Buying a MacBook Pro for Graphics... need some advice first.

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by jackmack, Jun 9, 2006.

  1. jackmack macrumors regular

    Jun 9, 2006
    This will be my first mac. Pretty excited, but I want to make sure I get everything right before I walk in there and slap down that much cash.

    So, if you guys would help, I'd appreciate it:

    1) First off, I think I'm going to go with a 17" MacBook Pro... nice big screen, apparently a longer lasting battery. I can't imagine having problems carrying it around (I'm a big guy... 6'3") plus I use to have a 17" that was fatter and I used it on a plane and what not. What do you guys think? Any graphic designers who love their 15"?

    2) Screens... there's an option for a glossy screen. As pretty as they are, I'm pretty worried about the glare... I hate glare. But doesn't it make the colors better? Opinions?

    3) RAM. For 1 gig of ram they want $300 but if I do a search I can find the same ram for half that price. would it be better to go with the cheapest ram option then buy 2 1-gig sticks for $300 and put them in? Or is it more hassle than worth?

    4) Hardrive. I've never really owned a hard drive (old one i use to have was from work). So I don't know how much the speed plays a role in battery life. Will the 7200rpm affect the battery life a bunch? Is it worth the slower drive to have longer life (especially since im going to be doing graphics)/

    Finally... is it a good time to get a 17"? Or are they still having all those problems that I'm sure were over-dramatized, but still worry me?

    Thanks alot for taking the time to help me out. I've never spent this much money on something, so I appreciate the info.
  2. ManchesterTrix macrumors 6502

    Feb 24, 2005
    Personally, I love the Glossy Screen on my MacBook Pro, The glare isn't an issue pretty much all the time. But for any kind of graphic professional, I'd say to get the matte screen as it gives a more accurate color reproduction
  3. mattcube64 macrumors 65816


    May 21, 2006
    Hey, I've been wandering these boards for several months now, and while I don't yet own a Mac, I've gained a bit of insight on some of these topics. Currently, I'm still up in the air on whether or not I want an iMac, MB, or MBPro, as both portability and costs weigh into my decision making. Anyhoo...

    1) The 17" MBP is quite a beast. Although it's pretty thin, and not too heavy for the average guy, it is still very large. This is especially true if you're planning on bringing it along with books/phones/papes/backpacks/etc. Also, the dimensions are wide, and it'll take a bit of space on your lap. However, if you're used to a 17" laptop anyways, I'm sure the MBP will fit you comfortably. If you're worried about screen size, I'm sure the 15" would suit you fine for intense graphic design. And in the rare occurance where you need a larger display, you could always pick up an external display.

    2) If you hate glare, don't get the glossy screen. I don't mind glare, and can see past it and witness a rather beautiful screen. However, if you despise glare, you'll probably be more likely to despise your screen. Also, while the glossy screen makes colors more vibrant, they aren't produced as realistically, and will make a printer's color vary from what is on your screen.

    3) From what I've heard, NEVER buy extra RAM through Apple. Definitely look around, many sites offer RAM for the MBP for half the price of Apple, and it is extremely EASY to install. However, Macs are more picky with their RAM, so make sure to buy from a distributer like OWC that checks that each of their RAM sticks is compatible with your computer.

    4) I'm not too sure about this. However, I wouldn't think a 7200rpm drive would take much more juice from a HDD. Considering that it would have to access the information for less time than a 5400rpm since it is faster. Hmm? I'm not too sure though.

    If you need the computer now, buy it now. But if you can wait, go for it. In early August, we'll likely see all sorts of updates to many of the Mac models, including faster processors. But the MBP is plenty fast right now. That's up to you. As for "problems," I see it like this: I got an Xbox 360 the day it came out, and ever since I've heard constant complaining about faulty systems. Do they exist? Sure. Is there a definite problem? Of course. But mine is fine, and millions of other systems are problem free. The loud upset users are going to stress their problems more than the silent, happy users. Any electronic device could have problems. If I were you, I'd buy the MBP at Compusa, where they have a no-questions-asked exhcange policy for 30 days.

    Hope that helps, and whatever you decide, I hope you get something you love.
  4. brikeh macrumors 6502a


    Jan 24, 2006
    Whoa, that was prolly the most informative and helpful post I´ve ever read. Seriously +++

    And....from a newbie.
  5. chaosbunny macrumors 68000


    Mar 11, 2005
    down to earth, far away from any clouds
    1) As a graphic designer owning a 15" powerbook I say if you can afford the 17", get it. While I do not have problems working on my powerbook, which even has the old 1280x854 resolution, I can work noticeable faster when it is connected to my 21" Eizo screen at home. You simply do not have to zoom in zoom out every few seconds. The next mac laptop I buy will also be a 17 incher I guess.

    2) Definitely get the matte screen! Honestly! The glossy screen makes the colors a little brighter but also distorts them even more than a matte screen does from what is printed in the end. If you are into web design it will not matter, but for print matte is the way to go.

    3) Question already answered. Do not buy from apple.

    4) I'm also not too sure about this. Personally I'd take the 7200rpm drive. I doubt there will be much difference in battery life but please someone correct me if I'm wrong.

    Is it a good time to buy a mbp. For a graphic designer personally I think it is not. Since Adobe Creative Suite will not go universal binaries until early 2007 you have to run it either emulated under rosetta, which will slow it down to being slower than on a 1,5 ghz G4, or run the pc version with bootcamp, where you would have to deal with windows. Of course once Adobe CS3 is out you'll notice a huge speed gain, but by that time there will also be faster, merom based mbps. So you are basically paying premium for something you will not be able to use to its full potential until early 2007.

    I do not know if my pb was stolen or something and I would be in the market for a new one right now I'd probably take the mbp anyway, but getting a cheap used 1 ghz+ G4 pb now to hold you over until CS3 is released is definitely worth a thought. You could sell it then to get what mbp is out 6-10 months from now, and I doubt you'll loose much reselling the G4.

    Just my 2 cents..
  6. jackmack thread starter macrumors regular

    Jun 9, 2006
    i would love to wait til 2007, but I need a laptop ASAP.

    Would it be better to put the 3,000 towards a 5988 ProStar ?

    To be honest though, there are other things making me want a mac like the look and even Kismac.

    how does a macbook pro 2.16ghz compare in windows-intel ghz? Like, will photoshop still run faster--even in rosetta--than most windows setups?
  7. Makosuke macrumors 603

    Aug 15, 2001
    The Cool Part of CA, USA
    Generally, no. If you go to a Windows hardware site and look at benchmarks of the 2.16GHz Core Duo, it is competitive in speed with even Intel's top-of-the-line desktop processors (often faster--how's that for embarassing?), and generally bests AMD's mobile processors.

    Since OSX has, in the few like-to-like benchmarks I've seen, proven to be a little more efficient than Windows at using that power, you're getting a beast of a computer with the MBP.

    That said, Rosetta is going to seriously hamstring the speed of CS2--it'll run about 1/3 the speed of the Windows version on the same computer, and at absolute best around the same speed as a 1.5GHz PB G4 (thanks, likely, to the dual cores--at worst, it's about half the speed of the PB).

    Now, 1/2 to 1/3 of very fast may not equal horrifyingly slow, depending on what you're doing or what you're used to--for the work that some do, it might be perfectly acceptable. If (for example) you're used to, say, a couple-year-old single processor computer, it probably won't be any worse than what you've been using. But if you crave speed, you're not going to be getting it until CS3 ships.

    Were I in your situation, I'd probably get a slightly older "interim" PowerBook, which would run quite acceptably (the G4 does pretty well with Adobe apps), and save the money until CS3 goes native, then get myself a beast. Alternately, you could go with a budget MacBook (non-pro) for a little over $1K, which has nearly the same basic horsepower but sacrifices screen size and some goodies, then sell that when it's time to upgrade to something beefier with a Merom and CS3.

    Of course, I couldn't wait either, but since my "horsepower" apps are already native (iMovie, Quicktime video encoding, mainly), I had no qualms about buying the 17" right after release. Great machine.

    It's worth remembering that, at least historically, Apple laptops have had amazingly good resale value--it's almost shocking how much they sell for.
  8. jackmack thread starter macrumors regular

    Jun 9, 2006
    So if I'm use to using my friend's 2.0ghz centrino laptop with 512mb ram and my desktop computer with a 2.21 AMD 3700+ with 3 gigs of ram... I'll basically go insane trying to use CS2 with a macbook pro?
  9. xparaparafreakx macrumors 65816

    Jul 29, 2005
    Heck yea. But then again you do have the PC version of CS 2 so maybe you should get a macbook pro, do bootcamp and then wait til CS 3 comes out and use that.

    I use rosetta because I can't see the difference from the mbp and the tibook.
  10. jackmack thread starter macrumors regular

    Jun 9, 2006
    that's not such a bad option... if i run windows on it, how much faster will it be than the laptop and desktop? And how hard is bootcamp to get configured?

    Thanks =D
  11. Mord macrumors G4


    Aug 24, 2003
    about 40-50% faster due to the second cpu and a bit more cpu grunt.
  12. xparaparafreakx macrumors 65816

    Jul 29, 2005
    Bootcamp is pretty easy, takes a day to complete everything.
  13. jackmack thread starter macrumors regular

    Jun 9, 2006
    wow a day?

    hm, sounds good though. I'm trying to find online benchmarks to see what a mbp compares to with a regular windows laptop (so i can brag ;))
  14. mheekowh macrumors newbie

    Jun 10, 2006
    Ever since my girlfriend saw my MBP (whine and moo-free, just utter perfection), she's been hooked on switching.

    She works for a news company, and was wondering if a MacBook (not pro) would be sufficient to let her make a few quick edits of short videos and stories on the road. Just quick things, nothing hardcore. I was telling her maybe if she upped the RAM and hard drive.

    What do you guys think?
  15. jackmack thread starter macrumors regular

    Jun 9, 2006
    i was actually going to ask this question..

    judging by the macbook looks almost better then the macbook pro o_O

    edit: more info i found

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