More video memory helps with... what, exactly?

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Eauboy, Apr 14, 2008.

  1. Eauboy macrumors regular

    Eauboy

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2008
    Location:
    Washington, DC
    #1
    I'm going to switch from an aging Thinkpad to a MacBook Pro sooner rather than later. Given that the recent product refresh wasn't terribly inspiring, I am strongly considering getting a refurb of one of the previous gen models. It looks like I can save as much as $700, which would go a long way toward software.

    I will be using the laptop mostly for photo organizing and light editing. I will almost certainly use either Lightroom or Aperture for RAW workflow, and Photoshop Elements for light editing as needed. So, for sure curves/levels and possibly some adjustment layers but I don't anticipate becoming a hardcore CS3 user.

    The quest then is, should I worry about more video memory beyond 256? The Refurb previous gen models don't offer 512. Is there any reason to think that within the expected life of the MBP that I'll wish I had more video memory?

    Also, can anyone doing this type of work (I have a library of 7K images and growing) comment on how much performance gain I would see from going from a 5400RPM drive to a 7200RPM drive? Lightroom on my Thinkpad was a real dog, and seemed to work the drive pretty vigorously. My gut instinct is to spend the extra dollars on the faster drive.


    Thanks...
     
  2. killmoms macrumors 68040

    killmoms

    Joined:
    Jun 23, 2003
    Location:
    Washington, DC
    #2
    No, there's no particular worth in video memory for the tasks you're doing, as they're all RAM and CPU bound, and very little (except some filters in Aperture) are actually done on the GPU.

    As for the drive, I'd say you'd be better served by the faster one (and as much RAM as you can stuff in the machine) than video memory.
     
  3. bking1000 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2007
    #3
    All things being equal, a faster drive reads and possibly writes faster. However, it's rare all things are equal. Often the 7200RPM drives are smaller than the 5400RPM drives, and when data density is lower, speeds are slightly lower. There are other factors as well. If you really want to optimize your drive, then google for benchmarks on the drives you are considering. Or post a question on the Macbook pro section of the site (and get deluged with answers). Honestly, though, a newer 7200RPM 200GB drive or 5400RPM 250GB drive will perform pretty closely the same, and you get a bit more w/the larger drive. From my research, opinions on reliability are pretty much all over the map. I put in a 7200RPM 200GB Hitachi drive, and haven't had an issue. Others swear by the 5400RPM 250GB Western Digital.

    One thing that seems agreed upon -- any of these drives will run quicker than the stock 120GB or 160GB 5400RPM drive that comes in the Macbook Pro as the stock drive.

    p.s. save the cash on the refurbed, and get a new lens or software. The current MacBook gen doesn't offer a tremendous improvement over the last one to justify that much difference.
     
  4. Eauboy thread starter macrumors regular

    Eauboy

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2008
    Location:
    Washington, DC
  5. termina3 macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2007
    Location:
    TX
    #5
    Keep in mind that eventually you'll transfer most of your images (i.e. you'll archive some) to optical or an ext. HDD.
     

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