Well, I took the plunge. I bought a new Macbook Pro. I was hoping to get it at my local Apple Store on Friday when Leopard was released, but unfortunately they don’t stock the configuration I want. So, I had to order it online. It should be here Thursday morning. :)
I actually went back and forth quite a bit on model and configuration. Both the 15″ and 17″ have their benefits. Ultimately, I want this machine to be a desktop alternative, replacing a 4 year old G5 PowerMac. I chose the 2.4 GHz 17″ model.
The only upgrade I’m having Apple do is the hard drive. I upgraded it to the 160GB 7200 rpm option. I was tempted by the extra capacity of the 250GB 4200 rpm drive, but considering the fact that the 250 wasn’t going to be a enough space to hold everything, I’ll need to rely on external drives either way. It made sense (for me) to go with performance over capacity for the internal. I considered buying a third party internal drive, but I’ve read that unlike the Macbook, swapping the internal drive on the Macbook Pro is a relatively complicated procedure… and it may void your Apple warranty.
The upgrade that I will be performing myself is RAM. I’m upping it to the maximum of 4GB. The best advice I can give anyone purchasing a new Mac is, buy as much RAM as you can afford, but DON’T BUY IT FROM APPLE! When it comes to RAM, Apple lives in some strange (and overpriced) universe that has no connection to the current market. To buy the upgrade from Apple, it was going to be $700, which is pure insanity. I bought this 4GB upgrade kit from OWC for $167.99. This memory exceeds Apple/Intel specifications, and comes with a lifetime warranty. And, they will give me a $30 rebate if I send them the RAM that came pre-installed. I’ve bought RAM from OWC before, and never had any problems with it.
The default 17″ Macbook pro screen has a native resolution of 1680 by 1050. They also offer an optional high-resolution display that runs at 1920 by 1200. I seriously considered upgrading to the higher-resolution screen, but that’s a lot of pixels crammed into 17 inches. Things tend to be pretty small. I actually went down to the Apple store several times to look at the hi-res screen. At one point I decided to upgrade, but there is a big difference between standing at the computer for a few minutes in the store, and working on it all day. Although I though it would be fine, I was worried that my eyes would start to hurt after a long day of working. At the last minute I decided to stick with the standard display. I think I made the right choice. Although I plan on buying a new external display, I may wait until January, as I believe Apple will be introducing new displays at MacWorld (January 14th, 2008).
Speaking of MacWorld, I think there is a very good chance that Apple will introduce new Macbook Pros in January as well. I seriously considered waiting, but decided to go ahead and get it now. There’s no guarantee that Apple will release new models, and I’m long overdue for an upgrade. It’s too easy to fall into a pattern of constantly waiting for the next big thing. The current model is a good machine, and I think I’ll be pretty happy with it.
Now, I’m just looking forward to Thursday. I’m trying to get all my files / drives cleaned up in preparation for migrating over. I’m actually hoping that this new machine will replace 3 computers on my desk… the PowerMac I mentioned earlier, a 12″ G4 iBook, and a Dell desktop. I can’t wait to have just one machine!