UPDATED!! MacBook Pro vs. Mac Pro, Decision made!!

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by mac user 001, Jun 17, 2008.

  1. mac user 001 macrumors newbie

    Jun 9, 2008


    This is my first post so please bear with me!

    I am planning on making the switch to Mac this summer and have been looking at both the MacBook Pro and Mac Pro very closely. I am not interested in a Macbook or iMac, but they are excellent products!

    I am going to be doing extensive graphics and design work with Adobe CS3 and some Windows Programs that i need for school. As well as general school and office work. Im currently using a HP notebook with:

    - Windows XP (home edition)
    - AMD 1.5ghz Turion Processor
    - 80GB HD
    - 1Gb RAM

    My CPU is constantly at 100% as I run several programs/applications simultaneously. Some of the programs i use for desinging require windows, so I am considering purchasing and running VMWare Fusion to run full time. Bootcamp seems to much hassle having to reboot etc..

    If i purchase a MBP (17") I would upgrade it to 4GB of RAM, with 200GB HD,
    Would it be sufficient enough for my needs? I would like a machine that could run smoothly running many applications and programs side by side without slowing down or freezing.

    I am also considering purchasing a MacPro as another option (I like the whole upgradable side of it, plus im sure this would last longer than the Macbook Pro?) with:

    Two 2.8ghz Processors
    4gb RAM
    320GB HD
    nvidia 8800 GT, 512MB

    Many people comment that this machine is for professional use etc.. and I may not use its full capabilities..

    If it helps these are usually the programs i run everday side by side, for hours on end:

    - iTunes
    - CorelDRAW Graphics suite (windows only)
    - Adobe CS3
    - Microsoft Office (Word, Excel etc.)
    - Firefox (around 4-5 tabs open)
    - MSN Messenger (constantly running)
    - Windows Media Player
    - VMWare Fusion (constantly running)

    Those are from the top of my head, but my Mac would be running all those almost everyday (plus VMWare Fusion). I will not be doing much video editing but may edit the occasional family vacation etc. I do not game either, i have an xbox 360 for that :D

    Im sorry about the confusing post, i tried to make it as simple and understandable as possible lol.

    Money is not an issue i have around £4,000 ($8000) to spend on a machine + Software (i dont mean to brag or anything, just stating my situation)

    My only major issues are:

    - portability, however i must admit after using a notebook for over a year, i
    have rarely made use of its portable functions... only using it in the bed for
    movies etc.

    - Whether the MacBook Pro would be a capable enough machine to run
    everthing smoothly or if I should just purchase a MacPro + 30" ACD.

    Thanks for taking your time to read my post, again sorry for the confusing post lol, if you have any questions please reply, and i look forward to your advice, thanks!
  2. iToaster macrumors 68000


    May 3, 2007
    In front of my MacBook Pro
    The MacBook Pro should suffice for your needs. None of the applications you listed are capable of using 8 processors, and most probably can't even use 2. The MBP is very capable of happily running your apps and those similar to them. The Mac Pro is overkill by a long shot (though it is nice and powerful :D). Be sure to do the RAM upgrade via a third party to save some money (just in case).
  3. mac user 001 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 9, 2008
    Hey man,

    Thanks for the reply, I too was thinking if the MacPro would be too much power lol, but i was a little weary that the MacBook Pro may not be able to handle all those apps etc.. as my current HP notebook barely manages!

    So you would recomment the MacBook Pro, anybody else think otherwise, i highly appreciate it!

    thanks again
  4. Razzerman macrumors regular

    Sep 11, 2007
    Go for Pro

    Read your post - sounds like you're going to be busy! ;)

    If it was my choice, with the £4k and portability not an issue, I'd go with the Mac Pro. 200 gig hard drive space will fill up pretty quickly on the MBP, plus you're running quite a few apps. If you don't game at all, you might want to think about 'downgrading' the graphics card, but that's your choice.

    People assume that the Pro part of Mac Pro means professional. I'd assume it means 'Proper Mac' ;)
  5. jackiecanev2 macrumors 65816


    Jul 6, 2007
    Do you need portability? The MBP can handle those easily. If you need the portability, get an MBP with max ram and a firewire800 external for all the heavy file storage. If you dont plan on taking it anywhere, stick with the quad Pro. You can't have too much power. Besides, not including the ACD, a high end MBP and a low/mid Pro are about the same price, IIRC.
  6. iToaster macrumors 68000


    May 3, 2007
    In front of my MacBook Pro
    Yeah, trust me, there's a huge difference between a 1.5 Ghz Turion and a 2.5 Ghz Core 2 Duo. The Mac Pro is nice, trust me, but the MacBook Pro and an external hard drive would be better for you. (I have experience with both computers in question, the MacBook Pro is great, and I upgraded to Mac Pro because I was doing HD video which the MacBook Pro handled well, though it's no Mac Pro, but the MacBook Pro was really great for everything else)
  7. mac user 001 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 9, 2008
    Thanks for ur responses guys, this really helps.

    Im slowly moving towards the MacPro lol, its just so tempting :rolleyes: and It would last me a while. I was really moving towards the MacBook Pro for a while as i hadnt used a desktop in over a year! But my mind is slowly changing...

    I'll Keep you posted on my final choices, hoping to purchase within the next couple of weeks, after months and months of waiting!:cool:

    More advice is more than welcome, the more the merrier!

    Thanks again
  8. sweet160 macrumors regular


    Oct 2, 2006
    Install bootcamp + Fusion

    I think the MBpro will be alright,

    just one note, I think you should install bootcamp (even if you dont use it) and then select your bootcamp partion in Fusion. Then you have both, without duplicate windows OS, So you can play a game in bootcamp when you want to.
  9. fiercetiger224 macrumors 6502a

    Jan 27, 2004
    What I would do, is get a Mac Pro. Why you ask? Simple. You get way more bang for your buck. I would get a Mac Pro, and later down the line, if you really need portability, get a Macbook.

    Hell, if you want, get an iMac and a Macbook! The iMac is pretty much in line with the Macbook Pro in terms of specs, and if you get it, you essentially have a non-portable Macbook Pro. This is where your Macbook comes in handy. I mean, you ALMOST get TWO computers for the price of ONE. BUT, you get the best of both worlds, desktop + portable. I find that the Macbook Pro is really a ripoff, unless you REALLY need portable gaming, which I think is silly. :p
  10. MattZani macrumors 68030


    Apr 20, 2008
    I would get a Macbook Pro.

    If you can manage to run all the programs you need, just, on your HP, the MBP could run it all, with ease.
  11. cjduckk macrumors newbie


    May 4, 2008
    I agree that the MacBook Pro with max RAM and a beefy FW800 external drive would be the way to go. The machine will more than handle what you need, and while not as upgradable as a Mac Pro, it's a thousand times more portable. You say you've not really taken full advantage of the portability of your HP, but I'm sure many would agree with me in saying it's nice to know you can take it with you if you need to (or desire to).

    If I may suggest, since you seem to do a good bit of graphics and have a fair bit of capital to work with, more screen real estate is never a bad thing. Why not go with the 17" MBP and hook it up to a big ol' Cinema Display? Best of both worlds, eh? Cheers! =)

  12. Super Intendo macrumors regular

    May 26, 2008
    given your budget, why not go with both?

    Even a quad core mac pro would more than suit your needs, that would save you a great deal of money on the mac pro. You could then also get the MBP incase you ever needed to do work on the go, or even if you just wanted to go on the internet on your couch or something.

    if i was in your situation this is definitely what i would do. It may be because its the best option, or it may be because i'm obsessed with owning the most shiny objects with apples on them that i can, but its definitely what i would do :D
  13. dollystereo macrumors 6502a


    Oct 6, 2004
    Why not get a Imac 3GHZ, super fast for your needs, nice 24" inche screen, capable of doing a second 23" wich is great (2x23>30), and maybe get a macbook for portability, even the slowest macbook is way faster than your current setup.

    My 2 cents.
    PD: The mac Pro is overkill, If you get one, is the best and baddest monster around there, and you should get the Radeon HD3970 from macsales.com
    http://eshop.macsales.com/item/ATI Technologies/100435928/
  14. astudentis macrumors regular

    Oct 7, 2007
    since money is not an issue, and since u dont want that much power, why not just for a macpro with 1quad core instead of two, and get a 30 ACD... (but if u want things running smoothly with 30ACD, u would need a good graphics card (ie better than the base 2600xt)...8800gt or 3870 would be good)

    since u already have a laptop (and its working) and u are not too concerned with portability, macpro seems like a good option
  15. iToaster macrumors 68000


    May 3, 2007
    In front of my MacBook Pro
    The 2600 xt is perfectly fine for running the 30" ACD, it can run two of them without a hitch. The 8800 gt is only really good for gaming, the 2600 xt beats it in graphics apps per se. OP, If you do get a Mac Pro and a 30" ACD, you'd be better off with the stock card for your apps. I agree, the single quad core might be better for you if you get a Mac Pro, as it's more than you'll use, but won't suffer a slowdown as easily as a MacBook Pro (not that this is the case).
  16. mac user 001 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 9, 2008
    Thanks everybody for all your advice, I really appreciate it!

    So it seems like the majority are keen on the MacBook Pro and I think coming from my current machine, it will run just fine.:cool: so no worries about whether it's up for the job! That's pretty much answered my main question. :D

    There are a few who suggested a quad core Mac Pro rather than the 8 core config, which is obviously a more sensible configuration for me if I do purchase a Mac Pro, I completely missed that when looking at the Mac Pro.

    If I do go with the MacBook Pro, I want it to last more than a year without slowing down or showing its age if you know what I mean. My HP feels like cr*p after a year!:mad:. Final question really is, truthfully, in the long run what would last longer and have more potential? A MacBook Pro or a quad core Mac Pro?

    Im not too keen on purchasing two Mac's just yet, If I do need the portability around the house, dare I say it, I can use my HP, while the Mac Pro would be my main machine for a long time. Seriously portability really isn't an issue, I see myself occupying a comfy desk with alot of real estate.

    Sorry for babbling on etc.. I tend to do that alot :eek: I just really dont want to regret not getting the right Mac lol.

    Thanks again..

    Hey, so I was measuring up the Macbook Pro to a quad core Mac Pro, and theyre both really close in terms of price around the £1900 mark, excluding an ACD obviously.

    MacBook Pro:

    2.5 Ghz Processor
    4Gb RAM*
    200GB 7200 RPM HD
    Hi resolution display


    Mac Pro:

    one 2.8ghz Processor
    4GB RAM*
    500GB 7200 RPM HD
    Nvidia 8800 GT, 512MB (may choose ATI Radeon HD 2600 XT 256MB)
    Two 16x Optical Drives
    Airport Extreme Card


    *Note: RAM stated in specs above, is from Apple website, so costs may decrease as I intend to purchase 3rd party RAM. I also have a monitor to use with the Mac Pro, but will purchase an ACD in the near future.

    So after looking at the two machines, what do you think would be a better value for money and longer investment?

    Thanks again, just thought I should mention that price similarity.
  17. astudentis macrumors regular

    Oct 7, 2007
    for the longer run, there is no question why you shouldnt go for the mac pro... its a amazing machine, you can add up to 4 HDs to compensate for data accumulation that can occur over a longer period of times

    you also get the option to upgrade ur graphics cards, and can use the pci slots for other things as well, not to say... u can add (16GB of more?) RAM!.. there is something u can brag about hehe
    Ram comes in handy when u have many many things open :D

    with the MBP, u are stuck with the same graphics card, only 4 gb of ram (plenty though)

    also quad>dual... looking at the £55 difference, i would go for MacPRO
  18. Wotan31 macrumors 6502

    Jun 5, 2008
    CPU, memory, and gfx are all more than capable on the MBP. That's not the issue. The deciding factor here is going to be disk I/O and throughput.

    How disk i/o intensive are your activities? With the Mac Pro you have the option of multiple hard drives, and you can use RAID0 or RAID5 to gain a significant increase in disk performance.

    As long as you're happy with 4 GB of RAM, disk i/o will be your only (performance related) deciding factor.
  19. KingYaba macrumors 68040


    Aug 7, 2005
    Up the irons
    Your heart seems set on the Mac Pro so buy it. :) You seem like a very productive individual and a Mac Pro can be a productive machine (in the right hands).

    +1 on the RAID option for Mac Pro
  20. bart rijksen macrumors regular

    Mar 1, 2008
    The mac pro seems better for a long term, than the mbp. If you don't move your computer, i'd suggest the mac pro
  21. mac user 001 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 9, 2008
    Again, Thanks Everybody for the advice this is really making things clearer for me.

    Yeah, after considering the prices of both machines and thinking about the long run, the Mac Pro really is the sensible option. It is far more upgradable than the MBP and I can see myself using it for many many years, infact I see users today who are using the PowerMac G5's with like 5Gb of RAM and they're still standing strong!:D

    Im pretty sure portability wont be a problem, I never moved my current notebook out of my room anyway and have never found any need to do so.

    Im currently thinking about choosing one 2.8ghz processor if i buy the Mac Pro, anybody think that I should choose the two 2.8ghz option, or would a single processor manage just fine in terms of 1-2 years from now. I mean I have no idea how to upgrade a processor or add another one lol :confused:

    bart rijksen
    , I see on your signature you have a 15" MBP, with pretty much the same specs as I would configure, If I ever purchased a MBP. If you had the choice to back to when you were buying your MBP (after already using the MBP for a couple of months now), would you choose the Mac Pro or MBP?

    I'm also looking at various displays, and the two that stand out for me are the ACD and Dell's displays. I've seen various setups with either displays and there is a considerable difference in price between the two, I would look into 2x20" or 2x23/24" montiors as a setup. Dell's Monitors are alot more affordable but the ACD's look soo stunning and match the Mac Pro perfectly.

    What would you go for?

    sorry for the long post lol, im just really excited about purchasing my first Mac.:p

    Thanks again!!:D
  22. DarthTreydor macrumors 6502

    May 25, 2007
    Richmond, VA
    go with a mac pro. if you don't need the portability, why pay for it. you'll have a more upgradable, future-proof machine. when snow leopard comes out you'll be able to get more out of those extra cores.

    on a side note: if you're not going to be gaming, stick with the stock video card. it'll be fine.
  23. Chrispy macrumors 68020


    Dec 27, 2004
    I, too, vote MacPro with one quad-core CPU. I'm leaning in this direction as well. Just trying to figure out if I can transfer my EDU Production Suite CS3 license to mac.

    The desktop class Apple machines really do have lasting power. I'm typing this on a PowerMac G4 dual 1GHz with 1.75GB RAM and it still gets the job done. I have a strong feeling the MacPro is going to outlast the MacBook pro both physically and in performance.
  24. KingYaba macrumors 68040


    Aug 7, 2005
    Up the irons
    I would purchase the stock Mac Pro (Two 2.8ghz Quad-core) with stock RAM and stock hard drive. I would then, with your budget, purchase the Dell display and look to upgrade hard drives and memory elsewhere. DO NOT buy RAM and HD from Apple.
  25. David G. macrumors 65816

    Apr 10, 2007
    If you don't move your computer around buying something other than the Mac Pro is silly. My $0.02

Share This Page