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You are here: MacNN Forums > Hardware - Troubleshooting and Discussion > Mac Notebooks > Getting MacBook Soon; Questions Regarding

Getting MacBook Soon; Questions Regarding
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NateB
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Jul 2, 2008, 01:06 AM
 
Hi, I'm switching to Apple, because I just generally like their stuff more. All their stuff "links," I guess is my best word. Of course I'm facing tons of criticism from my PC fan-boy friends.
I'm getting a MacBook soon and I'm curios what you recommend. My plans are to get the basic MacBook (13 inch display) and 2.1GHz. Should I upgrade the RAM off the Apple website when I order it? Or should I buy compatible RAM separately and install it manually. My current PC has 3.5 Gb of RAM, so it would be a shame to downgrade; what do you recommend I do?
Also, does the MacBook I plan on getting support 1280x1024 screen res.? I'm just use to it, no particular reason why I want it.
Thanks, I just want to get the best deal I can. I don't want to spend a lot of money which I will regret!

Edit: Do you people recommend that I purchase an external mouse and/or keyboard so I don't damage the track pad or keyboard? What about a neoprene sleeve?
( Last edited by NateB; Jul 2, 2008 at 01:13 AM. )
     
B Gallagher
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Jul 2, 2008, 02:34 AM
 
Hi NateB,

First, welcome.

You can upgrade your RAM on the Apple Website if you want to, but this is the most expensive way to buy RAM for your Mac. With both the MacBook and the MacBook Pro (not sure about the Air!), the RAM is user replacable. This means that you can replace it youself, or get any third-party to replace it, and your warranty will still be valid. Of course, as long as nothing else gets broken when the RAM is replaced, but this is very unlikely!

I recommend Crucial for RAM. But that's just me. Have a read of this thread for more details about upgrading RAM.

Have a look at the MacBook's tech specs if you haven't already. It comes with 2GB, and you can install a maximum of 4GB.

The MacBook doesn't support a resolution of 1280x1024. There reason for this is that 1280x1024 is a 5:4 ratio resolution. All three varieties of MacBooks (regular, pro, air) have widescreen displays - the MacBook has a native ratio of 1280x800. Thus, you will have the same number of pixels for the width, but less for the height. However, in all likelyhood the MacBook will have a display which is not as high as your current one. So you'll be getting the same resolution, but it will be reduced due to the smaller screen real estate.

I used ergonomic keyboards, so an external was a no-brainer for me. Also, using an external mouse for me is much easier to use than the trackpad if I'm using my laptop at a desk.

Hope this helps. If you have any more questions just ask.
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Simon
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Jul 2, 2008, 04:07 AM
 
Originally Posted by NateB View Post
Should I upgrade the RAM off the Apple website when I order it? Or should I buy compatible RAM separately and install it manually. My current PC has 3.5 Gb of RAM, so it would be a shame to downgrade; what do you recommend I do?
Get 2x2GB from a third-party vendor. Newegg has it for ~$75. Installing it is easy and does not void your warranty.

Also, does the MacBook I plan on getting support 1280x1024 screen res.? I'm just use to it, no particular reason why I want it.
All portable Macs have wide screens. 1280x1024 is not a widescreen resolution. The MB's internal display is 1280x800. Externally you can go up to 1920x1200.

Do you people recommend that I purchase an external mouse and/or keyboard so I don't damage the track pad or keyboard?
I wouldn't get this stuff because of any damage. The MB was made to be used, so use it. Get these things if you prefer them over the internal stuff. Personally I like using a mouse when I'm at a desk - I'm not too keen on trackpads. Also, if you plan on using closed-lid mode you will want an external KB and mouse. Just get whatever suits your needs and preferences.

What about a neoprene sleeve?
Good idea if you don't already have a laptop bag.
     
NateB  (op)
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Jul 2, 2008, 09:35 AM
 
Thanks for that advice . Helps a lot.
     
@pplejaxkz
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Jul 2, 2008, 10:53 AM
 
Simon has hit the nail on the head. The only other thing I would think to consider is the Combo Drive. You wouldn't be able to burn DVDs. I don't know if that's at all what you intend on doing, but if you were you might want to look into the Superdrive. Just another option.
     
mduell
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Jul 2, 2008, 12:47 PM
 
Buy a refurb; you can go another step up (faster CPU, bigger disk, SuperDrive) for the same price.

If you don't buy a refurb, buying memory from Apple is a huge scam (their marginal upgrade prices are twice that of other OEMs). Here's the memory you need from Newegg.
     
NateB  (op)
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Jul 2, 2008, 12:48 PM
 
Originally Posted by mduell View Post
Buy a refurb; you can go another step up (faster CPU, bigger disk, SuperDrive) for the same price.
I considered buying a refurbished MacBook, but it's just not what I want to do. I'm the kind of person who buys new .

Thanks for the link to the memory by the way.
( Last edited by NateB; Jul 2, 2008 at 01:23 PM. )
     
mduell
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Jul 2, 2008, 12:50 PM
 
I seriously doubt you could spot the difference between a new MacBook and a refurb.
     
bballe336
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Jul 2, 2008, 03:25 PM
 
Originally Posted by NateB View Post
I considered buying a refurbished MacBook, but it's just not what I want to do. I'm the kind of person who buys new .

Thanks for the link to the memory by the way.
Like mduell said you won't be able to tell the difference between a new and refurbished machine. Plus the refurbished machine is a much better deal and it still comes with the 1 year warranty.
     
NateB  (op)
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Jul 2, 2008, 03:28 PM
 
Originally Posted by bballe336 View Post
Like mduell said you won't be able to tell the difference between a new and refurbished machine. Plus the refurbished machine is a much better deal and it still comes with the 1 year warranty.
The problem is, one of my brothers when he went to college bought a refurbished notebook PC which didn't last more than a few weeks before it stopped working. My dad said that after that experience, he'd never get a used (or refurbished) computer whether it be a laptop from Apple or Microsoft. As I am not the one purchasing the MacBook, I don't have any real option. I'm just doing my research .
     
bballe336
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Jul 2, 2008, 03:40 PM
 
Originally Posted by NateB View Post
The problem is, one of my brothers when he went to college bought a refurbished notebook PC which didn't last more than a few weeks before it stopped working. My dad said that after that experience, he'd never get a used (or refurbished) computer whether it be a laptop from Apple or Microsoft. As I am not the one purchasing the MacBook, I don't have any real option. I'm just doing my research .
Apple is completely different, I would never consider touching a refurbished PC. But all of the apple machines that are sold refurb are usually still current models and were just returned, apple is also very good about the warranty. I think that your research is showing you that buying an apple refurb is actually a great idea to save a lot of money and get a very good machine.
     
NateB  (op)
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Jul 2, 2008, 04:08 PM
 
Originally Posted by bballe336 View Post
Apple is completely different, I would never consider touching a refurbished PC. But all of the apple machines that are sold refurb are usually still current models and were just returned, apple is also very good about the warranty. I think that your research is showing you that buying an apple refurb is actually a great idea to save a lot of money and get a very good machine.
I see where you're going, but inevitably the decision is not up to me.
     
bballe336
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Jul 2, 2008, 04:50 PM
 
Originally Posted by NateB View Post
I see where you're going, but inevitably the decision is not up to me.
I would assume that you have some say in the decision, otherwise you wouldn't be doing the research.
     
NateB  (op)
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Jul 2, 2008, 04:51 PM
 
Originally Posted by bballe336 View Post
I would assume that you have some say in the decision, otherwise you wouldn't be doing the research.
Well, yes, I do have some say. But when it comes to buying refurbished, I have no say. I guess I should have phrased that sentence better .
     
mduell
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Jul 2, 2008, 08:35 PM
 
Originally Posted by NateB View Post
The problem is, one of my brothers when he went to college bought a refurbished notebook PC which didn't last more than a few weeks before it stopped working. My dad said that after that experience, he'd never get a used (or refurbished) computer whether it be a laptop from Apple or Microsoft. As I am not the one purchasing the MacBook, I don't have any real option. I'm just doing my research .
It should have been covered under warranty if it was a reputable OEM (Dell, HP, IBM).

Infant mortality is just as much of a problem with new machines as it is with refurbs.
     
NateB  (op)
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Jul 3, 2008, 12:28 AM
 
Just one last question: When I was at an Apple store today at my local mall, I asked one of the employees where the speakers were located. That employee didn't know, so she asked another employee. He said that the speakers were located below the keys. Is this true? I'd assume it is.
     
tinkered
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Jul 3, 2008, 02:54 AM
 
The left speaker is in the top left-hand corner of the case. The right speaker is close to the power button. The sound basically comes out the vents in the back.
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hokie17
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Jul 3, 2008, 06:37 AM
 
That, and the speakers SUCK!

It's the only thing I didn't like about the original CD MacBook I had. Get some good external speakers or plan on always using your headphones.
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bballe336
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Jul 3, 2008, 12:26 PM
 
Originally Posted by hokie17 View Post
That, and the speakers SUCK!

It's the only thing I didn't like about the original CD MacBook I had. Get some good external speakers or plan on always using your headphones.
What laptop has good speakers ? I certainly haven't ever heard good sound come out of any laptop speakers.
     
hokie17
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Jul 3, 2008, 12:29 PM
 
Well the MBP ones are decent enough to hear over the TV and A/C.
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NateB  (op)
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Jul 6, 2008, 09:27 AM
 
Good news, my brother's college ID is still valid so I can get the educational discount. My brother will get the iPod, because his older one was stolen. We're thinking of buying it on the 11th because we'll already be in the apple store .
     
Ted L. Nancy
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Jul 6, 2008, 10:40 AM
 
So your father won't buy a refurb Mac because of his experience with a refurb PC? :/

In either case - new or refurb - the one thing you need to get that hasn't been emphasized enough is AppleCare, which IMO is more important than any other option you could add to your Mac.

Off topic, but I'd say Apple did a decent job with the MBP's speakers (at least the 17"), considering the limitations.
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NateB  (op)
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Jul 6, 2008, 10:48 AM
 
Originally Posted by Ted L. Nancy View Post
In either case - new or refurb - the one thing you need to get that hasn't been emphasized enough is AppleCare, which IMO is more important than any other option you could add to your Mac.
Yeah, we were planning on getting AppleCare as well .
     
EndlessMac
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Jul 6, 2008, 12:17 PM
 
Originally Posted by NateB View Post
Edit: Do you people recommend that I purchase an external mouse and/or keyboard so I don't damage the track pad or keyboard? What about a neoprene sleeve?
I have had my Apple laptop for about 4+ years and the keyboard and track pad works great. Like someone else said, only get external ones if you really want them. I do like using an external mouse for precise movements when doing some digital image editing. For everything else a track pad is fine. You can use them both at the same time because the track pad doesn't turn off when a mouse is plugged in.
     
NateB  (op)
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Jul 6, 2008, 12:25 PM
 
Originally Posted by EndlessMac View Post
I have had my Apple laptop for about 4+ years and the keyboard and track pad works great. Like someone else said, only get external ones if you really want them. I do like using an external mouse for precise movements when doing some digital image editing. For everything else a track pad is fine. You can use them both at the same time because the track pad doesn't turn off when a mouse is plugged in.
First off, thanks for your feedback.

If I were to get a Wireless Mighty Mouse, do I have to connect it every time I turn on my MacBook, or does the MacBook sense that the mouse is giving of a Bluetooth signal and automatically connects to it?
     
Cold Warrior
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Jul 6, 2008, 12:31 PM
 
once set up ('paired'), your Mac will reconnect with its bluetooth devices if it (your Mac) is powered on or woken from sleep.
     
NateB  (op)
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Jul 6, 2008, 12:31 PM
 
Originally Posted by Cold Warrior View Post
once set up ('paired'), your Mac will reconnect with its bluetooth devices if it (your Mac) is powered on or woken from sleep.
Okay, thanks!
     
mduell
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Jul 6, 2008, 08:54 PM
 
Originally Posted by Ted L. Nancy View Post
In either case - new or refurb - the one thing you need to get that hasn't been emphasized enough is AppleCare, which IMO is more important than any other option you could add to your Mac.
Originally Posted by NateB View Post
Yeah, we were planning on getting AppleCare as well .
AppleCare is a poor value. The first year is covered at no charge and the second year is generally covered by your credit card company, leaving the only value in AppleCare in the third year. Even there, only manufacturing defects are covered, not accidental damage, and many of the components (particularly the failure prone hard drives) can be replaced for less than the price of AppleCare.
     
bballe336
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Jul 6, 2008, 09:44 PM
 
Originally Posted by mduell View Post
AppleCare is a poor value. The first year is covered at no charge and the second year is generally covered by your credit card company, leaving the only value in AppleCare in the third year. Even there, only manufacturing defects are covered, not accidental damage, and many of the components (particularly the failure prone hard drives) can be replaced for less than the price of AppleCare.
I definitely think it's worth it, apple often covers damages caused by the user even though that is not something that apple care is supposed to cover.
     
Simon
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Jul 7, 2008, 05:41 AM
 
My CC doesn't cover squat. So in my case it's 2 years of extended warranty for $249. That's ~15% of the initial cost. If you plan on keeping your MB for three years, I would get it. Almost any repair done by an AASP will cost more. But yes, of course it's a gamble. And I will absolutely spend money for peace of mind. Just my 2¢.
     
jsyoung82
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Jul 7, 2008, 05:09 PM
 
AppleCare certainly would be great for peace of mind, but I don't think I'd every buy it after my experience with getting something fixed by Apple under warranty. Less than six months after buying my MacBook (refurbished, indistinguishable from new, other than I got extra software that wasn't supposed to come with it), my screen developed a silver dollar sized dark spot near the bottom left hand corner. I took it to the Apple store here in town, the couldn't do anything, but sent it off. A week later I got a call saying that they wouldn't replace my screen because it was "user damaged." The machine in general was pristine, as I take great care with all my things, and this dark spot was quite obviously within the LCD, with no cracks, twists, or anything visual. But just because they decided it was use damage and not defect, they denied my claim. It took me two weeks of my complaint being escalated before they finally gave in and replaced it. Absolutely horrible experience. And, from talking to my friends who have had other issues of this ilk with Apple, I got lucky that the tech at the store, according to Apple, did his job incorrectly and told me that this damage would be covered under warranty, without the service facility inspecting it. If you ask me, he's the only one who did what Apple was supposed to. As others, that's my $0.02.
     
   
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