Macbook Pro 15" vs HP HDX18 Premium

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by nyteshaid, Dec 17, 2008.

  1. nyteshaid macrumors newbie

    May 23, 2008
    Hi Guys,

    I've managed to create a slight dilemma in my lovely world..obviously dealing with two specific notebooks.

    As it goes, I've been using an iMac since early '06 to do my graphic designs on; I did often use a PC during that time for design purposes, just not as much as the Mac. I've since freshly arrived in Canada with the intent to stay for about 2yrs. I don't currently have a PC or laptop for that fact, except this on-off use of an older bro's one.

    Getting down to it..I've always wanted a Mac laptop but with limited funds in a fresh country, I'm not too sure what to do. My original choice was the Macbook Pro 17" but since it didn't get updated to match the other Pro's I'm looking at the Macbook Pro 15" maxxed up. My other option is the HP HDX X18-1023CA, the specs I wouldn't change (unfortunately HDD is only 5400rpm but still easily bareable).

    The HP HDX-18 can be found here in CAD$ or more info on the US site here. I say the "1023CA" specifically because it's one of the two models offered here in Canada.

    Apple Macbook Pro 15"
    • Intel Core 2 Duo T9400 2.53GHz
    • 4GB DDR3 RAM
    • 320GB SATA @ 7200
    • NVIDIA GeForce 9400M and 9600M GT with 512MB of GDDR3 memory
    • 8x slot-loading SuperDrive (DVD±R DL/DVD±RW/CD-RW)
    • Ultrathin 15.4" LED-backlit display (1440x900)
    • 2 USB 2.0; 1 Headphone out; 1 microphone-in; 1 RJ-45 (LAN); 1 ExpressCard/34 Slot; 1 FireWire 800 port; 1 Mini DisplayPort
    • Apple Remote
    • AppleCare Protection Plan
    $3,578.71 CAD (tax inclusive) = $4,249.44 AUD

    HP HDX X18-1023CA
    • Intel Core 2 Duo P8400 2.26GHz
    • 4GB DDR2 RAM (I think DDR2)
    • 640GB SATA @ 5400
    • NVIDIA GeForce 9600M GT with 512MB of GDDR3 memory
    • Blu-Ray ROM with SuperMulti DVD±R/RW Double Layer
    • 18.4" Diagonal High Definition HP Ultra Brightview Infinity Display (1920x1080p)
    • 4 USB 2.0; 2 Headphone out; 1 microphone-in; 1 HDMI; 1 VGA (15-pin); 1 eSATA; 1 RJ-45 (LAN); 1 Expansion Port 3; 1 IEEE 1394 Firewire (4-pin); 1 IR (Remote Receiver)
    $2,079.19 CAD (tax inclusive) = $2,493.16 AUD

    Another alternative would be the Macbook Pro 17" with the 320GB @ 7200, Matte, 2.5GHz, AppleCare & Remote; for the same price as the above listed 15". I've listed Aussie Dollars as well because I really don't want to go over $4,000 AUD by too much - although a cap of $3,000-3,500 AUD would have been nicer - the mac needed spec'ing up.

    If I haven't already mentioned, I'll be using CS3/CS4 quite often..this more than anything. Mainly InDesign, Photoshop and Illustrator, as I design 70pp+ magazines and other print design (CD-DVD labels/slicks, workbooks, etc). Although I'm a huge movie / tv fanatic so will watch a lot of videos..with perhaps a future intent to cut and edit short films/videos. I also don't want to rule out the occasional gaming moment either (eg. COD5, BF2, Diablo3, etc..). Gaming won't be that big a deal though.

    I know this is a massively long post but hopefully those that take time out to read over it and shout out their opinion or experiences might be able to help my decision making in some way. I know enough in the technical word to get me by so I'm no noob just to clear that up.

    Thanks in advance guys.

    EDIT: Altered the specs and pricing to refelct the 2.53GHz configuration.
  2. nickcliborne macrumors 6502

    Aug 25, 2008
    Nut house
    The HP looks like a very nice laptop.

    How much carrying it around do you plan on doing? The HP will be almost twice as heavy as the MBP. I suspect that the pair of 320GB hard drives will make it weight more than the listed 8.8lbs (don't forget more heat and noise because of 2 drives).

    How about battery life? I know Apple claims 4 hours but the best I normally see is 3 which is what the reviews have concluded the HP will do.

    Did you have extra money for that expensive software you want to use? It doesn't bother me if you want to pirate software but the MBP will put you much closer to the $5000AUD limit if not over.

    Is bluray movie watching really that important? Only you can decide.

    Is OSX something you can live without? Only you can decide but for me I see both Vista & OSX perform the same tasks efficiently.

    Is backing up your data important? Time Machine is an awesome feature I think nobody should be without. My wife loves the feature because she is an absolute bone head when it comes to using computers. She has convinced herself that the Mac Mini is off just because she turned off the monitor.

    The HP has some really nifty features that I find interesting.
    - Optional tv tuner card that has a remote stored in the express slot area.
    - 1920x1080 resolution on a large 18" screen
    - Optional 7200rpm pair of hard drives.
  3. nyteshaid thread starter macrumors newbie

    May 23, 2008
    Thanks nickcliborne for the pompt reply :)

    The HP indeed looks like a very nice laptop. It's just 'how nice?' is the question.

    I don't plan on carrying it around everyday, only when I'm away from home on a trip or lengthy holiday. I didn't actually take into account the extra heat/noise, hopefully I could find a demo model around to test/feel/hear. Ideally the lighter the better, but I guess there has to be sacrifices at times. As long as the battery last a good solid couple of hours it'll all be good. Definently nothing under 3hrs/2.5hrs; the more hours the merrier of course.

    I already have the software from my PC and Mac use back in Australia so that won't be a problem, foruntately. (Ii'm aware that CS4 takes advantage of Vista's 64bit processing too). The MBP spec'd up already puts me very close to the $5000 MAX limit.

    A LITTLE SOMETHING: Blu-Ray doesn't bother me all that much, it's certainly a bonus with the HP. I have no Blue-Ray media it might entice me to buy up. Earlier, I meant movie fanatic in terms of matroska and xvid.

    Well I've gone almost 2wks without OSX so far haha so that's a start. Ideally, I'd love to have them both working side by side. I believe it is easily possible for me to do my work on either of the platfroms. OSX seemed more of a breeze, more smooth.

    Backing up my data is quite important, especially when work related, although I never used Time Machine on my previous iMac. Perhaps because I never really gave it a thorough look. Haha..quite ammusing, I have a few friends just like that. Assuming I settle on the HP, once the Mac Mini is updated I could buy it also, as I would probably purchase a monitor as well (if I got the HP, and not the Macbook Pro)

    The nifty features
    - I'm not sure if I'd get the TV Tuner Card yet but it something I'd think about.
    - The 1920x1080p resolution as well as the 18.4" screen size would be extremely beneficial in terms of workspace and screen real estate.
    - I wasn't aware there was an optional pair of 7200rpm drives. That might be for the US only? Same with the TV Tuner?
  4. bjorn989 macrumors member

    Aug 8, 2008
    If you have a limit to the amount you can spend, why don't you look at the refurb store. At the moment they have the previous generation MBP 15" 2.5ghz for $1,599.00 (CAD) here. That means you can upgrade the ram and have an external display for under your target price.

    If you like the look of the HP, though by all means go for it. Personally I will never buy another laptop without magsafe and time machine, but I certainly have different tastes to many people so who am I to judge.
  5. nyteshaid thread starter macrumors newbie

    May 23, 2008
    Hmm..I didn't really give the refurbs a chance, mainly because I'm someone who likes the brand new product over a second hand, although I hear that refurbed Macs are often quite alright?

    That could be a possibility, only downfall there is the raw processing power and GFX..for the somewhat intensive design work (and possible video). This 2.6GHz would suit better at total of $2,619.34 CAD (tax inclusive) with AppleCare.

    I could settle for a current gen 2.53GHz which would drop my spec'd up one down to $3,365.14 CAD (tax inclusive). $3,300 CAD is probably max (with the exception of listed pricing) anything much more over that would dry me up really.

    After a bit of thought, I would perhaps not get an external display if I got the HP, but the 15" MBP would certainly need it. Would definitely need the extra RAM too.

    I need a laptop ASAP with a queue of work overloading..and this is too much decision making :( I just hope that once I do decide I can get it in good time, even though Xmas and NYE are just around the corner. I was originally settled on the MBP but then the HP came it's just dodgy indesiciveness.
  6. infernohellion macrumors 6502

    May 14, 2006
    I was going to buy MBP in Australia as well but changed my mind after they upped the price (after announcement of the unibodies) in AUD.

    Back here in Thailand I can order normal price (which is even lower than Australia's Education price given at this exchange rate) or Education price no problem.

    The thing is that Macs need a better graphic card now especially with the upcoming 17". I'm praying for the 17" w/ something better than 9600M GT which obviously is not enough for gaming these days at near native resolution. (Apple, 17" has more space to put things in, 9800M GT pls!!!)
  7. kockgunner macrumors 68000


    Sep 24, 2007
    Vancouver, Canada
    This is a tough choice. Economics tells me to choose the HP, but everything else tells me to get the Macbook Pro. The HP will be really heavy and the build quality will be much worse (this is from experience).
  8. MVApple macrumors 6502a

    Jul 18, 2008
    Take into account that the HP's keyboard and trackpad will feel very cheap. The build quality all around will feel cheap as well. With that said, I saw an HDX16 and the screen was very nice.

    I wish HP would make a "premium" model that was built with aluminum or perhaps carbon fiber. I hate how deep the buttons depress on the trackpad. They go down what seems half an inch instead of being a simple fast click. Anyways, try it out if you can.
  9. alphaod macrumors Core


    Feb 9, 2008
    The HP is great computer but your comparing Apples and oranges. If you want a Mac, you don't have much of a choice. If you don't care, go for the HP.
  10. kellen macrumors 68020


    Aug 11, 2006
    Seattle, WA
    Honestly I would consider first OS X vs. Vista. Make a choice.

    The HP sounds like a desktop. Why not just get a desktop and a less beastly of a laptop for the times you are out on vacation or whatever? 18" screen, dual HD's? Wow. Not really portable, so decide if you want a laptop or not. I understand a desktop isn't portable as well, but for alot less you could deal with a lesser laptop when you need to.
  11. alphaod macrumors Core


    Feb 9, 2008
    Vista is pretty good if you ask me. Less bloated, doesn't crash as much, runs all the applications and games without WINE. I haven't gotten a virus and it feels secure.
  12. cherry su macrumors 65816

    cherry su

    Feb 28, 2008
    you can get the HDX18 and a netbook as a traveling companion. the total would come out less than the price of the MBP. on certain netbooks (such as MSI Wind) you can install OS X on it
  13. nyteshaid thread starter macrumors newbie

    May 23, 2008
    The main purpose of me going for a laptop over a desktop is the fact that I'm only in Canada for 2yrs or less so a desktop would be pointless as I wouldn't be able to bring back with me upon my return home. Also if I do at all go away for a short time I can still take it with me to work on. So a laptop is without a doubt what I want.

    The HP may be more of a desktop laptop but it would be portable for those instances were I to travel. I don't see myself travelling all that much though; not at this stage. I have been getting the feel of a HP the past week as I'm currently using my brothers HP Pavillion dv7 Entertainment Notebook (dv7-1034ca), which is quite similar to the HDX18. Unfortunately lacking the 18.4" or 1080p screen for me to trial. This dv7 seems to have quite a nice finish, and the screen looks rather impressive. The keyboard is full size with numerical keypad which is one of the very few things that feel cheapish.

    This dv7 does seem to give out more heat than expected when watching an xvid..but that wouldn't be too much of a problem if it stayed off my lap. The bro seems to have GRAW2 running nicely on here, although CS3/CS4 Design Premium would be taking up much more of my time and resources. I wasn't too keen on Vista but using it here now, it goes quite alright. I still find OSX to be smoother and more effecient.

    In regards to the HP being heavy, this similar dv7 is quite heavy. Like I said though, I won't be on-the-go with the laptop that much. The MBP has the advantage of the dual OS (unless you hackintosh the HP), along with the aluminium unbody and lighter weight. It does downgrade my screen real estate quite a lot for design..which is a main concern. Would it be worth the sacrifice though? (along with the sacrifice of the 1080p screen, larger hdds, hdmi, esata, 2more usbs)

    A little extra: Seeing and using this HP dv7 is what triggered my added choice of the HDX18. I have been leaning toward the HDX18 lately, but the 'theres nothing like a mac' thing is really blocking my definite answer :( I really have to make a decision within the next day or two as well, unfortunately my undecided stance helps very little with that.

    Any more questions or points please post and I'll reply ASAP. I appreciate all of your replys so far.
  14. nyteshaid thread starter macrumors newbie

    May 23, 2008
    Which ever one I get I don't think I'd get a second laptop / netbook / monitor, even if it does sound appealing.

    The way I see it, the MBP is so expensive that I wouldn't get anything else for at least 2-3yrs, on the other hand the HDX is cheap enough that I would highly consider adding a MBP beside it within a year. Not that any of that really matters. Just a voicing of thoughts.

    EDIT: What if the comparison was between a 17" MBP 2.5GHz 320GB 7200RPM Anti-Glare? The $$ is okay now, but I didn't really consider it because I don't like the older non-unibody design - it's not as sleek/nice looking - along with the keyboard; nor does it have the dual GFX, or Mini DisplayPort if I ever got a 24" Display in the future.
  15. eXan macrumors 601


    Jan 10, 2005
    Why waste money HP now if a year later you will buy a MBP? Why just now get a MBP now? :confused:

    And if you end up with buying a HP, you will be constantly reminded that you saved a bit of money and got a cheap, poorly built, ugly and heavy PC monter-"laptop" that doesn't run OS X and will slow down to crawl after you install all the protection software.
  16. Semiopaque macrumors regular

    Oct 7, 2008
    I think I like the HP better as long as you don't think you're going to be moving it around much, especially if the screen will work for you as-is w/o an additional monitor. I would try to see if I could upgrade the processor a bit as well as the hard drive, though.

    If you need a fast scratch drive for CS and/or video, check out the chipset/benchmarks on the esata that comes with it, though. I've had some issues with FW in Vista 64 which I thought were Apple related, but, based off some research seem to be related to 64 bit Vista (not 100% sure on that , but mine is ridiculously slow on HD write, semi-OK on read in a native boot into Windows).

    I have the refurb prev gen MBP that someone linked earlier and am pretty happy with it, but I need to run both OS X and Windows. If you don't think you're going to need OS X and are comfortable with Windows, I don't see a huge reason to go with the Mac at this point with your stated circumstances, especially given the price difference.
  17. alphaod macrumors Core


    Feb 9, 2008
    I just checked out the machine. HOLY SH**!

    Scratch my last post; don't get the HP. I wouldn't carry that thing around if someone paid me to use the HP.

    I've lugged very big notebooks around, and that thing is huge. For that money and lack of portability, I would get a desktop and an UPS instead.

    Even if you are 200 lbs of pure muscle, I wouldn't.
  18. drichards macrumors 6502a


    Nov 30, 2008
    You would have to be a lunatic to buy the HP.
  19. Rafagas macrumors newbie

    Nov 14, 2007
    I do not understand why to compare two machines with two different OSes. What is the big think and more interesting ? Pure Power or the OS what is running inside the hard ?
  20. OrangeSVTguy macrumors 601


    Sep 16, 2007
    Northeastern Ohio
    I only found one of those HPs on ebay and the seller is just a few miles away selling it for new $1750 shipped(probably sell it cheaper for pickup). But that is here in the states. It looks like a really nice laptop and offers more media features and that screen just looks incredibly large and beautiful. Not something you'd want to be carrying around all the time :p

    Oh it's got 2 hard drives in it so you can actually be carrying(not often) 1TB with you where ever you go.
  21. nyteshaid thread starter macrumors newbie

    May 23, 2008
    This dv7 that I'm using now doesn't make me think 'cheap, poorly built or ugly' infact it looks very nice and seems to handle well enough, so I'm not so sure I would have that on my conscience every day after purchase. Most of my techy mates are all pro-pc, so having asked their opinion, they're really not too much help..except that they sway me even more to the HP.

    Remember that the #1 main purpose for my laptop will be graphic design. So it must be good with that at least. That's why I stress for real estate. Would the 15" hold up to it? I know I've changed my view a couple times, but I wouldn't get an external if I got the MBP, simply to costly. The HP I would consider it, or a FULL HD TV.

    I love everything about the New MBP except that it doesn't have a HD Screen nor is it very big (the screen). A desktop and UPS? But the UPS wouldn't really be able to hand design would it? CS3/CS4. I just don't think the desktop is really a viable solution if I'm giving it up in 2yrs or less.

    Why not just get a MPB now instead of the HP now and MBP later..? Well mainly because in a year I'd (probably) be better off financially than right now. If you want to compare two different machines with the same OS then compare the MBP and HP both with Vista 64. I know you can't really compare OS to Vista. I guess at least with a MBP you can have the better of both worlds. I'll need Windows for compatability issues I often stumble across.

    What if it was between the current 17" MBP vs the HP?
  22. kockgunner macrumors 68000


    Sep 24, 2007
    Vancouver, Canada
    It seems as though you don't care if you use OS X or Vista, so I think in this case, the HP will be better for you because those prices look ridiculous after conversion for the Macbook Pro
  23. macrem macrumors 65816


    Mar 11, 2008
    I don't exactly agree that the HP looks nice. This one looks like a prop from the movie Brazil:


    And upon closer inspection PC laptops are made of cheap plastic, e.g.:

  24. macrem macrumors 65816


    Mar 11, 2008
    IMO the HP stretches the limits of portable. For a machine just portable enough to take back to the US, I'd also consider an iMac. Bigger screen, save some coin. The HP is about as twice as heavy as the MBP & the iMac is about twice as heavy as the HP.
  25. liquidtrend macrumors 6502


    Jul 26, 2008
    the HDX is a sweet desktop replacement.
    i would never look at it as a portable device.
    yes it is portable compaired to a box unit...but come on.

    hp's are solid and have always worked well for me when i needed a pc.
    at work we use hp's all the time.
    theyve got a nice build compaired to other computer companies out there.

    alas, like someone has already posted you are compairing apples to oranges.
    two different operating systems make up the difference here.

    i can tell you that my 4gb of ram in my mbp are used differently than the 4gb ram in my dv7z.
    my macosX isnt as power hungry as my windows vista. therefor i have much more free resources available to me.

    cs3 seems to work better on my mbp then my dv7z.

    if i had to break it down and ask myself:
    a) if money was an issue
    b) do i need such a powerful machine

    so what would i choose?


    as alphaod recently said...
    that 18" is huge.
    my 17" mbp sometimes pisses me off in the portability catagory.
    be weary of this investment.

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