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You are here: MacNN Forums > Hardware - Troubleshooting and Discussion > Mac Notebooks > About to purchase first Mac

About to purchase first Mac
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Fresh-Faced Recruit
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: NY
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Nov 21, 2006, 09:03 PM
I've been using PC's my whole life until recently my girlfriend started using her parents Macbook G4 and I am now infinitely interested in having one for myself as I will be needing a laptop next semester anyway. Should I go for the Pro version or the basic Macbook? What are the differences other than size and the Pro having a video card? How about Bootcamp is that easy to use? I'm a Windows expert if that makes any difference. I've been reading a lot about the new Mac OS leopard, should I wait for that? When is that coming out if anyone knows? Any advice would also be greatly appreciated as I am eager to make this purchase as soon as I have enough knowledge to make an informed decision as to which one to get.

Thanks in advance, Doug.
Mac Elite
Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: Truckee, CA
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Nov 21, 2006, 09:41 PM

What apps are you likely to run?

Waiting for an OS version is generally illogical since we don't know when OS X.5 will release. I suggest you pay to sign up as a Mac student developer and gain each new OS as part of the deal.

The MBP is much more competent, but does cost more. Generally "buying up" pays off over the life of a Mac box.

MBP versus MB
FW800 v. no FW800
3 GB RAM v. 2 GB RAM <----huge issue!
More pixels v. less pixels
More screen real estate v. less screen real estate
Backlit keyboard v. no backlit keyboard
Good graphics card v. no graphics card
Express Card Slot v. no Express Card Slot

If you may use any graphics app certainly the MBP is the way to go. Not that graphics apps will not run under 2 GB RAM and built-in graphics, it is just that they run way sub-optimally. Also if you run Windows that process will eat RAM. If you ever need fast external mass storage for some reason MBs have neither an Express Card slot nor FireWire 800; USB 2.0 is a poor hard drive connection method.

MBs are great for folks running simple apps like Browsers and MS Office but not for heavy apps. FW 400 is not too limiting if mass storage transfer speed needs are low.

-Allen Wicks
( Last edited by SierraDragon; Nov 21, 2006 at 09:52 PM. )
Posting Junkie
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Washington + Colorado
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Nov 21, 2006, 10:08 PM
I would get a MacBook. If you're not likely to be producing any blockbuster movies or producing any bestseller albums, a MacBook will be fine for most any tasks that you'll throw at it. You'll find that Bootcamp is easy to install and use. And congratulations on making the switch!
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Join Date: Jan 2003
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Nov 22, 2006, 01:54 AM
With the MBP you have the choice of matte vs glossy. The MB is glossy only--personally, my eyes and computing habits are not compatible with glossy...so, I keep hoping that Apple will switch to offering a choice of matte in the MB also.
Mac Elite
Join Date: May 2001
Location: NYC
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Nov 22, 2006, 02:17 AM
The primary decision will be whether a larger screen, backlit keyboard, ExpressCard slot, and discrete video card is worth $500-900 to you.

The larger screen and discrete video card are the biggest differentials, IMO. If you want to use the machine to edit video, render 3D, or play 3D-intensive games (even games like WOW), the MacBook Pro is a must if you can afford it. If those things sound remote, go with the MacBook.
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