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Trying the Switch: My Macbook Pro Experience

Filed Under Apple on 2008-02-24, 16:53

Macbook Pro

I grew up on Apple computers. Starting with my first computer (a Macintosh Classic) when I was 5 years old, I solely used Apple products until I was 15 and was then able to convince my dad to buy a PC so that I could play games. After that I only interacted with Apple products through work, and chose to use PCs as my primary machines, rotating through various operating systems including all the Windows, a few different flavors of Linux, and even BeOS. In the last few months I noticed that a large portion of my friends were using Apple machines and since I tend to respect their opinions figured maybe it was time for me to give Apple another shot. Towards the end of 2007 I was ready to buy a Macbook Pro, but then heard the rumors of a more portable Apple laptop. Wanting to match the weight and size and functionality of my portable Toshiba (U205-S5057) I held off on buying anything. Then, to my disappointment, Apple dropped the absolutely worthless-to-me Macbook Air.

An Apple machine is intended to be the replacement for my old Toshiba laptop for everyday usage. Here are some of the tasks I need my laptop to be able to perform with very little room for compromise:

  • Web development (usually via a powerful text editor and not through software like Dreamweaver), management, and troubleshooting. This is key as most of my time on the computer is spent working on a dozen different web projects that are not only a hobby, but a source of income for me.
  • Play video files/music/DVDs/etc.
  • Browse the web/instant messaging/etc.
  • Edit, store, organize, and work with my digital photos
  • Play a game once in a blue moon (right now it’s Portal)
  • Interface with other machines in my house (multimedia server, linux machine, XBMC, etc)

On January 22nd, I decided to go ahead with the Macbook Pro, and bought one from the Apple store on Stockton St, here in San Francisco. Here are the specs on the machine I picked up:

  • Model Name: MacBook Pro
  • Processor Name: Intel Core 2 Duo
  • Processor Speed: 2.4 GHz
  • Memory: 2 GB
  • Harddrive: 160GB; 5400 rpm
  • Screen: 15″ (matte finish)
  • Video Card: NVIDIA GeForce 8600M GT (256mb RAM)

Generally my reasonable price point for a new machine is around $1200 and usually replace it after a year. I knew that Apple was expensive, like really expensive. I ended up spending around $3000 for the 15″ Macbook Pro with Apple Care. By my calculations this laptop should last me 2.5 years and still be a worthy machine. From what I hear from many Apple users is that this should hold true. I went with a higher end machine because I wanted to give Apple a good chance, but I stayed away from the 17″ for the sake of portability.

Once I had the Macbook Pro (MBP) in my hands I basically committed myself to using it as my sole machine, and I’ve done that save for a few things here and there which I’ll go into. The beginning of my “switch” was incredibly frustrating, and many things still are now. I’m going to be posting several of the things I’ve run into with trying to incorporate my MBP into my computing life. Some of these posts will be raves, and some will be rants. I’ll be honest, I’m much more apt to post rants since that’s what gets me worked up. But I’m not posting these rants to complain, I’m hoping that I’ll be able to find some solutions, and in turn share those solutions with others. I’m not looking to argue over whether the Macbook Pro and OS X is superior to a PC laptop with Windows/Linux/whatever. There are different solutions to different needs. I’m just looking for the solution that meets my needs and wants. But I am very interested in hearing feedback and thoughts from people.

That all said, I am still not completely sold on this machine but I’m not ready to give up on it. The Macbook has at least 60 days to win me over, and I’m 30 days in.

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