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laptop - should I get PC or Apple

Discussion in 'Apple/Mac' started by Allan, Aug 2, 2008.

  1. I will be asking this in the PC section too---

    I want to ask a laptop question - partly PC vs Mac and partly what processor and amount of memory.

    I have had Macs since 1987. Presently, I have a Mac Pro which I bought in 2006. I also have a PC laptop, which I bought for work (before I retired) where tehy would not allow Macs on the network.

    I don't use a laptop much and I have a PC one - Sony with Pentium 4 (3.0 mhz) which is maxed out at 1 gig of memory.

    When I travel - I take photos. This one is really slow. When I have an image open in NX1.3 it took over 35 seconds for the screen to go gray when I checked the double threshold button.

    So, if I buy a PC, it probably will havec VISTA installed - what processor and how much memory?

    If I buy a Mac, which model, size screen, and memory. It will come with 10.5.

    Any opinions - I have CS2 on the laptop - will it work with VISTA?
  2. gadgetguy11


    Nov 16, 2005
    I plan to buy a MBA, because I, too, own a Mac Pro and I do not need processor power, nor memory in the field. I'd just like to look at the images at the end of the day to see which to trash, and any areas I want to reshoot. The light weight design and small profile are very appealing. Connie (our resident Mac expert and generous helper in the Cafe) owns both MBA and Mac Book Pro. She uses the new MBA much more frequently because it is light, small, and easy to carry. You are in a unique position, owning a Mac Pro, to be able to sync the 2.

    If field editing is in your plans, go with the new Mac Book Pro 15". There is no comparison to its processing power over the MBA (if you need it).

    Why even consider a Windows based machine for photography? If you already own one, that is another matter. If you are buying a new notebook primarily for photography, consider speed reduction caused by anti-virus software, among many other issues. Then there is the Back to my Mac where you can drive the Mac Pro by remote, using your new Mac notebook. Very cool!
  3. I will be editing.

    Why 15 instead of 17?
    Which screen - trad or glossy - is better?

    If I buy a PC it will be to save $$$. Afully loaded Macbook Pro is over $3k. I like Macs more.
  4. gadgetguy11


    Nov 16, 2005
    The 15 is not too heavy to carry. You can connect an external monitor if you want. I just sold a 17". I found excuses to never carry it. Just too big and heavy.

    Opinions vary on the flat / glossy. I'll defer to those who have compared both. I have not.

    You will be out a lot more $$ buying the PC. Then you edit with it and ask yourself: "What was I thinking??", sell it for a major loss, then buy a mid level Mac...

    (I speak from experience :redface: :redface:) 
  5. When I travel, I stay at motels or homes of friends. I don't need to carry a laptop to locations - plus I have a large monitor at home - so I lean towards 17 inch.

    If I buy a Mac it will be with the fastest processor with 4 gig of ram (I think.)
  6. Casket28

    Casket28 Guest

    I just picked up a Gateway 6850FX, and found it to be suprisingly fast. 3 gigs of ram, 300 gig hard drive, 512 mb memory. Windows Vista. Processed over 1000 images in CS3 last night in about 7 minutes.

    Thats all the speed i need :) 
  7. I don't have enough info. I use NX2 on my Mac at home and would want to use it on a laptop also. I just like it.

    My laptop has 1 gig and that is not enough. I wonder if a dealer would let me install NX and process a few images before I bought a laptop from them.
  8. If you're going to do editing in the field, then I would definitely recommend the 17" MBP over thel MacBook Air. Why? Because the screen is larger and you have all the ports you will need. As much as I adore my MBA it can be a little awkward when trying to upload a lot of images at the end of the day because of the lone USB port. I found that first I had to upload all the images via the CF card reader into the MBA and then I could connect my external HD and transfer all the images to there. Needless to say this takes longer than if one can simply have both devices plugged in simultaneously to the computer. I tried using a powered USB hub thinking that this would work and soon found that it doesn't. The MBA prefers doing one thing at a time! Also, it is much easier and better to edit images on a larger screen than 13".

    Aside from that, though, I really love the MBA for its sleek portability and light weight. It's great to tote along anywhere. The other day I was going to meet friends from another forum (MacRumors) and so stuck my D3, 24-70mm, SB-800 and the MBA into my ThinkTank Urban Disguise 60 bag. While the bag was heavy, it was still much easier to carry than it would have been if I'd been toting the 15" MBP!

    For editing purposes, the 17" MBP really works very nicely, and actually it is not all that much heavier than the 15" MBP. I would definitely aim for the fastest processor with 4 GB RAM. Rumor has it that new MBPs are on the way very soon -- not just the basic "speed bump" upgrade but a redesign as well, so this is something to keep in mind.
  9. Toby D

    Toby D

    Mar 7, 2006
  10. Thanks for this last bit - I won't really need one now till winter.

    I would rather have a Mac, but I will only being using a laptop 5-7 weeks a year and they cost more.
  11. Allan,

    We've got both in our house right now. I have a Sony VAIO and my wife has a MacBook.

    I have to use the Windows for work, a number of applications just aren't available on Mac, and I've had it for a while. I also use it when I travel to ingest pictures from my cards, do some minimal editing with NX.

    A used/refurb Mac may be more cost effective, but for the amount you say you're using it, cheaper might be the way to go. Get one that let's you burn DVD's though.
  12. I don't want or need a dvd burner - I have a portable usb hard drive.

    The only thing that bothers me with a PC is I do not understand them so when something goes wrong I have to take it to a shop. On a Mac, I know about Disk Express and other utilities.

    I may be in Florida for over a month next winter, so I want something that will allow me to edit in NX.

    Decision, decisions. :confused: 
  13. ChrisA

    ChrisA Guest

    Here is an option that will not cost you anything. Get a copy of Ubuntu Linux and put it on the Sony notebook PC. Ubuntu is a lot like Mac OS X but is much faster on same hardware. The only problem is Photoshop. You'd have to use something else.

    If you o want to replace the notebook, get a Macbook Pro. The MBP can run either Mac OS X or Windows or both at once. Not many other notebooks can do that.

    If you own a Mac desktop then look at getting Aperture. It has a feature where you can peel off part of the image library to work on a notebook then move it back on the desktop. Apple only requires that you buy one license too. It's a good setup for someone who wants to kleep the library on the desktop but still be able to work on a notebook too and keep the libraries straight.
  14. I am leaning towards MacBook Pro. I don't need Windows - also do not want to use Aperture. Never used it on my desktop Mac.
  15. The other day I was working in the public library when a patron came up to ask for help with getting his Windows laptop to connect to our free WiFi. I tried helping him and then finally had to send him downstairs to the staff member in the Reference department who is more knowledgeable on Windows and who might be able to get him going in the right direction..... All I could think of as I was struggling with this poor guy to get things configured correctly was, "Gee, with my iPhone or my MacBook Air or MacBook Pro, all I have to do is walk in the door and it finds the WiFi connection -- boom!"

    Are you SURE you want to venture into getting a Windows machine?

    As for Aperture -- I use it as my primary image processing program and am more than happy with it. However, I am not big on doing lots of fancy things and my idea is to do a little work on the exposure values, a little work on the contrast, a little sharpening, maybe a little judicious cropping, etc.....and that's it. For me, Aperture more than fills the bill. I do have CS3, too, though, in case I do want to experiment more with other effects.

    As I said in my other post, rumors have it that new MacBook Pros (and maybe also newly redesigned MacBooks) are coming down the pike very soon so it would be advisable to hold off on any purchase for a little while longer if you can do so.

    One thing which I love about my laptops is that I can take them anywhere if the desire or the need arises. At home I often sit out on my condo apartment balcony (which is what I'm doing right now) and that way I can keep up with my online world while also getting fresh air and watching the local wildlife on the lake. Doesn't have to be a trip out of town for me to grab a laptop -- just outside on my own balcony or over at a friend's house works nicely too!
  16. Well, I like Macs but as I wrote I do have a laptop already. I use NX and PS and have my own organizing pattern.

    I don't have wireless so will use the laptop just on the road.

    But, I think I will go Mac simply because I can trouble shoot Mac but can't a Windows machine. For example, my wife's Macwas crashing - I just got out Disk Express and rebuilt the directory - problem gone. On a PC, I would have no idea what to do.

    Maybe when the new Mac Book Pro comes out I can buy one of hte current generation for a good price. I don't really need one till this winter - I am posting now because I was in FL for a week and found out I could not edit at all on my present laptop.
  17. You might want to explore setting up a wireless network at home, especially if there are several machines in residence. I think you would really be pleased at the flexibility it offers. Macs handle wireless very well!

    My first wireless network setup was when I had bought a laptop and wanted to be able to use it in another room and not have to have the darned thing tethered via ethernet cable. I have Cox Communications Cable as my ISP and years ago the cable connection was established in my bedroom. I had a choice of snaking an ethernet cable out to the living room or trying a wireless setup. Well, that first wireless network was a pain and a half to set up but I did manage to get it working with my Windows machines. When I bought my first Mac, the sales associate asked me if I had a wireless network and I said, "uh, yeah...." He blithely assured me that my new G5 iMac would connect right to it, no problem. I smiled and nodded, while thinking, "yeah, riiiiight!!!"

    Well, darned if that guy wasn't right!! I was just floored at the ease with which my new Mac found and connected itself to my network. Right then I began falling in love..... Anyway, time has passed and setting up wireless networks has become even easier. For anyone who has more than one computer in the household, it's really a worthwhile venture. With a Mac, it's a pretty painless procedure. I don't know now, since it's been three years since I've dealt with Windows, if the process has been made easier with that platform or not.

    Anyway, you might want to think about setting up a wireless network for all the machines in your household and then you can enjoy the freedom of taking your laptop anywhere around the house and even outside the house, truly expanding its useability!
  18. rocketliv

    rocketliv Guest

    Definitely go macbook pro! Our desktop pc died so I started using my husbands laptop pc with Vista. It was the biggest headache ever. I bought my mac within two or three weeks. We couldn't afford the new one but it was harming my business because I couldn't do things I needed to do, connect to MY FTP, etc. Vista wants to think for you and it drove me mad!

    I have the 17 inch Macbook Pro (don't go glossy, its highly sensitive to over head lighting, you will get a lot of glare) and I have a sleeve for it. I take it everywhere. Its great! Battery lasts forever and I run CS3 on a 2GB drive with no problem. Super fast!
  19. Little Cub

    Little Cub

    Feb 13, 2007
    Vegas, baby!

    IMHO I use a Mac at work and a PC laptop at home, and I prefer my PC laptop. My Mac "crashes" all the time. It will freeze certain programs for no reason and it doesn't have the organization that I require. Sure, the interface is cool and "user friendly," but it is still a computer that can have problems. Have I had issues with my laptop? Sure, but I disagree that photo editing is better on a Mac, or that color/calibration is better. Most photographers I work with use a PC, some use a Mac. As far as wireless, I can take my laptop anywhere there is a "hotspot" and have a lightening fast connection.
    Listen, both types of computers will crash at times. If you are worried about either one crashing, there may be an operating system issue.
    PCs are not scary, they aren't horrible, and they are defiantely not bad at photo editing. This is going to sound harsh and again, it's IMHO. But, computers don't do bad photo editing, people do bad photo editing. If you want to have an educated decision, play with both computers. Do what I do, take the computers to their limits. Play with them and find what is right for you.
    Best of luck, I hope you get what you want and need.

    Little Cub
  20. it's not often I venture into this forum with my background, but it seems to me that it is a question that can be answered in a million ways and you are getting a million answers :wink:

    MY thought process when I bought a new laptop 1 month ago was how do a I get the most processor speed and ram in a reliable SMALLER package.

    Smaller because I wanted something I would be able to take on the planes from now on, I think they will be restraining us soon because of fuel prices. most processor and ram because I buy alaptop that is supposed to last for 3 years.

    In my case it was an easier choice to go with a Dell because my old one is a Dell and it has worked very well, except for the time when I poured a glass of wine on the keyboard, and the motherboard was fried. I called Dell and since I had Complete Care (accidental insurance) and next day service, about $350 for 3 years, they came out the next day in Sweden (!) and fixed it for me, no additional cost.

    So I got a Dell latitude D630 with a 14 inch screen, 9300 processor and 4 GB of RAM, I got XP on it with upgrade right (including the CD) to Vista. It has the 14 inch screen with the 1400 resolution so i get as much resolution as i can get in smaller package. And I got Complete care again, $300 is very little over 3 years for security I think...

    So they question I would pose if I where you is what is the plan with this laptop?

    You could use my strategy and get a high end Apple, Dell, Lenovo, Sony laptop (the brands ranked highest in quality in PC Magazines user survey last year)

    Or maybe you just want something decent for email and backup of images and more occasional processing, but still not a slouch with CS3 and NX?

    The latest laptops with todays low end processors (Yesterdays high end) are pretty decent, a Dell Inspiron 1525 laptop, with Intel® Core™ 2 Duo T5750 (2.00GHz/667Mhz FSB/2MB cache) 15.4 inch (1200x800) budget laptop with 2 GB of RAM for ONLY $599 is an appealing proposition, add $30 to get Vista home premium, add another 1 GB RAM for $50, and a webcam for $20 and you have a very respectable Laptop for only $699

    As for OS, you know a laptop from a large manufacturer tends to work quite well has been my experience, so whether you choose Mac OS, XP or Vista I'm sure it will do the job nicely. I have 2 desktops one with Vista and one with XP, I have my old Laptop it runs Vista, I upgraded it and my new one runs XP. They all work very well. If you are used to Mac maybe you should get that? But you know a $699 Dell Inspiron with Vista Home Premium is an interesting proposition don't you think....?

    As for Vista there is a thread in the PC forum here where someone asked about experiences with it and processing and overwhelmingly people where very positive.

    As a final comment. It is really easy to connect to a wireless network with both XP and Vista. When a new one is close enough a little balloon tip pops up in the lower right informing you that a wireless network is available, you click on it and follow the wizard to connect to it, or you can search manually. What I have found many times when people cant connect is because they have turned off the wireless with a little button on their laptops..... Seriously I have helped about 10 people with that over the last year.....
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