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Since Apple has finally announced their fresh new laptops, I have finally ordered the computer I've needed since May and could pay for since August.

I'm getting the 2.53GHz Macbook Pro unless I chicken out before it ships. The reason that I might chicken out is that the whole kit is going to cost $2900 after tax even with my education discount. My inner accountant is screaming in horror, since I very rarely buy things this expensive, and I had not factored in $300+ of tax when I was weighing numbers in my mind.

The reasons to get the 2.4GHz Macbook (which just got a stellar upgrade today) would be that it's smaller, lighter, has longer battery life, and costs $960 (after tax) less.

The reasons to get the 2.53GHz Macbook Pro over the 2.4GHz Macbook are:
  • twice the RAM,
  • better hard drive,
  • bigger screen -- important, since I am a big-screen junkie who works with graphics a lot.
  • better CPU (twice the L2 cache of the other, which makes it faster than just the raw GHz does),
  • separate graphics card with 512mb of memory instead of integrated graphics with 256mb of shared memory, PLUS the integrated graphics. Translation: more capable graphics card plus more memory available for my programs to use, and the less-powerful card to save battery power when I'm not flogging the RAM.
The screen, CPU, and graphics cannot be upgraded later, so I either have to buy it now or do without, or sell the laptop and buy a new one if/when I discover I didn't buy enough power. This thing is going to be my workhorse machine for the next several years, and I am an impatient power user who has to run three or four programs at once -- such as AutoCAD, Photoshop, webbrowser with ten tabs open and a word processor -- for my schoolwork pretty often.

And, I just realized the secret weapon hiding in the better graphics card on the Pro: Snow Leopard. That's the next version of Mac OS, which is going to offload extra processing onto the graphics card when it's not busy. The Pro laptop has two graphics cards, both of Nvidia's newest and shiniest lineup, one of them with as much RAM as my entire computer had for the last 7 years. So when Snow Leopard comes out, the Pro is going to get lots faster than the plain Macbook will.

Since I can afford it, I think I have just firmly talked myself into spending the extra $1000 for the almost-maxed-out Pro. (I'd have to spend another $300 on the 2.8GHz CPU to really max it out.)

I want my shiny new hotness to arrive soon, please. 

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Bronwyn Boltwood

September 2010

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