Mac conversion/ Macbook vs Macbook Pro

Discussion in 'Technology' started by Jacen McCullough, Jun 14, 2008.

  1. Jacen McCullough

    Nov 23, 1998
    Hey folks,

    A friend and I are both lifelong PC users. We're both looking to make the switch before graduate school (Fall of 2009). Two questions:

    1- What advice/expectations should we have for making the switch from PC to Mac? What are the absolutely 100% necessary software apps to get?

    2- We're both torn between the Macbook and the Macbook Pro. Do you think the benefits of the Pro justify the price?

  2. Teso Dos Bichos

    Teso Dos Bichos Red Card

    Sep 2, 2004
    Purged by RvN
    With the ability to run Leopard and dual/triple boot on a non-Apple laptop I honestly see no point in paying the Apple premium and getting less 'bang for your buck'. That's just me though. With all computing decisions it ultimately comes down to time versus money. The technology is constantly updating each month so if you can hold out then do so. If you need it now then it comes to down to how much you are able to spend. Getting the best you can afford obviously means that it will 'last longer' although depending on your needs it sometimes makes sense to go cheaper and then replace it in a couple of years time for the same you would be spending on a high end machine now. It all depends on the individual. I personally just forked out £1100 on a top end Dell M1330. It's currently in transit.
  3. Kryptonite

    Kryptonite Fancy Title Here

    Apr 10, 1999
    Columbus Crew
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    1) I'd probably start with iLife and go from there.

    2) I've always heard that unless you NEED the extra power, the Macbook will suit most people just fine.

    I think it was NancyB who started a similar thread within the past year. Find it, read it, consume it.
  4. sokol

    sokol Member

    Aug 4, 2004
    If you are a lifelong PC user, it may be easy to look at the specs of the Macbook and think you there isn't that big a difference. To some extent this is true, but there are important differences which don't come across in the spec sheet.

    First of all, the ergonomics of the Macbook Pro are much better. The keyboard on the Macbook can be a pain at times, whereas the Macbook pro has a very nice, comfortable keyboard. There are other little differnces, such as the ability to support very high resolution (as in for a 30" display) that the Macbook can't do. Also, the Pro is made of nice brushed metal, and is extremely sturdy while the Macbook can seem a little cheap and physically wears down much easier.

    One thing to point out is that when buying either of these, only buy the smallest quantity of RAM from Apple. It is significantly cheaper to upgrade RAM by just ordering online from someplace like (and it is very easy to install yourself, Apple even provides very clear instructions).

    I had the exact same dilemma, and bought just a Macbook because I was only planning to use it as a second computer to have on campus with me, and I thought that the smaller computer with the same processor would be just fine and I didn't really have the extra money. In hindsight, I wish I had held out for the Pro because of the things I mentioned above. But I do love my Macbook and I have nothing to really complain about.
  5. Sachsen

    Sachsen Member+

    Aug 8, 2003
    Broken Arrow, Okla.
    Sporting Kansas City
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    1. Someone earlier recommended iLife; it was a pointless recommendation as all new Macs come with iLife so you don't have to choose it separately. Probably the first thing to keep in mind is that Macs don't come with an office suite automatically. Your choices are (1) iWork which comes with Pages (word processor/serviceable desktop publisher), Numbers (spreadsheet), and Keynote (presentation); (2) Microsoft Office for Mac; or (3) download NeoOffice for free. I personally use NeoOffice and find it more than adequate for my needs. Otherwise, it's impossible to recommend necessary software apps without knowing what you use your computer for. The nice thing about Macs is Apple builds in nearly everything you need for basic computing right off the bat.

    2. The MacBook is a fine computer. The only reasons IMO to buy a Pro are if you need the larger screen or the serious horsepower boost. The backlit keyboard is a nice bonus. Otherwise there's really no need to buy the Pro.

    Incidentally, those posting about an "Apple premium" are subscribing to old clichés and hackneyed old misconceptions which no longer have much basis in reality. If you price out a Dell and an Apple and compare similar specs and software, you'll find they are comparable and the Mac sometimes comes out ahead. Also, I'd flip Teso's statement on its head and argue that with Parallels/Boot Camp and the ability to run Windows on a Mac, there's no reason to consider anything other than Apple.

    (I was a Windows user from the early '90s until I bought my iMac in 2006 and I will never ever go back. It's like upgrading from a crappy old Chevy to a Mercedes.)
  6. IntheNet

    IntheNet New Member

    Nov 5, 2002
    Northern Virginia
    Blackburn Rovers FC
    Nat'l Team:
    United States

    You are well on your way to enjoying computing far more having made the wise decision to "switch" from Windows to OS-X; I will post a few thoughts as follows in reference to your questions:

    "1- What advice/expectations should we have for making the switch from PC to Mac? What are the absolutely 100% necessary software apps to get?"

    You are treating the switch like switching political parties; fact is, if you've used MS Windows in a Wintel environment, switching to OS-X is not that different in terms of general operations and procedure (you'll immediately note that OS-X is a far more staple operating system). Matter of fact, since iTel Macs can run Windows faster than a PC, you may wish to install Parallels or similar application so you can continue Window, only on Mac, and keep your computing experience albeit on a different platform. In reference to specific applications you can continue with Microsoft applications as before; i.e., Office for Mac. You may find, however, that iLife offers many advantages. Totally your choice. If I were you I would invest in Adobe's design suite to enhance your new Mac with creative applications (Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator, and Abobe Acrobat). I can't live without those! In addition to Applications you may purchase, save some money so you can also purchase a separate multi-gig hard-drive that your new Mac can back up to (latest OS has auto backup utility). New Apple "MobileMe" utility also helpful in this regard, but costly...

    "2- We're both torn between the Macbook and the Macbook Pro. Do you think the benefits of the Pro justify the price?

    I have used both the MacBook and MacBook Pro; both are superior laptops with the Pro generally offering advantages in terms of hard drive size, processing speed, further hardware utility, and, of course, slightly larger monitor screen size. Additional cost depends entirely upon whether the MacBook or MacBook Pro will be your sole processing station. Many Mac users compliment their desktop iMac with a portable MacBook; still others use just the main MacBook in Pro format. This really depends entirely upon your budget and what you have to spend. Do the benefits of the Pro justify the price? I believe yes... since I use the laptop exclusively. The MacBook Pro is extremely well built and will be a significant change from users with experience with cheap Dell and Toshiba laptops that routinely fail! I would also factor in your decision whether you plan to purchase AppleCare with laptop since it adds a safety net to your computing... Note also Education offer that adds a free iPod to your purchase when you buy a Mac as a student or educator.

    Good luck...
  7. Dr. Know

    Dr. Know Member+

    Dec 5, 2005
    I'll echo this as well. I have an iBook (which is basically an older version of the MacBook) and recently got a MacBook Pro. The only reason I got the Pro is because I use a lot of software that requires rendering (mostly video editing stuff) so I need the extra power and speed. But for everything else the iBook was excellent.
  8. Ringo

    Ringo Member

    Jun 10, 2002
    Rough and Ready
    Yeovil Town FC
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    if you have the extra money, a MacBook Air could be nice. I suggest it since you're using it for grad school I'd assume you're gonna be very mobile with it. it's light and easy to carry. (I know, all laptops are for being mobile but I know too many people who buy a laptop and it never leaves the desk).
  9. Sachsen

    Sachsen Member+

    Aug 8, 2003
    Broken Arrow, Okla.
    Sporting Kansas City
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    While I think the Air is awesome and would love to own one myself, I would hesitate to recommend it to a first-time switcher as their only computer. The lack of an optical drive and various ports would make it more of a candidate for someone who already has a desktop Mac to link it to, I would think.

    EDIT: Here are Apple's sites for switchers:
  10. dark knight

    dark knight Super Moderator
    Staff Member

    Dec 15, 1999
    Leicester City FC
    Mac Book Pro is cooler looking so you'll probably do better with the opposite sex at those wifi cafe's. If money is an issue, check out Craigslist or Ebay. That said, my Powerbook is probably ready for an upgrade, and if I have the money I'm probably going to go for a MacBook Pro. I spend so much time on my computer I want something I really like, and I like the MacBook Pro better, even though I don't really need the computing power.

    If you're in graduate school and used to a PC, I assume you might want Microsoft Office. I'm not sure what Word substitutes out there, so maybe someone can tell you that it's not necessary.

    Since you are in grad school, I've heard they are coming out with a new version of Dark Castle which will come in handy when you want to kill hours not studying. The original version worked for me anyway in college.
  11. CutePuppy

    CutePuppy Red Card

    Nov 14, 2006
    I would get the Macbook Pro because you will have a beefier graphics card for virtual worlds. The quality of the laptop is much much better as well. It's not that expensive if you consider its quality.
  12. Daniel from Montréal

    Aug 4, 2000
    Montreal Impact
    Nat'l Team:
    If you're not a power user and if price is an issue, the MacBook is absolutely fine.

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