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faramirtook
2009-06-01, 09:54
Ciao everyone,

I'm going to be a freshman at a major university in the Boston area in the fall and they all but tell us that we need laptops on campus, and I am in need of a new Mac, as my original 1.8 GHz 17" iMac G5 is beginning to show its age. Now, the University offers their own laptop purchasing program, through which I can buy either:

a 2.4 GHz aluminum Macbook with Applecare for $1707.99; or,
a 2.4 Ghz 15.4" Macbook Pro with Applecare for $2,141.99.


Or I can purchase directly from Apple with an edu discount. For comparison, the same Macbook setup with warranty costs $168;2 the same Macbook Pro, $2138. I'm leaning towards buying a Macbook Pro from Apple right now, but I'd like to hear some input first.

Thank you.

torifile
2009-06-01, 09:58
What are you planning on doing with the computer? While it's enticing to go for the MBP, it may not be needed. The MB is a perfectly capable machine and is better for lugging around. If you don't need the extra features like FW, expresscard or dedicated graphics, the MB is probably a good fit.

faramirtook
2009-06-01, 10:01
The main draw to the MBP is the firewire, because my external drive is FW. However, it is getting on in years as well, so maybe going for the Macbook and buying a new drive may end up being cheaper.

Edit: I'm going to be an English major, so not a whole lot: web, email, lots of music, tons of word processing, some iLife stuff, and maybe a bit of Photoshop here and there for my own amusement.

Capella
2009-06-01, 10:02
Going for the MB and getting a new external HD would definitely be cheaper. I'd say just go with the MB and dress it up with an external drive and maybe a few accessories and you'll still be saving money.

jdcfsu
2009-06-01, 10:11
Edit: I'm going to be an English major, so not a whole lot: web, email, lots of music, tons of word processing, some iLife stuff, and maybe a bit of Photoshop here and there for my own amusement.

You'll be good with the MacBook. Don't need to spend the money on additional power that you're not going to use.

chucker
2009-06-01, 10:39
Definitely the MB. Much easier to lug around as tori said, and new external drives are dirt cheap.

Robo
2009-06-01, 11:19
Robo's Theorem:

If somebody asks if they should buy a MacBook or MacBook Pro, the former is always true.

The ones who should be dropping $700 more on a MBP know who they are (or know that they don't need it). For everybody else, getting an external hard drive and/or monitor will give you more storage/screen space for less money.

Kickaha
2009-06-01, 11:24
Agreed - as someone who always went for the biggest, fastest, and best laptops the first couple of times... you won't use all it's capabilities. Trust me.

My personal laptop is now a 2007 MacBook with a whopping 1GB of RAM, and it's plenty. My work-supplied machine is a 15" MacBook Pro from 2006, and it is likewise plenty for now.

Save the $400 and use it towards external drives for backups.

pscates2.0
2009-06-01, 11:42
Ditto on everything said above by everyone (torifile, Capella, chucker, etc.).

You'd know if you truly "needed" the MacBook Pro...hardcore music and/or video work, etc.

The MacBook, now more than ever, is a capable, kick-butt little machine. Save the $700 and put it toward RAM (4GB!), perhaps a 20-24" LCD for dorm use and a nice, fast external drive. You'll have something small and compact to tote around campus, but then you can have more of a "desktop" like experience when back in your room (big screen, external keyboard and mouse, etc.).

Nothing you gave in your list of tasks points to you needing the more expensive "pro" notebook. If FireWire was your only question/concern (and you said your FireWire drive is getting old) that's easily addressed.

:)

If I ever found myself having to buy a notebook again, it would be a MacBook. Hands down. I did the "$2,500 PowerBook G4" thing five-and-a-half years ago, and, six months in, I realized how overkill it was for me. If I could've gone back, I would've saved myself ~$1,200 and just got an iBook G4. I was silly, and had more money than sense at that particular time.

:eek:

Even though I do the Adobe stuff (for a living) and dabble in iMovie and GarageBand, I know those needs are met by any recently-released ~$1,200 iMac or MacBook. And since you're doing most writing, surfing, iLife, light Photoshop, etc., you're in even better shape.

Yontsey
2009-06-01, 11:57
Also keep in mind that upgrading the ram and the hdd yourself is incredibly easy and can save you a good chuck of money.

You also have up to 1 year after the purchase date of your macbook/pro to buy Applecare so you can wait a couple months and save some money. You can also buy the Applecare kit off of ebay or Amazon and save a ton of money. I got mine off ebay and saved more then half the price.

Good luck!

pscates2.0
2009-06-01, 12:20
All very good tips!

I never buy my AppleCare until the 11th month. Just a nice, easy way to save a few hundred bucks upfront, since it's not needed on the day you purchase. After dropping a grand or two on the computer itself, I'd like to walk out with some money still in my pocket.

:p

Especially if it can wait 10-11 months. Just do an iCal reminder to alert you at a later date so you won't forget. That's what I've done on my most recent three Mac purchases.

curiousuburb
2009-06-01, 12:25
All of the above advice is endorsed (and ought to be a sticky!), but I'd add our other obligatory caveat:
If you absolutely need it now, buy it. If you can afford to wait a month or two, wait.
The WhiteMB just got silently bumped (and there are reportedly minor part changes on the Alu MB)... if Apple throws a few more revs into the rest of the product line before September, you might have more options (including refurbs).

Save yourself the AppleCare until the end of your first year with no real change in warranty (unless you need a ton of phone support after your 90 free days).
Apple even called me (in Europe) to remind me my 1st year was almost up and AppleCare could still be added to extend. :)
And they got the time zones right. :) :p

edit: D'oh! pscates ptypes pfaster!

torifile
2009-06-02, 21:45
Regardless of which one you get, make sure you go for the the iPod promo (and the printer one if they're running one now). Even if you don't need the iPod, you can sell it and shave even more off the price. And if you're feeling like taking a trip, you could go down to Delaware and save on sales tax, too.

faramirtook
2009-06-04, 15:16
Ok, thanks everyone. I'm gonna go with a MacBook, and probably wait until after WWDC.

But I don't know if .4 GHz and 90GB is worth $250 to me. Any input? Will that .4 GHz get me a little more longevity? I'm going to self-install as much RAM as I can once I buy the sucker.

E: Well, maybe I'll buy Apple's BTO RAM, I'd only be saving about $30...

Dorian Gray
2009-06-04, 16:09
The high-end MacBook would give you a little extra longevity, but not much. It's about 20% faster. You'll want to upgrade the hard drive to 1 TB or something in a couple of years, and if you don't, the 90 GB difference won't seem like much in an era of HD video everywhere, etc. So no, to me it wouldn't be worth $250. However, remember that the high-end MacBook has an illuminated keyboard while the lower model doesn't. Is that worth anything to you?

curiousuburb
2009-06-04, 16:20
There's a whole pile of MB and MBP in the refurb store that split the prices in your original mix... including 15s and 17s... but you wouldn't get the iPod promo.

As for the .4 GHz, 90GB, and illuminated kb differences between the current Alu MB options being worth $250 to you?

Only you can decide. :p

For the work you describe needing it for, the marginal speed increase probably won't be noticeable. Drive space is good, but externals are cheap.

But I'll admit I'd always lusted for the backlit kb before I bought my MBP... and still find it awesome. ;)

addabox
2009-06-04, 16:59
From benchmarks I've seen, the white MacBook now outperforms the base model unibody MacBook, and, of course, gets you firewire as well.

faramirtook
2009-06-04, 17:20
Hm, an illuminated keyboard is actually huge for me, because I'm a bit of a night owl. I guess it's the 2.4 GHz for me.

faramirtook
2009-06-08, 15:53
Just bought the new, 2.56 GHz 13" MBP. :D Cost me about $200 less for more stuff I was willing to buy at $200 more.

Luca
2009-06-08, 16:14
Just bought the new, 2.56 GHz 13" MBP. :D Cost me about $200 less for more stuff I was willing to buy at $200 more.
You are aware that the $1199 13" MB also has an illuminated keyboard as well, and that the only real upgrade you get for your $300 is a slightly faster processor? The other upgrades you can easily add yourself.

faramirtook
2009-06-08, 16:46
Yeah, but I really don't mind that so much. I did some research, and the amount of money I'd be saving by doing it myself wasn't really enough to motivate me to want to DIY. So I might not be squeezing every dime, but I'm OK with that.

Robo
2009-06-08, 17:41
Yeah, but I really don't mind that so much. I did some research, and the amount of money I'd be saving by doing it myself wasn't really enough to motivate me to want to DIY. So I might not be squeezing every dime, but I'm OK with that.

Like I said in the MBP thread:

Totally. And the higher-end 13" model - to compensate for its smaller speed bump and its illuminated keyboard becoming standard - gets a $100 price drop and 4GB of RAM, right out of the box. :eek:

No, it's probably not as good of a deal for people who know how to upgrade their RAM and HDD themselves (you can still do that, right?). But it's the ultimate "no-brainer" machine. You don't have to know what someone is going to be using their computer for - you can just tell them to get themselves $1,500 and get themselves a 13" MacBook Pro, and things will be OK. You won't have to worry about them not having enough hard drive space or having slugging performance due to limited RAM or anything. It's basically perfect. :D

And it's just underneath that Magical $1,500 Barrier, which will alone help its sales.

Looks like I was right. ;) If you don't want to deal with upgrades yourself, the $1,499 MBP is the perfect "grab and go" machine. In any case, faramirtook got a more capable machine for less than he was originally planning on spending, so I'm sure he's happy. :D

curiousuburb
2009-06-08, 17:51
Even happier that he waited rather than spaz on the buy button on June 4th, I'd bet. :D

Luca
2009-06-08, 18:11
Yeah, but I really don't mind that so much. I did some research, and the amount of money I'd be saving by doing it myself wasn't really enough to motivate me to want to DIY. So I might not be squeezing every dime, but I'm OK with that.

Ah, just wanted to check since you mentioned the backlit keyboard prominently and I hoped you didn't buy the higher end model not knowing that the backlight was made a standard feature on all models.

faramirtook
2009-06-08, 19:30
Ah, just wanted to check since you mentioned the backlit keyboard prominently and I hoped you didn't buy the higher end model not knowing that the backlight was made a standard feature on all models.

Yeah, I did know. And I'm extremely glad I didn't pull the trigger earlier. :)