What MBP is going to do the job without being overkill?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by brandonn91, May 11, 2010.

  1. brandonn91 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Apr 30, 2010
    #1
    I am planning on purchasing a 15.4" Macbook Pro. I'm going to be using it for a graphic arts major. I plan on using it for:

    -Word processing
    -Design (Photoshop, Illustrator, etc)
    -Movie Editing (After Effects, Premiere, etc)
    -3D Rendering
    -Gaming
    -Music
    -Internet
    -Email
    -Other tasks

    Many of these require more than one heavy program to run at a time, and I don't know what 15" Macbook Pro will meet my needs without being overdone. Apple's online assistance is basically nonexistent, so I don't know who to go to with my questions.

    Should I go with the i5 2.4, the i5 2.53, or the i7 2.66?
    And is the High Resolution screen upgrade worth the $100 dollars if I'm going into graphic design?
    Also, where can I find the best deal for 6 or 8gb RAM upgrade instead of Apple's $400?

    Thanks for all your help!
     
  2. Emoo macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2010
    Location:
    Texas
    #2
    When you're looking at the three models, you can pretty much ignore the mid-range one. It's a nearly unnoticeable difference between the base and the mid.

    That being said, I'll be doing a lot of the same things you're doing, and I went with the i7, and I think I would recommend the same to you. It's faster, the GPU is bigger, and when you're rendering, CPU speed is a big deal.

    I didn't bother with Hi-res, mainly because I bought it at my local Best Buy, but the screen is a reasonable size, and if you need to you can always hook up an external monitor for more space. Also the Best Buy extended warranty is nicer than AppleCare because it offers Accidental Damage protection.

    Good luck with your new machine! :)
     
  3. DesmoPilot macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2008
    #3
    Without a doubt, YES!
     
  4. Eddyisgreat macrumors 601

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2007
    #4
    Overkill? If there was a ROFL smiley on this thing i'd have about 50 of them just rolling all over the place.

    -Word processing
    -Music
    -Internet
    -Email
    -Other tasks

    These can only be done so fast. Heck you can do those on an iPad.

    -Design (Photoshop, Illustrator, etc)
    -Movie Editing (After Effects, Premiere, etc)
    -3D Rendering
    -Gaming

    These scale upwards. Infact, depending on how technical you are, the MBP may not be up to the task, but since you are just starting out (I assume, as a student) and you don't have any clients breathing down your neck, you won't need the breakneck wallet-smashing speed of a decked out Mac Pro.

    The lowest end Macbook Pro will be fine, but the highest end will be faster.
     
  5. brandonn91 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Apr 30, 2010
    #5
    Okay.. Well this is getting me on the right track. As for the list of things I'll be doing with it.. that is just a list of EVERYTHING I will be doing. It's not an exclusive list by all means, either.

    I suppose what I really want to know is that should I upgrade to the i7 and the 512mb graphics card? I want the specs to be higher so that they can last a few more years, especially with new games which keep raising the bar. If I were to get the lower end, is it easy enough (and not more expensive) to upgrade the graphics card to a higher end one?
     
  6. Emoo macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2010
    Location:
    Texas
    #6
    I don't actually think it's possible to upgrade the graphics card in the MBP without buying a new system. If you think you'll need the 512 sometime during the life of your computer, then get the high end now.
     
  7. kyleh613 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2010
    #7
    You couldn't make a more obvious statement if you tried.
     
  8. snaky69 macrumors 603

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2008
    #8
    The graphics card is soldered onto the mainboard, as are most components except the RAM, Hard Drive and Optical Drive, so upgrading the graphics card is impossible, as is the case of 99% of laptops.
     
  9. kyleh613 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2010
    #9
    It sounds like you are new and or nervous to laptops and computers in general. I really don't think you should be buying such an expensive and high end Mac unless you really know what you are doing. You are just going to regret your purchase and sell it. Don't jump just because it looks like a powerful machine. Get a windows based laptop instead, it can do everything you want, for a lot cheaper.

    I know this is a mac forum and you are looking for advice on buying a mac, but i'm just going to be blunt, you are going to be wasting a lot of money on something you likely won't be happy with. Thinking you could upgrade the graphics chip on a laptop is a pretty clear cut sign that you should steer clear of an expensive machine for the time being.
     
  10. 3rdi macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    May 12, 2010
    #10
    I'm having a hard time choosing the screen high res g/ag

    -Design (Photoshop, Illustrator, etc)
    -Movie Editing (After Effects, Premiere, etc)
    -3D Rendering
    -Gaming
     
  11. Eddyisgreat macrumors 601

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2007
    #11
    You're right lol ambiguity ftl :D

    What I ment to say was:

    Get as much as you can afford.

    yeah...no...

    MXM slot.
     
  12. kyleh613 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2010
    #12
    Haha that is much better. :p
     
  13. brandonn91 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Apr 30, 2010
    #13
    I actually do know what I'm doing and I've been doing it since sixth grade. I've had a lot of experience with computers, this is just my first laptop and I have to get a mbp for my program. I also know that I want to get mbp because I doing advanced graphic design and macs are very reliable.

    Thank you above for reitterating what I plan on using my mbp for.
     
  14. dreven79 macrumors member

    dreven79

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    Mar 30, 2010
    Location:
    Perth Western Australia
  15. johnnymg macrumors 65816

    johnnymg

    Joined:
    Nov 16, 2008
    #15
    I would HIGHLY recommend an SSD (factory or aftermarket) for whatever you get. An SSD will make a bigger difference (in real world speed) than an i5-i7 upgrade.

    cheers and good luck
    JohnG
     
  16. LedCop macrumors regular

    LedCop

    Joined:
    Apr 7, 2008
    #16
    Overkill is subjective. Let's say the 2.66 i7 is 10% faster than the i5 2.4. What would take the i5 two hours to encode would take 12 minutes less on the i7. Is that worth the price difference to you?

    Starcraft 2 (from what I heard) would need 512MB of video RAM to run on HIGH settings for everything. Is running a game which would probably look just as good on MEDIUM settings, on HIGH worth the price difference to you?

    In my opinion, those are the worst case scenarios you'd notice a difference between the i5 2.4 and i7 2.66. The i5 2.53 shouldn't even be considered at all since it's practically the same as the i5 2.4.

    I'd say the hi-res screen is worth the upgrade for your usage BUT make sure you're comfortable with the smaller text that comes with it.

    And finally, here's two good deals for 8GB of RAM:

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produ...&cm_re=8gb_ddr3_sodimm-_-20-226-021-_-Product
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produ...&cm_re=8gb_ddr3_sodimm-_-20-231-294-_-Product
     
  17. lordofuo macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2010
    Location:
    Longview, Texas
    #17
    If you plan on doing heavy 3D work (Modeling, animating, rendering), I wouldn't suggest getting a MBP for it. Not really made for that.

    Get a Mac Pro, 27" iMac, or go with a higher dollar Windows machine.

    and for all the word processing, music, internet, etc: 13" MBP. :D

    Alex :apple:
     
  18. iPhysicist macrumors 6502a

    iPhysicist

    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2009
    Location:
    Dresden
    #18
    MBP13 base model with an iMac27 will suite your needs. You get both together for one outspeced MBP15.
     
  19. ozreth macrumors 65816

    ozreth

    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2009
    #19
    For gaming alone I think you are going to want the faster processor and 512mb graphics card. Wouldn't hurt for everything else you want to do as well. I say if you can truly afford the high end you should go for it, youll be happier in the longrun if you plan on keeping the machine for awhile.
     
  20. brandonn91 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Apr 30, 2010
    #20
    Yeah, I agree with this because I feel that the only need to upgrade to the i7 and better graphics card is for gaming which I plan on doing. I would get a desktop, except I need the portability for college. I also want to have my laptop last five years plus (at least to get me through most if not all of college) so that I can switch back to desktop.

    I definately feel that going with the i7 is going to be the best option because my budget is about 2500 (and with the student discount and upgraded third party memory should be even less than that). For the HD I'm going to simply go with the 7200 500gb drive until SSD become a bit less expensive, especially because it will be easy enough to upgrade down the road. I checked out the 13 inch also for affordability purposes, and I don't think that it would be quite as fast as I'd like for the heavy applications I will be using. It also was rather small in my lap, and the fifteen fits just perfect.

    Thanks for this! It was a really helpful and comprehensive. :) The only qualm that is bugging me is the HR screen. From what I hear it is hard to find the HR 15 inch on display (I know for sure it's not at best buy). Would the Apple store have a 15 HR screen on display? I am going down to Milwaukee hopefully this weekend to check out the display models, and I'd like to know if they will have them so that I can have a better adgenda on what to look for.
     
  21. LedCop macrumors regular

    LedCop

    Joined:
    Apr 7, 2008
    #21
    You're very welcome. :) As for seeing a hi-res 15" in real life, just have a look at the 17" display as they have virtually identical pixel densities (3% larger/smaller). If you can handle the 17" display, you'll definitely be all good for the hi-res 15". Although then, you might miss the real estate of the 17". Btw, have you considered the 17"? The i7 15" with hi-res costs nearly as much as the i5 2.53GHz 17" and the 17" has 512MB of video RAM too. Processor difference is negligible.

    Four years ago, there was a base 15" MBP with a 2.0GHz core duo processor with 128MB of video RAM and a high-end 15" MBP with 2.16GHz core duo processor and 256MB of video RAM. Four years later, do you think the difference matters now? That could very well be the outcome for the i5 and i7 four years from now.

    BUT since you have a student discount, the gap between the i5 2.4 and i7 2.66 is less than usual so it might not be as bad an idea. I must admit despite the few tangible advantages for myself, I'd be tempted to pick up the i7 for bragging rights, "future-proofing" and knowing that I couldn't have gotten anything any faster. But that price difference could pay for an SSD or 8GB of RAM now and those could provide a bigger benefit than the i7 and extra video RAM.

    As for the 7200RPM hard disk, I really don't think they're worth the money. I'd rather pick up a 750GB western digital that performs just as well if not better, have 250GB more disk space AND keep the stock 500GB for backup or extra storage.
     

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