General Question

St.George's avatar

Do I need a MacBook Pro?

Asked by St.George (5865points) December 17th, 2009

I have a 5 year old iBook G4, which has served me well, but I’d like a quicker computer with more storage, media, and speed capabilities.

What I do on current computer: Write, make home movies, go online, store photos/music, keep a calendar.

Additionally, I’d like to have: Speedy response, the ability to watch Netflix instantly, speed, matte screen, 15 inch.

Should I go for the Pro or stick with an iBook? Less expensive is best for these economic times.

Any recommendations re: model, processor speed, memory, hard drive size, etc. is appreciated.

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34 Answers

Vunessuh's avatar

I have a Macbook and I love it.
Unless you are making tons of full-length feature films, I don’t think you need to pay more for a Pro.

jackm's avatar

I have a mac book pro and I would never have anything else. Its worth it.

delta214's avatar

I also have an iBook G4 and was looking into getting one of these too.
Was lookin at 2.66GHz, 4GB RAM, 320GB HD

Gokey's avatar

15” Macbook Pros start at $1700 and 15” Macbooks start at $1000.

With the kind of work you are doing, the extra $700 isn’t worth it. If you want to stick with OS X, I would undoubtedly recommend the regular Macbook.

SamIAm's avatar

i’ve had a few macs (ibook and macbook) and currently have a 15” macbook pro. umm it’s amazing. if you can afford it, you should get it… or wait until you can afford it. i effen love my computer but i loved my macbook when i first got it too. go play at the store :)

Facade's avatar

Yes you do. I got mine for like $1100 (I think). Student discount.

HumourMe's avatar

Well if you want one of the most overpriced computers on the market then yes, go ahead and buy it.

jerv's avatar

I agree with @HumourMe on this one. There are plenty of laptops that are just as fast for half the price.

Hell, if you do it right you can even run Mac OS X on them! (It’s called a Hackintosh and there are plenty of netbooks running OS X since Apple won’t make a netbook.)

But if the Apple logo is that important to you then I recommend going for the Pro. It’ll be the last computer you’ll be able to afford for a few years so you may as well make it good.

eponymoushipster's avatar

@Gokey there is no 15” MacBook. There is only a 13” MacBook.

@Megan64 If you’re going for a matte finish, in-store you can only get the top model 15” and the 17” with a matte screen (for an extra 50$). Why do you need a matte finish, may i ask?

If you have a student discount, you can get $50 off a MacBook (the white one) and anywhere from $100—$250 off a Pro laptop, depending on model (discount on AppleCare as well).

As for the bleeding heart Acer users, your total cost of ownership is lower for the Mac than a Windows machine, aside from the fact that the 4GB of RAM in your Windows machine will be half used by the OS, whereas the 4GB in your Pro will only have OS X occupying about 256MB, leaving more for your apps, etc. to run smoothly. But, hey, if you want to buy a $250 craptop every year, that’s cool too. Oh, and the RAM that your anti-virus occupies, too, on a WIndows machine.

Honestly, for your needs, if they’re what is described above, baseline 15” Pro ($1699) is right up your alley. Firewire 800, CD/DVD, 4GB RAM, 2.53gHz chip, 250GB hard drive.

If portability isn’t a huge issue, you might look at an iMac. The 27” is $1699 (before discounts) and has 3.06gHz processor and 1TB storage, with 4GB RAM. and it’s beautiful.

Let me know if you’ve got any other questions.

Gokey's avatar

You are right however about the 13” Macbook, but while she did mention that she would like to have a 15” machine, she also mentioned that she’d like something less expensive. The regular Macbook is significantly less expensive, would suit her needs just fine—it is also lighter to carry around than the 15” machine.

Comparing Macbooks to Acers is a pretty unfair comparison between the two platforms, by the way.

eponymoushipster's avatar

@Gokey i was in no way comparing the too. there is no comparison. one is useful and there other is plastic crap. i was highlighting that some people look at the $250 they spend and think they got a deal.

Also, the difference between the two (MB 13” and MBP 15”) in weight is about .5 a pound. The MBP 13” is 4.7 and the MB 13” is 4.9 (because of the plastic v. aluminum). overall, not a huge difference.

If she’d like a Pro (and if she’s doing video, she’ll need a firewire port), she could split the middle and get a 13” Pro, which goes for either $1199, or $1499 (before discounts), depending on configuration.

St.George's avatar

@eponymoushipster What’s would be the advantage to upgrading to 8GB RAM and 2.8GHz? I ask, because by upgrading using an education discount, it’s like getting a bunch of something for nothing.

eponymoushipster's avatar

for what you’re doing, there wouldn’t be a real need for that, honestly. 4GB of RAM and 2.53GHz is all you need, as far as it seems to me. At most, you might get the mid-level 15” (320gb HD and 2.66GHz processor for $1999), but i dont see it as being a big deal.

here’s the thing: you’re discount increases with the models – i believe you get somewhere between 200–250 off the two upper 15” and the 17”. you get $200 off the low end 15” and $100 of the 13” model pros.

so, 1699 – 100 = 1599$
1999 – 200 = 1799$, etc. you’re still spending more. save the money, dont get something and spend more if you don’t truly need it. that’s what i’d say to you. :)

eponymoushipster's avatar

@Megan64 No worries. If you have any other questions, just let me know. you can PM me if you prefer. Where are you located, btw?

St.George's avatar

Right now I’m in SF. You?

eponymoushipster's avatar

@Megan64 Philadelphia. I just was wondering. Hey, you’re in Apple-central. you’ll have no problem finding what you need! :)

St.George's avatar

Don’t you know it! Thanks again.

sndfreQ's avatar

I currently have a 13” MacBook Pro (previously owned 15” MBP), and while it took a little bit getting used to, I love the machine. I don’t miss not having a discrete graphics card, and the portability is a plus. The price is considerably less, especially with the ed. discount ($1099), and if you really want to, you can plug in to an HDTV or larger monitor to watch movies on a big screen.

I run it with a 19” Gateway LCD flat panel display ($150), and with the 13” screen as a second monitor, I am good to go. If necessary, the 13” MBP will drive up to a 30” display via digital (Apple’s digital connector port) if necessary.

Unless you’re doing some serious gaming, you won’t need the discrete graphics card which (along with the display) is the primary driving force for the premium price.

PacificRimjob's avatar


Macs are like caaaaaaandy!

jerv's avatar

Overpriced, rots your teeth, but kids love it.

I might chance my mind when I see a Macbook with a Core i5 for under $1000, but by the time Apple rolls those out, the PC side will be rolling out i9s. As it stands, the current lineup of Macbooks is a generation behind the PC world and I am not paying cutting edge prices for last year’s technology.

eponymoushipster's avatar

@jerv the difference is that within 6 months, your “top of the line” PC is running slower than your PC from two years ago. Besides that, your resources get gobbled up with a bloated operating system and draining anti-virus application.

what i really love is people who think Windows is this cutting edge technology.

jerv's avatar

@eponymoushipster You seem to think that all PCs run Windows.

Now, if it were not for a certain Finn that had too much free time on his hands a few years ago, I would agree with your analysis. For quite a few years, I drank the Apple kool-aid myself, citing that exact reason. In fact, my opinion of Microsoft operating systems is the same as it was back when I was insane.

Come to think of it, I maintain my WinXP system well enough that it’s about as fast as it was the day I did a clean install looong ago, though that takes a little more maintenance than I like compared to penguin-power.

jerv's avatar

What I really love is people thinking Steve Jobs is the Messiah.

PacificRimjob's avatar


If you have to ask, you’ll never understand.

eponymoushipster's avatar

@jerv oh, so youre a linux whiner. fantastic. go give your penguin a rubdown. is it the Unix power behind OS X that infuriates you, or the fact that we have drivers for our peripherals? once you download the drivers and recompile your kernel, why don’t you print out a list of plus and minuses for me.

The point is this: yes, the chubby, klingon-speaking shit of the world might want to make computers as challenging and infuriating as possible in order to maintain the last semblance of whatever it is that keeps them from killing themselves in mom’s basement. but for most people who don’t have chicken finger sauce on their chin, they want a computer that gets their work done faster, that helps them be entertained without headache and can be relied on to do those things with minimal difficulty. On the surface, yes, Macs are, by design, extremely simple and intuitive to operate. But underneath is a much more powerful and complex system, with which you can do a lot of more complex tweaks and tasks.

Yes yes, Linus told you you’re a special boy. We get it. But for those of us who aren’t waiting for our Battlestar Galactica snuggies to arrive via post, doing things simply and efficiently outweighs doing things to impress the other dorks.

jerv's avatar

@eponymoushipster Apparently you haven’t used Linux in a few years. Like Apple, they too are into the whole “ease of use” thing, making Linux accessible to people who don’t know the difference between SATA and Yoda. While I am capable of rewriting my FSTAB if need be, I do appreciate the big strides that the Linux community has made over the years in making it so I don’t have to any longer.

While it’s true that Macs are easier for people with zero tech skills, people who can’t handle some of the Linux distros that have come out in the last few years probably also lack the skills to figure out that little arrow thing on the screen… or shoelaces. Given that most people with computers are smart enough to tie their own shoes, I think it safe to say that your alleged “ease of use” is a fiction. Sure, OS X is easier than Windows, but so are many things.

Also bear in mind that there are different desktop environments for Linux; some of them very Mac-like while others are more intuitive than OS X. BTW, how is having to use a second finger on the trackpad to select/single-click more intuitive than just tapping with the single finger that’s already there? Having to change hand positions to perform the simplest action in a GUI is counter-intuitive.

Now, if I actually wanted OS X, I would just build a Hackintosh out of faster parts for cheaper and get all of that UNIX power on my terms. However, I prefer something more customizable to my needs, which requires flexibility that Windows and any hardware Apple puts out lack. That and I would have to become an evangelist with a fat wallet and poor financial skills.

Your delusion that Linux is only for geeks and dorks is provably false. There is nothing OS X has that you can’t get in Linux except for the designer Apple logo. Nothing. Some PCs are sold with Linux pre-installed and properly configured right out of the box thus negating even that advantage that you think you have.

Being able to do things simply and efficiently is what I am all about. Being able to do it, having enough money left over to take my wife somewhere nice, and still spending less than I would on a slower computer is better though, and I find common sense to be more impressive than being another slave to fashion, salivating ever time a rumor escapes Cupertino. So you have fun with your expensive fashion accessory; I’ll be doing a little computer work faster than you can then spending some of the time I saved with my woman.

St.George's avatar

Holy God. I bought the macbook pro already. Boys, take it outside.

eponymoushipster's avatar

score. checkmate.

majorrich's avatar

There you go again Jerv (-:

jerv's avatar

@majorrich I just call them as I see them. I already figured from the timestamps that the OP had made a decision/purchase. I probably would’ve left well enough alone if somebody hadn’t made a few factual errors that go far beyond opinion.
My OCD-like tendencies go the better of me again.
I should refrain from arguing with 4-year-olds :P

Response moderated
ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

My .02. Macs are a tad (a lot) overpriced but the 13 inch macbook pro is semi-reasonable. Apple’s profit margin is obscene, they are gouging all of us because they offer the best hardware and they know it. I actually like the IBM thinkpads for the price, great machines. Apple hardware is unmatched and My macbook pro tri-booting with win7, osx and ubuntu is a great CS platform. All are fully functional and cohabitating happily. Win 7 is rock solid on this machine, Windows is actually VERY stable if it is running on quality hardware with good drivers. OSX is about the worst OS out of the three but my grandma can operate it so it has a place. My only complaint is that the video hardware is lacking on my 13” macbook pro. In the end it’s important to understand that the hardware for Mac and PC is the same, Macs have been more rigorously tested and there are fewer corners cut, but you’ll pay double for it. I splurged on an $1100 13” but 2k for a 15” with nearly the same benchmarks” LOL! That’s f’ing crazy!!

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