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Old February 16th, 2008, 01:52 PM   #1
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Black MacBook Vs MacBook Pro

Guys... first of all allow me to apologize for starting another one of these threads. From the search bar I know this has been posted before, but it was 2006 and as you all know, Mac technology has drastically changed.

I am wanting to buy a Mac laptop to run Final Cut Pro. I've read where Final Cut doesnt support MacBook, I've heard that Motion has problems with MB, and I've heard others say "just blow out the RAM and you'll be fine".

I don't want to waste my money, but I don't have a lot either.

This is what I don't understand: From the Mac site, the specs on the Black MacBook seem the same as the cheapest MacBook PRO. Actually, the Black MacBook has about 40G more HD space more.

Here are the specs on the $2,000.00 MacBook Pro:
* 2.2GHz Intel Core 2 Duo
* 1440 x 900 resolution
* 2GB memory
* 120GB hard drive1
* 8x double-layer SuperDrive
* NVIDIA GeForce 8600M GT graphics with 128MB SDRAM

Here are the specs on the $1,500.00 Black MacBook:
* 2.2GHz Intel Core 2 Duo
* 1GB memory
* 160GB hard drive1
* 1GB 667MHz DDR2 SDRAM - 2x512MB
* 160GB Serial ATA Drive @ 5400 rpm
* Superdrive 8x (DVD±R DL/DVD±RW/CD-RW)
* Intel GMA X3100 graphics processor

I'm more of an editor FCP "user" and less of a techie. Any education you could throw my way would be mucho appreciated.

Of course the MacBook Pro has a 15" screen and the Black MacBook has a 13". For what I do, I can live with that.

Other Questions:

How big of a difference is there between the performance of a 2.2GHz processor and a 2.4 (or 2.6)? I'm not a techie, but does a decimal point higher really make that much of a difference?

Compared to the 17" MacBook Pro, do you think the two I mentioned above are waste of money? If you blew out a 17" MBPro you could easily drop 4 grand.

How long can you work off of the battery on these?

Just out of curiosity: What do you people think about the prices of Macs in general? I've heard the argument about Macs not compromising on the quality of their products, but as a long time mac (and PC) user I can tell you that's b.s. I've had plenty of Mac melt-downs. There are whole websites dedicated to Mac problems. And really.... do you realize what kind of PC machine you can get for 2 Grand? For me... IF I could'nt get FCP free from my work, I probably wouldnt be look at any of these Macs.

Thank you all!

P.s. I don't have a Mac Store in my town to answer questions... and even if I did, I trust you guys way more!
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Old February 16th, 2008, 01:58 PM   #2
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Graphics card on Macbook is crap. You won't be able to run Color at all I believe, and Motion will probably be dog slow.
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Old February 16th, 2008, 02:12 PM   #3
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Thanks Matthew.

I had\ve one more question to throw in:

For video, what do you guys think about the glossy display vs regular matt. Seems like the glossy adds depth that (I would guess) isnt really there and would screw your perception up.

I work with a wide range of formats (at work), but now days it's almost always DV. I have FCP at work on a G5... but even it's stripped down to min RAM, one HD. It works fine though. I just want something that's my own, that other people arent using, that I can take home and work on the road with (hotel rooms).

This IS what I do, so I feel like I should be willing to make the investment. But I'm kinda old school - I personally feel that if you spend 3 grand on something, first of all you shouldn't be able to pick it up by yourself, and 2 you should be able to had it down to your great grand kids. Ha ha... computers are horrible investments. I remember a few years ago when I was wanting a G4 Powerbook... and now I'm so glad I didnt buy one. I can only imagine I will feel the same this time next year if I buy the MacBook Pro. But that's the way it goes these days.

(p.s. I secretly prefer a razor blade to non-linear).
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Old February 16th, 2008, 02:13 PM   #4
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Matthew is right, it's all about the graphics card. Of course, if you never plan on using Color or Motion, then you'll have no problem.
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Old February 16th, 2008, 02:23 PM   #5
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Neither computer is a waste of money. I would go with the MacBook Pro just for the extra screen space but if you are a nuts and bolts editor with low graphic effect needs, the MacBook is just fine.
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Old February 16th, 2008, 02:24 PM   #6
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You guys are talking about the NVIDIA GeForce 8600M GT graphics with 128MB SDRAM (MBPro) Vs the Intel GMA X3100 graphics processor right?

O.k. Good info. I have motion.... just never got in to it. But I do want room to grow. So I suppose the bottom of the line MBPro is worth the extra $500. I guess when you think about it, I'd have to spend extra money to bump up the ram in the blackbook anyway.
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Old February 16th, 2008, 02:27 PM   #7
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Alright... I'm gonna ask one more question and just sit back for a while (I know I'm full of em today, sorry, just don't want to start a buncha threads).

Since I do this for a living and it's in my job title... would I be able to write this of come tax time?
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Old February 16th, 2008, 04:44 PM   #8
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I would go for the Macbook Pro 15"...

More screen estate (go for matte! less reflections, more accurate color, LED),
better video card (if you have the money, go for the 2.4 ghz option with 256MB card, to run Color and Motion better, if you don't... don't ;-)),
more slots (firewire800! Expresscard reader, dual link DVi,...), more RAM, ... backlighted keyboard (don't know if the Macbook has that?)

I edited HD (don't know if it was HDV or HD) in the Apple store on a Macbook Pro, to test it. Went very smooth, I was really impressed by the power of this little beast!
I'm going to buy a Macbook Pro 15" 2.4ghz on monday!

p.s.: I think you can indeed write this off your tax income.

btw: chances are big an update is mere days or weeks away, but if you need it now (like I do), get it now.
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Old February 16th, 2008, 05:51 PM   #9
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as far as tax write offs go, I'm pretty sure you will have to set up some sort of depreciation scale...in other words, you can't write the full amount off this year because computers are good for more than a year...you will probably be able to write it off in segments over 3 or 4 years. but a cpa or someone who has done this before will be able to explain it better.

but go with the mbp matte screen. but just don't expect it to stay pretty, I dropped mine backwards less than one foot into an empty bathtub (uh...yeah I was doing some digital bathroom reading) and got a massive dent in the side, and separations of the top keyboard plate from the bottom tub. Still works great, just not very pretty. And it scratches up pretty easy. I wouldn't trade it for the world though (except maybe a fully loaded MacPro with three 23in displays).
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Old February 16th, 2008, 11:05 PM   #10
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I've had both, MBP (rev A) and Black MB (rev C). Here's my take.

Pro work CAN be done on both. Color won't work on a MB, although I did get it to run on my MB before I upgraded FCS2 to the latest version. Color correct the good old fashioned way- the three way color corrector! It can take you far with some careful additions using Magic Bullet or Nattress effects. If you don't use motion you wont miss it on the MB either.

BUT- the new Pro model is a sweet, sweet machine that will allow you to grow into it as your needs expand- something a desktop usually only lets you do, and you pay a slight price premium for it. You take a MBP out into the field with you and there is no doubt its going to handle your workflow and the abuse suited to that type of work. Is it worth it?

MORE THAN YOU KNOW.

If it were me I'd take the ramen for dinner for a month and happily work away on my MBP, wide footprint and all. Oh but do be aware that if you buy the Pro you might be more inclined to protect the crap out of it; you know, because its so purty and expensive looking...which might eventually drive you crazy. You'll have a lot of fun examining it for scratches only to make scuffs on the palm wrists from your watch (gasp!) or nearly cry from your first noticeable ding (double gasp!!) stuff like that. My MB gets smudgy and I just wipe it down and shes good as new (almost). You win some you lose some.

Good luck!
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Old February 16th, 2008, 11:27 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jonathan Scruggs View Post
as far as tax write offs go, I'm pretty sure you will have to set up some sort of depreciation scale...in other words, you can't write the full amount off this year because computers are good for more than a year...you will probably be able to write it off in segments over 3 or 4 years. but a cpa or someone who has done this before will be able to explain it better.
Well, I'm not a CPA, so take this with a grain of salt. That being said, the way I understand the tax laws....it depends. I for example, run my own business, a small, one person video production company that does everything. There is a special section in the tax code (I think it's called a section 19 expense....not sure though, it may be called something else) that allows you to write off the ENTIRE amount (not a depreciated scale) of your computer....there are some limits on it though, and it's been a year or so since I read the description of it in the tax code so I can't give you any specifics really other than to say I know it's possible, and I did write off my computer when I bought it a couple years ago. That being said, you have to be using the computer for work (not for personal stuff), and if you work for someone else, I don't know if you can write off the cost of a computer.....not sure how that works as THEY would generally be the ones expected to have business expenses NOT you as an employee of theirs. So make sure you read and understand what you can do before you do it, as if you are audited you will have to defend yourself....I keep receipts for everything and even milage for my car when I use it on 'business miles' as I can write off my milage. Usually every year around tax time, I take a week or so just to read up on the new tax stuff and fill out my taxes, so I have to kind of take time off the paying projects to do it.....
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Old February 20th, 2008, 08:06 AM   #12
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sorry, but color don't run whit macbook or run not good??
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Old February 20th, 2008, 09:36 AM   #13
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I believe the issue with Color and Motion on the MacBook has to do with the graphics card, which is implemented on the system board instead of a dedicated card.

I recently faced this same decision when upgrading my old 15" PowerBook G4. I got the 15" 2.4ghz MacBook Pro with the 256MB GeForce 8600M GT. I maxxed it out with 4GB of RAM and this thing is really speedy. Have not used FCS on it because I have a pre-intel version, but everything else works great. PhotoShop CS3 is very fast. And Windows XP also runs nicely, even under Parallels. The LED screen is spectacular - its the brightest screen I've ever seen and very even from edge to edge. My friend has an older MacBook Pro with the regular LCD screen and there's really no comparison.

I used my last PowerBook for about 5 years, and have no doubt that this new machine will get me through the next 5.
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Old February 20th, 2008, 09:56 AM   #14
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Go with the MacBook Pro.

I have been editing HDV on a black MacBook for a year. The rendering is faster, but, the real-time stuff and Motion actually ran better on my 1.5" Ghz PowerBook G4 (that I sold) because the graphics card was SO much better.

Of course, now I have an 8-core Mac Pro with an nVidia 8800 GT and dual 23's... and its a little quicker than either of those ;)
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Old February 20th, 2008, 09:58 AM   #15
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I'd go with the Pro, just for the graphics card alone if no other reason.

I go the matte screen. That glossy screen looks cool, but you have to work in a dark room because it picks up glare from anything in sight.
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