Looking to purchase 1st Mac - MacBook Pro 17" options?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by bespoken4, Jul 19, 2010.

  1. bespoken4 macrumors newbie

    Jul 19, 2010
    Hi everyone -

    this will be my first time purchasing a Mac. I have decided to get the 17" because it is not something I will be porting with me very often and would prefer as large a screen as possible.

    Some of my uses include:
    Heavy photo editing, batch editing (photoshop)
    general internet browsing (usually have many tabs open)
    listening to music
    watching dvds

    I typically multitask a lot, so will frequently have a lot of browser tabs open, photoshop, maybe Word, etc open at the same time.

    I'm looking to purchase the fastest system for under ~$2600-$2800 I would say. I am willing to upgrade (i5 vs i7, 4gb ram vs 8, 5400 vs 7200 rpm, SSD?) if it will make a significant impact - but am ok with not upgrading if the increase in performance is very small.

    I would greatly appreciate your help! Thanks!! :)
  2. Hellhammer Moderator


    Staff Member

    Dec 10, 2008
    Buy the stock 17", just add 7200rpm instead of 5400rpm. RAM you can upgrade later on if needed and currently SSDs are very expensive if you need decent amount of capacity. If you don't need the DVD drive a lot, replace it with SSD. You can always get an ext DVD player
  3. shoppy macrumors 6502a

    Mar 4, 2007
    I have the stock 17" and have just the standard 5400rpm hitachi drive and it is amazingly fast compared to my previous c2d 17". It can multitask and my system is still very usable.
  4. Sankersizzle macrumors 6502a


    Jun 5, 2010
    i've also got the stock 17" with the hard drive. My sister just got the one with the i7. there is no discernable difference in speed even with heavy usage, but in benchmarks the i7 is a wee bit faster (a really wee bit, like 5-9%). the money is much better spent on a SSD or 7200 RPM hard drive, the SSD will be the biggest performance improvement. the speed will be sure to astonish you. it will also make the opening of large photoshop files much faster.
  5. bespoken4 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 19, 2010
    thanks everyone!!
    and the 8gb ram? don't need that?
  6. Corndog5595 macrumors 65816

    Jul 16, 2010
    you can get the ram cheaper elsewhere and install it yourself if you decide you do need it.
  7. djasterix macrumors 6502a


    Apr 10, 2010
    Paradise City
    If you have the budget then go for it, specially if you're going to multitask a lot
  8. Stinkysteve macrumors member

    Dec 21, 2002
    Westchester County, NY
    And be sure to save the original RAM so you can put it back in for any needed Apple servicing.

    Buy the AppleCare.
  9. Pentad macrumors 6502a


    Nov 26, 2003
    You mentioned high end Photoshop work so I will offer my experiences and what I've seen. I teach at a university and I spend a great deal of time in two areas: VMs and Photoshop CS5 (just moved from CS4). I run some pretty high end scripts on TIFF images that are HUGE in size.

    Having both the 17" I7 and 17" I5, there is no comparison. The I7 is simply faster. I would estimate between 10% to 15% per task. Many people here would argue that its not that much of a difference but I would disagree. If I'm gaining 15% per PS script, the time savings starts to grow exponentially. This makes it very valuable to me. Now, if you are not a power user, I can see where the difference would be negligible.

    My time with VMware and Virtualbox (though its not a great example) also shows that the I7 shines very well here.

    I could give you technical reasons why but in the end, its simply faster. Is it worth $200 for the speed boost? I think so. I consider $200 a small sum and when you factor the life of the product and time savings, I feel $200 becomes a mute point.

    After using 8 Gig of Ram for over a year now, I could never go back to anything smaller. PS will gobble up memory and video memory very quickly. The higher the video card memory the better PS will perform at some tasks. PS will off load some of the editing tasks to the video card (GPU).

    A faster hard drive will just load and save quicker and make the system seem snappier.

    I don't know if my work and the work you plan on doing match but this is just my experience.

    If you have the resources and feel you need the extra power, I would suggest:

    -Go with I7
    -Go with 8 Gig of ram (buy 3rd party to save a bit of money if you wish)
    -Upgrade to the 7200 HD
    -Purchase Applecare - its worth it

    Lastly, I see people post to keep the original equipment (memory and hard drive) so if you have to return the machine for service, Apple won't know you upgraded some parts. I believe Apple clearly states these are user replaceable parts. I've had my 15" MBP serviced with 8 Gig of Ram and a larger/faster HD without a peep from Apple about it.

    I hope all of these posts help in your decision process.

    Good Luck!
  10. bespoken4 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 19, 2010
  11. djasterix macrumors 6502a


    Apr 10, 2010
    Paradise City
    That's true, Apple never minds if you have upgraded RAM or HDD
  12. mongoose8p macrumors regular

    May 15, 2007
    if you buy applecare DO NOT BUY IT FROM APPLE they sell it for $350 which is a ripoff compared to the competition. You can get it on ebay for $135 and all you do is enter your code on apple's website for 3 years. I've done it a bunch of times on my mac and friends and it saves a ton of money. If you don't feel comfortable with ebay at least do Amazon and save yourself some cash
  13. chrmjenkins macrumors 603


    Oct 29, 2007
    Actually, the 128 GB SSD would be the most speed improving upgrade if you can tolerate only having 128 GB of space. 8 GB of RAM is overkill for your needs. You could upgrade to the i7, but it would be very little ROI.

    Squaretrade, with coupon codes from places like retailmenot.com will be a lot cheaper than applecare.

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