Welcome to the MacNN Forums.

If this is your first visit, be sure to check out the FAQ by clicking the link above. You may have to register before you can post: click the register link above to proceed. To start viewing messages, select the forum that you want to visit from the selection below.

You are here: MacNN Forums > Hardware - Troubleshooting and Discussion > Mac Notebooks > New MBP: want vs. need

New MBP: want vs. need
Thread Tools
ibook_steve
Moderator
Join Date: Oct 2001
Location: San Jose, CA
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Apr 30, 2010, 03:21 PM
 
To preface this, I currently have a late 2006 15" 2.33 GHz C2D MBP with max RAM (3 GB) and an upgraded hard drive (320 GB). Even with an extended life battery, I rarely get more than 2 hours of battery life. My fans are on full speed almost constantly, even with under 20% load on the CPUs. I have had the machine now, in pretty much perfect condition, for 3.5 years. If I sold it on eBay, I bet I could get around $700-$1000 for it (if I can figure out why the damn fans keep running).

I had a very interesting discussion with my wife last night. I desperately *want* to get a new MBP (15" i7 high-res anti-glare), but anybody who's married knows that any big purchases have to have the WAF (wife approval factor) taken into account. We have plenty of money saved, and I just got a raise and tax refund, but we still do like to save since Silicon Valley living is expensive. I basically laid my case out to her focussing on my *need* for a new MBP, which is real: I test and use my company's software (PC based) and the latest version that's coming out will not run very well on my current machine in Parallels or Boot Camp, mostly because of my 3 GB RAM limitation but also because of the processor. The sticking point is the fact that this machine is a personal machine, not a work machine. I don't get compensation for it. At work, we are given crappy Lenovo laptops. Later this year, we should be getting better work machines (more Lenovos), but I hate using the thing as it is. I use it basically as a test machine that I don't care if it gets trashed by unstable beta software.

My lovely wife saw right through my argument. She knows that I *want* a new MBP more than I really *need* a new machine because I do get a machine through work. I tried to counter with the fact that I am a computer hardware engineer and it behooves me to keep up-to-date with hardware (much easier to do back when I was at Apple since I got new hardware for free). She didn't buy it. We went back and forth a bit, ending with her begrudgingly "allowing" me to get the machine since she can't really stop me from spending the money (I'm really the bread winner).

My question is: do you think I really *need* this machine or am I really, as my wife put it, an "iWant monster" (perhaps a good name for Apple's next great product)? Is Steve's RDF affecting me or is this going to benefit me in the long run? If I was single, I'd already have the MBP...along with an iPad and an iPhone, neither of which I do have.

Steve
Celebrating 10 years and 4000 posts on MacNN!
     
solofx7
Mac Elite
Join Date: Dec 2006
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Apr 30, 2010, 04:49 PM
 
Hey steve, I truly feel for you. I am in a very similar situation. I truly don't need a new machine as you can see by my setup posted here: MobileMe Gallery
The new MacBook Pro's as so tempting. I made the mistake of going to see them in person.

My opinion is because of the factors that it has been a while since you got a new machine, have money to the side, the old machine will be financing a huge part of the purchase price and you use it a little bit for work would be a yes to getting a new one. I am biased though. I think one or two of those reasons may not be good enough on their own, but coupled they do.

I am looking for a 17inch i7MBP to replace my current 15 2.53 C2D MBP. It is a couple years old, has 4 gig, upgraded 500gb HDD and gets very little use since I got the i7 iMac and iPad. I am currently waiting for school to start again and since classes are once a week for 4 hours, I do not truly need a laptop. I know that I can get by fine without it. I work from home and have my iMac, iPad, work computer, and iPhone to suit my computing needs. I though have been waiting for the 17inch for a while as I got my MBP when the 17inch was not yet available for that refresh. I love my i7 so much that I truly want the laptop i7 though I know the chip is different. I live alone/sort of, meaning my daughter is with me most of the time, but at 3.5 years old she has no say in computer purchases No significant other to weight in on the decision, so I am clear there. I just need to sell the old girl. I think that the decision may be dependent on how much I can get for her. By comparison I sold my last 17inch MBP for $2000 cash on Craigslist. I hope that I could get $1600 or more for this one, though it may be wishful thinking on my part.

See Steve, you do have some company in your decision. The tougher decision will be when the new iPhone comes out as my current one is only a year old
I hope I helped a little bit.
iMac 27inch 3.4 i7 16gb ram, MacBook Air 11 inch i5 128gb, iMac 27inch 2.8 i7 8gb ram, MacBook Pro 17 inch 2.66 i7, 4gb ram 500gb HDD Seagate XT,
iPhone 4 - Time Capsule 2tb, Apple TV - iPad 2 64gb
     
SierraDragon
Mac Elite
Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: Truckee, CA
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
May 1, 2010, 11:09 PM
 
I have a 17" version of the same 2.33 GHz MBP with 3 GB RAM and 500 GB 7200 rpm drive. Heavily using Aperture, Photoshop, Microsux Office, etc. and FW800 daisy chained to 5 drives the fans almost never come on. IMO constant fan operation under light load is a major warning sign. Upgrade.

-Allen
     
Simon
Posting Junkie
Join Date: Nov 2000
Location: in front of my Mac
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
May 2, 2010, 02:16 AM
 
Steve, I have the exact same MBP too. I rarely use it anymore, but when I do I always notice the fan noise regardless of load levels.

IMHO 3GB RAM and 2 hours of battery life are unacceptable in 2010 for a notebook you use to actually get work done. The new MBP will solve your battery issue, your RAM limitation, and it will perform a whole lot better. If you use Parallels lots of RAM is a must. Since your work revolves around Win apps I take it that Parallels (or BC) is crucial.

I was surprised to see a low-end 2.4 GHz 13" MBP beat the pants off a former high-end 15" 2.4 GHz MBP like there's no tomorrow. The new MBPs are really very nice. If you can get $1k for your old MBP the new one isn't actually that expensive. We're talking $50 a month for two years of use. Quite a bargain for a work tool IMHO.

Also, when it comes to a tool for work like this I don't run things by my partner. I tell her what I'm going to do, I listen to her POV, I decide, and that's it. Why don't you explain to your wife that you're getting this tool because you think you need it and you really want it (no need to hide the fact). Tell her she's free to treat herself to something too, but that this is a done deal. Then take her out to dinner.
( Last edited by Simon; May 2, 2010 at 04:05 PM. )
     
WizOSX
Mac Elite
Join Date: Aug 2001
Location: London, Ontario
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
May 2, 2010, 05:10 AM
 
ibook_steve--
You might want to consider the base 15" (i5 but with hires antiglare). $1949 for the i5 vs. $2349 for the i7.
Considering what Simon said above, it certainly sounds like you "need" at least the base model. But maybe $400 more is a little more like "want." I doubt you'll ever notice the speed difference (5% at most) or the video memory difference (unless you play lots of PC games).
     
ibook_steve  (op)
Moderator
Join Date: Oct 2001
Location: San Jose, CA
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
May 2, 2010, 01:08 PM
 
Thanks for the replies, guys!

SierraDragon: That's surprising to hear that you're not having fan issues. Must be a 15" vs. 17" issue.

Simon: I now know I should have been completely honest about my *want* being more than my *need*. But if I had just gotten the machine without having a discussion about it, I would have gotten in a lot of trouble. My gadget habit has been a tricky subject over the years and I just don't want to rock the boat too much.

WizOSX: I understand where you're coming from, but I feel that getting the high-end machine will help it last longer and add to the eventual resale value. Also, I still have friends at Apple, so I have access to their employee discounts.

Steve
Celebrating 10 years and 4000 posts on MacNN!
     
The Godfather
Addicted to MacNN
Join Date: Dec 1999
Location: Tampa, Florida
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
May 2, 2010, 01:45 PM
 
Cant you just RDP to the Lenovo at work to test the elephant-like software?
     
solofx7
Mac Elite
Join Date: Dec 2006
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
May 2, 2010, 02:11 PM
 
Sorry my post was not so helpful.
Good luck.
iMac 27inch 3.4 i7 16gb ram, MacBook Air 11 inch i5 128gb, iMac 27inch 2.8 i7 8gb ram, MacBook Pro 17 inch 2.66 i7, 4gb ram 500gb HDD Seagate XT,
iPhone 4 - Time Capsule 2tb, Apple TV - iPad 2 64gb
     
Phoible
Dedicated MacNNer
Join Date: Feb 2000
Location: San Francisco, CA
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
May 2, 2010, 03:08 PM
 
Have you thought about agreeing on a discretionary budget for computer hardware purchases? Maybe one that allows you to get a new computer every 3-4 years. It sounds like your wife doesn't understand your computer obsession, which seems pretty normal.

*Need* does sound like a strong word, especially because it's a personal machine. If you really need a machine to run windows quickly, you could always get a cheap desktop for well under $1000 (which will blow the doors off of any macbook pro). I don't understand your work situation, but if your machine at work is insufficient, you should take it up with them. All of the companies I have worked for would give me the hardware required to do my job (once in a while it took a bit of bargaining with IT).

Your existing MBP isn't all that slow by today's standards (it's comparable to the low-end 13" in performance). I do understand the annoyance of the 3 GB of RAM ceiling (I have a maxed out mid-2007 Macbook that slows down when I'm running Parallels). I'm debating a similar upgrade right now, and it's not 100% conclusive that I'm going to go for it (and I'm a self-employed software engineer right now who uses a macbook as my only machine).

As for the battery, you can always buy a new battery, which should restore your battery life.
     
Simon
Posting Junkie
Join Date: Nov 2000
Location: in front of my Mac
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
May 2, 2010, 03:11 PM
 
At most tasks his 2.33 GHz Merom won't stand a chance against a current low-end 13" MBP.
     
ibook_steve  (op)
Moderator
Join Date: Oct 2001
Location: San Jose, CA
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
May 2, 2010, 03:20 PM
 
I tried a new battery. I even got one of those larger capacity Fastmac batteries. I think with the fans going full speed all the time, it doesn't matter what battery I use. I can't get decent battery life for what I use the machine for.

I can't use remote desktop into a machine at work because of our firewall/proxy. The only way in is through a Citrix VPN, and that doesn't connect directly to my work machine (which is a laptop by the way).

Steve
Celebrating 10 years and 4000 posts on MacNN!
     
Phoible
Dedicated MacNNer
Join Date: Feb 2000
Location: San Francisco, CA
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
May 2, 2010, 03:35 PM
 
Oh yeah? I would like to see some (non-gaming) benchmarks indicating that. From what I've seen, the i5/i7 is the first chip that gives a significant performance increase over the first-gen mb/mbp. I know that a lot of people *think* that their new machines are faster, but that might either be purely psychological or the impact of more RAM/faster HDD.

The reason I'm not upgrading to a new 13" MBP is that the benchmark scores I've seen indicate that they aren't all that much faster than my existing MBP (13" 2.16ghz MB w/4GB ram and 500GB HDD). My machine scored about a 3000 on Geekbench when I benchmarked it recently, and the new 13" machines score 3400-3700. I want at least a 2X performance increase whenever I upgrade (you need a pretty significant performance increase for the difference to be perceptible), and I think that the i7 MB is right on that border.
     
Simon
Posting Junkie
Join Date: Nov 2000
Location: in front of my Mac
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
May 2, 2010, 04:02 PM
 
You're not going to get 2x, no doubt. So in that case this update is not what you're waiting for.

That said, Geekbench benchmarks don't entirely do it justice. I have a new low-end 13" here for testing. I put in a Seagate 7200.4 and it rocks. It totally beats the pants off a 2.4 GHz Merom with the same HDD right next to it. And Steve's Merom is a generation older and even slower than that. There's no doubt he would see a considerable perceived performance increase going to any new MBP. Let alone the boost he'll see from being able to run Parallels without the 3GB RAM bottleneck.
     
Phoible
Dedicated MacNNer
Join Date: Feb 2000
Location: San Francisco, CA
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
May 2, 2010, 04:12 PM
 
Can you give me something more concrete than a "considerable perceived performance increase"? Is there some meausre other than Geekbench that would do it justice (maybe some sort of benchmark using real-world applications)? People regularly tell me that their new macbooks are faster than their old macbooks. However, I have trouble obtaining any concrete evidence that this actually the case.
     
danbrew
Grizzled Veteran
Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: Chicago, IL
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
May 2, 2010, 11:26 PM
 
The reality is this - you want one, you don't need one.

I'd be surprised if you could get $1000 for your circa-2006 machine, but assume that you will be able to. If you go get the i7, you'll probably spend $2550 after taxes (I know I just did...!). So then the difference is $1550. How much do you blow on stuff you don't need every week? Lunches, booze, smokes, etc.? $25? Can you do without that stuff? 62 weeks from now you'll be at break even. We all know you're not gonna wait 62 weeks, so I guess the real question is this... can you afford to blow the cash? Can you afford to be without that cash right now? If so, go for it. If the babies ain't going hungry and the rent is being paid, why not?

It's hard keeping up with the Jones' when we are the Jones' ourselves, isn't it? Man, I did not need this new i7 matte highres, but I sure wanted it.
     
Simon
Posting Junkie
Join Date: Nov 2000
Location: in front of my Mac
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
May 3, 2010, 02:53 AM
 
Originally Posted by Phoible View Post
Can you give me something more concrete than a "considerable perceived performance increase"? Is there some meausre other than Geekbench that would do it justice (maybe some sort of benchmark using real-world applications)? People regularly tell me that their new macbooks are faster than their old macbooks. However, I have trouble obtaining any concrete evidence that this actually the case.
I usually give the following advice: take your typical apps and documents to an Apple store or AASP on a USB stick or external HDD. Install the stuff on one of the new models there. Run your typical workflow. You'll get a good impression of the boost compared to your usual user experience on your old system.
     
   
Thread Tools
 
Forum Links
Forum Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts
BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Top
Privacy Policy
All times are GMT -4. The time now is 05:29 AM.
All contents of these forums © 1995-2017 MacNN. All rights reserved.
Branding + Design: www.gesamtbild.com
vBulletin v.3.8.8 © 2000-2017, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.,