photography student Macbook + 23" ACD

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by Whiteapple, Jul 10, 2007.

  1. Whiteapple macrumors regular

    Whiteapple

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    Jan 17, 2006
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    Haute Savoie,France
    #1
    hello all,

    I'm in the market for a new computer for college (art and design) in October.

    I haven't got the budget for a Macbook Pro, and I think it will be a bit overkill (not planning to use Motion and won't have time for gaming...)

    So I'll go with the baseline Macbook and tune it (don't need a superdrive, FW burners work a lot well)

    I use Photoshop CS3 and Aperture at the moment (I'm sure they'll teach me to use them a lot better though). I use that on a 23" ACD and a 1.66 CoreDuo MacMini with 2Gb or RAM and Hitachi 7k100 HDD.

    It works great, but I'll need a portable machine. I did my application portfolio on this computer and performance was suitable (sometimes sluggish in Aperture...)
    However, with the Macbook I'll get some extra GHZ (2.0 vs. 1.66) and I will put 3GB RAM and the new Hitachi 7k200.

    My concern is with the GMA950. Will it be able to drive my photo apps on the 23" plus Mail and Safari on the 13" glossy smoothly ? Or will I notice some slowdown?

    All in all, I'm asking if the experience with the MacBook + 2 displays will be the same as Mini + 1 display. My guess is it should be better since the apps I'll be using aren't GPU dependent. But that GMA950 needing to drive 1920*1200 AND 1280*800...I dunno:confused:

    Please post your experience!

    Thanks
     
  2. chex macrumors regular

    Joined:
    May 17, 2007
    #2
    If I were you I wouldnt buy the ACD - buy a Samsung or Dell monitor and get a Macbook Pro with the money you save. (Personally I would buy the Samsung SM226BW, which is also prettier than the ACD imo.)

    The ACDs are the most overpriced monitors on the market.

    The GPU will be fine to drive that size of screen.
     
  3. pdra05 macrumors regular

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  4. M@lew macrumors 68000

    M@lew

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    #4
    Also try for Lightroom. Runs much nicer on the Intel GPU.
     
  5. Benedictus-x macrumors member

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    Jun 16, 2007
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    The Port!
    #5
    does he not already have an ACD for his mac mini?
     
  6. Denali9 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2007
    #6
    Since you already have an ACD I won't go in the monitor details.

    As for Photoshop, check for yourself, here are some benchmark on photoshop comparing the MB Pro and the macbook.

    http://www.macworld.com/2007/05/reviews/macbookrev/index.php
    http://www.barefeats.com/rosa02.html

    Keep it at 2 gigs, you won't see that much of a difference between 2 gigs and 3 gigs unless you often work with files larger than a 100mb and having matched pair of ram is good for the gma.

    That lovely GMA 950, it would be about time apple upgrade it with something else, it forces too many people to go to the pro...
     
  7. Abstract macrumors Penryn

    Abstract

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    #7
    What? There's quite a bit of difference. LOOK HERE. Look at the Photoshop test. There's around a 25% benefit of having 3 GB instead of 2 GB. Of course, I'm sure he'd only see the benefit if he deals with large files, but that can happen quite easily when dealing with Photoshop unless you're only dealing with Photos.

    Also take a look at the "RAM Hog Test".

    And so why should Apple be in a rush to switch to better integrated graphics (X3000)?

    I think it will be fine. I can drive an external 1600 x 10XY pixel monitor and the built-in 1280 x 800 MB screen, and it wouldn't be unbelievable for it to drive the slightly higher res screen that you have. :)

    On that note, I say don't bother with the 13" MacBook's screen. Just use it in clamshell mode and use only the 23" ACD you have. I'm doing that now. I'm running my 20" monitor, but my MB's screen is turned off. Why bother running the small screen? You split the 64 MB of shared graphics into two sets of 32 MB, where each monitor only gets 32 MB to use. That's fine. After all, monitors were usable with only 32 MB of video memory 3-4 years ago, but again, why bother? Wait for Leopard to be released, and then you'll have the benefit of having multiple desktops. ;) Keep your work on one desktop, and your Safari and Mail.app on the other.
     
  8. munckee macrumors 65816

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    Oct 27, 2005
    #8
    You'll be just fine. I have a 2Ghz C2D macbook running 3GB of ram. I use it for pretty intensive PS work and its been fine so far. It's usually hooked up to a 24" Dell at home.

     
  9. Whiteapple thread starter macrumors regular

    Whiteapple

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2006
    Location:
    Haute Savoie,France
    #9
    Yes I already have an ACD, but thank you anyways !

    OWC's benchmark's really show the benefit of 3GB vs. 2GB....so I'm not going to be cheap on RAM...

    Spaces in Leopard may help, I'll see. But I already have the monitor and will also have the 13", so why not try both ?

    For my concerns, would it be wise to wait for the X3000 ?

    The 32MB+32MB made me think about that : I'm not all in the waiting process and stuff, but since I already save from not buying a Pro, I could also save in waiting for (maybe??) better dual display performance with the X3000.

    What do you think ?

    Edit :munckee do you use both displays or just the 24" ?
     
  10. CPPhoto macrumors member

    Joined:
    May 23, 2007
    #10
    i would recommend a macbook pro if you are going to stick with a portable solution.

    when you end up having aperture, plus CS3, and maybe even DPP (if u use canon) open all at the same time...you'll feel the difference between GMA and a dedicated graphics.

    Using a student discount, you can get a MBP fairly easily...and sell the mini to offset the cost.

    Or, you might save even more money going with a Refurb...sometimes those can have a deeper discount.

    all in all though...when you end up keeping it for a a while, youre going to realize you need that screen real-estate!
     
  11. Digital Skunk macrumors 604

    Digital Skunk

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    #11
    You are a smart guy.... so I will give you the gist of what a college student should do.

    (1) Keep the Mini no matter what.
    (2) Keep the ACD ( I know you aren't selling it) and try not to buy plastic cases for any future displays. Nothing is wrong with the Dells and Samsungs until they crack.
    (3) If you can get the MBP get one, the performance boost will serve you very well, especially when using Aperture and CS3 and so forth
    (4) Don't switch to Lightroom, I have tried and it isn't worth it. Since you started with Aperture you should really keep it. It will run very well on the MacBook especially with maxed out RAM. The MBP would run it even better.
    (5) TRY getting the MacBook Pro, you won't go wrong with more power.

    If you don't want the MacBook Pro that is okay too. Get whatever you can get and use it until it's broken. Push the limits of your hardware. Don't worry too much about what other people are going to say since they have perfected the workflows and methods of doing things that are good for THEM not YOU.

    The minute you start following everyone else's examples and opinions of how to do things you will start to loose your own flow and creative spin on your work.
     
  12. Denali9 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2007
    #12
    Where do you see 25%, it's like less than 5%, even 1.84% for photoshop and actually you lose fps in games, but then again who wants to game on a GMA 950...

    Maybe because some user who would like to switch but are gaming a bit (a lot of college kids...) and cannot move up to the pro model ($$$ being an issue) will choose a Dell and other windows laptop instead...

    I'll go with what some are suggesting, wait a bit and try to save for a Pro, it seems you want more power and if you feel the need to max a macbook, you will quickly want to move on. If you can buy a refurb MB Pro, you may be better served.
     
  13. munckee macrumors 65816

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    Oct 27, 2005
    #13
    :confused: I agree that he should keep it since he has it, but where are you getting plastic shelled displays randomly cracking? I'm on my second dell and had an acrylic ACD in the mix as well, and I've NEVER had a display crack. It sits on a desk.

    ACD's are gorgeous, but your reasoning for spending the extra money isn't particularly convincing, IMO.
     
  14. munckee macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2005
    #14
    I primarily keep the macbook closed, though I've used it open as well. I may switch back to using it open more now that wacom has come out with the ability to switch between screens on their tablets, but I really find that the dell is big enough most of the time.

    Besides, the macbook blocks my view of the TV when its open :D


    I haven't used aperture, but my macbook handles CS3 for photos with no problem. I haven't given it a major workout yet with bigger files, but I pretty regularly work with BIG photoshop files and I still decided to go with the macbook over the pro. I am thinking pretty hard about adding lightroom into the mix as well though.
     
  15. rhagen macrumors regular

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    Jun 13, 2007
    Location:
    San Diego, California
    #15
    A lot of college kids do not play computer games. From what I have seen most of us play console games. Most the computer games I have seen college students play run great on a MacBook already. If they put a GPU of MBP into a MB. Apple would most likely have to raise the prices for the MB or they would be losing a lot of MBP sales. I think the space between the MBP and MB is perfect.
     
  16. Digital Skunk macrumors 604

    Digital Skunk

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    #16
    The cracking thing was a stretch, but really the only thing holding the ACD back from being worth the money is the panel, which is in much need of an update, but the real reason for spending the cash is ColorSync, the added ports, durability of the ACD. Those things get hot when you start to push them to their limits and I have had countless cheap Viewsonics, older Dells, HPs and cheap NECs burn out on me when I am encoding or rendering something over night. The ACD gets HOT... I mean HOT LIKE FIRE, but the display has never been damaged or affected.

    Color shifting and burnt colors occur on the really cheap plastic displays but nothing it wrong with the newer model LCDs. When I update my home system I do want to get some Dell monitors if Apple doesn't update their current lineup, but even if they don't, if Dell doesn't get their cable management fixed I might just pay the extra $200 for the ACD and have a cleaner desktop without the three or four cables going in every direction.
     
  17. Abstract macrumors Penryn

    Abstract

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    #17
    ^^Added ports? The ACD doesn't have added ports when compared to Dells.

    ACDs are better, but it's not because of the LCD panels they use. Well, it isn't unless you're comparing the 23" ACD and the 24" Dell. In that case, the ACD uses a much better LCD panel. However, the 20" Dell and 20" ACD are almost the same (and use the same panel now the large majority of the time), while the newest Dell 30" displays may actually be using a better panel, or at least better technology and backlighting.


    Dell monitor cases don't just "crack" unless you break it yourself. Also, my Dell 20" display is never hot.



    Photoshop CS3 Results: Time taken to execute a custom 21-step action.

    2048 MB= 126.13 seconds
    3072 MB = 95 seconds


    You're right, it's not 25%. It's closer to 30%. I was looking at the performance stats for the slower 1.83 GHz C2D MacBook.
     
  18. Digital Skunk macrumors 604

    Digital Skunk

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    #18
    I think the added FW400 ports alone make it worth the money. I got into a real heated debate with this one member that was the most arrogant and self-righteous person I have ever met and he swore on his Scientology bible that ever other display on the market was cheaper and better spec'd than the Apple displays.

    I still don't believe him since I cannot equate quality with plastic cases. The two Dell monitors and another cheaply made Double Sight display that my school uses all have cracks in them that mysteriously appeared for absolutely no reason what so ever. BIG cracks that let dust and other debris right into the case.

    My Cinema Display gets hot every time I encode in DVD Studio Pro for longer than 4 hours (I know... slow computer :mad:) and I have never had any problems with it. The Dells and Viewsonics that the school use.... are just the worst when running for long hours. They don't get hot but the color shifts dramatically, like a freaking CRT and They flicker every once in a while. I have sworn on the ACD and have only recently considered the newer Dells with the grey and black casing. The big thing keeping me from the Dells is the minute price difference of only $200 or so (their 20" is $400 and Apple's is $550; the Dell 24" is $670 and the Apple 23" is $900; the 27" Dell is $1200 and that is the only one that is a good deal. But for that extra $200 I get two easily accessible firewire 400 ports, USB ports, and that nice shiney Apple :apple::apple: LOGO. :D
     

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