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Apple Notebooks Apple's notebook computers including MacBook Pro, MacBook, MacBook Air, PowerBook, and iBook.

MacBook Pro - Buy or Build a MacBook Pro?


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sobershea

 
Member Since: Aug 11, 2008
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I am going to make the switch from Windows to Mac and I know very little about Macs - though I have been reading/researching a lot online. I can get a 17" MacBook Pro at Bestbuy.com or I can "build" it at the Apple site. If you can bear with a few questions from a total newby I would greatly appreciate input from people who already use Macs. I am a bit geeky about my PCs but I don't know how things translate in a Mac world.

Question #1 is, how is the fan noise? This is really important to me. I currently have a Gateway with a very noisy/active fan. I can't play a simple game of Solitaire without the fan powering on/off frequently and I find the noise annoying. I did read that the MBPs run hot and not to leave them on your lap but I use a Targus Chill Pad so that won't be a problem. But a noisy fan could be a deal breaker. I don't do a lot of gaming - some though. And I do use PhotoShop quite a bit. (Hmmm, wonder if there is a PhotoShop for the Mac?)

Question 2 is, the MBP at BestBuy is 5400rpm (250gb). If I "build" the Mac at the Apple site I could then get 7200rpm (200gb). Will the added speed keep the MBP cooler or will it make it run hotter, thus making the fan cycle on/off? The trade-off is 50gb on the hard drive...???

Question 3, The graphics card is NVIDIA GeForce 8600M GT graphics with 512MB GDDR3 SDRAM. Does anyone know if this is discrete memory?

Question 4, the display is 17" widescreen TFT-LCD display with 1680 x 1050 resolution. If I build the Mac I have a choice of high resolution for $100. At the Apple site they don't even mention "TFT-LCD". The Apple site also doesn't mention the max resolution for the "high resolution". What is TTF? Does anyone have the high resolution? Is it worth it?

Question 5, I can get an additional 2gb memory for $200 if I build it online. Is it worth it or is memory simple enough to add later? The BIG issue here is that the salesman said the MBP is so "efficient" that I won't even know that I have less memory. True?

Final Question, are there new versions of the OS due soon? Should I wait?

I really appreciate any help.

Thanks!!
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Tranman

 
Member Since: Jul 30, 2008
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I'll try to answer as many as I can. I have a MacBook Pro 15".

1. I have yet to hear the fan on my Macbook Pro, although I only use my for some light photo editing/video editing, and the usual surfing the web, e-mail, iTunes with the occasional game of Civilization III. No fan problems here. No problems with heat either unless I'm using it for like +4 hours on my lap.

5. Third Party RAM is much cheaper and easy to install. Go with lower RAM and upgrade it yourself unless you'd rather just have it come with more RAM.

No new OS should be coming out but there are rumors that new lines of the Macbook and MBP could be coming out sometime this year. You'd have to google that though because no one really knows besides apple.
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Zoolook

 
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Member Since: Sep 24, 2006
Location: Brooklyn, New York
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Question #1 is, how is the fan noise? If you're just browsing, emailing, it should be silent. Windows machines these days fire the fans up quickly, because Vista requires a lot of graphics grunt just to play the built-in games.

Question 2 is, the MBP at BestBuy is 5400rpm (250gb). If I "build" the Mac at the Apple site I could then get 7200rpm (200gb). Will the added speed keep the MBP cooler or will it make it run hotter, thus making the fan cycle on/off? The trade-off is 50gb on the hard drive...??? It may consume slightly more power, but it should not affect the CPU fans.

Question 3, The graphics card is NVIDIA GeForce 8600M GT graphics with 512MB GDDR3 SDRAM. Does anyone know if this is discrete memory? Yes it is


Question 5, I can get an additional 2gb memory for $200 if I build it online. Is it worth it or is memory simple enough to add later? The BIG issue here is that the salesman said the MBP is so "efficient" that I won't even know that I have less memory. True? The Saleman is partly correct, in so far that Leopard works better with 1GB of RAM than Vista does. However, you really should have 2 GBs of RAM as a minimum, and you'd be better off buying this yourself afterwards.

Final Question, are there new versions of the OS due soon? Should I wait? SnowLeopard will be out sometime next year, probably June-ish. Don't wait.

In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is stoned to death.
- Joan D. Vinge

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Dysfunction

 
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Member Since: Mar 17, 2008
Location: Tucson, AZ
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Mac Specs: 2008 and 2011 15" mbps, late 11 iMac, iPhone 4s, and too many ipods and other stuff

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MBP's come stock with 2gb's these days. The 2GB upgrade is just 2 replacement SODIMMs.

mike
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Got # ? phear the command line!
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