HP Envy 17 vs Macbook Pro 15

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by Gata, Jul 8, 2010.

  1. Gata macrumors regular

    Mar 23, 2010
    A lot of thanks to anyone who can read through all of this and respond.
    Macbook Pro:
    Processor: 2.66 Ghz Core i7-620m
    Ram: 4 GB DDR3 Edit: Will later be upgrading to 8 GB
    GPU: Nvidia Geforce GT 330m 512 mb GDDR3
    HD: 500 GB 5400rpm HD (will later upgrade to 1 TB, boot from install cd, and use time machine backup)
    Res: 1680x1050
    8x Superdrive
    Price: $2263.26

    HP Envy 17:
    Processor: 1.86 Ghz Core i7-740QM
    RAM: 8 GB DDR3
    GPU: ATI Mobility Radeon HD 5850 w/ 1 GB GDDR5 RAM
    HD: 2x 500 GB 7200RPM HD
    Res: 1920x1080
    4x Blu-ray Drive
    Price: $2098.

    Screen size is of no matter to me, as anything that’s 15 inches or bigger is good enough. The only reason why I’m comparing and contrasting these two instead of the Gen2 Envy 15 is because I need the DVD/BluRay drive built in.

    Will Install Windows 7 Professional (either directly on the Envy or via Bootcamp for the MBP) 64-bit.

    The main applications I’m going to be using are:
    -Photoshop CS3 – Very large images. The PSD files are usually around 11-15MB, the photos themselves come in at around 8.

    -Dreamweaver CS3

    -Flash- 1600x900 (for the sake of bitmaps) animations/games, @ 75fps w/ occasional export to mp4

    -Adobe Illustrator- Usually simple shapes and logos, w/ the occasional 3d rendering for a letter, which then goes in my flash animations. For the 3d part, I need the 512 mb of RAM.

    Note that the version of CS3 I run is for Windows.

    -Once in a while, I run Handbrake/Realplayer SP Converter and convert 720-1080p movies to mp4/VIDEO_TS to MKV.


    -Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen and Transformers: War For Cybertron

    Aside from those, it’s the usual: Web browsing, watching videos, MS Office (2007,2010, and 2008 for Mac+iWork).

    Additional Info:

    Battery Life Requirements:
    Has to be at least 4 hours, under light-moderate usage (Browsing over wi-fi, word processing at 75% brightness, videos, etc.). Heavy-duty stuff (i.e. video transcoding) can usually wait for an outlet.
    (Note: The Envy gets ~6 hours w/ 6+9 cell battery, according to HP, but the whole second battery thing for me is kind of a hassle).

    Heat tolerance:
    This varies a lot from person to person. For me, I can really tolerate any heat below the pain threshold (think upper-left corner of Macbook Pro during processor-intensive stuff). In other words, I have a high heat tolerance.

    Virtual Machines:
    I’m going to be doing boot camp only, as most of the applications that I’ll be running in the windows partition are going to be performance-hungry applications (i.e. games, Adobe CS3 w/ video conversion, etc.).

    I’m not really that much of a PC Gamer, just the occasional title here and there, and it doesn’t even have to be demanding or on high settings (anything a good deal better than a Wii is good enough for me).The games I’m going to be getting for the forseeable future include Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen & War for Cybertron (Windows, there aren’t mac versions).

    I’ve worked mainly on Windows machines, and the computer I’m writing this from has Windows 7 on it.
    It’s really nice, but OSX outshines it. A friend of mine let me play with his early 2009 C2D MBP.

    But all of the software I currently use is Windows-based, though I would most likely be able to find replacements for all of them, save games and Adobe CS3 (the only paid programs I actually use aside from Office).

    There are 5 things I look for in a laptop:
    1. It’s made of metal, not plastic
    2. It has a backlit keyboard
    3. It has a nice screen
    4. It has a built in optical drive
    5. It isn’t painful to use, in terms of heat.

    I’m not really going to be toting this around very often, just from room to room, upstairs and downstairs every once in a while, and it’ll make the occasional trip to the Library. I do plan to use it away from an outlet (i.e. on the couch) for a good hour at the least doing web surfing (reading/watching the occasional video) over wifi at 75+% brightness, with maybe some basic photo editing. Probably 2-3 hours.

    I’m going to be getting Adobe CS5 (Mac/PC, whichever I have when I get it) in December, so the only apps I'll Bootcamp for are games.

    I really appreciate any advice you could give me on this.
    And please don’t flame about the windows/PC vs OSX/Mac differences.
  2. miles01110 macrumors Core


    Jul 24, 2006
    The Ivory Tower (I'm not coming down)
    If you insist on a BluRay drive in the laptop there's no comparison. You have to get the HP.
  3. iSpoody 1243 macrumors 6502

    Jun 29, 2008
    This really comes down to wether you want mac osx or win7.
    The envy has a much faster cpu,gpu and double ram.
    The mac has better battery life (even with the second battery plate on the envy)
    both are thin etc.
    If you want to play games the 5850 is a monster gpu for a notebook. It plays almost everything at high settings well.
    win7, power, bluray, full hd screen vs mac os, better battery.
  4. Scorecard macrumors member

    May 26, 2010
    From what it seems like you're best sticking win win 7 and the envy 17. For what you do the 8gb ram, quad core, gpu,d higher res and blu ray have a big advantage over the i7 mbp. Mac OSX is great but again what you need is something with power more than portability.

    The mbp are always designed with mobility in mind. I own an upgraded 15 i7 and love it. But it suits me for what I need, (hobby Photoshop/final cut pro). The rest of my work is word and excel so no need for power there.

    But if I were to rely on the speeds on my programs everyday then the hp envy is the way to go. Especially if your using cs5 and handbrake quite often.
  5. hakuryuu macrumors 6502

    Sep 30, 2007
    Lomita, CA
    You can have your CS3 license converted from Windows to OS X. And pretty much everything else you do but blu-ray and games can be done on OS X.

    But I would probably still say go with the Envy, it just makes sense for you. It is more of a desktop replacement than a notebook you are going to be mostly mobile with. And the battery situation HP says you can get 6 hours with is annoying from a mobility standpoint as the battery sticking out the back kind of ruins it.
  6. Gata thread starter macrumors regular

    Mar 23, 2010
    I really don't need the Blu-ray, 'cept if I have a 1080p screen (as is the case w/ the Envy)

    Keep in mind this is the Envy 17 (the 15's the one with a slice battery).

    I use CS3 on a daily basis, and Handbrake I use once in a while.
  7. Gata thread starter macrumors regular

    Mar 23, 2010
    How would you convert the license?

    Also, I should probably add that I'm looking developing iPhone/iPad Apps, which (as far as I know) can only be done on a mac. But it's not essential (though it would be nice).

    I'm going to be adding that to the first post.
  8. JediZenMaster Suspended


    Mar 28, 2010
    I would say you would get miles from the MBP just from the battery life and performance alone. Also the MBP will retain it's value so that when you get a new MBP you can sell the old one and make some money.
  9. alent1234 macrumors 603

    Jun 19, 2009
    After experiencing hp's exceptional support and build quality I would be afraid to buy something that expensive from them
  10. vant macrumors 65816

    Jul 1, 2009
  11. mark28 macrumors 68000

    Jan 29, 2010
    Shouldn't you be using a mouse anyway when you're into his kind of work? :p

    And most of the problems like heat are for the old Envy? The new gen is supposedly a lot better.
  12. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    That is the only metric that the MBP beats the envy?

    I'd recommend to the OP that you look at the cost of cross-grading your licenses from windows to OSX and build that into your cost matrix. You may find it too expensive at the moment to fully go over to OSX.

    I'd not look at specs alone, but also user experience, if you're happy/content with windows, stay with windows. If after playing with OSX (say at an apple store) you like OSX, then by all means come over to the dark side :D

    Its true that Macs hold their values more then many windows computers, but that's only important if you plan to sell in a couple of years. OSX doesn't have the volume of malware so running anti-virus software is not as critical as windows. I've found with win7 and MS' antivirus software, my pc is clean and not bogged down.

    It really boils down to personal preference. I find OSX to be better in a lot of intangible things so I prefer using that.
  13. bhattsan macrumors member

    Jun 16, 2010

    I have used the new envy 15's trackpad and its still a little goofy (ie when you put thumb down for clicking and click, your finger might move a bit and you click the wrong place. It can drive you crazy)

    It is well noted that since you will be running windows most of the time, envy is the way to go as apple bootcamp drivers and power management in windows- not so great. Hell, I can't even run bootcamp because of some bootcamp issues with ssds. Basically, if you want OSX, get a mac, otherwise get windows.
  14. Gata thread starter macrumors regular

    Mar 23, 2010
    I'm not going to be selling it: simply put, i'll be using it until it no longer functions.

    How so, and why? I've used HP Desktops, and I still have one from 2004 that still works, no problems ('cept it's slow).

    They've, for the most part, fixed the trackpad.
    Plus, I'm going to be using a mouse. ;)

    I will be. I'll be using the MBP's trackpad a lot too, assuming I get it.:D
    And yes, a lot of the problems are for the old Envy.

    Eh, I can always Bootcamp for the next 5 months, else just use my Desktop for CS3 work until I can get it on my Mac. I already have a spare Windows Professional CD that I can use. Plus, OSX was so convenient and multitasking was a breeze.

    I'll be using a mouse.

    That, and I know of several other drivers that work great compared to Apple's Bootcamp ones.
    I suppose that since I could run CS3 primarily from my desktop (or bootcamp when on the go), I could wait until I got CS5, and at that point, the only thing I would bootcamp for would be the Transformers Games (which even the 13" MBP can handle).
  15. Meever macrumors 6502a

    Jun 30, 2009
    I would bump down the gpu back to the i5-540m (or was it the 520?)

    When it comes to rendering the Envy will beat the Macbook to death. It'll be at least twice as fast XD

    If you don't really have interest in OSX or want to switch to new software I think it might be wiser to get the Envy 17. It looks very good for a HP product, and the 5850 it comes with is nothing to scoff at. Neither is the display. If it had switchable graphics and was about half an inch thinner I might not be saving up for a MBP 15 as we speak.
  16. Gata thread starter macrumors regular

    Mar 23, 2010
    Don't you mean the CPU?
    The i7-740QM is the rough equivalent of the i7-820QM, and can overclock itself to 2.93 Ghz.

    Is there really a significant heat/battery life difference between Quad-core Clarksfield and Dual-Core Arrandale?

    Oh, wait- Arrandale has Intel Graphics.

    That, and I won't have to put up with Apple's somewhat-buggy graphics-switching: I'll be able to switch on command.

    Would there be a big performance difference (for the things I do) between the i5-540m and the i7-740QM?

    I know a lot of the stuff I do can take advantage of quad-core.

    Attached Files:

  17. HLdan macrumors 603


    Aug 22, 2007
    You can switch to the Nvidia GPU on command on the MBP. If you want to run the Intel GPU only there's a small free plug-in that allows you to switch back and forth or back to auto-switching.
  18. stefan1975 macrumors 6502a

    Apr 15, 2010
    the only plus for the MBP would be OSX imho. since portability doesnt seem to be an issue and all programs you need are on win7 and since you already use ans like win7 ... i'd say it is a no brainer. The envy seems like much more value for you, it is twice as fast at least as the MBP and resell value isnt an issue for you.
  19. Gata thread starter macrumors regular

    Mar 23, 2010
    That would be really helpful. Would it happen to be Gfxcardstatus?

    I'll actually be toting it around quite a bit, mainly from room to room. However, it'll still be within 3-4 hours of a wall socket while traveling.

    Howevere, I really like OSX as an operating system, as well as the fact that I can also run Windows.

    also, the increased stability of a Mac saves me more time in the long run than A well-specced PC that crashes.

    that, and I will be looking into developing iPhone/iTouch/iPad apps.
  20. Gata thread starter macrumors regular

    Mar 23, 2010

    All for the MBP.

    'cept one thing:

    I have a desktop that I'll be doing heavy-heavy-heavy duty stuff on, with the MBP doing some medium-heavy content creation and moderate gaming.

    For anyone who has used bootcamp:

    Is it a hassle (to the point where it's pretty annoying) to reboot every time you want to play a windows game/use a windows program?

    Or is it okay(ish)?
  21. chris2k5 macrumors 6502a

    Jun 30, 2010
    For me if I am going to game, I will boot via Boot Camp into Windows. It isn't too bad. If you want to quickly get into Windows via Mac OS X, I would get Parallels. I installed a virtual machine using Parallels with my Boot Camp partition and it worked fine. You probably don't want to play games on it but it is good if you need quick access to Windows.

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