15.4 VS 17 for a graphic design major...

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by Estelio, Aug 22, 2007.

  1. Estelio macrumors newbie

    Aug 21, 2007
    Hi all, here is the deal....

    I am a design student who needs a MBP.
    I have $3,000 to spend, and it's rather strict unfortunately.

    Ideally I want the 17" High Res, 7200 rpm model.
    With the free iPod, this comes to about 3,400 with taxes. Of course I'll get the 400 dollars back, but it's still out of my pocket and I'm honestly not sure I can spend that much.

    Or I can get the 15.4" with 7200 rpm, with iPod.

    I'm totally stuck.
    The 17" is NICE, but less portable, a bit fragile, and expensive.
    The 15.4" screen resolution could be better, but it's cheaper.

    Is a 17" practical for a student? Am I trying to be too flashy?
    I won't be taking it to every class or anything, but it will need to go places.
    Is there any thing I may be missing here? the decision might sound easy, but it is sooooo not!
    I guess I'd just like to create the best possible tool for my future.
    If I did get the 15.4", could I afford CS3 and would that be a worthy trade off?
    (I already have CS2 access.)

    I also need it fast, so online ordering isn't an option.
    Does the current store stock have iLife '08?
    Please help a lost little design student!
  2. GoCubsGo macrumors Nehalem


    Feb 19, 2005
    Can't speak to iLife but I can tell you as a graphic design student a 15" would be great with an external. If an external display isn't an option then the 17" would be your choice.
  3. Estelio thread starter macrumors newbie

    Aug 21, 2007
    I don't think an external in my dorm is a good idea.
    I thought I might scream spoiled with a 17" let alone an external!

    This may sound stupid but, in our studio we have our own designated iMacs; Can I use that as an external display or do they not work that way?
  4. allisonv7 macrumors 6502

    Jul 20, 2004
    I'm pretty sure you can't use the imac as an external display.

    I'd go with the 15.4" and get the external, I don't think it screams spoiled at all....really displays can be relatively cheap. I think with a 17" you're going to find problems lugging it around. When I was in school for my general classes often the desks were those small ones that fold up attached to the chair, that'd give you no room!

  5. shecky Guest


    May 24, 2003
    Obviously you're not a golfer.
    i am a graphic designer and i use a 15" with an external every day. either way you are fine, but i also think either way you are gonna want an external monitor so you may as well go with the 15.

    also something to note, depending on where you go to school (where do you go?) your GD department may have a mass license for CS3 - which is way cheaper than even a normal academic discount. worth asking your IT people about.
  6. Estelio thread starter macrumors newbie

    Aug 21, 2007
    I'm not too worried about an external screen at this point. I can always buy one later, when I become more advanced.
    Besides, I have honestly not researched anything about an external :eek:.

    I don't think my school is still currently using CS2.
    If I have CS3 will that effect my use of CS2 in my classes?
    I know there are better features in CS3 (like filters) but I'm guessing these won't carry over if I open a file in CS2?

    I will email IT to see what software we have and if a license is available.
  7. zap2 macrumors 604


    Mar 8, 2005
    Washington D.C
    17'' is very very big....too big IMO for a student.

    15'' is the perfect laptop for a student.

    15'' is enough room to work without a external display(they can help, but their not needed)
  8. allisonv7 macrumors 6502

    Jul 20, 2004
    If you're going to purchase this with a grant/loan you may want to look into whether or not the purchases need to be made by a certain date or be submitted at the same time. Some of them are funky like that I've heard.

  9. 63dot macrumors 603


    Jun 12, 2006
    my wife was a graphic designer for two decades and has used a powertower pro desktop with 14" sony crt worth 5k then, a 12" ibook worth only $1600, and a dual 500 G4 power mac with lcd worth 4K...and made good money, and the same money per hour, using those machines from home

    in the end, to get paid well as a graphic designer, or any artist, is to have a lot of talent, and yes, a lot of luck, too

    it's a good thing she trained in nyc vs. some isolated place like podunkville, so your network of fellow artists will be your best resource

    you will do just fine with your 15.4" widescreen

    focus on your craft and eventually you will do well, and don't get too caught up in the technical aspects of the computer

    i have seen some artists build full on gaming machines with a tremendously expensive graphics card and mega hard drive and maxed out ram and got sidetracked with that and didn't do "art"...i have also seen the same thing with computer science students who fell in love with their machines but never got around to coding :)

    the best advice i heard from a professional graphic designer who also was a graphic design professor was that your computer gear is just a tool, like a paintbrush

    i hope this helps
  10. Estelio thread starter macrumors newbie

    Aug 21, 2007
    It is a loan but the money goes straight to me, to buy what I want. So I have no dealine or anything, just need it before school starts to set it up for duty. :)

    I just keep dreading the small screen space of a 15.4" because I will be running Photoshop, Illustrator and other programs at the same time and I am worried about efficiency.
    Does anyone think the 17" is fragile or flimsy?

    Basically it's between a 15.4" LED with CS3; or a 17" High Res with older software (PS 8 and Illustrator CS2).

    Do I need 17 inches, or top of the line CS3 software? What will I need the most for the next 3 years? (I know I can always upgrade software, not a screen.)

    Thanks for all your help and reminding me that the machine does not make the artist.
  11. japasneezemonk macrumors 6502


    Jun 13, 2005
    Why would it matter what others think? You're in school to get an education. I'm in an Architecture program and i have a 15" MBP with an external display at my apartment, and another Cheap external display in the studio. When it comes to intensive 3d Modeling like Maya,MODO, ArchiCAD or even if you're working on typography in Illustrator, etc... You're going to want as much space as you can afford.
  12. ktbubster macrumors 6502a


    Jan 20, 2007
    i'm a design student myself and I can tell you right now... newer software will be useful and cs3 changed menus and while your school might not use it now, you will eventually have to/want to uprade to i... and it's super useful.

    15.4 is FINE for me.. and was all last year. If you have your designated computers in studio you will probably be using those a lot too... however, even with the 17 inch that isn't THAT much more room. my dad has one, and it's nice, but super high rez won't help too much as you 'll probably want it up a bit anyway... cause it'll be small.. 17 isn't THAT big. You are going to end up wantin an external for home work eventually anyway. The 15 is good for classes and desks too.

    Go with the 15 and get a cheap 19 or 22 inch external. I know you are graphic design, so you can do color and print correction int he studio.. but working nt he basic project, you'll want more space and a decen ACER 19 -22 inch goes from 150-225 respectively.. far less then the differnce between the 15 and 17.

    GL with whatever choice you make :)
  13. Mac In School macrumors 65816

    Jun 21, 2007
    I can't even imagine working in programs like Photoshop and Illustrator (especially Dreamweaver if you take Web design courses) with a 17" monitor! You can't have too much screen real estate for design programs.

    The thought of staring at those little pallets with their tiny text at 1920x1200 on a 17" screen almost makes me want to cry. Then again, my vision isn't too hot.

    If I were in your situation, I'd seriously consider going with the smaller one, but buy a 19" LCD monitor. NewEgg.com has 115 of them, starting at $159.
  14. NewSc2 macrumors 65816

    Jun 4, 2005
    New York, NY
    The 17 isn't necessary, but it's nice as hell. I'd say go for it. It's an amazing screen and completely negates the need for an external. I had a 17" once, wish I had one again. The 15" is fine but an external monitor uncramps my space. I never had that complaint with my 17" Powerbook.
  15. vicious7 macrumors 6502a


    Jul 16, 2007
    Jacked into the net...
    This is a reasonable option. The additional real estate from an external will save your eyes and streamline your workflow.
  16. Mac In School macrumors 65816

    Jun 21, 2007

    Can you run a 15" display and an external at the same time on MBP? If so, that could work out nicely, even with a 17" monitor. Undock all those pallets (can you do that in CS3?) and put them on the 15" screen, with the image you're working on - on the 17" screen. 17" is pretty big when the image is the only thing on it.

    *goes to NewEgg*

    *comes back*

    You'll only save $10 going with a 17" rather than a 19" LCD, so forget I said anything... Unless you want to look on eBay.
  17. Ish macrumors 68020


    Nov 30, 2004
    I do quite a bit of graphic design and regularly use InDesign CS and Photoshop CS together, often plus other apps at the same time. I have a 15" PB and have never felt the necessity to change to a larger machine. A friend of mine has one, and they are nice, but I'll still get another 15" when I upgrade. I don't want an external cluttering up my space so I have this as my one and only.

    Yes, the 17" is a bit bigger but imo not enough to be worth breaking the bank over. Once you have your machine you'll just adapt to what you have without a second thought. It's the decision process that's agonising! Learn to toggle your windows and enjoy what you do. Good luck!
  18. Spanky Deluxe macrumors 601

    Spanky Deluxe

    Mar 17, 2005
    London, UK
    Estelio, rather than looking at just the MacBook Pros, have a think about an iMac + MacBook combination. For $3000 you can get a 24 inch 2.4GHz iMac and a 13 inch 2.0GHz MacBook both together for $2898. That way you get the incredible screen real-estate at home with loads of space to work with and loads more HD space and you get a nice compact and still pretty darned fast laptop to take with you. Its much easier lugging a 13" laptop around than a 17" one. Just my two cents.
  19. Mac In School macrumors 65816

    Jun 21, 2007
    If you have an Apple store nearby, call in and ask if any of their 15" notebooks have Photoshop installed. You could stop by and play with it to see how you like it.
  20. Estelio thread starter macrumors newbie

    Aug 21, 2007
    Yes, my Apple store has PS and Illustrator installed on the displays.
    I only played with the 17", but when I go to buy I'll deffinitely be looking much closer at both.

    I know the I won't be going on the internet at 1900 x 1200...but when Leopard comes out resizing the screen will be easier and more pleasing to the eyes.

    I am soaking all your comments in...however I'm really not ready for an external screen. I have no idea how they work and I also live in a dorm with two roomates. So it sounds wonderful, and I'm amazed at how cheap they are, because I can afford one at another time if I find it need it (or if I get an apartment). :D

    Realistically, if I go with a 15.4" with CS3, I can do my projects in my room or anywhere I go. Then I can go to my studio and refine those projects on our 30" displays. How compatable is CS3 with CS2? :confused:

    If I get the 17" I'll just have older software until I can upgrade (which might be a long time).

    So the reduced price of CS3 with a new mac is really looking juicy.
  21. Sweetfeld28 macrumors 65816


    Feb 10, 2003
    Buckeye Country, O-H
    The more screen space, the better. Have you looked into getting a refurbished 17, or 15? Then if you went that route, you could use the extra money on external display, if you don't already have one that would work with the laptop.
  22. Estelio thread starter macrumors newbie

    Aug 21, 2007

    Yes, they have the refurb that I want in stock, however I wouldn't be able to get my education discount on anything, nor the iPod rebate.
    It sucks, but those two things save me a lot of money.

    If I went refurb, CS3 wouldn't be an option. :mad:
  23. TenPoundMonkey macrumors member

    Aug 23, 2007

    That is such good info that I registered just to reply. :)

    Don't get too wrapped up in specs as that is not what it's about for you. If you are doing video then it's a bit more important.

    Once you are working in an agency, you will somewhat be forced to loose "tech lust" as it becomes about budgets/etc. At an agency where I worked, we all used G4's until over 2 years into the G5's introduction.

    Most graphic design is not terribly taxing to a computer, I am happy with a decent computer and a big/good monitor.

    I would suggest the 15" for you- it is plenty fast, and much more portable.
    And having an extra monitor is not over-the-top... you can get a decent 22 incher for $300 or so.

  24. Sweetfeld28 macrumors 65816


    Feb 10, 2003
    Buckeye Country, O-H

    Yeah that does suck. Good Luck either way though.
  25. zioxide macrumors 603


    Dec 11, 2006
    17'' is too big to be a laptop. Plus CS2 is going to run like **** on an Intel mac.

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