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Best Laptop ----Macbook Pro vs i5/i7

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May 4, 2010 10:03:03 PM

Im looking to spend up to 2000 USD on a laptop. I've looked at everything under the sun...and to be honest--even after being in the computer business for 10 years, choosing a laptop is the hardest thing i've ever had to do.

I want it to have a beautiful screen (14-15) inches preferrably. all the laptops i've seen either have a funky resolution for that size, or they arent vibrant and bright enough for me.

It needs to be powerful for that size. It should be equivalent to a high end core2duo at the very least. I want to figure an ssd into that 2000 dollar price tag as well.

The battery life needs to be close to or > than 6 hours. This is going to be a desktop replacement/student laptop, so it needs to last no less than that when browsing/officing.

I've looked at the macbooks, but i've never owned a mac. The stupidly long battery life is what originally brought me to look at macs, but idk if i will be willing to gamble 2 grand on a laptop with an os that i've never used for a long period of time. IDK how the switch would be...how long the learning curve is etc. I'm aware i can use bootcamp, but id lose the battery life i want so badly.

Overall...im just lost. I've only ever owned a netbook, and it isnt cutting it.

My question is two-fold:


Are the 15-16 inch laptops mobile enough? Are they tough or cumbersome to lug around?

How powerful of a CPU will i need? I'm lost when it comes to laptops. I've built 10+ desktops, and am more than familiar with them, but i don't know jack about laptop processors. It's easy enough to throw at least 4gb of 1066 ddr3 and an ssd laptop, so im not worried about that. It's the procs/graphics im worried about. If the laptop includes a discrete graphix card (i wouldnt mind light gaming--WoW and such, but im not willing to trade battery life when i need it) it must be switchable(auto or not) so i can get the battery life to 6 hours plus when im taking notes and doing school work.

Any suggestions?

More about : laptop macbook pro

a c 571 D Laptop
May 4, 2010 11:12:41 PM

jamesyboy said:
-> It needs to be powerful for that size. It should be equivalent to a high end core2duo at the very least.

-> The battery life needs to be close to or > than 6 hours. This is going to be a desktop replacement/student laptop, so it needs to last no less than that when browsing/officing.
That is a requirement mis-match.
You can get one, or the other, but not both.
Do you want:
(1) the most powerful laptop you can get that will also last at least 5hrs?
(2) the closest performance to a desktop C2D, knowing that type of CPU is going to last less than 3 hours.
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a c 571 D Laptop
May 4, 2010 11:23:35 PM

ASUS UL50Vf long battery life CULV laptop.
Sony VAIO Z Series Core i5 540, SSD, IGP and switchable GT 330M for 4.5 hrs battery life.
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May 6, 2010 6:43:18 AM

If someone were using a 3 cell or a crappy 6 cell battery....then you'd be right...

Lemme rephrase: "It needs to be CAPABLE of staying powered for around 6 hours. I don't mind purchasing an extended or increased capacity/oversized battery."

btw, i have seen multiple core i machines with battery life rated about 5 1/2 hours. I just cant choose.

Thank you for the response.
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May 6, 2010 2:44:11 PM

jamesyboy said:
Im looking to spend up to 2000 USD on a laptop. I've looked at everything under the sun...and to be honest--even after being in the computer business for 10 years, choosing a laptop is the hardest thing i've ever had to do.

I want it to have a beautiful screen (14-15) inches preferrably. all the laptops i've seen either have a funky resolution for that size, or they arent vibrant and bright enough for me.

It needs to be powerful for that size. It should be equivalent to a high end core2duo at the very least. I want to figure an ssd into that 2000 dollar price tag as well.

The battery life needs to be close to or > than 6 hours. This is going to be a desktop replacement/student laptop, so it needs to last no less than that when browsing/officing.

I've looked at the macbooks, but i've never owned a mac. The stupidly long battery life is what originally brought me to look at macs, but idk if i will be willing to gamble 2 grand on a laptop with an os that i've never used for a long period of time. IDK how the switch would be...how long the learning curve is etc. I'm aware i can use bootcamp, but id lose the battery life i want so badly.

Overall...im just lost. I've only ever owned a netbook, and it isnt cutting it.

My question is two-fold:


Are the 15-16 inch laptops mobile enough? Are they tough or cumbersome to lug around?

How powerful of a CPU will i need? I'm lost when it comes to laptops. I've built 10+ desktops, and am more than familiar with them, but i don't know jack about laptop processors. It's easy enough to throw at least 4gb of 1066 ddr3 and an ssd laptop, so im not worried about that. It's the procs/graphics im worried about. If the laptop includes a discrete graphix card (i wouldnt mind light gaming--WoW and such, but im not willing to trade battery life when i need it) it must be switchable(auto or not) so i can get the battery life to 6 hours plus when im taking notes and doing school work.

Any suggestions?


Is there no way you can try OSX a bit more before you decide?

I personally love osx and a lot of people(outta the ones that have actually used it for an extended period of time) agree with me.
A windows persom will feel a bit lost to begin with, but after you have gotten used to it, it is very simple...everything just beomes so easy...

With that said, though, it's not everyones cup of tea, but you can always have both windows and osx installed with boot camp.


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May 6, 2010 3:42:49 PM

Moving to OSX is not difficult. It will take a little getting accustomed to but is no more difficult than using Win 7. Unfortunately you won't be able to get a macbook with an SSD for under 2k. You can get the slowest model Macbook Pro with a 128GB SSD for $2,099. The 256GB model is $2,560. Personally I find 128GB to just not be enough these days.

How About This: Qosmio X505-Q880
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

It has an i7 processor, BD drive, 18.4" 1080p res screen, 64GB SSD & 500GB SATA HDD, 6GB DDR3 AND a GeForce 360M which is a solid gaming card. To power it all this monster has a 12 cell battery. The downside? Weight. This thing is just shy of 10lbs.
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May 7, 2010 5:43:53 AM

16" ASUS with NVIDIA Optimus Technology, http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00352LQYO?ie=UTF8&tag... similar to macbook pro it switches between dedicated card & integrated graphics on the fly, that would save some power.
Both the i3 & i5 cpu feeds on 35w, might as well get an i5. However, the most powerful C2D for laptop "Core 2 Extreme QX9300" feeds on 45w, if we want to beat that, we'll need "Core i7-920XM" which needs 55w (performance comparison based on 3dMark06). Same story goes for graphics, 23w for GT 325M & 38w for GT 360M, but can be reduce to nothing with switchable tech. The thing is, the bigger & more powerful the laptop is, the more hungry it is, long lasting batteries lappies usually translate small screen with weak graphics to onboard only. :??: 





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May 8, 2010 8:09:23 AM

Wow, just checked today...and you guys have been amazing. Everyone had extemely valuable information to share.

I have narrowed my search to a vaio z series or a macbook pro.

Now i just have to decide wether i want to do a million things extremely well, or a 900,00 things extra-extremely well.

I suppose the only thing that holding me back is the the geekyness of windows, and the amound of things you can do. I know there is a mac equivalent of 90% of most things, but i always felt worthy knowing windows inside and out. Like it was an accomplishment, and i could make it do anything. Has anyone here been a PC user and felt the same way? How did u feel after you switched to mac?
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May 8, 2010 1:34:15 PM

jamesyboy said:
Wow, just checked today...and you guys have been amazing. Everyone had extemely valuable information to share.

I have narrowed my search to a vaio z series or a macbook pro.

Now i just have to decide wether i want to do a million things extremely well, or a 900,00 things extra-extremely well.

I suppose the only thing that holding me back is the the geekyness of windows, and the amound of things you can do. I know there is a mac equivalent of 90% of most things, but i always felt worthy knowing windows inside and out. Like it was an accomplishment, and i could make it do anything. Has anyone here been a PC user and felt the same way? How did u feel after you switched to mac?



I kinda know how you feel and it is true - you will feel like a computernewbie at first.
But OSX is unix based and if you learn to use the terminal, you can pretty much do anything you want.
It's just a matter of time and patience.

There are so many advantages that outweighs this, though. Don't get me wrong, Windows is a pretty good OS, but when you use OSX you get the feeling that they put more thought into designing it.

For example when it comes to installing programs - No dll-hell. The registry isn't modified as soon as you look in the general direction of the compy. Instead, programs have one folder in which the files they need are. Just drag and drop onto the compy and voila - you have installed the program.

I find it a delight to use.


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May 10, 2010 2:28:36 AM

OSX should not be a reason to not get a Mac. It'll be easy to use, eventually becoming as easy to you as Windows is. Forget that problem, it's smaller than you think. What SHOULD stop you are other factors such as cost and features. Bear in mind that the Z-Series is a 13" laptop. That's pretty small. And the 13" Macbook Pro does not have an i5 option. The Z-Series will perform better than the Macbook in this case. But are you ok with 13" screen? You stipulated earlier you'd like something bigger, and that could change the math as the Macbooks get the i5 in the 15" range.
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Anonymous
a b D Laptop
September 14, 2010 4:02:45 PM

Quote:
Buy a macbook, boot it windows 7 .


Disgusting. I can't stand an MS OS anymore. Never works, freezes, crashes, gets infected with viruses, trojans, spyware, etc. web browsing is crippled with pop ups and warnings, more freezes, just a bunch of frustration for you, the user. Windows 7 is better but don't kid yourself, it's just more of the same POS that MS always gives us. Let go of your fear and let go of Windows. Installing windows on a mac means you're still in denial or are a half-convert. Dive in head 1st and you won't regret it.


Your experience with OS X will go something like this:

- You'll like and appreciate the higher quality of build and materials on your new Macbook Pro (vs the pile of plastic cow dung of most MS OS based laptops)

- You'll go through some frustration in the 1st few days to a week in learning some basic things on OS X that you've known for years on Windows, and you'll swear to go back at least 2 or 3 times. (tip: register with mac forums for general fyi, tips and help)

- You'll start to use your OS X better and all of a sudden you realize that you're doing everything faster and easier than you ever did on a Windows platform, even one with a faster processor, except that your Macbook Pro doesn't freeze, crash or breakdown, leaving you dumbfounded and wondering where it's been all your life and how you ever lived without it.

- You now realize just how frustrating and a POS Windows really is and can't stand using it anymore, so you only use it when it's absolutely necessary, while resisting the urge to shoot that computer every time it freezes, or every 2mins. You will, however, fully enjoy how your Macbook Pro has made your life so much easier and your computer using experience so much better.


Apple computers are general computers. If you want a gaming laptop, you can push the Macbook Pro that way by installing a better graphics card, though it will reduce your battery life. For casual gaming, the MBP should be fine right out of the box, and can even game a Call of Duty or Far Cry. Just fool around with the settings for best graphics to fps ratio.

You most likely already bought something, as your post was in May, but I'll recommend you one anyway, for my self-indulgence purposes:

15" Macbook Pro 2.4Ghz i5 (the i7 is only ~10% faster with more heat and slightly less battery, better to put the extra $$ into RAM and HDD - the 2.53Ghz i5 is even more useless, only ~3% faster over the 2.4Ghz)

Get a 500GB 7200 RPM HDD (can opt it in from Apple or do it yourself - I recommend the 7k500 from Hitachi)
Get the full 8GB of RAM (not through Apple, very expensive - search online for best prices)
Do NOT get an SSD (unless you do extensive photo/video editing work or just wanna show off, it's a complete waste of money - just wait a couple of years until they become mainstream and affordable)

Whatever you do, don't buy an Asus or Dell. Two of the biggest POS computer manufacurers out there IMO. My friend has over 10 years experience building Asus and I've owned Dell's for over 15 years. I've been a pc guy over 21 years. As long as Apple is doing what they are doing, I'll NEVER go back.
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September 21, 2010 2:32:16 AM

Best answer selected by jamesyboy.
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September 21, 2010 2:41:59 AM

Quote:
Quote:
Buy a macbook, boot it windows 7 .


Disgusting. I can't stand an MS OS anymore. Never works, freezes, crashes, gets infected with viruses, trojans, spyware, etc. web browsing is crippled with pop ups and warnings, more freezes, just a bunch of frustration for you, the user. Windows 7 is better but don't kid yourself, it's just more of the same POS that MS always gives us. Let go of your fear and let go of Windows. Installing windows on a mac means you're still in denial or are a half-convert. Dive in head 1st and you won't regret it.


Your experience with OS X will go something like this:

- You'll like and appreciate the higher quality of build and materials on your new Macbook Pro (vs the pile of plastic cow dung of most MS OS based laptops)

- You'll go through some frustration in the 1st few days to a week in learning some basic things on OS X that you've known for years on Windows, and you'll swear to go back at least 2 or 3 times. (tip: register with mac forums for general fyi, tips and help)

- You'll start to use your OS X better and all of a sudden you realize that you're doing everything faster and easier than you ever did on a Windows platform, even one with a faster processor, except that your Macbook Pro doesn't freeze, crash or breakdown, leaving you dumbfounded and wondering where it's been all your life and how you ever lived without it.

- You now realize just how frustrating and a POS Windows really is and can't stand using it anymore, so you only use it when it's absolutely necessary, while resisting the urge to shoot that computer every time it freezes, or every 2mins. You will, however, fully enjoy how your Macbook Pro has made your life so much easier and your computer using experience so much better.


Apple computers are general computers. If you want a gaming laptop, you can push the Macbook Pro that way by installing a better graphics card, though it will reduce your battery life. For casual gaming, the MBP should be fine right out of the box, and can even game a Call of Duty or Far Cry. Just fool around with the settings for best graphics to fps ratio.

You most likely already bought something, as your post was in May, but I'll recommend you one anyway, for my self-indulgence purposes:

15" Macbook Pro 2.4Ghz i5 (the i7 is only ~10% faster with more heat and slightly less battery, better to put the extra $$ into RAM and HDD - the 2.53Ghz i5 is even more useless, only ~3% faster over the 2.4Ghz)

Get a 500GB 7200 RPM HDD (can opt it in from Apple or do it yourself - I recommend the 7k500 from Hitachi)
Get the full 8GB of RAM (not through Apple, very expensive - search online for best prices)
Do NOT get an SSD (unless you do extensive photo/video editing work or just wanna show off, it's a complete waste of money - just wait a couple of years until they become mainstream and affordable)

Whatever you do, don't buy an Asus or Dell. Two of the biggest POS computer manufacurers out there IMO. My friend has over 10 years experience building Asus and I've owned Dell's for over 15 years. I've been a pc guy over 21 years. As long as Apple is doing what they are doing, I'll NEVER go back.








Just an update. I bought the MBP....and i have to admit, it was nice fore a while. However, i'm currently going to be staying on the bootcamp side of the fence. If i want to do simpleton things, OS X is great. But as far as productivity goes, the support just isn't there yet.

In addition, the constant beach-ball-of-death troubles, as well as the constant crashing of programs, isn't my cup of tea. And i haven't even done anything particularly stressful to the OS.

I LOVE THE BUILD QUALITY. However, the screen has a big blotch in it, and it stares me in the face every time theres a dark image on the screen. I live in brightness 90% of the time, and rarely use my laptop for media consumption, so i just deal with it. I know i could bring it in to the apple geniuses, but i'm not willing to go without my laptop for the few weeks it'd take to fix it.

Overall, the laptop hardware is amazing. They really have something going for them in terms of quality and configuration. They may use last years solutions in the low end lap tops, but even then they configure them to the teeth.

I spent a lot of money on this lap top, and have spent 8 hours a day at least with it since it was purchased...and dont let anyone tell you otherwise....

f you're a geek like me, and are require fine tuning every piece of software on your computer....if you like being in control instead of things just being "done for you", then OSX IS NOT FOR YOU. It sucks for the modern day geek.



Things that could change my opinion:

More control over everything....(and i shouldn't have to type in a darn command prompt)
Better productivity software (specifically, a solution that can do 20% of the fine tuning office 2010 can do)
BROWSER STABILITY.....i don't care who the heck steve jobs blames for the crashing....FIX IT. You're the one that's responsible for the product!!!


So for now:

AWESOME LAPTOP

OS needs some work.
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October 2, 2010 6:17:58 AM

Interesting how you have crash problems and twirling ball problems. I do plenty of productive work in OSX - Video editing, graphic design, website creation, 3D animation, video encoding, playing games, book layout, writing, illustrating and watching videos and using email ... very many times, all at the same time - whether it's the i7 iMac or the Mac Book or Mac Pro I use ... never seem to have an issue. Actually, the only issue I run into is Flash in a website. I'm not sure how you can say "But as far as productivity goes, the support just isn't there yet." ... I'm productive 12 hours a day doing everything I've listed above. Soon I'll be going into iPad programming. What productivity can't you do and what crashes? I'd have it checked out under apple care or you've got a case of operator error somewhere.

Oh, and one way I fix the "freezing ball" in Safari, is force quitting the Flash plugin in the activity monitor. Most crashes in Safari come from Flash
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November 11, 2010 8:09:23 PM

Dear anonymous,

Thank you so much for your info on this post. I've never owned a Mac before, I'm 38 and been PC my whole life, but had such a great experience with my iphone 3gs that I borrowed a mac to play around on and fell in love. So I've been saving to get my own. I knew I wanted the 15inch size, but really couldn't figure out how to go with base configurations and where to prioritize my spending for any upgrades. Your article helped me to choose the 2.4ghz 15 inch macbook pro. I got it last weekend and I love it! I can't believe how much of my life has been wasted trying to get crappy MS PCs to work - it's probably taken away more life years from me than smoking! If only I had known...
Anyway, thanks for a great answer, even though I wasn't the person who posted the original question. Also, at least so far, you have been spot on about my experience in switching.

Quote:
Quote:
Buy a macbook, boot it windows 7 .


Disgusting. I can't stand an MS OS anymore. Never works, freezes, crashes, gets infected with viruses, trojans, spyware, etc. web browsing is crippled with pop ups and warnings, more freezes, just a bunch of frustration for you, the user. Windows 7 is better but don't kid yourself, it's just more of the same POS that MS always gives us. Let go of your fear and let go of Windows. Installing windows on a mac means you're still in denial or are a half-convert. Dive in head 1st and you won't regret it.


Your experience with OS X will go something like this:

- You'll like and appreciate the higher quality of build and materials on your new Macbook Pro (vs the pile of plastic cow dung of most MS OS based laptops)

- You'll go through some frustration in the 1st few days to a week in learning some basic things on OS X that you've known for years on Windows, and you'll swear to go back at least 2 or 3 times. (tip: register with mac forums for general fyi, tips and help)

- You'll start to use your OS X better and all of a sudden you realize that you're doing everything faster and easier than you ever did on a Windows platform, even one with a faster processor, except that your Macbook Pro doesn't freeze, crash or breakdown, leaving you dumbfounded and wondering where it's been all your life and how you ever lived without it.

- You now realize just how frustrating and a POS Windows really is and can't stand using it anymore, so you only use it when it's absolutely necessary, while resisting the urge to shoot that computer every time it freezes, or every 2mins. You will, however, fully enjoy how your Macbook Pro has made your life so much easier and your computer using experience so much better.


Apple computers are general computers. If you want a gaming laptop, you can push the Macbook Pro that way by installing a better graphics card, though it will reduce your battery life. For casual gaming, the MBP should be fine right out of the box, and can even game a Call of Duty or Far Cry. Just fool around with the settings for best graphics to fps ratio.

You most likely already bought something, as your post was in May, but I'll recommend you one anyway, for my self-indulgence purposes:

15" Macbook Pro 2.4Ghz i5 (the i7 is only ~10% faster with more heat and slightly less battery, better to put the extra $$ into RAM and HDD - the 2.53Ghz i5 is even more useless, only ~3% faster over the 2.4Ghz)

Get a 500GB 7200 RPM HDD (can opt it in from Apple or do it yourself - I recommend the 7k500 from Hitachi)
Get the full 8GB of RAM (not through Apple, very expensive - search online for best prices)
Do NOT get an SSD (unless you do extensive photo/video editing work or just wanna show off, it's a complete waste of money - just wait a couple of years until they become mainstream and affordable)

Whatever you do, don't buy an Asus or Dell. Two of the biggest POS computer manufacurers out there IMO. My friend has over 10 years experience building Asus and I've owned Dell's for over 15 years. I've been a pc guy over 21 years. As long as Apple is doing what they are doing, I'll NEVER go back.

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a c 244 D Laptop
November 12, 2010 6:40:13 AM

This topic has been closed by Maziar
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