Would the (new) current low-end MBP last me, say, through college?

LucidPsychosis

macrumors regular
Original poster
Mar 6, 2010
177
0
Knoxville, TN
Okay, here's the skinny: I've been a PC user since I've been old enough to use a computer (I believe I got my first Compaq with Windows 98 on it when I was about 4 years old). Anyways, after using iMacs in school this past year, OS X has REALLY grown on me.

I'm looking at getting a Macbook for college (as I guess you can tell from my sig). I was waiting on the update, but admittedly I'm underwhelmed. I can't afford a 15", so I was pretty heavily counting on the 13" to be good. Now, let me make a disclaimer: I'm not here to bitch about the C2D processors; I'm honestly looking for advice.

Anyways, I need a new laptop before June. My main uses are: word processing (obviously for school), some light photo editing and desktop publishing (I'm looking to go into journalism and magazine editing), some light video editing, I'd love to get into music making (I'm already a musician, but I've never had recording software, and I really like Garageband), and I'm also a bit of a gamer (granted, I'm not trying to run Crysis or anything, but I've been known to play TF2 and other similar games).

So, I guess my questions are as follows: Will the current low end MBP's technology last me through, say, 5 years? And will I have enough screen real estate on the 13" (I'm not picky; I don't mind working on relatively small spaces, but I've heard a lot of talks about photographers and such needing at least 15"ers.).

Oh, one last thing. Forgive my idiocy, but I'm a Mac noob. Will Macs stand the test of time in terms of speed and overall performance? I know that my PC requires a bit of maintainence to stay relatively speedy.

Any comments/advice/other input is appreciated!

LUCID EDIT: Oh, and I'd also Bootcamp Windows 7, but its main purpose would be gaming and any other Windows-exclusive programs I might use. How much of my HDD would you recommend partitioning for Win7? I'd use OS X for everything I could, but, as we know, some things are Windows-exclusive.
 

Intell

macrumors P6
Jan 24, 2010
18,872
368
Inside
It should last you five maybe seven years for your uses. I'm using a 2007 Blackbook and I'm still going through college. It's working well for me. It does show it's use but I love it.
 

Scippy

macrumors regular
Jan 12, 2009
225
0
Somewhere
It should depending on how well you treat it.
All computers get old, but there are members on this forum who are using PPC from 2004.
 

Cali3350

macrumors regular
Feb 16, 2009
249
0
It will last you in terms of your college needs however it wont last you in terms of gaming. For instance, you wont be playing the TF2 equivalent of 4 years down the road on your current Macbook.

For actual college needs it will work fine.
 

gwsat

macrumors 68000
Apr 12, 2008
1,920
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Tulsa
Don't worry about the 13 inch MBP's obsolescent C2D chip. It will handle every app you are likely to throw at it with aplomb. I have a 7 year old Powerbook G4 that I still use with fair regularity. It still does a good job. I don't think you would regret buying the 13" MBP.
 

LucidPsychosis

macrumors regular
Original poster
Mar 6, 2010
177
0
Knoxville, TN
It will last you in terms of your college needs however it wont last you in terms of gaming. For instance, you wont be playing the TF2 equivalent of 4 years down the road on your current Macbook.

For actual college needs it will work fine.
I don't imagine I'll be doing much gaming that far down the road; frankly I do very little now, but it's still an occasional hobby of mine. I just thought I'd include it in the consideration process. It's really secondary to my editing needs.

LUCID EDIT: Alright, now that we've addressed that it's powerful enough for me, does anyone care to comment on the screen real estate issue? Or the partition question?
 

GoCubsGo

macrumors Nehalem
Feb 19, 2005
35,743
141
Are you planning on being a career student, if so then no. If you're talking 4 years then yes.
 

Jarcrew

macrumors 6502
Mar 16, 2007
339
8
Cardiff, Wales
TF2 will run on the 320m. Not sure how clean you want it to look, but I've seen it run perfectly fine on worse cards. Counter Strike runs even better, but the only downside of that is direct contact with the Counter Strike "community" (e.g. hillbillies who found a computer in a tree).

And yeah, it'll see you through college. I've had a BlackBook for three years (three years to the day, in fact - how odd) and it's never let me down once.

Actually, I have had the fans replaced twice. Which is why you'll need AppleCare.
 

LucidPsychosis

macrumors regular
Original poster
Mar 6, 2010
177
0
Knoxville, TN
Are you planning on being a career student, if so then no. If you're talking 4 years then yes.
Well, I'll be a senior in HS next year (taking several community college classes), and then it's off to undergrad. And I'm still not sure if I want to go to grad school or not. I wouldn't mind upgrading while in college, but I've heard that money isn't exactly easy to come by while in college.

Actually, I have had the fans replaced twice. Which is why you'll need AppleCare.
Oh yes, I'm already planning on purchasing AppleCare for it.
 

Scippy

macrumors regular
Jan 12, 2009
225
0
Somewhere
I don't imagine I'll be doing much gaming that far down the road; frankly I do very little now, but it's still an occasional hobby of mine. I just thought I'd include it in the consideration process. It's really secondary to my editing needs.

LUCID EDIT: Alright, now that we've addressed that it's powerful enough for me, does anyone care to comment on the screen real estate issue? Or the partition question?
It really depends on the person.
My brother has a 13" macbook and that is plenty of space for him.
I personally need the 15 inches of the macbook pro.
Also, its always possible to bye an external monitor down the road if you need more screen real estate.
 

breathesrain

macrumors regular
Feb 10, 2010
149
0
I'm considering the same thing, and, from my experience using a 7 year old iBook G3 (I'm typing this on it), the question is more: how pissed off will you be at the computer after four or five years? For me, the answer is plenty; I can get irrationally angry with technology. If you're patient, I bet you can handle it no problem :D
 

Claerion

macrumors member
Nov 3, 2009
64
1
I don't imagine I'll be doing much gaming that far down the road; frankly I do very little now, but it's still an occasional hobby of mine. I just thought I'd include it in the consideration process. It's really secondary to my editing needs.

LUCID EDIT: Alright, now that we've addressed that it's powerful enough for me, does anyone care to comment on the screen real estate issue? Or the partition question?
I'm in the same boat as you, I can tell you from people that I know who own a C2D that they are more than enough. However, I don't need mine until the start of school next year (late august) but I plan on waiting to buy and hoping to find an i5 in the refurb store.

If I were you I would hold off as long as possible hoping to catch on in the refurb store maybe then you will be able to afford an i5, if not then you will be able to get a 13 inch for cheap.

I figure if I can wait just a little longer for them to pop up in the refurb store and save a few hundred then why not :p

Good luck either way tho
 

Dwalls90

macrumors 601
Feb 5, 2009
4,690
1,064
My Blackbook still gets the job done just time ... don't be sucked into the marketing. Yes, having the latest and greatest is nice, but given that my machine is almost 4 years old and still loads and doesn't lag, it's certainly still a fine machine. Any Apple laptop should last you 5+ years ...
 

Cali3350

macrumors regular
Feb 16, 2009
249
0
One thing that does need to be said is that 1280*800 is a laughable resolution for video and photo work. It will run ok sure, but youll be MUCH happier with a higher res screen. Running Final Cut or Aperture on a 1280*800 screen is not ideal.
 

Lurchdubious

macrumors 65816
Oct 15, 2008
1,148
19
Texas
We've had a blackbook for almost 3.5 yrs now, not one single problem! Still runs fast, (faster now, actually. I upgraded the HD and went from Tiger to Snow Leopard just for fun). It has over 1,000 charge cycles on the battery and still the battery is at 94% health. As far as screen real estate, I came to Apple from a 15.4" Sony Vaio and I love my two 13" macbooks. Plenty of room for what you'll need.

I actually wish my wife's blackbook would just DIE so I could give her my unibody and I could hook up a new Pro. ;)
 

LucidPsychosis

macrumors regular
Original poster
Mar 6, 2010
177
0
Knoxville, TN
So the screen resolution will hurt me? Damn. I have a relatively nice external monitor that I use on my desktop PC (embarrassingly, I don't know the exact dimensions or resolution, but it can show a good picture). I'm considering ponying up the cash for a low end 15" and tightening my belt for awhile (I mean in terms of other non-necessities. I'd never go without food or something like that).
 

hcmitchellr

macrumors newbie
Apr 13, 2010
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0
Be honest with yourself about your gaming desires or if you go into 3D applications.

The GPU in the 13" is not as close to the others as the number would leave you to think (320/350). It isn't close to it at all.

The 350 is still a mid-range card but it will last you a lot longer. Remember that games like StarCraft 2 will be out soon, will run natively on OS X and be GPU hungry.
 

Cali3350

macrumors regular
Feb 16, 2009
249
0
So the screen resolution will hurt me? Damn. I have a relatively nice external monitor that I use on my desktop PC (embarrassingly, I don't know the exact dimensions or resolution, but it can show a good picture). I'm considering ponying up the cash for a low end 15" and tightening my belt for awhile (I mean in terms of other non-necessities. I'd never go without food or something like that).
The resolution will hurt if your really serious about all of this. You could hook that 13" up to the external monitor if you need to really work on something.
 

LucidPsychosis

macrumors regular
Original poster
Mar 6, 2010
177
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Knoxville, TN
Be honest with yourself about your gaming desires or if you go into 3D applications.

The GPU in the 13" is not as close to the others as the number would leave you to think (320/350). It isn't close to it at all.

The 350 is still a mid-range card but it will last you a lot longer. Remember that games like StarCraft 2 will be out soon, will run natively on OS X and be GPU hungry.
Okay, let's throw out the notion of gaming altogether. I really don't care about Starcraft 2.

I can't think of a case where I'd need 3D modeling, but when it comes to that my attitude is "never say never."

Well, configured the way I want it (no spec upgrades except hi-res screen; iWork; Apple remote) and with AppleCare, the lowest 15" MBP is $2,088.00 with a student discount (and that's not including a 10% sales tax). I'm just not sure I can swing that... I'd love to, but I just don't know if I can.
 

kbt1020

macrumors regular
Feb 15, 2010
138
1
Okay, let's throw out the notion of gaming altogether. I really don't care about Starcraft 2.

I can't think of a case where I'd need 3D modeling, but when it comes to that my attitude is "never say never."

Well, configured the way I want it (no spec upgrades except hi-res screen; iWork; Apple remote) and with AppleCare, the lowest 15" MBP is $2,088.00 with a student discount (and that's not including a 10% sales tax). I'm just not sure I can swing that... I'd love to, but I just don't know if I can.
The applecare you can always buy it within one year of the limited warranty,according to apple site (anyone wants to confirm?). So just buy it near the end I guess. I'm getting a 13" base myself. It's better than my old Dell from Hell laptop and surely will satisfy my college needs just like yours.
 

LucidPsychosis

macrumors regular
Original poster
Mar 6, 2010
177
0
Knoxville, TN
Well, the bottom 13" configured the same way (bar the hi-res display, obviously) and with AppleCare is only $1,342.00 (again, with the student discount, not including sales tax).

That price is a lot more attractive...
 

ValientHimself

macrumors member
Dec 9, 2007
81
0
Chicago
Okay, let's throw out the notion of gaming altogether. I really don't care about Starcraft 2.

I can't think of a case where I'd need 3D modeling, but when it comes to that my attitude is "never say never."

Well, configured the way I want it (no spec upgrades except hi-res screen; iWork; Apple remote) and with AppleCare, the lowest 15" MBP is $2,088.00 with a student discount (and that's not including a 10% sales tax). I'm just not sure I can swing that... I'd love to, but I just don't know if I can.
Your situation reminds me a bit of the position I was in when I started undergrad back in 2004. I was making my first Apple purchase after being a lifelong PC user. I went with the base 12inch PowerBook, and it ended up being a great decision.

It lasted me the entire length of college, with no problems at all. About a year in with it I upgraded the RAM, and about 2 and a half years in I replaced the battery. When I was done with it I ended up selling it for slightly over half the value I paid for it, after 4 years of hard use.

So yes, I would definitely recommend going with the base 13inch MacBook Pro.
 

LucidPsychosis

macrumors regular
Original poster
Mar 6, 2010
177
0
Knoxville, TN
Your situation reminds me a bit of the position I was in when I started undergrad back in 2004. I was making my first Apple purchase after being a lifelong PC user. I went with the base 12inch PowerBook, and it ended up being a great decision.

It lasted me the entire length of college, with no problems at all. About a year in with it I upgraded the RAM, and about 2 and a half years in I replaced the battery. When I was done with it I ended up selling it for slightly over half the value I paid for it, after 4 years of hard use.

So yes, I would definitely recommend going with the base 13inch MacBook Pro.
Hehe. Thanks for the testimonial. I think I'm more or less sold on the 13" with the possibility of getting a nice external monitor somewhere down the road.
 

Coldmode

macrumors regular
Mar 10, 2010
167
23
I wouldn't worry about screen real estate for publishing on your laptop. If you really need more screen you can get an external monitor (I have a high-density 23" Samsung which I love), or you can go do work in whatever lab your department has.

Get the base model and upgrade the hard drive on your own. After a few years you can stick more RAM in it, and you'll be fine.

Enjoy your computer, but enjoy college even more. =)