When New MacBooks Arrive What Options Should I Choose?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by solarkismet, Sep 18, 2008.

  1. solarkismet macrumors newbie

    Aug 15, 2008
    So I've been hanging on Macrumors since April waiting for the new Macbooks while my 4+ year old Toshiba gets slower and slower. It's like a 10 minute boot now...

    At the end of the day, I'd like to pay more now to have a machine that will last a long time rather than do it on the cheap. But I'd like to save money and make good decisions too...

    So my questions:

    * RAM: Should I buy the lowest factory RAM option and upgrade it myself? Is this significant savings and how difficult is it vs. a PC (which I've done)? Where's best to buy the RAM? Do you think the new Macbook will require a significantly different kind of RAM that will take longer to hit the side market (vs. Apple)?

    * Storage: It seems a lot harder to replace a hard-drive and I was leaning toward getting the largest factory size to start. I'm currently limping with ~10% free on my current 40 GB harddrive, but have only burned 1/5 of my CDs. I'd split off some for a windows partition (see next question). I assume harddrive is less of a do-it-yourself than RAM, no?

    * Partitioning and Size: I'm planning on partitioning off some space for XP and running bootcamp. Do I have to partition before setting up, or can I do it later without a reset/wipe of files/configurations? If I partition and find I don't need it, can I erase it without a reset/wipe? I'm not a gamer or graphic designer and all my music/pictures would stay on the mac side. Given that I have 40 GB now, I was thinking 20-30 GB for XP. Any experience here?

    * Files: All my files are Microsoft Office. Is it worth saving money with NeoOffice and seeing how the transition goes, vs. buying Mac Office to start?

    * Software: Anything you recommend that doesn't come standard? Virus, spyware, etc software? (I know, but I'm paranoid.) Is download.com the best source for interesting add-ons for Mac?

    * Any other options that I could upgrade/add myself vs. buying factory made and save some cash?

    * Accessories: What other stuff will I need that is Mac specific?
    - Mouse?
    - External harddrive back-up (I have a 100 GB Seagate).
    - Other stuff?

    Long list, but thanks for whatever you can recommend...

  2. Tallest Skil macrumors P6

    Tallest Skil

    Aug 13, 2006
    1 Geostationary Tower Plaza
    Upgrade it yourself. NEVER BUY RAM FROM APPLE.

    You need no anti-virus software for OS X. Some exists. They exist to steal your money. They only catch Windows viruses. Don't waste your money.
  3. TEG macrumors 604


    Jan 21, 2002
    Langley, Washington
    Get the fastest available processor, as they cannot be upgraded. Both RAM and HD can be upgraded later.

    Just buy the Home and Student version of Office for $150 (or so).

    The only software I would recommend is Perian and/or VLC for watching videos.

    There are very few things that are Mac Specific. So long as it connects with USB or Firewire it will likely work.

  4. neiltc13 macrumors 68040


    May 27, 2006
    Do not buy a mouse from Apple. Their offerings are the WORST in the business.
  5. Aranince macrumors 65816

    Apr 18, 2007
    Upgrading RAM in a Macbook is just as easy, if not easier than a PC.
  6. MacBass macrumors 6502


    Aug 12, 2005
    La Crosse, WI
    I'm not sure if the next gen MacBook will have this feature, but the current MacBook allows for user-replaceable RAM and hard drive. So if this holds true for the next gen, go with the lowest for both, unless Apple's pricing is close (which I highly doubt).

    As for Office, don't forget about OpenOffice or iWork.
  7. andiwm2003 macrumors 601


    Mar 29, 2004
    Boston, MA
    as for ram and HD:

    sometime apple prices were close to market prices. that means 4GB market price was $400 and the apple upgrade was $500. in that case i would go with apple since in case of a problem they want you to send in the MB with original ram only. that means you can't sell the original ram because you might need it.

    same is true for the HD. only if apple charges ridiculous amounts (that happens more often than not) i would go with third party vendors. howerver i plan to get a 320GB 7200RPM HD and if apple doesn't offer one i'll buy through OWC.

    as for accessories: only buy a laptop bag (i prefer cheap Target/Walmart style) and a 500GB or 1TB external firewire HD (i like western digital mybook).
    stay away from apple mice. then over time buy the accessories you need after researching them one buy one as needed. otherwise you buy tons of expensive stuff that you hardly ever use.

    i don't see how i could do without MS Office so i will drop $150 and buy the student version. if you have only word files and don't use it too often then you could try neo office.
  8. RedTomato macrumors 68040


    Mar 4, 2005
    .. London ..
    It's extremely easy to replace the HD in a macbook - took me 5 minutes - and the Macbook is still covered by warranty. Apple has instructions on its website.

    You might be thinking of the old iBooks - these were nightmares to replace the HD on.

    Macbooks use standard RAM. Some say OSX works its RAM harder than Windows, and recommend only buying RAM from places like Crucial or OWC. (this is what I do.) Others have had cheapo RAM work.

    I don't have a mouse, but any standard USB mouse will work - buy something you like, or use your old USB mouse.

    Boot Camp will let you non-destructively partition your HD and create a Windows partition any time you like. You can also erase it without affecting your mac files. (you can't change the partition size without erasing the Windows part though).

    Some like to buy either VMwareFusion or Parallels for easier access to Windows apps.

    Firefox is a must :) As is iMovie, PhotoBooth, etc. Fortunately they're all free :)

    Your 100GB external is fine for Time Machine if you want to save some money. To save space, tell Time machine to not backup some of your larger folders (e.g. downloads) or tell it to just backup Documents / Desktop / Mail / whatever and nothing else.
  9. solarkismet thread starter macrumors newbie

    Aug 15, 2008
  10. Hadi macrumors member

    Sep 20, 2008
    HD replacement

    So from what I understood is that, you buy whatever HD comes with the laptop and then you can replace it your self????? and the laptop is still covered by apple? I mean I was going to update the HD before buying but this way it sound like its a better Idea to do it somewhere else!!!!!!!!!!!!!11
  11. Battlefield Fan macrumors 65816

    Battlefield Fan

    Mar 9, 2008
    well currently the mbp's ram can be upgraded very easily. You can save around $100 by installing your own. And the next mbp should use the same ddr2 ram that's been around for years.

    Don't skimp when it comes to office. Just bite the bullet and buy the $150 student version.

    As one other person said get the best processor you can afford because it can not be upgraded.

    It is hard to replace the hard drive in the current mbp(it can be done) but the next mbp is said to be easer to upgrade the hard drive.

    Really I have had too good of luck with the mighty mouse but you can give it a try. The new slim keyboard is really nice though!

    No virus protection will be needed for OSX. If your running winows on it you'll need to install a virus protection(only on the winows partition) such as norton internet sec. 2009(what I use and I would recommend)
  12. Aranince macrumors 65816

    Apr 18, 2007
    Yes, both the hard drive and the memory are considered user-serviceable parts, meaning it won't void your warranty.
  13. davidjearly macrumors 68020


    Sep 21, 2006
    Glasgow, Scotland
    In your opinion. I get on with my mighty mouse quite fine.

    Why do you constantly berate Apple products in every thread. I have seen you do this with iPods, the Apple TV, the Cinema Displays, the MacBook, the iMac, and now Apple Mice!

    What is your problem, and why do you continue to visit this site?

  14. fivepoint macrumors 65816


    Sep 28, 2007
    I agree with nieltc. The Apple mice are horrible if you do any multi-tasking at all. For someone who is slow at using a computer and very elementary with computer capabilities would notice no difference whatsoever... but someone who is constantly changing windows, programs, jumping back and forth between tasks, etc. a good multi-button mouse from logitech is the way to go. Especially with Expose' and spaces... the mighty mouse just doesn't have the muscle to keep me productive.

    Add to that the problems they have with getting dirty under the scroll wheel and the unintended right-clicks... I stay as far away from apple mice as possible. Wish I didn't have to say that, but I do.
  15. velocityg4 macrumors 601


    Dec 19, 2004
    *Partitioning - 20 to 30GB will be fine for XP given the uses you describe though for Vista I would give an extra 10. To easily swap file back and forth I would get Macdrive for the Windows side and use MacFuse with NTFS-3G on the Mac Side.

    *Accessories -
    Mouse: The Mighty Mouse is fine but I highly prefer Logitech especially the MX 310 which I have used for a few years though it is corded.

    Keyboard: If using in one location a lot I would consider an external keyboard. I have an MS comfort curve 2000 and MS makes drivers for the Mac so that key placements are the same as an Apple keyboard, except the eject CD key. Also the extra functionality keys work allowing you to program them to open apps and control iTunes without the window being active.

    External HD: If you care about your data and do not want to burn DVD's constantly. Though if you have a networked computer with plenty of storage I would backup to that.

    Stand: I would also consider a stand if using at a single desk location often, so that you are not stooped over constantly.

    *Software - Give NeoOffice a try. I prefer it because I it is a universal binary and has the feel of Office 04 and before unlike 08 which forces that blasted all incluse formatting toolbar on you rather than individual tool bars that leave all the basic formatting options immediately available. I only make basic spreadsheets and documents though. If you are a power user of Office you would want 08 unless you need Visual Basic, in which case bootcamp/parralels is needed.

    *Ram/HD - covered adnausium.
  16. allmIne macrumors 6502a


    Sep 17, 2008
    United Kingdom
    I'll not quote anybody, as I find quite a few people on this forum get insanely defensive if somebody dares air an opinion contrary to their own, but...

    I disagree with the Apple mice bashing, particularly with regards to hurting productivity. I'm a fairly advanced user, and use both Expose and Spaces throughout a working day, and if anything, I find these help overcome any mouse deficiences. They negate the use of the supposedly 'fiddly' right click, for example.

    They certainly don't make it more difficult to use an Apple mouse, as these two apps in particular literally reduce multi-tasking to point and single click. Which mouse you use matters not one iota.
  17. Bobeder9 macrumors member

    Jul 10, 2008
    I like my mighty mouse. Expose with the side buttons and use the program Warp for spaces. I don't see how it isn't a productive mouse. I also prefer iWork over MS Office. I have used both and iWork suites me better.
  18. fivepoint macrumors 65816


    Sep 28, 2007
    As for the Mighty Mouse... its fine for some people, and others, not so much. One thing is for sure, most people have a VERY strong opinion one way or the other. I recommend you read through a few of the threads in this forum on that topic. Personally, as seen in the second link, I got the Mighty Mouse with high hopes and quickly found out that I hated it. Which stunk, because then I had to sell it... etc. Anyway, here are a few threads you may want to start with:

    Why can't Apple design a decent mouse?

    Is the Mighty Mouse REALLY that bad?

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