Talk me out of buying a MacBook!

Posted:
in Current Mac Hardware edited January 2014
Hi,



I've got my heart set on a MacBook C2D, but I keep doubting, wondering if it'll fulfill my needs. I can afford the 15" MacBook Pro, but I really like the MacBook's form factor, and Black Friday's hundred bucks off sweetens the deal. But!:



* Will it be sluggish driving a 1920x1200 external CRT (2D, no games)?

* How's video playback on such higher resolutions, on an external display?



I do Unix-based development, photography stuff, and typical web-browsing. Nothing the MacBook C2D should have a hard time handling, but I really need it to gracefully handle a 1920x1200 external display.



I tried out a newer-model Mac mini on the 23" cinema display, figuring same GMA950+64MB = similar performance, and it seemed OK. But then I noticed that the mini clocks the GMA950 at 400MHz, vs. the MacBook at 250MHz. Ouch. Hence my doubt.



Games, not really worried about. Core Animation stuff next year in Leopard, maybe.



So, do you think I'll end up regretting a MacBook buy, wishing for the 15" Pro? I could go either way if it weren't for the video, though I really dig the feel of the MacBook. Why oh why doesn't Apple make a slick 13" MacBook Pro (in black, bitte?)?

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 19
    gdoggdog Posts: 224member
    i have a macbook and an intel imac. i have not found one instance where i thought the macbook wasn't fast enough. i don't play games on it but for anything else it works great
  • Reply 2 of 19
    auroraaurora Posts: 1,142member
    integrated graphics suck, gma 950 is crap at gaming. That help?
  • Reply 3 of 19
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by kdraper


    Hi,



    I've got my heart set on a MacBook C2D, but I keep doubting, wondering if it'll fulfill my needs. I can afford the 15" MacBook Pro, but I really like the MacBook's form factor, and Black Friday's hundred bucks off sweetens the deal. But!:



    * Will it be sluggish driving a 1920x1200 external CRT (2D, no games)?

    * How's video playback on such higher resolutions, on an external display?



    I do Unix-based development, photography stuff, and typical web-browsing. Nothing the MacBook C2D should have a hard time handling, but I really need it to gracefully handle a 1920x1200 external display.







    I want a MacBook, too, but keep considering the Pro. My main concern, as well, is driving an external display (likely a 20" ACD or 24" Dell). It would be running both displays about 10 hours a day, 6 days a week. I mainly run the basic apps (Mail, Safari, etc.) as well as FileMaker and Excel during that time, mixed with a little Illustrator/Photoshop & InDesign.



    I will get a MacBook if I know it can handle these things, while running that display. I'd love it if it could. If not, I'll have to go Pro. So, I'm interested in more opinions as well!
  • Reply 4 of 19
    I am facing this same dilemma as well, ultimately the next purchase I make will be a desktop replacement since this G4 iMac, while still running good, has seen better days,and I want something to take with me and work on the bus if needed. I was looking at the 17 inch model, but that's a bit much. I think the low-end 15 inch MBP would work out nicely. One concern is having the graphics memory seperate, and I think 128MB would be fine.
  • Reply 5 of 19
    mr. hmr. h Posts: 4,724member
    The integrated graphics will pose no problem whatsoever if you aren't going to be playing games, or doing any core-image heavy lifting (e.g. lots of Aperture) or OpenGL-accelerated 3D stuff.



    The graphics memory isn't fixed at 64 MB. The OS can increase video memory if needs be.



    Don't forget that there are other considerations for MacBook Vs. MacBook Pro. The pro has:
    • Faster processor.

    • Bigger screen for not that much extra weight.

    • Dual-link DVI out on full-size DVI connector (no need for adaptor to hook up to DVI monitor).

    • Backlit keyboard.

    • ExpressCard slot.

    • Firewire 800

  • Reply 6 of 19
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Mr. H


    The integrated graphics will pose no problem whatsoever if you aren't going to be playing games, or doing any core-image heavy lifting (e.g. lots of Aperture) ...



    Hmm, that gets my attention. Something like Aperture running at high res on an external display with loads of images would be pretty typical for me (though I don't use Aperture yet, I'm migrating from Unix/Windows). I wonder if CS3 will be using Core Image heavily?



    As much as I like the idea of the MacBook, I'm gradually getting the idea that I'll be better off with a Pro. Bummer. Sorta.
  • Reply 7 of 19
    The backlit keyboard on the Pro is a big one for me too, for not much more than the price of a black MacBook, I can get a low-end 15 inch and get more stuff. Plus I just like the design of the Pro, it's very slick, and it matches the silver interface of the OS nicely. 8)
  • Reply 8 of 19
    mr. hmr. h Posts: 4,724member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by kdraper


    Something like Aperture running at high res on an external display with loads of images would be pretty typical for me



    Yep, it's a MacBook Pro for you!



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by kdraper


    I wonder if CS3 will be using Core Image heavily?



    Only if Apple buy Adobe.
  • Reply 9 of 19
    MarvinMarvin Posts: 14,219moderator
    The GMA chips won't run higher than 1600x1200 very easily. I try my Mini on 1600x1200 sometimes to get more desktop space and things like Dashboard stutter so definitely not capable of Aperture on a high res external display. For most things including light gaming, it's ok.
  • Reply 10 of 19
    My mini runs a 23" ACD. No stuttering at all. Maybe the 2 Gigs of RAM helps?
  • Reply 11 of 19
    slewisslewis Posts: 2,080member
    Null.
  • Reply 12 of 19
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Mr. H


    The integrated graphics will pose no problem whatsoever if you aren't going to be playing games, or doing any core-image heavy lifting (e.g. lots of Aperture) or OpenGL-accelerated 3D stuff.



    The graphics memory isn't fixed at 64 MB. The OS can increase video memory if needs be.

    [/LIST]



    It more like 64+16=80 in OSX

    and 128+16?=144? in XP
  • Reply 13 of 19
    nofeernofeer Posts: 2,422member
    my issue is that the mbp needs an upgrade bad and i can't wait till march so i bought a mb (2) but if you can"t wait go buy mbp now... the graphics may be your limiting factor. like anything else you must pick your tools for the job and if it's work productivity go power and flexibility
  • Reply 14 of 19
    Thanks everyone for your comments. I'll probably be picking up a MBP soon.
  • Reply 15 of 19
    slewisslewis Posts: 2,080member
    Null.
  • Reply 16 of 19
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by kdraper


    Thanks everyone for your comments. I'll probably be picking up a MBP soon.





    Congrats!



    I still can't decide. Care if I mooch off your thread? I guess my primary concern is running an external 20-24" display 90% of the time (extended desktop)...



    Does anyone know how the brightness between the current displays compares? It seems to me that between the 1st revisions, the MacBook was brighter.



    I might try to hold out until MWSF, to see if there are any decision altering products announced. Not sure if I can, though!
  • Reply 17 of 19
    slewisslewis Posts: 2,080member
    Null.
  • Reply 18 of 19
    I picked up my 15" MBP from the local Mac store a few days ago. It's very nice. Still playing around and getting used to the OS and apps.



    I was planning to pick it up with 2GB RAM, but they have a "RAM shortage" so I left with the standard 1GB, and an offer to have it installed later for the upgrade price. Since there's an open slot I'll probably just order a gig elsewhere.



    This might give you guys the icky face, but the one thing I miss from my ThinkPads is the middle-of-the-keyboard pointer-stick. The MBP's touchpad is probably the best I've used, and the two-finger scrolling/right-click thing is cool, but the accuracy seems low for things like copy/paste of specific text in the middle of a sentence. I'll probably get used to it.
  • Reply 19 of 19
    I get the best usage out of two handed keyboarding. Copy/Paste= Apple/C, Apple/V with the left hand. Control/Click for right click. Mouse movements with the right.



    We all have to find our own system, I guess, but in the last seven years, this has worked really well for me. I use the trackpad and the keyboard in sync. Makes things very quick.



    Congrats on your purchase. Play around with it and ask around for tips. It may be a new way for you, but it's going to be second nature soon.
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