Another Macbook vs MBP

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by PeterQC, Jun 30, 2008.

  1. PeterQC macrumors 6502a

    PeterQC

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2008
    #1
    To begin, I'm French Canadian windows user who is going to switch to OSX for college.

    I'm going to study in graphic designs and need a computer. Since I'll live away from home and move a lot, I need the portability of a laptop, so no Mac Mini, iMac or Mac Pro. MacBook Air is also out, since I'll surely use a lot of Adobe (PS CS3, Illustrator, inDesign, etc.) and other graphic design programs.

    What's left is the MacBook & MacBook Pro and I don't know which take.

    Right now, I have a really crappy computer (AMD Duron 1.00 GHz, 512mb Ram, GeForce2 MX/MX 400) and I can manage Photoshop CS3 on big files (8''x11'' 300 PPI I think). It take a long time to render some filter and size chances, but it don't really upset me. I won't do any real video editing, 3D rendering or heavy gaming (I have a 360 for that). The only real thing that will need real performance for is, like I said, using graphic design programs.

    For the budget, I have around 1850$ lend by the government (special student programs in Québec's province) and my parents are ready to pay 200-300$ more if I really need it. I also have to take in consideration that this laptop must last me 3 to 4 years, so Apple Care sound interesting. I'll need to upgrade to a MBP or Mac Pro for university. So that would be nice to save some money for this purchase.

    Screen quality isn't really a problem. I can go check later at my college on their 24'' iMac if the colors are right.

    So in short, considering my needs, what would be the best for me? For the Macbook, I'm considering the high-end white, the blackbook don't really worth 200$+ for the HDD and the black finish, and for the MBP it would be the low-end 15''. Eventually, I project to upgrade the ram on them to 4GB and maybe the hard drive if I really need more place.

    I would like to note I'm ready to wait for the Montevina update if that don't exceed the time limit for the Back-To-School offering.
     
  2. jecapaga macrumors 601

    jecapaga

    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2007
    Location:
    Southern California
    #2
    I can only speak for the blackbook but you should have no problem doing what you are talking about. I'm in the same field and I see no difference vs. my MBP. What does suck is the screen. I can't imagine doing real work on this screen vs. having a decent monitor.
     
  3. Chandler Adaway macrumors 6502a

    Chandler Adaway

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2008
    Location:
    Beaumont, TX
    #3
    I hate to say MBP like everyone else on this forum does for any related question like this, but it does sound like what you need.

    Granted, it's ALOT more expensive, but for what your going to be using it for, it sounds like the MBP is going to suit your needs better.

    The graphics on the MBP is SO much better for photoshop, etc.
    So I would say splurge a little if you can.
    It would probably last you longer anyways.


    Of course, the MB will handle it all very well.
    Especially if your going to be coming from that old machine. :p
     
  4. PeterQC thread starter macrumors 6502a

    PeterQC

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2008
    #4
    I really don't see how the MBP could be so much better for Photoshop.

    Yes, I see there's a 0.1GHz difference, a bigger screen and a graphic card, but PS don't even use the graphic card for the CS3 version and I don't think 0.1 GHz would do a lot of difference.
     
  5. Chandler Adaway macrumors 6502a

    Chandler Adaway

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    Jun 29, 2008
    Location:
    Beaumont, TX
    #5
    You do realize that you just said that photoshop doesn't use the graphics card, right?
    Just checking.

    And aside from that, could you imagine working photoshop on a 13in monitor?
    I would opt for the bigger screen.

    That's just me..

    And the only reason why I'm suggesting the MBP besides what I have mentioned is because you have the money for it.
     
  6. TheReef macrumors 68000

    TheReef

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2007
    Location:
    NSW, Australia.
    #6
    Yes, the performance of photoshop would be almost identical.

    If your using it as your primary computer, then you'll benefit from the larger screen for all your photoshop and illustrator pallets. It is this area in which I think the MacBook Pro would be a better option. You also get the cool backlit keyboard :p and express card expansion to future proof your investment.

    Again if it is your only computer, you might appreciate the ability to run games decently if thats what your into.

    I never thought Photoshop was GPU accelerated.
     
  7. fleshman03 macrumors 68000

    fleshman03

    Joined:
    May 27, 2008
    Location:
    Sioux City, IA
    #7
    If this helps. CS4 is rumored to be GPU accelerated. Might future proof yourself if you go with the MBP.
     
  8. PeterQC thread starter macrumors 6502a

    PeterQC

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    Jun 30, 2008
    #8
    What does a express card do? It's for wifi-internet?
     
  9. Eric. macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2008
    #9

    The calculations and actual changes, etc aren't GPU accelerated. But any time you are working with large images you can notice a difference. Think of an old computer (or slightly older laptop with integrated video) compared to one with a decent card when scrolling down a web page with a large image. The older one will possibly flicker/redraw the image.

    Does that help? With CS4 the GPU will be doing actual work rather than displaying something.



    I'd suggest the MBP. The extra screen size will probably be the most useful feature to you, as well as the GPU acceleration of CS4 if you end up using it.
     
  10. kockgunner macrumors 68000

    kockgunner

    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2007
    Location:
    Vancouver, Canada
    #10
    CS3 might not use a computer's graphics card but didn't they announce that cs4 (i know, they're not going to call it that) is going to take advantage of a computer's gpu? if so, the macbook pro will be more future proof. plus, the screen size will help when doing graphic stuff. you have to decide whether the price difference is worth it though. since, you are getting around $1800 from quebec, isn't the macbook pro going to be practically free if you also include the education discount?
     
  11. PeterQC thread starter macrumors 6502a

    PeterQC

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2008
    #11
    Actually, they do not give me the money, I have to pay them back after my studies. They just lend me money without interest until I stop studiying.
     
  12. fleshman03 macrumors 68000

    fleshman03

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    May 27, 2008
    Location:
    Sioux City, IA
    #12
    It's for things like a media card reader add-on. I've never had an urge to use mine and I honestly think most people don't. It has a normal wifi card and an ethernet port on the right.
     
  13. bertpalmer macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2007
    #13
    The ONLY practical reason to buy a MBP for you would be larger screen size.

    Otherwise, MB all the way. It is plenty powerful for 2D design work.

    The difference between the two you could buy a 21" TFT anyway...
     
  14. TheReef macrumors 68000

    TheReef

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    Sep 30, 2007
    Location:
    NSW, Australia.
    #14
    You could use it for to add an esata port for fast transfers to external hard drives (that support it). Esata is much faster than USB 2.0, FireWire 400 and FireWire 800.
     
  15. PeterQC thread starter macrumors 6502a

    PeterQC

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2008
    #15
    On one side, peoples say that the MacBook would be powerful enough.

    On the other hand, the features of the MacBook Pro could be useful to me.

    It don't really help me much. What does the Pro has over the plastic one? Bigger Screen, aluminium enclosure, slightly faster processor, dedicated video card, express port. Then there's the future proof argument of the Pro.

    Like I said I won't do any real gaming on this, then there's the rumor for PS CS4...

    Like someone said, I have to money, but I have to rebuy a new computer later, so the only real thing that stop me from buying the Pro is my budget and the next computer...

    Is it possible to upgrade the video card on the pro later? I don't know if there will be any Apple Shop near me where I'll be studying. Would I be obligated to send it to Apple for the upgrade? Is it possible to upgrade the RAM and the Hard Drive as easily as on the MacBook?

    Should I take Apple Care, considering I need this computer for 3 years and can't afford to buy a new one if it break?

    Will there still be student rebate after the Back-To-School promotion?

    What's the right shiny disk at the right of the Pro keyboard?
     
  16. macworkerbee macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2008
    #16
    Just going to chime in and say that being a graphic designer and using Photoshop and Illustrator every day, you want the mbp. The graphics card is going to hold up better to the tasks you're going to be asking of it, the processor is faster (even if it marginally), the screen is better to work on because of size and the matte finish and overall the machine is going to stay viable for the rumored upgrade to CS4 better than a macbook.

    My recommendation is the mbp hands down.
     
  17. neiltc13 macrumors 68040

    neiltc13

    Joined:
    May 27, 2006
    #17
    The argument that MacBook isn't going to be suitable for CS4 is silly. The GPU acceleration is going to provide a boost in performance but it's not going to mean that it's going to work slower than CS3 does now.

    The computer has a GPU in it which is very capable and for many tasks it is comparable to the ATI chip which shipped in the original MacBook Pros.
     
  18. PeterQC thread starter macrumors 6502a

    PeterQC

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2008
    #18
    Ok, f*ck it, I'm buying a Macbook Pro. This way, like people said, my laptop will be more or less future proof and I'll be able to do some gaming.

    Would be nice to have some answer anyway to this questions:

     
  19. neiltc13 macrumors 68040

    neiltc13

    Joined:
    May 27, 2006
    #19
    Number one here is that I think you are wasting your money by buying a MacBook Pro. As you've said, Xbox 360 is sufficient for gaming and I myself find I rarely play PC games these days despite being a very, very hardcore PC gamer until Xbox 360 came out. I certainly have never been in the situation where I've wanted to play games on a laptop.

    By getting a MacBook Pro you're conceding a few things. Firstly you have to put up with a bigger, heavier laptop. Also you get a worse keyboard and you also get a computer that is more prone to denting and which doesn't look as nice in my opinion.

    You cannot upgrade the GPU in MacBook Pro. The one you get when you buy the machine is the one it keeps for life.

    AppleCare does not have to be purchased at the same time as the computer. You can buy it any time during the first year (but not a day later) so there is no need to spend additional money now.

    There are permanent student discounts available on Apple hardware but the iPod rebate only runs for a limited time. I believe in some areas Apple is currently offering a free printer with new computers too, but this will also be time-limited.
     
  20. macrumorsMaster macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    May 20, 2008
    #20
    First off, if you're not doing heavy video editing/3d/etc, then a Macbook would be fine. Look for reviews online comparing the MB to the MBP.

    Also, did you think that you're CURRENT computer is CRAPPY because you only have 512MB ram?
    Did you think about adding some more ram (it's REALLY cheap to do so w/Windows Pc's) and see if it performs much better? The more ram the more Photoshop can store in ram, thereby making the rendering and scrolling faster.

    Since the money is a loan, this might save you money.

    You can always buy the Apple computer when you REALLY need it, not just cuz you think your computer, which has so little ram, is crappy :D
     
  21. PeterQC thread starter macrumors 6502a

    PeterQC

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2008
    #21
    It's a desktop, I need portability, it's the family computer and I'm really sick of Windows right now.

    Seriously, I'm really taking care of it, defragmenting, scanning with security tools and try to clean the HDD as much as possible, but it still have difficulties to open the right click menu, loading for around 5-10 secs before opening and having ridiculously long delay before any actual program boot and be ready to use. Been 6 month since the last reformat.

    I really need a computer and I really want a Mac, so please don't try to change my mind on it.
     
  22. Chandler Adaway macrumors 6502a

    Chandler Adaway

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2008
    Location:
    Beaumont, TX
    #22
    Story of my life.
    All the way down to people trying to whisk me away from my Mac addiction.

    I'm about to purchase my first mac as well...
    So cheers to getting rid of windows for good. :D
     
  23. macrumorsMaster macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    May 20, 2008
    #23
    Oh ok, I thought it was a portable.

    If you didn't need the portability I would've really recommended just adding ram. Defragging will help with HD performance, but get your desktop to at least 2GB of ram will make a huge difference in performance from 1/2 a GB; especially with a program like photoshop.

    The MB will be fine for you. The MBP is only really needed if you're going to do Motion or Color w/FCS. Don't let FUD make you spend more money than you need to.

    As you said it is just a LOAN, you will have to pay it back, so try not to spend more than you need to.

    You can always get a 20",22", or 24" monitor to use at home with your MB when you need more screen real estate!
     
  24. eXan macrumors 601

    eXan

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2005
    Location:
    Russia
    #24
    MBP.

    Not for performance, but for the screen and better case. Contrary to popular belief, not a single Adobe app benefits from having a dedicated or faster GPU.

    MacBook Pro has a vastly superior screen to that of the MacBook. Not only it's bigger, but the viewing angles are significantly better on it. MacBook's screen is so poor, you can't get a solid color on the screen without a vertical gradient - a significant factor for graphics design.

    And if you really need to be portable, getting a MB + screen makes no sense because you'll have to be at one place to use it.

    Also MBP has some nice features like backlit keyboard and better case that you'll really appreciate once you've used it.

    I hope this helps :)
     
  25. TheReef macrumors 68000

    TheReef

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    Sep 30, 2007
    Location:
    NSW, Australia.
    #25
    ^Yeh, the screen is a pretty important factor for a graphics designer. Go for the Macbook Pro for the screen alone. It's a very nice computer. I know if I were in your boat I'd definitely choose the pro, even in my case with money being a big factor. Again as others have said, you don't need to have an external screen, your system will be able to go anywhere you go. It's a really nice thing to be able to do.
     

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