I've been considering on purchasing a laptop for a while. Even though I have a capable desktop PC, I still like the portability and convenience of a laptop, especially for any out of town trips (of which I may embark in one this week).
So I've been looking at the various sales in certain stores, and while there's more than a few affordable brands out there, I'm not exactly sure what constitutes as a good deal. I'm not as well versed with laptop specs as I am with desktop specs.
So first, to clarify on what I personally want in a laptop: I don't require anything fancy, as far as graphic cards go. I don't need a laptop to run, say, Crysis or Bioshock, but at the most it would be nice if it could run Final Fantasy XI. Having a well lit screen, fast RAM and a long battery life is ideal too. Basically I'm looking for stability over anything else; if it plays hi def anime, then that's good enough for me.
That said, my second concern is Macs. I've been using PCs for years, but I have used a Mac here and there during a couple college courses, and I'm also aware of the advantages Macs have over PCs (runs faster, less bugs, more diverse apps). So I was thinking that the laptop could be a Mac, just to balance between it and my desktop PC. I became aware of Apple's current promotion where students can get about 100-200 bucks off a qualifying Mac, and receive a free Ipod (something I've been putting off for a while) and printer (bonus). Even with that deal, though, Mac laptops are still pricey, especially compared to the deals I'm listing below. Since I mentioned before that I don't need a really high end laptop, I wonder if I'd be paying too much for too many unnecessary features?
It would help a bit if someone could confirm if this student deal will work if you buy the Mac from anywhere besides the Apple store (say, an online vendor). Anyone know?
Anyway, here are the current laptop deals going this week in various stores, compiled from Sunday's ads.
Office Depot has four laptop deals this week
, and Best Buy has two
So again, aside from hard drive space and screen size, they all sound pretty similar, so please help me to decide which is the better deal, and why.
Also, I have that white HP from BestBuy (well, a similar one, mine only has 2gb of ram) and I paid $1599 for it about a year ago. I know alot of people are anti HP, but alot are anti-acer, dell, ect ect, but mine has served me well. Only issue at all so far is one of the little rubber knobs to keep the screen from touching the keyboard has fallen off, but thats more to do with my cat biting them than anything else.
I kind of had my doubt about the 13.3" screen on a Macbook since my previous laptop was a 15" Acer, but it quickly grew on me and I don't see why I needed 15" in the first place. Though I guess the 1024x768 on the 15" vs. 1280x800 on the Macbook is a pretty big factor.
As of like three years ago, Toshiba Satellites didn't have great battery life. Mine got an hour new. Though I hear they've gotten better?
I've heard good things about Lenovo. The MicroCenter near my house has a low end model for $400.
I'll stop gushing. If you go with it, get the base model with student discount ($1799), Applecare, a matte screen, and the bigger hard drive. In the end it's something like $2300 shipped with tax and everything. If you think you deserve the best goddamn laptop in the world, put up the cash and enjoy.
Avoid: Macbook non-pro models.
2:30 AM Edit: I swear I'm not a rabid Apple fan. I'm just a rabid "things I own that have made me very happy" fan. I've said equally kind things about my IBM Thinkpad, before it died suddenly and left me alone and laptopless. If you want a Mac you'll get one. I strongly recommend this one. If the money is too much or whatever, that's your choice. I'm not going to come in here and harass you about financing plans to convince you to get one. It's a computer, not a cult.
Besides the decent 3D, the standard Macbook has everything you raved about. They're still awesome, and on the cheap. Considering everything the OP linked was like, 1/4 the price of the pro, the non-pro makes a little more sense. And that's if he even wants a Macbook, which would still run just over a grand.
I'm not trying to hate on you though, I've got a Macbook and love it lots.
FFXI is pretty old, the Intel X3100 can run it fine - heck a Geforce 4200 can run it.
At the 13" form factor, I'd say the Dell XPS M1330 if you're going to do any gaming at all. The 8400M GS is hardly a world-beater, but it outpaces the X3100 easily. There's also the LG P300 which has an 8600M GS, but no internal optical drive - instead LG ships it with an external DVD burner.
Switch: 6200-8149-0919 / Wii U: maximumzero / 3DS: 0860-3352-3335 / eBay Shop
Crap: Compaq, Acer
Average: HP, Sony, Dell
Good: LG, Toshiba
If you are in a store like Best Buy and Future Shop, also ask what they have on clearance. Working there, I've seen many people get a fairly good discount on clearance items, and the only thing they may lack compared with newer models is a rediculous amount of RAM.
Details, please. Does it have to be a purchase from an Apple store, or will it qualify if bought in other online vendors?
And just for argument's sake, what does a Macbook Pro do that a standard Macbook cannot?
I have a Lenovo ideapad and it certainly gets the job done but I will warn you that I think they went with cheaper components. This is sort of a "duh" statement but I'm just letting you know. The hard drive started to shit out within about four months and their customer service isn't much for listening to their customers. I knew for a fact the hard drive was failing and each of the four people I spoke to would not listen to me. I had to go through one-key recoveries four times before they allowed me to send the laptop in. When I got it back the first thing you see when you open the box is a sheet detailing exactly what they did.
Lo and fucking behold they replaced the hard drive. I could've had my computer back two weeks earlier if they had just listened to me.
Outside of those annoying issues this thing has been fantastic. It even runs a lot of games that I am frankly surprised it can run.
Shogun Streams Vidya
MacBook Pro has a dedicated graphics card... uhh, that's it for the most part. Bigger screen. Keyboard glows.
Do you just want to play it on the computer, or on a TV?
For TV playback, I would probably avoid Macbooks. You're going to want something with an HDMI port. Something with separate audio/video cables means twice as many cables to carry around, and twice as long to set up. If you're going to compromise on something, don't let it be on a priority function.
Can trade TF2 items or whatever else you're interested in. PM me.
I have my desktop PC for TV playback, so it's not necessary. This is for out outside watching.
So how much of a price difference is new vs refurb, and where in the apple store can I browse the refurbished macbooks?
It's what I read in a tech magazine, not my actual opinion. :shrugs:
At the Apple store the discounts on Macbook non-pros range from 15-35% off original MSRP, with the lowest-priced coming in at $800.
I'd also check out www.macmall.com, they usually have some kind of sale going on. Usually they have a rebate on the PC itself, plus several other rebates that give you free software, printer, etc. They're mostly for new ones though, not refurbs, and the value of the free iTouch is probably higher than the Macmall freebies.
Refurbished Macs: http://store.apple.com/1-800-MY-APPLE/WebObjects/AppleStore.woa/wa/RSLID?sf=wHF2F2PHCCCX72KDY&nclm=CertifiedMac
Scroll down for MacBooks.
Difference between new and refurb is scant, they even come packaged like a new product. You can read up on Apple's program here.
Any of the Macbooks will play whatever files you throw at them with VLC or Mplayer installed. Video playback is handled in software, which means the CPU is doing the work. All of them have Core2Duo's at 2Ghz or above, more than enough to play even 1080p material.
As far as that last bit, that's something that will never be fully settled. Mostly because it's a blanket statement that nobody can reach consensus on and there's anecdotal evidence to support both sides of the argument. As far as my own anecdotal experiences, in the time I've had my Macbook (2+ years now) I've reformatted my XP machine countless times. I've only reformatted my Macbook once, and that was to upgrade to Leopard.
I'll use this post as a starting point to answer some of the people who have expressed confusion at my choice to recommend the Macbook Pro over the Macbook.
Here are my problems with the Macbook:
It's slow. Obviously slow is a relative term, but the Macbook was slower than my current tower while the Pro was not. When a computer responds to my commands instantly all the time, that is something that makes me very very happy. The Macbook Pro always does, the Macbook, of which I have used many, does with much less frequency. Your milage may vary, as always, but I've had a lot of experience. The Pro has the juice for heavy video editing, photo editing, DVD ripping and more. It can play 1080p H.264 HD videos no problem on its gorgeous, huge screen.
It has no graphics card. The Pro isn't going to win any benchmark wars or play Crysis on anything but the lowest of settings, but it CAN play games, which is something the Macbook can't do, unless the game is 5+ years old. I've been enjoying Psychonauts, Portal, Half-Life 2 and Episodes, and many other games on my Macbook Pro.
The keyboard sucks. Really a matter of opinion, I guess, but I really don't like the Macbook keyboard (and by extension, the new Apple iMac keyboard. The Pro keyboard, on the other hand, is amazing and I want to have its babies. The glowing is amazingly helpful. It really is. It'll impress chicks too, who will then want to use it to check Facebook whilst squealing about how cool your laptop is. I am not kidding, this really happens.
No matte screen option. Glossy screens drive me up the wall and make using your laptop in bright places annoying and outside nearly impossible. The Pro's screen handles direct sunlight just fine.
Lower build quality. Macbooks fail more often than the Pros.
Smaller screen. I like a 15" screen. I think it's a great size for a hybrid work/entertainment machine.
The pro can get quite hot, but a simple fan control freeware app can get it running a reasonable temperature all the time.
The battery life between a Pro and non-Pro is nearly identical. The low power and low weight of a Macbook are matched by a weaker battery.
They BOTH will play 1080p H.264. An old Pentium 4 will play them, probably a 3. You just need the right software and codecs. The difference between the low end Macbook and best Pro is a couple hundred Mhz.
The GMA950 (Non-pro graphics), will run FFXI which he listed as the only game he might like it to run. As far as build quality, what are you basing that off of? I think all Mac products are made to pretty much the same standards, the difference in this case would be a metal or plastic casing.
Please correct me if I'm wrong OP, but it seems like he's looking for value over extravagance.
Yeah, each had 2GB.
meatflower, please point the way to codecs that can decode 1080p H.264 on a Pentium 3/4 without dropping frames. I tried almost everything to get Planet Earth to play on my projector on a P4 machine and it never seemed to work without either lag or massive frame dropping. I don't doubt, I am dying to know.
I was just going offhand, I've never actually looked at the requirements, but I was pretty close to the mark. Windows only, but it would run just the same through Bootcamp'd XP.
Seems really nice, especially for that price. Tell me quick, worth it? What's the most I can do with it? And what's the standard battery life?
Acer has Core 2 Duo, Sony has Dual Core.
Acer has 2GB RAM with 4GB limit, Sony has 1GB with 2GB limit.
Acer is new with 1 year warranty, Sony is refurb with 90 day warranty.
If you feel you only need the specs the Sony gives you, buy the Toshiba at Best Buy instead
It has the same specs as the Sony except for 40GB less hard drive space, but is new (with 1 year warranty) and costs $100 less ($550 with $150 rebate).
Frankly, having only a 90 day warranty on a new laptop would scare the shit outta me, let alone on a refurb.
This laptop was just recently on sale for $1099. The deal expired yesterday.
Is there anyway I can talk the Best Buy people into giving it for me for that previous price? I never got any notification or anything from anywhere about their sale.
Yeah that's my thoughts exactly...how dies it run faster? If you had two laptops at the same price the non-apple laptop would be faster. Also if your spending big books like around the $2300 you can get a laptop with a 8800gtm which would run crysis and the likes
Softwarewise, OS X is lightweight and snappier than Vista. It boots/shuts down faster, manages memory better, etc, etc. Yay UNIX underpinnings. Additionally, Apple hardware is quality and the MacBook Pro ran Vista better than most other laptops as of October 2007.
Well then you grab a linx OS which is free and put that on....thats pretty simple but if your going for something with a nice video card in it, my guess is it's for games. Then your gonna want vista either way.
Also those benchmarks were doing with laptops with similiar specs as the apple, my point was that you could get a much better laptop for around the same price which would then run Vista a lot better. Hell you might even get a laptop with similiar cpu, mem and video card but it would have a solid state drive. At which point it would be tons better
I don't think that article is all that significant given the limited range of tested systems. Also, hardware is hardware overall, though obviously there are some possible mitigating factors in the Mac's case for that test. With that said I agree that Mac's probably do indeed have a snappier operating system and their battery life, using Mac OS, tends to be superior. In addition you have the ability to dual boot or emulate Windows. However, I think that due to the increased presence of sales and the increased amount of competing supplies it's usually cheaper to get a traditional PC over a Mac with similar specs.
Edit 3: I figured that it'd work better to slim this down to the basics to make sure I'm giving out good advice and not misinterpreted. If you've seen this post go through the changes, sorry for the eye sore. Night