Trying to decide on the 2011 15" MBP vs PC

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by AquaBear, May 22, 2011.

  1. AquaBear macrumors newbie

    May 22, 2011
    Hey all,

    Long time lurker, first time poster ^_^
    I've been looking for a laptop since oh...January or so. Was pretty excited for the 2011 MBP refresh, especially with all the rampant speculation flying around the MR forums hehe.

    I wanted the Liquid Metal/no ODD-type of configuration, but was disappointed with the actual refresh (obviously, damn you for those unrealistic expectations, MR!!), so I resolved to keep looking around.

    I was looking for the following things:
    - Quad i7
    - Good discrete card (at least Radeon 6750M)
    - NO ODD (unfortunately, no one wants to do this yet >.<)
    - Thin and light (max 15", ~5lbs)
    - Great battery life
    - Around $2000-$2200 max (obviously less is more!)
    - As close to FHD as possible, 16:10 preferred over 16:9

    I've been lurking on random laptop forums for months now, waiting for news about the new Envy, Vaio Z (or SA), XPS (including 15z), and T-series.

    Unfortunately, they all had their downsides (as does the MBP 15") in my "checklist", so I'd basically resolved to get the 15" MBP high-end with the 6750M whenever the "Get a free iPod Touch" deal finally appeared (need it pretty soon, for some summer research)

    However, this morning, I came across the excellent deal on the HP dv6t Quad (Select) Edition on Slickdeals.

    I customized it out to the following:

    - i7 Quad (same as the 15" Pro high-end)
    - AMD 6770M
    - Blue-Ray
    - 6 GB DDR3
    - 1080p anti-glare display with 95% color gamut
    - 6 cell battery

    All for $1032.49! Holy %&*$.

    Now, Pros/Cons for the MBP vs the dv6t Quad:

    - Tight integration with software/hardware
    - OS X (not that I really care either way...I'm a tech savvy guy, so I can work fine with either. I've always used Windows, but used a Hackintosh on my old netbook, so I'm quite familiar with the OS)
    - Best-in-class touchpad/backlit keyboard (dv6t lacks this.)
    - Amazing build quality (no flex)
    - Battery life - the dv6t says "5.75 hours", which is probably like a realistic 3 at best.
    - Much, much better Customer Service (I've heard horror stories about HP sending out sub-par components and/or overheating)
    - Price. $2150 w/ education vs $1032.50!
    - Slightly worse graphics (hardly a big deal at that level...and can always OC the 6750 to make up for the clock difference)

    With that price difference, I could buy another laptop in ~1.5-2 years that would end up lasting for the same amount of time in total. It works out to about ~500/year, but you'd get a much better laptop in the meantime.

    However, the flip side is that there could be a great refresh in 2012 w/ maybe the 22nm+3D transistors as well as a design change for the MBP, which I could resell the MBP at minimal loss to upgrade to.

    Sigh >.<
    As you can see, I'm pretty undecided between two great options. I acknowledge that MR may be a bit biased, but I hope I can get some objective(ish) opinions :)
  2. MH01 Suspended


    Feb 11, 2008
    I personally think the mbp range is the best out there.... But you pay for it. As you said , being tech savvy you can come to your own conclusion if you even actually will use osx etc. If you have the $$$ get the mac, you can get the same performance for less and you know that.
  3. mac00l macrumors 6502

    May 3, 2011
    If it were a Toshiba I would tell you go for it. But I just can't trust HP's laptops, even less if they are in a special sell.

    What would you use your computer for?? I think there lays the key to your decision.
  4. Kleptomaniac macrumors newbie

    Apr 26, 2011
    For the price you save on the HP you will be losing in build quality and customer service.
  5. phas3 macrumors 65816

    Oct 5, 2008
    really depends on which OS you prefer to work in, Windows 7 or OSX, for university and daily use I like OSX. For gaming, Windows 7 all the way.

    For a laptop, I'm always going to pick an apple product because if I wanted to game I'd build a PC instead.
  6. alust2013 macrumors 601


    Feb 6, 2010
    On the fence
    The only way to get good battery life with the HP is to have the giant extended life battery, otherwise the 45W i7 and 25W 6770m would eat a battery pretty quick. Mind you, the MBP has these same numbers, but a better battery and more efficient OS to give you better battery life.

    Overall, I recommend the MBP, even though it's a lot more, you get a brilliant machine, with an excellent balance of power and portability. The trackpad is one of the best things about it as well.
  7. JTToft macrumors 68040

    Apr 27, 2010
    Aarhus, Denmark
    I'd never consider buying an HP laptop.
    Get the MacBook Pro if you can afford it.
  8. AquaBear thread starter macrumors newbie

    May 22, 2011
    Yeah...I'm mainly going to be using the laptop for AutoCAD/modeling for my research work, and general surfing/Office/Starcraft 2 in my free time.

    I currently have a custom built desktop that I built a few years go (original i7 still serving me well; OC'd) that I'm "upgrading" from (more of a lateral upgrade in that I can carry the laptop outside and have more power than the netbook I use currently (dual-boot Linux/OS X))

    If it was ~$500 bucks in terms of the price difference, I would be all for the MBP, it's just $1000 that's giving me sticker shock. I completely understand that the build/service quality is in the MBP's favor, but I dunno if it makes up for $1000...

    And trust me, I'm definitely not a fan of HP either, especially from what I've heard, but these specs took me by surprise
  9. palpatine macrumors 68040

    May 3, 2011
    you'll pay more for the mac than you would for an equivalent pc if you are in the 15 inch range. i believe the free ipod thing is over in the us b2s sales. you get a nano this year?

    i would get the pc, if the cost is such a concern. the allure (for me) of the 15 inch mac isn't what's inside, but everything else: the gorgeous solid construction, the os, the customer support, and the overall experience. windows, for what i do, is quite capable, but lacks some of the features that really make my work enjoyable (such as the ability to input text in any program with universal shortcuts for macrons or some of the software that gracefully handles asian languages). i ended up with a 13, which is a little more competitive in pricing, but i remain quite drawn to the 15!

    if you think your work would be more enjoyable with the mac as well, then i'd get it. if youthink that you'd be gnashing your teeth over having spent more for fewer numbers on the processor, then go with the pc models :)
  10. harcosparky macrumors 68020

    Jan 14, 2008
    This may or may not play into your decision.

    Sony does something weird with their video, sure they have a discrete graphics card but my son bought one. He hates Windows, likes Linux and OSX.

    He was unable to get OSX on the Sony, and I have seen him get OSX on things I would never think it would run on. He's does a lot of experimentation along those lines.

    He said he liked the Sony and would have kept it, if he could have been happy with Windows 7.

    He returned the Sony and is now working on getting a 15" MBP.
  11. awer25 macrumors 65816


    Apr 30, 2011
    The PC is a much better deal if you don't mind the extra weight, low battery life, and cheaper build quality (like if 99% of the time it's just sitting on the desk). Having just come from many years of PC-only ownership (most recently an HP Envy 17), those factors above are what moved me to get a MBP. After using the massive Envy, I still can't believe they can get a 2.2GHz quad-core i7 and ATI 6750 to run in a 15" laptop that's an inch thick AND gets such amazing battery life (and does it without burning me!). The Envy had a quad-core 1.6GHz i7, ATI 5850, and extended life battery - I got 2.5hrs on a good day, and the metal case would burn me during gameplay. It's like a win-win in all areas except cost.

    I guess it comes down to how important portability is to you. If you have the money, the MBP is much better than the Envy IMHO due to size, weight, and battery life.
  12. ' r i S e n macrumors regular

    May 15, 2011
    I think it comes down to whether or not you want to pay that much extra to experience Apple's build while sacrificing all of those funds in terms of hardware.

    Personally, I would give the MBP a try if money isn't the main issue. I'm sure it will be a great experience for you.
  13. revelated macrumors 6502a


    Jun 30, 2010
    This is easy, but is incompatible with....

    Very easy, but incompatible with

    Then you asked for...
    You do realize that if my memory serves me, the MacBook Air is really the best option, right?

    But then you said...

    OK but, again, the only thing the MacBook Air doesn't meet is the processor. And quite frankly I don't get why you feel you need such a processor in a "thin and light" laptop.

    So then you want:
    I mean really, why does this matter?

    Sounds to me like you've already decided against the MacBook Pro, since you have something against an optical drive that you have the option of not using. And it sounds like you've disqualified the MacBook Air, since you want a processor that doesn't seem compatible with a "Thin and light" machine. SO unless I'm missing something, you've disqualified everything Apple and the bulk of everything PC. In fact the only machine I can even think of that meets these requirements is:

    But of course, it doesn't have a dedicated graphics card since it's "thin and light". So I don't know what to tell you. If I were you, I would decide what is really not that important.

    Processor? Go for the MacBook Air, because it's damn near perfect for you if the processor isn't that big a deal.

    Graphics Card? Go for the Samsung, because it's damn near perfect for you if the graphics card model isnt that big a deal.

    Or you can have the muscle machine of your dreams if you're just willing to "tolerate" the presence of an optical drive and just choose not to use the damn thing. Then go for the MacBook Pro.

    Easy? Solid.
  14. davidlv macrumors 65816

    Apr 5, 2009
    Kyoto, Japan
    If you can afford the MBP, consider this, do you ever work in relatively low light conditions? My home is great, but it has poor lighting facilities and setting up a good lighting system around my desk is quite difficult (= expensive). I have found the backlit keyboard invaluable! :cool: Trying to type with the backlit keyboard function off (reverting to the "before" MBP conditions) is horrible. If only the MacBook Air had this ....
    Next, do you use a mouse or the track pad? The trackpad on the MBP is the best by far in the world. Even a dedicated mouse user (me) has to admit that it is fabulous! :cool: If you are the type of person that depends solely on the trackpad, that alone is a deal clincher. :cool::apple::cool:
    The main advantage of the MBP is Apple's design/OS integration. Even SL is not perfect but it is far better in that regard than any other OS, resulting in longer battery life, etc.
    I personally find this integration makes up for the mediocre hardware, slower graphic cards, etc. If you are the type of person that insists on having the latest/best hardware, CPU, GPU etc. then you have to go with the PC of your choice, but I find that choice 2nd best due to the lack of design finesse.
    In the end, you will have to choose what your priorities are, but you can't have everything: If price is a factor, get the PC, no comparison there possible.
    summary: Apple MBP :cool::cool::cool: (keyboard, trackpad, design/integration)
    PC: :cool: (price)
  15. dagamer34 macrumors 65816


    May 1, 2007
    Houston, TX
    I'd say it really all comes down to which operating system you'll want to use day in and day out. Whichever you prefer, that's the laptop you should go with. Both should be reasonably good machines (though the HP should get a reformat, as I never like the OEM crapware they load onto their machines just to make a quick buck).
  16. duncanbrodie1 macrumors member

    Apr 11, 2011
    I think someone may have mentioned this already, but I would take a serious look at the new sony vaio
    you can get really top of the line hardware at much lower cost than a macbook pro.

    but you don't get OSX and you dont get the amazing trackpad, and many, many other things...
  17. dusk007 macrumors 68040


    Dec 5, 2009
    The extended battery from HP is better. The MBP's just somewhere in between.
    And the OSX is no more efficient than Windows. If you compare Windows Notebooks that sport drivers and settings for great battery life they last as long or even longer at times. Just compare an Acer TimelineX with 66Wh battery. Or many of the business class notebooks.
    People just think OSX is better because when you run Windows on the same machine you get performance drivers with very little to no decent optimization towards battery life.

    The dv6 however is not one of the better performers in the battery life field. You can just order an extra extended life battery so you can switch and it will always last you at least as long as the MBP or longer. It is more to carry though.
    MBP to be fair doesn't really last more than 4-5h in real use either and most days I need no more than 1 and a half. Somedays much more but I guess 3-8h real use with 2 batteries should definitely be better.
    The HP has much better connectivity. Like 2 USB 3.0 and not this useless thunderbolt.
    I don't like the glossy of the HP though. I would always take the MBP AG.
  18. AquaBear thread starter macrumors newbie

    May 22, 2011
    Wow, thanks for all the input! Keep it coming :)

    The dv6 has the anti-glare 1080p screen, which I've heard is actually pretty damn decent (obviously not Dreamcolor, but I'm not a huge stickler for perfect color/whatever)

    And to the criticism about the No ODD on my checklist, it's more of something that I'd like, not what is actually realistic today. The MBA doesn't give me the power I need, unfortunately.

    I can't seem to find many resources dealing with the build quality of the dv6 line today - if it's not completely heinous, it may be a good option to just buy that and wait it out for ~years and then upgrade to the newest MBP which meets everything on my checklist...

    My one intense dislike is the extended life battery. I mean, come on >.<
    At least make it a sheet or extended, don't give me that ridiculous hump on the back so it'll never fit in a bag/case EVER.

    And I've been waiting almost exclusively on the new Vaio Z...unfortunately, with the earthquake+nuclear troubles in Japan, people are expecting delays until late July, which is just too late for me...definitely need something before then, I think.

    And I definitely love the backlit keyboard...I've never had one until I sprung for a Logitech G15 for my desktop a few months ago, and it's been a revelation. However, it's not a dealbreaker.

    Based on pure OS selection: I really don't care. I've used both extensively, and I can do whatever I need to on both with little to no troubles. Tends to be part of the problem hehe
  19. palpatine macrumors 68040

    May 3, 2011
    sony? if it isn't build quality, its performance or price that always turns me off. is there a specific model you had in mind that you thought is comparable to the mbp?

    if you don't care about the os, and you aren't already sold on the unibody, thunderbolt,or the screen, i think your decision is made, and you ought to get a pc, because the strong points of the mpb are lost on you. for the same price the pcs will offer you superior specs.
  20. punchwalk macrumors regular

    May 16, 2010
    Maryland, USA
    I owned a DV6T-QE back in January and returned it 14 days after purchase. If you're going to go HP, get an Envy. Also, look around for an HP coupon if possible...people in the notebookreviewforums were picking up i7-2720QMs with 8GB RAM for <= $1000 back in January because of some coupon floating around. I ended up getting an MBP after returning the DV6T-QE. I love the MBP, but it's not without a couple shortcomings.

    One of the previous posters said that your choice should be heavily predicated on which OS you intend to use. I think I'd agree with that. The battery life benefit and heat output of the MBP are most optimal when using OS X. If you run Windows using BootCamp, you get <=4 hours battery (much less if you're doing any heavy-load activity such as gaming or vid encoding) and the machine runs much hotter. Both of these are largely caused by the fact that you don't get the benefits of GPU switching in BootCamp as Apple's Windows GPU architecture drivers don't support it.
  21. AquaBear thread starter macrumors newbie

    May 22, 2011
    Yeah normal Sony laptops are crap. The Vaio Z is their flagship and is, IMHO, equivalent to Apple's offerings with the exception of OS integration and trackpad awesomeness. It offers a 13" 1080p, i7, discrete card (now external using Thunderbolt) and carbon fiber...but I'm not going to wait until late July/Fall to get one. I need a laptop sooner than that.

    I think I've heard enough about the HP to know that it's kind of craptastic at best. I'll wait until the official launch of the Dell XPS 15Z tomorrow to make my final decision.
  22. KwanMan macrumors regular

    May 12, 2011
    No competition,the HP definately
  23. palpatine macrumors 68040

    May 3, 2011
    i was talkng about all sony computers. i used to be a big sony fan, and bought a new top of the line model every year or two, but i became disillusioned with them.the company has the potential to do greeat stuff, but i haven't seen them put out a computer i like for many years now.

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