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Author Topic: New MacBook Pro 17"  (Read 4208 times)
Anders_HK
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« on: January 10, 2009, 06:53:33 AM »
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Hi

Was initially looking at upgrading to a Lenovo W500... but... reading up on Mac... both the just announced MacBook Pro 17 unibody and MacOS indeed seem very interesting, and better specs than W500 for photography...

Thus much appreciate recommendations on MacBook Pro 17":


1. Display - Glossy vs. Anti-Glare

There has been discussions in this forum, but... how big issue is actually the glossy display? Is it possible to calibrate it accurately? How/what should it be calibrated with for optimum calibration?

a. Colors after calibration?

b. Shadow and highlight regions after calibration?


2. RAM - 4GB vs. 8GB 1066MHz DDR3 SDRAM

More is better, but is it needed for CS4 processing of MFDB files?

8GB is expensive, perhaps cheaper in a year or two? Compatibility issues with after market?


3. HDD - 320GB 7200rpm vs. 256GB SSD

Speed?

SSD more durable and less heat, possibly cheaper in a year or two. Will be difficult upgrade with after market, compatibility issues?


4. Processor - 2.66GHz vs. 2.93GHz

2.93GHz makes notably faster?



Thanks!

Regards
Anders
« Last Edit: January 10, 2009, 06:54:32 AM by Anders_HK » Logged
Jack Flesher
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« Reply #1 on: January 10, 2009, 11:01:08 AM »
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I use a past generation 15" MBP (2.6, 4G RAM). My daughter had the matte screen on her MBP and I didn't care for it, so went to the Apple store before I bought to compare them directly and actually preferred the glossy screen to the matt -- regardless of what the naysayers were claiming about it not being suitable for photography.  I can tell you mine profiles very well and holds the profile, and I use it for processing images in the field all the time.  For large prints, I will rework them on my studio desktop, but the MBP is fine for 95% of the output I need from it, shadows and highlights included.  No, it is not as good as my desktop, especially for critical color or fineer shadow and highlight detail, but then neither was the matt-screen MBP...

As for speed, here is a test comparing the new macbooks with Mac Pros and older mackbooks: http://www.barefeats.com/mbpp05.html.  You can see the fastest newer MBP's beat the older MBP 2.6 by about 10% on most apps -- so not earth-shattering gains, but gains nonetheless.  

RAM. It always makes a difference, but even 4G is still a decent amount unless you are doing tons of heavy I/O multitasking like batch processing and photoshop with large digital files.  And yes, the 4G sticks are pricey -- whether it's worth it is up to you...  Note you can pair a single 4G stick with a 2G stick in the past gen MBP for a total of 6G: http://www.barefeats.com/mbpp11.html

HD.  For right now, the only SSD I would consider is the Intel X25M and it is pricey at $500 for an 80G drive.  Moreover it does not appear to be any more efficient from a battery life standpoint.  For sure you want at least a SATA 2 7200 RPM drive for maximum performance in a macbook as they make a very notable performance difference over the 5400 RPM drives -- but they also use a bit more of your battery power to run them...

Back to processor: The  2.93 will be at best 10% faster than the 2.66.  So operations that take a minute on the 2.66 will run in 54 seconds on the 2.9; operations that take 0.11 seconds on the 2.66 will take 0.1 seconds on the 2.9 -- and the bulk of your operations are probably toward that lower end...  Finally, battery life is generally a bit better with the slower processors. Again, if it's worth it to you...

Me?  I always buy the top end performer when I buy a new computer on the assumption it will carry me an additional year than the slower unit.  Sometimes that has been true, but usually I regret the decision after about two weeks when I realize I just spent 30% more $$$ for what amounted to a performance gain that saves me maybe a few minutes daily, and it's not like I am that pressed for time

Cheers,
« Last Edit: January 10, 2009, 11:04:28 AM by Jack Flesher » Logged

NikosR
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« Reply #2 on: January 10, 2009, 12:15:42 PM »
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DDR3 SODIMMs are quite expensive at the moment and comparatively hard to find in the OEM market. For sure this will change soon. Whether you will be able to make good use of the 8GB depends 1. on amount of processing you do on your files (multiple layers) and 2. whether you need to open many files concurrently. I think that getting 4GB now and upgrading in the future might be a good proposotion due to the inevitable fall in the prices, even though you will be wasting 2 SODIMMs

SSDs are very expensive at the moment. Yes they are somewhat faster but mainly for reads not for writes. Not worthy IMO at the moment. It will be easy to upgrade the HD in the future with any 2.5 inch SATA internal drive, SSD or conventional. Many Mac OS utils (even shareware ones) will allow one to easily make a clone of the boot sik. You will need an external 2.5 inch USB / FW enclosure to easily perform this upgrade.

Processor: Not worth it to pay good money for the faster one unless you tend to perform long actions opening and closing hundreds of files.

Glossy displays I personally hate due to reflections (especially on mobile laptops), thus I have not tried calibrating one.
« Last Edit: January 10, 2009, 12:18:31 PM by NikosR » Logged

Nikos
joergen geerds
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« Reply #3 on: January 11, 2009, 10:12:51 AM »
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I would stick with the cheaper 4GB version for now, until the 8GB get cheaper (probably summer, see dealram.com). Maybe snow leopard will change things when it comes out, but for now, PSCS4 can use only 3GB Ram out of the 4-8 you have, due to the 32bit app restrictions... Snow leopard and CS5 will change that.

i would also go with the fastest HD option (barefeats.com as mentioned before has good numbers) you can get, since that affects PS performance a lot. if you have the need and the money, maybe you should look into a esata 2-drive external 2.5in raid. you should be able to power it from the FW port, and would give you decent speed (140MB/s) for PS scratch.
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bwest5
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« Reply #4 on: January 11, 2009, 09:27:29 PM »
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Hi Anders:  

Your wrote:

Quote
Hi

Was initially looking at upgrading to a Lenovo W500... but... reading up on Mac... both the just announced MacBook Pro 17 unibody and MacOS indeed seem very interesting, and better specs than W500 for photography...

Thus much appreciate recommendations on MacBook Pro 17":


1. Display - Glossy vs. Anti-Glare
I am also in the market for a MacBookPro and went to MacWorld for the express purpose of checking out Apple's new Laptop.  Before commenting, I would call your attention to some -- IMO -- very bold statements which Apple has made about the color monitor as follows:

Quote
2.3 million pixels of perfection.

With the high-resolution LED-backlit widescreen display on the 17-inch MacBook Pro, you get desktop-quality color in an Apple notebook for the first time. The moment you open your MacBook Pro, you’re greeted instantly by full, corner-to-corner screen brightness. The 1920-by-1200-pixel resolution (133 pixels per inch) means you can view more palettes and windows or watch HD video in its native 1920-by-1080 resolution. Perfect whether you’re working in the studio or out in the field, the display offers a 60 percent greater color gamut than previous generations for richer, more vibrant colors and a 700:1 contrast ratio that makes whites brighter and blacks blacker.

Here is the URL to the full statement:  http://www.apple.com/macbookpro/features-17inch.html

I went to MacWorld on Tuesday and you could not get within 20 feet of the four 17 inchers on display.  So I went back on Friday since I was very interested in understanding just exactly what this "60 percent greater color gamut" really meant. I ask several employees and one person would take me to another to another until I ended up talking to an Apple manager who was introducted to me as the "17 inch Product Manager".  

My first question was "is the color gamut on the 17" screen different  that the 15.4" MacBookPro?"   The answer was yes.

My second question was "what percent of the Adobe 98 color gamut can the monitor display?"  He did not know.  But went on to say, "that Apple engineers had done considerable work and it monitor had been throughly tested to ICC standards.  So let's compare the 17 and the 15 inch monitors."

He turned and opened a photograph of a woman face in the 17" and then pulled a 15" over and opened the same image.  The skin tones gradiations were clearly much improved on the 17".  That said, I have no reason to believe that either of the monitors have been color calibrated.  And since there were only four 17" laptops at the show, you can believe that they had a years worth of handling.  

I then raised the question of whether there was a matt screen laptop at the show.  The answer was yes, down at the other end of the 20" foot long display table.  Before I left, he ask me to come back and tell him what I though of the two and which I would buy.  I went down and spent about 30 minutes with the matt screen version.  While there, I wasy surprised how may photographers came by, looked at it and discussed the screen.  It would appear to me that it was about three to one favored the matt version.  I perferred the matt version myself, but I feel that you definately give up some resolution but probably come back closer to what you will see in the print.  And on this I could be wrong.

I next went down and took my third or fourth look a the NEC 26" and 30" monitors.  Without a doubt NEC does an much superior job with their matt finish than the Mac 17" that I saw.  At the same time these were preproduction units.  So will they improve?  I do not know.

A few minutes later, I came across "TechRestore"  a Concord, CA based repair and upgrade shop that specializes in converting Apple laptops screens from a glossy to matt finish for the price of $200.00.  I was very impressed with what I saw and considered their result superior to what I saw at the Mac booth.  SO, I went back and talked to the Apple product manager and suggested he take the time to go by the NEC booth and talk to Will and then on to TechRestore.

I have no idea whether he followed up or not.  

Hope this helps,

Bob West
« Last Edit: January 12, 2009, 12:20:05 AM by bwest5 » Logged
Anders_HK
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« Reply #5 on: January 13, 2009, 12:58:14 AM »
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Much kind thanks for all indeed very good replies in above!!

1. Display remains THE big issue...

Actually I am also interested in an NEC 26" or 30" display. For glass glossy I was told that a Spectrophotometer is required, perhaps at minimum a ColorMunki Create. Can perhaps same devise be used on both the Mac and Nec?

Is the anti-glare option better for photography, or  is it exact same display as old MacBook Pro 17? Thus do we know if there has been improvements to its color gamut same as glossy?

Specular reflections are in limited area while diffusing spread reflection over a larger area of display which is to bear in mind.

2. RAM
A Mac store told me that the mac do utilize the full 8GB, but perhaps not CS4? Thus for browsing of photos and other operations perhaps it helps? Indeed expensive at moment...

3. HDD
256GB SSD = 850usd over 320gb @ 7200

Mmm... expensive, more durable, faster, less heat... more quiet

4. 2.93GHz over 2.66GHz
Adds 300 USD, perhaps a no brainer for going from slowness of my 1.66GHz notebook... and since cannot upgrade as can HDD and RAM.

5. Second Internal Harddrive
Is "sort of" available up to 64GB SSD in Expresscard/34 http://www.teamgroup.com.tw/teamgroup/en/p...7&pl2_id=28

Could be great for always carrying a backup of non photo files!


Thanks for further replies!


Regards
Anders
« Last Edit: January 13, 2009, 01:01:00 AM by Anders_HK » Logged
Jack Flesher
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« Reply #6 on: January 13, 2009, 11:45:31 AM »
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Quote from: Anders_HK
5. Second Internal Harddrive
Is "sort of" available up to 64GB SSD in Expresscard/34 http://www.teamgroup.com.tw/teamgroup/en/p...7&pl2_id=28

Could be great for always carrying a backup of non photo files!

My understanding is express 34 runs at about USB2 speeds, so while decent for added onboard storage, probably not a good idea for a dedicated scratch disk or page file...  And of course you could alternatively use an express 34 SD reader which tucks inside completely, then swap multiple 16 or 32G sdhc cards in and out of it for even more total storage
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Anders_HK
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« Reply #7 on: January 14, 2009, 09:11:11 AM »
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Hi,

Today I looked for shops having the old matt display MacBook Pro in order to compare with new glass glossy, but I could not find old matt one...

I saw 15" glass glossy. Some thoughts...
1. 17" is probably large to control so there is no reflections in display, a 13" is probably easer to control, even 15" can be difficult.
2. It felt as if my eyes adapted to focus on what was displayed in order to block out reflections (different focus distances), and it felt difficult to get a clear overview because focus varied and thus so did reflections.
3. If the use is together with a larger external display (@e.g. 2690 WUXI), then how will one succeed in keeping reflection out from both? Seeing the 24" glass glossy display at tame time as the MacBook Pro I consider, I conclded that glossy was not for me.
4. The glass glossy looked a rather plastically...

Above said I am not sue if I rule out either at this time!

Thanks

Regards
Anders
« Last Edit: January 14, 2009, 09:14:09 AM by Anders_HK » Logged
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