Graphic free, audio heavy computing - low end mbp or high end mb?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by thatisunless, Oct 15, 2008.

  1. thatisunless macrumors newbie

    Oct 15, 2008
    Advise me, wise forum people.....

    I've no graphical needs, just audio stuff (finale with lots of kontakt instruments, max/msp with quite process-heavy patches, protools, etc.)

    At the moment I'm using (and finale is struggling with) a G4 powerbook (1.25 GHz 1 GB DDR SDRAM). I have to upgrade!

    My question - is the macbook pro too graphically inclined to be useful to me - would I be better getting a high end, ram stuffed macbook? Or a refurb?!

    Your answers will decide if for me, and I thankyou for them!

    Lee Morgan
  2. migsev macrumors regular

    Jan 13, 2008
    you should be fine with a high end MB, no? if i'm not mistaken, the only difference between your two choices are the following: firewire, graphics card, and screen size.

    if you want the new gen, i'd say get the high end MB and use the extra cash to stuff it with a bigger, faster hard drive and more ram.

    but then again, i'm no expert...
  3. thatisunless thread starter macrumors newbie

    Oct 15, 2008
    Thanks for that - that's kind of what I was thinking, just paranoia that as music is sort of my job, i HAVE to get a pro....seems like there's more overlap than there was between the mb and mbp.

    All I'm really worried about it loading lots of samples at once in kontakt/garritan/finale and it not grinding and stuttering like it does on this powerbook - and for max/msp to be smooth as possible.

    Time to visit the mac store, then?
  4. ptjh macrumors regular

    Mar 14, 2008
    I currently in a similar position. I don't think the new MB is a viable option for project/pro audio users due to lack of firewire (and all the best soundcards on the market use firewire - the new MOTU's have all come out and I can't see them switching to USB anytime soon.

    Either a new MB pro or a refurb. I don't think one FW is the biggest problem since the old macs 2 FW ports share a single bus anyway so with the performance reductions you may as well be using a USB HD along with a FW interface.

    If you want a macbook - and do take audio seriously (which by the sounds of the NI plugs you've mentioned, its the case), you'll have to get a refurb. What sound card are you currently using? It's a shame apple screwing the budget musician even further since I'd take the current MB over the old ones any day if it just had 1 FW port...not too much to ask is it apple - since they cost around £1000 anyway? There's no harm in having the extra graphics - but the better value in terms of power would be a ram stuffed, refurb MB. Bare in mind though, if you want an apple external screen for you MB in the future, you'll need a new MB- another plan apple have to screw over their loyal customers. The difference for audio user in real terms was negligable between the old MB and the old MB pro. I expect a negligable difference in the new models too (for audio users).
  5. thatisunless thread starter macrumors newbie

    Oct 15, 2008
    That's a good point! I'm in such confusion I'd forgotten about audio interfaces - I was just thinking in terms of external hard-drives, and usb didn't bother me. Dammit! I'll have to have firewire.....
  6. rb6 macrumors newbie

    Sep 18, 2008
    yes, firewire is a good point.

    another one would be the hard drive speed. from what I've seen, you can only get 5400RPM or SSD HD on those new macbooks. I want to do basically the same thing as you... and with my old ibook, the HD speed seems to be the first annoying thing I've found.

    so for me, firewire and 7200RPM are 2 essential options. so I'll go with MBP.
  7. liquidtrend macrumors 6502


    Jul 26, 2008
    most audio software ive used is heavy on the RAM and processors cores. since you have no need for a heavy graphics chip id go with an all out macbook.

    ...but that firewire is tasty...

    also. i could be completely wrong.
    so maybe an audiophile can help this post out.
  8. thatisunless thread starter macrumors newbie

    Oct 15, 2008
    I'm about to get this refurbished 2.4 Ghz MB Pro.....


    2GB memory
    160GB hard drive
    8x SuperDrive (DVD±R DL/DVD±RW/CD-RW)
    NVIDIA GeForce 8600M GT with 256MB of GDDR3 memory

    Fast enough/enough ram yes? no?

    You have 5 minutes to talk me out of it!

    Thanks - these helpful people...
  9. liquidtrend macrumors 6502


    Jul 26, 2008
    the more ram the better for rendering layers in your music edit programs.
    you can always get great deals on another slice of 2GB RAM online. everyone here is always throwing out places with great prices.

    everything else looks fine.
  10. ptjh macrumors regular

    Mar 14, 2008
    Don't agree with this. Native instruments stuff i very heavy. You need the best machine you can afford. A 2.4 mackbook will be fine but you'll have to get a refurb for the fw. Otherwise your only option is the new MB pro - if you will eventually want a FW audio interface. You can get very good USB audio interfaces , just not pro. Also if you wanted to get a UAD you'll need the express card port only on mac pro's.
  11. thatisunless thread starter macrumors newbie

    Oct 15, 2008
    yup, i see that a normal pb isn't going to work...but any opinion on the 2.4 ghz refurb I describe above? It's in my basket now.....they want a credit card number!
  12. ptjh macrumors regular

    Mar 14, 2008
    You can't borrow mine ;)
  13. txhockey9404 macrumors 6502a

    Feb 25, 2008
    Go for the refurb MBP. You won't regret it. It is not really any slower than the new one unless you want graphics, which you said you did not. It also has all the ports you need.
  14. thatisunless thread starter macrumors newbie

    Oct 15, 2008
    Gone and done it - many, many thanks for your advice, especially my texan hockey friend - I waited so long for yesterday's upgrade, and it must say something about it's underwhelming nature that I've had to go for the refurb. I've also gone for a 17inch to see more of my scores. Feeling pretty happy....


  15. ziwi macrumors 65816


    Jan 6, 2004
    Right back where I started...
    Check the clearance rack for MBP...

Share This Page