Help needed for web designer's dream machine?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by bigredmachine, Apr 8, 2009.

  1. bigredmachine macrumors newbie

    Apr 8, 2009
    Hello All,

    I am looking to purchase a new laptop to carry out my web design and development duties. I am after an apple laptop that I can connect to my tft, keyboard and mouse at work and then use for leisure away from the office.

    I have looked long and hard and have come up with the following package for myself. I just wanted some advice from other web designer / developers who may have a similar setup and what they think of it.

    Refurbished MacBook 2.4GHz Intel Core 2 Duo - Aluminum
    PNY PC3-8500 / 2GB / 1066MHz / DDR3 / 200pin SODIMM / Laptop Memory x 2
    Vmware Fusion 2
    Windows XP Professional
    Adobe CS3
    Mini DisplayPort to DVI Adapter
    Western Digital 320GB 2.5" Hard Drive SATAII 7200rpm 16MB Cache

    I have considered a MacBook Pro 2.4 but think it may be overkill?

    Cheers in advance for any help given!
  2. miles01110 macrumors Core


    Jul 24, 2006
    The Ivory Tower (I'm not coming down)
    Since you don't need anything special (hardware-wise) to run the apps you describe for web designing, I'd say the Macbook would do just fine.
  3. neiltc13 macrumors 68040


    May 27, 2006
    Forget the 2.4GHz model. It's possibly one of the worst value for money laptops currently on sale.

    The 2.0GHz model has been shown in benchmarks to be only slightly slower, yet it is significantly cheaper. Consider it instead. I do a lot of web design work on my 2.0GHz model using much of the software you mention and I find it more than adequate.
  4. Scottsdale macrumors 601


    Sep 19, 2008
    I have to agree, but the 2.4 recently took a $100 price drop in refurbished section from $1399 to $1299. Makes it a little better. However, unless the OP wants the backlit keyboard, there is better value at $1099 for the 2.0. Also, will want to upgrade RAM on either, which you stated. Also, want to upgrade drive on either to a 7200 rpm or SSD. Can always make those upgrades later too.

    Lastly, I actually think as a web designer, you may be completely disappointed looking at the display on the unibody MB. It is widespread knowledge that Apple uses a horrible display on the new MBs. It looks horrible from any angle. Also, the dark colors look like charcoal with a purple hue instead of black.

    A lot of people make the jump to the MBP for a much better display. And, at $1699, a refurbished unibody MBP is a great buy. I have been involved with some Internet development projects (not designer buy investor), and I always think a 15.4" display works a lot better for working on and examining web stuff. I think you will appreciate the extra screen real estate, and the much higher quality of the display. Black is like a black hole on a new MBP. The view is still great at angles too. In addition, the resolution is much better on it. And of course it has dedicated graphics too (with dual graphics).

    I strongly think that you should really consider the MBP for your purposes. From a power standpoint, the MB and MBP are both capable of doing the stuff you want. And, if you are going to be plugged into an external display most of the time, the MB does just as good with an external display and will drive up to a 30" ACD. Also, the MB is better for use in airplane or train seats.

    Good luck whichever route you go. They both are really nice Macs.
  5. tersono macrumors 68000


    Jan 18, 2005
    The only real reason to go for an MBP is the higher screen res (Dreamweaver is a real screen hog... ;) ).

    That was my reason for buying a 17" MBP, but if you're going to use it with an external screen much of the time, a MBP is overkill as you say. Personally I'd go for a basic 2ghz Macbook as the previous poster suggested. Very little performance difference, but a decent saving over the 2.4ghz model. Should do all you need.
  6. miles01110 macrumors Core


    Jul 24, 2006
    The Ivory Tower (I'm not coming down)
    OP states they have a "tft" (which I assume means thin film transistor display), so I assume the screen quality of the Macbook isn't going to be a huge factor since they won't be looking at it for their primary work.
  7. scienide09 macrumors 65816


    May 5, 2007
    In your computer specs line, at the end you have "Laptop Memory X 2."

    I assume you mean that you plan to double the RAM. Yes, for this setup you should. I triend running Fusion/Win7 on my alu MB, and soon rolled it over to my MBP. The extra RAM is needed.

    good luck!
  8. Consultant macrumors G5


    Jun 27, 2007
    Any professional working on color critial items would use an external display, NOT a laptop display.
  9. bindigok macrumors regular

    May 14, 2007
    Just curious for what you need Windows? All the programs you listed run on the Mac OS.
  10. bigredmachine thread starter macrumors newbie

    Apr 8, 2009
    Internet Explorer 6 / 7 / 8, Firefox, Opera, Safari, Chrome and a few other browser testing on Windows platform.

    Seeing as the Windows platform takes up huge % of web users around the world testing is important!

    In addition to this e-mail campaigns have to be tested in various e-mail packages which again account for many Windows users in the corporate and consumer world!

    :apple: make designing easier but we can't account for client and user tastes!
  11. SnowLeopard2008 macrumors 604


    Jul 4, 2008
    Silicon Valley
    The 2.4 MB setup you posted should be fine, you should run an external monitor for color accuracy reasons. Other than that, the setup looks great.
  12. bigredmachine thread starter macrumors newbie

    Apr 8, 2009
    Thank you all for your input.

    I have found the following:

    Refurbished MacBook 2.0GHz Intel Core 2 Duo - Aluminum @ £779
    13.3-inch 1280-by-800 pixel LED-backlit display
    2GB memory
    160GB hard drive
    8x SuperDrive (DVD±R DL/DVD±RW/CD-RW)
    Built-in iSight camera
    Standard keyboard

    Refurbished MacBook Pro 2.4GHz Intel Core 2 Duo @ £1149
    15.4-inch LED-backlit glossy widescreen display
    2GB memory
    250GB hard drive
    8x SuperDrive (DVD±R DL/DVD±RW/CD-RW)
    Built-in iSight camera
    Illuminated keyboard

    Can the above MBP take more than 4GB Ram? 6GB (4+2)?

    As pointed out by a few I have / should discount the 2.4Ghz MacBook from my list of choices?

    A bit more info:

    • The laptop will be attached to a Dell 20" TFT monitor at work for major development and design tasks.
    • It will be taken to clients for presentations and show current status of web development and various design work.
    • It will be used away from the office on it's own screen to carry on with various design work.
    • The ram will be doubled to 4GB to make things like VMware run smoother.
    • The machine has to last a very long time as it will be the main work tool.
    • It has to be better than my current Dell Precision Workstation (E6550 2.33 Core 2 Duo / 4GB Ram)
  13. clyde2801 macrumors 601


    Mar 6, 2008
    In the land of no hills and red dirt.
    Last I heard, the 2.4 uni mbp (base model) can take 6 gigs of ram, but it will choke on 8. The new midrange and bto mbp's will take 8.

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