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

Looking to buy first Mac notebook but can't decide what model!


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nicolesmithweb

 
Member Since: Jun 23, 2011
Location: Michigan
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Mac Specs: 13" MacBook Pro, 2.7 GHz Intel Core i7, 4 GB RAM

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I currently have a Dell Inspiron 15R notebook with an Intel Core i5 processor, 640 GB hard drive, and 6 GB RAM.

I'm a web developer, so I mainly browse the Internet, write code, use FTP, and Photoshop and Fireworks.

I would definitely like to get a MacBook whether it be original, Air, or Pro that has an Intel Core i5 or i7, I don't use a lot of hard drive space as I put most of my files on my flash drive, but I at least want 4 if not 8 GB of RAM.

My main concern is choosing the 13" or 15".

I like the idea of the 13" being more portable due to size and weight. My current laptop is actually 15.6" and I can admit it can be a bit too big. I don't take it with me to work everyday. I take my 10.1" Ubuntu netbook instead, but that's WAY too small, so that's why I'm not evening considering an 11" MacBook Air.

Also, I understand the 15" MBP has a dedicated graphics card as compared to the 13". Is this something I really need to worry about for Photoshop and Fireworks?
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quin

 
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I'd rather get the 15". MBP are slimmer and lighter than other notebooks. Photoshop on a 13" is rather limited screen space. But if portability is more of a concern, you can get the 13" and use a bigger external monitor with it at work or home. I've been using Photoshop with my 13" MBP C2Duo with no problem, either 4GB or 8GB of RAM.
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iggibar

 
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What kind of work do you do on photoshop and firworks? If it's real demanding, I would go for the 15", if not, the 13" should do things casually. My macbook pro has the 9400/9600. I do a lot of hd video editing, and I usually never switch to the 9600 unless I play some call of duty. It gets the job done. The Intel isn't too much different from reviews. However, there is a pretty large price discrepancy going from the 13" to the 15" just for the graphics(base models). If size is important, I would go look at the 13" at an Apple store for as long as you can.

Also, when you do find you what you want, take a look at the refurbished list on Apple's site to see if you can save some money. They have my approval...if that means anything to anyone(my 25 month old MBP is a refurb, and it's been great!).

WOW! 25 months already?!? Still feels like the first day!

“If you are distressed by anything external, the pain is not due to the thing itself but to your own estimate of it; and this you have the power to revoke at any moment.” Marcus Aurelius
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nicolesmithweb

 
Member Since: Jun 23, 2011
Location: Michigan
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Mac Specs: 13" MacBook Pro, 2.7 GHz Intel Core i7, 4 GB RAM

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No, the work isn't really demanding. I'm more of a web developer, but occassionally I'll play the part of a web designer and edit PSDs and Fireworks PNGs.

And thank you for the recommendation of the Apple Reburbs! I never knew about them!

I think ultimately I need to go in the Apple store and see the 13" in person. I'm sure I could get used to the smaller size. -sigh- Such big money to play with lol
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dmccloud

 
Member Since: Aug 30, 2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nicolesmithweb View Post
No, the work isn't really demanding. I'm more of a web developer, but occassionally I'll play the part of a web designer and edit PSDs and Fireworks PNGs.

And thank you for the recommendation of the Apple Reburbs! I never knew about them!

I think ultimately I need to go in the Apple store and see the 13" in person. I'm sure I could get used to the smaller size. -sigh- Such big money to play with lol
I own the 13" MacBook Pro, and I'm using it for basically the exact same thing. I've found that the 13.3" screen is actually easier on the eyes than the 15.4" screen on my Dell XPS, and there's enough screen space for what I want to get done. You might decide to go with a larger model, but definitely check out the 13" at the store first!!

-------------------------------------------------
15" Retina MacBook Pro (Late 2013)
2.6 GHz Core i7 | 16GB | 1TB SSD | OS X Mavericks 10.9.3
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nicolesmithweb

 
Member Since: Jun 23, 2011
Location: Michigan
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I compared the width, height, depth, and weight specifications of my current Dell Inspiron 15R to a 15" MacBook Pro, and the MCP was slightly smaller in all dimensions, but not much, which means I'd still practically be lugging around the same laptop.

Ultimately I will need to go to the store. I'm just so nervous! lol

I also need to think if I want to dedicated graphics card that the 15" comes with but the 13" doesn't have. Will this effect my Photoshop performance?
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dmccloud

 
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Photoshop performance is more reliant on the CPU than the GPU. That being said, if you go up to the quad-core 15" MBP it will be faster in terms of applying filters, rendering, etc. Based on what you plan to use the notebook for, it sounds as if you'd be doing more basic adjustments to your images, such as cropping. In that case the GPU is even less of a factor because those processes shouldn't tax your CPU to its limits.

-------------------------------------------------
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2.6 GHz Core i7 | 16GB | 1TB SSD | OS X Mavericks 10.9.3
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MDSilverado

 
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I asked the same question last week, having worked on a 13" for years I didnt want to go the the 15" but wanted the performance. Ultimatly I bought the ($2,199) 15" last Sunday. I had some hint of buyer remorse for the first day or two...the 15" seemed really big compared to my old 13". AFterworking on the 15" for the week not I am VERY happy with it. I took a couple days to settle with the size difference. The only time it seems a little big is working with it on my lap (on the couch). Other than that I'm perfectly happy I opted for the more powerful machine.

As a aside I really wish Mac would make a 14"...to me that's really the SWEET SPOT for size.
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iggibar

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dmccloud View Post
Photoshop performance is more reliant on the CPU than the GPU. That being said, if you go up to the quad-core 15" MBP it will be faster in terms of applying filters, rendering, etc. Based on what you plan to use the notebook for, it sounds as if you'd be doing more basic adjustments to your images, such as cropping. In that case the GPU is even less of a factor because those processes shouldn't tax your CPU to its limits.
I know that's how it was back in the day of the older versions cs4, but I thought Photoshop now supports GPGPU acceleration??
GPU, OpenGL support | Photoshop CS4, CS5

With that said, you shouldn't limit what you buy just for one program. A lot of programs utilize the graphics for power. It's even noticeable with iMovie when switching from the 9400 to 9600. I don't have a copy of photoshop anymore, but I remember very clearly when I was editing some layers away from one large raw image I was working on. I realized I had forgotten to switch out of the 9400 because the image was glitching. WHen I went on the 9600, it was smooth. No other programs were running. Now I mostly use Gimp. Not as many options, but I can still get the job done.

“If you are distressed by anything external, the pain is not due to the thing itself but to your own estimate of it; and this you have the power to revoke at any moment.” Marcus Aurelius
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nicolesmithweb

 
Member Since: Jun 23, 2011
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I agree. A 14" would be ideal. My fiance loves his 14" Dell. We were comparing the Mac models last night, and I might just have to go with the lower 15" just for the quad core and the 500 GB hard drive @7200 RPM.

Now, do I want the glossy or anti-glare? So many options! lol
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MDSilverado

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nicolesmithweb View Post
I agree. A 14" would be ideal. My fiance loves his 14" Dell. We were comparing the Mac models last night, and I might just have to go with the lower 15" just for the quad core and the 500 GB hard drive @7200 RPM.

Now, do I want the glossy or anti-glare? So many options! lol
Unless you are planning to order you may have to settle for glossy. I think most stores only carry the matte in HD screen on the $2,599.00 model.

The HD matte screen looked marginally better in the store but not worth the $400.00 increase to me. To note...the for your $400.00 you also get a faster processor.
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nicolesmithweb

 
Member Since: Jun 23, 2011
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I'll more than likely buy online so I can upgrade things. I've always bought my computer online. I like to personalize them

Another thought that occurred to me today was making my unused Dell desktop into a Hackintosh.
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dmccloud

 
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I'd recommend not going the Hackintosh route. I turned a Dell XPS M1530 into one, and it never felt like a real Mac. There's not one specific reason I can point to, just a bunch of minor things that add up to a Hackintosh not being the same user experience.

-------------------------------------------------
15" Retina MacBook Pro (Late 2013)
2.6 GHz Core i7 | 16GB | 1TB SSD | OS X Mavericks 10.9.3
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dmccloud

 
Member Since: Aug 30, 2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by idrinorbarsaku View Post
I know that's how it was back in the day of the older versions cs4, but I thought Photoshop now supports GPGPU acceleration??
GPU, OpenGL support | Photoshop CS4, CS5
It does support that, but based on what the OP has said, she wouldn't even be fully stressing the RAM and CPU, let alone need the additional power from the GPU.

-------------------------------------------------
15" Retina MacBook Pro (Late 2013)
2.6 GHz Core i7 | 16GB | 1TB SSD | OS X Mavericks 10.9.3
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nicolesmithweb

 
Member Since: Jun 23, 2011
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I ended up going to the Apple store and have decided on the 13" MacBook Pro 2.7GHz dual-core Intel Core i7 with 4 GB of RAM and a 500 GB hard drive. For $200 more, I could upgrade to 8 GB of RAM.

It was between this model or the 13" 2.3GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 with 8 GB RAM and 500 GB hard drive.

The reason I chose the i7 with 4 GB over the i5 with 8 GB of RAM is because the consultant at Apple told me the faster processor would allow me to have more programs open while the RAM is the speed of which programs open and close.

In the end, I do a lot of multitasking with a lot of programs open, so he recommended the faster processor. But again, if I want to spend $200 more, I can get the 8 GB of RAM and the Intel Core i7 dual-core processor.
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