Saturday, May 20, 2006

Ok, so which one?

Problem at hand: Apple's line of Intel CPU equipped laptops is now complete, so you'd want to purchase one. Okay, but which one exactly?

The middle MacBook model and the middle MacBook Pro models look to me to have the best bang-for-buck value.

The only problem with MacBook is that I'd essentially have to start with throwing out the 2x256MB RAM modules and install 2x512MB third-party modules in them, or alternatively ordering it with at least 1GB BTO (whichever is cheaper). I'm running my current iMac G5 with 1.5GB RAM, and I definitely need at least 1 GB. So, that's already upping the price. With a MacBook Pro, I could keep the 1x512 MB and stick another 1GB in the second slot for 1.5GB (yeah, I know that using identical modules allows you double RAM transfer rates, but believe me, 1.5GB saves you a lot in transfer rates to and from a swapfile in return).

Also, would probably want to upgrade the HDD to at least 100 GB in the MacBook. The only real difference then between the MacBook and the Pro would be in the display size and the graphics chipset. Since I'm not really doing lot of 3D gaming, the graphics chipset is not much of an issue and a MacBook with 1GB RAM (80MB gone to the graphics chipset) and a HDD expansion would probably suffice me. The display size is not an issue as at home, I'll be connecting it to an external monitor anyway.

So, all in all, with 2x512MB RAM and 100GB HDD, a MacBook costs $1600, and the MacBook Pro costs $2200. For $600 extra, you get a bigger screen, a better graphics chipset, one ExpressCard slot. However, the advertised battery life is 1.5 hour shorter for MacBook Pro.

Well, looks to me that MacBook is winning on my pro/contra sheet, especially after applying a $600 saving to the "pro" side. I also just read the Ars Technica review of the MacBook, and they basically conclude the same. They even disclose that the HDD is very easily replaceable, so maybe it's worth not buying an upgraded HDD from Apple, but rather buy a beefy 120GB 7200RPM drive on my own instead.

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