Blackbook or MBP for Desktop replacement?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by Spor 13, Jan 25, 2008.

  1. Spor 13 macrumors newbie

    Jan 25, 2008
    Hi all,

    After growing up with PC's and Windows, I'm planning to switch to Mac :). I've always thought about it, but there was always something that would deter me. Now that Mac's use Intel chips and have bootcamp (and also now I've started my career), my worries are eased and I'm more willing to experiment and replace my desktop in the process. I'm not a PC gamer, and haven't been for a while as I bought a Xbox360 for that purpose. I do however, enjoy recording and producing music on my computer currently. I also do some light graphics work and at some point, I will probably start to learn how to process RAW photographs as well as editing movies. Other than that, it'll be used for surfing the net, email, MSN etc.

    I've pretty much decided that I will either get a Blackbook or a bottom-end Macbook Pro. Either way, I will upgrade the RAM to 4GB and depending on which one, I will also change out the hard drive for a bigger, faster drive. I heard that doing this in the MBP voids the warranty, so I guess thats out of the question.

    Screen size is not that big of an issue. When I'm home, I will plug it into my Dell 20" monitor. The only time it'll probably become an issue is when I do some mobile recording.

    That said, the following questions arise that I'm not too sure about:

    Does the dedicated graphics card make that much of a difference given that I won't be playing games? I'll probably be using either Cubase or Logic for recording. I need 1680x1050 for my external monitor if that makes a difference.

    Can the MacBook handle recording with Cubase or Logic? I usually recording 1 track at a time, but would like to be able to record more at once. I also usually run a couple inserts per track as well as a couple VST instruments. On my computer, when I'm running Cubase with 8 tracks (4 of them with Guitar Rig as inserts, compressors/delays for vocals,Stylus RMX and Hypersonic for VST instruments), my CPU(Athlon64 3800+) sits at about 90% and the playout starts crackling.

    Can anyone please offer some insight as to which one I should get? Obviously I want to save a little, but if the Macbook isn't powerful enough then I will get a MBP.

    Any help is appreciated.
  2. Golcondio macrumors member

    Jan 19, 2008
    I'm not sure about the external monitor, but I think the MBP supports larger screens than the MB.

    I use my MBP for recording AND live playing, with a firewire interface; the FW800 port is simply as must for multitrack (more than 4) recording, as it allows to record onto an external drive (forget the internal one, even a 7200rpm has too much OS access to perform well in that respect).

    The BlackBook is not optimal for our uses, IMO.
  3. samh004 macrumors 68020


    Mar 1, 2004
    The dedicated graphics card can output up to 1920x1200.
  4. akadmon Suspended

    Aug 30, 2006
    New England
    Um, the best desktop replacement is another desktop. Get a Mac Pro!
  5. Golcondio macrumors member

    Jan 19, 2008
    Of course.

    And the OP expressed the need to do some MOBILE multitrack recording...
  6. akadmon Suspended

    Aug 30, 2006
    New England
    Of course. I just hate the term "desktop replacement". Yeah, a laptop can replace an old desktop. It can't replace a new desktop. So let's just call it what it is: "a decrepit desktop replacement" :D
  7. Spor 13 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 25, 2008
    I'm looking to get away from the desktops because I don't always wanna be stuck in my room where my desktop is. I wanna be able to do the mobile recording thing and also watch tv in my living room while surfing the net or talking to friends or doing whatever. I also wanna be able to bring it around.

    Funny how for some reason when I was still in school, I never wanted a laptop for whatever reason. I was perfectly content staying in my room after school to do whatever, and now I hate that I can't move around my house and still do whatever I need to do on the computer.
  8. nzoMD macrumors member

    Jan 21, 2008
    San Diego
    Sounds perfectly normal to me.

    I want a MBP b/c I study about 6 hours a day and I don't want to do that stuck in my room or in a computer lab at school... much nicer if you can always change your scene :)
  9. skyrider007 macrumors 65816


    Aug 5, 2007
  10. Cliff3 macrumors 68000


    Nov 2, 2007
    SF Bay Area
    I have both. If it's going to be your only computer then I'd be inclined to go with the MBP. The MBP has a lot more expansion ports than the MB and in particular, the expresscard slot opens up some expansion possibilities (eSATA or other future bus technologies, additional FW800 ports, anything where you need to tap into a bus running at PCI-Express speeds). The difference in screen sizes is more dramatic than the size and weight differences between the two machines.
  11. shoulin333 macrumors 6502a

    Jun 26, 2007
    dumb post

    your title answered your own question....

  12. ArmyKnight12 macrumors 6502


    Sep 13, 2007
  13. NewbieNerd macrumors 6502a


    Sep 22, 2005
    Chicago, IL
    A MB or MBP is perfectly capable as a desktop replacment...the vast majority of people don't need faster processors, more cores, more/larger internal hard drives, or whatever else you think makes a notebook "decrepit."
  14. iCeFuSiOn macrumors 6502a

    Jul 18, 2007
    I'd go with the MacBook Pro because it has a dedicated graphics solution. :)
  15. djinn macrumors 68000


    Oct 4, 2003
    Also depends what you use your desktop for? Whether its email, word processing, or internet surfing any laptop can be a replacement. If its for gaming depends on what games your are talking about.
  16. Ryan T. macrumors 6502a

    Ryan T.

    Jun 13, 2005
    Rochester, NY
    I would say it depends on how you're traveling with it. If you're moving a lot, if you can get by with a Blackbook I'd say that is the better travel companion...fits in tighter spots, better battery life, and a little more durable/dent resistant with the plastic-y shell.
  17. ktbubster macrumors 6502a


    Jan 20, 2007

    Having had both now in the last year, while I enjoy the macbook i just downgraded to a few days ago, the mbp makes a much better desktop replacement, and the additional screen size will probably help you on the road for mobile recording and many windows/tracks etc. The screen is nicer too, as are the speakers (while I assume you'll have desktop speakers plugged into it while at home, it would help to have better speakers wherever you are, since you are into music!)

    Besides, the new blackbook (as you aren't looking in to the cheaper whitebook) even with edu discount is 1399 - 1299 refurb I think now?

    the SR 2.2 mbp is only 1699 in the refurb store. I guess 400 dollars is a lot in the scheme of things, but it's a matter of what the 400 will get you.

    An extra gig of ram base, more screen space for ... pretty close to the same footprint, more upgradability, a matte screen option if that's important, more ports, a full size dvi port if needed, better speakers, firewire 800, the ability to run a 30inch acd if you want, and in my experience it seems to run a lot cooler then the regular mb.

    In your case I'd spend the extra money and go with the pro.
  18. Spor 13 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 25, 2008
    Thanks for all the replies everyone! :)

    Hmm, seems like the MBP is the way to go. Just wondering though, how easy is it to dent the aluminum casing? I'm not clumsy by any means but it'd be nice to know that after a year of regular use, it's not full of dents.
  19. netdog macrumors 603


    Feb 6, 2006
    Keep it in a soft case and you'll be fine. I take mine to school all the time. Not one ding.
  20. sushi Moderator emeritus


    Jul 19, 2002
    Overall, the MBP would provide you a better solution as a desktop replacement. For example:
    - More ports (such as the FW800)
    - Better graphics
    - Bigger screen (matte screen option)
    - ExpressCard slot (expandability options)
    - Better keyboard.

    However, if these differences are not important, and since you have limited graphics needs, the Black MB may be a viable option. The Black MB has the following graphics capability (From Apple's site):

    "Extended desktop and video mirroring: Simultaneously supports full native resolution on the built-in display and up to 1920 by 1200 pixels on an external display, both at millions of colors."

    So you could drive your Dell monitor with a Black MB if you wanted.

    The Black MB allows for easy upgrading of the HD. Where as, the MBP is much more difficult.

    Also, the MB are more durable than the MBP, so if you plan on being mobile much that might be a consideration.

    If you do a lot of typing, you might want to try out the keyboards of both at a local store. They are significantly different.

    Just some random thoughts for you to consider.

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