Upgrade 15" low end macbook pro or buy the high end?

Lisa89

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jan 30, 2012
26
0
My old 2007 15" Macbook Pro is almost dead and too slow, so i'm looking for a decent replacement. I'm not sure wheter to go with the low end 15" version and upgrade it with 8gig of ram, or buy the high-end one. The high end has more vram and has better benchmarks, but since i have a limited budget i can't upgrade the more expensive one to 8 gig. My guts says to buy the low end and upgrade it, but i'm' not completely sure...

Option 1: Low end 15" with 8gig ram & 512MB vram + hires anti glare screen
Option 2: High end 15" with 4 gig ram & 1G vram (and maybe later upgrade to 8 gig, but it probably won't come to that, i wanted to do that with my old laptop but never got around it)

I will use it mainly for indesign, dreamweaver, photoshop and illustrator.
 

Xcallibur

macrumors 6502a
Jul 24, 2011
515
1
Manchester
Most definitely option 1; to be honest the base 15" model isn't that different from the higher priced model, the increase in CPU hertz is negligible, therefore the only difference is the 512MB extra VRAM, the actual GPU in both models are more or less the same, aside the increase in VRAM, so unless you continually handle gigantic graphic files, I see no reason to warrant the purchase of a higher-end 15". The increase in RAM and upgrade to the high-resolution screen is defintely a more worthwhile and substantial purchase.
 

snaky69

macrumors 603
Mar 14, 2008
5,904
484
You do know you could upgrade the RAM by yourself for all of 30 dollars or so?

Depending on your usage(which you didn't mention) either option would be good.
 

calderone

macrumors 68040
Aug 28, 2009
3,721
172
Seattle
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Low-end with hi-res. Don't buy the RAM from Apple, get it after and save some money.
 

D.T.

macrumors G4
Sep 15, 2011
10,704
10,799
Vilano Beach, FL
RAM is an easy and cheap user upgrade, the display [more or less] is not.

If you intend on using the integrated display at all (vs. using your machine as a "portable desktop" with an external all the time), the 15" HR display is really fantastic. The G vs. AG is kind of subjective, but I opted for the AG, outstanding outside, crisp, great color reproduction.
 

Lisa89

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jan 30, 2012
26
0
RAM is an easy and cheap user upgrade, the display [more or less] is not.

If you intend on using the integrated display at all (vs. using your machine as a "portable desktop" with an external all the time), the 15" HR display is really fantastic. The G vs. AG is kind of subjective, but I opted for the AG, outstanding outside, crisp, great color reproduction.

I have an external 27 inch screen, but i want to use my laptop whenever i want and don't want to worry about possible sunlight falling on my screen. I have an AG screen on my old MBP which i really like, so i think it will be worth the extra cost. I will use my MBP for graphic design/ print-related stuff, so color matching is quite important to me. The glossy screen just isn't that accurate. I have an external monitor, so i could do without AG screen, but it's indeed nice to have.
 

snaky69

macrumors 603
Mar 14, 2008
5,904
484
I have an external 27 inch screen, but i want to use my laptop whenever i want and don't want to worry about possible sunlight falling on my screen. I have an AG screen on my old MBP which i really like, so i think it will be worth the extra cost. I will use my MBP for graphic design/ print-related stuff, so color matching is quite important to me. The glossy screen just isn't that accurate. I have an external monitor, so i could do without AG screen, but it's indeed nice to have.
The MBP only has a TN panel, so colour reproduction isn't exactly the best on it in the first place. A nice external screen with an IPS panel would probably serve you better insofar as colour reproduction goes.

Though I do feel the Anti-glare has colours closer to printed media than the glossy does, but that's just me.

If you do a lot of rendering, the higher-end processor may be a good idea, as it could cut down a bit on your waiting time, it all depends if that extra productivity is worth it to you. The graphics card is essentially the same in both cases so that wouldn't hold you back.
 

Naimfan

Suspended
Jan 15, 2003
4,669
2,013
I agree with the others who suggest getting the base 15" and upgrading the RAM yourself.

The value in the current 15" MBP lineup right now (Late 2011) is in the base model. That's a change from the Early 2011 lineup, where the 2.2 GHz model was the better value.

You're very unlikely to see a difference in processing power from the current 2.2 to the 2.4, and you'll gain more for what you do by spending $40-50 for 8 GB of RAM and installing it yourself.
 

bdodds1985

macrumors 6502a
Jul 18, 2011
867
0
Tartarus
low end and upgrade the ram yourself. put an ssd in it too, if you don't need the space and want faster use of your apps like photoshop. I think if your apps run fine on an older macbook then there is no need to upgrade to the high end version. I did this and now my high end is pretty much the same as the low end minus the graphics card. I also went with the anti glare and i don't think it shows the greatest colors as far as blacks on videos but i could not see myself staring into a mirror on the normal screens with a laptop. I do have two TB displays at home that I have yet to use, but I am sure indoors with the right light they will not disappoint.

and, if you search for it im sure you will find hundreds of people asking the same exact question here in this forum with the same answer: it's your computer, only you can make that choice. but i understand your question and i did the same thing when i first joined the forum.

but seriously, save your money and buy the low end and upgrade the ram yourself. why pay $200 for something you can buy for $50? and if the ssd catches your eye, i would only buy from apple if you decide to get the high end one. good luck, i had a tough time making up my mind to, but either option you go with, im sure you will be happy.
 

bdinger

macrumors member
Jan 22, 2012
48
0
Lincoln, NE
For your uses, the option 1 - low end with the HR AG - would be perfect. I second those who recommend upgrading the RAM on your own, in fact were I in your shoes I'd instead choose part of the RAM money and get Apple's SSD upgrade. My co-worker bought the base MBP with the 5400rpm drive, and it's pretty noticeable in the speed department. Even the 7200rpm drive is a good upgrade, but the SSD will definitely make your life better.

I second all the opinions about the AG after owning both in the current form. The AG hires display is simply brilliant.
 

akhbhaat

macrumors regular
Sep 30, 2010
127
0
The current low end is basically the same machine as the high end version for most of 2011, with a bit less video memory, which is not a huge issue given the relatively low resolutions that laptops run. By far the better deal right now (it was a tougher call before because the high end model had a significantly better GPU--that is no longer the case).

I'd definitely put some of the difference into an aftermarket RAM upgrade (which is what, $40 now?), the higher res screen and possibly an SSD.
 

squeakr

macrumors 68000
Apr 22, 2010
1,603
1
The early 2011 high end (the 2.3) also had a better cpu processor. The cpu processor cache was larger and much more robust than was offered in the lower end models. Don't sell it short, as some have even found that it was a better cache than is currently used in the new high-end.
 

Lisa89

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jan 30, 2012
26
0
Thanks for all your responses! I've (finally!) been able to make a decision and will buy the low end one with the AG screen. I've found a local shop who sells ram-memory at really cheap prices, so i will upgrade it afterwards.

For the ssd, it would be nice to have but since my budget is limited i'll hold off on that one. The computer i'm using now (MBP 2007) can't even open chrome decently so i guess a new one will already make a lot of difference. With or without ssd. :)
 

rebelmac

macrumors member
Jan 11, 2010
41
0
My low-end, hi-res anti-glare just came in. I upgraded the RAM to 8GB with Crucial which was $46 and a Crucial M4 SSD. You won't be disappointed with the low end. It's fast and the anti-glare screen is top notch. I have good eyesight and the hi-res is a nice addition.

If you can swing it, you might consider a smaller SSD to install Lion and your applications on. Then keep your files on the HDD that comes with your system. The SSD really makes a difference.
 

Lisa89

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jan 30, 2012
26
0
My low-end, hi-res anti-glare just came in. I upgraded the RAM to 8GB with Crucial which was $46 and a Crucial M4 SSD. You won't be disappointed with the low end. It's fast and the anti-glare screen is top notch. I have good eyesight and the hi-res is a nice addition.

If you can swing it, you might consider a smaller SSD to install Lion and your applications on. Then keep your files on the HDD that comes with your system. The SSD really makes a difference.
I'm thinking about replacing my superdrive with an extra SSD. Now, I have a 120Gig harddrive, but i find it annoying that most of my 'extra' files are on my external device. I don't use my superdrive much anyways... Some extra harddrive in the laptop would be nice. But i'll have to do some research if i don't void my warranty. And get some extra money together :eek:

I'm so looking forward of getting my new MBP! It will be a killer laptop :D Nice, after all that waiting... thinking... waiting...
 

KipCoon

macrumors regular
Aug 23, 2000
141
0
ATL
I pondered the same and in the end, I got the low end, (just picked up today) with the anti glare high rez display and I bought a 8gb Crucial kit on amazon for $39. I was going to get the high rez display no matter what so I opted to spend that extra $300 on a good 256gb SSD instead of a slightly more powerful cpu and gpu.



Go with your first option, you will be happier with that display.
 

Naimfan

Suspended
Jan 15, 2003
4,669
2,013
I'm thinking about replacing my superdrive with an extra SSD. Now, I have a 120Gig harddrive, but i find it annoying that most of my 'extra' files are on my external device. I don't use my superdrive much anyways... Some extra harddrive in the laptop would be nice. But i'll have to do some research if i don't void my warranty. And get some extra money together :eek:
You do void the warranty by removing/replacing the optical drive, as it is not a user-serviceable part.

If you have a problem, you can re-install the optical drive, but it's a bit of a nuisance. Just get something like the 750 GB/7200 RPM Hitachi (or other favorite drive maker) and run with it.
 

calderone

macrumors 68040
Aug 28, 2009
3,721
172
Seattle
You do void the warranty by removing/replacing the optical drive, as it is not a user-serviceable part.

If you have a problem, you can re-install the optical drive, but it's a bit of a nuisance. Just get something like the 750 GB/7200 RPM Hitachi (or other favorite drive maker) and run with it.
The warranty is not voided.
 

Naimfan

Suspended
Jan 15, 2003
4,669
2,013
The warranty is not voided.
Yes, it is.

The optical drive is not a user-serviceable part, and if you bother to read the warranty, any service or modification of a non user-serviceable part by unauthorized personnel voids the warranty.

Of course, if you reinstall the optical drive and the warranty issue isn't related to the removal/reinstallation of the optical drive, Apple would have a very difficult time proving anyone swapped the optical drive out. But from a legal perspective, removal of the optical drive renders the warranty void.
 

calderone

macrumors 68040
Aug 28, 2009
3,721
172
Seattle
Yes, it is.

The optical drive is not a user-serviceable part, and if you bother to read the warranty, any service or modification of a non user-serviceable part by unauthorized personnel voids the warranty.

Of course, if you reinstall the optical drive and the warranty issue isn't related to the removal/reinstallation of the optical drive, Apple would have a very difficult time proving anyone swapped the optical drive out. But from a legal perspective, removal of the optical drive renders the warranty void.
No, Apple renders the warranty void, the mere removal of the optical drive does not. I am well aware of what is a user serviceable part and what is not, as well as what the warranty states.

Semantics, maybe, but case in point I have the Maxupgrades kit in my MacBook Pro. Recently had some issues, took my upgrades out, put the original equipment back in and my machine is being repaired under warranty right now.

The point is, the warranty is void only if Apple voids the warranty, the mere act does not void the warranty. It does qualify as an act which can be used to justify voiding the warranty. This distinction is why you can put the original stuff back in and Apple will be none the wiser.
 

calderone

macrumors 68040
Aug 28, 2009
3,721
172
Seattle
Wrong. As I said, from a legal perspective, the act itself is what voids the warranty. Whether Apple exercises its power to do so or not is moot.
If that was the case, my laptop would not be getting repaired right now.

From a "legal perspective" Apple has to void a warranty and the burden of proof would be on Apple to show that the nullification of the warranty is justified.

In fact, the warranty doesn't even state what you say it does:

http://images.apple.com/legal/applecare/docs/081811_APP_English_NA_v5.4.pdf said:
(ii) Damage caused by (a) a product that is not the Covered Equipment (b) accident, abuse, misuse, liquid contact, fire, earthquake or other external cause, (c) operating the Covered Equipment outside the permitted or intended uses described by the manufacturer, or (d) service (including upgrades and expansions) performed by anyone who is not a representative of Apple or an Apple Authorized Service Provider (“AASP”);
The key operative is "Damage caused by." In other words, if you don't cause damage, you are still covered.

In addition, the docs say nothing about the nullification or voiding of the warranty by those acts. I would love to see your source, maybe I am missing something.

Another source, for completeness, covering the general hardware warranty.
http://images.apple.com/legal/warranty/docs/cpuwarranty.pdf

This warranty does not apply... (f)to damage caused by service (including upgrades and expansions) performed by anyone who is not a representative of Apple or an Apple Authorized Service Provider (“AASP”)
Again, the mere act does not void the warranty. Any warranty nullification is at the determination of Apple.
 

nate.the.great

macrumors newbie
Jan 31, 2012
17
0
I pondered the same and in the end, I got the low end, (just picked up today) with the anti glare high rez display and I bought a 8gb Crucial kit on amazon for $39. I was going to get the high rez display no matter what so I opted to spend that extra $300 on a good 256gb SSD instead of a slightly more powerful cpu and gpu.



Go with your first option, you will be happier with that display.
Why not get the early 2011 high end model with the anti-glare hi-res display for $1599?

http://slickdeals.net/f/3818312-Mic...-Anti-glare-February-2011-2-3GHz-Core-i7-1599
 
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