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macnewby
20th July 2006, 10:39 AM
Hi all,

I'm a first time mac buyer looking at MacBook or MacBook Pro. I've bought PC's in the past for my parents and others and am used to customising everything to my needs. Basically I want everything on the 13" 2 ghz MB but am worried about limiting myself with graphics applications. I love the rest of it and I wish I could just buy it with a half decent graphics card, but no use wishing.

I'm trying to find out if I need to go up to the MBP for the dedicated card. My uses will generally be limited to internet browsing, document production, music and photo libraries and to a limited extent video, but I do want to have the option of getting into photo editing - something I havn't done before. Will this really need a dedicated card? I won't really be gaming or doing intenstive video editing so I don't need the beez neez of graphics capability.

This brings up a separate point - which is running Photoshop on MB's. I have never used any decent photo editing software so am not hooked on anything, but Photoshop seems to be the norm. I hear it can be very slow on the Intel chip - Is the current version still running via Rosetta? and are there as capable mac or mac friendly photo editing products?

Also I want to upgrade the RAM from the 2 x 256 standard option - but the online applestore only gives you 1 GB by a 2 x 512 option (and the 2 x 1Gb is at extortionist pricing). I understand the 2 x 512 will help with the speed for shared mem for graphics, but if I want to upgrade later I gotta get two new cards. Being a mac novice I'm also not sure how safe the aftermarket option is for me. Same issue with HD. The applestore.com pricing for going up over 80GB is pretty stiff, and I want to make sure I don't need to muck around with stuff to make it 'just work'. What do you think?

step_andy
20th July 2006, 10:59 AM
To answer your questions...how much are you willing to spend?
If you can afford MBP, I would go for MBP, as you said it has dedicated video card which will make big difference in anything that is graphics intensive. This could be also a case if you want to run Windows Vista for one reason or another.

Second, MBP has a capability to drive an external monitor in extended desktop mode.

Third, MBP comes with either one 512 or 1GB RAM stick which is less expensive to upgrade to either 1Gb or 2 Gb, as opposed to 2 x 256 sticks for MB where you will need to discard both sticks.

In terms of photo software, I use iPhoto to store and edit, iMovie to construct more advanced slideshows and iDVD to compile DVDs. I believe that Photoshop Elements has decent amount of advanced editing tools to keep semi professionals happy, no need for full Photoshop.
Cost wise $1,200 v $140


Brief Elements review http://www.zdnet.com.au/reviews/software/g...39221968,00.htm (http://www.zdnet.com.au/reviews/software/graphics/soa/Adobe_Photoshop_Elements_4_0/0,39023432,39221968,00.htm)

graemie
20th July 2006, 11:01 AM
Hi,

From the sounds of it, the MB will be fine for what you're after.

In terms of Photoshop speed, I would definitely max the ram out at 2Gb as it does wonders for the speed of Photoshop under Rosetta. You can get 1Gb for $169 at Zytech (http://zytech.com.au/Merchant2/merchant.mvc?Screen=PROD&Store_Code=ZOSFAFMDS&Product_Code=MEII24) and it carries a lifetime warranty, though they don't say the brand name so I'd query it with them first re their support for Apple hardware.

Anyway, welcome to macdom. You won't go back.

g.

speedway boy
20th July 2006, 11:04 AM
I reckon you would be fine with just the Macbook. For photo apps and basic video editing, the macbook has been holding its own VERY well against other machines. There is a site showing some benchmark tests (someone might know the link) that really does surprise with just the little macbook.

Adobe, though unfortunately haven't released a universal version yet but it is the default photo app of choice for pro's. In my mind nothing comes close. So get 2 gigs of ram to overcome rosetta sluggishness. DON'T buy apple ram, its extortion. Get a third party one.

I think the only problem with lack of video card would be if you are doing 3d animation or playing games. Other than that, its not an issue in my books.

You might want to pick yourself up a screen to plug into. the 13" is small, particularly if your photo editing. Get a dell or something. Again, Mac, screens are a rip off.

And welcome aboard!

macnewby
20th July 2006, 11:10 AM
<div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(step_andy &#064; Jul 20 2006, 10&#58;59 AM) 196782</div>

To answer your questions...how much are you willing to spend?
If you can afford MBP, I would go for MBP, as you said it has dedicated video card which will make big difference in anything that is graphics intensive. This could be also a case if you want to run Windows Vista for one reason or another.

Second, MBP has a capability to drive an external monitor in extended desktop mode.

Third, MBP comes with either one 512 or 1GB RAM stick which is less expensive to upgrade to either 1Gb or 2 Gb, as opposed to 2 x 256 sticks for MB where you will need to discard both sticks.

In terms of photo software, I use iPhoto to store and edit, iMovie to construct more advanced slideshows and iDVD to compile DVDs. I believe that Photoshop Elements has decent amount of advanced editing tools to keep semi professionals happy, no need for full Photoshop.
Cost wise &#036;1,200 v &#036;140
Brief Elements review http://www.zdnet.com.au/reviews/software/g...39221968,00.htm (http://www.zdnet.com.au/reviews/software/graphics/soa/Adobe_Photoshop_Elements_4_0/0,39023432,39221968,00.htm)
[/b]

Thanks for your reply. I suppose I&#39;m willing to spend the extra only if I really need it. Also I like the extra battery time on the MB. SO my main point is will the Intel GMA 950 satisfy me for photo editing (and maybe some very minor video editing). LIke I said it doesn&#39;t need to be the beez neez, I&#39;m not going to be doing professional editing, but I want decent performance.

chris
20th July 2006, 11:13 AM
MacBook will be totally adequate for what you describe.

macnewby
20th July 2006, 11:20 AM
Thanks all,

I might go the stock standard MB and upgrade RAM when I want to start photo editing. HD? is it worth the extra &#036;85 for the apple 80 Gb over the 60 Gb (then &#036;140 jumps per 20 Gb increase&#33;). Or should I just go stock everything now and buy a separate aftermarket HD?

Again, I&#39;m a novice and don&#39;t really want to be mucking around with stuff. I&#39;m coming to mac because it "just works"&#33;&#33;

The one annoying thing is I&#39;ll be salary sacraficing the laptop, and so getting aftermarket stuff may work out only fractionally cheaper due to the fact I cant salary sacrafice the extra bits later.

step_andy
20th July 2006, 11:49 AM
<div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(macnewby &#064; Jul 20 2006, 11&#58;20 AM) 196792</div>

Thanks all,

I might go the stock standard MB and upgrade RAM when I want to start photo editing. HD? is it worth the extra &#036;85 for the apple 80 Gb over the 60 Gb (then &#036;140 jumps per 20 Gb increase&#33;). Or should I just go stock everything now and buy a separate aftermarket HD?

Again, I&#39;m a novice and don&#39;t really want to be mucking around with stuff. I&#39;m coming to mac because it "just works"&#33;&#33;

The one annoying thing is I&#39;ll be salary sacraficing the laptop, and so getting aftermarket stuff may work out only fractionally cheaper due to the fact I cant salary sacrafice the extra bits later.
[/b]
I just did salary sacrificing thing with MBP.
Not sure how your organisation deals with it, but I ordered RAM from 3rd party at the same time and was able to combine cost of MBP, Apple care and RAM for the salary thing.

In terms of HD, depends how much storage you need. Is external Fire Wire HD an option? for &#036;200 you can get good quality FW400/USb2 enclosure with 200 GB or so (self assembled - &#036;100 for enclosure and &#036;100 for 200 GB IDE HD) or &#036;250 pre assembled. Gives an option for a full internal HD back up too.

Decisions...decisions :)

jeremy_warnock
20th July 2006, 11:51 AM
I just salary packaged a macbook and love it. I have a powerbook at home as well but the macbook is great for portibility.

I bought mine through streetwise - they do ram at a reasonible cost which when order at time of purcahse can be salary packaged

forgie
20th July 2006, 12:03 PM
<div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(step_andy &#064; Jul 20 2006, 10&#58;59 AM) 196782</div>
Second, MBP has a capability to drive an external monitor in extended desktop mode.[/b]
MBs have the same capability. iBooks always had the capability too - Apple just prevented it in software. I am using my iBook with a 20" LCD right now. Screen Spanning Doctor is the utility that unlocked screen spanning on ye olde PPC macs.

step_andy
20th July 2006, 12:15 PM
<div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(forgie &#064; Jul 20 2006, 12&#58;03 PM) 196808</div>

MBs have the same capability. iBooks always had the capability too - Apple just prevented it in software. I am using my iBook with a 20" LCD right now. Screen Spanning Doctor is the utility that unlocked screen spanning on ye olde PPC macs.
[/b]
Wow...didn&#39;t know that
:thumbup:

macnewby
20th July 2006, 12:46 PM
<div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(step_andy &#064; Jul 20 2006, 11&#58;49 AM) 196800</div>

I just did salary sacrificing thing with MBP.
Not sure how your organisation deals with it, but I ordered RAM from 3rd party at the same time and was able to combine cost of MBP, Apple care and RAM for the salary thing.

In terms of HD, depends how much storage you need. Is external Fire Wire HD an option? for &#036;200 you can get good quality FW400/USb2 enclosure with 200 GB or so (self assembled - &#036;100 for enclosure and &#036;100 for 200 GB IDE HD) or &#036;250 pre assembled. Gives an option for a full internal HD back up too.

Decisions...decisions :)
[/b]

Step Andy... Did you buy at the same place? hence same receipt? My work wants it all on the once receipt.

speedway boy
20th July 2006, 12:56 PM
<div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(step_andy &#064; Jul 20 2006, 12&#58;15 PM) 196815</div>

Wow...didn&#39;t know that
:thumbup:
[/b]


Its a great little patch that one. I&#39;ve done it on my G5 imac. Dug out my old CRT 17" studio monitor and bingo, so much space.

:D

gurgle
20th July 2006, 12:56 PM
for me, in a lappy id suggest getting the biggest HD you can..

i almost bought my ibook with the stock 30gig HD a coupla years ago, the guy at the apple shop was like just get an external HD.. f that - for a portable to be relying on external drives makes no sense to me.. i am SO pleased i got a custom order online with the 60gig HD.. now its maxed out :(

speedway boy
20th July 2006, 01:11 PM
<div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(gurgle &#064; Jul 20 2006, 12&#58;56 PM) 196827</div>

for me, in a lappy id suggest getting the biggest HD you can..

i almost bought my ibook with the stock 30gig HD a coupla years ago, the guy at the apple shop was like just get an external HD.. f that - for a portable to be relying on external drives makes no sense to me.. i am SO pleased i got a custom order online with the 60gig HD.. now its maxed out :(
[/b]


yeah, I did&#39;t know what to about that. I&#39;ve just bought a macbook pro with the standard 80gigs and I&#39;m already pushing it for space. Once you load something like studio pro, do one media jobby, boom your out of space.

BUT
then I could justify paying so much per gig on an upgrade.

So I&#39;ll just have to be diligent with file management. Have just purchased another 500gig firewire.

but yeah, its a tricky one that decision.

step_andy
20th July 2006, 01:12 PM
<div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(macnewby &#064; Jul 20 2006, 12&#58;46 PM) 196822</div>

Step Andy... Did you buy at the same place? hence same receipt? My work wants it all on the once receipt.
[/b]
No, bought RAM from 3rd party, byt MBP and Applecare from same place. I am with a university. I guess, they are bit more flexible.
A.

graemie
20th July 2006, 01:12 PM
macnewby, don&#39;t buy from Apple direct as you won&#39;t get a discount.

Shop around, but I can&#39;t find better prices than at Get Mac (http://www.getmac.com.au).

Cheers,
g.

macnewby
20th July 2006, 01:21 PM
<div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(graemie &#064; Jul 20 2006, 01&#58;12 PM) 196838</div>

macnewby, don&#39;t buy from Apple direct as you won&#39;t get a discount.

Shop around, but I can&#39;t find better prices than at Get Mac (http://www.getmac.com.au).

Cheers,
g.
[/b]

Thanks graemie... Those are great prices. I&#39;m a bit lucky in that I also get a discount with Apple through an Employee Purchasing Program with my work. This discount is just over half of the edu discount, which works out to be pretty much exactly the same as the Get Mac prices except my 3 year APP is about &#036;25 cheaper than Get Mac.

:thumbup:

graemie
20th July 2006, 03:38 PM
Oh well go direct then. Plus if you get a stock standard config it is easier to get replaced by Apple if it&#39;s DOA.

g.

aaron_meredith
27th August 2006, 12:33 PM
Hi All,
I am in the position where I am after a new notebook. I, of course want to stay with an Apple laptop, but now face the options of the Macbook or the Macbook Pro. I have been offered a refurb Macbook Pro at a really good price, maxed out with 2Gig of RAM, 100Gig HDD, Core Duo 2.0GHz all for under &#036;2900...
OR
I can get a Macbook max that out, and prob save some cash as well.

Since I am doing a design course at uni, I am using Photoshop, Illustrator, Indesign, Dremweaver, Flash and more then likely Maya work. I am also going to be running Windows XP and hopefully Vista if and when that ever comes out =)

I just wanted to see what everyone thinks about my options. I have the cash, and cause its a refurb model, the Core 2 Duos really dont fuss me, as I am not going to have enough to be a machine of this spec Brand NEW&#33;

marc
27th August 2006, 01:21 PM
aaron_meredith :: Speed wise, the MB and MBP are almost the same (except for 3d), so for the apps you&#39;ve mentioned, I doubt you&#39;d notice any difference (except Maya). Having said that, the extra screen real estate of the MBP and 100gb drive will really help. As long as it&#39;s in really good nick and doesn&#39;t have some of the early MBP issues, I&#39;d go for the MBP.

aaron_meredith
27th August 2006, 01:59 PM
Thanks marc,
I am just now tossing up weather the around &#036;700 price diff is worth it for the features of the MBP. To add in a bigger HDD and 2Gig of Ram into a MB would be nice and save on costs, but i am getting a dedicated video card in the MBP, bigger HDD, DL DVD burner and the extra screen Real Estate.

I suppose everyone that has been looking into a Mac notebook over the past few months has had the same sorta stuff going on in there mind. I am going to go and take a look at the MBP and hope its in a good condition. I think the MPB looks better as well, but I am still trying to work out as I am a student as well, I will be traveling with it, and dont know how heavy it is etc.

marc
27th August 2006, 03:46 PM
You certainly need the ram if you&#39;re going to be using those apps with rosetta&#33;

glenmorrow
27th August 2006, 03:55 PM
I&#39;m in a similar position in that I have a 17" PB 1.5gz and am now thinking that a MacBook is the way to go. I want it for audio more, like Pro Tools / MegaSeg and other DJ / audio apps. I was playing with one at DJs in Melbourne last night and it looks great. I&#39;d like the black one but really do I need to pay extra just to have a black MB?

Currawong
27th August 2006, 06:04 PM
There seems to be confusion about what the graphics chipset affects in terms of application performance. The graphics chipset will essentially only affect applications that use the graphics chipset to render 3D things. The best example of this is games. Programs such as Photoshop don&#39;t use the graphics chipset for rendering, so their performance wont be affected in this way.

The MacBook&#39;s graphics have two disadvantages - they use 64mb of actual system memory instead of having their own VRAM. This means that 64mb of your installed RAM will always be used by the graphics. The second is that it&#39;s not going to be fantastic with games or Apple&#39;s high-end video applications, but then, they aren&#39;t designed for that.

If you&#39;re considering a MacBook or Pro, consider whether or not the other features, such as an ExpressCard slot, DVI port or the larger screen real-estate are important to you. Those things are what will make the most difference.

The Fluffy Duck
27th August 2006, 06:09 PM
IMO graphics cards ahve very littel to do with photoshop. The only thing you will really need it for is 3d applications and video.

William
27th August 2006, 06:11 PM
The does the intergrated graphics card really affect video editing in FCE that much.

marc
27th August 2006, 06:27 PM
<div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(William &#064; Aug 27 2006, 06&#58;11 PM) 208757</div>

The does the intergrated graphics card really affect video editing in FCE that much.
[/b]
I&#39;m not sure about FCE, but Motion definitely uses the GPU.

William
27th August 2006, 06:42 PM
Would motion2 actually work on the intergrated graphics card

aaron_meredith
27th August 2006, 07:10 PM
So I am still having to choose a MB or a MBP... I think the only main advantage I would be going with the MPB is using it as a replacement Desktop system. I think for the price I am getting a really good deal.. almost &#036;1000 off RRP, but then I start thinking that maybe the MB is the way to go, save a few hundred dollars and then totally spec that out&#33;... and buy an external monitor to use at home.

As I am a student, I really dont know where my course is going to take me into the future, but would love to play around the Final Cut more so then any other pro app. Would this run well on a MB, or be pretty sluggish with the dedicated video chipset. I understand that the integrated card is only bad for stuff that isn&#39;t 3D rendered in real time, so with all of my most used apps I should be alright.

I want to make an investment for the future, knowing that I wont be able to do some design work cause i dont have the hardware to do it. I know its hard knowing this now.. but just posing the question

AppleSammy
27th August 2006, 08:14 PM
Interesting thread,

lots of differing opinions, which is great, IMO I think the choice will depend on its intended use and of-course your budget. Also consider the "other" features these machines posses which Currawong described.

I am in a very similar position and compared the specs in this thread Comparisons MB vs MBP (http://forums.appletalk.com.au/index.php?showtopic=22346&hl=)

Unless in the next version of the MBP by Apple has a real speedbump, I am going for the MB.

I am sure you have reviewed this spec sheet (http://store.apple.com/Catalog/Australia/Images/comparison_chart.html) but if you have not, this is well worth it

AppleSammy

edit spelling

Coogan
31st August 2006, 11:30 PM
I spent the last month looking at the specs of the MB & both MBP’s and had set my heart on a 2Gb, 100Gb 7200HDD MB until I started to look at the added advantages of the MBP, then when I looked at the short distance from that to the MBP17”. I ended up out the other end with about 50% more cost and a lot of high end extras that I could justify. They do there homework so well when offering upgrades one step leads to another, they got me hooked I started out looking at the Kingswood and end up buying a Caprice. I couldn’t find a better price anywhere than zerothree.com.au. If you can afford it get the best you can.

Oli-G
1st September 2006, 12:18 AM
Personally, I love the aesthetic of the white MacBook.

I do (or WILL be doing) a lot of video production, motion graphics, packaging design, illustration, etc... and the MacBook specs are perfect for this. GPU not necessary at all. I know other students that have gone down the same route... it&#39;s more convenient size-wise, and the saved cash can be spent maxing the thing out. It&#39;s also a more travel-hardy thing, damage wise. I&#39;ve read (and it should be apparent) that the aluminium is a delicate little fairy.

It&#39;s small enough to lug to uni and to design studios, and at home, I simply hook it up to a large external HD and LCD panel.

Not being the Pro version, I think theres a distinct lesser subconcious worry about taking the unit places :P.

In a perfect world i&#39;d probably shell out twice the price for the upper end MBP, but the MB&#39;s seem to be really great bang-for-buck.

Just looking forward to getting it back after the issues with the first iteration.

dagaz
1st September 2006, 07:19 AM
Just to throw in my 2c. l love the portability factor of the MacBook, its about the perfect size for carrying around (which I do a lot). I also like the whiteness of it (my previous laptop was a black G3 PowerBook) and, although it can get dirty occasionally, its also very easy to clean (damp cloth as per user guide).

Any decision has to be based on what the actual user wants out of it as they are aimed at different markets. If you consider yourself a &#39;Pro&#39; user who needs a decent graphics chip and a card slot then go for the Pro version, otherwise the MacBook will probably suit your needs fine.