A few questions Apple Store couldn't answer

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by foxxuk, Aug 14, 2009.

  1. foxxuk macrumors newbie

    Aug 14, 2009
    Hello all - I'm new to the forum, but have been using an iBook G4 for many years so I'm fairly familiar with Macs. The time has come for me to buy a new one, as my old iBook struggles with modern basics like Youtube, but I'd also like to have a great new laptop to take to work.

    However, I have a few questions that the assistants in the Apple Store here in London couldn't answer - I'd even booked an appointment to speak to them - so I've come straight to the experts here instead, I hope you can help :)

    A little about me; I work with video editing and also do a lot of motion graphics. At the moment I do all this on my PC which is quite a few years old, and it all works perfectly. However, I'd like to have it all on a laptop so I don't have to cart my PC to work all the time. I've loved using my iBook so much for personal/entertainment that I'd like a new Macbook Pro - so I can use it for personal things, as well as taking it to work to do my editing. It would make my PC redundant, but I'd keep it in the spare room for the occasional desktop editing session.

    My first question is about the graphics card. My heart is set on the 13" for its portability, because I'd be connecting it to an external monitor at work anyway. The resolution of the laptop display is 1280 x 900 which is absolutely fine for editing standard definition video (some graphics software I run can only export video if your screen can accomodate it - so I couldn't export 1024 x 576 on a 800x600 display for example).

    I asked the Apple store, if I connect an external monitor to the Macbook Pro - for example a 24" monitor with a higher resolution - will the Macbook be able to export video at a higher resolution, for example 2400 x 1600, which would comfortably allow full-screen HD video output. The assistant in the store and her manager didn't know (but said I could buy one and if it didn't work, get a refund... which I don't really want to have to do).

    The second question about the graphics card is whether there's much of a difference between the 9400 and 9600 versions, the latter of which is only available on the 15" Macbook Pro. I know some of the software I use on my PC requires a decent graphics card and uses 'openGL' for real time rendering. I don't know any more about it as I'm a bit of a novice - but would that work on the 13" Macbook with the 9400 card? If I go for the 9400 on the 13", I would be getting the 4GB RAM version to boost performance. Again, the people in the store didn't know and just suggested I buy one and get a refund if it doesn't work.

    Next: installing Windows XP on the Macbook - perhaps a bit of a sin and I resent doing it, but unfortunately some applications supplied by the BBC are Windows applications and no alternatives are available. I asked at the apple store about 'boot camp'. She said they'd never heard of anything called boot camp, but I could by something called VMWare to run Windows within OSX.

    Now I know Boot Camp exists, but what are people's experiences with it? If I use a dual boot system, will Windows run smoothly on the Macbook Pro? Or does it suffer limited performance?

    My final question - are they going to bring out a glare-free Macbook Pro 13"? They've released it in the 15 and 17" models which is much preferable, but no sign of it on the 13" yet :(

    Oh and also something that puzzles me - is there a huge amount of difference between 2.2ghz and 2.5ghz?

    Anyway. thank you for reading, apologies for the length of that!
  2. yoyo5280 macrumors 68000


    Feb 24, 2007
    Melbourne, Australia & Bay Area
    My answers in Bold

  3. kasakka macrumors 68000

    Oct 25, 2008
    That's ridiculous, exporting video has nothing to do with your display resolution. Any decent video editing program should be able to export any size video no matter what your display resolution is.
  4. feelthefire macrumors 6502a

    Jun 13, 2006
    The output of your software will depend on the lowest common denominator screen, IIRC-- so if you have a second monitor set up but the macbook is still open, then you will only be able to output video displayable on the macbook screen. In clamshell mode it will output to the higher display. This is all a vague recollection though and is really a question for the developer of your software.

    If you have components that use OpenGL under windows, and you want to run them on the mac, you will really want the twin graphics cards since windows support for the 9600GT is better than the 9400M in my opinion.
  5. nxent macrumors 6502

    Nov 7, 2004
    wow, the guys at your apple store don't know very much...
    it is possible to output video to a higher resolution monitor. i currently have my macbook pro connected to a 1080p display and it runs quite well...

    the 9400 vs. 9600 you have to ask yourself what you're using it for. the 9400 is for generic everyday use, the 9600 is for gaming and/or graphic intensive applications. (and yeh, there's quite a bit of difference) for more details, see the link below...
  6. NikFinn macrumors 6502a


    Jun 22, 2009
    that's from http://www.apple.com/macbookpro/specs-13inch.html
  7. alphaod macrumors Core


    Feb 9, 2008
    I only use the 9400 on my computer and yes it can drive my external display at 2560x1600.

    Boot Camp works as in it will let you install Windows like any other laptop computer. After installing your OS of choice, just insert the Install DVD for your computer while booted into Windows and then all needed drivers will be installed as needed.

    As with OpenGL rendering as far as I have learned from peoplewho have used the capability have not been happy with its quality.
  8. foxxuk thread starter macrumors newbie

    Aug 14, 2009
    Firstly, thank you all for your informed replies! It's amazing you can provide all this information, and the people getting paid at the Mac store don't have a clue!

    You're right, most applications can export any size video - but some of the custom made graphics packages I use (and some famous ones too like 'Particle Illusion') can only export as big as the screen size - even to the point where if you have a 1280x1024 display but the application isn't maximised, you can't export video at full resolution. I couldn't tell you why - that's just how they do it!

    Thanks for that - I had looked on Apple's site and couldn't find anything that detailed on the UK version. Every time I tried to get into tech specs, it looped me back to 'Which macbook?' which wasn't very user friendly!

    HDTV is 1,920x1,080, so a screen resolution of 2560x1600 will more than cover this - thank you for finding that on their site for me.

    Again, I'm a bit of a novice - but I imagine the graphics performance is noticable if you're playing a game like Unreal tournament, where it's constantly rendering effects and a 3D environment. In my case, I'll be making post-production graphics, so there's no need for 'instant' video effects etc. I'm guessing then that it just means my Macbook will render effects a bit slower than the 9600 version - but that's not a worry to me at this stage.

    Finally- I've read Boot camp needs to create a windows partition on my hard drive. I assume this means if I install windows I'd have to give it a partition of, for example, 125GB - and the other 125GB would be invisible to the computer when in Mac mode, and vice versa?

    Thanks again.
  9. Lux1 macrumors newbie

    Nov 18, 2008
    If you are booted into mac, you will be able to see the windows partition. It will show up as if you have a second hard drive attached to the laptop.

    Windows cannot see the Mac partition unless you purchase a program that allows it to read HFS+ formatted drives. I have been using MacDrive for two years now and it works beautifully.
  10. winninganthem macrumors 6502a


    Jun 10, 2008
    In the past, the 2.4 GHz MBP had a 3MB L2 cache, while the 2.5 GHz version had a 6MB L2 cache, (which actually makes a big difference in processor intensive uses).

    However, the 2.26 and 2.53 GHz versions of the 13" MBP that you're contemplating both have a 3MB L2 cache, so there's not much of a compelling reason to go 2.53GHz. So, if you want to save a bit of money, I would go for the 2.26.

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