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Old 12-08-2010, 09:23 PM   #1
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Free PC vs. Half-price MacBook Pro?

So we're looking to get a second laptop to be used for word processing, presentations, Internet, and some home video editing. My mother-in-law gave us $600 to help cover it. I've always said that the next computer I get would be a Mac, but I wasn't able to pull the trigger last time (laptop died two days before a big presentation, so got an equivalent gateway).

So the question becomes this: get what would essentially be a free $600 toshiba or something, or spend $500 of my own money and make the foray into a base model 13-inch MacBook Pro?
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Old 12-09-2010, 01:34 AM   #2
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i personally think it'd be worth it upgrading to a mac, especially since it'd require so little of your own money to do it.

i loooooove office for mac 2011, btw.
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Old 12-09-2010, 09:03 AM   #3
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I'm laptop shopping at the moment and definitely going with a high end PC with an aluminum case very similar to the MBP. Many previous MBP users prefer the PC I'm getting. I can get one in the size I want (14.5) with all the specs I want for about a grand less than the most similar MBP which actually has some specs not as good and a shorter base warranty. I don't really care for one OS over the other, CS5 is CS5 whether you are on a PC or a Mac, and a lot of my work software only runs on PC anyway. For me it's just not worth the slight upgrade in form factor for an extra $1000 considering in other areas I'm getting less bang for the buck.

15-inch high-res MBP, i7, 4GB (2 dimm), 500GB 7200rpm drive, 512MB graphics, backlit, 1 year base warranty - $2350
14.5-inch high-res PC, i7 (better one than the MBP), 4GB (1 dimm), 500GB 7200rpm drive, 1GB graphics, backlit, 2 year base warranty - $1200


But, comparing a low-end PC to the entry level MBP is kinda apples to oranges. The MBP is $500 more because it's $500 better than a low-end PC. Just depends whether you care enough about their form factor. For the uses you've stated, IMO it's not worth it but comes down to personal preference.

I would not get a $600 Toshiba but that's just me.
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Old 12-09-2010, 09:11 PM   #4
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Performance wise, you're getting double the computer.

Macs are not necessarily better than PCs. That being said, you'd need to pay just as much for a PC as you would for a Mac for the PC to be just as good as or better than Macs. I'd buy the Mac if I were you, that's a good opportunity cost.
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Old 12-09-2010, 09:28 PM   #5
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That being said, you'd need to pay just as much for a PC as you would for a Mac for the PC to be just as good as or better than Macs.
Not necessarily (see my above post), not with the base level Apple computers. For the same price of the base MBP (core 2 duo, 4GB/2DIMM RAM, 250GB 5400RPM, backlight, 8x superdrive, year warranty) you can get the same size PC but with quad core processor, 500GB 7200RPM hard drive, 2GB graphics, and all other specs basically comparable (aluminum case, 8x superdrive, backlight, year warranty, 4GB RAM). So, you're getting a faster processor, bigger and faster hard drive, and better graphics card.
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Old 12-09-2010, 09:54 PM   #6
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Not necessarily (see my above post), not with the base level Apple computers. For the same price of the base MBP (core 2 duo, 4GB/2DIMM RAM, 250GB 5400RPM, backlight, 8x superdrive, year warranty) you can get the same size PC but with quad core processor, 500GB 7200RPM hard drive, 2GB graphics, and all other specs basically comparable (aluminum case, 8x superdrive, backlight, year warranty, 4GB RAM). So, you're getting a faster processor, bigger and faster hard drive, and better graphics card.
I'm a PC person, I know what you're saying. MBP is overpriced, I was speaking just generally. But most PCs get the bad rap becuase they're much less quality, although that's because people tend to compare a normally priced... say... $600 laptop next to a standard Macbook.

The beauty about PCs that Mac doesnt have is that they're so much more customizable, in my opinion, with the several different brands who produce each computer. Personally, I'd take a PC over a Mac just because I prefer Windows (minus Vista).

also, Core's are becoming outdated now with the i5 and i7 processors.
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Old 12-09-2010, 10:22 PM   #7
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Yeah I was playing on apple.com and couldn't really get what I wanted in any combination, let alone wanting to pay twice as much for it.

I agree the problem is people will get a $600 PC and then compare it to a $1200 Mac and obviously be very underwhelmed. But, if you look at high-end PCs, there's way more bang for the buck, and like you're saying, way more options.

So, for someone willing to spend $1200 on the base MBP, personally I'd look at higher end PCs in that price range. Etching aside, the HP Envy makes you do a double-take b/c it's a MB rip-off with the aluminum case, slim, lightweight PC that packs double the power in just about every spec as the base Mac. This is probably what I'm going to get (beefed up), I'm just waiting a bit to see if the splice battery becomes available again.

In the Apple's favor...

The Mac laptops are all better constructed than any PC I've seen, but not so well constructed I'm willing to pay a full grand more, especially since the PCs now have the aluminum cases. Despite taking my laptops everywhere everyday, I take very good care of them.

If you have an Apple store nearby, that is nice. Right now there is no store selling the PC I'm interested in. I will have to order it which is fine but if there are any problems it has to go back, which is a day getting back, and then another day coming back to me. With a Mac, I could actually walk from my house to the Apple store and get service there. Being a laptop technician, I'm not really factoring this in to my decision but at the college where I work, a lot of less tech savvy students do like the fact that the Apple store is walking distance.
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Old 12-09-2010, 10:36 PM   #8
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Get the Mac.

If I could get a new Macbook Pro for $500 (even if it's the base model) I wouldn't spend so much as 10 seconds of thought on it.
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Old 12-09-2010, 10:37 PM   #9
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I guess I hadn't really thought about spending the same extra 500 I'd put into a Mac into a better pc instead. I'd only come from the angle of trying to decide whether it was worth spending money on making the jump (and then only for a base model) versus getting something essentially for "free." If I had the money, I'd probably make the jump and go for a high-end MBP. Not having the benefit of $1800-2200, it may indeed make more sense to put the money into a $1200 pc.

I hate these stupid decisions.
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Old 12-09-2010, 10:38 PM   #10
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Get the Mac.

If I could get a new Macbook Pro for $500 (even if it's the base model) I wouldn't spend so much as 10 seconds of thought on it.
Ha! And then I can be easily swayed by this argument!
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Old 12-09-2010, 10:46 PM   #11
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Yeah, Macs certainly have that sleek, sturdy deisgn to them. My favorite thing about them is their vivid array of colors, something that a lot of PCs lack (or lack to do so in while holding battery life).

I'm currently running on a Lenovo ThinkPad T410, i5 processor, most of the mid-level upgrades on the RAM, graphics card, etc. The thing looks like a brick(not that good looking), but extremely sturdy and performs well. It's a $1300 laptop, and I'm pretty sure it runs on the same specs. as a Macbook Pro 15 inch i5, which goes for $1600.

I'm a student, and a Computer Science major at that. I'm personally not a huge fan of the Macbook operating systems as they're too beginner friendly, if you will. As in, much harder to access complex features. Simple stuff (simple to me) such as configuring networok settings, etc. is so much easier on Windows.

I mean I dont want to make it sound like I know a ton about computers, I'm just much more comfortable with PCs.

That all being said, $600 for a Macbook pro is still a pretty good opportunity.
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Old 12-09-2010, 10:58 PM   #12
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I know nothing about computers so it would be nice for somebody who does to explain to me why anytime I had a PC laptop (Windows OS), I would have to format the computer maybe once a year because it became so unbearably slow and chuggy. And no, I didn't have malware on it, but it inevitably always happens. With any desktop I've had as well.

Meanwhile I've had my Mac for over 2 years now, use it the same way as I did my PC laptops (mostly browsing, use of Microsoft Office, iTunes, some photo processing and minor video editing) and it runs the same way as the day I bought it. No joke. Boots up as fast, opens programs as fast, etc. I have never, EVER had a PC like that. And I've had some extraordinarily high-end PCs in my day, and they were just as bad.
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Old 12-09-2010, 11:53 PM   #13
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I know nothing about computers so it would be nice for somebody who does to explain to me why anytime I had a PC laptop (Windows OS), I would have to format the computer maybe once a year because it became so unbearably slow and chuggy. And no, I didn't have malware on it, but it inevitably always happens. With any desktop I've had as well.

Meanwhile I've had my Mac for over 2 years now, use it the same way as I did my PC laptops (mostly browsing, use of Microsoft Office, iTunes, some photo processing and minor video editing) and it runs the same way as the day I bought it. No joke. Boots up as fast, opens programs as fast, etc. I have never, EVER had a PC like that. And I've had some extraordinarily high-end PCs in my day, and they were just as bad.
There's the flaw on PCs, you were most likely buying the wrong computer or something terribly overpriced. With Macs, there is no third party involved in the creation and assembly of the computer. With PCs, there are. It's important that you do enough research into the critical reviews of a PC. For example, I've seen plenty of issues with Toshiba laptops.

I have had two laptops in my young life, my first one was a Dell. It lasted from 7th grade to 11th grade. It was a $300, yes, $300 computer. Performed just as good as a $600 computer, until the last year or so where it started to experience some issues (mainly because I downloaded a ton of music, and I always, always left it on. Note, always give a computer time to rest. Hibernating and sleeping is still considered on) I went about a year using the desktop at home after that, got a computer this summer to take to school with me, my new ThinkPad. No issues with it, at all, 6 months in. Performs like it was new.
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Old 12-10-2010, 12:07 AM   #14
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I turn my Mac off maybe once or twice a year. Never a problem.

I've owned Toshiba and Sony laptops for personal use and have a Lenovo for work. They were/are all equally bad when it comes to chugging.
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Old 12-10-2010, 01:31 AM   #15
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yeah, my imac's on 24/7 and it still runs great. granted, i'm not able to use it right now (it didn't seem to make much sense to go through the expense of bringing my computer overseas with me but i'll probably bring it with me next time i visit since i'll have more suitcase space), but still.

my macbook (not pro) is also on 24/7. admittedly i do get some issues with safari but that's just more that these days, even when i have access to both comps i pick the macbook because of its portability so it's actively used more. but still, other than safari i never have issues with anything.

either computer is far better than any pc i've used (and i bought myself a very nice hp back in the day so we're not talking only base models), which like anitram said tend to slow down the longer you use them.
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