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Apple Notebooks Apple's notebook computers including MacBook Pro, MacBook, MacBook Air, PowerBook, and iBook.

macbook pro advice for masters architecture student. HELP!


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the_markitect

 
Member Since: May 06, 2011
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Hello everyone,

I am starting my masters in architecture this year and I think it is time to move onto a mac after being windows based for all of my life!
I am from London but am currently in New York and I think I will buy one here but I am unsure what MBP will cater for my needs!?
I will be using a lot of CAD and Photoshop and illustrator. And also be 3d modelling and rendering on the machine. Will the low end 15inch be able to handle this? Also is there that much difference between the 2.0ghz quad core i7 and the 2.66ghz i7 from the last MBP? I ask this because there are some refurbished MBP which are cheaper!
Also how important is it to get applecare? can i get this when i am back in London?
Please let me know what you guys think and thank you so much for your help!

Mark
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Deckyon

 
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Member Since: Apr 06, 2011
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Mac Specs: MBP 17" 2011, 2.3GHz Intel Quad-Core i7, 8GB RAM, MacMini 2011, 2.7GHz Intel Dual-Core i7, 8GB RAM

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Gonna give you what I would buy (and ended up buying.)

I do a lot of video and photo processing. when I am shooting, I will process up to 30 hours a week (and I have a regular job outside of that). I needed a machine that was portable (I hate working only in one place) and had a large screen. This took me to the 17" MBP.

I have been buying computers for over 15 years, and the one thing I have always done was get the best possible CPU available. The main reason is that, especially for laptops, it can be harder (or impossible) to upgrade it later. Does that mean the difference of a few mHz is going to be noticed? By the average user, no. By the high-end user and those with special apps (such as video and CAD and 3D Modeling) yes, it will be. Even then, does it matter? Well, that is your personal choice. To me, it did, so I got the top end processor.

New or Referb? Well, first, are the Referbs the exact same model as the current new model? If so, go for the referb if you don't mind a scratch 'n dent model. The referbs come with the same warranty as the new ones. If the referbs are last year's model then either wait until the latest model hits the referb shop or get a new one. Again, your own personal choice. I have a thing about screen scratches - I cannot abide them, so I went New.

With the apps you want to run, the extra screen real estate will be very nice. Yes, you can get the 15" and add an external monitor, but bam, you lock yourself into a single location.

MBP 17" 2011, 2.3GHz Intel Quad-Core i7, 8GB RAM, AMD Radeon HD 6750M 1GB RAM
MacMini 2011, 2.7GHz Intel Dual-Core i7, 8GB RAM, AMD Radeon HD 6630M 256MB RAM
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Moss

 
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Member Since: Feb 22, 2011
Location: Portland, OR
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Mac Specs: MacBook Pro|15" Hi-Res Anti-Glare|2.2 GHz quad i7|4GB RAM

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Quote:
Originally Posted by the_markitect View Post
Will the low end 15inch be able to handle this? Also is there that much difference between the 2.0ghz quad core i7 and the 2.66ghz i7 from the last MBP? I ask this because there are some refurbished MBP which are cheaper!

Please let me know what you guys think and thank you so much for your help!

Mark
I'll comment on the questions you have that I feel comfortable doing so. I have no experience with Apple Care, so I can't help you there.

The low end 15" will be able to handle what you'd like to throw at it, but obviously the faster machine will do things a little... faster. The main difference, as far as I'm aware, between this and the last model is that the 2.66GHz i7 is only dual core. The 2.0GHz i7 is quad core and supports hyperthreading (4 physical cores, and 4 virtual cores). I would, for the extra bucks, get the newer machine, or wait to see if the new ones hit the refurb shop.

Also, something to consider, is the fact that you are a student, you'll be able to get your discount pricing from Apple. Not only this, but for the past few years Apple has had a Back To School promotion. Last year they gave a free iPod Touch and maybe even a printer... I'm waiting for this promotion (started May 25th last year) to get my machine. I'll most likely sell the iPod and printer, and pocket the money!

That's all only an option if you can wait, however, and so if you must get the machine ASAP I'd recommend the current 2.0GHz i7 or higher.

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the_markitect

 
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Hi all,

Thank you so much for your replies! you have helped me a lot!
so far my thoughts are....
I will hold out for a while for the back to school special... I am in new york until early June and I understand shipping is pretty swift from the online store... so fingers crossed it goes according to plan!
from what i understand from your posts, it is worth spending the extra on the latest model for the quad core 2.0 - 2.2ghz 17 rather than the older refurbed 2.8ghz i7 for hyper threading issues... (please correct me if this is totally incorrect!)
now a few more issues after researching a bit more! - sorry in advance.
Is it worth spending more on a hi-res screen? does it make that much difference?
and again, if anyone knows about applecare and whether it is needed let me know!
All help is greatly appreciated!!!!

Mark
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Moss

 
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I'm pretty sure that the 2.8GHz i7 supports hyperthreading, but it only supports 2 virtual cores (total of 4). I'm no hardware buff though, so before you go believing what I say, I'd do a little reading! Here's an article that talks about the processors that Apple used in it's Macbook Pros before these current quad core ones: i5, i7 Demystified: Apple’s New MacBook Pros are NOT Quad-Core.

As for the hi-res screen? It'll make a huge difference, and a very noticeable one. You say you'd be using photo shop and CAD. The hi-res screen will give you more room for menus, toolbars, and just a larger general working space. Here are side by side comparisons of a regular resolution (right screen) and hi-res screen (left screen):



Found these via a google image search.

Notice how much more is revealed on the hi-res screen.

Information regarding AppleCare can be found on Apple's site here. Notice this from the page:

Quote:
The AppleCare Protection Plan can be purchased only while your Mac or Apple display is still covered under the standard one-year limited warranty
Here is a list of FAQs about Apple Care that may help answer some of your questions.

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the_markitect

 
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Moss thanks for the swift reply!! Much appreciated!
Yeh I have googled a lot and even asked the staff in the apple store - I guess I am just soopa thick at maccing!!!
Regarding the processors the staff at the apple store were a bit unsure themselves!! After asking several different employees i was eventually told that even though the newer processors have a lower ghz the quad core makes all the difference... But as they were unsure I am unsure how much to believe!
I cannot thank you enough for your help and I am more than likely to get the mid range 15" Mac book pro. It has a better graphics card with 1 gb dedicated memory than the older 2.8ghz MacBook pro which has 512mb dedicated memory graphics card. I mean they must change the processors as an improvement and all reviews I have read on the current MacBook pro models say they are the fastest they have ever tested etc.... I guess I am having trust issues with Mac as I am betraying pc!!!
Thanks again for your help!
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Moss

 
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Member Since: Feb 22, 2011
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Welcome to MF, by the way! Slipped my mind to welcome you in my first reply. Glad to have shared a useful opinion with you! Here's a numerical comparison of the new MBP models (Feb. 2011) versus the previous batch. Don't know if you've found this whilst performing your searches, but it gives you a measurable difference in performance. It measures only CPU and memory performance though, so the graphics card's abilities aren't reflected in these tests.

There's absolutely no doubt that these quad cores versus a dual core processors will perform better, I'm just not sure of the ability of hyperthreading on the dual core. Even if hyperthreading is supported though, they won't be as fast as the quad core.

Anyways, hopefully you don't find it too difficult to make a transition from your Windows (or Linux) PC to your Mac PC if you ultimately make the choice of getting the MBP. All of your questions will hopefully find answers here, or with friendly Apple staff.

-Moss

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vansmith

 
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One thing to consider is whether or not all the software you're going to need is available for the Mac. I imagine that architecture requires some specific software.

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FijiArchitect

 
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Actually AutoDesk has just released a version of AutoDesk specifically for Mac so you don't have to run it on parallel desktop or vm fusion as was the case previously. VectorWorks was actually developed from MiniCAD which was originally designed for Mac. Not too sure about ArchiCAD which might still requie parallel desktop or vm fusion. Basically what these two software programs do is they allow you to run a Windows operating system on your mac. Hope that helps.
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