Trying to decide what I really NEED out of a computer.

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by DuskRune, May 3, 2008.

  1. DuskRune macrumors newbie

    May 3, 2008
    Wants vs Needs are always a great conundrum when you finally reach adulthood. Right now I am starting my career off, will be making enough money to easily support myself, but at the same time there comes a point when you just have to be a bit frugal with money. I'll be honest, I love my desktop, but the thing is 5 years old, and has had to be overhauled 2 years ago because of a faulty power supply that led to dead Ram and Hard Drive.

    So I have decided to end my association with the windows platform after re-installing the OS once more, and mind you I have antivirus software, spyware/malware software, a nice firewall, and practice safe surfing habits, but still windows and my PC seem to fail me.

    So I have become fond of the idea of going to OS X and getting my first Apple. I have wanted portability for ages so I am looking at the 3 notebook lines and to be honest I don't know what I really need out of a PC anymore. I do digital drawing with OpenCanvas, a dabble in Photoshop a bit, do a fair amount of photo editing, and to be honest I am probably a pretty typical consumer as far as use goes.

    As far as the MacBook Air goes I love the style of the product, but to be honest you can sacrifice a bit too much when it comes to that much weight loss.

    So would basically would a MacBook or a MacBook Pro better fit my needs?

    * 2.4GHz Intel Core 2 Duo
    * 4GB 667MHz DDR2 SDRAM - 2x2GB
    * 250GB Serial ATA Drive
    * AppleCare Protection Plan


    * 2.5GHz Intel Core 2 Duo
    * 4GB 667MHz DDR2 SDRAM - 2x2GB
    * 250GB Serial ATA Drive @ 5400 rpm
    * MacBook Pro 17-inch Hi-Resolution LED Widescreen Display
    * AppleCare Protection Plan for MacBook Pro (w/or w/o Display) - Auto-enroll

    I think my biggest concern so far is screen size, as I plan on whatever I buy becoming my main computer, but at the same time portability is also a concern.

    Any and all advice would be appreciated, and thank you in advance.
  2. Consultant macrumors G5


    Jun 27, 2007
    Well depends on

    - your budget
    - whether you want a 15" or 17" matt screen or a 13.3" glossy screen will do

    Looks like you'll doe fine with desktop replacement. You can always hook up your Mac to a LCD display and keyboard / mouse as a desktop replacement. No need for another computer. MBP has more power than some older desktop servers I came across.

    I have the 17" MBP. It weights the same as many 15" wintels. Portability is NOT an issue if you are not a weakling. But you should go to Apple Store to check it out the difference of the 15" and 17". See if you can carry one in your hand for a few minutes.

    Personally I can stand in line with 17" MBP open for an hour or 2 with no problem. I joke around that it's my 17" iPod.
  3. surferfromuk macrumors 65816

    Feb 1, 2007
    I think you've already made the biggest and most important decision - to leave Windows. You've psychologically already made a move towards a truly creative platform with less crap and clutter.

    The results : Happiness in your work, enhanced productivity and significantly less daily hassle.

    The hardware decision : Buy the best you can possibly realistically afford. It'll offer more and last longer.
  4. teflon macrumors 6502a


    May 28, 2007
    I think the 15'' mbp is a perfect compromise between power and portability. The mid 15'' has the same power as the 17'', but smaller and lighter. If you don't use a lot of video intensive apps, or plan on a lot of gaming, I think the baseline 15'' mbp would suit you fine, especially if you upgrade the ram. Use the $800 you saved from not getting the 17'' on a monitor. You could get a nice 24'' Dell ultrasharp for around $700, less if they're having a sale. You might even have some leftovers to get an external hd for time machine.
  5. eXan macrumors 601


    Jan 10, 2005
    Unless you are physically weak I wouldn't recommend a MBA - its just not ment to be your only (main) computer.

    My suggestion is get a 2.5 GHz 15" MBP - it has IMO the best screen size/portability ratio in the entire Mac laptop line.
  6. j26 macrumors 65832


    Mar 30, 2005
    Tbh a Macbook would probably do you perfectly well, and then if you combine it with a 20-24" monitor and a large external network hd, wireless keyboard and mouse, and a wireless 'n' router. Then you have a desktop solution with a large screen and good storage that you can simply unplug and go mobile when you want. It would cost a fair bit less than the 17 Macbook Pro.

    Upgrade the ram yourself and save some cash, and get the stock hd (160 gigs on a mobile should be plenty for anyone). If you want you can change it yourself later (afaik the MacBook Pro hd is not user replaceable), possibly taking advantage of SSD drives when they become reasonably priced.
  7. Pressure macrumors 68040


    May 30, 2006
    You will definiely want a bigger screen at home than what the 15" MacBook Pro can offer. The added screen real-estate will pay itself off. Nothing worse than not having room for your worktools etc. on screen.

    Getting a 23" Apple Cinema Display to go along will be a great choice. Remember that the Apple Cinema Displays are SWOP-certified.

    Oh yeah, and the new ultra-slim Apple keyboard and Mighty Mouse.

    I will also recommend you to buy the ram elsewhere and save a good deal. With the right tools it take 2 minutes to replace the ram.
  8. forafireescape macrumors 6502a


    Jan 16, 2008
    Depends on your budget. If you can, go for the MBP just because it's better. But with that said, you definitely WILL NOT be disappointed with a MB.
  9. thejadedmonkey macrumors 604


    May 28, 2005
    typical advice: Get the Macbook unless you need the larger screen or dedicated graphics.

    Otherwise the Macbook and Macbook Pro are identical (with some reservations). The Macbook Pro's aluminum frame does tend to dent more easily then the plastic frame, and it's also harder to upgrade the hard drive in it. But you get a really cool backlit keyboard :p
  10. Abstract macrumors Penryn


    Dec 27, 2002
    Location Location Location
    The MBP looks more impressive. That may or may not matter to you. A black MacBook also looks pretty cool. I didn't used to care at all (I own a white MB), but now that I'm going to graduate soon, I have really thought about it, and seen what other people in my field use. Their computer contains all their work. It's their life. I'd rather use a MBP long-term, and pull that out at meetings rather than a MB. I also want a MBP for its higher-res screen, as I'm in research, and researchers have to read lots of PDFs, possibly side-by-side, or maybe a webpage and PDF at the same time (it's doable).

    If you have the money, the MBP will not disappoint you. No way. However, it really depends on the type of situations you'll use it. A MacBook's specs would probably suit you. Just get an external display (anything smaller than 30"), and you're set. However, if I had the money right now, I'd get a MBP to replace my MB.
  11. DuskRune thread starter macrumors newbie

    May 3, 2008
    Thank you to everyone that has replied!

    Well I made it out to a local retailer and tried out the laptops for a bit and was quite impressed. Even the 17 inch Pro was pretty darn light for how big it appears to be. Right now still weighing my options a bit.

    Just wondering how much of a difference is there in the MacPro 17'' screen and the HD screen with LED lighting? The MacBook screens lacked a bit, especially with it setting next to the Macbook Air witch has a lovely display, and plenty of cautionary warnings from the employees.

    So far I think that will be the deciding factor, whether or not the better display is worth it.
  12. MacinDoc macrumors 68020


    Mar 22, 2004
    The Great White North
    There's a good price on a refurb 2.4GHz MBP 17""/hi-res at $2299. Or a refurb MB with a 23" ACD would be $1848, or with a 30" ACD (2560 X 1600 resolution) would be $2598, still less than a new 17" ($2899 with a hi-res screen). If I were using it for what you describe, I would go with the MB/30"ACD package. The money left over from the cost of a new 17" MBP could top your RAM out at 4GB and get you a nice 7200 RPM HD.
  13. topicolo macrumors 68000


    Jun 4, 2002
    Ottawa, ON
    Get a MBP. I, along with about 40% of my class got macbooks due to their portability and cheaper price. 7 months later, 80% of those macbooks have cracks on the front palmrests. Some of my classmates have had it repaired only to have the same crack form on the new case. It's horrible engineering on Apple's part. Go with aluminum over plastic.
  14. teflon macrumors 6502a


    May 28, 2007
    Macbooks can't support 30'' ACDs. Only the mbps and the mac pros can.
  15. MacinDoc macrumors 68020


    Mar 22, 2004
    The Great White North
    Oops, my bad, I'm showing how little sleep I've had the last 2 nights.
  16. chrono1081 macrumors 604


    Jan 26, 2008
    Isla Nublar
    Id say if its going to be your main computer get a macbook pro because it sounds like you like to keep computers as long as you can. Why not go for more power so you have to upgrade less often?

    As for being your main computer Id say get the macbook pro, change the configuration to a 200gb 7200RPM drive (no its not noiser I cant even hear mine) but there is a speed difference. I would also get a nice external monitor and use it in extended desktop mode that way you have some nice screen real estate and you can take it with you wherever you want to go. Thats what I do and I do a lot of photo editing with photoshop and lightroom, I do maya, and have the whole adobe master collection on my laptop and corel painter and logic pro and all run great without any slowdown.

    I wont lie, I had buyers remorse on this thing until I started using it then I realized I made a great purchase.
  17. Ladybug macrumors 68000


    Apr 13, 2006
    Right now I have an iMac and a Macbook..both have been wonderful. I've decided my next purchase down the road *long time off* will be a MBP with an external monitor. From the looks of it, I think you'll be happier with a MBP, and perhaps a nice monitor for home use.

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