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

Macbook - Decision time - MacBook or MacBook Pro?


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Pigchops

 
Member Since: Feb 01, 2007
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Hi! This is my first post on these excellent forums so go easy on me! I hope that I have put this in the right place but, if not, please move it.

I have been using an iMac at home for a year now and am a true Mac convert. Now, after months of badgering, I've finally managed to convince the IT guys at work to let me have a Mac which will be run on a Windows Exchange Server network. Bearing in mind that these IT guys are big Windows fans, I need to ensure that I pick a machine that will impress them - reliability is key!

I need a laptop for portability, so it's either a MB or MBP. In terms of budget, I can go no higher than the bottom-end MBP. The machine will predominantly be used for Internet and MS Office, some iLife applications and watching the occasional DVD. I am not a gamer; nor am I a photo/video editor. I want a machine that is going to be reliable and stable, that will cope with being carted around in a Targus backpack and that will be as "future-proof" as possible and last a decent amount of time (e.g. 2 years plus).

I have read many and varied reviews on the Internet of both models. I am aware of the various problems people have experienced and I understand that in general those problems have now been ironed out.

What I need is advice on which to go for - the MB or MBP - and why...

As far as I can tell, the only major difference between the MB and MBP is the dedicated graphics card. If that is so, is the MBP really worth all of that additional money?

If I go for the MB, is the white or black casing best for the day-to-day rigours of office life?

If I go for the MBP, will the lightweight aluminium case be easily damaged in an office/commuting environment? Is the polycarbonate of the MB a better bet?

I love the idea of the backlit keyboard on the MBP but is it really such a big deal?

TIA :yinyang:
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Jonnyfive

 
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Check out this article that includes benchmarks for both the MB and the MBP and it compares them to a dual G5 desktop. Based on these results I don't think that it's worth spending the extra money for a MBP. That's why I am waiting for my MB that I just ordered from Apple.

http://creativemac.digitalmedianet.c...e.jsp?id=43717

My advice - Buy whichever model you are curious about from a store with an excellent return policy and try it out and see if it does what you need, if not, usually you can return it within 15 days and get something that will meet your needs.

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eric

 
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i'd say macbook. unless you really want a larger screen. you'll have more portability and slightly longer battery life from the macbook. and save a few hundred bucks even if you get an uplevel model.

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CodeSamurai

 
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I'd say macbook as well. Simply because you are not a gamer and it doesn't sound like you'll be doing over intense stuff. I think you'll be pleasantly suprised with the ease and portability of the macbook. As for color, I'm biased with Black. It's sharp and looks more professional than the White version, although it does show finger prints more easily. Hope this helps and welcome to the forums!

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todd51
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Yea, I would just get a standard white Macbook since you aren't doing any Photoshop work or video editing. Just use the extra money for Applecare and maybe some more ram and you'll have yourself one nice machine!
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macbookdabest

 
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I rather get the pro because the casing on the MB is soo easily scratched
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Pigchops

 
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Thanks guys, the help is really appreciated.

Logic tells me the MB will be more than adequate for my needs and this appears to be echoed by the bulk of opinion above. I guess my only fears are to do with the graphics and the screen size of the MB compared with the MBP. What I really need to know is: (a) whether doing what I propose to do I am going to run into any limitations with the graphics (e.g. would viewing a DVD or photos be noticeably poor in comparison with the MBP); and (b) is there much difference between the 13" and 15.4" screen sizes - in other words if I am using the computer on a daily basis would I need to use an external TFT with one but not the other?

Macbookdabest mentions the MB case scratching - is the MBP case more resiliant to the knocks and bumps of daily office life?

Finally, should I order it now or wait to see whether February heralds the relase of "Leopard"?

Thank you so much for your help - it's appreciated.
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Reel1

 
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Hello Pigchops. My opinion for what its worth....

Screen size/ I have an iMac 20" and a MacBook 13". I use my MacBook between the office and home daily for all of my work related activities (mail, excel, word and such), I have found the screen size to be plenty big for this type of use. However my suggestion for you would be to go to an Apple store and compare the size diiference between the 13 and 15" models.

Scratching/ I am not sure which case is more resiliant to marking, my MacBook so far has not been marked but I suppose that depends on what happens in the office. If you are really worried about the MacBook being marked there are covers that can be purchased to protect it.

Whatever you decide you should be very happy with your purchase.
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moss918

 
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I too am unsure which of them are easiest to scratch but my Macbook has no marks at all. In fact, if you have a sleeve for it and you're not a total klutz then I can't imagine you having any issues.

A - No there will be no noticeable difference for photo's and DVD's (Aside from the screen size, obviously) For what you intend to use it for graphics are a non issue.
B - As reel said checking them out in store is your best bet but I can say that I'm as comfortable on the Macbook as I am on the 15" screen at work and the 17" at home. But this will differ from person to person, so see how you feel after your trip to the Apple store.
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I'm used to (and usually absolutely require) a 20" CRT with a resolution of 1600x1200 and I have found that the 1280x800 13.5" screen of my Macbook to be perfectly fine. Maybe it's the widescreen aspect and the incredible clarity (I actually turn the brightness down to about half most of the time because it can be too bright in lower light conditions) but something about it makes it so that I have no problem working (or playing) on the 'small screen'. I even prefer to watch DVDs on the smaller screen. There's something "HD"-ish about it.

If you use an external monitor, it's even better. You can span the screen on the Macbook with the external monitor and have the best of both! Currently I use my Macbook with the aforementioned 20" CRT with each monitor at it's best resolution. Yes, you can have each monitor at it's highest resolution and use both as one big display. You can also position the monitor wherever you want. My external monitor is elevated so I have it positioned above the 'small' screen so it's like I have a 30" vertical monitor.

As for performance, well, the Macbook is quite speedy. It's also much more compact and light. Great form factor. I wouldn't really care to lug 15" of Macbook Pro around all the time, but have no problem taking my Macbook everywhere I go. It's just like carrying...well...a book around. With a MBP it would be more like carrying around a large coffee table book.
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Pigchops

 
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Guys - sorry to "bump" this with a fresh post but I still need your help! Being insanely busy both at work and home has prevented me from having the time to complete my purchase until now. I had been about to buy the black MB and rang my local Apple store for a quote. Because I'm buying for business I get a discount - 3% for the MB; 5% for the MBP. In practical terms there is now a 250 price differential between the two machines. My question is easy: is the difference between the two machines worth 250 and, if so, should I go for a MBP instead of a MB?

Many thanks...
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jram

 
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If you want to impress IT guys at work go with a MBP. The graphics difference is like day and night, so is the screen size. Doesn't look like it would be, but it is. If the guys at work fool with the laptop, you don't want to have the thing freeze, the MB only has 1 fan. Most people get the MB because there way cheaper, don't make that mistake.
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I think the MacBook Pro has the most impressive screen of any notebook I've seen.

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I have the Pro. From your previous posts, I think the MacBook would be adequate for your needs. You did raise one question about whether you would need to hook it up to an external monitor. If you plan on using this for your primary computer, not just for travel when you're away from your desktop, then I would go with the Pro for the screen size.

Is the company buying this? - definitely get the Pro
Want to impress the IT guys? - the Pro is one sexy lookin piece of hardware
Backlit keys on the Pro is just too cool - but then I like sittin in the dark

For the money difference you get the bigger screen, backlit keys, Firewire 800 port, superior graphics, the option of a matte screen, processor that's approx 10% faster though you probably will not notice this with the apps you'll likely be using and maybe since I don't know exactly which options you may be looking at a larger hard drive and more RAM.

If you have an apple store near, you should go check it out.
Even combined with a 2 hour sightseeing drive wouldn't be too bad.
Then you can look and touch for yourself.
If you'll be using this at home and at work, get an extra power cable also.
And if you're doing much moving it from one place to another, check out Speck Products hard covers for protection.

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Acill

 
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I chose the MBP and since I was short on cash i just went went the 2.16GHZ version and got myself an extra 1GB RAM stick. It has half the video RAM (128MB instead of 256) but it was still a large upgrade over my Powerbook with only 64MB and the dual core made it all the more worth it.

If your goal is to impress the MBP is the only tru way to go. The MB looks like a toy in my opinion, though it does work well for low end tasks.

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