Which Macbook to Buy

Discussion in 'General Q&A' started by Eduardo Morales, Feb 16, 2012.

  1. Eduardo Morales Chatty!

    Hi Guys!

    I've saved up enough money to go ahead and purchase a Macbook. I'm buying one firstly to use as a laptop and second, to edit videos. I don't see myself editing videos longer than 10-20 minutes on it. For that, I have a personal PC at home that I can customize and upgrade further to handle the heavy stuff.

    My conundrum lies in which Macbook to get. I'm looking between the two 15" models. You can check them out for yourself here for reference.

    My question is - would the difference between the processors - 2.2 GHz and 2.4 GHz (both quad core) - make a difference? Likewise, would the AMD Radeon graphics card sporting 512 MB of memory be that much of a difference from the one lauding 1 GB?

    Video editing capability plays a heavy part in this decision. I'm already strapping it with 8 GB of RAM as well.

    Thanks for the help!
  2. HarrisonHoude Administrator

    Hmm, the 2.4ghz is nice. I would go with that if I were you. Could make a difference. I recently saved enough to replace my 6 year old MBP. Got a 2011 27" iMac with 3.4ghz !! :D
  3. Eduardo Morales Chatty!

    I didn't know they made iMacs with 3.4 ghz processors! Good catch.
  4. Jared Clemons Chatty!

    What software would you be using to edit? Personally I'd save money and go for a Windows laptop. You can really save a lot of money and get the same, and in most cases better, features. Since you already have a Windows desktop, getting a Windows laptop means you could easily share projects back and forth between the two without running into any issues.

    My job has me constantly on the road so I need to be able to edit between my desktop in the office and my laptop on the road. In the office I use a custom built i7 machine with bells and whistles, running CS5.5. For my laptop I use a HP DV7t-Quad Edition running an i7 with 8gb of RAM. Cost $1,000 and when I spec'd the same machine with Apple it was well over $2,500!

    Here's a recently priced out a machine on HP for $1,205 shipped (with coupon code from Google search).

    HP dv7t-Quad Edition
    • Genuine Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
    • 2nd generation Intel(R) Core(TM) i7-2670QM (2.2 GHz, 6MB L3 Cache) with Turbo Boost up to 3.1 GHz
    • 1GB AMD Radeon(TM) HD 7690M GDDR5 Discrete Graphics(TM) [HDMI, VGA]
    • 8GB DDR3 System Memory (2 Dimm)
    • 160GB Solid-State Drive
    • 500GB 7200rpm Drive
    • 9 Cell Lithium Ion Battery
    • 17.3-inch diagonal Full HD Anti-glare LED-backlit Display (1920 x 1080)
    • Blu-ray player & SuperMulti DVD burner
    • HP TrueVision HD Webcam with Integrated Digital Microphone and HP SimplePass Fingerprint Reader
    • 802.11b/g/n WLAN
    • Standard Keyboard with numeric keypad
    • 2 year limited warranty included

    Similar machine from Apple is $2,800 and doesn't include the Blu-ray or 500GB 7200rpm second drive and a lesser GPU. Just look at all your options and unless you need Apple software, Windows is a good way to go. Just do a clean install of Windows as soon as you get the machine; install Google Chrome, Avast and CCleaner and you'll be set. About the only thing Mac has over HP is battery performance and Thunderbolt.
  5. Eduardo Morales Chatty!

    Yikes, those are some excellent specs. I do use CS5 so I would be in the clear. My ideology behind buying a Mac was the access to all the film-related applications on the platform (FCP7, Color, etc.). Battery life, slim and sleek body, beautiful screen and smoother OS were my other reasons.

    But specs like that can't be ignored, especially for the price. My major hesitation is that I owned a HP laptop before and it died on me twice, right after the warranty expired. Wouldn't want that happening again.

    BTW - do you know if the OS is installed on the SSD by default? Or on the on the hard disk drive?

    Really appreciate the post, I'll have to weigh my options for sure.
  6. Jared Clemons Chatty!

    If you maintain your Windows OS it can be just as smooth as a Mac OS. I've been editing on HP laptops professionally for the last four years and have never had an issue that kept me from meeting a deadline (I produce 2-5 videos/week). However, I do upgrade about every 18-months just to keep current.

    I would expect the OS to be installed on the SSD, however I HIGHLY recommend performing a clean install of Windows 7 immediately after you receive it. This will get rid of any of the bloatware HP pre-installs on the machine (which helps them keep the prices low). You can find instructions with a simple Google search. After you do the clean install of Windows (which you can select the SSD as your boot drive), I would install the necessary HP drivers, Google Chrome, Avast (anti-virus), CCleaner, and WinDirStat. Then install CS5 and you're ready to rock and roll.
  7. Ross Gill Not quite so new!

    Or you can get a MacBook...turn it on...and your ready to roll!!
  8. Eduardo Morales Chatty!

    To do a clean install, would I have to buy another Windows 7 license, or could I use the one that comes installed already?

    Thanks for all the great advice.
  9. Ross Gill Not quite so new!

    If your asking that question you should not probably not be going down that route. Unless you are very comfortable with windows os and hardwire, drivers etc don't do it!

    Just my advice based on previous experience. Don't buy purely on higher spec as the numbers can be misleading as for example, different RAM manufacturers vary in quality and therefore varying performance.

    You get what you pay for. Mac's are worth it! Try before you buy at the very least. I was editing on windows for years. Tried a mac 3 years ago and never looked back :)
    Zac Lovett likes this.
  10. Eduardo Morales Chatty!

    I definitely understand that. I have a familiarity with Windows and drivers as I've built computers before. I built the one I'm using about a year and a half ago.

    Do laptops come with Windows installation DVDs? I haven't bought a new laptop in five years.

  11. Ross Gill Not quite so new!

    Ok cool! The thread being called "Which Macbook to buy" made me think you'd already decided on mac. Not sure about the os dvd's with windows laptops. I think it might vary from brand to brand as some I've bought have had them and others not. Best to ask before buying. Good luck and post up what you choose!
    Eduardo Morales likes this.
  12. Jared Clemons Chatty!

    According to Apple they run 1333MHz RAM in their current laptops, same speed as HP. And since they're both running the same processors, and similar GPUs, you're basically getting the same machine. You get what you pay for is right, as Apple has better batteries, stronger chassis, Thunderbolt and a solid OS. But I find it hard to swallow when the cost is more than twice that of a Windows machine when you know they are running the same processors and video cards.

    I don't deny the performance of Apple machines, I think they're really great! But if you're looking to save money, there's no shame in getting a Windows machine, especially if you're not using Apple-only software. Side-by-side you'll notice the small differences but are those differences worth more than $1,000?

    There's an option to get a bootdisk for like $20 extra, however if you follow this guide you should be able to go without it:
    Eduardo Morales likes this.
  13. Eduardo Morales Chatty!

    Amazing! You have been such a great help. Now it all comes down to making a decision. I'll report back once I have picked which laptop I'm going with.

    Thanks so much everyone!
  14. Jared Clemons Chatty!

    Either one is a great choice. True, you may have a more "hands-on" experience with the Windows machine in order to keep it running optimally, but for me the savings is worth it. Especially when that $1,000 could pay for new glass.
    Eduardo Morales likes this.
  15. Matt Davis Administrator

    I can't speak for PC side...

    Guess what... I'm finding 8GB isn't enough, so I'm upgrading my MacBook Pro to 16GB for FCPX.

    This can't be done on 'build to spec' at the moment (happy to be proven wrong), so maybe build to minimum RAM and have a separate third party install the RAM for you.

    For simple lightweight projects, this may not be necessary. I managed to cut stuff on my backup 4GB RAM MBP recently, but I'm in deep with some big projects now, and suffering RAM shortage.

    SSD has been a revelation for the boot drive. Big performance boost. Was a major expense, but will make the Mac live for longer. Even if I DO lose 10-20% performance over its lifetime, it will still be better than a spinning disk.
  16. Eduardo Morales Chatty!

    Totally understood. At the moment, though, I only work with smaller projects and nothing longer than 10 minutes.

    HP lets you add up to 16 GB of RAM on its customized laptops, but at a huge price. I'd love to future proof it but not when I'm still on a pretty tight budget.
  17. Jared Clemons Chatty!

    Yes I highly recommend anyone building a new machine, even if not for editing, to spring for an SSD. They're worth the extra cost because of their increased speed and reliability.

    You could always buy RAM from Newegg and install it yourself. 16GB (8GBx2) of DDR3 1333MHz laptop RAM costs about $175, far cheaper than the $400 upgrade cost that HP or Apple would charge.
  18. Eduardo Morales Chatty!

    I might have someone do it for me. I've never modified a laptop before. But yeah, like you said, it's always possible to go back and add more memory in the future.
  19. Mike LaRose Chatty!

    You might want to check out this blog site here. I was pretty set on buying a Mac Book Pro for quite awhile but it was way out of my budget. I've decided to go the cheaper route and get a ASUS (as shown in number 5) which comes with 12GB ram, 1.5 TB drive, Quadcore 2.2, and a Nvidia 560 (Which supports Mercury Playback engine). It's about $1600 from BHPhoto or Adorama http://www.adorama.com/ASG74SXDH71.html and about another hundred dollars if you buy from Walmart or Best Buy. It's considered a gaming computer but it can definitely handle video. The HP Elitebooks are supposed to be amazing but a good rig will cost you nearly what a Mac Book Pro will (about $2300-2500) but keep in mind that is with a Quadro 3000 video card which blazes with Mercury Playback in Adobe. Check out some of their other suggestions though, there are some deals on there that can get you a really good laptop for hundreds less than a Mac Book Pro.


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