Which MBP should I buy for college???

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by arb247, Jul 15, 2007.

  1. arb247 macrumors newbie

    Jul 15, 2007
    Hi, everyone. I'm new to MacRumor and Mac itself. I've never had Apple computer, but I've been looking for a new laptop for college (i'll be a first-year engineering student this august) and Mac seems the way to go. I've decided to get a MBP I'm just not sure what specs I should get. Even though i'm on a budget, i'm willing to spend extra on something if it's really worth it.

    Here's what I'm debating over:

    -15 inch 2.2 or 2.4 ghz
    -160GB HDD 5400 rpm vs. 7200 rpm

    The 2.4 ghz will be $434 extra since I'm going with a 160GB HDD. Is the .2 ghz extra worth the extra cost? Compared to the 160GB 5400 rpm, the 160GB 7200 rpm is an extra $135. Is that extra cost worth it too?

    This laptop will have to last me for my next four years of school. I'll be using it to run engineering programs such as MATLAB, listening and downloading music, watching movies, e-mailing and IMing, browsing the internet, word processing, etc. What I won't be doing is playing video games. Nor will I be doing any intense video or photo editing. i'll also probably be installing windows on it eventually and either use parallels or bootcamp as many engineering programs only work in windows. any recommendations on parallels vs. bootcamp? Thanks guys. I appreciate all the help. If you need me to give you any more info, I'll be more than happy to share it.
  2. arb247 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 15, 2007
    I should also note that I'll be buying the laptop with 2GB of RAM, but will eventually be upgrading it to 4GB of RAM myself. Apple charges way too much for RAM :eek:
  3. bigandy macrumors G3


    Apr 30, 2004
    Get the base MBP. You don't need the other one.

    In terms of Parallels/BC, I'd say chuck a bootcamp partition on there, and use VMWare with it. I used Parallels until a few weeks ago when I picked up VMWare, and it's one helluva lot better...
  4. arb247 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 15, 2007
  5. queshy macrumors 68040


    Apr 2, 2005
    In my opinion, the processor upgrade is a waste of money. Most people wouldn't be able to tell the two apart, and in a few years from now, you'll be glad you didn't spend the extra cash on the processor upgrade because whatever will be out by then will be way, way better than the santa rosa chipset so you won't even care about which one you have.

    The 7200 rpm drive will provide you with a noticeable speed difference. That's a great upgrade.

    Keep us posted,
  6. CalBoy macrumors 604


    May 21, 2007
    Go with the base model. It gives you more bang for your buck.
  7. Gandhi macrumors regular

    Jun 27, 2007
    While I have the 2.4 model myself, for your needs - as long as you do not plan to play PC games via Windows - the 2.2 model with upgraded HDD and memory will serve you very well. I would recommend the base model and take the savings to buy 4 gigs of memory - that will go a long way to help for your engineering programs.
  8. wongulous macrumors 6502a

    Dec 7, 2002
    Well processor-wise, you're paying 20% more for 9% more power (at maximum). That doesn't make sense. Hard-drive-wise, you're gaining both additional space and speed (the more capacity and less filled a hard drive, the faster data seek generally works), for a very cheap upgrade price, and on a drive that is a bit of a pain to upgrade. I'd get the HDD upgrade.

    Though personally, I'm a college student going for the 17" because I just don't trust the LED backlighted 15" MBPs...
  9. teflon macrumors 6502a


    May 28, 2007
    Apple also charges too much for hd. For the same price of upgrading to 160gb 7200rpm, you can get a 200gb 7200rpm one if you shop around and DIY. Then you can buy an external closure and put the hd that came w/ ur mbp in it.
  10. arb247 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 15, 2007
    I think the 2.2 ghz is best for me too. I just wanted to see opinions from other people....

    What's bad about the LED screen?

    Also, if I upgraded the hard drive myself how would I get all the info the hard drive apple installed into my new hard drive? If I buy an enclosure does that mean I can use it has an external hard drive or is it pretty much useless unless it's in my laptop?

    Thanks a million, everyone. You've all been a lot of help. Please continue putting up posts!!!
  11. crazycat macrumors 65816


    Dec 5, 2005
  12. wongulous macrumors 6502a

    Dec 7, 2002
    It's just new and untested, giving some people really uneven colors, uneven lighting, the weird yellow issue, etc. I've had plenty of CFL-lit Mac laptops and never had a problem.

    As far as the HDD, it can be done. It's going to require some tools, a lot of careful patience, and there will be a lot of screws... but you can do it.

    The HDD inside of your MBP is worth saving for an external drive. Get an empty 2.5" external enclosure with FW/USB2 on newegg.com and throw it in there.
  13. arb247 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 15, 2007
    It seems like upgrading the HDD myself and getting an external enclosure is not a bad idea. The only thing is that I found out that upgrading the HDD yourself can void the Apple warranty so I think it's best for an Apple technician to do it for me. It costs ~$30 from what I hear, which isn't too bad. I think it only voids the warranty if you actually damage something while upgrading, but knowing me there's a chance something will be damaged :p. Besides, something may not go wrong when I upgrade my HDD, but if something happens later on I don't want Apple to make an excuse and say it's because I upgraded the HDD myself :mad:

    I took a look at the external enclosures on newegg.com, but I'm not sure which one would support the 120GB 5400 RPM HDD that comes standard in the MacbookPro that I'm interested in. Any recommendations?

    Here's one I found:


    Would that one do the job? Thanks again, keep it up!!! :)
  14. Gymnut macrumors 68000


    Apr 18, 2003
    Notebook hard drives are of the 2.5" variety so any enclosure that specifies for 2.5" drives should be fine. I'd recommend getting an enclosure that supports multiple interfaces ie USB 2.0, FW400, FW800, and or eSATA.
  15. arb247 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 15, 2007
  16. arb247 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 15, 2007
    Hey, everyone. Just though I'd let you guys know that I'm buying the 2.2 ghz macbook pro with the 160 gb hdd 7200 rpm. I know how people were saying that I should upgrade it myself, but it's too much of a hassle to buy an enclosure, bring to an authorized service center (an extra $40), not have a warranty on my new hard drive and lost it on my old, etc. i really don't save much in the end money wise. i'm not going to need an external hard drive right away anyway. I figure by the time i need one they will be much better and cheaper. so thanks for all your help everyone. you guys are the best!
  17. teflon macrumors 6502a


    May 28, 2007

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