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You are here: MacNN Forums > Hardware - Troubleshooting and Discussion > Mac Notebooks > Buying a MacBook?

Buying a MacBook?
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iMACBeth
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Jun 25, 2006, 05:05 PM
 
My brother and I are both getting new laptops this fall. He has decided to get a MacBook Pro. (It was love at first site! ) I was planning on getting a MBP until I saw the new MBs. After I looked at them, it seems like they have everything I need (the free iPod isn't too bad, either ). After reading some of the threads here, I'm a little concerned about the white MacBook getting too dirty or the black one having the color flake off. I'm also concerned about the laptops running too hot. Are these silly concerns, or valid ones? I don't want to shell out that kind of money for something that's going to show it's wear in the first month or two. Would I be better off going with the MBP? I won't be buying it until it's time to go back to school (late Aug/early Sept.).

The laptop isn't going to be a desktop replacement. It's mainly going to be used for school... notetaking, research and internet stuff. Some occasional graphic/website design work, too.

Also, are there any other problems I should be aware of with the MBs (or the MBPs)?

Thanks so much!
iMACBeth
     
Lucky8
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Jun 25, 2006, 05:26 PM
 
AFAIK MBPs are not trouble free either especially w/ the heat ssue
     
darth-vader000
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Jun 25, 2006, 06:11 PM
 
I think the discoloration is on a minority of white MBs nonetheless I think the black macbook looks nicer it won't exhibit the same discoloration issues. I also don't think the flacking paint issue has truly been substantiated.

I think its wise to wait until August/September because a lot of things can change. Apple could tweak the manufactoring process making the MB and MBP run even better. They could announce an update to the MBP (I don't think MB will be refreshed so soon) in August.

My only recommendation is to add memory to which ever computer you choose.
     
lamewing
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Jun 25, 2006, 08:07 PM
 
Originally Posted by darth-vader000
I think the discoloration is on a minority of white MBs nonetheless I think the black macbook looks nicer it won't exhibit the same discoloration issues. I also don't think the flacking paint issue has truly been substantiated.

I think its wise to wait until August/September because a lot of things can change. Apple could tweak the manufactoring process making the MB and MBP run even better. They could announce an update to the MBP (I don't think MB will be refreshed so soon) in August.

My only recommendation is to add memory to which ever computer you choose.
Like any black laptop, the oil from your skin will transfer and be very noticeable...especiallyon the trackpad.
     
iMACBeth  (op)
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Jun 26, 2006, 12:31 AM
 
Thanks... I was planning on waiting to buy it until the end of August, at the very earliest. I'll probably run out to my local computer store this week just to check everything out and play with the computers a bit. I've been meaning to go, but it's on the other end of the city and not that easy to get to.

About the heat issue... a friend bought a Dell ( ) last fall and also purchased some sort of airmat with a fan in it to keep the computer from overheating. Is that something I need to get for the MacBook? Does it really help that much?

One last (stupid) question. My school is WiFi friendly and I just want to make sure that the MacBook has the necessary firewalls and security to prevent anyone from getting my info... Do I need to buy any additional software to make it safer to use the WiFi or has Apple already taken care of that?

Thanks, again!

Edited to add: Is AppleCare worth the money? Do you find that you use it more often with a laptop than with a desktop? (We've had Macs/Apples (desktops) for 16+ years and only called them once.)
( Last edited by iMACBeth; Jun 26, 2006 at 12:46 AM. )
iMACBeth
     
Phil333
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Jun 26, 2006, 09:02 AM
 
AppleCare is essential with a laptop. I was saved by it with my Powerbook and will always get it on any laptop purchase in the future.
     
masugu
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Jun 26, 2006, 12:44 PM
 
Originally Posted by Phil333
AppleCare is essential with a laptop. I was saved by it with my Powerbook and will always get it on any laptop purchase in the future.
OK...don't want to get slammed....but where is the cheapest legit place to get AppleCare on the MB????
masugu - "Straight Ahead"
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deeper
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Jun 26, 2006, 01:21 PM
 
Try Smalldog Electronics for applecare:

http://www.smalldog.com/category/x/x...g106/wag10006/
     
masugu
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Jun 26, 2006, 01:28 PM
 
Originally Posted by deeper
Try Smalldog Electronics for applecare:

http://www.smalldog.com/category/x/x...g106/wag10006/

Thanks much. It is $209 - but back ordered...
masugu - "Straight Ahead"
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masugu
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Jun 26, 2006, 03:43 PM
 
Hee hee...just found it on Amazon for $206 and change.
masugu - "Straight Ahead"
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brettcamp
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Jun 28, 2006, 02:31 AM
 
Originally Posted by iMACBeth
About the heat issue... a friend bought a Dell ( ) last fall and also purchased some sort of airmat with a fan in it to keep the computer from overheating. Is that something I need to get for the MacBook? Does it really help that much?
Depends on how much you use it in your lap. Here's a recent roundup of some good choices.
     
K-Ron
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Jun 28, 2006, 02:58 AM
 
Acually you should be able to get it for like 183 with your student discount.
     
iMACBeth  (op)
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Jun 29, 2006, 01:55 PM
 
I saw the student discount on the AppleCare... it was a nice surprise

Right now, I'm mostly concerned about the heat issues that people have been having. I know this is mostly a troubleshooting board, so it's natural that people would come here if they have a problem with their computer, but it just seems like everyone is having the same heat issues. I really don't want to shell out $1000+ if I am going to have problems right out of the box. Are the heat problems really as prevalent as they seem?

The iBook is still a viable option for me, I guess. Do they seem to have the same problems as the newer MacBooks?

Anyway, I guess what I want to know is what would you do if you were in my shoes? Would you gamble on the MacBook or go with an iBook?

Thanks for all of the help!
( Last edited by iMACBeth; Jun 29, 2006 at 02:06 PM. )
iMACBeth
     
amazing
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Jun 29, 2006, 02:54 PM
 
Axiom #1: Never get a first generation Mac without getting Applecare. But you do have a year within which to buy it.

Axiom #2: Never get a laptop without getting Applecare.

Axiom #3: Don't invest $ in a previous generation product once the new product is out (unless the new product doesn't run mission-critical stuff.)

Next question: Are you OK with the glossy screen? 'Cause if you prefer matte, only the MBP offers that choice.

On the other hand, getting an MB now means that the money you save will be available to upgrade somewhere down the road (provided you do save it? But you'll have at least demonstrated how money-wise you are.)

But if you play games for R&R, the MBP is what you need.
     
iMACBeth  (op)
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Jun 29, 2006, 04:48 PM
 
I've never had a laptop, so I wasn't sure how important the AppleCare really was. I'm going to get it now, no matter which computer I end up with. Can I take my computer to the local Mac shop under the AppleCare plan or do I have to ship it back to Apple?

I don't think the glossy screen will bother me too much. The extent of my gaming is Solitare, so I don't think I necessarily need the MBP. My brother is buying a MBP, so it's seems kind of silly for us to have the same computer.

My main use for the computer will be college classwork. Note-taking, library research, internet stuff... nothing too heavy. I need to be able to use Word, though. Most of my professors will only accept emailed work if it's a .doc file. I read some reviews that the Office 2004 for Students wasn't working too well on the MacBooks and causing them to freeze up or run much slower than usual. Has anyone had problems like that?

Thanks!
iMACBeth
     
jegiesek
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Jun 29, 2006, 06:01 PM
 
I've been to the Soho and Park Ave Apple stores a few times and the black MacBooks are completely discolored from the oils on people's hands while the white MacBooks are as lovely as the day they come out of the box. I asked the floor people what they thought about the discoloration and they told me they cleaned them with a baby wipe which they wiped away immediately with a paer towl every evening. The black MacBooks fade, the whites stay white. I went for white and it's staying pretty so far.
     
brettcamp
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Jun 30, 2006, 03:14 AM
 
Originally Posted by iMACBeth
I need to be able to use Word, though. Most of my professors will only accept emailed work if it's a .doc file.
You don't need Word to do this. TextEdit (a quite capable word processor that comes with every Mac) will allow you to save as .doc files, as will the free NeoOffice, Pages, Mellel, and most other Word alternatives. When I taught at a major university, I accepted rtf or pdf files as well, because most computers can produce and read them. Give the alternatives a try before buying Word; you may find that you don't need it.
     
amazing
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Jun 30, 2006, 10:22 AM
 
Word works OK on the MacIntels, it just runs in Rosetta, which means it's slightly slower than running on an equivalent PPC. It's also the standard of the business world, plus it's cheap for students, so it's best to learn it (consider it a necessary evil.)

Hopefully, by August some stuff will have been worked out, so don't buy too early (as long as you get that free iPod.) Be sure you get a good laptop backpack, 'cause you'll be needing it.

There's a free solitaire game called MacSolitaire, you'll find it on versiontracker.com
     
iMACBeth  (op)
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Jun 30, 2006, 05:06 PM
 
Thanks. I'm glad to know about TextEdit. My current iMac has AppleWorks, so I have been saving my work as rtf files and translating them into Word documents at school. Most of my professor accept the actual paper versions of essays/papers. When that's the case, it really doesn't matter if it's Word or AppleWorks... they can't tell the difference. I did have two professors this past year who would only accept papers electronically and only if they were in Word format. Not fun.

I'm going to keep my fingers crossed that Apple will deal with the heat issue by August/September. I think I will go ahead and invest in an air/cooling mat, anyway. Is there one particular type/brand anyone would care to recommend?

Thanks, again I really appreciate how helpful everyone has been. Mac people are the best!
iMACBeth
     
amazing
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Jul 2, 2006, 08:18 PM
 
Appleworks 6.2.9 will open and save in Word format, you can choose between several versions. Also, when you get the MB, you'll be able to simply copy AW over onto the MB HD, where it will run in Rosetta. You'll want to keep it available, if only so that you can open your previous AW docs.

Don't buy a cooling pad till you need one. I've got a Targus one sitting in a closet right now, really isn't all that useful because the cooling effect isn't as much as it could be. The fans of all the models that I've seen draw the air away from the bottom of the laptop and that doesn't supply the best cooling. For more active cooling, the fans really need to blow air at the bottom of the laptop, forcing the warm air to dissipate wherever it can, whereas the designers in their infinite wisdom wanted to exhaust the hot air out the back of the Targus, away from the person. Result: inefficient cooling.

Still, I might pull it out for grins later this summer when the ambient air gets hotter.

The best cooling I've found is to have a small desk fan blowing at the laptop from the side (or at both the laptop and me). So, I've currently got one sitting on the end table next to wherever I'm working, recliner or desk.
     
iMACBeth  (op)
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Jul 3, 2006, 07:01 PM
 
That figures... My AppleWorks is 6.0.4

I'll hold off on the cooling pad until I actually get the computer. Maybe I'll be lucky and get a cool(er) computer!

One more silly question... If I use the computer in a class and it gets hot, will the computer be damaged it if I put it into my bag/backpack while it's still warm?

Thanks!
iMACBeth
     
amazing
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Jul 3, 2006, 11:05 PM
 
     
   
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