Which laptop? for cs3 & etc

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by sirienne, Jun 17, 2007.

  1. sirienne macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2007
    #1
    My current (Dell) laptop is 4 years old and about reaching the end of its life, so I'm thinking I want to treat myself to a new computer for a graduation gift. I don't know a whole lot about current computer specs and which programs need what, and I know even less about that as applied to a Mac, so I'm not entirely sure which one to get. It'll be the most money I've ever spent on anything in my life, and I'll probably have to spend another $1500 on software, so I pretty much want to figure out how cheap I can go before it starts being impractical for what I want it to do.

    I'm going to be using it mostly for web design, and I was going to buy CS3 to run on it, probably mostly focusing on the Photoshop/Flash/Dreamweaver side of things. It's possible that I might do a little video editing here and there (we're talking once every 4 months or something) and it's also possible that I might want to run Maya every once and a while, as well, but not for anything really intensive. I don't do any gaming, so other than that it'd only be used for web surfing, word processing, email, and so on. I expect to hang on to it and keep using it for the same things for like 3-4 years.

    It looks like I'm basically deciding between the 15in/2.2GHz MacBook Pro and the 13in/2.16GHz MacBook. The thing that primarily concerns me with the smaller one is that my current laptop's screen is 14" with a 1400x1040 resolution, and I'm not sure that I would want an even smaller screen. On the other hand, I'm not sure that wanting a slightly bigger screen is worth an extra $700 if the hardware on the MacBook is sufficient to run all the programs (but I don't actually know if it is, or not). The other thing that concerns me is that the MacBook's graphics card...like I said, I don't know too much about this kind of stuff but it doesn't look like it's such high quality. I don't know if it'd be possible/reasonable to upgrade that myself, either. Which one do you think I should go with?
     
  2. sananda macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    May 24, 2007
    #2
    i have a 12" ibook and i find it's just too small to use for photoshop. with the palettes left and right there just isn't enough space to have the photo at any decent size. so i use my imac for photo editing. so i would suggest that you think carefully about screen size. try out the various screen sizes at the apple store with cs3.

    sorry, can't advise you about other specs. good luck.
     
  3. gregjp48 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2006
    #3
    since the intel switch, it is much easier to comare mac and pc lineups power-wise. It's basically the same. A difference, however, is the main distinction between the lines in Apple computers is the graphics, and some bells and whistles here and there. A macbook and macbook pro have basically the same cpu capability. but, the mbp has a dedicated graphics chip, the mb does not. Plus, the macbook pro has a bigger screen, better ram capacity [?], and a beautiful backlit keyboard that feels amazing. Another thing is expandability. The pro machines are much easier to upgrade than their consumer variants. However, the macbook line is contradicting in this regard, because upgrading the hard drive of the macbook is trivial, and it's much harder on the pro model (unless they've fixed this with the latest release)


    sounds to me like the macbook is the way to go for you, if you are okay with the smaller screen.

    a plus is the portability of the macbook -- depends on your preference, as they contradict each other portability and screen size. I see people with 17" laptops and wonder "Why?", because I'm the kind of guy who wants to throw his little laptop in a bag and take it with him, rather then bother with a large laptop case and whatnot. Is portability important to you?

    the graphics card may bug you a bit during the video editing, but for cs3 work and dreamweaver, the integrated graphics is all you need. I'm not familiar with maya, or the work you do, and maybe that would benefit from a more capable graphics chip. I'm not sure. You can't upgrade the macbook's graphics as far as I know.

    I'm sure a nice feeling having a machine that you know would run most of what you throw at it. but, I just don't see the justification of that extra 700 dollars, unless you work in Maya often. do love the backlit keyboard though. I just think that you should buy the power you really need, and use that extra 700 dollars towards that 1500 bucks worth of software you need. You may agree with me, and you may not. i'm in a similar dilemma myself.

    My 2 cents.
     
  4. gregjp48 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2006
    #4
    btw i have a 12 inch ibook and i think it's wonderful for photoshop (screensize wise)
    you're just going to have to use the zoom to check sharpness for photography (which you didn't mention), so honestly, unless you're a large screen kind of guy, it should work, but it completely depends on your preference.

    I agree with sananda. Bring a file sample or two with you to use, and ask a Genius if you could compare a macbook and macbook pro for your work in CS3 with files you brought from home. if not, just load one of their stock images, and try to get an idea. You're going to love the macbook pro's screen, but make sure you ask yourself what you need. You also need to ask yourself if the bigger screen would help you get your work done quicker. It's all a balance that is based on your needs and preference.
     
  5. Igantius macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2007
    #5
    Overall, really good post(s) and saved me the effort of putting in my 2 cents. :D

    However, video editing performance is pretty much identical between the two laptops as it's an activity that is CPU intensive. If you were using a Final Cut Studio app like Motion, the graphics card would definitely make a biiig difference. So another reason to consider the MB.
     
  6. teflon macrumors 6502a

    teflon

    Joined:
    May 28, 2007
    #6
    also, remember you can use some of that $700 towards a monitor and maybe external HDs. and if you're already accepted into a university, you can start using your education discount.
     
  7. Bern macrumors 68000

    Bern

    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2004
    Location:
    Australia
    #7
    Ok I'm going to throw a spanner into the works here :D

    I recommend a MBP for a few reasons:-

    1. Dedicated graphics card. Far less work on the CPU if your graphics work gets intense. When I was using Flash on a MB the fans were kicking in as though it was going to fly out the window. On my MBP it's no problem.

    2. PS Extended. If you buy CS3 you will not be able to use the full 3D function of PS Extended (according to Adobe). Even if you do it would be hard work on a MB.

    3. Longevity. Simple put the more powerful and higher scale computer you have the less obsolete it becomes in comparison to a cheaper model computer with software upgrades over the years.

    4. Higher Screen resolution. I don't know about you, but when I'm on the road I prefer to have the best screen I can to work on my graphics/images.

    5. Firewire 800

    6. Express card slot. Get a Lexar SSD Express Card with 8GB or 16GB of memory. Great to use as a scratch disc for PS or FW and the extra storage space wouldn't hurt either.

    7. External monitor. I would never think of doing any serious graphics work on a laptop screen. Get an external monitor and by having a MBP you can power a rather good one.
     
  8. daneoni macrumors G4

    daneoni

    Joined:
    Mar 24, 2006
    #8
    Since you keep Laptops for 4 years i'd go with the MBP. It can address more RAM and if there's one thing i've learnt, its that you can never have too much RAM in OSX and im sure in Leopard the same will hold true

    The dedicated graphics are worth it.....It'll help with the eye candy in Leopard i.e Open GL stuff like Coverflow, Quicklook, Core animation, 3D Dock and all that. Plus its basically future proofing IMHO, the GMA is just too risky to rely on especially as a primary GPU. You'll always ask that question...can the GMA handle it? i.e. worry, which isn't worth it

    Then there's the screen with LED, going from 1440 down to 1280 might not be as easy as you think so just stay in the same resolution range
     
  9. Jim Campbell macrumors 6502a

    Jim Campbell

    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2006
    Location:
    A World of my Own; UK
    #9
    The MacBook is a good machine for the price, and mine is cheerfully chugging through Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign tasks without a hitch.

    However, I have the luxury of reviewing this work on an iMac to check for colour accuracy. If colour matching is in any way important to you, then you absolutely do not want the MacBook's glossy screen and you'll need a MBP with a matte screen.

    Without wishing to kick off yet another glossy/matte debate - it boils down to a matter of personal taste, except in the area of accurate colour display, where the purpose of the glossy screen (to make everything appear crisper, to make the blacks blacker, and so on) works against you.

    Hope that helps ...

    Cheers

    Jim
     
  10. Bern macrumors 68000

    Bern

    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2004
    Location:
    Australia
    #10
    I completely agree with you on that.
     
  11. sirienne thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2007
    #11
    Color accuracy, in what sense? I would be doing like 98% web stuff, and probably the only print-related things I would do would be things like printing out my resume, or printing photos if I ever buy myself a photo printer. I guess my primary concern with that would be making sure that it looks the same on other people's screens as it does on my screen.....really not so much that it looks the same as print colors.

    I do worry about the screen size though. I think my 14" screen is too small sometimes, but then I wonder if it's because I got spoiled by using the computer lab's huge dual screen setups too often. The nearest Apple store is just a tad bit far away for me to get to anytime within the next month, so I can't go and play around with the computers. One of my professors does have what's either a 12" or 13" screen, which I had to use once, and it seemed pretty small. =/ I don't actually take the computer places with me, but I don't like sitting at a desk to work so I take it and sit on the couch or on my bed or somewhere else in my house. I'd not want a separate monitor because that'd mean I'd have to sit at my desk to use it.

    I think I might be leaning towards the pro because of the screen size issue and also because it'll probably seem less out-of-date in four years. I'm also thinking that because there's nothing technically wrong with my current computer (except for me wanting a shiny new one), I might be practical and buy the software first and wait until I find at least a part-time job for the computer. Kind of unrelated and probably dumb question: If I actually go ahead and buy CS3, would I be able to eventually install it on both my old Windows machine and the new Mac machine that I'll buy later, or does it have to be system-specific? I know it always used to be one or the other, but I haven't actually bought any new software in like 6 years.
     
  12. Jim Campbell macrumors 6502a

    Jim Campbell

    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2006
    Location:
    A World of my Own; UK
    #12
    Then my point about the glossy screen is entirely irrelevant ... please disregard it!

    Cheers

    Jim
     
  13. ktbubster macrumors 6502a

    ktbubster

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2007
    Location:
    US
    #13
    They are system specific, so if you get the mac osx version you can only use it on mac osx. While they both use the intel chips now, the systems are based on different code etc (sorry I am not as technically minded as needed to explain this really correctly)

    Anyway, you will have to get the OSX version... UNLESS you don't plan on running OSX on your mac very often and plan on using bootcamp to run windows on your new intel mac instead... then you could just get the windows version of the software and run it via windows on your mac when you get it... although I'm a fan of OSX much more then windows, so I would just wait and get the OSX version of the CS3 and run it on that, but it's really personal preference.

    I'd go with the macbookpro myself. I have one and I love it and use it for pretty much everything you say you will. (CS3 etc) The screen size is definitely useful and was really the main reason i didn't get the macbook myself a few months ago when i upgraded my ancient tibook.

    You can get some good deals with student discounts or at the refurb store too, i'd check that out, a bottom line refurb c2d 2.16 or 2ghz would do you just fine and that would save you some money perhaps.

    goodluck!
     

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