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

Upgrading from a Black MacBook to a 15" MBP (I think)


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wescoe

 
Member Since: Jun 08, 2011
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For a plethora of reasons, namely moving from one coast to the other in a few months, I'm consolidating my computer setup.

Currently I have:

Windows 7 Desktop
Intel Core 2 Duo
4GB Ram
about 2TB of space across various drives

Black MacBook
Intel Core Duo
2GB Ram
500GB 7200RPM drive

What I do:
Basic productivity, internet (chrome), email, office suite, digital art (including photo/video using CS5, Lightroom 3, Final Cut Pro)

What my current setup doesn't do that I want from my new computer:
All computing tasks out of one central location, though I need to maintain mobility. This is why a laptop with a Monitor/Keyboard/Magic Trackpad makes sense. I also want a laptop with a larger screen and higher resolution for when I'm on the go. I really hate editing on just my laptop currently. I would also like a non-glare screen if the MBP non-glare option is nice (I've never seen it in person).

What I'm leaning towards:
15" MBP
2.2 Intel Quad Core
4GB Ram
256 SSD

with: 2TB external desktop drive and a 1TB portable HDD (to dump .RAW images to when on the road)


I'm pretty confident that this setup will work and not be massive overkill for what i do. However, a few friends have suggested I get a high-end MacBook Air with appropriate external storage and a desktop monitor. I'm also torn on whether to get a SSD at this time. Spec'd out, the 13" MBA w/ 2.13 C2D and 4GB Ram is about $1750 and the 15" MBP as described is about $2600 after I consider my government employee discount.

My black Macbook has lasted over 5 years now and is just now starting to show serious signs of aging. I expect whatever I go with to give me a similar stretch of equally good performance. Do you think the MBA is capable of this? The hardware on the MBP seems like it would age much better IMO. Is the SSD worth it? It really jacks the price up higher than I was looking to go but to me its worth spending a little more to get what I will be happy with.

And finally, whats the opinion on Apple Care? I bought it for my black Macbook and never used it. Is the $260 or so really worth the piece of mind? I have up to a year to purchase it after the purchase of the system, correct?

Any thoughts you would like to share are appreciated.
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EvenStranger

 
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Location: Virginia
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Mac Specs: Currently 13" Late 2010 MBA, 4GB/128GB; Early 2011 13" MBP, dual core i7 2.7ghz, 4gb ram, 500gb hd

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Sounds like a good choice for system to me. As far as AppleCare goes, I'll repeat what I've said before - it's peace of mind. Better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it. Even a relatively simple repair, like an optical drive replacement, can cost the better part of an agreement. Break down the cost - three years of coverage is less than $10 per month.
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Deckyon

 
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Location: Louisville, KY - USA
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Mac Specs: MBP 17" 2011, 2.3GHz Intel Quad-Core i7, 8GB RAM, MacMini 2011, 2.7GHz Intel Dual-Core i7, 8GB RAM

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My own thoughts:
1. Get the MBP over the MBA - you wont look back.
2. Get the i7 processor. You cannot upgrade this after you get the machine.
3. Get the best of the video card options. Again, you cannot upgrade this after you get the machine.
4. You can swap out the HDD. I do not see where an SSD will give that much more performance overall than the 7200 RPM drive.
5. Immediately upgrade your RAM to 8GB from 4 when you get the machine. Should not cost a lot, but less expensive than getting the 8GB at purchase time.

I say this about all electronics: Get the best you can afford at the time and you will be happier with it longer as upgrades come out. You can't stop the release of new products, especially when it comes to laptops and computers.

MBP 17" 2011, 2.3GHz Intel Quad-Core i7, 8GB RAM, AMD Radeon HD 6750M 1GB RAM
MacMini 2011, 2.7GHz Intel Dual-Core i7, 8GB RAM, AMD Radeon HD 6630M 256MB RAM
iPhone 5S 64GB, iPad Gen3 32GB WiFi, iPod Nano Gen6 8GB, Apple TV 3 & 2
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wescoe

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Deckyon View Post
My own thoughts:
1. Get the MBP over the MBA - you wont look back.
2. Get the i7 processor. You cannot upgrade this after you get the machine.
3. Get the best of the video card options. Again, you cannot upgrade this after you get the machine.
4. You can swap out the HDD. I do not see where an SSD will give that much more performance overall than the 7200 RPM drive.
5. Immediately upgrade your RAM to 8GB from 4 when you get the machine. Should not cost a lot, but less expensive than getting the 8GB at purchase time.

I say this about all electronics: Get the best you can afford at the time and you will be happier with it longer as upgrades come out. You can't stop the release of new products, especially when it comes to laptops and computers.
1. Thats where I'm leaning
2. The 15" only has i7 processors available, I don't see the 10% cost surcharge being worth the 4% (according to benchmarks) performance increase
3. Plan on it, going with the 2.2GHz version
4. Reviews and benchmarks suggest otherwise. I was looking for real world experience to corroborate or deny what I've read. Have you had a SSD in any of your systems?
5. Plan on it.

I agree, spending marginally more up front generally nets a much happier experience over the course of owning any piece of technology, especially one used as often as your main computer.
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wescoe

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EvenStranger View Post
Sounds like a good choice for system to me. As far as AppleCare goes, I'll repeat what I've said before - it's peace of mind. Better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it. Even a relatively simple repair, like an optical drive replacement, can cost the better part of an agreement. Break down the cost - three years of coverage is less than $10 per month.
Yep thats what I was thinking. Its a true statement that I can add Applecare to the laptop at any point during the first year of ownership to extend the warranty, correct?
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Deckyon

 
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Mac Specs: MBP 17" 2011, 2.3GHz Intel Quad-Core i7, 8GB RAM, MacMini 2011, 2.7GHz Intel Dual-Core i7, 8GB RAM

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Quote:
Originally Posted by wescoe View Post
1. Thats where I'm leaning
2. The 15" only has i7 processors available, I don't see the 10% cost surcharge being worth the 4% (according to benchmarks) performance increase

4. Reviews and benchmarks suggest otherwise. I was looking for real world experience to corroborate or deny what I've read. Have you had a SSD in any of your systems?
Benchmarks are not real-world use. I have never followed them or put a lot of stock in them, personally. Again, you cannot ever upgrade the processor once you get the PC. You CAN upgrade the HDD. Save the money on the HDD and apply it to the Processor.

I opted for the faster processor and the larger (albeit somewhat slower) HDD with the 7200 RPM model as I knew from the get go I needed about 100GB for a Win7 partition. I can, however, always install an SSD if I wanted to.

Again, those are only my thoughts.

MBP 17" 2011, 2.3GHz Intel Quad-Core i7, 8GB RAM, AMD Radeon HD 6750M 1GB RAM
MacMini 2011, 2.7GHz Intel Dual-Core i7, 8GB RAM, AMD Radeon HD 6630M 256MB RAM
iPhone 5S 64GB, iPad Gen3 32GB WiFi, iPod Nano Gen6 8GB, Apple TV 3 & 2
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wescoe

 
Member Since: Jun 08, 2011
Posts: 10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Deckyon View Post
Benchmarks are not real-world use. I have never followed them or put a lot of stock in them, personally. Again, you cannot ever upgrade the processor once you get the PC. You CAN upgrade the HDD. Save the money on the HDD and apply it to the Processor.

I opted for the faster processor and the larger (albeit somewhat slower) HDD with the 7200 RPM model as I knew from the get go I needed about 100GB for a Win7 partition. I can, however, always install an SSD if I wanted to.

Again, those are only my thoughts.
I understand benchmarks do not necessarily translate to real world results, but reviews suggest otherwise in this case. That's why I was soliciting opinions on personal experiences. The several high profile reviews I read (engadget, macworld, anandtech, pcworld) all suggest that the SSD upgrade is worth it and the processor upgrade is not.

They also suggest that going with any other SSD than OEM has the potential to create usability issues as Apple has put the SSDs that come stock through stringent testing (and warranties them). They also point out that any SSD other than Apple OEM voids the warranty. This is an important part of the picture for me, though it may not be for you.

It appears in your case that you have capacity requirements that make the SSD a (cost?) prohibitive option. I understand that as the SSD option is borderline too expensive for me. I appreciate your thoughts though.

I, too, noticed a pretty big difference when I went from an 80gb 5400RPM drive in my macbook to a 500gb 7200RPM drive. I'm sure the larger buffer size helped too, but it was a noticeable difference. The SSD is supposed to make any spinning HDD feel super slow (even the 10k WD Raptor I have in my PC).

I'm also interested in hearing people's personal experience with the non-glare high res screen. Is it nice? Is it worth it? There are 3rd party non-glare films available but I just dont see that as being as nice of a solution as a built in option.
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