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

MBP 13" buying advice please


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chashutch

 
Member Since: Jan 13, 2010
Location: North Dallas, TX
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Mac Specs: 13" MBP, 4GB, 250GB, Speck See-Thru

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I am hoping that someone can set me straight on a few things before I make a final decision.

I am considering a MBP 13. I have never used an Apple product. I have been in Corporate PC/Server support for 20+ years. All my PC experience is with HP/Compaq, Dell, IBM/Lenovo, etc.

I want a laptop that is going to work EVERY time I turn it on. I have read a TON of reviews on every 13-14" laptop available. I keep leaning towards the MBP to meet my needs. I have dealt with Apple Support when I have taken my kids iPods to the apple store for service. Their customer service has been awesome. I compare it to the service at the Lexus dealership.

Here are my requirements/Questions:
1. When I turn it on, I want it to work every time. I am tired of waiting for updates, virus scans, new drivers, etc. (as I am writing this, my netbook with ubuntu just screamed at me that it has updates available, ugh).
2. I write blogs and design websites and do video and audio podcasts
3. I am student... again.
4. I currently have an EeePC with Ubuntu Netbook Remix. It is a solid platform and is very portable. The screen is a bit too small and it only has 2 G of memory so I need a larger screen.
5. I will take the laptop with me everywhere I go. I HATE carrying a usb mouse and clunky charger and cables.
6. I need to run virtual linux server for testing purposes.
7. I can afford a 15" MBP but think it will be less portable so I am pretty much set on the 13". Any specific thoughts on 15" vs. 13" keeping in mind portability.
8. I have managed to get away from Microsoft software by modifying the way I work with a laptop.
9. I run and support open source software when it fits my needs.

- Is 4gB enough memory? I can do 8 if more is merrier for my needs? (two virtual instances of linux server running simultaneously). The guy at the Apple Store said it's cheaper to get the memory upgrade when you buy.
- I typically save my data to Google Docs so can I get by with a 250 Gig Drive or should I go with the 320 ?
- I have used MS Live Writer for Blogging and really like how easy it is to write and post blogs. Is there anything similar in the Apple world?

This is getting wordy so, if anyone has any thoughts or suggestions, I would really appreciate hearing from you.

Thanks,
Hutch
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Mac Pro

 
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1) 4 gb should be plenty but if you do decide to upgrade, it is cheaper to buy third party.

2) 250 gb should be fine and you can always get an external hard drive if you run out of space.

3) I don't know much about blogging but my friend said he used blogo which was pretty good. If you truly are in love with MS live writer, you could run it in bootcamp or either parallels or vmware fusion.

I think the 13" is a good choice if you need portability. Judging by what you will be using the computer for, it sounds like you would really like the macbook pro.

Use the reputation system
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alexsd123

 
Member Since: Jul 18, 2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chashutch View Post
I am considering a MBP 13. I have never used an Apple product.

I want a laptop that is going to work EVERY time I turn it on.
Hutch
I would suggest trying out OSX before purchasing a 1000 dollar computer. It would be like buying a car before driving it based on what other people say.

NO computer in the world will work EVERY single time you turn it on.

My MacBook Pro had a SuperDrive failure in its first month of operating, sh*t happens.

I love my notebook, but as I mentioned before... You should try one out before making your final decision.
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code54

 
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No problems ever here so the reliability is great. Get the factory 250gb drive, buy a cheap ext case from Ebay (Paid $6 for mine), buy a 500 gb drive (about $90) switch it out with the 500 and keep the 250 as a backup drive. All for about $100 (far better deal than getting the 320 put in at the factory - it only takes about 10 minutes to physically switch out the drives)
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chashutch

 
Member Since: Jan 13, 2010
Location: North Dallas, TX
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Great advice.

I was not aware that one could "test drive" a laptop before purchasing. Where would I go to do this? I googled "rent a macbook" I found some businesses that will rent a mac for a period of time.

Is there another way to do this or is this the best bet?

Thanks,
Hutch
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True Bassist

 
Member Since: Oct 30, 2008
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Have you got a local Apple store? If so, you can play around with them there...for free.
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chipz

 
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The MBP 13" should do you very well. I have the 13" MB (Black, 24. GHz, 2 GB RAM and 250 GB HDD) which I love. I have had it for almost two years and it has worked every time I turned it on. There have been very few glitches and none of those pesky viruses like MS has. The 23" screen is okay, but sometimes I long for a larger image, so be sure that 13" screen is okay fr you. Visit an Apple Store and play around with the various machines to get a feel for OS X. If you do decide to buy, consider an online purchase from the Apple Store online. They offer some great prices on refurbed units which carry the full warranty and are eligible for the extended Apple Care. I have always bought refurbs (I guess I'm cheap) and have been very pleased. The machines arrive looking just like the brand new ones. They work like the new ones - the only difference is the lower price! Good luck and let us know what you decide.
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chashutch

 
Member Since: Jan 13, 2010
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I may go the refurb route. I looked at the site this morning. Does this seem reasonable?

- Refurb 13" MBP 2.26/2GB/160GB - $999.00 from Apple online store
- Upgrade memory to 4GB (2X2GB PC 8500 DDR3) memory $115.00 at crucial
- Upgrade HD to 320GB (7200RPM WD Scorpio Blue) $65.00 from Newegg.com
- Applecare seems to be available on refurbished MB's. $249 from Apple

I can get all that I need for $1,428.00 plus tax and shipping.

A new one from the Apple Store with the same specs as above (except with a slower 5400rpm drive) is $1,648 and no shipping.

So, for roughly $200 additional, I can get the laptop from my local apple store AND get to experience the great customer service.

Or, should I wait to see what is announced at the end of the month? If I can get an i7 or i5 processor for the same dollars, I may do that.

Hutch
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chipz

 
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Sounds good. Buying the refurb online from Apple saves money so you can upgrade the system. AppleCare is a real plus. Although Apple products are usually reliable, you could be that one in a million that gets a bad one. The insurance is well worth it. Beware though, AppleCare does not cover any of your own upgrades, so if the HDD, RAM, etc. fail that you installed, they will not be covered by AppleCare.
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chashutch

 
Member Since: Jan 13, 2010
Location: North Dallas, TX
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Nice catch chipz. I had not thought about that. Another reason to go to the Apple store and buy new.

Should I decide to replace the drive myself:
- Does Apple provide a dvd with the OS on it for re-installation? One of the challenges with a Windows based PC is that no Windows media included with the purchase of the machine.

One more question, bloatware .... does Apple cram a new machine full of crippled demos of software that I will never use ?

Thanks again.
Hutch
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Foreign Feeling

 
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To answer the bloatware- No, the only thing installed on snow leopard are full programs which I happen to love such as iLife 09

life is tough. and then you die
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MYmacROX

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chashutch View Post
Nice catch chipz. I had not thought about that. Another reason to go to the Apple store and buy new.
Don't let that discourage you from going the refurbished route. Ultimately it is up to you, though.

Quote:
Originally Posted by chashutch View Post
Should I decide to replace the drive myself:
- Does Apple provide a dvd with the OS on it for re-installation? One of the challenges with a Windows based PC is that no Windows media included with the purchase of the machine.
Yup. It is machine specific, so you wouldn't be able to use it to say upgrade an older Mac that you or a friend may have. Just so ya know.
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