2010 MacBook Pro 17" DAW - bang for buck

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by Dead2life, Apr 23, 2010.

  1. Dead2life macrumors newbie

    Apr 23, 2010
    I am really keen to move on from my 6 year old G5 tower to one of these beauties.
    But with this weeks revision of the Mac Book Pros and never having run Cubase on a laptop, I would like to hear opinions about the following options in terms of value now versus future upgrade ability.

    - Extra 4gb ram
    Would you really need this straight out or could you wait until its a heck of a lot cheaper

    - i7
    is an option for $290 but how difference would this really make versus the i5 and would you really notice it in 3 years time ?

    -Apple optional 128 Gb SSD
    at $290 aswell its a tough decision but you could wait a year or too and get a bigger one for less, would you bother to do it now given you would be running your samples and data to external drives anyway ?

    I would love to hear what you would choose first and why you think it would have the longest impact and value.


    P.s I am also unsure about anti-glare vs glossy
  2. seb-opp macrumors 6502

    Nov 16, 2008
    You should consider which components are replaceable and which are not. The CPU is not, so if you want an i7, you need to order it with one. RAM and HDD/SSD prices will go down over time, so I would suggest getting the stock options on those and upgrade them later

    I was wondering why you're getting a laptop after previously having a desktop? Unless you circumstances have changed and you need mobility now, the Mac Pro or i7 iMac would give you more power
  3. Charlie Croker macrumors member

    Charlie Croker

    Jan 7, 2010
    You are probably asking these questions for budgetary reasons, therefore any savings you can make you should take unless it is a necessity.

    Anti-glare vs glossy. Are you a professional photographer, graphic designer, video editor? No? Save money - get the glossy, the colours jump out at you and make for great movie viewing. A lot of public transport use? Think about the reflections, you may prefer the anti-glare. Mostly at home? Get glossy. Anti-glare is better for professional photo editing, you get a better idea of the image, and darker areas can be known to show better detail.

    Are you a power user? Do you regularly create complex animations in After Effects, do lots of video encoding in Compressor? Have massive Photoshop files on the go? No? Get the i5. Otherwise if you are a media pro, definitely get the i7. If you are a regular user, you just don't need it.

    SSD versus standard hard drive. Still too expensive. Get if speed is absolutely a top priority. It will improve things if you use a lot of demanding programs. Standard computer use? Don't bother, get a standard hard drive. I think the 5400rpms give better battery life than the 7200rpms. I'm a media pro and I'm perfectly happy with a 7200rpm drive. It's your choice.

    Hope this helps.
  4. jdechko macrumors 68040

    Jul 1, 2004
    Buy the i7. Maybe upgrade the RAM. Don't get the SSD.

    1) The i7 can't be upgraded after purchase like the other options.
    2) How much RAM is in your G5? If it's 4GB or less, then hold off on the upgrade. You're getting the same amount in the new computer. Prices will fall and you can upgrade then.
    3) Upgrade the internal drive to a 7200 RPM drive.
    4) Get an eSATA ExpressCard and an external RAID with eSATA with a couple of 1-2 TB drives. If you're doing DAW, you'll probably want the extra storage space of the RAID, and you'll see a big impact from having your recording/editing drive on a different drive than your system drive.
    5) DAW Stuff ???
    6) Profit!
  5. Dead2life thread starter macrumors newbie

    Apr 23, 2010
    In terms of what I do most :

    1. Cubase/Reason
    2. Final Cut/imovie
    3. iphoto
    4. Game
    5. VMs

    I am hope to record my Band live this time since my studio shrunk with my house (3rd bedroom) so thats why I am thinking about portable instead of Desktop, as the G5 makes the best server for the PS3, media Files and Torrents.

    I agree that SSD is probably the last option since it will be cheaper in two years time when you probably need a speed boost most.

    Cubase is CPU intensive so I guess the i7 does make sense.

    In terms of longevity of the G5. Its been six years and its still going strong. But because of Apple's change in processor, I have hit a glass ceiling in terms of OS and technology. I can't run the latest VMs for training at my work or the latest Cubase version. So I feel that getting a MBP would limit the longevity so I would have to move on quicker with progress. I don't want to get stuck for the next 6 years with something the world has moved on from.

    I hope this makes sense. I love my G5 but I have lived with some of its short comings for too long, (9 fans are damn noisy).

    And plus the MBP is so damn sexy.

    thanks for your thoughts.

    P.S. 6) Profit - I'm not in the underpants stealing game.
  6. trip1ex macrumors 68000

    Jan 10, 2008
    CAn always add ram and ssd later so no to those.

    i7? It is what it is. 15% faster or so? IF how you make a living doesn't rely on you doing x amount of tasks in 24 hours than I wouldn't worry about it.

    If you plan to keep this one for another 6 years then it makes more sense.

    For me though I always am upgrading every year or two because there's always some newer tech I want. FAster vid card, USB3 or Lightwave or a new faster wireless standard not to mention better screens etc. So I don't usually pay the piper for the bleeding edge. Bleeding edge is quickly yesterday's tech at twice the price today.

    Gloss vs anti-glare. I saw the anti-glare today and liked it. I might opt for that but $150? Apple tax there. Also I wonder what negatives I would find with it over the long term. Would I start to notice my screen doesn't look as good as the glossy screens when I visit the store? Would colors pop more on glossy? Text be sharper? Not sure. IT's been 4 years since i had an anti-glare screen. But reflections have been bothering me lately on my Imac. Gradually becoming obsessed about them probably from reading about them too much.
  7. mingoglia macrumors 6502

    Dec 10, 2009
    Although a single VM runs very well on 4GB (depending on the size of RAM you set it up to use), the more memory the better. I've been running a good size VM with my 4 gig Mini for about 4 months now and it runs great. I do use up every bit of RAM though which is why I just ordered my MBP with 8gig. My mini runs very good which is why I haven't risked scraping it to hell with a putty knife to put in more RAM (the new firmware supports 8 gigs on the mini), but since I'm ordering a MBP and 8gig is an option from the start I'm going that route due to the VM's.


  8. Dead2life thread starter macrumors newbie

    Apr 23, 2010
    Cheers Everyone !

    I was thinking as much. Move the unmovable now and figure out the upgradeable later.

    After seeing the comparison benchmark stats on the iMac , i think my thinking is changing around again to a desktop.

    I am on the apple merry go round of indecision.
  9. Piplodocus macrumors regular

    Apr 2, 2008
    I'm yet to buy, but in a similar boat; replacing my Hackintosh desktop DAW for something I can move about easier for band practices and gigs (and will work properly all the time at everything, will sleep and wake up, might give me joy at trying to update to Snow Leopard without Kernel Panics on install, and won't worry me every time I have to do an update to it!).

    I'm gonna go i7 since it's a descision I can't change later. Also I figure this is going to be my main computer for the next few years so I may as well make it as fast as possible. Then on my next computer in 4ish(?) years time I may go desktop again for the extra power/buck ratio, but can still use the i7 MBP on stage as long as it lasts, using it with rendered audio files and less realtime processing after it's too slow as a main DAW!

    I'm saving my pennies on the RAM for now as I currently have 4GB and I don't think it's causing me much trouble. I'll get more in a year or two when it'll be cheaper too.

    SSDs are still very expensive relative to their size. So I'm definitely going for the 7200rpm 500GB drive. Then when I can get a 500GB (or 1TB) SSD for about £250-300 instead of £1100+, then I'll replace it, and have a whole new joy of speed!

    As for glossy/matte I've thought long and hard about it. Obviously if I'm on stage and there's bright lights I don't want too much reflection. However, I'm also aware that the matte doesn't have the same protection from the glass. My current monitor has a crack it aquired going to a band practice, and I figure no matter how careful I am with it, if the matte gets a scratch it's screwed, but if the glossy gets a scratch it's only the glass, and if it's bad the glass should cost less than the entire screen to replace. The flying end of a jack lead being untangled in a hurry, or the end of a mic stand whilst rushing to change bands in limited space on stage could spell the end of a matte screen faster than a glossy IMHO, so glossy is the way I'm going.


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