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should i buy a macbook pro 2.4 or 2.2 w/ 4gb ram

by jnsarra / February 20, 2008 5:02 AM PST

Hi all,

I am looking to replace my Powerbook G4 soon (waiting til March to see if new pro's come out.) I wanted to ask realworld users out there if you think it's worth the extra $ to get the 2.4 or if I should get the 2.2 and use the $ to upgrade the ram.

I need to run Windows Vista on the machine for work (which includes presentations of web based apps, flash, etc to clients) so i want to make sure that the machine runs fast in either OS without breaking the bank.


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Get a demo.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / February 20, 2008 5:08 AM PST

The last time I was at the Apple store it was very fast on a normal Macbook (not pro) with just 2GB RAM.


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by jnsarra / February 20, 2008 5:54 AM PST
In reply to: Get a demo.

i'm just a bit gun shy. when i boght my pre-intel PB i was assured by the apple store staff that it would be fast and able to run windows, etc.

It turned out not to be the case, or at least not as fast as they led me to believe but i wound up loving it anyway. Now that i'm ready to upgrade i want to do what I planned last time. I have read that Win runs great on the new 'properly equped' macs so i just want to make sure i make the right choice this time.

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I need to go back and try it again.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / February 20, 2008 6:00 AM PST
In reply to: thanks

The one they had was with an older Parallels and I see on the apple web site they seem to favor VMFusion now. It was nice on the stock 2GB Macbook but I'd like to see the new version too.


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PS. Video
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / February 20, 2008 6:02 AM PST
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why didn't i think to go t youtube :)
by jnsarra / February 20, 2008 6:20 AM PST
In reply to: PS. Video

duh, i'm embarassed i never considered that there would be video in action. i think the parallels on the mackbook (non-pro) w/ 2 gb ram running photoshop was all i needed to set my mind at ease that the 2.2 w/o the ram upgrade should be fine. Now I just need to wait out the rumor of new MB pros coming out the end of Feb.

Even though my initial question of what to buy has been answered I do still wonder which is better bang for the buck - ram vs processor upgrade...

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My lesson. The CPU. Everytime.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / February 20, 2008 6:34 AM PST

In laptops we never get to upgrade that so I have learned to get the faster CPU every time. I can put off the hard disk and ram till my wallet recovers.

Try finding video on VMFusion as well.

I can assure you there will be a new widescreen Pro. Any CCFL backlit display is bound to be changed to LED. No one knows exactly when.

For the 15 inch "256MB of GDDR3 SDRAM on 2.4GHz and 2.6GHz configurations" Another bonus.


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Don't forget what Apple charges for RAM
by tleMega / February 20, 2008 7:14 AM PST

Do not buy a 4GB RAM upgrade from Apple if you are intending to run it with that much. They charge a whole lot more for RAM than what it's worth. You can the same Apple/Samsung RAM sticks for much less all over the place. A 4GB set of those can cost from $80 to $150, I believe. Like Bob says, go for the processor upgrade. Otherwise, you can't upgrade or replace the soldered CPU in the future.
Really, the only significant differences between the 2.2Ghz model and the MacBook is the screen and the graphics card. The pros to having the 2.4Ghz model are probably worth paying more for:
A faster 2.4Ghz CPU (or an even faster 2.6Ghz CPU for $250)
A better Nvidia graphics card with twice the memory as the 2.2Ghz model, like Bob mentioned
The base hard drive is 160GB, which gives you about 40GB more to work with

I have the regular 2.4Ghz model running with the base specs for it, and it is definitely an improvement over the 2.16Ghz model I had, which was replaced by the 2.2Ghz model. If you can go for it, shoot for the 2.4, or whatever the middle configuration will be when they are updated. Might as well.


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Apple RAM cost
by ftfekete / February 22, 2008 12:22 PM PST

Totally agree in regards to buying ram directly from Apple. It is similar to the mark up of printer ink cartridges. Put your money into the CPU upgrade and increase the ram as needed by buying it elsewhere on the net or even Ebay (where you can often find name brands used by Apple of 1 gig for less than $20 and 2 gigs for around $60.)

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Definitely buy more clock speed ...
by jrhmobile / February 22, 2008 8:57 PM PST

... but don't buy the extra RAM from Apple! Like a lot of folks here, I'd recommend that you buy your RAM from someone else (I recommend QWC Computing -- their prices are competitive and they stand behind everything they sell) and save $350+ over Apple's cost.

As for running Windows on the Mac, I definitely recommend using Boot Camp to run Windows rather than a software-based emulator to run Windows <i>in</i> a Mac OSX session. I have a 2GHz Core 2 Duo MacBook and Windows is speedier with BootCamp than my 2GHz HP laptop! While both VMWare Fusion and Parallels have worked OK and allowed me to run OSX and Windows XP Professional at the same tine, they weren't nearly as fast as running Windows alone with BootCamp.

A couple of things:

1) <i>Definitely, immediately</i> install and run quality anti-virus and firewall protection on your Windows side. That probably should go without saying, but I'd rather be a nag than leave you vulnerable to to bugs, worms, viruses and Lord-know-what-else is out there to ruin your Windows OS install. Many Mac folks, comfortably enjoying OSX Security through Obscurity, ignore this primary protection at their peril. Don't pay the price for making that mistake.

2) For presentation work, equip yourself appropriately and expect occasional problems. Get external adapters for both VGA and DVI cables from Apple for $19 each. You'll almost always be using the VGA adapter on the road, but if you don't have both of them, someone will be set up with the newest stuff and you'll be stuck. $40 is cheap insurance. One limitation I've found is when you run Windows on the Mac, you don't have an effective Function Key-switch for mirroring displays like you would on a PC laptop. Twice I've had to use the Control Panel to extend displays and work in a second, set-aside screen for my presentation. Not ideal, but an acceptable workaround.

If anyone else has additional tips for running Windows on a MacBook/MacBook Pro on the road, I'd love to hear them -- especially when it comes to hooking up to projectors and external displays. That's my only limitation right now. Everything else seems to work fine. And my whole kit for the MacBook weighs less than the 15.4" widescreen HP laptop I was using.

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Good post, but
by mrmacfixit Forum moderator / February 22, 2008 11:49 PM PST

you made one statement that did not make too much sense to me; "comfortably enjoying OSX Security through Obscurity,"

I wonder if you would explain that comment. A comment that has been debunked so many times.
With a current market share of over 8%, OS X is hardly "obscure"

Encouraging Windows users on a Mac to install good AV software is always good and I can understand that some people may think that because they are using a Mac, which currently has no virus's in the wild, to run Windows on, that would be all the protection they would need.


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