laptop OR desktop? (calling all Designers!)

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by eclipse525, Oct 29, 2007.

  1. eclipse525 macrumors 6502a

    eclipse525

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    Aug 5, 2003
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    USA, New York
    #1
    With Laptops becoming increasingly popular, the question I have is as a Graphic Designer dealing with everything from print to web to occasional video, is a Laptop serious consideration? Being that I've never own a Laptop, I'm not sure if I should go that route for my next computer purchase (which is soon!). I must admit, I'm seeing Laptops all over the place and it seems real attractive. Is there anyone out there using a Laptop as their main machine? If so, what are the ups and downs? Any help is appreciated. Thanks!

    Oh yeah, I know it's probably a personal choice but is a 15" good enough or is 17" a must.

    Thanks!



    ~e
     
  2. SpaceJello macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2006
    #2
    if u are doing print design, and not a photographer working with huge photoshop files, the laptop is great. If you need more screen space, many suggest getting an external monitor. i use a laptop myself, but would consider a desktop if you are doing a big load of heavy processing (encoding HD etc)
     
  3. bocomo macrumors 6502

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    Jun 29, 2007
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    New York
    #3
    for serious work, the variable screen angle of a laptop can be a pain but you can always just work at home with a second monitor and then have the ability to take the computer with you...
     
  4. Blue Velvet Moderator emeritus

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2004
    #4
    I'm using a MBP 2.33 as my main machine at home with an external monitor, keyboard and mouse... and frankly, it's not really up to par for large projects. That's probably due to only having 2gbs of RAM and a stock 5400rpm drive, things I'll address soon rather than purchasing Leopard.

    It depends on the kind of work you do, but currently working in InDesign (CS3) on a 16pp A3 CMYK report with images everywhere, the thing does get bogged down, particularly moving between Bridge, Photoshop and Illustrator. I've had to use a number of workarounds to handle certain files, as well as having to ensure that there's 40gb free for scratch files which puts space at a premium.

    QuarkXpress 7 isn't too bad on this machine though, but if it's not your bread and butter app, then that's a moot point.

    I got the MBP to save on space and have some peace and quiet, but in certain things, it's currently worse than my old dual 1.4... so it's worth considering if you max out the RAM to 4gbs and get it with a decent drive in it or run it from a FW800 external, maybe.

    It really does depend on the scope and type of work you intend to do with it.
     
  5. ab2650 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2007
    #5
    It may seem obvious, but IMHO laptops are all about portability. As a photographer I've never been happier than with my 15" MBP... I hardly use it to process images but rather as a portable lightbox and keeping everything organized. But that doesn't negate the fact I *could* do some work on it which is nice.

    To be honest, when doing design (as well as photography) you need screen real estate. Most of what we do isn't terribly processor intensive and can certainly be handled by the C2D not to mention a pair of Xeons.

    So if it were me, and I had to choose just one, Desktop or Laptop, I'd take the Laptop because it's more dual-purpose... Try lugging a Pro with a 24" ACD, or even a 24" iMac on-site somewhere. ;) However if you're totally committed to design and design alone and will be in one location by all means go for a desktop, even if it's the 24" iMac.

    Personally I felt the 17" MBP wasn't an option. It's too big to be really useful as a portable, and when you want a BIG screen, you want 20" and more. It didn't have enough performance over expense (of $ as well as less portability).

    HTH!
     
  6. eclipse525 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    eclipse525

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    #6
    It's a tough choice. Screen real-estate is important and yes I can get a larger monitor to hook up to the Laptop but then the question is will I be hit with performance issue (graphic card, etc.). If I go with a Desktop, then the next step short of Mac Pro (spending a fortune), is a iMac. It's a beautiful machine but I hear that even that is lacking in performance. When I speak of performance, you have to think not just right now but what will last you for a longer period of time. I know there are some people that get a new computer every year or two but I'm not one of those. I think that in itself is financially irresponsible, unless you are bringing in that much work to justify it.

    ~e
     
  7. shecky Guest

    shecky

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    Obviously you're not a golfer.
    #7
    i do 80% print design and 20% motion, film or presentation design, as well as teach. i use the standard CS3, along with FCP and after effects.

    i had to go with only one machine due to budget, so i use a laptop with an external monitor and a bunch of external storage. i have to have a laptop for client meetings, presentations, lectures., etc..

    my next machine will most likely be a desktop, and i will keep this laptop to use for the above reasons when needed.

    it most assuredly works just fine, tho i know a bunch more ram and bigger, faster drives along with a quad processors and a faster system bus would be a noticeable help also.
     
  8. tango554 macrumors member

    Joined:
    May 6, 2007
    #8
    I'm a photographer with a macbook pro 2.2 c2d and I work with huge photoshop files all the time with no problems. Its very convenient to take it to a shoot, vacationing, to a client's office to show them a project, etc etc. Business wise, there's something to be said about looking professional and working remotely and having to tell a client "I wish I had my computer to show you what I'm talking about" sucks. The macbook pro does the job when traveling and when clients clients come to my studio I have a 30" cinema. And technically I have MORE screen real estate than a desktop.

    get the laptop, you'll find uses for it you never imagined.

    ps. I share my studio space with another photographer, a movie maker, 3 painters (2 are also graphic designers), and a music producer. We all work on powerbooks or macbook pros.
     
  9. eclipse525 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    eclipse525

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    #9
    So your MacBook Pro runs that 30" cinema with out any issues? I didn't think the video card could run a monitor of that size?
     
  10. eclipse525 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    eclipse525

    Joined:
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    #10
    I see you have a 15" MacBook. I hear everyone mentioning that the 17" is not worth it and plus it's too big. I guess if you're a roadwarrior of sorts that might be true but honestly, it didn't seem that big or at least as big as everyone is making it out to be. Now if it's value versus overall size then I suppose that's a little more compelling. What's your take? Do you wish you'd gotten the 17" at times?


    ~e
     
  11. darthraige macrumors 68000

    darthraige

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    Aug 8, 2007
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    Coruscant, but Boston will do.
    #11
    I use my Powerbook and MacBook for small editing projects on the road, or on the fly when out in the field. I use my piece of crap G4 Dual 800 for full studio editing. Awaiting the MacPro so I can really utilize everything. All my programs are just too dang slow now. lol
     
  12. shecky Guest

    shecky

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    Obviously you're not a golfer.
    #12
    i am a very big fan of the 17; i think its negatives (cost and size) are outweighed by its benefits (arguably cooler running, faster burner, more ports, bigger screen.) people say "its too big" blah blah blah and they have never made a comparison. go to an apple store, pick them both up at the same time, a 15 and a 17. its a marginal weight difference. close them both and lay the 15 on top of the 17. its barely a finger width larger around. negligible. is it bigger? yes. heavyer? yes. is it not portable and a huge thing to lug around? not even close.

    having said that i went for the 15 for 2 reasons. first and least importantly (maybe 10% of the reason), it was proving difficult to find a bag i liked that would fit the 17. the main second reason was that i realized i would mostly at a desk with an external monitor and the added screensize would rarely come into play. 98% of the time im on an external monitor or a projector. so at the end of the day i decided to have a couple of hundred bucks and get the slightly more portable, slightly smaller 15. if i had to do it again i would probbly go for the 17 since the savings after tax write off is very little. i am happy with the 15 tho.

    having said that; i think what i will really do the next time is a macbook for my portable and a big mac pro for the studio, as i generally do not ever need to work on anything serious "on site" and if i did, the macbook would do most of it fine.
     
  13. SpaceJello macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2006
    #13
    I tried the new iMac 2.8Ghz and Mac Pro 3.0Ghz at the Apple store with a 40in x 40in photoshop file with 4 layers at 300 dpi and it was dreadfully slow already (granted thats a big file - 2.5 G or something).

    Curious, how does the movie maker in your studio uses her macbook pro/powerbook? I seriously can't imagine using my 15" as a full blown editor... its just quiet slow for rendering... Any advice would be great :D
     
  14. eclipse525 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    eclipse525

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    #14
    Drobo and Displays

    Guys, thank for all your advice. I think what I'm going to do is get a 17" MacBook Pro/160Gb drive(7200)/4gigs Ram. In addition, I'll probably get the 24" display to work at home. I decided that I personally need a large screen to work on. It's just a lot easier on many levels when you can see an entire layout/spread. I am attracted to the portability of the Laptop and will have a use for it from time to time, so I think this combo is the right choice at the moment. I do wish the laptop had a larger/faster internal HD. That would help.

    As far as the monitor/display, I use a 24" Cinema at work but I hear a lot of people opting for the cheaper and some say nicer Dell displays. Anybody seen these or heard any feedback?

    Also, while we are at it, how many external HD do you have and what is your method of backing up? Have you hearrd of the DROBO? If so, I know it's a Raid of sorts but even after the demo, I'm left confused. Do I need a backup of the DROBO itself. LOL. Thanks again!
     
  15. jeffgtr macrumors regular

    Joined:
    May 9, 2005
    #15
    having said that; i think what i will really do the next time is a macbook for my portable and a big mac pro for the studio, as i generally do not ever need to work on anything serious "on site" and if i did, the macbook would do most of it fine.

    Thank you, your post helped me finally land on a decision between MB and MBP. I do web design and development as well as some video and audio. My dual G5 2.0 starts to stretch itself with Cubase and several plugins. I think I'm going to get a mid level Mac Book (hopefully I can wait for the new ones, just sold my G4 Ibook so I'm laptopless) and save the difference for a faster desktop next year. Seems like the prudent thing to do (I will still lust after the MBP though).
     

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