Upgrading my 13" White MacBook to a Pro. Advice?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by stranger danger, Jul 8, 2009.

  1. stranger danger macrumors member

    Jul 8, 2009
    Hey guys, college student here.

    No, I'll make it a lot more interesting and complicated than wanting something to carry around :]

    I'm currently looking to upgrade my 13" first-gen (yes, first-gen!) MacBook. I recently got a $2,500 bonus so I can literally spend it on whatever I want BUT I'd obviously love to have some money leftover after my trip to Apple.

    I'm a Cinema major at my university and do moderate Final Cut Studio work on my laptop. As you can imagine, it's been quite sluggish and hectic working on this MacBook for the last three-ish years. I haven't really been doing much editing work as of late and I'm not going to be editing a feature anytime soon but as I'm moving into the final stretch of my major it's going to be required that I edit video quite a bit.

    Anyway, here are the two options I'm looking at (this is after any sort of discounts)

    MacBook Pro - 13", 2.53GHz
    4GB DDR3 RAM
    250GB Hard Drive
    SD Card Slot
    7-hour built-in battery
    $1399 (Student Discount)

    MacBook Pro - 15" 2.4GHz *Refurbished*
    2GB DDR3 RAM
    250GB Hard Drive
    9400M + 9600M with 256MB
    ExpressCard/34 Slot
    5-hour removable battery

    Obviously I'm not going to pay a $500 premium for a 7-hour battery in the new midrange Pro. I already plan on upgrading the RAM to 4GB if I pick up the refurb and will already be upgrading my hard drive to 500GB

    Essentially, we're paying $50 more after upgrades to get a bigger screen and dedicated graphics.

    My main concerns are:

    -Battery life. I'm starting to think that the extra two hours might be "worthwhile" but of course there's always the counter-argument that the 5-hour battery was the "standard" just a month ago.

    -Refurbished. This means I miss out on the $20 (after rebate) iPod Classic I was looking forward to getting. Also this means that it's a refurbished unit, not brand-new and I can't get it at the Apple Store and would have to buy it online. I was looking forward to actually buying a Mac at the Apple Store (I got this white MacBook online) for 'just because' purposes. Then again, I'm not willing to pay a $500 premium to do all this =P

    -Bigger laptop. I'm not 100% sure whether or not I truly want a 15" Pro due to the size difference. It's a small difference but I'm not sure if this is something that I can definitely be okay with. I've handled the 15" Pro at the Apple Store and other places before and I've never really answered the question for myself sadly.

    TL;DR - The refurbished 15" Unibody Pro from last November is extremely appealing but means I'll skip out on a free iPod and buying it in-person at the Apple Store, plus I have no experience with refurbished Apple products. Also, I'm not able to get this MacBook until mid-August (currently traveling abroad), sadly.

    Any and all help would be appreciated, thanks!
  2. guydude193 macrumors 6502a

    May 15, 2009
    I have the unibody MacBook. Base model. And I can honestly tell you that everything I throw at it, it will do. With ease. I've yet to find something it struggles with it. And you're getting all the new upgrades with the 13".
    The only thing that's different about either is the screen. And if you're not sure if you want a 15", go with the former. :apple:
  3. stranger danger thread starter macrumors member

    Jul 8, 2009
    I'm making my decision in mid-August which is when I get back to the United States. I'm planning on going to the Apple Store with a friend when he gets his Pro, and hopefully the last-generation ones won't be sold out of Apple's refurb store by then.
  4. thegoldenmackid macrumors 604


    Dec 29, 2006
    dallas, texas
    So, in the time that it takes me to respond to all of your points below, you are going to change your mind, again? Makes me feel loved.

    I am already lost

    If your school had a lab with Mac Pro's, I think you might even begin to neglect the MacBook Pro.

    I'd say the latter.

    Do it by yourself.

    Probably a good thing.

    And your other ones are?

    That and, you really can't use Final Cut for anywhere near 5 hours on either computer, unless you and it are going to have a staring contest, in which I recommend the 13".

    That's probably a good start. But check MacMall or Amazon for the non-refurb older models, they might be around the same price, but new. Also you could see if you could find a smaller hard-drived (yes, that's a verb) as you will be doing the upgrade anyway.

    Well, Clearly I have answered it.

    Umm... I'd get the 15", I'm not sure you are missing out on a whole lot. Unfortunately they don't let you wring a special bell or anything or play with the large display iPhone, or give you a large iPod Nano like someonelse got...

    But you are just going to change your mind...

    How did you come up with that username btw?
  5. stranger danger thread starter macrumors member

    Jul 8, 2009
    I'm now opting for "wait for a 19-inch MBP" =]

    No, I'm almost certain I'm going to hunt down a refurbished or cheaper last-gen 15" Pro. eBay nets me a 2.53 GHz model with 4GB of RAM already pre-loaded and a 320GB hard drive for ~$1699 + Free shipping whereas Apple would charge me about $1494 after taxes on the $1349 model (and I would have spent just about $150 more on a 500GB HD and a 4GB RAM upgrade)

    Plus match that up with the sporadic Bing cashbacks and... well...

    I think we've solved this dilemma =P

    And the username just popped in my head.
  6. Scepticalscribe Contributor


    Jul 29, 2008
    The Far Horizon
    Go for the refurb 15" if a quality screen matters to you, the 15" MBP is a fine computer (I have one) and will do everything you throw at it; if screen quality and size matters less, (even though you are a Cinema major) then, choose the 13" otherwise.

    Personally, I'd go with the refurb in an Apple store, rather than eBay; that way, you get the advantage of Apple's warranties/guarantees, and no danger of fraud or scamming.

  7. chadamorrill macrumors 6502

    Sep 13, 2007
    Orlando, FL
    This is all extremely interesting being that i currently OWN the 15" 2.4/2/250 in question, and am selling it to a friend to fund the purchase of the 13" 2.53/4/250 in question.

    To me, it came down to portability. I LOVE the 15", don't get me wrong. What I found, though, is when toting it around to/from work or more likely passing it to my wife on the couch... it's big. Really big. And honestly... heavy. Holding it one handed <gasp> with the lid shut and passing it to the other couch... I know it's aluminum, and sturdy, but it just feels heavy. Like I'd really want to hang on with 2 hands heavy.

    It's not something I ever could have thought about before purchasing, and it isn't a terrible thing by any stretch, but when my friend asked the question, "so if you had to buy a MBP NOW, which would you get?"... after owning the 15"... I'd get the 13". And that's when he offered to buy mine.

    Honestly... I'm looking forward to the portability alone.
  8. chadamorrill macrumors 6502

    Sep 13, 2007
    Orlando, FL
    Totally agree... on the late 08 models. On the NEW ones, however, the screens are virtually identical. I took a trip to the store to make sure of this (they alluded to it in the keynote in June) and honestly, they're not joking. The 13" is stunning, just as the 15" is. I actually stood in front of a 13" and looked to my left (another 13) and then to my right (a 15) and wide angles were near identical; vertical angles, also identical. The quality is really good on BOTH now.

    Here's a link I read before finally deciding too :: http://www.robgalbraith.com/bins/multi_page.asp?cid=7-10041-10146
    It's a great read, and the guys there came to the same conclusions. The screen quality awesome.

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