Talk me into/out of a MacBook.
January 31, 2007 10:22 AM   Subscribe

I want a MacBook. I want need a new laptop, and they're pretty. Please talk me out of (or into) buying one.

My old laptop (formerly running XP, now running Debian) is 4 years old, slow, the battery holds charge for all of two minutes, and the screen hinges no longer keep the screen upright - it needs to be propped up. It's usable for standard Internet browsing and nethack, and that's about it. I don't strictly *need* to replace it. But it's not exactly portable any more, the MacBooks are pretty, and I have a hankering for a new toy...

- new OS to play with
- not Windows
- I get the impression OSX is pretty unix-like, and I like that
- old laptop is pretty well knackered
- mac = the pretty
- hey, a portable laptop. fancy that.
- can watch films on the move/in bed/etc

- justifying the expense - a PC laptop would be cheaper
- I could keep going with the old laptop if I had to
- most of the Fors apply to any old laptop - I'd just end up wiping a Windows one and putting Debian on it.

I really just want some advice and experiences from MacBook owners and general Apple/Linux types. Why should I buy one? Why not? If I go for the MacBook I'd probably like to set up a dual-boot OS X/Linux at some point, just for fun - anyone know how doable this is in practice? I'm techie and comfortable with Linux installation and sysadmin.

I've considered picking up a used iBook from eBay. I don't really have the upfront cash for it, but I could go that route if the hive mind recommends. £800 is really the top end of my budget. I know that OS X Leopard's out soon and I'll wait for that if I do decide to go for it. Please help me decide (and convince my husband)!
posted by corvine to Computers & Internet (51 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
OSX is very unix-like. In fact that is what I love about using OSX is everything I know about unix commands and shell scripting applies to OSX.

Dual-booting OS X and Linux has been done by many people so there is lots of help with that. Although, pretty much all the GNU programs you are use to running on Linux/X-Windows have been ported to OSX and for what hasn't you can install and run X-Windows within OS X to get them up and running (although you may need to compile).

I would say that cost is an issue. If you are only interested in running Linux on your new computer then I'd get a PC. OSX is a nice OS to use, but I wouldn't go as far as to say that it will magically make you more productive with a computer.
posted by nickerbocker at 10:33 AM on January 31, 2007

Having just priced a Dell D620 with my partner discount against a MacBook (both with 2GB RAM, Core2Duo processors, and around 100GB of disk) found both of them to be around US$1600, including their respective extended warranties.

With OS X being more useful to me (and Parallels / VMware usable for running the few lingering apps under virtualized Windows 2000) I think that the MacBook is the better idea.

I personally am leaning more towards a MacBook Pro for the higher resolution display, but a MacBook would still be very satisfactory. Most of the decision away from the PC comes from Windows general iffyness in waking from sleep. OS X on a MacBook wakes up right away and almost has never had issues for me, but my (current D610) only wakes successfully about 75% of the time. Some of those times after being put to sleep (and closed and packed away) it'll wake up in my backpack, overheating and powering down.

Me, I'd say go with the MacBook. I doubt you'll regret it. (Give straight OS X a try first, though... You'll probably be plenty happy with it alone.)
posted by c0nsumer at 10:34 AM on January 31, 2007

I have a Mac, my son purchased a MacBook some months back. His regret--not getting the MacBook Pro. (He was trying to do it all on his own and not ask for help. I would have given him the money to upgrade to the Pro). There isn't a graphics card on the basic to handle any type of games. My PowerBook G4 has better graphics than the MacBook Pro, go figure.

So, if you are wanting to watch movies on it, go with the Pro.
posted by 6:1 at 10:34 AM on January 31, 2007

Photoshop CS3 Beta screams on the MacBook Pro (it is sloooow on my quad core G5).

The iBooks are lemons. They look cute and are tiny but they break. Still, it was nice while it lasted.

From where I'm standing it's pretty simple. If you actually need a new laptop I say get a MacBook. If you don't then don't get anything.

I wouldn't buy a PC laptop. It's a different set of rules. It's a little more worth it to pay for form. I would buy a PC desktop cause who cares how small, quiet and tidy it is?
posted by nathancaswell at 10:40 AM on January 31, 2007

So, if you are wanting to watch movies on it, go with the Pro.
The graphics card on the MacBook may not be up to par for the latest games, but it is definitely more than sufficient to watch DVD's. Pretty much any Mac made this century can handle that.
posted by designbot at 10:44 AM on January 31, 2007

I love my Macbook, and I don't think that they are really more expensive. People always say they are, but compare the same specs on a Dell, say. It's just that Apple doesn't make a cheap laptop, while other companies do. So the cheapest Dell is cheaper than the cheapest Apple.

Since it's such a cinch to run Windows or Linux on an Intel Macbook, I'd say that the choice is a no-brainer, particularly if you are interested in learning new operating systems.
posted by yesno at 10:44 AM on January 31, 2007

i've never had a pc laptop that didn't have battery or overheating problems. which is why i only buy apple laptops now.
posted by ascullion at 10:44 AM on January 31, 2007

I just bought a MacBook, watch movies on it, surf the internet, do the iTunes thing and all the other usual stuff - I love it, and have no problems at all and don't regret it a bit. I also have a desktop Mac, and it's great too.
posted by Dee Xtrovert at 10:46 AM on January 31, 2007

Worth the money. Get the pro if you can afford it. I switch between a macbook and a toshiba satellite. It's like driving a honda then switching to an underpowered ford escort with poor handling.

If you had a super sexy Sony Vaio with a metal case and a beautiful, thinkpad style keyboard and tons of horsepower then maybe the issue wouldn't be as clear cut.

Get two gigs of ram, whatever you get.
posted by mecran01 at 10:48 AM on January 31, 2007

I bought my first Mac (a Macbook, mid-level version but upgraded to 2GB RAM) in June. I didn't strictly need it either, but my excuse was that I wanted to learn a whole new operating system and get the experience.

I've been very happy with it. It's robust -- I haven't had a single problem with it yet, unlike my old Dell, which required a hardware replacement within the first six months -- it's pretty, and it is indeed a fun toy.

6:1 is right - games suck on the Macbook. I can run Civ4, but the graphics are wicked slow and sometimes turn funny colors. My roommate's MBPro runs things very nicely and he's got his dual-booted to Windows for games. I'm not sure about DVDs... video I download from the web isn't a problem to watch. One thing to consider is if you're a glossy screen person or not. MBs have glossy screens, but on the MBP you can get a matte screen instead. A nonzero number of people seem to prefer the latter; I really don't care.

Having had a laptop on its last legs as yours sounds, it's definitely time to buy a new one. You'll be spending money anyway... get something you know you'll enjoy and have some fun with.
posted by olinerd at 10:49 AM on January 31, 2007

Thanks for the comments so far, everyone. I definitely can't afford a Pro :(

OSX is very unix-like. In fact that is what I love about using OSX is everything I know about unix commands and shell scripting applies to OSX.
I didn't know this - this is great to know, thanks!

If you are only interested in running Linux on your new computer then I'd get a PC.
I'm just interested in running !Windows, really. The dual-boot thing is more of an exercise for my education/entertainment, especially as OSX seems to be even more unixy than I thought.

Photoshop CS3 Beta screams on the MacBook Pro
Do you mean screams in agony trying to run or screams past at the speed of light?

i've never had a pc laptop that didn't have battery or overheating problems. which is why i only buy apple laptops now
Interesting. Could I expect a 3 or 4-year-old MacBook to still have a decent battery charge? My Compaq's battery died completely at about the two-year mark, I think.
posted by corvine at 10:52 AM on January 31, 2007

- I get the impression OSX is pretty unix-like, and I like that

Mac OS X is Unix.

I'd probably like to set up a dual-boot OS X/Linux at some point

Pretty sure it's doable; probably not necessary as others have mentioned, since you have access to a Unix terminal at any time in Mac OS X.

In case it hasn't been made clear yet, Apple provides software that lets you dual boot Mac OS X and Windows on a MacBook. So, even if you hated Mac OS X (not likely), you're no worse off than you would be with a Windows laptop.
posted by designbot at 10:57 AM on January 31, 2007

but my excuse was that I wanted to learn a whole new operating system and get the experience. [.....] 6:1 is right - games suck on the Macbook
One of my main reasons, too! I only play nethack really, and I don't even use tiles, so graphics power isn't really an issue.

Sounds like 2GB is the recommended RAM, then. Reckon I can buy cheaper RAM elsewhere and fit it myself, or should I just customise it when I buy? (I'm looking at the cheapest white model)
posted by corvine at 10:57 AM on January 31, 2007

Photoshop CS3 Beta screams on the MacBook Pro

Not quite the speed of light, but pretty close -
posted by jalexei at 11:02 AM on January 31, 2007

should I just customise it when I buy?

Check out OtherWorldComputing for memory. I'm planning to do the exact same as you when my overtime check comes in March. You may find cheaper deals after rebate on memory, but I've heard good reviews on this place for RAM.
posted by monkeymadness at 11:02 AM on January 31, 2007

I just bought a 15" MacBook Pro to replace my PowerBook. (It was only a couple of years old's a long story. It works great, but someone else has it now.)

I am very happy with it. However, I am already thinking about upgrading the memory to 2 gigs-- if you get the not-pro I'd highly recommend you do that out of the box.

On this computer, InDesign (CS2) and Photoshop run pretty well, with some noticeable lagging in rendering large eps files in InDesign. Otherwise it seems about the same as my old Powerbook. However, WoW kicks ass-- the visuals are stunning and response time incredibly fast.

Defintely do not get an iBook, they suck. But I might consider a Powerbook of the last couple of years, especially w/ upgraded memory.

Funny that ascullion has experienced battery problems with PCs-- I have defintely done so with Macs! But Apple is great about speedy replacement.

I can't comment on the dual boot or Linux aspects however, sorry.
posted by miss tea at 11:03 AM on January 31, 2007

Darn, should have previewed. Regarding memory, I have had great experiences buying from Small Dog in the past.
posted by miss tea at 11:04 AM on January 31, 2007

For running Linux, parallels/vmware is probably going to be easier. X11 comes with the Mac OS install/repair CD. And most of the FOSS software designed for Linux is available through Darwin-ports. In a few cases the X11 version is a bit better. ( is better than NeoOffice for example.)
posted by KirkJobSluder at 11:06 AM on January 31, 2007

This may not apply to you, but when I use OSX it just feels so dumbed down. If you use Debian the way I would use Debian its going to drive you crazy. I also like the KDE/Windows GUI theory of windows everywhere as opposed to the grand unified window theory OSX uses. Granted the command line is there and you can compile almost anything you need for it, but it will not have that homebrew linux feeling to it at all.

Secondly, the pro you missed out on was all the wonderful commercial software for OSX.

I think you really need to ask yourself if the 500-800 dollar premium youre paying is worth it for the mac. What else would you rather spend your money on?

Lastly, how important is prettiness to you? I see laptops as semi-disposable things. So when it gets smashed or stolen I can tell myself "Okay I bought that refurbished for 550, its not the end of the world, its paid for." This attitude gives me a lot of freedom to do some things a more careful owner wouldnt do and frees up lots of anxieties.

Sometimes when I play with the OSX machines at work I think to myself "Im glad I didnt buy one of these things. Theyre nice, but not for me." I like to feel closer to the hardware and am a bit obsessed with getting a good deal for my money. YMMV of course.
posted by damn dirty ape at 11:07 AM on January 31, 2007

Besides darwin-ports, there's also Fink.

A good rule of thumb is - if there's a Debian package out there for something, it'll run on OSX, and 95% of the time there'll be a Fink package for it that can be installed with just "fink install package".
posted by dmd at 11:10 AM on January 31, 2007

Saying that OS X is like Unix is like saying BSD Unix is like Unix. I'm just sayin'. Anyhow, I'm a Mac person, and would argue for the Macbook.

A PC notebook wcould be cheaper, but it would be a cheaper notebook—lower spec. If that's OK with you, OK, but if you're comparing apples and Apples, a Macbook is a pretty good value for the money.

One good reason to buy new is the warranty, especially on something that is intended to get carried around and maybe dropped.

The only serious reasons to choose a Pro (which you can't afford anyhow) over the plain-old Macbook are:
1) 3D gaming. Clear advantage to the Pro
2) Screen size. OTOH, the Macbook is more portable, and has digital video out, so you could have a big screen at home.
3) Expansion. The Pro has one of those newfangled Expresscard (?) slots, which might come in handy for a cellular modem.

I believe there are some Linux distros for the Intel Macs, though I don't pay a lot of attention to that.
posted by adamrice at 11:11 AM on January 31, 2007

This graphics card difference between the macbook and macbook pro has always bothered me since I'm in the really-want-a-mac-to-replace-my-DNR-PC-laptop boat like corvine.

I do some photoshop and FinalCut pro stuff- is this going to be frustrating on the non-pro since it doesn't have the graphics card?
posted by conch soup at 11:13 AM on January 31, 2007

Long time Windows user, just switched and am absolutely loving it. I was concerned about lock-in in terms of Apple-produced apps, but I've been able to find free, open-source programs to do pretty much everything I need to do. The UI is simply a different class, and if you get one of the mid-range macbooks with a gig of ram and a Core 2 duo, it flies. It takes a little getting used to, but it's not the closed, proprietary hell i thought it might be - it's a pretty powerful unix machine with a beautiful and well thought-out OS on top. Plus, with parallels/bootcamp, you can run any damn thing you like on the hardware (which is pretty, though I've stickered mine already because I somewhat detest the worship of Jonathan Ives' shiny whiteness.).

In short, it's great.
posted by Happy Dave at 11:23 AM on January 31, 2007

Conch, yes. For graphics stuff, the Pro is the way to go.
posted by miss tea at 11:26 AM on January 31, 2007

I replaced my older PowerBook with a MacBook and I've been quite happy with it. I run Windows on it with Parallels so it's like I have a Windows laptop and a Mac laptop, but I only have to carry around a single, tiny machine.
posted by disaster77 at 11:30 AM on January 31, 2007

In terms of RAM, certainly price out at your favorite vendor, (I'll second Other World Computing) but Apple has gotten much, much better at charging sane, one might say "market rate" prices for memory - You might find the difference is not worth doing the add-on yourself.
posted by jalexei at 11:37 AM on January 31, 2007

my first ibook battery failed after 18 months. apple replaced in free of charge. since then, no problems.

what i really meant, though, was that it generally tends to deliver the advertised battery life. i was still getting 3 and a half hours plus out of the first battery just before it died.
posted by ascullion at 11:38 AM on January 31, 2007

In my opinion, you get what you pay for. If you drop $1500 - $2000 on a new laptop, unless you pick a real lemon you're going to get a good laptop, whether you buy from Apple, Dell, Lenovo, whatever.

Pay less attention to the brand and more attention to the hardware specs. Given that you may end up just running Linux the hardware is the only real thing to be careful of. There is however the caveat that, if you should choose to try OSX, you will of course need to have Apple hardware to do so (without hacking it).

Personally, I will not buy a Mac yet because of the mouse. When they finally decide to make laptops with a context menu button, I may buy one and dual or triple boot. I will not buy a machine that would run Windows when needed if it meant the loss of the right-click.

Yes, I know that I can always use an external mouse: but that's one more damn hunk of crap to drag with me everywhere, and one more damn keystroke to use context-click. It's an asinine design decision, especially for someone planning on dual booting. If I can handle a command line interface, I will not be confused by a two-button mouse.
posted by caution live frogs at 11:45 AM on January 31, 2007

Corvin, I bought my RAM on Newegg for $160, as recommended by the Apple Store guy who sold me my computer. Don't upgrade with Apple; it's a lot more expensive.

For reference, I bought this.
posted by olinerd at 11:50 AM on January 31, 2007

When they finally decide to make laptops with a context menu button, I may buy one and dual or triple boot.

On current Mac notebooks, you can right-click by simply placing two fingers on the trackpad while you click. You can even simulate a 360° scroll wheel by dragging two fingers.

You could save a few bucks and keep the Apple warranty by checking out the refurbished notebooks on the Apple Store.

I've found to be the best place to compare memory prices.
posted by designbot at 11:52 AM on January 31, 2007

Could I expect a 3 or 4-year-old MacBook to still have a decent battery charge?

Dunno about the MB, but the 4 year old PB 12" I just replaced with a MB (last week) held maybe an hour's charge tops. Don't you think batteries are batteries?

That said, I've been quite pleased with the MB. I'm not a gamer, so lack of fancy graphics wasn't an issue for me. (It's performance on the number crunching portion of the Matlab benchmarks is quite good, even with beta intel Matlab, which was more of a concern for me.)

After my 12" model, I swore I would go with a bigger screen next time, and as such I had some concern about going with a 13.3" screen. However, the widescreen aspect ratio and higher resolution has made that screen seem surprisingly big, and I really don't think it's going to be an issue.

As for the price, damn dirty ape's "500-800 premium" figure is off base for the MB. I tried to find a PC model with the same specs for significantly cheaper, but couldn't. The MB seemed to be in the middle or even towards the low end of the comparison models I priced, though I would welcome counterexamples that I may not have come across. (Granted, I also had a $100 edu discount on the MB.)
posted by epugachev at 11:54 AM on January 31, 2007

You haven't really mentioned that you NEED to run games or graphics apps on the macbook, do you still have a desktop machine that can do that? If so, you will be happy with the macbook I think.

I just switched to a Macbook two weeks ago, and I'm a happy customer. As others have said, the price difference isn't really there, if you compare similarly specced machines. I decided that gaming wasn't going to influence my decision, since I still have a PC desktop machine to do that. The macbook is for web browsing mostly, playing around with OSX, watching movies occasionally and so on. Hold off on the memory upgrade until you really need it (spreads the cost, allows you to use a third-party vendor that will be a little cheaper). Buy a refurb unit if your budget doesn't quite stretch. Buy the extended warranty just before the year is up (spreads the cost) and from a third-party vendor (again, much cheaper). if you have any friends in the US, then you could also save a ton of cash by buying an US model and importing it (exchange rate is your friend). Not sure if this leads to warranty issues though.
posted by Joh at 11:57 AM on January 31, 2007

Joh -- it didn't occur to me that third party vendors would be selling extended warranties. Do know of any companies that are doing so off hand?
posted by epugachev at 12:13 PM on January 31, 2007

I switched in the fall to the low-end Macbook. Updated the memory myself, which saved about $100 over Apple's prices. The memory install was about as simple as possible on a laptop.
Graphic performance is the only down-side to the machine so far, and that's for games. Luckily, my current obsession, World of Warcraft runs like butter.
When I bought the machine, I'd intended to install Windows on it for dual booting. Never quite got around to that. OSX is such a pleasure to use, I'm completely hooked.
posted by Eddie Mars at 12:23 PM on January 31, 2007

Re: RAM: Make sure you match your RAM modules. That means when you upgrade get the same make of RAM that is already in your machine (it was Samsung for my 15" PB, not sure about the MBs). I made the mistake of trying to save $20 and getting a different brand and it just didn't work in my machine (locked up after 20 minutes of use). I don't remember where I got my Samsung stick, but I do remember that the site advertised that it was the same stuff that Apple uses.

Seconding If you do your research regarding manufacturers you shouldn't have a problem.
posted by wemayfreeze at 12:36 PM on January 31, 2007

Catching up on the thread; home from work now. Thanks, everyone.

damn dirty ape, interesting points. I will spend a while in the Apple store playing with one before I take the plunge so I get a feel for the OS, I think. I'm not a hardcore kernel-patcher (yet), so I may not have the same issues as you, but it's something to think about.

epugachev, an hour's charge on a 4y/o machine sounds great to me - like I said, my 4y/o Compaq's battery lasts all of two minutes. (Actually I can probably buy through the edu store - my mum's a teacher. Hmm)

Joh, I do have access to a Windows desktop too. I don't need to run graphics-intensive apps at all - I'll occasionally have a fiddle with the GIMP, and the only game I run is nethack, so no graphics worries there!

Good advice to upgrade the RAM as and when needed, I think.
posted by corvine at 12:48 PM on January 31, 2007

I don't really have the upfront cash for it

then don't buy it, that settles it.
posted by matteo at 1:02 PM on January 31, 2007

The conventional wisdom is that Apple's RAM is more expensive than third-party vendors, but my girlfriend just bought an iMac, and it was cheaper to get the RAM from Apple than it would have been from OWC or Crucial.
posted by kirkaracha at 1:03 PM on January 31, 2007

I was a long time "Noooo macs!" person for a while, but I finally broke down and got a macbook half a year ago because I wanted a laptop and I didn't want a Dell. My PC at work is running Ubuntu and I already have a PC at home witn XP, so I wanted a non-windows laptop like the OP.

Things I like about my macbook:
- It just works. No need to boot up each time I want to google something. I just open up the screen and it's there.
- It's portable
- Battery lasts a long time
- Terminals yay.

Things I don't like:
- It was fine for a while, but then started getting random shutdown problems. Those went away after a firmware update though. *crosses fingers*
- The whole Mac Cult elitist thing. It sometimes makes me scared to take out my laptop in public.

Overall, I'm happy with my purchase and no regrets.
posted by nakedsushi at 2:01 PM on January 31, 2007

I'm not a Mac fanboy, and if I got a Macbook I'd defile it with Linux. And even that said, it's a nice piece of hardware and a good value. (A bias of mine in this conclusion: the DVI-out makes the difference for me between a laptop that could replace my desktop and one that couldn't, and so far as I've seen, without exhaustive searching, DVI-out is hard to come by among machines of otherwise comparable price and power.)
posted by Zed_Lopez at 2:16 PM on January 31, 2007

I work in teacher technology services for a large school district, which means I am basically an iBook/MacBook wrangler. The basic MacBooks seem nice in comparison to the iBooks, but they have been nothing but trouble for us from the start. Out of hundreds of computers, at least half of them have had some sort of manufacturer's problems from the beginning; firmware, battery, screen, keyboard, etc. you name it, it's been a problem. We regret the day that we decided that each teacher should have a MacBook.

Conversely, I can't think of a single manufacturer's problem with any of the MacBook Pros we have. They are hardy, gorgeous machines and well-worth the price.
posted by Burritos Inc. at 2:19 PM on January 31, 2007

AppleCare should be part of your lexicon when getting a laptop. hence, if you're gonna spend > $1000 it should be on a new/ refurb book.
posted by emptyinside at 2:47 PM on January 31, 2007

AppleCare: Buying it later (within a year) at eBay will save you a lot of money. If you ask the seller to just give you the code (ask before you buy!) it will even save you shipping. I wouldn't skip the Applecare, I have had Apple laptops for the past 14 years and all of them have been serviced at some time, the last one, a Titanium 800 MHz, was even irreparable and I got the latest and fastest PowerBook Alu 1.67 GHz) in return, for free. Too bad it was 1 month before the MacBook Pros where introduced...

RAM: If there is already 1 GB installed it's often in 2 512 MB sticks. You have to replace these chips for bigger ones and try to sell the old ones somewhere. Since Apple uses different RAM in all it's models the target market is really small, especially because those people also have MacBooks with the same chips. I'd advice to install as much RAM as possible right from the start. Mac OS X runs so much smoother with 1.5 GB or 2 GB of memory.
posted by maremare at 4:09 PM on January 31, 2007

As damn dirt ape said, watch for the refurbished MacBooks, also you'll probably a Core 2 Duo and not a Core Duo as they Core Duo's run a bit hotter (talk about confusing naming!). With the refurbs you can save a fair bit of cash, also consider signing up for the alerts on Dealmac and see what deals pop up. Oh, the refurbs sell out quickly.

Useful posting here on triple booting Mac OS X, Ubuntu Linux, & WinXP. Should apply to any other Linux you choose to try.

To be honest, I believe my next laptop will be a Apple, but I'm holding out for battery life to improve to 5+ hours, and for a small/mini macbook with decent graphics cards. Currently, if you want decent graphics you need to get a MacBook Pro whose smallest size is 15in.
posted by zaphod at 5:41 PM on January 31, 2007

Macbook is likely to last longer (though hint seeng as it's a new mactel buy apple care) so the cost per year is likely low. If it's not too reliable by the end of the Applecare period, sell it.

I used Debian for a number of years before I bought my ibook (yeah I'll get a macbook circumstances permitting when this EOLs in a few years time (cross fingers)). There are irritating differences but for ease-of-use-good-battery-life-reliable unixey goodness, the macs are great.

Mind you Ubuntu was looking good on a new pc when I looked at it a few days ago ;) (but I like almost never having to use windows courtesy of MS office on the mac (yeah I know, but I kind of have to unfortunately).
posted by singingfish at 5:59 PM on January 31, 2007

Another perspective on the Macbook flaws: I bought one in late November and ran into a random restart problem (not random shutdowns) within the first ten hours. Apple paid for the return shipping and I sent it out the next day. The second Macbook has worked great. There are flawed units, but Apple is being really good about replacing them.

I hesitantly disagree about the need for 2gigs of ram out of the box for a C2D Macbook. I have 1 gig in mine and I am majorly happy with how it runs. I will probably upgrade after a year or two when I notice new computers that make it look sluggy, but I've got 5 apps running, four dudes chilling out in my menubar, and a half-dozen widgets open at all times and it runs like a dream.
posted by tylermoody at 7:50 PM on January 31, 2007

I bought a 15" 2.33 MHz pro last weekend, relegating my 15" G4 Power Book to kitchen duty. I love it. The little touches are the best: The backlit keyboard that auto senses the ambient light level. The magnetically attached power cable (I have already yanked it out by getting the cord tangled in my toes once, but... NO BIG!), the 60 FPS in WoW.

Sexy good time. High five. A+++++++ WOULD BUY MACBOOK PRO AGAIN.
posted by jimfl at 7:53 PM on January 31, 2007

this is a long thread and i hope this doesnt get lost, but consider buying the stock macbook or macbook pro, instead of customizing the memory or hard disk.

apple has a 10-day, no questions asked return policy on "stock" hardware. if you change the RAM or hard disk, or anything else, the machine is considered CTO (configure-to-order) and thus can not be returned to apple.

i say this because if you have some DOA issue (my first macbook had a bad DVD burner) and you can't convince AppleCare that there is something wrong with the machine (they will ask you to reinstall the system software over and over again), you can just return it and buy another one.

plus, as others have pointed out, 3rd party ram and hard disks are cheaper. and on the macbook (non-pro) anyway, its very easy to upgrade both. not sure about the hard disk on the macbook pro, but memory is easy. be sure to get and run MemTest OSX after installing your new memory to make sure its all okay.

i think if you want to run parallels and give 768MB+ to windows, you probably do want 2GB of memory. with 1GB parallels was kind of painful.
posted by joeblough at 9:45 PM on January 31, 2007 [1 favorite]

thanks for the comments, everyone, this has been really, really helpful. I'm pretty sure now that I will get one when Leopard comes out. Probably the basic MacBook with perhaps the memory upgraded to 1GB. I don't want to run windows on it at all, so that should be OK, I think.

Thanks again!
posted by corvine at 4:52 AM on February 1, 2007

Corvine, CS3 screams fast, not in agony.
posted by nathancaswell at 2:15 PM on February 1, 2007

epugachev, its still the same applecare warranty you can buy from apple, but third-parties resell them to you (its basically a boxed item) for a lot less. Amazon sells them for example, and the best prices (last time I looked) were from LA Computer Company. Do a quick compare and contrast on applecare prices to see what I mean :)
posted by Joh at 2:28 PM on February 1, 2007 [1 favorite]

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