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Topic: Macbook Pros - really how good are they?

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  1. #1

    Macbook Pros - really how good are they?

    Hi everone, Im looking for some hardware advice, and figured that this would really be the best place to ask as more look here.

    For my masters they recommend a macbook pro. My question is, are they really that great?! I know that unfortuantely you have to pay a bit for the apple logo... How many GPO instruments can you load and play at once? how many sends/FX can you run at once etc etc.

    If anyone can advise or give me an idea of how hard they are able to push their laptops I would be very grateful.

    Thanks in advance!

    Ben

  2. #2
    Senior Member
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    Re: Macbook Pros - really how good are they?

    Quote Originally Posted by BenNichols
    Hi everone, Im looking for some hardware advice, and figured that this would really be the best place to ask as more look here.

    For my masters they recommend a macbook pro. My question is, are they really that great?! I know that unfortuantely you have to pay a bit for the apple logo... How many GPO instruments can you load and play at once? how many sends/FX can you run at once etc etc.

    If anyone can advise or give me an idea of how hard they are able to push their laptops I would be very grateful.

    Thanks in advance!

    Ben
    Ben,
    I've got the second-to-the-latest MacBook Pro and I like it very much. It runs Cubase 4 and Garritan libraries just fine, and it also runs Finale and Sibelius programs just fine, too. Although these are not the cheapest laptops you can buy, they do have a lot of "standard" features other vendors make you pay extra for. I also like that I can run both Wintel and Apple software on it at the same time.

    If you do get one, get plenty of RAM. These programs eat memory for lunch. The CPU speed is plenty adequate. Get a 7200rpm hard disk as well. Makes everything (esp. samples) load more quickly.

    Hope that helps a little.

    Keith Walls
    Last edited by KeithW; 08-20-2007 at 07:37 AM. Reason: typo

  3. #3

    Re: Macbook Pros - really how good are they?

    thanks Keith. I'd never noticed that some apple standards you'd have to pay more for on other laptops. will have a look at that.
    Can you give me an idea of how many GPO instruments you are able to run at once and what they are (as a piccolo is considerably less strain than full strings KS!).

    Thanks

    Ben

  4. #4

    Re: Macbook Pros - really how good are they?

    With the hefty price, you can try using a student discount. A regular college student gets about 5% off, while I believe teachers get 10% off. THis was the rate when my friend got his 15 inch Macbook Pro, which was around early June of this year. It's not much, but you can always put that extra money toward RAM.

  5. #5

    Re: Macbook Pros - really how good are they?

    Do you need a laptop?
    Desktops can provide more upgrade flexibility and grunt for usually a good deal less.
    Also, if you are running GPO, you probably won't need more than 2GB RAM, which most mid-range laptops come with now anyway.
    I used GPO with 1GB or less for almost two years and didn't run out of system resources until I was running about 35-40 instruments in Cubase 4. Now I am using 2GB and it is way more than I really need at the moment. My CPU is an AMD 3000+.
    The Core 2 Duo processor is pretty much standard now, in macs or PCs.

    Unless you need to run mac-only software or have plenty of extra money to spend, I would probably recommend going the PC route.

    A laptop like this one ($600) might fit the specs pretty well. More RAM should be pretty cheap to add. The only questionable side to this option I can see is that the Vostro is Dell's brand new laptop, so there is not a lot of user feedback on it yet.
    http://dealnews.com/deals/Dell-Vostr...ed/183116.html

  6. #6

    Re: Macbook Pros - really how good are they?

    I have the latest model with 4 gigs of ram. I simply like it very much.

    Can you send some example of a set of GPO-instruments you'd like to test with? How many of which instrument and what do they play (one note?) I can try it out then and tell you how far I can go with it.

  7. #7
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    Re: Macbook Pros - really how good are they?

    The "Educational (teacher)" price of a top-of-the-line MacBook Pro is $3454, but that includes everything: A 17" inch high res. display, 4GB RAM, 160GB 7200rpm disk, 2.4 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo, CD/DVD writer, OS, iLife '08, DVI output (for external monitors up to 30",) Firewire 400 and 800, and the list goes on. The graphics card is an NVIDIA GeForce 8600M GT.

    Not the "cheapest" laptop out there but certainly not the most expensive, either.

  8. #8

    Re: Macbook Pros - really how good are they?

    wow, thanks for responses!

    Keith - sadly I dont have that amount of cash to spend on one. I believe my limit is going to be somewhere around £1300 (about $2400) i think. Are the cheaper mac laptops worth their price?

    karvasika - thankyou for the offer. I will try and send you something when I have chance. Much appreciated!

    BenBotkin - Unfortuantely yes I do. It is a course requirement. The work suite has lots of wide apple screens to connect to them (plus lots of lovely tascam units) and only provides technical support for macs. And we have to use Logic 7 (another expense!) I know desktops give you so much more for your money. I built my own one 2 years ago, and its been mostly brilliant, but now I have to go mac it seems. It will be a sad day....
    When you are running GPO, what else are you running at the same time? what FX, sends, DAWs etc etc?
    Can Logic run on PC? I was under theimpression that it was an apple only DAW....
    Thanks for the laptop link. will check it out shortly.

    Thanks for all your advice guys
    Ben

  9. #9
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    Re: Macbook Pros - really how good are they?

    Quote Originally Posted by BenNichols
    wow, thanks for responses!

    Keith - sadly I dont have that amount of cash to spend on one. I believe my limit is going to be somewhere around £1300 (about $2400) i think. Are the cheaper mac laptops worth their price?

    Ben
    It looks like you can get into one for £1300 (inc. VAT,) but it still has relatively nice specs. (15" LCD, 2.2GHz processor, 2GB RAM, 120GB hard drive, NVIDIA GeForce 8600M GT, wireless, etc.)

    Also, don't forget you can run Boot Camp and/or Parallels or VMware Fusion to get your cake and eat it too- both Mac and PC in one unit.

    Keith W.

  10. #10

    Re: Macbook Pros - really how good are they?

    Quote Originally Posted by BenNichols
    When you are running GPO, what else are you running at the same time? what FX, sends, DAWs etc etc?
    Can Logic run on PC? I was under theimpression that it was an apple only DAW....
    When I was running on 1GB RAM:
    4 (sometimes 5) instances of GPO,
    Cubase 4,
    A couple buit-in synths,
    Halion sometimes, (but that was pushing it)
    Garritan ambience and some built in reverbs running in realtime.

    Now I have 2GB and am running the same things but with Appassionata strings and some extra standalone synths.

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