Would it be a bad idea to buy a Core Duo MacBook Pro now?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by jamdr, Feb 17, 2007.

  1. jamdr macrumors 6502a


    Jul 20, 2003
    Bay Area
    I know, I know...Rev. D Santa Rosa MacBook Pros are coming out in a few months. But I can't afford $1800 for a new computer (the EDU cost of the cheapest MacBook Pro) and I really don't want to buy refurbished hardware (which is still $1600 + tax + shipping for a Rev. C model when they actually have them in stock). I would get a MacBook but I really need the larger screen of the MacBook Pro. So I found a brand new Rev. B Core Duo MacBook Pro with a 2GHz processor, 512MB of memory, and an 80GB hard drive for about $1400 including tax and shipping. Is it a good idea to buy it?

    I do mostly audio work, which is processor intensive but nothing a Core Duo couldn't handle. My main concern with buying the older hardware is the lack of n-draft wireless and the single-layer SuperDrive, but after thinking it over I think I could deal. I would need to get another 1GB of RAM but I could do that at a later time for under $100. The smaller hard drive is also disappointing but I could make do since I have an external FireWire drive. Are there any other major differences I should be aware of? Video cards are really not a concern of mine.

    So based on what I've said, does it sound like it would be wise to get the Core Duo now? My other option would be to wait until the Rev. D models come out and then try to get a Rev. C model for cheap, but I would probably have to wait a long time for them to come down to the $1400 range (or maybe not? I don't really know...). Any help would be really appreciated.
  2. polevault139 macrumors 6502

    Sep 24, 2006
    Why are you so set on getting the pro model? The Macbook seems fine for what you are doing. If screen size is your only concern then you could hook up and external monitor when your at home and the 13.3" should be fine for traveling. You could get a refurb C2D with the superdrive and an external monitor for less then the MBP.
  3. Emrtr4 macrumors regular

    Feb 6, 2006
    15.4 inch Macbook-non pro?
    You've heard the rumors I'm sure.

    Look, if I were you I would wait.

    Here is another reason, if you can last until June/July.
    If there is a 15.4 inch Macbook I am sure that it will be in your price range with all the nice new features.

    On the other hand, if there isnt, Santa Rosa will be released by then and you will most certainly be able to pick up a Core2Duo 2.33ghz Macbookpro from a retailer such as small dogs electronics for a fantastic price.
  4. jamdr thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Jul 20, 2003
    Bay Area
    The main reason is the screen size. I'm using an iBook right now and it is so painful to do any work. I could get an external monitor for home but I don't really spend much time at home--I travel a lot. So I wouldn't get much use out of an external monitor and I would still be stuck with a tiny screen most of the time.

    Yes, the 15.4" MacBook sounds interesting. But who knows what the resolution will be. And that's a long time to wait. But you might be right about waiting until after Santa Rosa and then trying to get a cheap Merom MacBook Pro. Still, I can't help but think that I don't need what the newer MacBook Pros have to offer and would be totally satisfied with a new Core Duo MacBook Pro right now.
  5. QCassidy352 macrumors G4


    Mar 20, 2003
    Bay Area
    I'm not sure where you're getting your revision letters. The core duos would be "A" and the current (core 2 duos) would be "B," so we're waiting for "C," not "D."

    Anyway, I think that the rumored 15.4" macbook would be perfect for you. But, if you don't want to wait, I see no reason not to pick up a core duo model. I have a core duo macbook, and I don't feel "outdated" at all. The merom versions (of both the mb and mbp) didn't do much to improve on the core duos. More RAM and bigger HDs standard, but you can upgrade those yourself if need be. Same GPUs. So really, it comes down to a slight processor improvement - but how big a deal is that for most people? I spend a tiny fraction of my time at 100% CPU usage as it is.

    I think a rev. A macbook pro would suit you very nicely and would last you a long time. :)
  6. xfiftyfour macrumors 68030


    Apr 14, 2006
    Clemson, SC
    I think what she's doing is counting that first release of MBPs (w/ the 1.83Ghz) as A, then the speed bumps as B, and the C2Ds as C.

    Sometimes the lettering gets confusing because what someone might not consider a totally new revision, someone else might.
  7. Fenchurch macrumors newbie

    Feb 21, 2006
    Cape Cod
    C2D = 64 bit & firewire 800

    Like you, I've been wondering what kind of laptop to buy in order to finish a big audio project... after stalling/researching for the longest time, on Valentine's Day I finally ordered a refurb C2D 2.16ghz MBP from the Apple Store...

    I chose the C2D over the CD because, in addition to the double-layer DVD burner, 802.11n, a 50% larger hard drive (standard 120 rather than 80) (yes?) and a slight processor bump, the C2Ds are 64 bit, and they have firewire 800...

    Doesn't seem like 64 bit matters much right now, but leopard will take advantage when possible and it seems like a good guess that the next version of Logic to ship (which is waaaay overdue, people are hoping/guessing that it'll show up in April or at least by June) will be optimized for 64 bit, and that might make a big difference, at least if you're crunching large files or running lots of plugins... if you're not doing any extremely heavy lifting in your audio work then it might not make any difference at all...

    [some people have commented that in order for 64 bit to make any difference you would need to have 4gb of RAM installed (thus irrelevant to the current MBPs), but others - who seem well informed - have argued that this could be virtual memory, not actual installed memory, so it's not a limitation... I don't know enough to say who's right, but it seems to me that Apple has been carefully laying the foundation for leopard for the longest time, and it'd be a major screw-up on their part to release an OS that couldn't run at full speed on their current laptops, which are a huge and growing part of their business... if anyone has more info about this please confirm or correct...]

    and firewire 800 is appealing for audio work, very fast... I'm thinking about getting a G-drive 250GB external HDD... seem to have a good reputation, fast, very quiet (no fan), although their Quad version seems to be having trouble playing nicely with the C2D chips so I might avoid that, at least for a while...

    like you said, my C2D refurb was 1600 plus tax (no shipping), only $200 more than the CD price you quoted. I was very clear that it was worth it for me, but it may not be for your purposes... and I AM a little nervous about ordering a refurb, but I figure it's Apple, and even when I've had my (very infrequent) problems with them before we've always worked it out fine in the end... the computer isn't supposed to be here til next Wednesday, so not sure how it'll turn out... could be perfect, could be complicated... I expect it'll be fine...

    I think the current style of the 15" MBPs is just gorgeous, as lovely as anything Apple's ever made (I had a 300Mhz Wall Street back in the day, thought that was amazing too... the swappable bays were so cool... of course it weighed like 18 pounds, but still)... I expect whatever you decide to get will be excellent... hope this is in some way helpful, good luck and enjoy...
  8. aaron.lee2006 macrumors 65816


    Feb 23, 2006
    Ontario, Canada
    I think MacBook is best for you. Audio work doesn't require a strong GPU.
  9. dmw007 macrumors G4


    May 26, 2005
    Working for MI-6
    A Core Duo based MacBook Pro would work quite nicely for you and is a big upgrade from you current iBook. If you need a new laptop now, I would not hesitate to a MacBook Pro. :)

    Besides, the upgrade from your iBook to a MacBook Pro will be much more significant than an upgrade from a CD MBP to a C2D MBP. :)
  10. jamdr thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Jul 20, 2003
    Bay Area
    Thanks for your replies everyone. It's great to get customized advice like this. I would probably get a MacBook if the screen was bigger and the price was right but I've gone too long with a small screen. And to be honest, I used to own a 12" PowerBook and I much prefered the aluminum over the plastic and I've been dreaming of getting a pro laptop again ever since.

    At this point, I really am leaning toward the CD over the C2D. The 64 vs. 32 bit thing doesn't really bother me. As far as I can tell, the only benefit of 64 bit is that it can address more RAM, but really 1.5-2GB is fine for me for the next few years. It's not as if 64-bit apps are going to run faster than 32-bit ones. My FireWire drive is 400 and I'm not about to upgrade it anytime soon (I just got it) so the lack of FireWire 800 is a non-issue. Like I said the larger hard drive and additional RAM that come standard with the C2D would be nice, but it's not a necessity and I could always upgrade later.

    The only reason I can think to not get the CD is if there's some major hardware problem with it. Did the Rev. A/B (if you count the speed bump) MacBook Pros whine like the MacBooks did? Did they have problems with warped cases, etc? I don't really remember, but if anyone could remind me that would be greatly appreciated. I could probably get around $450-$500 for my current iBook so the total cost of CD MacBook Pro would be under $1000 and that sounds pretty good to me. I don't like spending extra money on bleeding edge technology I don't need.

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