Which MacBook Pro is the best buy?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by greenwta, Mar 15, 2008.

  1. greenwta macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2008
    #1
    I am going to be buying a new laptop computer in the next few weeks. Im leaning toward getting a MacBook Pro, I dont think I need a 17" screen so most likely I will be getting one of the two 15.4" inch models. The problem is that I dont know which of the two models is the best buy. It looks to me like the only MAJOR difference is a 2.4 processor with 3MB L2 on the base pro or a 2.5 processor with a 6MB L2 on the mid range. The only other real difference is the graphics card at 256MB or 512MB. Basically, i dont understand if those two things are worth the $500 price bump. I am a college student so money is an issue so if they will not help the overall performance of my system significantly I will probably go with the base MBP. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

    Also, is it worth it performace wise to spend the extra $100 or so to upgrade a hard drive from 5400 to 7200 rpm.

    Thanks for any help!!!
     
  2. djejrejk macrumors 6502a

    djejrejk

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    Jan 3, 2007
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    #2
    The 15in 2.5 with 7200rpm and 2gb ram drive is your best bet. You can easily upgrade to 4gb for 90-$130 via Corsair or OWC and save some cash. I upgraded my 2.33 MBP to a 7200rpm drive- I will say that the speed increase is very noticeable.

    The 2.4->2.5 bump is much more substantial than you might think, however the 2.4 is still a great machine.

    The screen size was a toss up for me as well, but if you are getting the 17, go for the hi def screen as well,.. otherwise, the added size and weight would turn me off.
     
  3. Santabean2000 macrumors 68000

    Santabean2000

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    Nov 20, 2007
    #3
    No it's not. And the extra graphics RAM is not a big issue unless you plan on using big external monitors, (the card's limited bandwidth means the 512 is not fully utilised, unlike the GT is in the MP).

    Get the base model, but upgrade the HDD to the faster 7200rpm and max out the RAM to 4GB from outside sources, and you'll be good to go.
     
  4. greenwta thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Mar 15, 2008
    #4
    this might be a dumb question, but how do I go about upgrading to 4GB RAM from outside sources? Do you just order it online and install it yourself or what is the deal with that? I have never done much computer modifying...
     
  5. mankar4 macrumors 6502a

    mankar4

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    Aug 23, 2007
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    #5
    Yes, exactly. order online (there's lots of links around the forums to current deals) and install it yourself. The installation takes less than 5 minutes. I would go with the 2.4 definitely. I have an SR 2.2 with the 128mb, and I've never run into problems playing Windows games or doing 3d rendering on my 24" external.
     
  6. iJesus macrumors 6502a

    iJesus

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    Reno, Nevada
  7. heatmiser macrumors 68020

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    Dec 6, 2007
    #7
    If you're buying new (and not refurbished), go with the base model.
     
  8. iJesus macrumors 6502a

    iJesus

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2007
    Location:
    Reno, Nevada
    #8
    That's what I did today.

    I went to the apple store and decided whether a glossy or matte was better
    (I went with glossy)

    THEN, I went home and bought it online
    :p
     
  9. greenwta thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Mar 15, 2008
    #9
    Thanks for all the fast advice!! What is the benefit to getting a glossy screen? Wont it just be harder to see with all the glare when sitting in the sun and stuff like that?
     
  10. iJesus macrumors 6502a

    iJesus

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    #10
    Yeah, I think it will.

    I still chose the Glossy though.
    One of the Apple guys was kind enough to show me the differences.

    The glossy showed brighter, more vivid colors than the anti-glare (matte).
    The apple employee told me that the matte was truer to the original colors.

    Still, if you plan on watching movies quite a bit, I'd go with glossy.

    It's truly a matter of personal preference though.
    Do what I did if you get the chance.
    Go to the store and check them out, come back home and order one on MacMall.
     
  11. michaeljordan macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2008
    #11
    It's not really much modifying to speak of. It's really quite easy, I thought adding extra RAM to my macbook was for pros only, yet I did it last week with the help of a few videos on YouTube. Here's one, but you can easily google and find lots more... Hope this helps!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qozs6KZoarA&feature=related
     
  12. nufanec macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2005
    #12
    Yes it is actually. On the 2.4 you get 3Mb l2 cache while the 2.5 has 6Mb. Makes quite a substantial difference in real world terms. Its why the outgoing 2.4 mernom based mbp performs better than the new one.
     
  13. ozmerelda macrumors newbie

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    Mar 13, 2008
    Location:
    Sarasota, FL
    #13
    Which MacBook Pro is the best buy? Upgrading

    You are eligible for a student discount at Apple which offsets the taxes.

    Also if you install your own memory it voids the Apple Ram warranty according to Apple unless you are a certified Apple Technician which may be OK because OWC guarantees the memory for life.

    You could try the Geek Squad at Best Buy to install it for a reasonable fee.

    IMAC, Macbook 2.16gh, IPhone
     
  14. twitter macrumors member

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    Oct 27, 2007
    #14
    so if I would run parallels and use a ex. 21" monitor would I need the 512 then??
     
  15. telecomm macrumors 65816

    telecomm

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    #15
    False.

    See page 34 of the manual.

    You void the warranty if you break something while installing RAM.
     
  16. greenwta thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Mar 15, 2008
    #16
    I have seen rumor around the forum that the 7200 rpm HDD causes overheating and makes the laptop run louder. Does the 7200 infact cause these problems? and if so, is it still worth the 90 dollar price bump for whatever performance it enhances?
     
  17. Santabean2000 macrumors 68000

    Santabean2000

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    Nov 20, 2007
    #17
    I don't think so, but if you had two 30" ACDs perhaps.
     
  18. Santabean2000 macrumors 68000

    Santabean2000

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2007
    #18
    Marginal difference potentially yes, substantial difference... na. Having 4GB RAM would be much more effective performance jump.

    Original poster sighted limited cash reserves for this purchase. Of course for others with mullah to burn...
     
  19. djejrejk macrumors 6502a

    djejrejk

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    #19
    Exactly,.. l2 chace makes a big difference when doing processor intensive work,.. that being said its not very noticable when checking email and surfing the web (which is what most people do with their MacBook Pros anyway).


    Geek Squad will rip you off guaranteed... and RAM is a user serviceable part. Takes less than 5 minutes. Even if that did void the warranty you could just stick the old ram in when you take it in and they would never know. Trust me, I've taken mine totally apart about 5 times and they don't say anything when I take it in.


    Not necessarily.
     
  20. BlizzardBomb macrumors 68030

    BlizzardBomb

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    Jun 15, 2005
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    England
    #20
    Umm... No. The previous generation 2.6 GHz MBP (a BTO option) beats the 2.4 GHz Penryn by 1 point on SpeedMark 5. A 2.4 GHz Merom couldn't beat it, even if it does have 1 MB more L2 cache.

    Smart money is with the base model. 256 MB is the sweet spot for this graphics card, it's not exactly a powerful card, so 512 MB doesn't make a significant difference unless you are using apps like Maya and Motion. Less than 10% more performance is not worth $500.
     
  21. greenwta thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2008
    #21
    I have seen rumors around the forum that the 7200 rpm HDD causes overheating and makes the laptop run louder. Does the 7200 infact cause these problems? and if so, is it still worth the 90 dollar price bump for whatever performance it enhances?
     

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