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Old Jun 29th, 2006, 08:39 PM   #1
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Question Black MB13 v. MBP15

So it's this time of the year again... Which machine should I get? I must say that the iBook G4 1.33 has been a disappointment. Even with 1.5Gigs of RAM it crawls.

So x5 here we come, but which one?

I am not too fussed about the glossy screen debate

I would love a dual firewire laptop machine, but Apple aren't offering any outside the impractical MBP17

So, can you help me decide by answering the following Qs and/or contributing opinions...

1) Screen real estate

12 inch is definitely too small. How comfortable is 13.3? Can you - for example - play with formatting palettes (Word, Dreamweaver or Photoshop) more comfortably or do you really need the 15"?

2) Keyboard

The MB keyboard feels flimsy. Do you get used to it or is it really Mickey Mouse?

3) Robustness

My PB12 died young because frankly aluminium is not very strong. In this respect the iBook is a much sturdier machine. Has the build quality of the alu machines improved? The plastic ones decreased?

4) Memory requirements

As I said 1.5 Gig was a minimum for my G4; are the Intels more or less memory hungry? Would 1Gig be sufficient?

5) Real life requirements for power hungry apps

Any opinion on running iChat multi-video or Aperture on these machines? How about DVD rendering?

That's all I can think of. The 13 is sexier and lighter, but I want something for the next 2-3 years, not just 12 months.

Thanks
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Old Jun 29th, 2006, 09:06 PM   #2
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You gain around 30% in pixels and 21% screen size for the 13.3", perfect for portability but a bit small for home use yes. Unless, you throw perhaps a Dell 20" widescreen you can plug into at home and use the now native screen spanner. If you don't want that hassle though I highly recommend you go with the MBP 15".

PS. My iMac is awesome, 1GB of RAM is pretty good, I'd like to go to 2GB eventually though.
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Old Jun 29th, 2006, 09:13 PM   #3
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I am going through the exact debate right now as well and am thinking of upgrading my iBook.

The MBP comes with a 512 MBP stick of RAM, while the MB comes with 2 - 256 MB sticks. I wouldn't buy anything less than 1 GB for an upgrade, so you will either end up with 1.5 GB with the MBP or 1.25 GB with the MB.

I find I don't use my iBook for much more than surfing the internet because the screen is a bit small for doing work, photos, etc... For that reason, I am leaning towards the MBP.
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Old Jun 29th, 2006, 09:18 PM   #4
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I've recently started using a ViewSonic 19" Widescreen display as the main monitor for my iBook (the iBook monitor is now reserved for chats, that could use a glance, but dont need full attention). I really dislike using my iBook's small screen for school work.. its fine for browsing or chatting, but the 19" is a dream.

My suggestion? Get the MacBook Pro - you'll use the extra screen.
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Old Jun 29th, 2006, 09:23 PM   #5
 
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Actually its 1GB or 2GB on the MacBook not 1.5. You need them in pairs due to the shared video. Apple recommends and only sells them in pairs otherwise you take a performance hit.
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Old Jun 29th, 2006, 09:43 PM   #6
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I've used both machines, and I can say the the 15 incher you may seriously want to look at. The difference between the two machines are greater than just the screen.

For most users, the MacBook should suffice. However, in terms of working directly on the laptop, obviously the 15 inch screen makes a huge difference. You can actually do some serious work on the screen. To put it in retrospect, the MacBook Pro has the same screen real estate as a 17" iMac.

I personally prefer the feel of the MacBook Pro's keyboard over the MacBook, but every typist is different. Also worth noting, the MacBook's keyboard will not touch the screen upon closing, unlike the MacBook Pro. Thus, if you type with greasy fingers, you'll see it on the screen of the MacBook Pro (no Big Mac and ehMac surfing at the same time )

Robustness. Hmm. Typical of all aluminum notebooks, the MacBook Pro does suffer from slight warping once in a while. Obviously the plastic MacBook will not (however, I've seen a MacBook's trackpad bubble. Go figure.). However, I still find the aluminum wayyy sexy compared to the MacBook. Yet, I must admit, the black MacBook is very attractive.

Memory requirements, in my opinion, should be higher with the Intels. This is because, if you are using ANY PPC only apps (ie. Microsoft Office), they will use significantly more memory running on the Intel than on the PPC based Mac (because of Rosetta translation). Thus, 1 GB would be the bare minimum.

The one clear advantage of the MacBook Pro would be its graphics card. AFAIK, Aperture does not run on the MacBook (at least, not without some hacking). Obviously, any graphics related tasks will be significantly faster on the MacBook Pro over the MacBook.

A few notable things that the MacBook Pro has over the MacBook:

- ExpressCard slot. While there might not be a lot of accessories using this standard at the moment, many are on the way. This replacement for the PC Card will allow enhancements such as FireWire 800, EDGE (for portable internet), External SATA, and more. It makes this machine quite expandable.

- Full size DVI port. May not seem like much, but it really sucks when you have to do a presenation and you forgot your video adapter. Or perhaps (as is the case with the MacBook), you might not have bought one yet.

- Light sensitive Display. The the light sensor is nice to have as the daylight changes, or as you move the laptop around.

- Backlit Keyboard. Even nicer than the display would have to be the fact the keyboard is backlit. The soft white glow is especially handy when working in dark environments. Another thing of note: The keys on the MacBook Pro are laser etched, after the paint is applied in the manufacturing process. The MacBook has it's lettering applied as another part. Thus the keys on the MacBook Pro are much less likely to wear off.

One thing that comes to mind immediately when I think of advantages of the MacBook versus the MacBook Pro, is that the MacBook has a removable hard drive. To be more clear, the hard drive is user-accessible, which in the MacBook Pro, it is not.

Also, the MacBook is obviously smaller, and because of its case, perhaps more durable.

I suggest going to your local Mac dealer and playing with the two machines. Open up some apps, and see how you like it. Don't be afraid to spend time deciding on a large purchase like this.
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Old Jun 29th, 2006, 10:06 PM   #7
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I own a Macbook and I must say I'm a very happy camper for what I use my computer for. I've run very intensive applications and they do run very well.

Firstly, I must say that I dislike computer keyboads as a general rule but I find the Macbook keyboard OUTSTANDING! I'm a musician so I dislike moving my fingers more than I have to (tendonitis etc) so the small travel and light touch of the macbook is perfect for me.

Second, I find the glossy screen simply amazing. Its the best screen I've ever seen on a laptop and can be viewed perfectly even at a very sharp angle. All the talk about reflection is hogwash; I use it in the park in the sun (which does make it a bit more difficult to see) and even then the screen still has good visibility. If I had the option, I would choose a glossy screen for sure.

One important consideration is that the Macbook Pro has a much better VIDEO CARD. So if high intensity gaming or video editing is your thing, the MBP is the way to go. This consideration ties in with the purchase of RAM. The MPB has a FULLY DEDICATED video card but the macbook videocard SHARES ITS MEMORY WITH YOUR RAM, which makes it work nicely but definitely warrants buying more ram. I recommend buying the minimum RAM from apple and then upgrading yourself (much cheaper).

The backlit keyboard is very beautiful but it isnt something that would compell me to spend 1000$ more for a computer. I use my macbook for audio recording so the reduced quality videocard doesnt bother me and I like the compactness of my macbook (it goes wherever I go)!

There's one caveat regarding the black macbook, it tends to make finger grease and scratches MUCH more apparent. I agree, I find the blackbook more appealing, but I don't like a dirty looking mac.

Good luck with your decision.
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Old Jun 29th, 2006, 10:29 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hokuto
Actually its 1GB or 2GB on the MacBook not 1.5. You need them in pairs due to the shared video. Apple recommends and only sells them in pairs otherwise you take a performance hit.
I don't think you have to match the RAM. You get a gain by having matched RAM (e.g. 2 - 512 sticks are better than 1 - 1 GB stick) when comparing equal amounts of RAM. However, more RAM will still outperform less RAM even if it is matched (e.g. 1.25 GB RAM beats 2 - 512 MB matched sticks).
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Old Jun 30th, 2006, 11:45 AM   #9
 
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MBP hands down.

Being a owner of iBook G4 and MBP, I was told by a rep in Apple that iBook line (substituted by MB line) was designed for normal people with ONLY daily simple tasks. If you want to do something serious, you have to choose Powerbook/MBP line.
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Old Jun 30th, 2006, 01:42 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by develove
MBP hands down.
Sorry... wrong. MB. and use the money you save for a really fast external harddrive and an external (CRT) monitor.

Quote:
Originally Posted by develove
Being a owner of iBook G4 and MBP, I was told by a rep in Apple that iBook line (substituted by MB line) was designed for normal people with ONLY daily simple tasks.
Hey I have a bridge to sell you as well dude... only Special people use this bridge. The Apple guy is a sales guy... his Job is to sell you not what you want but what they make the most money from.

That has to be one of the dumbest things I have every heard... "normal people with ONLY daily simple tasks".

The MB is a MUCH better value than the MBP and unless you are into either Gaming or High End Video production there is no REAL reason to choose a MBP over a MB.

The MB is an amazing value for the dollar. For well less than a MBP I have now dropped in 2 GB of ram and a 120GB drive into our new MB and it screams it is so fast.

Quote:
Originally Posted by develove
If you want to do something serious, you have to choose Powerbook/MBP line.
Serious? How's this... I've partitioned my (self installed) 120GB hardrive
with two partitions (one for OSX and one for WinXP). I'll be able to use this lowly little macbook to drive a virtual machine using VMware from an external drive which will host a complete Front End J2EE Enterprise Scale Banking solution running off of a Webshpere Application Server on top of a DB2 database. I'll be able to show live code demos from this little MB.

Trust me... this is not for the faint of heart. Could I do it on a MBP? Sure I could. Is there any benefit to running it on a MBP as opposed to a MB? Nope.

So unless you are into High End Gaming or High End Graphic/Video... there is not real reason to choose a MBP over a MB.

I sleep well at night with that extra $700 under my pillow.
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