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MacBook vs MacBook Pro

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 
I am vacillating between a 13" MacBook (just love the Black...) and the 15" MacBook Pro.

I've checked the specs out here: http://store.apple.com/Catalog/US/Im...son_chart.html

The one difference between them that I don't really understand the real-world significance of is the graphics card and video memory.

I don't play games on my Mac, but do enjoy using Photoshop Elements 4 for photo editing (which I know is not yet available as a Universal App).

Can anyone give me an idea as to the significance of the difference between the MacBook and MacBook Pro for non-gaming purposes? (With either notebook, I plan on getting 1 GB of RAM) Thanks!
post #2 of 13
I wrangled over this question a lot, because what I really want is the non-existent 13" MacBook Pro. I finally settled on getting a 15" MBP, but it wasn't an easy choice. In fact, I made the decision with the idea of putting the 15" MBP up for sale on eBay just in case over the next year or so Apple finally makes a smaller Pro model.

Here's a comparision I wrote up in another thread:

Where the MacBook non-Pro wins:
  • Price, by a long shot -- nearly $1000 difference (comparing white MB with 15" MBP, same RAM and hard drive configuration).
  • Smaller and...
  • Lighter. I've gotten used to my 12" PowerBook, having owned a couple of 15" Titanium PowerBooks before that, and it's amazing how much difference an inch or two, or even fraction thereof, and a few ounces of weight can make in the feeling of portability.
  • Battery life -- estimated 6 hours vs. 4.5 hours for the Pro.
  • The plastic enclosure is probably more durable than aluminum.
  • User replaceable hard drive.
Where the MacBook Pro wins:
  • Aluminum, not plastic!
  • More screen real estate. As much as I loved my 12" PowerBook, I have often craved a bit more room to spread out, and 1440x900 is very welcome. The MB's 1280x800 would have been an improvement over my old 12" PB too, but not a very dramatic one, especially in vertical resolution.
  • Non-glossy display option available.
  • Slightly less squinty: 110.3 dpi vs. 113.5 dpi.
  • Dual DVI video output.
  • Much better graphics support: a real GPU vs. cheesy integrated video.
  • Nicer keyboard -- both for ergonomics and illumination. I did get a chance to type very briefly on a new MB tonight -- it's not as bad as I might have thought, but it's not like I spent that much time with it, and I can't shake the feeling that a chiclet style keyboard is a cheesy thing. (Update: Although I still don't like the look of MB keyboard, most people are saying that they like using it, so it must be reasonably ergonomic for most users).
  • Ambient light sensor.
  • Better sound from the built-in speakers (not great in either case, but better with the MBP).
  • ExpressCard/34 slot.
  • A short-term advantage -- buying now, the MBPs have had longer to shake out manufacturing bugs than the new MBs.
  • 0.16 more GHz! w00t!
While the MBP's win list is a good bit longer than the MB's, the MB's list has some big wins in it -- huge price advantage, portability, 33% more battery life -- whereas many of the MBP wins are fairly minor, especially considering my likely uses (I won't be gaming, won't need to hook up to an external display very often, probably won't ever need to use the ExpressCard slot).
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post #3 of 13
Thread Starter 
Excellent comparison. Thanks!

I guess I'm ultimately swayed by the least important thing -- the look of the black PowerBook.

Once you go black, you never go back (or so I've heard....)
post #4 of 13
im sure with one gig, and especially w/ 2, of memory you'll be fine using programs like photoshop and the like on the macbook.

in my opinion, for YOUR needs/application, I'd choose the macbook.

reasons (kinda repetitive) :
- pro is way more expensive
- non-pro is easily upgradable for cheap (2gb for $170)
- non-pro is smaller, lighter, more portable (obviously)
- pro has more screen space and has illuminating keyboard but do YOU need either?
- my opinion: black looks better than silver, and looks are important to me
- harddrive is also easily accessable if you wanna upgrade it
- etc.


myself, i've decided that i am going to get a black macbook but i'm gonna be patient and wait until all the lil bugs get sorted out. by then i'll have had time to research and get everything ready for it. such as: 2 1GB memory sticks, 100GB 7200rpm harddrive, parallels, new sound system, 23" monitor, bluetooth mouse and keyboard, etc.
post #5 of 13
Quote:
Originally posted by untsig
...parallels, new sound system, 23" monitor, bluetooth mouse and keyboard, etc.

I'm using the Beta version of Parallels on my MBP, and I'm quite impressed. I haven't done anything to really stress it yet, but for the uses I've put it to so far like system set-up (installing Windows XP and a bunch of other apps), web browsing, media playback (iTunes, WMP, Real Player), etc., a Parallels virtualized PC seems every bit as good (or as bad ) as having a real PC, vastly better than using the old Connectix/MS Virtual PC software.

I've only noticed one tiny glitch so far: After installing the Parallels Tools, the QuickTime system tray icon was surrounded by black scrudge -- this is probably an issue with handling the alpha channel transparency for the QuickTime icon which showed up only after the video enhancement part of the Parallels Tools was installed, and this might be something that would happen even without virtualization if it's just a Window's bug with having bad cached icon data which doesn't match the changed video environment.
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post #6 of 13
I'd go for the Macbook. The pro version is way too expensive for pretty much just getting a GPU bump. It's quite appalling that there is such a gap and that seems to be the largest spec difference.

From using the Intel Mini, the GPU isn't bad. I would still like an x1600 option in the lower end machines or something close but the GMA supports core video and the interface seems to be pretty snappy. It feels about the same speed as the 64MB GPU in my 1.5GHz powerbook.

Glossy displays are great for viewng media on IMO.
post #7 of 13
Quote:
Originally posted by untsig

- non-pro is easily upgradable for cheap (2gb for $170)

Where can you get 2gb upgrade for Macbook for $170?? The price I found was $360.99.
post #8 of 13
Quote:
Originally posted by baygbm
Where can you get 2gb upgrade for Macbook for $170?? The price I found was $360.99.

I bought 2gb (1gb x 2) from newegg.com. Patriot. Running flawlessly. Currently $85.99 per stick. Ram fluctuates in price. i think OWC has similar, but I'm not familiar with them. Newegg.com has always shipped fast...but they are super strict on payment, addresses and signed shipments.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16820220078
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post #9 of 13
Quote:
Originally posted by shetline

I've only noticed one tiny glitch so far: After installing the Parallels Tools, the QuickTime system tray icon was surrounded by black scrudge -- this is probably an issue with handling the alpha channel transparency for the QuickTime icon which showed up only after the video enhancement part of the Parallels Tools was installed, and this might be something that would happen even without virtualization if it's just a Window's bug with having bad cached icon data which doesn't match the changed video environment.

Check the windows video settings, that sort of thing happens to me when it is set to 16 bit color and not 24-32 bit
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post #10 of 13
I have a retard question but here goes...So the Intel integrated graphics (GMA whatever) don't do Core Image? Seems like a step backward. In fact I may not even understand integrated graphics. Aren't they like a video card without dedicated memory (VRAM)? If so why isn't the GMA integrated gfx as good as a bottomline Core Image compatible nVIDIA or ATi card? Only diff is it doesn't have dedicated RAM but then again, it has speedy DDR2 RAM? I'm very close to buying a MacBook and this is one of the last things I want to know more about. Thanks for the input everyone.

edit: does everyone think the next MacBook will have integrated graphics? And if so, will they be Core Image ready?

More of what I meant really is...is the MacBook Quartz-Extreme ready? THAT's what speeds OS X up and what I want to know. On the page it says any AGP graphics card with 16 megs VRAM or more. Sounds like the integrated graphics fit that bill, with access to 64 megs of RAM and either AGP or something faster I'd assume.
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post #11 of 13
Don't know how reliable barefeats is but still:

http://www.barefeats.com/mbcd3.html
post #12 of 13
in addition to those shetline outlined, there were a few more benefits to the macbook pro that swayed me.

-8x dual layer superdrive (as opposed to the 4x single layer)
-firewire 800
-an additional usb port

most of the benefits could be done through upgrades, but i needed the 17 inch (can't recall, now, if above specifications were exclusive to the 17')and needed it pretty much right away for work (and i am not the one paying for it - so that helps ).
i work from home, so i won't be toting it around all that much. your situation seems to be different.
i think it's a personal choice, largely dependent on what you'll be using it for.
post #13 of 13
Quote:
Originally posted by a_greer
Check the windows video settings, that sort of thing happens to me when it is set to 16 bit color and not 24-32 bit

The only two options were 16- and 24-bit. 24 is what had been selected by default. Switching to 16-bit, and also back to 24-bit, made no difference. The black scrudge around the QuickTime system tray icon remained.
We were once so close to heaven
Peter came out and gave us medals
Declaring us the nicest of the damned -- They Might Be Giants          See the stars at skyviewcafe.com
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We were once so close to heaven
Peter came out and gave us medals
Declaring us the nicest of the damned -- They Might Be Giants          See the stars at skyviewcafe.com
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