Notes on the 2009 Macbook Pro

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qpxab2osjKo

(Video above is Macbook Air boot comparision between SSD and HDD drives)

I’ve spent way too much time comparing the different Mac computers with PC’s. At home I have 8 PC’s. two PC laptops and one Mac G4. I use the G4 to run the Digidesign ProTools TDM MixPlus music recording system. I use the PC’s for everything from light video editing and music to installing internet software and even playing World of Warcraft ((I’m a level 53 Orc Hunter. YEAH!)

My main objections to buying the MacBook Pro were these (read on to see how these objections were overcome and incorrect):

  • Not able to play high end games on Mac computers.
  • When I upgrade to the new ProTools HD system I’ll need a Mac Pro (the Mac tower).
  • I still have a lot of PC software that I need to run.
  • The price: Around $5,000 fully loaded at 2.93Ghz with 8mb Ram, Final Cut Express, Aperture, Iwork, Aperture and Logic Express installed.

I feel I really need a powerful laptop for my work and I have periods where I travel a lot in my profession. I could get a powerful PC tower for a fraction of the price ($1,000 for a VERY good tower) or a PC laptop ($1,200 for a good PC laptop).

So here’s some information I have found about my main objections:

Not able to play high end games on Mac computers. NOT TRUE! The new MacPro has better graphics cards installed, the NVIDIA GeForce 9400M + 9600M GT with 512MB. In the older MacPro’s they did not come with NVIDIA graphics processors, so they had a real problem running memory intensive video games. In reading reviews online, it’s said the only the most high end gamer will notice a difference. (The kind of gamer that will spend a LOT of money just to play video games). This is not NVIDIA’s highest end graphics card, but a good one. I’m told World of Warcraft will run without any problems.

When I upgrade to the new ProTools HD system I’ll need a Mac Pro (the Mac tower). ProTools WILL run well on the LE system, and I’m going to Hong Kong soon for a demonstration and will find out details of running the HD system on it. But really, if I’m putting out $15,000 for a PT HD system, is it that big of a deal to buy another Mac tower? For ProTools fans, you might be interested I was told in early 2008 by a Digidesign dealer that a fast PC computer running the LE system is more powerful than a G4 running the TDM system in 2004.

I still have a lot of PC software that I need to run. The Mac can run both Mac and PC software. Boot Camp and Parallels are popular programs for this I’m told. You need to purchase a copy of the Microsoft software like Vista or XP and the Mac will run it and most PC programs. I did have someone tell me this eats a lot of memory and gives poorer performance for some PC software, but don’t know if this is true or not.

The price: Around $5,000 fully loaded at 2.93Ghz with 8mb Ram, Final Cut Express, Aperture, Iwork, Aperture and Logic Express installed. Save $1,000 by purchasing Mac Ram on Ebay (although this is not recommended, see link to article and more information below). I found 8 gigs for the MacPro in 2×4 configuration for $165.00USD. So now the price is down to $4,000 fully loaded. And if you skip the preinstalled software extras you’re down to around $3300USD. I should add that these are prices for the largest 17 inch monitor size.

And the last question is whether to get an ATA drive or Solid State (add $750 in March 2009 for a 256 gig solid state drive). I found an article from February 2008 comparing the drives here:
http://www.appleinsider.com/articles/08/02/11/macbook_air_face_off_hdd_vs_ssd_with_video.html

How long does the MacPro last? I read on some Mac forums many users have been running their Mac laptops for 6 years or more. Some users said they turned off power saving features and burned out their hard drives. So if you have an ATA drive that needs to spin (the SSD or Solid State Drives do not need to spin, that’s one advantage of them) then they recommend using the power save functions and closing the screen when not  in use.

I have not found a single user who bought a beefed up Macbook Pro and was unhappy or regretted the purchase. So until I hear otherwise I think I’m sold on the Macbook Pro laptop.

You can see configurations for the different Mac computers at:
http://store.apple.com/

Anyone have info if it’s ok to buy Ram off of Ebay for the Mac’s? It sure saves a lot of money. An article on buying Mac ram is here:
http://guides.macrumors.com/Buying_RAM

If anyone has updated info on the MacPro or other input that would be much appreciated. You can leave a comment on this post.

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