Help me choose - is a MB enough for my needs, or will I be happier with a MBP?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by annk, May 1, 2008.

  1. annk Administrator

    annk

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    #1
    My feeling has always been, get the best computer you can afford - you'll be happier longer. But this summer I'm going to replace my G4 17" PB, and I'm in doubt. The MB is already much more powerful than my 1.5 GHz PB, so I know it will be a huge improvement. My needs:

    - Lots of translating work, with more than one window up
    - Multi-tabbed browsing
    - Ripping videos to my nano
    - Some photo editing - I'd like to use Aperture if possible. But I have to face the fact that in the next few years, I won't have time for much photo editing. So this is a minimal need until about 2011.

    I'm very spoiled by the 17" screen real estate. When I look at my husband's 12" PB, I don't understand how he stands it. And the real estate is necessary for my translating work - I need to have two documents / programs side by side, and switching back and forth would drive me buggy. But it's a fact that the 17" makes the computer pretty unportable. I'd take it with me more often if it were smaller.

    I'm thinking that a Macbook with a docking station (something like Bookendz) and a nice big external screen for working at home would meet my needs. That would even allow me to use dual screen mode. In addition, I'd get a much more portable laptop. Not going for the MBP goes a bit against the grain - but I can't deny that I'd be spending less with a MB, and still be getting a much better computer than what I have today. Ripping videos with Handbrake takes so long on my PB that I end up borrowing my son's iMac for that job. To be honest, I don't like the plastic on the MBs - I love the look of my aluminum PB now. But that's just cosmetic, and I don't want that to influence me too much when so much money is at stake.

    So - those of you who had the patience to read through all this - what do you advise? Will I be happy with the MB, and with the fact that I'll have extra cash to get an external screen and docking station, or will I just regret not having gone for the MBP?
     
  2. tersono macrumors 68000

    tersono

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    #2
    Having had to make a very similar decision about 8 months ago, I went for the high-res 17" MBP purely because of screen size - I use it as a desktop replacement and whilst I do have an external screen, I'm not always in a position to be able to use it as I work in more than one location. If it wasn't for that factor, I'd have saved my money and bought the MacBook instead.

    If you're going to be able to use it with an external screen for serious work, it sounds like a regular MB might just be the thing for you - the only downside is slower graphics but, quite frankly, unless you're a gamer, you're not going to notice the difference.

    Aperture runs just fine on the MB provided you max out the RAM btw.
     
  3. annk thread starter Administrator

    annk

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    #3
    I'm not a gamer, so that's not an issue for me. But having recently discovered dual screen mode and having fallen in love with it, I'm thinking the external is the way to go as far as screen real estate.

    It's really helpful to know that Aperture runs well on the MB with enough RAM, thanks for that. :)

    It's great to hear from someone who's just made the same sort of decision.
     
  4. tersono macrumors 68000

    tersono

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  5. Abstract macrumors Penryn

    Abstract

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    #5
    I'd go for a 15" MBP. It's more portable, and it probably offers the same resolution that you get out of your 17" PB. Get an external screen just so that you can use a 2 monitor setup. They're not expensive, and the price difference between a 15" and 17" MBP would let you buy an LCD and still save you money. This way, you can have your cake and eat it too.

    Besides, my old 12" PowerBook keyboard was always awesome. My MacBook's keyboard isn't so hot. I think I'm going to get a MBP as my next laptop for that reason, and others. This will happen after the 15" MBP gets a 1600 x 1000 LCD (or whatever the proper resolution is).
     
  6. annk thread starter Administrator

    annk

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    #6
    What don't you like about the MB's keyboard? I'll probably get a bt keyboard for my home setup, so a bad keyboard won't be a big issue for me, but I'm curious as to what you didn't like.

    I love the keyboard on my PB.
     
  7. Abstract macrumors Penryn

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    #7
    Well, I thought my PowerBook had the best keyboard ever, and I'm including desktops. I don't feel the same about my MacBook. It's quite average. I guess it's hard to beat the "best ever". :eek: The MBP keyboards are similar or the same as the old PowerBook keyboards, so they must be good too.

    I think I'll switch from my MB to a MBP just for the extra resolution (when it increases in the 15") and keyboard. I know that an external keyboard is a cheaper option, but its not the solution for me. I bought a keyboard to have LESS hardware, not more.

    I have a dilemna, though. The 15" MBP will probably get a higher res screen once it gets a complete redesign (ie: a brand new look), which may be soon. However, with a complete redesign comes a new keyboard, and if this keyboard is like the keyboard on the MB, then I'll be kicking myself, as a current MBP would be fantastic, although not the resolution I want. Either way, I probably won't be getting a 15" MBP that's perfect for me.
     
  8. annk thread starter Administrator

    annk

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    #8
    Well, I guess since I'm planning on setting up a docking station at my desk anyway, if I don't like the MB keyboard, I can just use one of those nice keyboards that come with the new iMacs. I do mostly use my laptop as a desktop replacement, but I can put up with a lesser built-in keyboard those times I take the laptop with me other places. The keyboard alone wouldn't be important enough to sway me in my present circumstances. And I can choose my screen resolution as well, since I'll be buying an external monitor if I go with a MB. But it's interesting to hear why someone might prefer a MBP.
     

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