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Macbook or Macbook Pro??

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Ok.  Let's assume that I decided to go with a portable, but am now struggling with whether to get a MacBook or MacBook Pro.

"Easy!!" you say.  "The MBP is better!"  Well, it's not quite that simple...

I've had hands on both systems.  The MacBook is lighter, sturdier (lots of "flex" in the MBP's chassis), and looks better IMO.  The MacBook Pro has better graphics, additional expansion ports, and all the goodies that go along with the new Santa Rosa chipset (4GB max ram and faster FSB).

I'll be buying a 250GB, 5400rpm internal drive and 2x2GB ram upgrade for either of them (the MacBook will only be able to address 3.1GB of the ram, but by getting matched pairs, I will get the increased performance of dual channel memory access).  

I will be buying an external display for use with either of them.  Although I initially considered a 30" display if I went with the MBP, I think I'll stick with a 24" Dell that I can take advantage of it, at native resolution, with other computers in my possession  (that are minus the dual-link DVI output necessary to drive a 30").  

So, with all upgrades and accessories being equal, we are looking at the following comparison:

MacBook - $1348
 - 2.0GHz Intel Core 2 Duo
 - lowest offerings for ram and hdd
 - Applecare

MacBook Pro - $2848
 - 2.4GHz Intel Core 2 Duo
 - lowest offerings for ram and hdd
 - 256MB 8600M GT GPU (if I'm going for the better graphics option, I'm getting the BEST GPU offering)
 - Applecare

Now, I need to say this.  I've spent the last 12 months in Iraq making very good money.  I initially budgeted for a fully pimped out Mac Pro (I'll let you price it out)...So, I have the money to go with any option I please.  However, I am being realistic in that I know if I buy multiple Mac's (like an iMac and a MB/MBP), one will be largely ignored.  Also, I know that, even though I have intentions of keeping a new computer for 2-3 years, I never do.  In fact, it is always a struggle to keep something around ONE YEAR.  (ashort can vouch for me on this)  

That's a $1500 premium for the MBP over the MB.  My singular reason for wanting the better GPU is the upcoming StarCraft 2.  I know that World of Warcraft plays good enough for my enjoyment on the I own a 1st gen CD MacBook (passed on to my wife).  If they upgraded the MB to the new SR chipset with the upgraded integrated Intel graphics, I think it would be a no-brainer...but the GMA950 is getting VERY long in the tooth.

When back home, I carry my laptop with me a LOT.  Now, as I mentioned in the other thread, I currently own a very light, very portable ThinkPad X60s (Linux).  I don't have plans to sell this (but may later on if it goes largely unused).  If I went with a Mac portable, it would be because I want OS X with me when I am out and about, on vacation, training, in the office, etc.

I know it ultimately comes down to what I want, what I can justify to myself, etc...but it helps to "talk" about it.  :)

I just saw on (I think) ars technica that the MBs are going to at least be refreshed in the next month, before the release of Leopard, so chill and decide when we know if this is real. If they ditch The GMA950 I'm gonna trade in mine.

From a cost point of view, here is something else to think about (for my upcoming purchase):

The base MBP I'd want to get costs $2848 (before taxes).  That is minus the 24" Dell display, hdd upgrade (250GB) and ram upgrade (2x2GB).  With the ram, hdd, and monitor I'd be looking at around $3700.

For UNDER $3200, I can get all of the following:

MacBook (2.0Ghz) and Mac mini (2.0Ghz)
 - $1917 from Apple Store
2x2GB ram for the MacBook, 2x1GB ram for the Mac mini, and 20" LCD for the Mac mini
 - $581 from NewEgg
24" Dell LCD display
 - $569 from Dell
Zeroshock III case for MacBook
 - $33 from Shinza
Screen and keyboard protector / screen-cleaning cloth
 - $13 from ShaggyMac

That would get my kids a second Mac mini and still be WELL under the price I'd layout for the MBP option.  

If they upgrade the MacBook to Santa Rosa, I don't think I can, in good conscious, possibly buy a MacBook Pro.  :)

If you want to play SC2 when it premiers, I wouldn't count on the MacBook and it's GMA950 to push a new game by Blizzard on to the screen.  It may work, but you'd have all shaders, etc, turned off and detail turned all the way down.  At that point, you might as well be playing SC 1, no?  Wait for the MB refresh to see what Apple has waiting for you.

As for portability, I know the MBP is a horse, but I carry a bag around that tips about 25 pounds every day.  The weight of the laptop inside doesn't matter a lot.  What's more important, portability, or playing SC2 at the resolution and detail shown in the demos we've seen?  Don't forget the "wow" factor of pulling out a MBP.   =-D

OTOH! If SC2 is the goal, and you don't keep the new system for as much as a may never play SC2 on your next Mac.  It may be farther out than that.  There is the next WoW expansion and who knows which one Blizz will release first.  If SC2 is far enough out, buy your MB and shop for an SC2 system when we all know more about it.


--- Quote from: ashort ---What's more important, portability, or playing SC2 at the resolution and detail shown in the demos we've seen?
--- End quote ---

As sad as it sounds, this may very well be what it all comes down to.

What's also sad is that when I read "wow factor", I immediately thought to myself "yeah, that WOULD be cool".   :roll:

And now the Apple store is down!!  C'mon updated MacBooks!!!!!!!!!  (probably Leopard release data announcement though)


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