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

MacBook Pro - Low-end vs High-end 13" MBP for a grad student


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cammyfive

 
Member Since: Jun 19, 2009
Location: Florence, AL
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Mac Specs: iBook G4 12" 1.33Ghz/512mb.....MacBook Air 13" i5/4GB/128GB SSD

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I'm in the market to purchase a MPB 13" in about a week or so with my education discount (grad student) and love the size/portability of the 13" MPB. I've spec'ed out the 2.26ghz and 2.53ghz with iworks preinstalled on each and they come out to (with tax) $1231.20 and $1555.20, respectively. I'm curious for a lay user (internet useage, streaming music and video, word processing and excel spreadsheets, photo storage and editing) such as myself, is there any reason to spend the extra $320 or so to upgrade to the faster processor/more RAM/larger HD model? Keep in mind, I'm currently using an over 4 year old Toshiba laptop with a 55GB HD that is only 3/4 full (I use a 500GB external for all of my important stuff) so the built in HD isn't a big deal to me (contemplating upgrading it to a SSD when prices come out of the stratosphere) but if the slightly faster processor and more RAM make for a better experience for a user such as myself...then I'll consider it.

Another point I feel is necessary to state - I originally started this quest with a budget of UNDER $1000.00 total so I was looking at slightly used black MacBooks on Ebay, but a new (or 99.99999% new) machine is now my target.....so those extra few hundred dollars for the higher end model need to be worth it.
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alexsd123

 
Member Since: Jul 18, 2009
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Mac Specs: Macbook Pro 13"

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If you can afford the higher processor, always get it.

I think you will be perfectly fine with the 2.26 processor, and you can always upgrade the RAM to 4 GB if you need it.


Have you checked out the new macbook? It is 1000, and it has virtually the same specs as the MBP.

A refresh of the 13 inch MBP could be on the way, due to the macbook upgrade.
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andr3wkim

 
Member Since: Oct 14, 2009
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Mac Specs: 13" Macbook Pro 2.53GHz; 4GB RAM; GeForce 9400M

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If you goggle benchmarks, the differences were very minimal. 2.26 vs. 2.53 processor difference isn't really going to affect the performance. The RAM however, will make a huge difference. But again, not worth the extra 320.

As far as the Macbook vs. Macbook Pro. I'd say the major selling point for me is the screen. The quality of the screen is noticeable especially at angles and good reason for me to always go Pro.

13" Macbook Pro 2.53GHz w/ 4GB RAM
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DarkestRitual

 
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I'm gonna have to disagree with alex... You won't need the higher speced machine. I am running a 2GHz aluminum macbook (before they made it a 13 inch pro) and doing far more intense things than you need to do, and my machine performs beautifully. Don't waste your cash on that. Maybe drop it on applecare at some point within the year after you buy.
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walkerj

 
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The screen, the Firewire 800, built in SD card and backlit keyboard alone are enough to justify the extra cost. I had a white non-pro Macbook and, while it's a great machine (as is the new redesigned Macbook; I played with one at an Apple store yesterday) the 13" MBP is every bit worth the extra. I have nothing against plastic construction, but if it were down to a base Macbook and a Macbook Pro, I'd take the Pro. YMMV.
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cammyfive

 
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Thanks for the quick replies. I did have a chance to play with the new white MacBook at the Apple store the day after it came out. I was impressed with it and do think it's light years ahead of the previous gen white MacBook but it's still not for me. I'm not terribly keen on the white color (my previous Mac years ago was a white ibook G4) and white the newer design/unibody is nice, I'm still very wary of the plastic-y characterisitics. Plus, I do think the backlit keyboard, higher quality aluminum appearance (IMO), and nicer screen are worth the $150.00 price difference (education discount).

I'm leaning more towards the 'base' 2.26GHZ MBP which with tax and iworks will be a little over $1200 with my discount. Eventually I'm sure I'll scrounge up a spare $100.00 and upgrade the RAM to 4GB and even down the road when the prices come out of the stratosphere, replace the 160GB HD with a SSD device. However it turns out, it will be a refreshing change from my almost 5 year old Toshiba Satelite which is quite the un-power house with it's 1.7GHZ Celeron/512 RAM/55GB HD and quirky nature.
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DarkestRitual

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by walkerj View Post
The screen, the Firewire 800, built in SD card and backlit keyboard alone are enough to justify the extra cost. I had a white non-pro Macbook and, while it's a great machine (as is the new redesigned Macbook; I played with one at an Apple store yesterday) the 13" MBP is every bit worth the extra. I have nothing against plastic construction, but if it were down to a base Macbook and a Macbook Pro, I'd take the Pro. YMMV.
OP isn't asking MacBook vs MacBook Pro. It's low end 13in MBP vs high end 13in MBP.
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walkerj

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DarkestRitual View Post
OP isn't asking MacBook vs MacBook Pro. It's low end 13in MBP vs high end 13in MBP.
Oh, so it is. Well then in that case processor speed really is irrelevant and I'd advise to go with best value between the two because you're not going to notice too much difference between the CPU speeds. Then again I'm not a professional Apple advisor so you can take this bit of text for what it's worth.

Which is not a lot.
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