What Notebook to buy?

Discussion in 'Digital Darkroom' started by leigh_mazion, Feb 25, 2007.

  1. Just getting into digital and need to buy a computer. I've decided to go with a notebook because I would
    like to take it when I travel. I will be using either lightroom or NX (can't decide, but that is another
    subject). I've been watching the Apple store for refurbished deals and I can't decide between a 15"
    MacBook Pro or a MacBook. The MacBook Pro I've been looking at is $1399 for 2.0GHz, with 1GB RAM and
    100 GB drive. The MacBook has 2.0GHz, with 500MB RAM (2x256), and 60GB drive.

    Do you think it is worth the extra $400 for the MacBook Pro?
  2. "Do you think it is worth the extra $400 for the MacBook Pro?"
    Yes. The memory and HD space will be necessary for photo work.
  3. For the extra money, you get a larger screen, larger hard drive, more memory, and dedicated graphics. If this will be your primary computer for photo work, the MBP is worth the extra costs. If in the future you decide to upgrade to Apple's Aperture, the dedicate video memory will make a substantial difference. Check out Deal Mac (http://dealmac.com/categories/Computer/39.html) for specials.
  4. You deffinately want the MBP, as you will find, 1 gig of ram with lightroom is not enough. The MBP can be upgraded to 3 gigs of ram.
  5. See my post today to Mike Ferris. I just went through this process. I was using Aperture on
    a G5 and it was not very fast - you need the faster video card of the MacBook Pro.

    Also, you will find 60GB HD small, especially if you shoot RAW from a D200 or so. I have
    the 160GB and it can be tight. A HD needs room to operate - like no more than 60-80%
    full or performance suffers.

    Ports are another issue. The MBP comes with a FW800 port and a FW400, plus 2 USB ports.
    The MB has 1 FW400 and 1 USB port. The graphics card in the 15" MBP can drive the 23"
    display easily whereas the MB uses integrated video with shared RAM - it is slower and
    may be limited as to the external monitor it can drive. Suggest you go to an Apple store
    and try both using Aperture, then decide.
  6. Dennis, I got your response to my question, thank you. It was exactly what I was looking for.

    One more question...Can you put an expanded Firewire (800) hub on the MBP, and have multiple FW 800's?
  7. Don't discount the fact that the MacBook is easier to upgrade than the MacBook Pro. It's
    simple to get a bigger disk and put it in -- it kind of slides out the battery bay and doesn't
    require almost total disassembly like the Pro and the old iBooks.

    I have a MacBook with 2Gb memory and 160Gb disk. I went in this direction mainly for the
    portability -- the Pro's are great but are much bigger.

    I wouldn't recommend Aperture on it, but Photoshop works fine if you're okay with the fan
    noise. I've not tried Lightroom but I've heard that it runs fine.
  8. Agree with the comments above - especially with respect to the video card *IF* you're going
    to run Aperture.

    But really, I wouldn't use a MB or MBP as a primary image editing system unless you use an
    external display.

    As nice as the display is in my new MBP, there's a huge distance between it for image editing
    and my two 23" desktop screens on my main system.
  9. Mike -

    Yes, you should be able to add an FW800 hub but FW is a daisy chain setup. If you use an
    external portable bus powered 2.5" HD enclosure (see an example: http://fwdepot.com/
    product_info.php/products_id/1773), you pickup an extra FW800 port (plus it has FW400
    and USB 2.0 connectors as well). BTW, this enclosure appears to be the same one sold be
    Wiebetech, Transintl.com, and others, as a rugged portable HD enclosure. It is distributed
    by DAT Optic (http://www.datoptic.com/cgi-bin/web.cgi?
    product=SpeedzterII&detail=yes) as the Speedzter II. I have not used this one but I use
    their 3.5" enclosures for my external desktop backup HDs and they are nice.

    Have you noted the new SanDIsk (and recently announced Lexar) high speed card readers
    that are FW800? Another reason to consider the MBP - speedier connection for card
    readers and external HDs.
  10. Thanks Dennis, I wish I would have come into contact with you in the last year. It probably would have saved me a years worth of agonizing research, and foot dragging on the conversion to Mac. Thanks
  11. You're welcome. This is what photo.net is all about - mutual help.

    Happy shooting.
  12. Wow, thanks for all the great input! I guess I'll start hnting for a MBP.

    One last question, are the older MBP models expandable to 3 MB of memory? Thanks!
  13. <are the older MBP models expandable to 3 MB of memory>

    No, the original MBP (Core Duo) hold up to 2GB (2 x 1GB). Specs: http://support.apple.com/specs/macbookpro/MacBook_Pro_17-inch.html

    Specs for current MBP Core 2 Duo: http://www.apple.com/macbookpro/specs.html

    If this will be your main computer at home and for travel, I'd get the 15" model - easier to travel with and an external 20" or 23" Cinema display. As good as MBP are, external displays are better for Photoshop work.

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