The Question Everyone's Asking: MacBook or MacBookPro

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by bmoseley07, Feb 24, 2007.

  1. bmoseley07 macrumors member


    Jan 13, 2007
    I just would like some help answering the question on everybody's mind. MB or MBPro.

    Current configuration: Dell Insprion 1150 (from way back in the day)

    • Intel Celeron 2.60 GHz
    • 512 MB of RAM
    • 40 GB hard drive (excruciatingly tiny)

    As you can imagine, opening more than two programs is a bit much for this thing, even iTunes.

    A little background information:

    I'm a senior in high school. I am a web designer, graphic artist, and photographer. I also do some print work. I plan to continue working with those areas and possibly moving into some film work as well.

    Programs in use a lot:

    The basics obviously. I keep most of the apps I use frequently open almost 100% of the time. These would be:

    • iTunes, Adium, Safari, Mail, BBEdit, etc.
    • Photoshop
    • Aperture
    • InDesign
    • Illustrator

    These apps are open pretty much all the time, plus more. Also, depending on whether I get into film or not, I may be using Final Cut Pro.

    Right now I have my eye on the black MacBook, which I would configure out to 2 GBs of RAM and most likely a 200 GB HD.

    Excuse me if I may sound silly asking, but you have to understand where I'm coming from. I know it will be a 4x upgrade in RAM from what I currently have, but the two questions I have are:

    Will a maxed out MacBook be able to do run all those apps at the same time?

    Secondly, if I do decide to get into film, will it be enough to also run Final Cut Pro (I probably won't have the graphic apps open during this)?

    My other worry is that the MacBook screen won't be big enough when I need it, but right now the reason I want the MacBook is because it's a smaller laptop then what I'm currently lugging around.

    I know this is a hard decision. I really like the black MacBook for it's style, color, and size, but I'm just wondering if it will be enough or not.

    Anyways, thanks in advance. And it'll be nice to finally be on the greener side of the fence.
  2. sdhollman macrumors regular

    Nov 16, 2005
    Toronto, Ontario
    For what you use I would be looking at none other than the Pro.
  3. johnmartin78 macrumors regular


    Feb 10, 2007
    MBP will perform better when you are tasking it heavily.And the bigger screen is nice for editing.That being said,if money is an issue the Macbook aint bad.Prices may be different now than when I bought mine,but I got a Maxed Macbook for like a thousand dollars less than a base MBP.Wanted a MBP but they were just so big,for a portable.
  4. Fearless Leader macrumors 68020

    Mar 21, 2006
    I'd say MBP for the extra screen space and the graphics card for aperture. I had MB for 13 days but traded it for a MBP cuase the screen was too small and the graphics didn't cut it.
  5. suneohair macrumors 68020


    Aug 27, 2006
    The only thing the MB lacks is a dedicated graphics card.

    The apps you are running will not benefit in any meaningful way from it. With that said the MBP is faster so if you get into video encoding will be a bit faster.

    As far the screen. Even a 15" is tough to work on graphics, etc. It really isn't ideal. I would vote that you go with a MB, get an external display 20"+ to hook it up to. External KB and mouse are good too. So essentially you have yourself a desktop when at home and a portable laptop on the go. And if you don't already, a large backup drive. Anything can happen with a laptop. A drop, spill, run over, who knows having that data backed up is key. Which leads into drive size. Will you ever be storing more than 160GB of data? The price leap from 160GB to 200GB is enormous. Consider that, with an offsite backup option you can keep the files you aren't using and archive them there. Also consider upgrading the drive yourself, it is cheaper. You could sell the 120GB and be close to a 160GB for much less.

    RAM is important since Adobe apps aren't universal. Shouldnt be long though. 2GB no matter what. There is really no reason not to, and your work will benefit from it.

    The Macbook is no less capable of running those apps at the same time than a MBP. It is all RAM dependent. At 2GB, they will both be the same. The MBP can do 3GB, but that is an expensive option and not worth IMO at current 2GB stick prices.

    Here is my vote:
    - Black Macbook 2GB
    - 160GB aftermarket (200GB if you really need it, aftermarket though much cheaper, sell 120GB or turn it into a small storage drive)
    - 20" - 24" (budget dependant, assuming you could buy a Macbook Pro you should be able to fit it in)
    - Wireless KB and mouse for home use
    - Eventually, maybe, a large backip external FW drive.

    This setup would put you in a good position and I feel you would get more accomplished. I personally don't like being tied to a laptop when at home. I like to use it like a desktop.

    Cost breakdown:
    ~1,653.25 w/tax for Macbook Black 2GB
    160GB HD ~ $120 shipped
    2007WFP Dell, ~$365 if you look for coupons, $315 refurb
    ~ $2090 - $2140

    MBP 2.16 2GB
    ~ $2,079.31 w/tax
  6. johnmartin78 macrumors regular


    Feb 10, 2007
    If you live by an Apple store ,go play with them.I think Screen size is going to be your only issue.The MBP is just so damn big in person,its almost not a laptop.
  7. bmoseley07 thread starter macrumors member


    Jan 13, 2007
    That was the other route I was thinking but didn't say. Glad you brought it up.

    I actually haven't put too much thought into it, but 160 does sound like it would be enough.

    That sounds good to me, unless someone objects.

    lol I agree. I'm going to college at the end of the year and I don't want to be lugging around a laptop equivalent to an iMac.
  8. NewSc2 macrumors 65816

    Jun 4, 2005
    Orange County, CA
    The MBP. The MB doesn't totally qualify as a desktop replacement. The MBP does. I had a MB for audio and visual work and the screen size was just too small for comfortable viewing. It's not just the screen size, but the resolution. My 15" MBP has smaller pixels than my 20" Dell widescreen LCD, so it feels like a 17" LCD in that regard.

    The 15" MBP is virtually the same size as the 13" MB. It's thinner, and it only feels 1cm larger on each side. It fits into the same bag I was using for the MB, and the screen size is just so much bigger. I use Photoshop and Logic Pro almost daily on the MBP. It's also feels like a much better laptop than the MB does. Just grabbing a cold, smooth laptop in the morning before work... so sexy =)

    Heck, if you had the money I'd even say go for the 17" MBP. You'd definitely never need an external LCD, and it goes everywhere. It has the same resolution as my 20" Dell (1680 x 1050)... just a thought. I used to lug my 17" PB all over school, and as long as you get a good backpack it goes everywhere. It's only 6.8 lbs. A textbook weighs more. The 17" iMac weighs 15.5 lbs.
  9. toneloco2881 macrumors 6502

    Jan 23, 2005
    The apps you have listed as your most often used would benefit greatly from the dedicated graphics card in the MBP. It's more than just upping the ram. Most of these apps offload processes to the graphics card which will be MUCH faster on a MBP. If your not worried about the new 802.11n or marginally(at best) faster performance of the new Core 2 duo MBP, you can get a 2.16ghz refurbished intel core duo for the same price as a brand new black MB.You get a much larger screen, probably equal performance due to the faster(mhz) processor, and a far greater graphics card. From my experience, and many others as well, refurbished machines purchased from Apple arrive in MINT condition. You wouldn't be able to discern it from a brand new one. Just some food for thought.
  10. Abstract macrumors Penryn


    Dec 27, 2002
    Location Location Location
    Which one? Only Aperture, really.

    And if you wait until May or June (as this is still before uni starts), the MacBook's integrated graphics might get updated (as it'll probably never make it into a MBP), and so it would handle Aperture just fine. All the stuff you're talking about is processor intensive, although Aperture does depend on the graphics card a little bit.

    If you plan on running all of this at once, then of course RAM is going to be more important than processor speed. Since MBs and the MBPs both have very similar processor speeds, the big difference will be how much RAM they can handle. The MB can only handle 2 GB of RAM, while the MBP can use a maximum of 3 GB (without a problem). Neither is great for running every app simultaneously (ie: Aperture would require at least 1.5 GB of RAM on a MBP to run it smoothly), but the MBP would manage the multitasking demands better with 3 GB of RAM, so a MBP is better than a MB if you put 3 GB in a MBP.

    But please note that 3 GB of RAM requires a 1 GB stick + 2 GB stick of RAM, and a 2 GB stick of laptop/SODIMM RAM is insanely pricey.

    How do you use these programs a lot if you're using an Intel Celeron system with 512 MB of RAM? It's obviously not a Mac.

    If you illegally installed it on your current system, then it couldn't have handled all those apps simultaneously anyway, so I guess you can survive without running everything at once.
  11. bmoseley07 thread starter macrumors member


    Jan 13, 2007
    Yea, I just read somewhere that the MacBook graphics card is receiving updates. I don't know that much about graphic cards, but it was on I think Page 2. I don't know if this will make it easier to get a MB.

    Those are the apps that I plan to use. I'm currently working on some eMac's at school for my graphics class, so I know what I'll be using when I switch over.
  12. suneohair macrumors 68020


    Aug 27, 2006
    This is a lie. They will not greatly benefit, at least for the reasons you are purporting.

    Graphics chipsets do not have the same instruction set. A graphics chipset (out of the box at least) cannot process a RAW file or apply a filter to an image in photoshop (unless it requires 3D rendering). That is all CPU. Same thing with video, video is 2D editing video requires CPU. Graphics helps, but not to the degree you are suggesting. Encoding the video, CPU. In summary, graphics cards do not handle any task the CPU gives. It handles graphics.

    At best, the graphics will offload any heavy UI like in aperture or Final Cut. Now, if he plans to get into Shake and Motion. That is a different story and the card would help there.

    Your recommendation of a Core Duo is also misleading. The C2D is faster, not only per clock but that thing called cache. Yeah, 2MB vs. 4MB. Makes a huge difference. I find a 2.0CD Macbook to be slower in daily tasks than a 2.0C2D. And a 2.16CD MBP would be slower in CPU intensive tasks than a 2.0C2D. By a fair amount.

    Screen size is really your only issue here. You can answer that with this question: How often will you be away from your room, where you will doing heavy editing of anything.

    Not light on the fly stuff, where you offload the RAW from your camera to take a look and tweak a bit. I am talking you are in a coffee shop or at school doing some heavy processing? I won't interject my feeling here. But that is what you should ask yourself. How often will you NEED a bigger screen outside of your room, where you could have a 20"+ LCD?

    To the person who said the MB is not a worthy desktop replacement. I say nay, the only difference is graphics and screen size. If you only want a laptop, than of course a 15" would be your best option to replace a desktop. However if you actually use it as a desktop, meaning connect it to a larger display and full size keyboard and mouse. It is more than capable.
  13. mick4394 macrumors 6502a


    Oct 25, 2006
    Flyover country
    I agree with you, but I'd take it further. The 13" screen on my Macbook is the largest screen I've ever had on a notebook. For me, the Macbook has become a desktop replacement, and the screen is more than big enough. I'd actually go so far as to say, for me, a 12" could easily replace a desktop.

    My Macbook is basically the only computer I use. Sure, I own a desktop, but I don't even turn the thing on anymore. My Macbook is more powerful, and I can use it anywhere. The thought of going for a larger screen has never crossed my mind.
  14. bmoseley07 thread starter macrumors member


    Jan 13, 2007
    Thank you guys. This is what I was hoping to hear. So I plan on buying with MacBook with a separate monitor. And no I won't be doing that much editing outside of my room, which I was thinking about, so the only real thing I needed cleared up was if it was powerful enough and I think I'm convinced it is.

    Thanks again.
  15. polevault139 macrumors 6502

    Sep 24, 2006
    I am in the same dilemma as you (arent we all). I am going to wait until about June or July to see if there are any updated to the Macbooks graphics. By no means is the GMA 950 a bad card, but is isnt nearly as good as the X1600. I will need to do some engineering graphics work so the graphics card is a must.
  16. xfiftyfour macrumors 68030


    Apr 14, 2006
    Clemson, SC
    I don't think the MB will ever get a dedicated card. If you need dedicated graphics, then don't bother waiting for an update to the MB line (if you can wait, of course do - hopefully you'll get a later revision of the MBP).
  17. suneohair macrumors 68020


    Aug 27, 2006
    It will get the X3000, which is supposed to be much better as far as performance. That will come with Santa Rosa.
  18. SMM macrumors 65816


    Sep 22, 2006
    Tiger Mountain - WA State
    Your options will have changed by summer, if you are delaying the purchase until closer to the Fall quarter.

    I have had a 17" PB and now have a 17" MBP. My wife has the Black MB. No question the MB is easier to hump, but the MBP is fine. In fact, I often have a LaCie 250 in the bag with it. The MBP is just not that cumbersome, or heavy to pack. I suppose that those who think otherwise mush be totting a lot of other stuff as well.
  19. emac82 macrumors 6502

    Feb 17, 2007
    NB, Canada
    Enjoy your Mac. Earlier you were saying about how big the 15" MBP was, but I am sure it must be much lighter and thinner than your Dell (I'm assuming your Dell is a laptop?)

    If the MacBook doesn't work out for you, you can always sell it and get a MBP. There will always be people looking to buy a used mac.
  20. MRU macrumors demi-god


    Aug 23, 2005
    I'd buy a refurb macbook pro over a macbook anyday.

    I just got a refurb macbook pro for €1300, whereas my black macbook cost €1550.... :eek:

    I hate my black macbook it gets so dirty and greasy looking after only a couple of months useage that it freaks me out. At least the white looks clean even after its been used a good while... black.. worse mistake I ever made.
  21. tristan macrumors 6502a

    Jul 19, 2003
    high-rise in beautiful bethesda
    MacBook Pro + external display. That's a professional setup.
  22. snowmoon macrumors 6502a


    Oct 6, 2005
    Albany, NY
    I just can't take it anymore.... I'll probably go out tomorrow and get a MBP. It's been far too long since I had a decent workstation for my photography. I know new OS and hardware *might* be around the corner, but it serves my needs *now*. I've been on the fence with the whole MB vs MBP. My current laptop is the same weight and a 15.4" widescreen so I didn't relish going down to a 13.3" glossy screen ( yuck! ).
  23. iMacZealot macrumors 68020

    Mar 11, 2005
    You'll be making a big mistake if you want to get Final Cut Studio on your MacBook because FCS can't run on the Intel GMA 950 card.
  24. farqueue macrumors 6502


    Jun 18, 2006
    Macbook PRO!!!

    I have amacbook and i regretted buying it
  25. bonehead macrumors regular

    Feb 18, 2002
    Lost Angeles
    Hmm…One of the assitant editors that I work with says FCP runs fine on his Blackbook. He didn't say anything about Motion so I'll have to ask him tomorrow.

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