View Full Version : Which Macbook Pro should I buy?

2009-06-20, 21:59
I don't play games, but do edit video. Would the 15-incher's 'extra' video card make my computer noticeably faster?

2009-06-20, 22:32
I'd go for the 15" if I were doing anything that required that type of screen real estate UNLESS you will be at a desk most of the time. If so, a 13" + external monitor might be worth considering.

What apps do you use to edit video? That might have a big impact on the decision, as well.

But from a purely screen real estate perspective, a 13" + LCD would be my preference if you're stationary much of the time.

2009-06-20, 22:37
Are you deciding between the $1,699 and $1,999 15-inchers, or between a 13-incher and a 15-incher? I think the 13-incher might be kind of cramped for video, unless (as tori suggests) you're planning on getting an external monitor.

If you're deciding between the two 15-inchers...I think video editing tends to be more CPU (and hard drive!) heavy than GPU heavy, but that might change depending on what app you use...? And Snow Leopard is bringing OpenCL, so having a good GPU might become more important, even if you're not doing the typical GPU-intensive things.

2009-06-24, 09:20
Aside from the larger screen area, which I see as good and bad -- my question is whether I'll see any speed improvement when going to the discrete video card on the higher end 15-inch MBP? Will I see a difference in rendering a video file? Like I said, I couldn't care less about gaming...so my interested in improved graphics is only in video and photo manipulation.

2009-06-24, 09:35
I can't help but think it would make some difference. It certainly couldn't hurt, having the system found on the $1,999 model. But I'm not sure if it's $300 worth. :confused:

Might be easier to approach it from this angle:

Are you doing this, like me, as a "learning hobby" and for casual, low-level freelance gigs, and simply using iMovie for all your video projects? I'm getting great results and making a lot of people happy (and putting a few bucks in my pocket). But I'm not filming commercials or doing high-end, uppity projects either, with discerning, hyper-critical and demanding clients. So I can get away with iMovie and it does everything I need (for now).

Or are you going all-out and using the big guns of Final Cut Pro (and all its related companion apps)?

That might determine things for you.

iMovie seems to make no demands in terms of video/graphics cards, while the pro gear requires some specific hardware to be in place.

Answer that question (torifile and Roboman also mentioned it above), and that might get you close to the answer? If you're using the Final Cut Pro package, you'll probably be better off stepping up.

Final Cut Express, naturally, seems to sit between the two in terms of graphics requirements (it'll install/work on machines with integrated systems, but not all filters will be available).

2009-06-24, 09:56
If you're going to edit video and want to user Apple's prosumer / professional apps to their fullest, you'll want the best GPU you can afford.

2009-06-24, 14:40
Have you looked at a refirb? You should be able to get both lower price and a dedicated GPU if you look there.

2009-06-24, 14:58
Very true. That's my usual response, and somehow I forgot... :)

Some good deals currently listed, like this one! (http://store.apple.com/us/product/FB470LL/A?mco=MjE0NjE5MA)

2.4GHz 15" MacBook Pro...pevious generation, with Unibody design, the two graphics systems, 2GB RAM and 250GB hard drive (both easily upgradeable and all the rest.

$1,349. That used to cost $1,999 at some point, right?


There's your answer.

And I - and a dozen others here - can gladly vouch for the quality and cleanness of Apple refurb Macs! I'd buy one again in a heartbeat, no question.


2009-06-24, 15:02
I'm sure a dedicated GPU would be nice to have, but it's not worth the extra money Apple charges for it. I think your best option would be to go for the cheapest 13" MBP with an external monitor. You can get a 21-23" monitor @ 1920x1080 for under $300. Won't necessarily be the highest quality but it will give you lots of extra real estate for cheap.

Or look at Apple refurbs.

2009-06-24, 15:05
Very true. That's my usual response, and somehow I forgot... :)

I know! I read your post and thought "why isn't he giving his usual plug for refirbs?" :lol:

I love the refirbs too. Might be picking one up myself in a few weeks.

2009-06-24, 15:12
Apple makes it too easy. As long as you don't truly have to get the very latest, newest release (and if you can wait a few months, even those current-generation models will eventually make their way to the refurb store too), it's an awesome way to go, sure enough.

Gonna be hard for me to ever pay full price on a Mac again, knowing what I know now (saving $450 will certainly adjust your outlook on it all real quick).


2009-06-24, 17:53
It depends, refurbs can be a very good choice, unless form factor is part of the decision. For example, say you want the smaller 13" model, well the last 13" MacBooks didn't have a FW port, while the 13" MBP does, that was kind of a deal breaker for me. Not to mention that the new MBPs can be upgraded to 8GBs of RAM, vs 6GB in the last models.

2009-06-24, 18:04
True. These new models are packing a few things that might make "going new" worth it, depending on your needs and situation.

2009-06-30, 13:49
Also, if you are a student, the discount and the free iPod (which you can sell if you don't need) often make refurb prices unimpressive. Obviously that's not an option for everyone. That 15 inch does look like an amazing deal, though.