Another Typical "I dunno which to buy" thread

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by frunk, Feb 25, 2011.

  1. frunk macrumors member

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2011
    #1
    Help me choose:

    I will be doing extensive Photoshop CS5, Dreamweaver, Web Browsing, etc. No gaming.

    1. Base Model 15.4' 2.0Ghz Quad with stock components

    2. High End 13.3' 2.7Ghz Dual with 128GB SSD + 8GB DDR3 RAM

    When accounting for the SSD and the extra RAM on the 13 machine, the prices kinda even out. Keep in mind I will not be purchasing until around July.

    I'm also looking for the best machine that won't become obsolete in a few years: I need this for at least 4-5.
     
  2. Neolithium macrumors 6502a

    Neolithium

    Joined:
    Jun 4, 2010
    Location:
    Wherever the army needs me.
    #2
    Personally I'd suggest the base 15" and grab 8GB of RAM yourself (Aftermarket from somewhere like OWC) and install it; much cheaper than just custom building via Apple. The extra pixels on the 15" will be welcome for your image working as well.
     
  3. cotak macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2011
    #3
    Quad core in this case is going to serve you better since your work load will fit the multi threaded profile (at least CS5 should be). Also, your ram can be upgraded later on if you feel the need and have the cash. So I'd go with the 15 incher.
     
  4. Buck987 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2010
    #4

    agree...go for the 15"
     
  5. Evil Spoonman macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2011
    Location:
    California
    #5
    Perhaps this thread will assist you: http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=1103082

    If your Photoshopping is not super intensive, I think you'd be okay with the premium 13". On the other hand, if you tend to manipulate fairly large/complex Photoshop files, the dGPU in the base 15" might be worth the trade-off, just to keep the workspace smooth.


    Photoshop is not especially well threaded. It favours fewer higher clock cores. The i7-2620M will be faster for most Photoshop operations. However, the above poster is right about the screen real-estate. Especially if you opt for the high resolution display on the 15"
     
  6. AdamRock macrumors 6502a

    AdamRock

    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2010
    Location:
    Toronto
    #6
    15"

    ive said it before, and i'll say it again, when it comes to photoshop, the bigger the screen the better.
     
  7. Funkymonk macrumors 6502a

    Funkymonk

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2011
    #7
    Go for the 15. The 13s resolution is a complete and utter failure.
     
  8. frunk thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2011
    #8
    Thanks all. Obviously an SSD will come down the road, as well as aftermarket RAM. Could someone recommend a nice SSD for a decent price (Sub-$120), or even one of those hybrid drives?
     
  9. Neolithium macrumors 6502a

    Neolithium

    Joined:
    Jun 4, 2010
    Location:
    Wherever the army needs me.
    #9
    For SSD vs HDD you're best to check out your needs for storage space on the device itself. I find OCZ and OWC to be the best for $/GB, Hybrid Drives still have a few issues so I would actually steer clear of those for a bit still. For a standard hard drive, Western Digital's Scorpio Black Series are still rather high performance and very budget priced.
     
  10. rigberg macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2011
    #10
    Hello. Sorry for changing the subject (slightly). This message is really directed towards Evil Spoonman because I appreciated the advice you gave in this thread. Also, I would appreciate anyone else's feedback. A couple of days ago, I started my own thread about a similar subject that was largely ignored. I will copy the body of the post in here in hope for more varied responses...

    Thanks.

    This is my first post as a member of the forum, I am conflicted in posting because I am sure that the forums will become inundated with individuals asking similar questions, though I think my situation is somewhat unique and would appreciate the advice/suggestions of the knowledgeable members of the board.

    First, a little history. I've been wanting a Mac laptop for a good while now, maybe 2 or 3 years. I could never justify buying one because my I have had no problems with my current computer (which is very old but still functional), which is like a 2006 Toshiba with 1GB (upgraded) RAM and a laughable graphics card...laugh it up. SO, I promised myself that when I finished my graduate degree, I would reward myself with the computer I've wanted for a while. I graduated May 2010 and have yet to purchase. When I visited the Apple store around my graduation date, I believe the, just passed, Macbook Pros were about halfway through their life cycle. I was mainly interested in the 13" version because I didn't feel comfortable sitting in front of the 15", I don't know, the 13" "felt" more appropriate for me. I decided against the 13" at the time because I had a feeling it would be updated soon and I didn't want to regret missing out on the "latest and greatest" if it would be updated soon. Also, I was disappointed that the 13" did not utilize the i3 chip like the other models did. So I told myself to wait for the refresh, which I have been, patiently. All the while, reading people's opinion's on this message board.

    With the exciting news of the refresh happening today, I find myself more confused and conflicted than excited because of the extreme opinions many people have. To get to the point, I will explain my anticipated uses of the computer:

    Internet surfing/downloading/listening to music
    Word Processing/editing
    Photo editing/slideshows
    Video editing/home move stuff
    Portability

    In regards to photo and video editing, I have a Canon T2i, which I am learning how to use. With my current computer setup, I cannot even playback the HD video I can shoot with the camera. I am a novice when it comes to editing, but I would like to have the access to "grow" into this hobby without being restrained by the technology. I plan to become familiar with iMovie and iPhoto with sights on learning how to use Photoshop, or Aperture, or Lightroom. My wife recently gave birth to our child and documenting her life has become a priority. I also enjoy shooting outdoors and taking pictures on our vacations.

    Essentially, that is my situation. I am conflicted because people are underwhelmed by the 13" graphic specs. I am now considering a Macbook Air because people say the resolution is much superior to the new 13". I'd be open to buying the recently outdated Macbook Pros if they could suit my needs, as outlined above.

    To futureproof myself, I am convinced I would be better off upgrading to 8GB RAM if I go for the Pro models. I don't know how important the Hi-Res Antiglare upgrade is. $2,149 for the 15" model with 8GM RAM and the Anti-glare would be my extreme limit, though I am very skeptical that I could utilize the machine to it's capabilities and suspect that I am suffering from "big eyes".

    Anyway, I've written enough. I appreciate all of the feedback you will provide. Please try to keep it constructive.

    Thanks.
     
  11. Evil Spoonman macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2011
    Location:
    California
    #11
    Everything you have stated above benefits greatly from a better CPU, and minimally from the GPU. The 13" is fast enough for you now, the questions you should be centering around are the resolution and potential future applications.

    You do not want the Air. The MacBook Pro line has much better quality displays which will make photography and video editing dramatically more accurate and appealing. Quality with enough resolution is going to trump pure resolution for your uses.

    If the upper boundary of your aspiration is Photoshop/Lightroom/Aperture, certainly you will not want to buy at least the premium 13". What the 15" mostly offers is display size. When you begin using professional applications, you really start to appreciate those extra pixels. I suggest three options:

    Premium 13" - Sufficient today, perhaps a little cramped tomorrow in both performance and screen real-estate.
    Base 15" - Upgrade the display to a high resolution unit and you have a machine with a lot of headroom.
    Premium 13" + External Display - A premium 13" should be okay for most of your tasks, perhaps a bit weak on performance in the future. With a $200 1920x1080 external display, you can work in style when at home while maintaing a high degree of portability.


    You will want 8GB eventually. It is probably not necessary right away, and you can upgrade at your own leisure. Apple's memory upgrades are still overpriced vs street.

    If you use your laptop outside a lot the matte coating is very, very useful.
     
  12. rigberg macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2011
    #12
    Thank you Evil Spoonman.

    I especially appreciate your suggestion about the external monitor. That seems like a more rational approach to screen resolution, considering I have no plans to edit outside, than to splurge for the 15" model, which may be overkill for my needs. It is tempting to go for the 8GB RAM upgrade now, but again, I appreciate your suggestion to hold off and do it myself at a later date.

    So the new question that arises is this:

    Are the 2.0 GHz Quad-Core i7 and hi-res screen worth the extra $300 [from a technical standpoint ($500 without a separate monitor purchase)] and is this a justifiable expense given my computer demands. I see the situation thusly:

    Factoring in a student discount, a 2.7 GHz Dual-Core i7 13" model (with the AppleCare plan; which I have added, but am not sold on. Rarely have I plunked down money for an insurance policy on a "toy" and when I have had one, rarely have I needed to use it - opinions?) would cost $1,582 before taxes with an additional $200 set aside for a monitor, which will more realistically be added at a later date. Compared to the 2.0 GHz Quad-Core i7 15" model with the Hi-Res screen and AppleCare: $2,028.

    While a sub $2,000 computer is certainly appealing on the pocketbook (and easier to justify), long-term thinking and growth potential make $300 ($500) seem somewhat minute. In other words, in 3 years will I be kicking myself for being stingy over $300 ($500) and having the 13" Dual-Core?

    In truth, my photo-editing and video creating are hobbies. I have no aspirations to become a full-time professional photographer, rather I enjoy taking pictures and making videos. Learning to use a professional editor like Aperture/Photoshop/Final Cut seems like a natural evolution in this hobby, though at this stage I have neither program and have a rudimentary understanding of how to work with them.

    Thanks again for your help, the technical specifications of this decision are somewhat confusing to me.
     
  13. pricej636 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2010
    Location:
    Colorado
    #13
    Either of you, if you use photoshop a lot you will appreciate the bigger screen. On paper it may not seem like that big of a deal, but the 15" screen feels A LOT bigger than the 13, especially with the higher resolution. You will constantly find yourself running out of screen if you do anything more than a single picture at a time.

    This is from someone who just upgraded to 15" for this very reason. I am amazed at how big this screen feels.
     
  14. Evil Spoonman macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2011
    Location:
    California
    #14
    I think the answer is yes, you will be. I suggest you go to an Apple Store and use the 13" and 15" side-to-side. You will see what I mean immediately about the 15" being that much better for working on movies and photos simply due to the screen real estate. Programs also become better threaded over time. Lion will make greater use of the GPU. Investing a little extra now tends to make sense in a machine you plan to keep and use for awhile.

    Note that for mobile computers, I always buy AppleCare. Mobile computers are subject to non-controlled environments, they deal with vastly more kinetic energy, and heavier heat cycles. This really makes it cheap insurance.

    As novice as you may be, you expressed a desire to not be held back by the technology. I am quite sure that at some point in the next few years the 13" would be a limiting factor. Which is what you were trying to avoid in the first place.
     

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