Win7/CR-48 convert, want to get a MPB, have a few Qs

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by deosaa7, May 27, 2011.

  1. deosaa7 macrumors member

    Joined:
    May 27, 2011
    #1
    Hello all,

    First post here after spending the better part of my afternoon lurking. I am a after a longwhile of telling my self I never would, finally considering a mac. This is after spending a good deal of time with Windows Machines: I have a Thinkpad running Win7 and a 12" netbook running Windows 7. I take pretty good care of my machines but they have recently had me at the end of my line in terms of how they are annoying the hell out of me: Random freezing, restarts, sometimes gets frozen at the BIOS boot screen. Not sure what's going on..there. I was also fortunate enough to get a CR-48 from google (typing on it right now). It's nice but not up to the floggings I like to give my computers performance wise (have 40 tabs open and stream HD video). I will be starting graduate school soon and the calling card of academia is a Mac so I'm looking to cross to the dark side and get one. Was posting here to see if you all could advise me if a mac is right for me and what model is best.

    The tasks I do regularly is using Mathematica and puTTy to do modeling for chemistry. I do a lot of internet browsing and routinely have 40+ tabs open. When I am in work mode I have 40 tabs open (streaming Pandora, couple HD youtube vids), 4-5 excel windows, 1-2 word windows, while I'm downloading stuff via torrent (we share large cluster files via the torrent network). This taxes the hell out of my windows machines and they are accordingly slow. I'm guessing then the MBP would be better for me over MB and MBA?

    Also useability is really big for me..I'm splitting hairs right now typing on the CR 48 because every 30 seconds my finger will inavertantly hit the touchpad and my cursor will cause me to type random in random places which is REALLY annoying for typing up lab reports and the like.

    I understand I could stick with Win7 but the reason I'm strongly considering the switch is because of design. I'm mildly offended that none of the PC vendors (HP, Dell, Lenovo, etc) couldn't get the idea of simple design beauty down the way Apple has. MPH says 'use me'..my Asus netbook and IBM thinkpad on the other hand look like a POS.

    Last thing for me is a SSD. I'm 100% sold on the SSD drive after experiencing it on the CR-48, I LOVE the speed. And I have a 500gb external.

    Cost is an issue for me in that I'm trying to reduce it as much as possible. The version I have configured now with education discount is the entry level one but with a 128 gb SSD comes out to $1324. Do you all think this is good and if so when is the best time to get it. I want to maximize the amount of stuff I can get so if I could get the educational discount + the free ipod or ipad that would be great.

    Would also appreciate any reccs on cases although I'm sure there are some guides on this...

    Sorry I know this post was a lot!
     
  2. gmans46 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2011
    #2
    alright well first of all it sounds like you have alot going on. Right away I can tell you that you most certainly will need to upgrade to 8gb of ram maybe even more (40 tabs is a ********) either way the ssd is going to do wonders for that. Idk I hate to say it but I think the 15in would better suit your needs but if price is that important of the factor I guess the 13 will have to suffice. it also sounds like you might have alot of files for storage and if so is 128gb enough? you might want to consider an optibay which is when you take out your superdrive and put a hdd in the "optibay" I have a 2011 15in with a 128gb ssd 8gb of 1600mhz ram and a 750 gb hdd in the optibay and the thing really flies. Then again I also never have 40 tabs open at once so I couldnt tell you. As long as you dont game the 13in should be okay but make sure you upgrade the ram (aftermarket) and if you need more storage but want the ssd go to owc and get a data doubler for like $140 (no tax) then add 8 gb of ram for anywhere from (what ive seen) 70$-$100. That way for the 1324 plus selling the ipod you will basically have a powerhouse.
     
  3. Makosuke macrumors 603

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2001
    Location:
    The Cool Part of CA, USA
    #3
    First, to give a point of reference, I recently bought a 17" quad-core MBP, into which I added 8GB RAM and a 120GB SSD as a boot drive, then replaced the optical drive with the 750GB rotating hard drive for data storage.

    As for your described use case, you almost certainly do want a MBP, and the SSD will also be a very good thing. Additional recommendations:

    1) You absolutely want 8GB RAM, but don't get it as a stock upgrade from Apple--it's easy to install, and Apple charges way too much. I recommend OWC RAM (lifetime warranty, guaranteed compatible, good company), which will save you a few bucks, plus have the stock sticks left if you want to sell them, put them in another machine, or use them for troubleshooting some day. 16GB is prohibitively expensive, but even if it weren't, 8GB should be fine--I routinely have dozens of windows and tabs open in Safari, a few in Firefox, plus run Word, Photoshop, my text editor, an FTP client, Terminal, Mail.app, and a few oddball utilities, without issue, on 8GB.

    2) If there is any way at all for you to afford it, I would strongly push you toward the 15". The quad-core processor alone will make the step up worth it if you're running Mathematica and puTTy plus a browser. That also drops the price of an SSD upgrade by about $50 (unless you were looking at the 2nd tier 13"). You also get a bigger screen and MUCH better graphics processor--a dedicated, decent GPU instead of the stock integrated one.

    3) In my opinion the 128GB SSD is a good upgrade, although buying the computer stock and replacing the optical drive with an SSD is another option, as gmans46 suggested; it won't be too much more expensive, and you won't be tethered by an external for data storage, although you will need to keep an external optical drive around somewhere. If you can't afford this, you can always add a large rotating drive later when you can (or when you feel you need the space handy).


    With the stock RAM and a 128GB SSD upgrade, a 15" (with quad core CPU and lower-end dedicated GPU) will run you $1,879.00 with the EDU discount, which is more than you were planning but SO worth it unless the 13" portability is EVERYTHING to you or you absolutely cannot come up with the money. Add $102 for 8GB of RAM from OWC, but if it came down to it, I'd recommend buying that now and adding the RAM when you can afford it, rather than cheaping out on the 13" to get 8GB of RAM now.

    I'd also highly recommend AppleCare for the extended 3 year warranty ($180, maybe less if you shop around for a good deal), but you can buy that any time during the 1 year factory warranty, so if you can't afford it now, you can wait (so long as you don't forget before it's too late--I've done that!).

    If you can't afford the regular 15", try the refurbished section--no custom configuration, but you can add a SSD on your own later, and they come with the standard 1 year warranty. There's currently a stock quad-core 15" listed for $1,529.00, a good deal.


    Final recommendation: You probably saw the front-page MacRumors story on this, but Apple always offers a "back to school" promo through the summer that will net you a FREE iPod (or a $200 discount on a higher end one). In all likelihood it will start in early June this year, so if you wait just a bit you'll get yourself a free iPod. You can also get a free $100 printer, which you might as well do even if you don't really need it--it's free (apart from tax), so sell it on Craigslist or give it to a friend or family member. Note, incidentally, that Apple's rebates are VERY easy to do if you buy through them, and come pretty quickly.
     

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