Would love some help choosing the right MBP for me :)

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by theclipper, Jul 26, 2009.

  1. theclipper macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2009
    #1
    Hi There,

    I have been a long time lurker of this forum and finally decided to join today. Everyone seems very knowledgable and helpful here. I tried to explain my situation as best as possible. I apologize if this is a bit long.

    I am thinking that it may finally be time for me to get a laptop. I am in med school and would really like the conveinence of being able to take notes and other things like that at school. I have never owned a Mac or a laptop. I have however owned numerous ipods, including a Touch right now. I currently use a desktop that works perfectly well. I also have a nice 24'' monitor to go along with it.

    My girlfiend has the 13'' Macbook Unibody. I have enjoyed playing around with it but I feel like a 15'' would suit me better. I really don't like the resolution of the 13''. So now that I have the size down I am wondering what processor model would be best for me. I mainly just do movies, music, web surfing, word processing/power point etc. I'm wondering if I would ever notice any difference in the models. It seems that the 9400 (graphics card?) is not thought of too highly on here. I definitely don't ever game and don't think I will in the future. Also, are there any worthwhile upgrades that should be done?

    Also, I'm trying to decide if I should just take the plunge and get one now. Or hold off until September or so when school starts up again. Any chance there might be an update for back to school stuff?

    Well, I appreciate you taking the time to read this post. I would love to hear any feedback!

    Thanks again,
    -Clipper
     
  2. thegoldenmackid macrumors 604

    thegoldenmackid

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2006
    Location:
    dallas, texas
    #2
    Given your needs it does not seem like you need anything but the base MacBook Pro. I would either go that route, or maybe look at the refurbs (no Back to School, though.) No point waiting there will be no updates to anything before Back to School ends.
     
  3. MacMini2009 macrumors 68000

    MacMini2009

    Joined:
    May 22, 2009
    Location:
    California
    #3
    Get the 2.53GHz 15in Macbook Pro. You don't do any gaming so it is not worth it to get the higher models. Since you're in Med school, I believe you qualify for the student discount. You can take advantage of the free iPod deal from now through September 8. You can also take advantage of the free printer deal. Just buy when you need it.
     
  4. entity macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2008
    Location:
    Detroit, MI
    #4
    Hi Clipper,

    It sounds like the base 15" MBP 2.53GHz would be best for you.

    I too found the 13" a little on the small end with a lackluster resolution. Needless to say, I sold it and picked up the 15". The 9400m graphics will suit you just fine, no doubt. Although gaming with it leaves much to be desired, for normal tasking it is great.

    If you aren't one for refurbs, some great deals can be had on eBay. I bought my Mac new sealed in box for below EDU discount, add the 8% off from Bing.com, no tax and free shipping. Win win :).

    Good luck!!
     
  5. designgeek macrumors 65816

    designgeek

    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2009
    Location:
    "Town"
    #5
    The extra screen real estate on the 15 is worth the extra cost. I'd go for the bottom model if I were you. It's a great computer.:)
     
  6. theclipper thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2009
    #6
    Wow guys, thanks for the incredibly quick and well-put responses. I really appreciate it!

    Sounds like the base model is my best bet then. Would either of the other models help to future proof at all or would it never really matter with what I do? I just wanna make sure this thing won't bog down in the future if I have several programs running and multiple web tabs open.

    Also, I have a bunch of music and movies. It seems like that 250 GB hard drive might be mighty small for me. Last thing, will that graphics card have any hinderance on DVD or video playback at all?

    Thanks so much!!
    Clipper
     
  7. MacMini2009 macrumors 68000

    MacMini2009

    Joined:
    May 22, 2009
    Location:
    California
    #7
    The 2.53GHz Macbook Pro will be enough for a long time. The other models wont be future proof because any computer today will still be slow compared to computers in the future. If the 250GB hard drive is too small for you, get the 500GB Western Digital Scorpio Blue. The 9400M can handle DVD and video playback very well.
     
  8. theclipper thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2009
    #8
    Thank you! Would that WD be used as an internal or external? Installing an HD into a desktop is no problem for me. But as I've never owned a laptop I have also never installed a HD on one. Also, I've never replaced the main disk drive, not sure how I would put the OS on the new one and get it working.

    Again, I can't tell you how much I appreciate all the advice. You all make this much easier than it would be otherwise.

    Oh, and what do you all think about applecare on the MBP, is it worth it?

    Thanks :D
    -Clipper
     
  9. MacMini2009 macrumors 68000

    MacMini2009

    Joined:
    May 22, 2009
    Location:
    California
    #9
    The Western Digital 500GB Scorpio Blue is an internal hard drive. You just install the new hard drive into the Macbook Pro, and boot from the recovery disks that come with your Macbook Pro to reinstall the OS. Or you can buy a cheap 2.5in hard drive enclosure and clone your current hard drive using a program like Superduper. Applecare is definitely worth it for peace of mind.
     
  10. theclipper thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2009
    #10
    Well that certainly sounds like the route I need to go then. I didn't realize that you could just use the boot disk no problem. Is it very difficult to put the new drive in the MBP?

    Another question is, would I be able to plug the MBP into a USB slot on my desktop to be able to transfer over all the mp3s I have? Is there any easy way to do this at all?

    I apologize for the blitz of questions, but I guess I'm just really excited that my dream of owning a Mac seems like it will soon be a reality :D

    -Clipper
     
  11. MacMini2009 macrumors 68000

    MacMini2009

    Joined:
    May 22, 2009
    Location:
    California
    #11
    It is not difficult, you just need a #00 Philips screwdriver and a T6 Torx screwdriver. Search on Youtube for upgrade videos. http://support.apple.com/kb/HT2518?viewlocale=en_US Here's a guide on how transfer your files from your PC to your Mac. No problem, I'll be happy to answer your questions. :D
     
  12. theclipper thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2009
    #12
    Thank you so much!!! :D I am going to look that guide over and head to bed for the night. I'm sure I'll think of plenty of more questions tomorrow :p Thanks again for sharing your knowledge.

    'Night
    -Clipper
     
  13. MacMini2009 macrumors 68000

    MacMini2009

    Joined:
    May 22, 2009
    Location:
    California
    #13
    No problem. Good night, I am quite sleepy myself. :D
     
  14. theclipper thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2009
    #14
    Hello Everyone,

    I am now having second thoughts about the 15'' and am wondering if the 13'' would be the better value for me.

    I would be able to hook it up to my 24'' monitor at most times while home. So maybe the resolution issue wouldn't be as big a deal? The only time I wouldn't be able to is when I wanted to lay in bed and relax and do the web and maybe a little homework. Although, it certainly would be nice to have more space for web browsing and the like with the 15''.

    A friend was trying to convince me that I would get along fine with the 2.26 13'' as opossed to the 2.53. Saying that the 2.53 isn't really much of an upgrade over the 2.26.

    I just want to have something that I can likely get 4 years or so out of. I'd really hate for it to start running at a snails pace within a few years.

    If I went with the 2.26 I could then put in the 500GB HDD as well as 4GB of RAM maybe? Although, I'm not sure what RAM works best for these.

    Also, I don't understand the difference between what the processor and the RAM do. Do they just both make the computer work faster?

    If anyone has any wisdom or guidance for my situation I would so greatfully appreciate it!

    -Clipper
     
  15. MacMini2009 macrumors 68000

    MacMini2009

    Joined:
    May 22, 2009
    Location:
    California
    #15
    Well if your comfortable upgrading the RAM/Hard drive in the 2.26GHz Macbook Pro, get it.
     
  16. mikes70mustang macrumors 68000

    mikes70mustang

    Joined:
    Nov 14, 2008
    Location:
    US
    #16

    Get what you were going to. Everyone thinks they need this or that untill they see the price. Then its "maybe the cheaper smaller one would be better"
     
  17. Freyqq macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2004
    #17
    Sounds like the base mbp 15 is enough for you. Based on your needs, you'll be using the 9400gt most of the time anyways for better battery life while taking notes, etc. Nothing you mentioned would greatly benefit from a 9600gt.
     
  18. Freyqq macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2004
    #18
    the 2.26 mbp 13 and the base mbp 15 will be about the same as far as speed is concerned. The only issue is ram. Ram essentially the amount of space the cpu has to work with. Once you run out of ram, you have to start caching to the hard drive, which is much slower than ram. If you went with the 2.26 mbp 13, you would also want to buy 4 gigs of ram at some point (2 sticks of 2gb) to upgrade to...which is a very cheap upgrade. While it is a cheap upgrade, you don't even have to do it now. 2 gb is probably enough to keep you happy in the immediate future.

    Your decision should rest on the screensize/footprint of the laptop b\c the specs are about the same after upgrades. The CPU speed and amount of ram after upgrades are similar. HD can be upgraded similarly as well. Both have the same video card and similar battery life.

    While you can hook up the 24" monitor, will you? You could hook up the 24" monitor and the mouse/keyboard from your desktop when you are home and use it as a laptop when you are away. This would render your desktop unusable, though. You will also need a converter cable to plug in your monitor..so keep that in mind. You'll want a mini-dp to dvi cable, as dvi is higher quality than vga. Apple sells them, or you can find them on monoprice, etc.
     
  19. ABG macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2003
    Location:
    United Kingdom
    #19
    I wondered long and hard between a 13" and 15". Cost wasn't the issue, usability was.

    Now I've bought a MBP 13" and upgraded the HDD (500Gb WD Scorpio Blue) and 4Gb RAM. I had a PB G4 15" for years and I felt the extra real estate on the 15" was disappointing given the cost (extra 160 pixels wide and 100 deep over the 13"). Portability was important to me which also pointed towards the 13". IMO the 13" has a sparkling screen and boots in around 30 seconds. Its no featherweight but when I'm lugging it around I'm glad its not a 15".

    13", 15" or 17" they are all great looking machines - its just in my view the resolution on the 15" should be higher
     
  20. theclipper thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2009
    #20
    You bring up a lot of great points. :D

    Since the performance will pretty much be the same I guess I need to go down the Mac store to really look at the difference between the 13'' and 15''. Saving $500 would certainly be nice. I'll have to see how much a difference that better resolution makes. Oh, also, does the 15'' have any better viewing angles than the 13''? It seems like the viewing angle isn't great on the 13'' judging by my girlfriends.

    I will definitely want to upgrade the HDD. Macmini suggested the 500GB WD Scorpio blue. That would be nice to hold off on the RAM for a bit, maybe it will be even cheaper by the time I need it. What exact sticks would I need? How much RAM does this unit support in total?

    I could definitely see myself using the laptop with my monitor. I hope there isn't some extra annoyance I'm not thinking about right now though. I'd probably like to keep my keyboard and mouse hooked to the desktop. It is still a great working machine. I'd probably be able to part with the money much easier if my desktop was a piece of junk. But it definitely makes sense to keep it around and running as I have almost 2TB worth of storage space on it and there doesn't seem to be anything wrong with it. Would it be possible to access video files on the desktop from the laptop so that I could watch them wirelessly? I guess in effect using the desktop as a remote HDD?

    Oh, and last thing for this post. Do they still have that printer rebate going on? I didn't seem to notice it right away on the Mac page. I'd love to take advantage of that as I don't currently own a printer.


    Thank you so much!
     
  21. Gabriel GR macrumors 6502a

    Gabriel GR

    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2009
    Location:
    Athens, Greece
    #21
    It's pretty simple. Decise on the screensize by looking at both and go for the cheapest one. And given that your computer needs/habits won't skyrocket in the next couple of years you'll be fine. I have 5-6 year old computers that do the things you do just fine. Once you find your machine is struggling with your multitasking just bump the ram.

    You might wat to get a bigger HDD though.

    Size wise, if you want to take notes and carry it with you daily the 13.3 seems better as you have a nice screen at home too. But be the one to decide.
     
  22. malnar macrumors 6502a

    malnar

    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2008
    #22
    I'm in much the same boat as you are. I'm looking at my first Mac and it's going to be a Macbook, but I've been torn on the size - 13" or 15". I can't afford to upgrade to the higher end 15"s so it'll be the low end 15" if that was the decision. The more I looked at it, the more I realized that the 13" is a steal, considering that the step up to the 15" is $500 more for two inches of screen and a small processor speed bump. I'm having a hard time justifying that. It's not like the jump from 15" to 17" where everything is bumped in a big way. And, as you point out, the 13" can be plugged in to a monitor at home if needed.

    My main concern for having a notebook is being able to get away from the isolation of my desk and be in the living room, watching TV, and have it there to do stuff. If I want to do something serious, I will get a monitor, keyboard, and mouse at some point in the future. Believe me, all of this will be a significant upgrade from the aged home-built PC I'm getting away from. I'm not even paying attention to the 9400 vs. 9600 gpu arguments, in fact - despite being a web designer/graphic artist at work, I know that the Macbook itself will be a massive upgrade from my current home system that will suffice just fine.
     

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