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Switcher Hangout The place for switchers to discuss their new machines, and how to work with OS X. General support can be had here for newbie stuff, like "How do I restart my new iMac?" :)

Just Registered !! =) Questions on what to purchase as my first Mac...


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Tesla760

 
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Member Since: Feb 21, 2008
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Hi everyone, my name is Nick and I'm a mac newbie. I have been reading the forums for a few weeks now to get some ideas on what to buy, here is what im looking for.

Laptop for sure, no bigger than 15inches, backlit keyboard, im not going to play games on it so it doesnt need to be too fast, I will use it for pics, music and rarely for video. I also will use it to burn DVDs, backup movies. My plan is also to buy a airport extreme so I can attach my Ext HD to it.
So the Air is really tempting and I played with it at best buy a little bit, but the macbook pro can do a lot more, so I cant decide what to buy for my fist mac computer. any advice will help, anything I should know about the pro or air will help also. I have $2,000 - $2,200 to spend for everything.
Thanks,
-Nick
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King Luis

 
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in my opinion, the air should be a lot cheaper. like $700us cheaper. it lacks and restricts quite a bit. for your case, a regular macbook pro would be perfect.
besides not having a 15inch screen and back lit keyboard, a macbook would be fine too.
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Derek McNelly

 
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If the backlit keyboard is a deal breaker, then the MBP would be the way to go. If you can deal with not having a backlit keyboard, then a MacBook would suit your needs just fine for USD $500+ less.

MacBook Pro 2.3 GHz Quad i7 - 8GB RAM - 750GB HHD - OS X 10.8
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MoTM February 2009
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dalison

 
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As the others said, if you can get over the backlit keyboard the MacBook may be a good solution. For $1300 you can get a 2.2GHz machine. Go out and buy $300 of upgrades (4GB RAM and 320GB HD). You're now at $1600 and the machine will easily do everything you need. It weighs 5 pounds and gets great battery life.

If you are near an Apple store or a Best Buy you may just want to stop by and kick the tires on it. As a primary machine I think the Air is going to leave you missing key features (ability to simply play a DVD will be one of them). You'll need an external drive for that.

--David
My blog about my move from Windows to Mac: www.davidalison.com
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mab

 
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Like the others said, if you can live without the backlit keyboard, I would go with the Macbook. You could get an even better deal by buying a refurbished one, and adding extra RAM yourself.

I have a 2.0Ghz, black Macbook with 2GB RAM, and use it mostly for email, internet, itunes, pictures, spreadsheets, documents, and playing videos while traveling. I don't think I ever come close to really tapping the max ability of this machine, and I use it every day.

I originally wanted the backlit keyborad, but cannot think of a situation in the last year where I've been unable to use the laptop because of not having this feature. I think at the time, I was more impressed with the "coolness" of it, though in general, I think the cool factor is high anyway with any of the Mac laptops.
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Tesla760

 
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Well one of the reasons I wanted a backlit keyboard is for my bedroom at night, my wife doesnt like the lights on, so now I am wonderind if the light from the screen is bright enough so I can see they keyboard? so I dont have trouble typing at night
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sanity1082

 
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i haven't had any problem seeing the keyboard at night.
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Tesla760

 
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Sounds like macbook is a good choice for me then, will also save me money... now do I need the 4gig upgrade or is 2 enough for basic use?? Now I just need to figure out if I want the black or white one? =D will prolly be buying it this Sunday. I am also wondering if these will ever have that Multi Touch that the air offers??
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beastykato

 
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I just bought a Macbook and I got 4gb of ram to slap into it the day it arrived at my door. I did start it up with the 1gb that came with it and noticed a definite speed increase after putting the 4gb in.

Having said that 2gb of ram will be plenty if you are just doing routine things. I occasionally play some games or type up a paper in pages and have a cd burning in itunes and a movie playing in my divx player, along with all of my other programs open at the same time (Adium, Mail, Firefox, Limewire, Acquistion, Stickies, and more). This still hasn't maxed out my 4gb of ram but I have taken up over 3gb in the activity monitor at certain points. It's not so much that I need this much ram but it makes it very convenient, because I can literally open up every program I use and I can leave them all open and ready to go without a hiccup. And the ram for macbooks is so cheap right now I don't see any reason not to just max it out anyway.

And yeah about the keyboard at night... You shouldn't have any problem at all the screen provides more than enough light to see the keys and to be honest I don't look at my keys very much anyway.
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dalison

 
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If you are going to be running Windows using Parallels or VMWare then 4GB is a huge help - and it's really cheap right now. If you won't be running any virtual machines 2GB is likely fine.

Keep in mind though that you save more money by getting 1GB from Apple, then buying 4GB aftermarket (replacing your single 1GB stick). If you buy 2GB up front and discover later that you need the extra memory you'll have to toss out the 2 1GB sticks if you upgrade to 4GB.

--David
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JohnTheMacGeek

 
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Try www.crucial.com for memory upgrade. Apple charges outrageous prices for memory.

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beastykato

 
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I'm not sure what crucial charges for RAM directly from them, but you might want to compare prices at other places too. I got mine from www.newegg.com.

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Tesla760

 
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That was actually my next question, where I can find ram for a normal price, the upgrade to 4gig from apple is way too much, glad you mentioned it would be better to buy a 1 gig and upgrade .. sounds like the right choice, and I prolly wont be running any type of windows ... I'm getting more and more anti windows by the day ....
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Tesla760

 
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Im also wondering if the apple care plan is worth the $250?
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srmorris2

 
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I am sitting here at night in my room on my brand new macbook and I can see the keyboard fine and I think that within about am month you could easily have the layout memorize. But for what you need I think that the Macbook would be perfect for you. If its just for basic multimedia and can spare with the 13 inch screen then the macbook is the way too go. I would recommend the memory upgrade to 2gb and that would suit you for whatever you need done. I just purchased mine for the same reason of audio editing and some minor image editing with programs like photoshop and I have not had a problem yet. And you said that you would like to do some dvd ripping I would recommend the program Handbrake. Its a great little dvd rip program. But to my conclusion I think that the Macbook 2.2 with 2 gb mem would be perfect for your needs

-Scuba Steve-
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