Upgrade advice from Black MacBook

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by feelthefire, Jul 26, 2009.

  1. feelthefire macrumors 6502a

    Jun 13, 2006
    So I have a 2.16 Black MacBook, 1GB RAM, 250gb Hard drive, GMA950. Besides the immense suckage that is the GMA950, it also has a problem in which it fries hard drives pretty regularly (on hard drive #5 currently.)

    I did the leopard upgrade, and it runs pretty badly. Beachballs all over the place in Safari and iTunes. I know I need more RAM, but this MB can only take a 3gb maximum, and I'm thinking about just buying a new system anyway.

    My business is doing OK this year and I think it's time to make a hardware investment. I am thinking about a 15" MBP 2.53/4gb/250/9400M. Price doesn't really matter, as I am also considering the 17" for the screen size.

    So my question is this--given that I have a system that I have been limping along with which has a much worse integrated chipset, would I regret going with the 9400M? I have this feeling of "go big or go home" on this purchase but obviously, money not spent isn't a bad thing.

    I mostly surf the web, do a little photo editing for product images, a lot of spreadsheet work, and I would need to run Quickbooks in a windows VM via Fusion. I want something that will NOT be slow in 2 years like this MB turned out to be.

    Any suggestions about what to do here? I'd like to stay out of the refurb store as I am still eligible for the student discount since I am also in grad school, and I'd like the free ipod touch for my Mom.

    I guess I've been soured by the GMA950 and my currently slow MB and want to know the best way to avoid being in this situation again in 2 years.

    Thanks in advance!

    ETA: While I haven't totally ruled out the 13" MBP, I think I would like a 15" or larger in part because I could really use a 15" for demo product testing and I already have a 13" I can use for that purpose (the black MB).
  2. MacMini2009 macrumors 68000


    May 22, 2009
    The 9400M will definitely be a big improvement from that crappy Intel graphics. I think the 9400M will suit you well. Only get a dedicated graphics card if you play games.
  3. feelthefire thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Jun 13, 2006
  4. tempusfugit macrumors 65816

    May 21, 2009
    if price isn't an issue I would go with dedicated even if you don't game. might add some longevity to the machine?
  5. 5DollaFootlong macrumors 6502


    Apr 26, 2009
    you don't need discrete graphics unless you're a gamer or use final cut studio extensively
  6. feelthefire thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Jun 13, 2006

    Well, that's what they told me about the GMA950 and this chipset SUCKS for even daily stuff. So...hence my hesitation to go for the 9400M. Two years ago everyone said the GMA would be fine, and 2 years later the computer jams while writing an email.

    Is the 9400M REALLY going to be good enough for 2-3 years?
  7. zedsdead macrumors 68040

    Jun 20, 2007
    The 9400 is awesome for being integrated, you can't compare it to the intel crap. I have a Macbook Pro with both cards, and I use the 9400 almost all the time because it extends battery life. The only time I switch is for Final Cut Pro. I used to switch for iPhoto, but I didn't notice any difference in performance.

    I personally recommend the 15" for the best balance of portability and features. If you aren't going to move it around much, or don't care about the weight, spring for the 17."

    As far as your computer stuttering, the extra gig of RAM would likely fix most of your issues. If you can wait, I say hold off till the next revision. The Arrandale chips coming from Intel seem very cool, although for what you do, it doesn't really seem to make a difference.
  8. MarcBook macrumors 6502a


    Jul 13, 2008
    United Kingdom
    15" Rocks

    The 9400M is fully supported in Snow Leopard and even includes H.264 acceleration, if I'm not wrong. It'll do just fine for the time to come, although if you really value having a bigger 15" screen I'd say go for it.

    Either machine is going to last you a long time, but with 15" is slightly more future-proof thanks to its 9600M GT graphics chip. My vote is for the 15". ;)
  9. CSHawkeye81 macrumors member

    Jun 30, 2009
    Arlington VA
    Another vote for the 15 inch as well, will be a night and day improvement for you.
  10. sporadicMotion macrumors 65816


    Oct 18, 2008
    Your girlfriends place
    The 9400m is well beyond the GMA950. I have a 9600m GT and barely ever use it on the mac side... even when SL comes out, the 9400m will supply a good boost to general OS performance.
  11. feelthefire thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Jun 13, 2006
    Now I'm trying to decide between:

    The 13" 2.53, which offers me the portability of the current macbook, which is something that I do like, but has a pretty meh screen resolution for the size. Also, everyone and their mother has one of these and I kinda don't want to have the exact same thing that everyone else has.

    The 15" 2.53, which is less portable but has more real estate and gets the same battery life of the smaller model.

    Or a Refurb 15" 2.53 which has the 512mb card and the expresscard slot, but has the less impressive battery. Also, not eligible for the free iPod touch, which I don't need but would probably give to someone as a gift.

    Prices on all these would be within $200 of each other, so it's negligible at that point and more about what would do the best job.
  12. MacMini2009 macrumors 68000


    May 22, 2009
  13. Acorn macrumors 68020


    Jan 2, 2009
    you already have a 13 inch machine. I would go for the 15 inch with the dedicated graphics. its worth the investment and holds it value better.

    I would just make sure it was one of the newer models with the 9600 graphics since the older model had failure problems.
  14. feelthefire thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Jun 13, 2006
    So is it worth getting the current gen $1999 model, or instead the refurb 2.53 w/ 512mb card for $1449? I can't decide if I want the better battery or not.
  15. TheBritishBloke macrumors 68030


    Jul 21, 2009
    United Kingdom
    I'd look at it this way.

    For the extra $550, you're getting :
    A Free printer (If you take the rebate offer) (Could sell it for $100 or so)
    A Free iTouch (More or less...) (Give it to your mom as a present, or sell it)
    More than double the battery life
    A brand-new, tamper-free machine
    Faster Processor
    SD Card Slot (Don't know if you'd prefer it)

    Yeh the graphics have half the memory, but if you're not gaming, it's gonna last you. I had a 7600GT sitting in my desktop for more than 4 years, and yet I could still play heavy games as I always could, with no problems.

    Hope this helps :)
  16. zedsdead macrumors 68040

    Jun 20, 2007
    The battery is probably the BEST feature of the new notebooks. DO NOT let that go:D

    I vote for the 15" Honestly there is not a big difference in portability. The only way you will have something noticeably more portable is go get an Air, and right now they are not built correctly and have loads of widespread issues.

Share This Page