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

Macbook - Upgraded Macbook Or low end Macbook Pro


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JamesB

 
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Im looking to buy into the mac laptop family and have found myself split between buying a black macbook and then installing a RAM upgrade to 2GB or buying a low end macbook pro (2.16ghz model) then upgrading the ram at a later date. I will be using the laptop for web development work and using programs such as dreamweaver and photoshop although not in a heavy enviroment. I will also be running msn and itunes at the same time alot so will need something that can handle all this. If anyone can help me decided or run me through the benifits of either the macbook or the pro it would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks, James
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narf1899

 
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i believe the macbook pro comes with a standard 2gb of ram....its got a bigger screen and HD, and a faster hard drive. if u have the cash then the MBP is def the better option. (although it is not quite as portable as a macbook)

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JamesB

 
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The 2.16 macbook pro comes with 1gb according to the mac website, i would look to upgrade it to 2gb when ive saved up some more but im looking at ordering soon. Whats the battery life comparison?
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fiveightandten

 
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James,

Something to note about the RAM installed in these machines is that the Black MB comes with 2x512MB cards, so if you don't get the 2GB upgrade from Apple, you'll have to buy 2 new 1GB RAM sticks and have both of those 512's left over (to sell or not). The 2.16GHz MBP comes loaded with 1x1GB...so upgrading after the fact isn't as annoying.

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Originally Posted by JamesB View Post
The 2.16 macbook pro comes with 1gb according to the mac website, i would look to upgrade it to 2gb when ive saved up some more but im looking at ordering soon. Whats the battery life comparison?
I'm not sure what people are experiencing for real-world figures, but apples site lists the MB life as "up to 6 hours" and the MBP as "up to 5 hours". I've been going back and forth about which one of these machines to get, and FWIW I did put them side by side at the Apple store and unplug the power from each. The MBP does have a larger screen, and more powerful processor, and therefore it does suck down battery power a bit quicker.


The MBP is definitely a nicer machine, but it's also a good deal more expensive. One thing that turns me off about the MB are that the internal speakers are just plain terrible. The MBP doesn't have great onboard sound quality either (these *are* laptops), but even at full volume I had trouble hearing music playing through the MB in the store with people milling about and talking, and the sound is thin and tinny.

There's a lot of speed comparisons out there for you to read, but from what i've gathered...

The processor speed difference between these 2 machines in normal use is almost neglegable. It would be noticed most in heavy tasks that require a long time to complete, and thus the MBP would inch forward little by little. If you're going to be doing mostly web development, with a few apps open at once, you'll probably notice more of a difference from RAM.

IMO, if you're going to have the machine for 3, 4, 5 years....and you can max the RAM out on either one within a year after you get it...i'd look more at whether or not either one will be obsolete much quicker than the other. I think the only big disadvantages that the MB has in your case are the lesser video RAM, and the fact that it's maxed out at 2GB. If we were comparing the white MB to the MBP, the price difference would warrant those deficiencies, IMO...but when the price difference is lessened to $500, or less after the MB RAM upgrade...it's something to consider...whether you want to miss that money now, or possibly have to upgrade to a new machine sooner next time around.

Hope that helps. They're both fine computers, and although the MBP is superior, not everyone needs the extra features/upgrades. It's a matter of finding a healthy medium for your price point and your needs (now, and down the road).

-Nick
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chrisiw

 
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I have just had my new MacBook for about 6 weeks now having moved over from XP and find it fantastic, the best system I have ever had, as regards MB against MB Pro, I love my white MB but would say I think the sharp top edge is poor, its just under your wrists and the other thing is that on the left hand side where the ports are if you press around that area you can feel it move, and thats poor on a machine of this quality so for me the MB pro would be more solid, other than that I love it.
Chris
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Kash

 
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fiveightandten made some great points. However, one thing you should keep in mind is aesthetics. I personally do not like the keyboard on the Macbook Pro. It felt mushy and the keys were too close together. The Macbook has a far better keyboard for my personal taste. They are more tactile and space further apart, which is great for my larger hands.

Size can also be a factor. If it's just going to sit on your desk all day, then you will benefit from the larger screen of the Macbook Pro. But if you plan on lugging it around with you, then the smaller form factor of the Macbook makes it more compelling.

One point I want to rebuke about fiveightandten's argument. The Macbook is actually not limited to 2GB of maximum RAM, it actually has the same max limit as the Macbook Pro: 3GB.

You should definitely check out the machines in person. You may just fall in love with one or the other for no logical reason and no amount of persuasion will get you to change your mind. I personally like the MBP's specs, but I absolutely love my Macbook and wouldn't ever think about replacing it with a MBP. Then again, the MBP did seem to have a rather exorbitant price tag in comparison, which also probably played a major part in my buying decision.
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MaDDoG

 
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I have the 17" MBP....and it is not heavy to carry around and the xtra screen size is good.
I bought core duo 2.16 with 1 gig of ram. I would conider it over the mac book simply becasue it is easier to upgrade the ram. e.g just get another 1 meg stick as opposed to holding onto 2 512's and getting 2 1 gigs in mac book.
As for the keyboard, I have an Asus laptop at home and an Acer at work. This is better than either of those. Admittedly I haven't used a Macbook.

Confused...so was I when I first switched. I am no longer a switcher as I will never go back.

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JamesB

 
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Thanks for the replies all, I will get down to my local apple retailer and try and make my decision. Anyone have any idea where the best place to buy is? Im sure there must be places cheaper than the apple store and does anyone have any past experiences using ebay to buy a mac.

Thanks, James
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fiveightandten

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JamesB View Post
Thanks for the replies all, I will get down to my local apple retailer and try and make my decision. Anyone have any idea where the best place to buy is? Im sure there must be places cheaper than the apple store and does anyone have any past experiences using ebay to buy a mac.

Thanks, James
You can check out websites like www.macconnection.com or www.macmall.com , which offer rebates and thus save you a little bit of money off going straight from Apple. You also won't pay tax on a lot of online purchases (which, technically, you're supposed to, but we wno't get into that)...so you'll save anywhere from $50-200, depending on the model and the price/rebate.

Some people do feel more comfortable buying a machine from the Apple store directly, and being able to walk out with the computer. You can also popthe box open in the store and check it out, and from my experience the sales people at the Apple store are very helpful and would be more than happy to sit down and go over a few things with youif you wanted. In fact, I was at the Apple store last night talking to them about these machines and not only did I notice a few people sitting at a large counter in the back with Apple employees going over their new computers...the guy I was talking to gave me a card and said any of them would be happy to grab both a MB and a MBP and bring them to the back and spend up to an hour explaining the differences and helping me through any decisions. Sometimes that type of service is worth the extra money to people.

Then there's always eBay. You can get some nice deals up there, but like anything else on eBay...know who you're buying from and check out their feedback very well with a big purchase like this. Personally, i'd email the seller and ask for a phone number that they (or their employees if it's a company) can be reached at to ask questions.

-Nick
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fiveightandten

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kash View Post
One point I want to rebuke about fiveightandten's argument. The Macbook is actually not limited to 2GB of maximum RAM, it actually has the same max limit as the Macbook Pro: 3GB.
Really, Can you elaborate on that? Because the info on the Apple site contradicts that claim. This is actually kind of important to me, as i'm worried about the MB being maxed out a few years from now and it not being enough.


-Nick
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Kash

 
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We've had a couple of threads on that little issue recently. Apple officially states that 2GB is the max, but there are some members here who have been able to upgrade to 3GB and have the Macbook work just fine. There are even some advertisements about upgrading a Macbook to 3GB.

If you look at it from a technical perspective, there really shouldn't be anything standing in the way of upgrading all the way to 3GB as both the Macbook and Macbook Pro essentially have the same underlying architecture.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chrisiw View Post
I have just had my new MacBook for about 6 weeks now having moved over from XP and find it fantastic, the best system I have ever had, as regards MB against MB Pro, I love my white MB but would say I think the sharp top edge is poor, its just under your wrists and the other thing is that on the left hand side where the ports are if you press around that area you can feel it move, and thats poor on a machine of this quality so for me the MB pro would be more solid, other than that I love it.
Chris
With many people complaining about a sharp edge on the MB around the wrist area, I had a look at a brand new MB at an Apple dealer. Apple has obviously corrected the problem since there is a noticeable bevel on the edges now.
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proxy

 
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i use the same program day to day as you said in your first post and also some more demanding things like 3d program

i have a white macbook 2.0ghz (the black one is the same just bigger hdd as standerd) i have upgraded the ram to 2.0gb (but you can go up 2 3gb if you need it) and the hard drive up to 100gb.

i also i have a usb powerd hard drvie stuck next to the apple logo on my screen to give me 120gb of extra hard drvie space where ever i go.

now my firend the low end macbook pro and hates it as its so much bigger and harder to carry about and in our appinion the pro just dont look as good as the white macbooks.

so i say go macbook and spend the cash you save upgrading it.

Proxy
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fiveightandten

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kash View Post
We've had a couple of threads on that little issue recently. Apple officially states that 2GB is the max, but there are some members here who have been able to upgrade to 3GB and have the Macbook work just fine. There are even some advertisements about upgrading a Macbook to 3GB.

If you look at it from a technical perspective, there really shouldn't be anything standing in the way of upgrading all the way to 3GB as both the Macbook and Macbook Pro essentially have the same underlying architecture.
Thanks for the info, I wasn't aware of that and it's definitely good to know.

-Nick
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