Wednesday, October 15, 2008

New Laptop

My laptop is old, and it is dying. This year I've replaced the hard drive, the CD drive, the bluetooth, and found that my wifi was forevermore history. I rely on this machine quite a bit, and so I was waiting for this round to be released as I like to keep machines as long as possible. I bought my current laptop in January of 2004 and used it all through seminary. It has been a wonderful tool and I've gotten great use out of it.

I was targeting the new Macbook, and at first glance it looked really cool. The price point was good, I liked the new features etc. Except one HUGE omission. It has no firewire port. Huh?

No firewire port.

A big deal? Well, let's see. First off, my wife's video camera (I hate video) uses firewire to import video. It has USB, but you cannot import video over that, only still photos. Ok, well at least USB 2.0 is faster than firewire right? Nope. File transfers take over twice as long on USB 2.0 as they do with Firewire 400. Firewire 800 is as much as 4X faster. Ok, how about target disk mode, something that has saved my bacon more than once. Nope, that would be "FIREWIRE target disk mode" my friends.

So, I could "upgrade" to a laptop that can't import video, can't do target disk mode, can't use firewire hard drives, and operates half as fast when copying files to an external device. Hmmm.....

Apple's desire is that guys like me who care will happily pony up the extra $700 for a MacBook Pro. Except that the features of the MBP over the MB are not worth $700 to me. What to do, what to do. I'm not about to run Vista--I'm not desperate here. Linux is cool, but my hair isn't long enough and I didn't spend last night optimizing my TCP/IP stack by hand for maximum speed, so that's not really an option either. Keeping my current laptop is an option, but I'm getting tired of replacing parts, so I have to do something else.

I mulled this over for a day and finally landed on this: a refurbished last generation macbook pro. It was only $200 more than the new macbook, and vastly superior. It has a faster processor, 2x as much L2 Cache, a larger display, DVI instead of the goofy display port, 512MB of dedicated video memory & a real video card, a real mouse button and both Firewire 400 and 800.

It seems weird to be buying the last generation rather than the new one, I'm generally a cutting edge guy, but in my opinion Apple really blew it with the new macbooks.

I'm looking forward to the experience, it should be a good one.


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