Upgrade from PBG4: MB or MB Pro?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by macdiva22, Apr 6, 2009.

  1. macdiva22 macrumors newbie

    Apr 6, 2009
    I currently have a Powerbook G4 laptop that I purchased in June 2005. I have loved this computer, and it has served me well, but it's gotten very slow, my 80GB of memory is essentially at capacity, and it's simply time for an upgrade.

    I want to upgrade within the next month since I am graduating from college in May and want to use the educational discount. I'm considering the new MacBook (2.4 GHz, and I'm thinking the 4GB upgrade) or the MacBook Pro (2.66GHz). I figure after upgrades and protection plan purchase, the MacBook would save me about $700 over the Pro.

    So--what I'm wondering is, will this computer meet my needs and am I giving up very much by bypassing the Pro? As I said before, my current laptop is slow and operating at capacity. I use programs like InDesign and Photoshop somewhat regularly and am thinking about dabbling in some web design in the future. I do not, however, play online games or anything like that. I love the 15" screen size, but think I could sacrifice the difference for the price savings.

    So, when comparing the new MB and MB Pro, what are your thoughts on value? performance? overall user satisfaction? I do not want to be disappointed with my purchase, but I want to make sure that if I decide to go with the Pro, the extra money I spend is worth it.
  2. ceezy3000 macrumors 6502


    Jan 10, 2009
    The Valley!!
    well one thing i can say regardless of what you get is do not buy RAM from apple. they rip u off. i say buy third party ram from OWc or crucial and install it urself. my recomendation would go for the macbook seeing as u wont be doing anything super graphics intensive and also the gap between graphics of macbook and mbp is lessening.
  3. robindahlia789 macrumors regular

    Dec 28, 2008
  4. Abstract macrumors Penryn


    Dec 27, 2002
    Location Location Location
    What kind of PB were you using before? Was it the 12", 15", or 17"?

    The difference between the 2.4 GHz MacBook and 2.66 GHz 15" MBP is around $700, and what you get is a sliiiiiightly faster computer, and a sliiiiight improvement in screen resolution. Those benefits are minimal. The quality of the LCD panel in the MBPs is really much better though. Since neither screen will give you enough desktop space to work with Photoshop effectively, you may as well get the 13" MB and then buy an external monitor. In that case, your biggest concern wouldn't be the screen. It would be value.

    The 15" MBP also comes with a video card, which will make Photoshop CS4 a bit faster, but not CS3 or earlier versions. The 9400M in the MacBook actually isn't bad, so it wouldn't even be a large penalty if you were to use CS4.

    I think that if you need portability, get the MBP, and if you're using it mainly at home, get the 13" MB. I know most people will make the opposite recommendation due to the slight difference in size, but if you go out often and want to work with Photoshop, it would be advantageous to have a better screen with you wherever you go. If you know you'll be working from home more often, then the MB's smaller screen size and poorer quality isn't a major issue.
  5. macdiva22 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Apr 6, 2009
    Thanks for the responses so far. To specify more clearly--I have a 15" right now, which is partially why I have some concerns over screen size--I'm already so used to this size (and love it!), but as I said before, I'm willing to make some sacrifices for the price. And I have noticed that the resolution is obviously much improved in the newer versions, which would perhaps make up for some of this. As for software, I plan on purchasing the newest version of Adobe Creative Suite Premium.

    So far, I feel that the trade-off between the MBP and MB is minimal--any other thoughts on this?
  6. clyde2801 macrumors 601


    Mar 6, 2008
    In the land of no hills and red dirt.
    If your current system meets your needs, but the largest, fastest IDE hard drive that you can and pay an authorized 3rd party repair shop to install the new drive. WD makes a 250 gig drive, and samsung makes a single platter 160 gig drive that is alleged to be as fast as many 7200 rpm ones.

    Max out the ram on your present rig if you haven't done so already. Even if you have a 12", it will go up to 1.25 gigs of ram. Mine's still fairly usable for everyday lightweight computing.

    If you want to get a new unibody macbook, the 2.4 is essentially the same as the base uni macbook pro except for a firewire port, mini express card port, the nvidia 9600 graphics card, and a smaller, less desirable screen. It does have portability going for it. If you've got a decent lcd monitor already, it's no problem at all to hook it up to it when you're at your desk.

    I have a preference for the MBP because of the screen. You may be okay with the MB's, who knows? I'd suggest taking a tim burton dvd to the apple store to see if you're comfortable with either machine's contrast ratios and abilities to differentiate dark colors. If you're going to upgrade, you'd probably tell more of a difference going to a 7200 rpm drive than with the ram, especially if you're going to be doing disk intensive programs.

    Again, see about maxing out the ram and hard drives of your g4 before you spend a wad of cash getting a new system. If you're just about to get out of college, be prepared for monthly love letters from Sallie Mae.
  7. kindablue09 macrumors regular


    Mar 26, 2009
    If cash is a worry, I would check out the refurb store. Refurbs are almost always cheaper than the educational discount and as good as new.
  8. notjustjay macrumors 603


    Sep 19, 2003
    Canada, eh?
    Do you need Firewire? ;) :rolleyes:

    My sister's in a similar situation, her 15" PowerBook G4 is dying and she is looking at replacing it. She does design work and relies on InDesign and Photoshop. The 13" MacBook is tempting but she's not sure about dropping the screen resolution.
  9. pablol macrumors member

    Jun 23, 2003
    If you've survived this long with a PBG4, clearly you do not need the extra features of the MBP. I'd save yourself some money and get the Macbook, and it will fly compared to what you've got now.
  10. macdiva22 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Apr 6, 2009
    What about watching videos. Is there much difference between the MB and MBP? I'm still really weary of giving up the 15" screen--but maybe going to the 13" isn't all that big of a deal. More thoughts on screen size specifically?
  11. dmmcintyre3 macrumors 68020

    Mar 4, 2007
    It is easy to go to a smaller laptop if the screen is the same resolution. Is your PB a 1280*854 model or a 1440*960 model?

    Edit; June means it is a 1280*854 model so it is the same resolution just smaller. I would go with the 15 inch even though the MacBook is the same resolution of my PB. If you want to save money you can buy a last gen 15 inch for the same price as the high end MacBook

    Check the refurb store too.
  12. Wotan31 macrumors 6502

    Jun 5, 2008
    I recently upgraded from a 1.67 hires PBG4 to an MBP. I went with the MBP instead of regular MB because I need that FW800 port. The added screen resolution is also much nicer than standard MB (although it's LESS than my old PB! 1440x900 vs. 1440x960).

    I have three 1TB hard drives, a Lexar Pro CF card reader, Epson flat bed scanner, and Sony DVD burner that are all Firewire. I *need* that port.

    Shame on Apple for removing it from the standard Macbook. :mad: No matter which you choose though, it'll be leagues quicker than the PBG4.
  13. clyde2801 macrumors 601


    Mar 6, 2008
    In the land of no hills and red dirt.
    Or, you can go on craiglist and look for a prior generation MBP for a discount. Many of them are eligible for applecare or already have extended applecare on them.

    Assuming you have software that doesn't depend upon rosetta (is complied for both ppc and intel) you should tell a noticeable speed difference between any core2duo mbp and the pb.

    I still think you should investigate getting a bigger/faster hard disk instead of a new machine and maxing out the ram if your current system meets your needs. Spending a couple of hundred bucks to buy you another year or two of use is still a viable option. When it does finally give up the ghost, and/or you can't use it for a program or process that is necessary, you can then buy a mbp with the 8 processor cores or whatever else intel will be offering then. Okay, I'll shut up about this now..;)
  14. EspressoLove macrumors 6502


    Jun 29, 2007
    Bay Area
    I still have '07 MBP, so I'm in different situation ...
    Yet I'd wait until fall - when Nehalem CPUs will be unleashed!
    (Apple is slow, but Intel is forcing ;))
    Maybe they'll fix also weak display hinge & make 'anti-glare' option just like 17"
    And my dream upgrade would be 1680x1050 resolution !!!!
    (and you student discount still holds, just ask around)
  15. EspressoLove macrumors 6502


    Jun 29, 2007
    Bay Area
    Plus they'll "allow" 8Gb RAM to be addressed
    (it's there in the same chipset as 17", only waiting on Apple's different thinking :confused::(:mad:)
    This might be a great difference for Photoshop for years to come ...

    And this "upgrade" might happen even sooner - around WWDC, as a bunch of CPUs get uprated a notch.
  16. AstrosFan macrumors 6502


    Jul 26, 2005
    I had a 1.5 GHz 15" PB G4 & recently upgraded to the Unibody 2.4 GHz MB and love it. I personally don't have a problem with the screen quality on the MB, but I know others hate it.

    I will say that the 13" is MUCH more portable than my 15" PB was; I honestly never really felt limited by the portability of the PB, but now having the MB, I realize how much easier it is to move around the house as well as carry around in a bag.

    I think for everyday use, the MB certainly has enough power - if your applications are significantly graphics-intensive, then the MBP has an advantage.

    Good luck - in either case, you'll end up with a machine you'll be very happy with!
  17. macdiva22 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Apr 6, 2009
    Thanks to everyone for all your replies, they've definitely been helpful in informing my decision. Right now I think I'm going to go with the new MB and also get more ram/a bigger hard drive for my PB so that I can still use it when I feel the bigger screen size is necessary.

    I can't wait to have my new SHINY MB! Thanks again for the advice!
  18. miles01110 macrumors Core


    Jul 24, 2006
    The Ivory Tower (I'm not coming down)
    If the most intensive thing you'll be doing is using InDesign and PS the Macbook will do just fine. However, if screen quality as opposed to size is an issue the Macbook screens are noticeably worse than the MBP. This might not matter to you if you hook it up to an external.
  19. Scottsdale macrumors 601


    Sep 19, 2008
    Two problems with the MacBook.

    One. The display is terribly inferior to the MBP display. It has terrible dark colors. Black seems more like purplish charcoal than BLACK. Also, viewing from an angle is just terrible. You have to look dead on to see the display properly.

    Two. Not just the size but also the resolution. If there was a way to change the resolution to 1440 x 900, then the 13" size would be okay. But, the resolution is only x800 which means you lose a lot of potential screen real estate.

    I would highly recommend you go with the MBP. For $1699 you can get a refurbished 2.4 GHz MBP, with beautiful display, iLife 09, OS X Leopard, 256 MB dedicated DUAL graphics, and a one year warranty. The thing comes like new to you. Still can buy the AppleCare to extend warranty out to three years. You save $300, and the price is only $100 over the high-end MB new.

    Good luck whichever route you go.
  20. AstrosFan macrumors 6502


    Jul 26, 2005
    You are absolutely right about the viewing angle - it's tough to see from the side or even if the screen is tilted back too far.

    To fairly compare price, though, remember that if you're going to get Applecare, it's more expensive for MBP than MBs, though, so the price difference will be > $100 between the two computers.

    In either case, the OP will likely love the performance of the new machine.
  21. brop52 macrumors 68000


    Feb 26, 2007
    I usually use my MB by sitting in front of it rather than 2 feet south by northeast of the screen. This can be fixed by having a good stand and using proper height. (It also keeps the machine cool). I don't have any problem with the quality of the screen or eye strain or anything else and I'm on my computer for most of the day. If it bugs you that much then obviously you wouldn't be happy with a MB. The same people complain about the 20" iMac.

    If you don't need the GPU, can tolerate the MB screen, are ok with the smaller size of the MB, and don't need firewire then you shouldn't buy the MBP.

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