it also is light (4.5 pounds), so you can take it anywhere.

    But like others have said, go to your local Apple Store and try out all the MacBook Pros. I'm sure you'll find your perfect machine. :)
     
  10. thenamesguy thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2009
    #10
    thanks for all the help I think I'm going to go with the 13in model but I'm kinda stuck once again =P which model? 2.26 or 2.53 I know the 2.53 is more powerful but I cant see it being like $200 worth of power? I do plan on using photoshop quite often though would I be better off just spending the extra money? Or should I just get the 2.26 and upgrade the ram to 4gig? thanks again!
     
  11. Branskins macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2008
    #11
    Some would say upgrading your RAM and harddrive will do you better! Those upgrades should be greater than the CPU upgrade
     
  12. nigameash macrumors 6502

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    Dec 6, 2008
    Location:
    Space: The Final Frontier
    #12
    the 13" 2.53 is the ultimate portable machine which also has the processing power required + 7 hours battery life :) u cant ask for a better deal, atleast not for another 6-8 months until apple releases a 11 hour battery life laptop :p
     
  13. thenamesguy thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Aug 7, 2009
  14. J&JPolangin macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2008
    Location:
    Thule GL @ the TOW
    #14
    ...I have the whitebook in my sig and the price was the deciding factor... $745 NIB (you can get them for the same from the refurb page when they pop up) and the $$ I saved got me 4 GB RAM and a 320 GB HDD so now I'm up to $847 and then add on apple care from Amazon for $186 = $1,033

    If a beer bottle hits it, the whitebook won't dent either:D
     
  15. velocityg4 macrumors 68040

    velocityg4

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2004
    Location:
    Georgia
    #15
    I would go with this method use the $200 for 4GB of RAM from some place like Newegg and a nice fast 7200RPM HD. Or get a white Macbook and go SSD though depending on hours of use away from a power source you may have to lug around a second battery. Personally when I went to college I could hardly ever find a use for the iBook I had at school, they were impractical for diagrams and disorganized lectures.

    As for an external display. If you are serious about photography those cheap displays are not a good buy. You would want an LCD that uses and S-IPS or H-IPS panel. Here is a list of monitors I found. There are probably more but you would need to search more. Since money seems to be an issue you may have to settle for a lesser quality display.

    Whatever your other considerations are. Get a backup hard drive. Hard drives fail unexpectedly. It does not matter if they are new or old they fail. At least get a security lock for the hard drive, backups are worthless if the backup and computer are stolen. A cheap 1 hour fire rated safe bolted to the floor would be better, but may be out of your price range.

    Basically I hint at the cheaper Macbook or lowest end Macbook pro to emphasize that their is more to the purchase than just the laptop.
     
  16. donuttakedonuts macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2009
    #16
    I would reccomend getting the 15" in your OP as there are BIG differences between the 13 and 15 inch mbps.
     
  17. RolandVet macrumors member

    Joined:
    May 8, 2009
    #17
    I thought ssd cut power use and extended battery life... am i wrong?:confused:
     
  18. velocityg4 macrumors 68040

    velocityg4

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2004
    Location:
    Georgia
    #18
    You missed the first clause in the sentence "get a white Macbook" in regards to also buying an SSD.

    The white Macbooks get less battery life than the Macbook Pro's due to the lower capacity battery. So while the Macbook Pro would last all day for most uses the Macbook may not. Though I would prefer the Macbook since you can have extra batteries while the MBP you can only have the one if you run out of power then tough luck.
     
  19. omarjk macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2008
    Location:
    London, UK
    #19
    Investing in a bigger screen for when you are in you room - the time when you'd be most often messing about with photos - is definitely the way forward. It's a no-brainer for me, as you get the best of both worlds, one world most notably being a big in-room screen.

    Further if your 'love' of photography really takes off in the future then invest in something big and powerful (and keep your spending in check until then), if it doesn't you won't have wasted a lot of money on a machine capable of doing things you'll never make it do. In other words, win-win. Many of us try to be tarot card readers when buying our next systems and I imagine (without any hard proof whatsoever) that many of us also overspend. I am trying to convince you of my gut feeling not fact, but if you ever wanted to upgrade you could just sell your Mac for a great price in any case.
     
  20. DivineEvil macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2009
    #20
    If you are going to use it for college get the 13" MBP 2.26GHz like I did.

    Pro's: Light, portable, battery life is great!!!

    Con's: For some these might be cons, but for me they are not!

    No GeForce 9600M - Really do I really need it? I don't play a lot of games and the 9400M is enough for Warcraft III, NFS most wanted and Diablo 3 when it comes out. Ops forgot Starcraft 2. Those are the best games that don't get boring after playing them for 2 hours.

    Hell I play NFS MW on best quality and 1024x768 and there is only a little lag... almost unnoticeable.

    Smaller Screen size - The resolution is important! My MBP has the same 1280x800 resolution as my mom's 1yo Acer Aspire 15" laptop.

    Small HDD/Less RAM - a 500GB HDD is $90 from newegg, a 8GB kid will someday be 100$. I ordered a 500GB Hitachi drive yesterday, and someday will upgrade the RAM to 8GB! For a total of about 200$!

    So do I need to spend 300$ more for a 2.53Ghz! NO!
     
  21. thenamesguy thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2009
    #21
    Haha this is the kind of perspective I need haha thanks I appreciate the help I think I'm going for the 2.26 but upgrading the ram and maybe the HDD later.
     
  22. clyde2801 macrumors 601

    clyde2801

    Joined:
    Mar 6, 2008
    Location:
    In the land of no hills and red dirt.
    #22
    If you don't need the 9600 card, go to an apple store or best buy and play with the macbook and macbook pro models. Decide which one you want, and then buy it on the refurb store online for a discount.

    Is the back to school special over, by the way?
     

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