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

MacBook vs. MacBook Pro For School - Help!

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Member Since: Jul 26, 2010
Posts: 1
Dash~Girl is on a distinguished road

Dash~Girl is offline
I'm buying a laptop for school (IB) and am looking at either a MacBook or MacBook Pro 13". However, I am having a hard time deciding between the two, as they are both great computers. The main things I'm considering are:

1. Durability: I'm not going to be throwing it around, but I don't want something that will scratch if one of my little sisters grab it with their fingernails. It will be kept in a sleeve (most likely neoprene), and will also be carried around my house and school.

2. Performance: Both models are 2.4GHz with 250GB, but one has 2GB of RAM vs 4GB of RAM. I don't need an i-# series processor for what I'm doing, so will the RAM make much difference? They both claim to have 10hrs of battery life - would the higher graphics card in the Pro use this faster than in a regular MacBook?

3. Compatibility: I have USB cords for everything I need, but the SD reader in the Pro would be nice.

4. Wireless: I will be using it on wireless only, and in a few different places: home, friend/family homes, school and work. I've heard that some older model Pros didn't have very good wireless reception because of the aluminum, but I asked at a local university dealer where they said that the antenna had been moved to the top corner of the screen. Is this true?

5. Portability: 4.5lbs and 4.7lbs are not a great difference, but large screens (such as TV screens) give me headaches after looking at them for any amount of time. Also, the computer will be doing a fair bit of travel so I would like a smaller screen.

I'm going to be using the computer for:
Music, word processing (most likely OOO Aqua, but iWork '09 or Office '08 may be installed), internet (a fair bit of research), watching movies, Skype, Google SketchUp, Adobe Digital Editions, and a little bit of light photo editing (fixing color, red eye).

Things that I'm not concerned about are:
Blu-Ray, HDMI output, audio/video output, Boot Camp, price. I do not play video games so the graphics card is not of great consideration. I'm also not worried much about Windows compatibility as every computer I will need to work with can view a PDF, and there is a family computer running XP.

Any opinions on this would be lovely, thanks!
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Member Since: Jul 26, 2010
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Ordinary~Man is on a distinguished road

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Honestly in terms of performance, you probably won't really notice any difference. The 4 gigs of ram is nice, and with the edu discount ($50 on the MB versus $100 on the MBP), the advantages of the MBP - fw800, backlit keyboard, sd card slot, better screen - are a good value add I think. I also really prefer movies on the mbp - edge to edge glass instead of the inlaid plastic on the white mb.

You did say price wasn't an issue, but if you are on a budget, you may consider getting the white mb and getting all the peripherals you want with the leftover cash - external hd, some speakers, mobileme, maybe a mighty mouse, etc. I would always recommend a cheaper version of basically the same computer but adding the extras that will make your experience a fuller one.
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The only thing you didn't mention was cost. If you're comparing the 13" MacBook & MacBook Pro with the 2.4ghz cpu...that a $200 difference. They're basically the same computer...except the MacBook Pro comes in the aluminum, has more ram, and I personally like having the firewire port. The SD card slot is nice too if you have a digital camera that uses SD cards.

Battery: If you're comparing the 13" MacBook & MacBook Pro with the 2.4ghz cpu...they both have the same graphics hardware (not different as you indicated).

Durability: The Aluminum models will scratch...and scratch easily. So using a sleeve, hardcase, or skin will reduce this.

Personally if I was choosing between the two...I would choose the $1199 13" MacBook Pro.


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Member Since: Jul 26, 2010
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Randear is on a distinguished road

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Seriously, get the Pro. The all-aluminum build quality is fantastic. The upgraded stats and card reader are great. And you will love the backlit keyboard and screen. Especially for school if you're doing work in your dorm or library, you'll really come to appreciate these extras.

My wireless reception has been great. Better than PCs.

Get the Pro.
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Member Since: Apr 21, 2010
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TF626 is on a distinguished road
Mac Specs: 21.5' iMac i3 3.2GHz, 13.3' MacBook Pro 2.26GHz, iPhone 4(16GB), 160GB iPod Classic

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I'd also recommend the 13" MBP. While there are slight differences such as the aluminum unibody construction, backlit keyboard, glass-to-glass cover over the LED display, better screen, and the 2GB of extra RAM, will surely make you appreciate you got the MBP.

I got the 2009 model, and I don't have a scratch, or dent in my MBP, but I take good care of my computers. Not only that but it just looks better in my opinion. The aluminum construction just adds a level of sophistication to it.

If that's all you plan, than the 13 MBP will serve you fine.
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