Want to get a MacBook Pro 15 for college but torn...

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by SubFlow, Dec 4, 2009.

  1. SubFlow macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Dec 4, 2009
    #1
    Hey everyone. I need to get a laptop for college before the spring semester begins. Some of my friends have Macs so I thought I'd get one. I was doing some research, considering all options--both Mac and PC.

    I was looking for a system with these specs. Here's what I found:

    MacBook Pro 15
    Processor: 2.53GHz Intel Core 2 Duo
    RAM: 4GB DDR3
    Hard Drive: 500GB SATA
    DVD Drive: 8x (DVD±R DL/DVD±RW/CD-RW)
    Display: 15-inch Glossy Widescreen Display
    Keyboard: Backlit Keyboard (English) / User's Guide (English)
    Price: $1,849.00

    PC:
    Processor: 2.53GHz Intel Core 2 Duo
    RAM: 4GB DDR3
    Hard Drive: 500GB SATA
    DVD Drive: 8x (DVD±R DL/DVD±RW/CD-RW)
    Display: 15.6-inch 1080p HD Display
    Keyboard: Backlit Keyboard
    Price: $924.00

    I'm just a little confused... the specs are EXACTLY the same (except for the display) but the MacBook is almost $1000 more. Money isn't really an issue but I still don't want to waste money... expecially when i could get exactly what I want for a lot less.

    I'm hoping to buy it before Christmas because class starts Jan. 5th.

    Can someone please help!!:confused:
     
  2. Ride9650 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2007
    #2
    are you sure you have the PC specs right? I haven't actively looked at newer models as of late, but I have yet to see a pc laptop that uses DDR3 memory.

    Anyways some other things to keep in mind when comparing are the number and kinds of ports available. Also, the macbook pro is made of aluminum and the newer designs are alot easier to take apart in the event of upgrades like memory or a larger hard drive cause the case is made up of just two pieces. I imagine that any sort of an upgrade on a pc laptop is either not possible or a huge pain in the ass.

    Noticed one thing you left out was the graphics chip, thats another thing that can change inflate the price, especially since the macbook pro has two.

    If money is no issue, then I'd go for the mac simply because of OS X. Though I've had a bit of issue with the quality control of Apple as of late, the OS, as well as the customer support has made up for all my trouble.
    I have literally NEVER had any issues that I either couldn't solve intuitively myself, or without a quick google search.
     
  3. cash4chaos macrumors member

    cash4chaos

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2007
    Location:
    campbell ca
    #3
    Fast food or gourmet

    Very easy user experiance mac osx is s gourmet os pc is a fast food os . One leaves you satisfied the other well to be kind gives you the Hershey squirts .
    The mac will last years. The pc maybe 1 if your lucky .
    Things I am not cheap with my wife,home and car breaks and especially my computer . If you live by these rules you will live a long life.








    QUOTE=SubFlow;8914527]Hey everyone. I need to get a laptop for college before the spring semester begins. Some of my friends have Macs so I thought I'd get one. I was doing some research, considering all options--both Mac and PC.

    I was looking for a system with these specs. Here's what I found:

    MacBook Pro 15
    Processor: 2.53GHz Intel Core 2 Duo
    RAM: 4GB DDR3
    Hard Drive: 500GB SATA
    DVD Drive: 8x (DVD±R DL/DVD±RW/CD-RW)
    Display: 15-inch Glossy Widescreen Display
    Keyboard: Backlit Keyboard (English) / User's Guide (English)
    Price: $1,849.00

    PC:
    Processor: 2.53GHz Intel Core 2 Duo
    RAM: 4GB DDR3
    Hard Drive: 500GB SATA
    DVD Drive: 8x (DVD±R DL/DVD±RW/CD-RW)
    Display: 15.6-inch 1080p HD Display
    Keyboard: Backlit Keyboard
    Price: $924.00

    I'm just a little confused... the specs are EXACTLY the same (except for the display) but the MacBook is almost $1000 more. Money isn't really an issue but I still don't want to waste money... expecially when i could get exactly what I want for a lot less.

    I'm hoping to buy it before Christmas because class starts Jan. 5th.

    Can someone please help!!:confused:[/QUOTE]
     
  4. gaps macrumors member

    gaps

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2009
    Location:
    Gilbert, AZ
    #4
    All I know is that I just bought a very slightly used 17"MBP mid '08 from a friend of mine and I will not be going back to pc! I know they are more expensive than a pc but keep in mind the software is unbelievable. Just simple things like organizing your photos and the stability of the os is worth the difference in money. I have never heard someone say, "Man I should have bought that pc instead of the Mac." But I have heard plenty of people say after they buy the Mac that they will never go back to a pc!!! Just my $.02
     
  5. pukifloyd macrumors 6502a

    pukifloyd

    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2008
    Location:
    Scottsdale
    #5
    The mac will be awesome for you in the long run.
    Just compare a windows machine and a mac side by side and you'll understand why they are more expensive.

    OS X is one of the main reasons people buy a mac...also the build quality, customer care and resale value of macs is unbeatable.

    Though they have same specs, MBP will still be faster and easier for you to use than windows 7. IMO it will be worth it to buy the MBP as it will last longer(unless you are tempted to upgrade one)..

    cheers and good luck for your college:)

    ps- dont forget to buy apple care. You can buy it anytime during the first year of your purchase(like after 11months)...it will be worth it as repairs on macs are pretty expensive!:eek:
     
  6. MacLovin78 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2008
    #6
    Don't forget about the educational discount you will get on that Macbook Pro. I think it's around 10% or so. Another thing to consider is buying a refurb. You have priced out the baseline Macbook Pro and upgraded the hard drive. You could the following from the refurb store which gives you a bump in processor, and discrete graphics (the baseline only has the 9400) for $1699:

    Refurbished MacBook Pro 2.66GHz Intel Core 2 Duo
    15.4-inch LED-backlit glossy widescreen display
    4GB memory
    320GB Hard Drive
    8x SuperDrive (DVD±R DL/DVD±RW/CD-RW)
    SD card slot
    Built-in 7-hour battery
    NVIDIA GeForce 9400M + 9600M GT with 256MB
    Illuminated keyboard

    You can buy the 500 GB 7200 RPM hard drive from OWC and upgrade yourself and still come out less than buying the baseline brand new.
     
  7. MacLovin78 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2008
    #7
    Oh and just for some perspective... my brother bought a Dell and he got a great price on it. It is twice as thick as my Unibody MBP and weighs 2 pounds more. He doesn't have an illuminated keyboard or a 4" trackpad with multi finger gestures. The display is no where near the quality of the MBP and in my opinion neither is the build quality. I like the nice glossy glass display and the aluminum casing. So while you think you are paying twice as much for the same computer I guarantee you that you are not. You will definitely pay a premium but you definitely get what you pay for. And they aren't really kidding when they say that Macs just work. Last weekend I was at my parents and needed to print something on their wireless HP printer. I had never used it before so I needed to install the drivers. It recognized the printer immediately and I didn't have to hunt for discs or download online... I just clicked to add the printer and it loaded the entire HP suite of drivers and it just worked. It is something simple but something that is nowhere near as quick and easy on a PC.
     
  8. Badger^2 macrumors 68000

    Badger^2

    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2009
    Location:
    Sacramento
    #8
    You are right, on a price vs price comparison, PCs win

    what kind of PC is that? HP? Dell? ??
     
  9. Velin macrumors 65816

    Velin

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2008
    Location:
    Hearst Castle
    #9
    Yes. Get a unibody Macbook Pro. You will never go back to cheapo PCs after you see what a joy it is to use Mac OS X, coupled with the superlative build quality of the unibody Pros.

    Best laptop I've ever owned. And not a fanboy.
     
  10. SubFlow thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Dec 4, 2009
    #10
    So after doing some more research and reading your responses, it seems like the only reason for the price increase is the operating system, right?

    All I can find online are people saying that "Macs are better than PC's," but never really backing it up with a good reason. I don't really care for the "sexy" look or the fact that the keyboard is backlit...

    I've also been reading reviews on Windows 7 as well and it looks like the overall ratings are very good... I think I'll just borrow my friend's Mac and use it for a while... I really don't see the use in spending so much more just because a Mac looks "pretty."

    @Badger: the PC was a Dell.
    @punkifloyd: I did do a side-by-side, hence this thread.

    Thanks to everyone for your responses!
     
  11. pukifloyd macrumors 6502a

    pukifloyd

    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2008
    Location:
    Scottsdale
    #11
    its pukifloyd:mad::(
    :p

    and its not that people buy macs just because they are pretty...there are many good reasons given by people here why they buy macs...trust me you'll love macs and won't go back to windows after using them...
    cheers:)
     
  12. wywern209 macrumors 65832

    wywern209

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2008
    Location:
    do you rly want to know?
    #12
    Like everyone else said. the screen is far better. the pc most likely uses a CCFL backlit screen. that type consumes more power and is less vibrant than the LED backlit screen on the MBP. Like many others said, go for the refurb. apple refurbs cost less and are just like buying a new one. the refurbs are in perfect condition and you are very very unlikely to get a non-working unit because it has already been looked over and inspected. Also, the graphics make a big difference as ALL the OSes are going towards graphics acceleration so if ur graphics suck, it will be a big hit in the long run. the MBP has a 9600m gt which is a solid graphics card. the macbooks also have a 8 hr long battery. try finding that in any PC as powerful as the macbook pro. oh and as a an added bonus u get no crapware.
     
  13. chrono1081 macrumors 604

    chrono1081

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2008
    Location:
    Isla Nublar
    #13
    Well, one of the things is you cant compare hardware across operating systems.

    The mac will run much faster then its windows counterpart under the same specs.

    That being said if you need your computer to get work done and you work with heavy programs and do large file transfers without having to worry about crashes, or data not transferring and such the mac is for you.

    If you just want it to browse the internet and write a few papers you could go either way.

    I myself, even though I'm a Windows technician by trade could never go back to windows. Its simply not capable of doing what I need it to do. Its hard to explain the difference unless you've used both extensively.
     
  14. MythicFrost macrumors 68040

    MythicFrost

    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2009
    Location:
    Australia
    #14
    Can you post a link to the PC laptop you posted so we can have a look?
    I'd not get a MBP right now, considering the new line is approaching I think.

    If I was you, I'd wait (if you need a new laptop fast, I'd get a cheap $300-500 laptop and wait) until the new MBPs come out, and get one of the new ones. I'd not buy a MBP right now.
     
  15. 7031 macrumors 6502

    7031

    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2007
    Location:
    England
    #15
    In my opinion, unless your work requires that you use a Mac, I would go for the PC. I would however check what graphics processor it has however, since it can make a large change in the price, and to be honest for what you're getting Macs aren't hugely overpriced, just behind.

    Saying that, look at the Rock computers and you'll see how much better you can get for the same price as a Macbook.

    Simply put, your best bet would just be to go and try out both and see what you prefer/can afford etc.
     
  16. Velin macrumors 65816

    Velin

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2008
    Location:
    Hearst Castle
    #16
    Not really. What you've said is, "a Mercedes and a Hyundai have 8-cylinder engines. Ergo, the Hyundai and the Mercedes must be equally good. The only reason Hyundai costs $20K and Mercedes costs $100K is the Mercedes has heated leather seats." In a word, no. It is so much more than that.

    Apple designs the hardware and software to work together. You'll need to spend a week with a Mac and OS X to understand why it's a pleasure to use.

    Mac workflow is superior to Windows, in every way. The way you access and manage files and programs is intuitive and superior on Macs. How programs (applications) are installed and managed. How you use Spotlight to find or open anything on the system, use Coverflow to easily scan through hundreds of files, or how to preview stuff by using the spacebar.

    Networking Macs is a joy. Plug them in, you see them on the network, and you're done.

    The hardware is top notch. Screen is superlative -- you'll be hardpressed to find a better screen on any PC. MBP battery lasts much longer than comparable PCs. Need to swap out for a larger hard drive? Macbook Pro makes it easy. Construction is second to none, far superior to anything available on PCs right now. Wireless works great. And all of it works seamlessly with OS X. Hence it is vastly superior hardware, coupled with a superior operating system.

    It's the way everything simply works. I never ever even turn my computers on or off, my Mac Pro (desktop) or my Macbook Pro. Instead I put them to sleep, which takes 2 seconds. I haven't had to reboot my desktop in months, I think the last time I did it was a Snow Leopard service pack. And I could put the Macbook Pro to sleep for a month, come back, wake it, and it'd put me back right where I was, flawlessly. This is something I could never do with Windows PCs, which I have to reboot constantly, even in Windows 7. I'm not saying this is the reason to buy one. It's just one example out of many why, at base, Macs just work the way they are supposed to.

    Why don't you try a Macbook Pro out for a week, then make a decision.
     
  17. ouimetnick macrumors 68020

    ouimetnick

    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2008
    Location:
    Beverly, Massachusetts
    #17
    [/QUOTE]

    Thats a fanboy right there. Windows computers last more than 1 year. I've never had an issue with any of my PCs until they hit 3 years or over. My Gateway MX6426 a $599 Best Buy PC. I got it in December 2006, I'm using it right now. It works fine. Its my primary computer. But then My other 2 brothers have Macs One from January 2008 and One from November 2008. The Noverber 2008 is a Unibody Aluminum MB, and its HD failed. The Early 2008 MBP with the faulty 8600GT hasn't failed yet though.
     
  18. thunderboltspro macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2009
    Location:
    Midwest
    #18
    All computers fail it doesn't matter on price or quality. I have a vista desktop and a mac laptop. By far the mac laptop is better and it just works i have to problems with my laptop but far more with my desktop.

    laptop is 2 years old and the desktop is less then a year old. Do you wanna guess which one has stayed constant?

    I did a test on my desktop i opened 546 firefoxs and sat back and watched what happened. response went down and used ram at max was 2.5 outta 7. Even though its drastic test. i know my laptop will use every bit of ram it has and wont slowly deteriorate.

    Id rather have less people convert over to mac anyways but thats just me.
     
  19. ski2moro macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    May 3, 2007
    #19
    What's your time worth?

    I was a life-long PC user. I was in the same situation as you, wanting a new computer and considering a Mac or Dell. The Intel Macs had just come out and I could use Windows on Boot Camp or use the Mac.

    After careful consideration, I decided not to spend the extra money and get another PC. TWO brand new Dell units were shipped with inoperative hardware. I returned each one for one that would work out of the box. When the THIRD Dell computer had a DVD drive that wasn't working (the non-native English speaking CS agent told me that it was not supported in the software) I made the decision to buy a MacBook Pro in 2007.

    The two factors that matter the most to me are Time and Accessibility to Information. With a Mac, I don't have to spend my time on computer maintenance. No re-format to get rid of crapware, no defrag, no disk checks, and no anti-virus taking up my time. My time is worth more to me than that.

    I bought Apple Care and when I need help, I speak to knowledgeable, friendly people who speak English as their native language. Nothing is more frustrating than to be connected to an offshore phone center, to speak to someone with a thick accent who is reading from their script and doesn't understand the context of your question.

    My Apple store is 30 minutes away and I can go there to learn and ask questions. I have the resources of this forum to ask questions. IF I need service, the Genius Bar has been able to help me stay up and running.

    What I have is a Mac that runs Windows. I can play games on the Windows side using BootCamp. I used old versions of PC software on the Bootcamp side until the new Mac Versions came out. I only use the PC side for my business software now, which is only PC and will never be Mac.

    I feel I have the best of both worlds with my Mac. I am hardly a FanBoy. I have the money to purchase what I need, and I chose the Mac. It's lightweight and easy to transport. I don't worry about downloading a malware package. YMMV.

    What's your time worth?
     
  20. calsci macrumors 6502

    calsci

    Joined:
    Nov 27, 2008
    #20
    what is the pc made out of? is it as strong as the unibody enclosure?

    what kind of graphics card does the pc have? compare that to the 9600 in the 15"
     
  21. caonimadebi macrumors regular

    Joined:
    May 7, 2009
    #21
    I believe the 2.53 model has single, 9400M, integrated graphics. For dual GPU and 9600M GT, one needs to shell out another 300.
     
  22. a sandwhich macrumors member

    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2009
    #22
    Dude, for a pc laptop to match that of a macbook pro, it would cost at least twice the mbp
     
  23. kindablue09 macrumors regular

    kindablue09

    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2009
    #23
    I'm not gonna lie, I'm a fanboy. New apple hardware makes me feel like a kid in a toy store...

    However, on side to side comparison PCs will win for price. I stick with mac for most of the reasons these folks have listed (laundry list: intuitive OS, no virus, iLife, tech support which is awesome, warrantee, hardware, etc.). A PC would work just fine, but I'd have to change up the way I work on my computer (e.g. expose is my savior and I love spotlight).

    Personally, I love the hardware for the macbook pros. Its more than just aesthetics, apple's design really followed function. If you've used both you might have an idea of preference (which is probably why you came here to ask :p). But in case you don't know...
    -One of the (older) things that I love about the macbooks is the magsafe power cord. The attachment to the laptop is magnetic, meaning it pops out if someone trips on the cord. Plus the power block is less cumbersome then the pc bricks I've seen. Yeah its minor, but if I have to take the power cord with me, I want it to be as small and light as possible.
    -Unibody design, which has probably been covered in previous posts.
    -Apple track pads are just amazing. I know it sounds fanboyish, but I have a really hard time using non-apple trackpads (I haven't tried them all, I know). Response and surface are just horrible on the cheap Dell models. The click is pretty bad too, you have to move the button several millimeters. Its functional, just like writing with a broken pencil is functional... Apple trackpads allow you to use different finger gestures for different functions, which is just like using a muliti button mouse.
    -7 hour battery life, I'm not sure if the pc has that
    -Weight and dimensions are probably smaller than the pc.

    I liken laptops to sweaters. If you hate it you'll only wear it when you have to. If you love it you'll want to wear it all the time. Pick the computer that you'll want to carry with you, I've seen too many college students have a laptop that they hate carrying around, which kinda negates the purpose imo. Don't get me wrong, its not all about carrying the thing, but think about what you'll do during a typical day at school. Will you want to find somewhere to stop and charge your laptop midway through the day, or could you use a longer battery life? Will you be able to pull out your machine for 5 minutes and check your email w/o a hassle (how fast is it to wake up, go to sleep, viewing angle). How much weight and space will the machine take up? Depending on your commute and what you drag along, a few extra inches or pounds really can be a hassle...

    Go to the apple store and wherever they sell the pc laptop and test drive 'em.

    Plus, don't forget about the educational discount if you go w/apple. Its about 5-10% and you get a great deal on the 3 year warrantee (apple care). Plus, Dell's 3 year warrantee is crazy expensive compared to the cost of the machine, which is what I've heard from a friend.
     
  24. caonimadebi macrumors regular

    Joined:
    May 7, 2009
    #24
    This is simply not true.
    I just configured a Dell Studio 15 from Dell, and for $1569 you get:
    CPU: Core i7-720QM. This is a QUAD-CORE Nehalem chip
    GPU: 512MB ATI Mobility Radeon HD 4570. Performance is somewhere between 9400M and 9600M GT
    Memory: 8GB of DDR3. 'nuff said
    HDD: 500GB 7200RPM drive, the largest and fastest available
    Display: 1080p LED backlit display
    Battery: Extended 85Wh battery

    This is nearly twice the computer as the $1699 15" MBP. Macs do not compete on specs, but wins easily by its superior OS. I happily "overpaid" for my MBP knowing that I get OS X.
     
  25. ouimetnick macrumors 68020

    ouimetnick

    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2008
    Location:
    Beverly, Massachusetts
    #25
    This congfig is the Dell Studio 14z is cost $924. I think this is the closest I can get to a $1499 MBP

    COLORS Black Chainlink edit
    PROCESSOR Intel® Core™ 2 Duo P8700 (2.53GHz/1066Mhz FSB/3MB cache) edit
    OPERATING SYSTEM Genuine Windows® 7 Home Premium, 64bit, English edit
    OFFICE SOFTWARE Microsoft® Works 9 edit
    Dell Recommends
    Office Home & Student.
    Lets you create great-looking documents, spreadsheets and presentations quickly.
    Upgrade to Microsoft® Office Home and Student 2007 - Word, Excel + PowerPoint [add $99 or $3/month1]
    WARRANTY AND SERVICE 1Yr Ltd Warranty and Mail-In Service edit
    Dell Recommends
    Keep your warranty working longer.
    Upgrade to 2 Yr Ltd Hardware Warranty, InHome Service after Remote Diagnosis - Important Information [add $170 or $5/month1]
    In-Home Service after Remote Diagnosis: for issues covered by Limited Hardware Warranty, technician and/or part will be dispatched, if necessary, usually in 1 or 2 business days following Remote Diagnosis. During Remote Diagnosis, you may be asked to access the inside of your system (where safe to do so) or to participate in troubleshooting until a cause can be isolated.
    SECURITY SOFTWARE McAfee SecurityCenter, 30-Day Trial edit
    Dell Recommends
    Dell Recommended
    Upgrade to McAfee SecurityCenter, 36-Months [add $129 or $4/month1]
    HD DISPLAY 14.0” High Definition (720p) LED Display with TrueLife™ and Camera/Facial Recognition SW edit
    MEMORY 3GB Shared Dual Channel DDR3 at 1066MHz edit
    HARD DRIVE Size: 250GB SATA Hard Drive (5400RPM) edit
    BATTERY OPTIONS 56 Whr Lithium Ion Battery (6 cell) edit
    WIRELESS CARDS Dell Wireless 1515 Wireless-N Mini-card edit
    SOUND OPTIONS High Definition Audio 2.0 edit
    KEYBOARD Back-lit Keyboard edit
    My Accessories
    DATASAFE ONLINE BACKUP Dell Online Backup 2GB for 1 year edit
    ALSO INCLUDED WITH YOUR SYSTEM
    PROCESSOR Studio 14z Notebook
    VIDEO CARD NVIDIA® GeForce® 9400M G
    MOBILE CONNECTIVITY No Internal Mobro Selected
    Adobe Reader Adobe® Acrobat® Reader 9.0
    Processor Branding Intel® Core™ 2 Duo Processor

    Oh and My Gateway is made of plastic, the keyboard has some flex. I can pick it up by the corner and no squeak. Yes a MacBook is built better, but this Pc was $599, but on Black friday I got it for $499.99 I got it in 2006. I'm using it right now. I like it very much.
     

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