Web designer: MacBook vs MacBook Pro

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by virtual, Apr 10, 2009.

  1. virtual macrumors member

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2006
    Location:
    Brazil
    #1
    I need a laptop to take to take to-and-fro our work office (I am a Web designer and the most intensive app I use is Photoshop CS3 (Not 4) and will not be playing games), and have narrowed my options down to a MacBook or MacBook Pro. I would buy using my education discount selecting the 2.4GHz on both models and upgrading the RAM to 4GB:

    MacBook - £1,080
    MacBook Pro - £1,300

    Now, I don't care about the extra 2" of screen or the fact that it is a better screen - I would be using an external monitor (plus the MacBook screen is good enough for me).

    So, the only difference would be the graphics card. I would probably also upgrade the HDD to a 7200 RPM which is only available on the MBP. So here is my situation:

    1) The 9600M GT in tests only seem to be a bit better than the integrated 9400M - so would it make much difference for me? (I'm not concerned about the RAM - I'll have 3.75GB free)

    2) Would the 7200 HDD make much difference to me?

    3) Is the extra £220 worth it to me all-in0all, do you think?

    Thanks very much!
     
  2. miles01110 macrumors Core

    miles01110

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    The Ivory Tower (I'm not coming down)
    #2
    There is almost zero reason for you to get the Macbook Pro if you don't care about the screen. The Macbook will be able to handle CS just fine. A 7200 RPM drive also will not really make that much difference since most of your files are going to be fairly small to begin with.
     
  3. neiltc13 macrumors 68040

    neiltc13

    Joined:
    May 27, 2006
    #3
    I don't think you need 4GB RAM or a 2.4GHz processor. I have a 2.0GHz MacBook with 2GB RAM and I do very similar work to you. My computer handles it great.

    There is no real reason to buy the 2.4GHz MacBook. It has a slightly faster processor and a slightly larger hard drive as well as a backlit keyboard. However, it's £200 more expensive for those tiny extras. Not worth it in my opinion.

    Get the 2.0GHz MacBook with 2GB RAM and you'll be fine. If you're not, you can always upgrade the RAM later yourself.

    And also, when did Brazil change its currency to pounds?!
     
  4. spinnerlys Guest

    spinnerlys

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    forlod bygningen
    #4
    EDIT:
    1. If Photoshop CS 3 is the only graphic intensive application you use the 9400 M will be more than fine.
    /EDIT

    A friend of mine worked happily designing web sites and posters (A0) using the white MacBook, but recently has upgraded to the MacBook Pro.

    2. The 7200 RPM drive would make a difference in loading times of big files or applications or even swapping to HDD. You can buy one aftermarket and exchange the drive yourself. It's quite easy and only needs one screwdriver.
    Currently Seagate has released a 500GB 7200 RPM 2.5" drive, but is out of stock.

    3. If the difference is only 220GBP (where is the pound sign btw on non british keyboards?) (220GBP = 322$ = 245€) I would go for the MBP, if you don't mind the size and extra weight.

    I had to pay more than 300 GBP for the difference, but I did get the better machine, although I don't do web design, more like video post production and photoshopping a lot.
     
  5. neiltc13 macrumors 68040

    neiltc13

    Joined:
    May 27, 2006
    #5
    The OP says that they will only be using CS3. It doesn't have any GPU acceleration, so performance on the MacBook and MacBook Pro will be equal.
     
  6. virtual thread starter macrumors member

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    Sep 30, 2006
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    Brazil
    #6
    And also, when did Brazil change its currency to pounds?!
    I'm originally from Brazil, but moved to England :)

    Some very interesting posts. I think I'll probably go for the MB (I already have an old MB so still have a nice 13.3" Brandhaven case as well, for an extra £35 saved!). Will definitely have to ponder this some more, though.

    Thanks :)

    Edit: Oh yes, I forgot. I wouldn't be travelling that much with the laptop (only to-and-fro the office), but when Snow Leopard comes out and uses the GPU for extra CPU tasks, would the better GPU in the MBP be much more advantageous?
     
  7. chaos86 macrumors 65816

    chaos86

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    #7
    What's wrong with your old MB? I guess the intergrated graphics are a little slow in photoshop for filters, but for everything else web design related you're doing fine with a 1.83ghz CD. And going from that to one of the newest models is a short jump for a lot of cash. My vote: no need for a mac upgrade. Buy yourself a great big wacom tablet, or a nice new LCD, or a really good digital camera.
     
  8. spinnerlys Guest

    spinnerlys

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    #8
    Thanks, I was really tired and must have misread that.

    If it's CS 3, then the MacBook will be more than fine, even the white one.
     
  9. PeterQC macrumors 6502a

    PeterQC

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2008
    #9
    Just take the MacBook 2.4 GHz if you have a screen. It's not like Web designing is that CPU and GPU intensive anyway (in comparison with 3D or Photo editing). I was working (Graphic Designer) on a 13'' MacBook and I was almost fine, just the screen was a little too small.
     
  10. throttlemeister macrumors 6502a

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    Netherlands
    #10
    Re: harddisks, always get the fastest you can get. Contrary to remarks in this thread, you WILL notice it and significantly so with every disk access, regardless of size.

    Disk throughput is NOT the limiting factor in computers. Disk access is. Latency and access times. Both are significantly reduced with a 7200rpm drive when compared to a 5400rpm drive. If the 2.5" 10.000rpm raptors would work in a laptop (do they? EDIT: no they don't, they are too high (15mm)), they would be even better.

    Personally, I would prefer a disk that had only 25MB/s sustained transfer with 5ms access time over a disk 50MB/s sustained transfer and 10ms accesstime. Sustained transfer rates you only notice with large files. Access times you notice with every little drive access, and the smaller the files or the more files you access, the more it is noticeable.
     
  11. virtual thread starter macrumors member

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    Sep 30, 2006
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    Brazil
    #11
    I deal mainly in text files and some Photoshop work. I'm guessing the only areas I would see any difference is when opening large files (50MB+) of which I have very few indeed, and when installing programs or updates.

    HDD's are completely out of my area of expertise, but do you know how much difference there would really be between the "250GB Serial ATA Drive @ 5400 rpm" and the "250GB Serial ATA @ 7200" in opening a 50MB file, and installing a Leopard (or Snow Leopard) version update?

    Also, do you know if Snow Leopard would be able to use the GPU for CPU activity, or whether SL would not use the GPU because it is integrated?

    Thanks!
     
  12. throttlemeister macrumors 6502a

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    Netherlands
    #12
    Read my post again, the benefits particularly show with accessing lots of small files.

    Example:
    Seagate 5400.6 5400rpm drive will have a latency of 5.6ms and a random read seek time of 14ms. That means to access any file on your harddisk, you spend 19.6ms waiting before it even starts reading anything.

    Seagate 7200.4 7200rpm drive will have a latency of 4.17ms and a random read seek time of 11ms. This file will only need 15.17ms before it starts reading your file.

    Now you may think a difference of 5.5ms is trivial as it is so short, but it is 5.5ms for EVERY access you, a program you run, or the OS try to do to the disk. That also means if you have 1mb files that is fragmented in 10 pieces (and every file system fragments, OS X HFS included), you spend 10x that time waiting for it to find what it needs to read.

    The raw throughput of these disks are probably something like 50MB/s for 5400rpm and 60-ish MB/s for the 7200rpm, nothing really that exciting except if you are maybe doing movie editing and you rely on constant high throughput to your disks.

    The above is also why SSD are so stonkin fast. Not because their raw throughput is so high - they are often actually lower than a good normal harddisk - but because their access times and latencies are close to zero.
     
  13. JoelHodder macrumors member

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    Apr 2, 2009
    Location:
    Oxford
    #13
    I agree with what your saying about the faster drives making a much bigger difference than most people think...but do you think that an SSD should be a major/definite feature for my next computer/mac to have? :confused:
     
  14. throttlemeister macrumors 6502a

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    #14
    Right now, at current prices and current storage sizes of SSD, I personnally cannot justify it. They just offer too little storage at too high a price for me. Depending on your needs, it may be ok.

    But in one or two years, I think SSD will take over from HDD for anything except mass storage. Particularly laptops will move over to SSD as prices come down, as their sizes get close to normal laptop storage capacities. Desktops will get SSD's as main storage, with option for second 2TB storage in the shape of a traditional HDD.

    Then again, I could be all wrong. :)
     

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