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Differences between Macbook Pros?


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Differences between Macbook Pros?
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digitalprimate
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Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Antwerp, Belgium
 
2007-02-18, 05:50

I'm about to purchase my first Macbook and I've chosen that the Pro line-up would suit my needs best, which is video editing and quite a fair spot of motion graphics. Currently all my paid work is being done on a PC.

I think for the time being, the 15-inch is what I can afford and fits best, but I wondered about what seems to me small differences between the two 15" models.

So I would really appreciate your opinion on this.
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Wyatt
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Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Near Indianapolis
 
2007-02-18, 09:23

The upper-level 15" includes a marginally faster processor, but the big differences are the extra RAM and video memory. In my opinion, that model is really the sweet spot for the MacBook. If the lower-end model had BTO graphics options, it would be a better deal, but for video professionals like you, the extra video memory would be a big help. Go for that one if you can swing it.

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Kraetos
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2007-02-18, 15:13

Quote:
Originally Posted by fcgriz View Post
... but for video professionals like you, the extra video memory would be a big help.
That sounds like it makes sense, but that is actually a common misconception. For video and effects editing, the GPU is almost irrelevant.

The GPU matters if you are gaming. Maybe if you are doing a metric fuckton of 3D modeling as well, (like, if you were making games) it would be of assistance. See, the GPU only has an effect if you are dealing with lots of polygons - especially if you are only adding extra VRAM. Ad even then extra VRAM isn't as important as a faster GPU.

For video editing, the absolute best thing you can have is a fast hard drive and a ton of RAM. If I were you, I would go with the $2000 model (2.16 GHz), stick 3 GB of RAM and the 160 GB HD (not the 200 because it is slower) in it, get a 24" or a 30" external ACD*, and then a massive external FireWire 800 hard drive.

* Don't skimp on the monitor and go with a Dell or a Samsung because "they are cheaper with better specs." Without going into complicated details, the ACD's color consistency is MUCH better than any other widely available LCD. The ACDs are actually soft-proof certified, meaning that color will be the same across the entire panel. This is not true for other models; as I sit here behind my 24" Samsung, I can actually see colors varying at the corners of the screen - completely unacceptable if you are doing video work.

Sadly, being a technology pundit is truly never having to say you’re sorry. You can be wrong for years and never lose your job.—The Macalope

Last edited by Kraetos : 2007-02-18 at 15:23.
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spikeh
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2007-02-18, 16:55

My MacBook Pro flies on Counter-Strike with the 256MB card in it (2.16GHZ Core Duo, 2GB RAM), I get 50 FPS+ with everything on maximum. Struggles with Oblivion a bit, though.

Just thought I'd throw this into the mix.
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PB PM
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2007-02-18, 17:04

I would not worry about FPS in most games with the X1600, I've yet to play a game it cannot handle, although I tend to like slightly older games (RTW, SIMs 2 etc. under XP, CoD, BF1942 etc under OSX.)
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digitalprimate
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2007-02-18, 17:33

Quote:
Originally Posted by spikeh View Post
My MacBook Pro flies on Counter-Strike with the 256MB card in it (2.16GHZ Core Duo, 2GB RAM), I get 50 FPS+ with everything on maximum. Struggles with Oblivion a bit, though.

Just thought I'd throw this into the mix.
Why did you buy the 256MB version?
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spikeh
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2007-02-18, 18:07

Quote:
Originally Posted by digitalprimate View Post
Why did you buy the 256MB version?
It was the default option if you got the faster processor, back in the day.
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Brave Ulysses
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2007-03-07, 04:31

I too am curious about this as I am debating whether to keep the $2000 model once I get it or resell it and purchase the $2500 model (for $2350). For $350 it seems to be attractive to get twice the VRAM, twice the RAM, and the faster processor.

What do you think?

Would the extra VRAM have any noticeable impact in Maya? or future proofing?
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digitalprimate
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2007-03-07, 12:59

The faster processor was not worthwile in my opinion.

But for me, the faster model was kinda out of my budget anyways, since I chose to buy applecare for it rightaway, aswell as 2GB of ram.

I haven't really put it to max performance yet, though.

By the way, if I knew I was going to be 3D-ing on it in a big way, I'd go for a Mac Pro, and get myself a little macbook (or even 2nd hand Power- or iBook) for the mobility.

Because, to be honest, I'm too wary of take the mobile computer to public places. So I think I'll be looking at a 2nd hand ibook or something myself.
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Brave Ulysses
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2007-03-07, 13:37

Well I already have a 24" iMac. Right now the MBP will be for me to take to work.

The way i am thinking though, because apple ships two 512MB sticks of RAM in the $2000 model, in order to upgrade to 2GB would cost me close to $225 dollars after shipping charges. So for $125 more I can double the VRAM and get a faster processor. It's a tough choice.

Quote:
Originally Posted by digitalprimate View Post
The faster processor was not worthwile in my opinion.

But for me, the faster model was kinda out of my budget anyways, since I chose to buy applecare for it rightaway, aswell as 2GB of ram.

I haven't really put it to max performance yet, though.

By the way, if I knew I was going to be 3D-ing on it in a big way, I'd go for a Mac Pro, and get myself a little macbook (or even 2nd hand Power- or iBook) for the mobility.

Because, to be honest, I'm too wary of take the mobile computer to public places. So I think I'll be looking at a 2nd hand ibook or something myself.
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PB PM
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2007-03-07, 15:45

Is the difference only $125 once you figure in any taxes? If so, I'd go for the higher end model no questions asked.
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screensaver400
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2007-03-07, 16:44

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brave Ulysses View Post
The way i am thinking though, because apple ships two 512MB sticks of RAM in the $2000 model, in order to upgrade to 2GB would cost me close to $225 dollars after shipping charges. So for $125 more I can double the VRAM and get a faster processor.
As far as I know, with the MBPs with 1GB of RAM, Apple has shipped them with it all on one stick, with a slot open. This applies to the currently shipping $2000 model.
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Bryson
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2007-03-07, 17:35

Yep, my 17" MBP has 1 1GB stick in it.
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Brave Ulysses
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2007-03-07, 22:05

Quote:
Originally Posted by screensaver400 View Post
As far as I know, with the MBPs with 1GB of RAM, Apple has shipped them with it all on one stick, with a slot open. This applies to the currently shipping $2000 model.
ah... thanks for that. That makes a difference. So the difference would actually be like $225.

For $225 is it worth it for the 256MB VRAM and processor?

and yes, no taxes apply.
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PB PM
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2007-03-07, 23:44

Unless you want to play high end video games, I'd say no. I had to make the same choice when picking the model of MBP I would get. Personally I opted for 2GBs RAM and the 160GB drive rather than the limited speed boost and VRAM. The GPU is the same, just with more VRAM, so IMO it doesn't really make that much difference.
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neiltc13
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Join Date: Jan 2006
 
2007-03-10, 06:08

If you are a serious gamer do not buy a Mac. It's as simple as that. The new nVidia GeForce 8800 range for desktops smokes any card available for Mac right now.

The X1600 found in iMac and MacBook Pro will play older games fine but when it comes to getting recent games with lots of new visual effects to work you'll see a significant drop in performance and framerates.

That said I can't think of a good recent PC game I'd like to play. In my opinion, an Xbox 360 + Mac is the best setup to have these days
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Dorian Gray
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2007-03-10, 10:23

Quote:
Originally Posted by neiltc13
The new nVidia GeForce 8800 range for desktops smokes any card available for Mac right now.
I just took a look, and this card costs more than an entire Mac mini computer. Surely one can be a "serious gamer" without spending that much on a graphics card?! I doubt most "serious gamers" could even afford that. This seems to be more a card for rich kids to beat their friend's frame-rates.

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PB PM
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2007-03-10, 12:32

Yup, all the smart poor kids are getting the ATI X1950 Pro.
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neiltc13
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2007-03-11, 12:04

Geforce 8800GTS is available for less than $300.
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bassplayinMacFiend
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Join Date: Jun 2004
 
2007-03-12, 08:46

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kraetos View Post
That sounds like it makes sense, but that is actually a common misconception. For video and effects editing, the GPU is almost irrelevant.
Actually, Motion relies heavily on GPU RAM when building previews. Since the OP said they were doing Motion, the amount of RAM is important for this work.
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Brave Ulysses
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2007-03-13, 13:53

I think I'll most likely stick with the $2000 model. Althho now I'm tempted to trade it for the glossy screen....hmmm...
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