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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello all;

Now, right off, I'm going to tell you that I am completely untechnical. However, I cannot stand my computer being slow. I am currently using a 1.7 ghz computer with 448 mb of ram, and it is running Windows XP. Now, I think there must be something wrong with the computer, because my computer struggles to open the start menu, even though it is brand new, and has nothing extra installed. But, if that is normal behavior for a computer, then I need something faster, lol!

So.. The only programs I will really use are probably iWork, iLife, Safari, and iChat/MSN. I doubt I would ever need to run all of these at the same time, but sometimes it would be nice to be able to run them all at full speed.

So... my question to you is... Which do you think would be better? A macbook with 1 gb of ram, a macbook with 2 gb of ram, or a base 15 inch macbook pro?

P.S. I would rather not spend the money on a Macbook Pro unless 100% neccasary.

P.S.S I will be taking it around town with me often, so would like to be portable.

P.S.S.S I am looking for the cheapest solution to do what I need to do. I am not looking to spedn the extra money on 2 gb of ram if 1 gb will suffice.
 

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1.7, I guess something like a single core processor, maybe a P4 or Celeron, the P4 (celeron, and Pentium D) are generally considered poor processors, you might have an AMD, I can't speak for AMD.

With the baseline Macbook, you get 2.0Ghz Core 2 Duo, which is significantly than some of last generations processors. I found that XP used at least 300MB of RAM doing nothing (Vista is closer to 800), where as OS X Tiger uses about 400MB, so 1 GB will do fine for basic tasks, future proofing with 2GB is not a bad idea. If you want protability go with MB, simply because it's quite a bit lighter.

EDIT:Your computer may be running slow because of background tasks, stuff an Norton Antivirus is know to be a performance hog. Uninstall uneeded apps, turn off background tasks, and see how the computer responds afterwards.
 

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You would do fine with a MacBook and 1-gig of RAM (thought I'd consider upgrading to 2-gigs when you can afford it. Room to breathe!).

Since you are "untechnical" and are coming from Windows XP to the Mac, you should also be realistic in your expectations. There will be a period of adjustment as you switch to new programs and new ways of doing things.

You will find helpful information from:

Apple

My First Mac - Help Buying and Getting Started with Your New Mac

The Tao of Mac - How to Switch to the Mac

Itchy Hands » How to switch to Mac

Tips For A Mac Switcher - BoydCreative
 

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Go for the baseline MacBook with 2GB of ram. It'll do everything you need, and more. Futureproofing, as mentioned by hussain, is essential. You really need to consider what the computer will be able to do in 2-3 years for you, if that's how long you'll have it.

The 13.3" MacBook screen is plenty big for most tasks, and it's portable, thin profile is great on the road.

If you can afford the 2.16 MacBook, go for it. the extra disk space will help with media files.
 

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EDIT:Your computer may be running slow because of background tasks, stuff an Norton Antivirus is know to be a performance hog. Uninstall uneeded apps, turn off background tasks, and see how the computer responds afterwards.
Right on. Even Pentium IV 1.6 GHz machines, which is one I have here, run WinXP absolutely fine with nary a hesitation. There's something else going on if the system is as slow as you say it is.

Check into your own system first unless, of course, you're just fishing for an excuse to jump to Mac. ;)
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Well, I don't expect it could be anything running in the background. In fact, I just had a friend reinstall Windows XP the other day, and nothing changed, even on the first boot. We've also tried Ubuntu on it, and it's the same way. I'm wondering if it's because I only have 448 mb of ram... Anyways, I think I will be going for a base Macbook.
 

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Yeah, MacBook Pro would be overkill for you. Start with the MacBook 1GB RAM, and if/when you can upgrade it to 2GB (3rd Party -- cheaper).

Also, you might want to get the mid-range MacBook, as it burns DVDs. Not sure if you need that feature, but it's something you can start missing quite quickly. (it happened to me! ;) )
 

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for your needs, I would go with the MacBook and 2Gb, as upgrading to 2Gb is not very expensive, and would be much more cheaper than taking a MacBook Pro.
 

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It seems like something I SHOULD have, but then again, I have NEVER burned a DVD nor felt the need to, so... It's a tough choice.
DVD could be a good backup medium too, better (because larger) than the normal CD. Consider this too.
 

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"New computer" with a 1.7GHz CPU and 448mb of ram? 1.7Ghz sounds like an old P4/P3 and 448mb of ram would mean you would have to have a 64mb stick in there to come up with that denomination. Which has not been mass produced for at least 3-4 years. And there is no such thing as a 64mb double data ram stick nevermind DDR2 ram as far as I know. I am assuming it is running PC100 or maybe even PC133. Sorry, I know you said, your not technical, but it just sounds to me like you have a 5 plus year old machine. It is recommended you run 512mb of RAM with XP. 1GB would be best. Being that you may have technology this old, you also may have a small and slow hard-drive. But by all means, switch to Macbook with 1gb of RAM, and you won't have any of these issues.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I know for sure that I have one piece of memory that is 512 mb, but it only appears as 448 mbs.

EDIT: Also, my computer is an AMD and was mass produced by my Father's company for a non-general purpose, which may be why some things are a little wierd.
 

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Well, I don't expect it could be anything running in the background. In fact, I just had a friend reinstall Windows XP the other day, and nothing changed, even on the first boot. We've also tried Ubuntu on it, and it's the same way. I'm wondering if it's because I only have 448 mb of ram...
You've got a hardware problem then. I am running Ubuntu 6.10 on an IBM T20 (Pentium III) with only 192 megs of RAM and it is fine.

But, hey, speaking as an Apple shareholder...go right ahead. :D


Ha! I just noticed your post! I was right! You do have hardware issues!
 

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I know for sure that I have one piece of memory that is 512 mb, but it only appears as 448 mbs.
Gotcha. Even 512 can put the machine 1 plus years. In any case, 1GB Macbook with Combo drive would do you well. Upgrading the HardDrive and RAM is easy down the line if you find the system slowing down as new software comes out. If you have the funding, go for the middle of the pack with the SuperDrive as this will give you more flexibility/resale value later. Even though you don't think you will require it now, you may fall in love with OSX and the DVDRW drive will allow you to fully utilize iLife apps. You can also save some money and upgrade the system by buying Apple refurb through the online store. Apple's refurbs are high quality, almost like new (in fact, you probably can't tell the difference aside from the packaging), and same AppleCare. Even eligible for extended AppleCare.
 

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Also, you might want to get the mid-range MacBook, as it burns DVDs. Not sure if you need that feature, but it's something you can start missing quite quickly. (it happened to me! ;) )
Let me just second this. I'll never buy another computer without a DVD burner.

Once you start getting into iLife and seeing what iMovie can do combined with iDVD, you'll be wishing you got that DVD burner for sure. Plus it's much better for archiving than a CD burner.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Wow, thanks for all the help guys! Now, one last question. As I've never had a laptop, I'm not really used to the screens. I'm anticipating a large increase in income in the very near future, so a MacBook Pro would be possible. Is the 15 inch screen noticably nicer than the 13 inch? Is it a lot less portable?
 

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Wow, thanks for all the help guys! Now, one last question. As I've never had a laptop, I'm not really used to the screens. I'm anticipating a large increase in income in the very near future, so a MacBook Pro would be possible. Is the 15 inch screen noticably nicer than the 13 inch? Is it a lot less portable?
Not for me. For the extra money you would spend on a PRO, buy a nice 20inch LCD (Macbook has mini-DVI out port) and Apple Bluetooth keyboard and Mouse and convert that puppy to a desktop when needed. I find the 13-inch perfect to be honest. 2 inches is not that much of a difference to me.
 

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I personally have no advice to give either way. Both the Macbook and the Macbook Pro are great machines and both will do what you need. I find the 15" Macbook Pro to be very portable despite the bigger screen. Best bet, if at all possible, is go see them in person. You might notice something about one of them that makes it a deal breaker (glossy screen for example, or size).

But I did want to comment about the ram... the size you posted is not because you have a hardware issue... it's likely because you have a video card with shared memory, that's all. Your video card is using 64MB of your main memory. And no, your system should not be that slow, but that's what Windows is all about. Unless you're an expert and you know how to clean out that spyware, virus, malware, bloatware, etc that is clogging up your system, your Windows machine will gradually get slower. Consistently.

A7
 
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