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Thread started 26 Jan 2008 (Saturday) 17:17
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Mac decisions

 
aericj
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Jan 26, 2008 17:17 |  #1

Ok, I am considering my first Macbook and have a few questions.

I can get a new base Macbook with Applecare for $1200 out the door, including sales tax - or a black Macbook with Applecare for just under $1600 out the door. They don't have the white with superdrive version.

The additional $400 gets:
- 160G HD vs 80G HD
- Superdrive (DVD burner) vs combo drive
- 2.2 Ghz vs 2.0 Ghz processor
- Black case vs white

80G seems small for a HD these days - but I use duplicate external drives for my photo storage anyway. This could be upgraded later if necessary but I am not sure how economical that is for a Mac. Do Mac's get bogged down as the HD's get more full like PC's do?

I have never had a DVD burner but have thought it would be nice to have - not sure how often I would actually use it, though, since I have not gotten one yet. I could buy an external DVD burner for under $100 which would serve the purpose and would probably be faster.

Processor upgrade is nice but doesn't seem enough to really matter.

I prefer the black but certainly not worth hundreds of dollars to me.

I could use the $400 for 4G RAM and an external DVD burner and get the Photoshop upgrade to CS3 (& switch license to Mac).

Any thoughts from Mac users?


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Pete
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Jan 26, 2008 17:20 |  #2

Don't for goodness sake buy ram from Apple. Get the base amount and then go to another vendor to upgrade the ram (it's an easy process) - you'll save a stack of money.

If getting a larger HD isn't much more expensive, go for it.


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aericj
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Jan 26, 2008 17:24 as a reply to  @ Pete's post |  #3

Thanks for the advice on the RAM - even the Apple tech suggested third party RAM. My point was that for $400 I could get 4G RAM plus an external DVD burner plus upgrade PS - or I can go with the black Macbook with the upgrades listed.

These computer prices are discounted 10% and Applecare 40% from Apple's normal pricing - but there is no customization. It's an "all or nothing" deal between the two options.


Canon Ti5 w/ 18-135 IS STM, 70-300 IS, 85 1.8
Canon 20D w/ Tamron 17-50
Olympus PEN E-PL2 w/ VF-2, Panny 20, 14-42 II
Flash - 550EX, 430EX II, Vivitar 283's
Other - Bogen tripod w/ ballhead, Vivitar monopod, Kenko tubes

  
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aericj
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Jan 26, 2008 17:58 |  #4

I think I have answered my own question here the more I think about it... I think I am going for the white before they run out...


Canon Ti5 w/ 18-135 IS STM, 70-300 IS, 85 1.8
Canon 20D w/ Tamron 17-50
Olympus PEN E-PL2 w/ VF-2, Panny 20, 14-42 II
Flash - 550EX, 430EX II, Vivitar 283's
Other - Bogen tripod w/ ballhead, Vivitar monopod, Kenko tubes

  
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I ­ Simonius
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Jan 26, 2008 18:05 |  #5

ejwebb wrote in post #4788578 (external link)
The additional $400 gets:
- 160G HD vs 80G HD
- Superdrive (DVD burner) vs combo drive
- 2.2 Ghz vs 2.0 Ghz processor
- Black case vs white

You will want to burn DVDs to back up image files - they use too much space for Cds
Get RAM from Crucial -not apple
Don't bother getting 2.2 over 2 Ghz- not worth it
HD? check the speed- are they both the same speed? If not get the fastest, if both same speed get the 160 -= it gets used up very quickly

Case color?

up to you;)

Basically you do not need Apple RAM or faster processor, the rest is your preference really - that's all it's down to


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DavidEB
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Jan 26, 2008 19:36 |  #6

If your only computer is the notebook, you'll run out of HD space. Take the money you saved on RAM and buy a nice big 500 GB external USB drive, keep all but your favorite photos on that. Better yet, buy two of them and that way you'll have a backup system.


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aericj
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Jan 26, 2008 20:40 |  #7

DavidEB wrote in post #4789286 (external link)
If your only computer is the notebook, you'll run out of HD space. Take the money you saved on RAM and buy a nice big 500 GB external USB drive, keep all but your favorite photos on that. Better yet, buy two of them and that way you'll have a backup system.

Thanks, David. It's a done deal - I got the Macbook. I already use dual external drives for all my photos which is why the smaller hard drive is not a deal killer for now. It is the same size as my current PC hard drive so it should be ok until I need to put a larger, faster drive in it at some point.

I am excited to get started with it tonight!


Canon Ti5 w/ 18-135 IS STM, 70-300 IS, 85 1.8
Canon 20D w/ Tamron 17-50
Olympus PEN E-PL2 w/ VF-2, Panny 20, 14-42 II
Flash - 550EX, 430EX II, Vivitar 283's
Other - Bogen tripod w/ ballhead, Vivitar monopod, Kenko tubes

  
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Tony-S
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Jan 27, 2008 08:54 |  #8

ejwebb wrote in post #4789658 (external link)
Thanks, David. It's a done deal - I got the Macbook. I already use dual external drives for all my photos which is why the smaller hard drive is not a deal killer for now. It is the same size as my current PC hard drive so it should be ok until I need to put a larger, faster drive in it at some point.

You did precisely what I would have done. The hard drive replacement in a MacBook is a 5 minute job - remove the battery, remove the L bracket, pull the drive, swap it with the new one and you're done.


"Raw" is not an acronym, abbreviation, nor a proper noun; thus, it should not be in capital letters.

  
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aericj
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Jan 27, 2008 09:16 |  #9

Tony-S wrote in post #4792047 (external link)
You did precisely what I would have done. The hard drive replacement in a MacBook is a 5 minute job - remove the battery, remove the L bracket, pull the drive, swap it with the new one and you're done.

I understand it is an easy job to physically replace the drive - but how is the transfer of data, etc. to the new drive? I have had a hell of a time with my wife's PC recently...

Any recommendations on which drives? I was looking at a few 250G 2.5" SATA drives on Newegg but am not sure what the difference is. Also, I would like to put the current drive in a case and use it for backup but am not sure what I would need to do this so any help here is also appreciated.

I was also looking at 4G RAM kits at Crucial. Is there another brand I should consider?

One more question - does PS need a big chunk of the HD for a swap file on the Mac like it does on a PC? If so, what's the minimum?

Thanks for all the help - I am new to Mac's so it is a learning experience!

I am switching my PS license to Mac and upgrading to CS3 as soon as I can.


Canon Ti5 w/ 18-135 IS STM, 70-300 IS, 85 1.8
Canon 20D w/ Tamron 17-50
Olympus PEN E-PL2 w/ VF-2, Panny 20, 14-42 II
Flash - 550EX, 430EX II, Vivitar 283's
Other - Bogen tripod w/ ballhead, Vivitar monopod, Kenko tubes

  
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Tony-S
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Jan 27, 2008 10:07 |  #10

ejwebb wrote in post #4792107 (external link)
I understand it is an easy job to physically replace the drive - but how is the transfer of data, etc. to the new drive? I have had a hell of a time with my wife's PC recently...

I bought the Universal Drive Adapter ($30) from Other World Computing for my transfers. It converts any 2.5" or 3.5" SATA or PATA drive to a USB2 drive (sans enclosure). It is very convenient. Plug this into your new drive and initialize it with the Mac OS Disk Utility. It is essential that you partition your new drive as GUID (under the "Options" button) or you won't get a bootable drive for your Intel-based Mac. Also use "Mac OS Exended (Journaled)". After it's initialized, download the free Carbon Copy Cloner and have it clone your internal drive to the new drive. If you don't have too much on your current drive then it should only take 30 min to an hour.

After the clone is complete, test the new drive to make sure it will boot. To do this, leave it connected to your Mac with the UDA and do a reboot. As soon as the screen goes dark, press and hold the Option key on your keyboard. After a few seconds, your internal and external drives should appear on the screen. Use the right/left arrows to choose the new drive to complete the boot process. If it successfully boots, then you know you've done the cloning correctly. You can now replace the internal drive.

Any recommendations on which drives? I was looking at a few 250G 2.5" SATA drives on Newegg but am not sure what the difference is. Also, I would like to put the current drive in a case and use it for backup but am not sure what I would need to do this so any help here is also appreciated.

I'm not a fan of WD drives, but many use them without problems. Any 2.5" SATA drive with a height of 9.5mm or less will work. I've owned Seagates mostly. Personally, I'd choose size over speed (gb vs. rpm), but that's dependent on your needs. For an enclosure, you have to get one that has an internal SATA interface that will connect to your current drive.

I was also looking at 4G RAM kits at Crucial. Is there another brand I should consider?

I buy from OWC, but Crucial is a reputable brand as well. Just make sure they have a lifetime warranty and fit the specs of the MB.

One more question - does PS need a big chunk of the HD for a swap file on the Mac like it does on a PC? If so, what's the minimum?

Yes, it does swap, but I generally don't pay too much attention to those things, so I'll defer to others who might be "in the know".


"Raw" is not an acronym, abbreviation, nor a proper noun; thus, it should not be in capital letters.

  
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aericj
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Jan 27, 2008 23:04 |  #11

Tony,

I just swapped out my HD for another Hitachi - the 200G 7200 RPM version. It came with a SATA external enclosure (USB 2.0) in a package deal for $180. I feel better about the HD capacity now and have a portable backup as well!!

I also ordered 4G RAM for $110 from DataMem (recommended by the Apple tech) which should be here in a few days.

Your summary of the process above really helped - as did the Carbon Copy recommendation. It went very smoothly for this first-time Mac user!!

Thank for the help!!

Eric


Canon Ti5 w/ 18-135 IS STM, 70-300 IS, 85 1.8
Canon 20D w/ Tamron 17-50
Olympus PEN E-PL2 w/ VF-2, Panny 20, 14-42 II
Flash - 550EX, 430EX II, Vivitar 283's
Other - Bogen tripod w/ ballhead, Vivitar monopod, Kenko tubes

  
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