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Macbook Pro - Time to Upgrade

Discussion in 'Apple/Mac' started by travelphotoclimber, May 29, 2007.

  1. It's time to upgrade as I replaced my DVD burner last year and now the hinge attachment on my 15" G4 PB is in pieces.

    I started a thread some time ago about storage vs processing speed. I will be using this soley for e-mail and photo processing.

    I was originally gonna get an MacBook 13" as it is smaller to assist with travel and it appears more durable, but the Apple folks tell me to forget that and get the MacBook Pro. I think either would be a great improvement on the current PowerBook G4.

    I would like to hear from those that have a MacBook or MacBook Pro. And which options would you include in each?

    I have been saving for some time as I want someting that I would be able to use for a while.

    Thanks for your thoughts,
  2. rocrusso


    Feb 15, 2007
    New Jersey
    it is tempting to get the MacBook, and rightfully so, they are great machines...

    but for PP, a MacBook lacks the video card you would need:

    Intel GMA 950 graphics processor with 64MB of DDR2 SDRAM shared with main memory

    MacBook Pro 15":
    15-inch MacBook Pro
    ATI Mobility Radeon X1600 graphics processor, dual-link DVI support, 128MB of GDDR3 SDRAM on 2.16GHz configuration; 256MB of GDDR3 SDRAM on 2.33GHz configuration

    (if you aren't sure what the huge difference is here, the MacBook shares its video memory with the computer memory, where as the MacBook Pro has its own dedicated video card and own video memory)

    as for what options i would get, since you are ok with a 13" screen, the 15" MacBook Pro screen will be just fine....

    there are 2 15" models to chose from:
    the $2k 2.16GHz model and the $2.5k 2.33GHz model....

    the main differences between the two:
    processor speed
    memory, 1Gb vs 2Gb
    video card, 128MB card vs 256mb card

    since you need more than 1gb of memory in my opinion, i would just get the 2.33GHz model, it comes with the 2GB of memory you need as well as it being slightly faster and a much better video card

    other than that, since most of the other features are standard, the only thing you would have to consider is upgrading the size of the hd.... it comes with a 120gb with the option to go 160gb or 200gb.... (if you decide to go with the base 120gb hard drive, upgrading to a larger hd down the road is very easy on these new laptops)

    good luck!
  3. Impretza


    Aug 30, 2006
    San Diego
    I would wait until june as rumors have it they are supposed to introduce updated models of the MacBook Pro. Maybe you can get a better deal with the new one.
  4. As Impretza said, it seems to be generally accepted that the Macbook Pro will get a revision reasonably soon to incorporate the next evolutionary technologies from Intel. I'm waiting on the new Macbook Pro's myself. As for Macbook vs. Macbook Pro I'm not sure the video card difference will affect you that much. Few of the programs used for photography rely heavily on the video processor, and you won't notice a significant performance difference unless you're running multiple monitors. More important will be the RAM, processor speed and hard drive space. I don't have any direct experience with either of the two types of laptops yet, but unless you are into very heavy PP where you are time constrained, I think you could be well served with a Macbook. Maybe someone who has one can back me up on this.
  5. Some good information that I can understand and read at my own slow processing pace.

    What do you think about the upgrade from 2 to 3 GB of memory. Seems like a big jump in price.

    Again thanks.
  6. I was gonna wait for a newer upgrade until thhe hinge failure then thought it was time now. But I think I can wait a month.


  7. When I bought my first Mac, the G5 iMac, I realized very quickly that I would want a Mac for on the road, too, and so bought a Powerbook. Only a few months later the intel-based machines hit the street. I eventually bought a Core Duo 15" MacBook Pro -- typing on it right now, actually, as I'm sitting out on my deck enjoying a nice spring evening -- and I have been VERY happy with it. Sure, now they've got faster CD2 machines but mine does just fine for my purposes. I have not used the MacBook, so can't really speak all that knowledgeably to it vs the MBP. However, I can cite the advantages of the MBP. One is that I'm sitting here in the near-total darkness typing without any problem. Why is that? Because of the backlighted keys on the MBP. I am online right at the moment but if I suddenly had the urge to plug in my CF card reader and upload the CF card full of my latest images to this machine, no problem...and Aperture would handle it quite capably. I have 2 GB RAM in this machine and I imagine that there is some advantage to having 3 GB RAM, inasmuch as Aperture does like its RAM and video memory. I don't use my laptop for image processing, though, except for when I'm on the road and want to quickly bash out something and share it. However, I want my machine to be able to handle whatever I throw at it. If it were my ONLY machine, I would definitely be looking at an MBP and 3 GB RAM and the separate graphics card.

    Yes, rumors are flying that Apple has something new and exciting coming down the pike as far as the MBP machines are concerned....I'd stay tuned and wait for that to happen before making any sort of investment, if you can do that and your current machine will hold itself together a little longer.....
  8. Thanks Connie! Great info and food for thought.

    Sheesh ... I thought I had some gear! You getting quite a collection ...
  9. Stephen Fox

    Stephen Fox Guest

    Thats exactly what I use a computer for - that all!

    I recently purchased a Mac Pro (not Book) and I have to say I will never consider a windows PC ever again. Quad Xeon cores allow NX to fly, no more blocky redraws, waiting for NR to apply and it saves NEF's is around 5 seconds. I am sure an MBP will have similar performance. buy now - live for the day and enjoy.
  10. My first Mac was purchased because I was becoming increasingly frustrated with Windows and because my year-and-a-half-old PC had already developed hardware problems. My Windows laptop never seemed to work quite right when trying to connect wirelessly, either at home or elsewhere. The night I bought my iMac the salesman asked me if I had a wireless network. I said, "yesss...?" He smiled and assured me that my new iMac would connect to it immediately, no hassles. I stared at him dubiously and said, "oh...." while thinking, "yeah, riiiiiight!!!" Brought the new machine home, plugged it in, started the registration process and at some point suddenly realized that, hey, I was online! No fuss, no muss! Right then and there my love affair with my Mac began....

    As I mentioned in my other post a few weeks later I bought a Powerbook because already having experienced the joys of using a Mac I was not about to take that balky old Windows laptop out on the road any more. My shiny new PB went with me on my next trip a couple of months later.

    I certainly didn't expect the advent of the intel-based machines so quickly! Resisted the siren song only so long....and that's when I bought my 15" MBP, but I already was looking ahead to the Mac Pro. Now I'm happy with my little family of Macs and they more than do what I need when I'm on the computer. I use them for basic emailing, document composition and processing, income tax preparation, web surfing, participation in the Cafe and other forums, enjoyment of music, playing of DVDs and of course, digital image post-processing, storage and display. I use the Mac Pro exclusively for the latter, and then when I'm on a trip use the MBP for keeping up with emails and the forums in addition to image accumulation and temporary storage as well as quick post-processing if I want to share images from the road. I LOVE my Macs! :smile: :Love: :Love:
  11. gadgetguy11


    Nov 16, 2005
    You probably can't wait until October, but that is when the new OS is released...
  12. wbeem


    Feb 11, 2007
    Sanford, FL
    William Beem
    I have a MacBook Pro with 2GB and an older iMac 20" with only 1GB RAM. Aperture and Photoshop both perform very well on the MacBook Pro. Aperture is a dog on the old iMac, but I tend to believe that another GB of RAM would help. I'll probably end up replacing it with something newer, though.

    15" or 17". When I'm carrying it, I'm glad I have the 15". When I'm using it, I sometimes wish I had the 17". Trying to work on a small laptop screen is a bit limiting. One of these days, I need to get a nice 30" screen for home use. I would seriously consider adding a second monitor, even if it's not the 30". Too bad my iMac can't accept video input from the MacBook Pro.

    Another thing you're going to want is external storage. The MacBook Pro comes with about a 100GB drive. Of course, drive specs overstate the usable space, so knock off 8 GB. The OS pre-load takes up about 30 GB. Before you do anything, I'd recommend doing an OS re-install and de-selecting the components you don't want or need (e.g., foreign language support, etc.).

    Even with that, there's no way I could keep my iTunes and Aperture library on my MacBook Pro internal drive. Both are over 60 GB. Even without loading my iTunes library, I found myAperture library pushing me down to only 5GB free. That's when I bought a couple of WD 500 GB USB drives. I relocate my masters to one and back it up to a Vault on the other.

    That means I don't have my masters when I'm on the road. I suppose you could get a portable USB hard drive if you need to take them with you, but I'm mostly concerned with the photos I'm shooting on a trip. This configuration leaves me plenty of room to load new photos and work on them, and then I can relocate the masters when I get home. You always have the previews of your other photos with you in Aperture, but you just can't edit them without the master files.
  13. wbeem


    Feb 11, 2007
    Sanford, FL
    William Beem
    That was dispelled as a false rumor.
  14. Bill brings up a good point about the need for external HDs with the MBP, especially if it is your only computer! First, about the external monitor: I have mine hooked up to a 23" Apple Cinema Display. (For a while before I bought the Mac Pro used the MBP hooked up to the 30" ACD, which I had purchased in my progression towards the Mac Pro. That was when I discovered the joys of using an external monitor with the 15" machine. Now the 30" ACD is happily hooked up to its soulmate, the Mac Pro. A couple of months ago I went ahead and got the 23" ACD, too. This way one has the best of both worlds: a monitor like a desktop and yet the portability of a laptop!)

    The hard drive on the MBP can be configured various ways, but I chose the 7200rpm 100 GB version. When you think about it 100 GB doesn't go very far these days! It is essential to have external HDs in addition, especially when you're using iTunes and processing digital images. Since my 15" is NOT my primary computer I don't keep image files on it, just put them on while I'm traveling (but even then I have at least one external drive with me) and I also don't keep my full iTunes library on it, either. My iTunes library lives on my G5 iMac and then I also have it backed up on external drives. At some point I need to set up iTunes in my Mac Pro but haven't gotten around to doing that yet.
  15. wbeem


    Feb 11, 2007
    Sanford, FL
    William Beem
    There are 3rd party replacement drives you can buy with 160GB or even 200GB, I believe. However, I decided not to go with something that drastic.

    If the new MBP's come out with larger drives as part of the reconfiguration, I may consider bumping up again - even though there's nothing wrong with my Core Duo. Seems like those damn Core 2 Duo's came out for a lower price just after I bought mine.
  16. My 15" MBP is the Core Duo, which I purchased back in May of 2006, unable to withstand the temptation any longer. Just HAD to see what the intel machines were all about! LOL! The current C2D machines do offer a couple more choices in HD configuration, including the larger new "perpendicular" drives. I think I would still stick with the 7200 rpm drive.... It will be interesting to see what the next MBP machines have to offer. I'm waiting for a cute lil' ultraportable!
  17. I have a 13" MacBook with 2 GIG and 17" MacBook Pro with 2 GIG. I find the 17" is to heavy to comfortably lug around on trips. I always use it for any CS3 work and only use the 13" MacBook when traveling to download and review the day's shoot. I have a 120 GIG 2.5" FW HD that I use to download from the cameras and when I get home transfer everything to the MB Pro from this drive. This combination has been working very well for my needs. I sure don't try to do any major editing or adjustmets on the 13". Another plus for the Pro is the fact that it will effortlessly support a second monitor allowing you to use the full screen for the photo and park the menus off to the side on the second monitor.

  18. So Connie, what do you think?

    The 200GB @4200 rpm or the 160GB @7200 rpm?

    I will be using it for PS CS 3 and e-mail ans my only computer for now.

    Any place that Mac discussions would be found?

  19. 160 GB 7200rpm drive, no question about it for me. 4200rpm is significantly slower. While you can easily increase amount of storage space via adding external HDs there is nothing you can do about the speed of your HD. Get the faster HD and just add an external HD or two and you're good to go.

    Add more RAM, too, if you'll be working with CS3. The new MBPs can now use 4 GB RAM -- wow! Even 3 GB can make a difference, though. It is neat the new machines come with 2 GB stock!

    Several good sites for discussing the Mac:

    http://www.macrumors.com (next to the Cafe, my favorite hangout!)

    http://www.macosg.com (excellent source of information and tips for getting the most out of your machine)

    http://apple.com They have forums there, too.
  20. Thanks,

    Guess this ex Northern Virginia boy (McLean) is procrastinating again. Took down about 200 trees yesterday and got a few hundred more to go to get the view and wildlife viewing station set ... oh, my achin back!

    Guess I'll make an order on my lunch break!

    As always ... appreciated.
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