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You are here: MacNN Forums > Hardware - Troubleshooting and Discussion > Mac Notebooks > Am I the only one who thinks the Early 2008 MBPs will be the best ever made?

Am I the only one who thinks the Early 2008 MBPs will be the best ever made?
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Clinically Insane
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Nov 16, 2008, 12:35 AM
 
Now that I have my own Early 2008 MBP, I'm wondering if I'm the only one who assumes that Apple will never produce a better laptop. The matte option in particular, as well FW 400 (in addition to 800) and the non-black-chicklet keyboard, really stand out to me as being far better than what Apple has transitioned to. I know that future MBPs will be even more powerful, but I don't know if that will compensate for the features lost in the new line.
( Last edited by Big Mac; Nov 16, 2008 at 01:40 AM. )

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Nov 16, 2008, 12:46 AM
 
I do, the new shape + super reflective display = Dead to me.

The new MacBook's so reflective I think its more reflective then my current macbooks display.
     
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Nov 16, 2008, 04:48 AM
 
I don't agree. The new design makes the old one look incredibly dated.
     
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Nov 16, 2008, 04:48 AM
 
You're obviously not the only one who thinks so, but I'll be the first second to disagree on all points except the matte option, though I disagree that it's even *nearly* as big a deal as people make it out to be.
     
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Nov 16, 2008, 07:05 AM
 
Originally Posted by Big Mac View Post
Now that I have my own Early 2008 MBP, I'm wondering if I'm the only one who assumes that Apple will never produce a better laptop.
Not the only one, but I doubt its the majority opinion, at least that's my opinion. I think the late 08 model is apple's best laptop to date. The only problem is that they've improved the MB to an extent that it makes for a difficult decision on choosing which one.

If matte screen or firewire 400 port is your need then pick up a refurb/special at apple.com.
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Nov 16, 2008, 07:11 AM
 
Originally Posted by Maflynn View Post
If matte screen or firewire 400 port is your need then pick up a refurb/special at apple.com.
Indeed they have excellent offers there right now. For the price of the high-end MB ($1499) you can now get the previous high-end 15" MBP (2.5 GHz, 2GB/250GB/8xSD/512MB).
     
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Nov 16, 2008, 07:58 AM
 
Yeah, it's crazy to buy a MacBook with these MBP refurbs available. My 2.4 came looking and performing absolutely brand new. The good news is that Apple's still selling two generations old MBPs in the refurb section, so we may be able to keep buying refurb Early 2008s for quite a while. I think I want to pick up another one soon, actually.
( Last edited by Big Mac; Nov 16, 2008 at 08:16 AM. )

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Nov 16, 2008, 08:52 AM
 
Why crazy?
The MacBooks are significantly lighter and approximately as fast. It's more a choice of preference.
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Nov 16, 2008, 08:55 AM
 
Originally Posted by Big Mac View Post
Yeah, it's crazy to buy a MacBook with these MBP refurbs available.
I wouldn't go so far as to say it's crazy. Different people, different needs. Somebody else might prefer the unibody looks or the smaller size of the MB.

The good news is that Apple's still selling two generations old MBPs in the refurb section, so we may be able to keep buying refurb Early 2008s for quite a while.
They do have rather old models, but the discounts on those are poor. A possible explanation why they're still around. They had a lot of deals on "Early 2008" MB(P)s until recently, but some have already disappeared. The $1499 2.5 GHz 15" MBP I mentioned above has just disappeared for example. At least in the US store. I hope there will be more, but at these prices I wouldn't expect supplies to last very long.
( Last edited by Simon; Nov 16, 2008 at 09:05 AM. )
     
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Nov 16, 2008, 11:10 AM
 
WhIle I don't think I'd go as far to name any single 'Book the best that Apple ever made, the early 2008 MBP is certainly worthy of joining what I would consider a category of classic generations that build on certain design bases. In most cases, these "classics" in a model lineup are the ones that gain the advantage of tweaks to evolve what started out as a good model design.

As the fourth (I think) revision to the 15" model since Apple made the switch to Intel chips and the "MacBook Pro" naming in January 2006, the early 2008 model combines all the advances made available through experience and the progress made in subsystems over that span of more than two years. That includes everything from the 45nm Penryn chips and relatively powerful discrete GPU performance, to the LED backlighting, multi-touch trackpad and more. As such, it is no surprise that it is a highly refined version of the design. One could even goes as far as to say that it marks the last evolution of a design that originates way back in January 2003 with the 12" and 17" Aluminum PowerBooks.

I felt the same way about the last generation of Titanium PowerBook. By the time Apple hit that generation of the Titanium design, they had worked out most of the challenges of making it run cooler, giving it a brighter, better display, and even making the finish more durable. Not to mention that it was that last PowerBook that was able to boot OS 9 in an era in which many still had good cause or a need to boot up in "Classic".

In some ways, the 1.67GHz PowerBook G4 also earns mention in my book of classics as a model that brought together Apple's efforts in advancing work done through the first few aluminum generations.

As does the Pismo, which built on the Wall Street and Lombard designs.

Going back before the resurrection of the Steve, another classic in my book would be the PowerBook 550c. While the model was limited to the Japanese market, it offered a practical and speedy enough design for its time that made it good enough to mark the one other time in the history of Apple notebooks that a subsequent model didn't tempt me to buy into the new design. The PowerBook 550c outshone both the 5300 and 1400 in many ways. Hooper (the 3400) finally started to make a difference; and the Wall Street finally changed the game once again.

This makes October 2008 a strange time for this user, as it's the first time since Steve's return that I wasn't at least a little tempted to go for the new model. And it's the first time I've bought a previous model after inspecting a new design that has just been announced.
     
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Nov 16, 2008, 11:18 AM
 
I agree that the early 2008 MBP in some ways looks dated when placed aside the new unibody design. As it should, considering its basic design elements stretch back almost six years.

Still, as solid and appealing as the unibody construction of the lower section may be, the funny twist to this user is that the new design strikes my senses as something that doesn't boost performance or practicality in any significant manner over the previous generation. And in some areas, it even marks a regression in practicality, overall system balance and flexibility. As such, it becomes little more than a design change implemented for the sake of delivering an updated exterior design. That's great for some who are upgrading from machines that date back a few generations and aren't concerned with the issues of display type, FW and such; or for those buying their first machine.

To me, it's a pity that Apple couldn't manage to combine the unibody construction with a top half for the display that more resembled an appealing update to the previous generation. I don't care at all for the black bezel nor the reflective glass finish. Also not overly pleased with the decreased battery runtime per charge, or the modest increase in weight, width and depth. So, I'll enjoy the 2.5GHz Penryn MBP that I just bought as I look forward to Apple further evolving the unibody design in future generations. And I'll look on the design of my current "favorite model" as "Classic" instead of "dated".
     
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Nov 16, 2008, 11:23 AM
 
Originally Posted by OreoCookie View Post
The MacBooks are significantly lighter and approximately as fast.
Lighter, yes. But place the models side by side, run Photoshop CS4, any 3D game or most any other graphic-intensive program, and then try to keep a straight face when calling the MacBook approximately as fast.

Aside: The GPU acceleration of Photoshop CS4 really rocks on the MBP when running a discrete GPU with 512MB of DDR3 RAM.
     
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Nov 16, 2008, 02:09 PM
 
I have to disagree with this thread - the NVidia 8600M with its 100% defect rate is the fly in the ointment that will keep the early 2008 MBPs from being considered great. I've actually tried to warn people off of it, as the problems are very aggravating.

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Nov 16, 2008, 05:40 PM
 
Originally Posted by issa View Post
Lighter, yes. But place the models side by side, run Photoshop CS4, any 3D game or most any other graphic-intensive program, and then try to keep a straight face when calling the MacBook approximately as fast.
Most 2D graphics apps don't benefit at all from a faster GPU. Exceptions are apps like Aperture that rely on the gpu to render, but even then, according to forum members with the new ProBook, the built-in GPU is plenty fast (the ProBook allows you to select the GPU; the slower, built-in one is identical to that in the MacBook). So even Aperture, which is arguably the most gpu-demanding 2D app out there, seems to run fine on a MacBook. As far as CS4 goes, it seems that Adobe doesn't use the GPU effectively -- yet. So unless you're into games or use apps that really use the GPU, a MacBook will be just as fast as a ProBook (I'm typing this on a ProBook, FYI).

The big plus of the ProBook when it comes to graphics apps is the screen, not the gpu.
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Nov 16, 2008, 07:24 PM
 
I think the new ones are more "slick," but they look like every other computer out there. I like my elegant, simple, one color, all aluminum, matte MBP.
Unibody MacBook Pro 2.53 GHz, 24" LED Cinema Display, 8 GB iPod Touch 2G
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Nov 16, 2008, 11:45 PM
 
Originally Posted by CharlesS View Post
I have to disagree with this thread - the NVidia 8600M with its 100% defect rate is the fly in the ointment that will keep the early 2008 MBPs from being considered great. I've actually tried to warn people off of it, as the problems are very aggravating.
And you're sure the problem hasn't been corrected yet? That would mean Apple would be willfully selling defective refurbs. It doesn't really matter to me either way. I'm assuming I'll catch any defect within my AppleCare period.

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Nov 16, 2008, 11:50 PM
 
Originally Posted by Big Mac View Post
And you're sure the problem hasn't been corrected yet?
Well, I had my logic board replaced under the repair program, and the GPU still doesn't work properly (I tried a reformat/reinstall too), so I'm going to have to say it hasn't, and probably never will. The NVidia 8600M just sucks.

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Nov 16, 2008, 11:57 PM
 
Both of ours are working fine here. . . Second swap?

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Nov 17, 2008, 12:16 AM
 
Originally Posted by Big Mac View Post
Second swap?
I'm going to try getting someone who's got a 17" model to let me run my tests on it, to see if it fails in the same way as mine does. If it doesn't, I might try a second swap (although it's such a pain - you have to locate and delete all confidential information first, then wipe free space...), if it fails in the same way though, as I suspect it will, what can I do really?

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Nov 17, 2008, 12:18 AM
 
Originally Posted by OreoCookie View Post
So even Aperture, which is arguably the most gpu-demanding 2D app out there, seems to run fine on a MacBook. As far as CS4 goes, it seems that Adobe doesn't use the GPU effectively -- yet.
Aperture certainly should run fine on the MacBook. To me, though, that's still doesn't represent the same level of speed and efficiency as when running an MBP and the discrete GPU with its own RAM. I've only seen Aperture and CS4 running on the MacBook for a short session in a friend's office. But, in that quick side-by-side experience, the MBP running the discrete GPU exhibited notably faster performance to my eyes and fingers. And a notable difference means real savings in time with reduced stress, which results in greater productivity. As for CS4. I think that TG Daily review is perhaps a bit superficial. And maybe I didn't explain it well in my brief comment of earlier. But the Open GL drawing, GPU acceleration and possibly other updates to the CS4 code does showed a marked difference, even if the acceleration is not implemented in all tools. As further reference, Dave Girard touches on some on the improved drawing speed etc. of the Open GL drawing and GPU acceleration here.

Originally Posted by OreoCookie View Post
The big plus of the ProBook when it comes to graphics apps is the screen, not the gpu.
I fully agree that the screen of the MBP has a big advantage over the one on the MacBook.
Of course, that difference is somewhat mitigated if we consider that most intensive graphic work will be done when tethered to a good external display.
     
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Nov 17, 2008, 01:01 AM
 
Hey Charles,

It must really suck to have the GPU fail. Definitely do another swap. If problems persist, I'd like to think that Apple will eventually do right by you. Whether that's an eventual swap with some explicit reassurance that a change to the chip in question has truly been implemented, or whatever it takes to redeem their reputation in your eyes.

Knowing of the defect in an undetermined number of the chips is certainly a concern to all users with that GPU. I, for one, gave the 86000M problem due consideration before deciding to buy my 2.5GHz MBP. And it does detract some from the overall reputation of the last few iterations of the MBP lineup. It would sure help things some were Apple to offer some definitive word of assurance regarding any production not affected, the quality of chips used in replacement parts, etc.

I invested considerable time reading news reports and threads on a variety of forums before making my purchase decision. As far as I could determine, the number of people experiencing failures to date still represent a relatively small percentage of the total number of MBPs that Apple must have sold since June 2007 when they adopted the NVIDIA 8600M. It's wishful thinking as much as anything else, but I sure hope we don't see a sizable increase in those numbers, and even that the machines made near the end of production might not suffer from the defect. After all, as best as I could tell, there is only one article in The Inquirer (of all places) that makes the claim that all 8600M production is affected by the engineering blunder. And even if we were to make the assumption that all 8600M GPUs might carry the defect, that's not to say that all will fail. In the end, with Apple assuring two years of coverage in the event of a failure, and with a measure of wishful thinking in hand, I took the plunge. Now to live with fingers crossed. That is, along with a current backup and screen sharing turned on so I can access the machine via VNC in the event that I should have to prep it for repair. (Of course, target disk mode is also available for doing that preparation, should the day come. Shudder.)


I always preferred ATI GPUs in the past, and now dream of the possibility of living to see them used again...
     
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Nov 17, 2008, 01:22 AM
 
What I'm doing right now is waiting for 10.5.6, in the hopes that the problems I'm having may be just buggy drivers or something, and the update might fix it. Of course, that didn't work for 10.5.3, 10.5.4, or 10.5.5, but it's worth a try. If I still get the freezes, I might try replacing it again, we'll see.

I, too, would be very pleased if Apple started using ATI instead of NVidia. Unfortunately, the fact that Apple has now switched to using NVidia for the chipsets isn't very encouraging.

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Nov 17, 2008, 04:38 AM
 
Originally Posted by adamfishercox View Post
I like my elegant, simple, one color, all aluminum, matte MBP.
You see, thats my problem with my older non-unibody MBPs. They're not all aluminium. They're sheets of Al joined by plastic lining which a) doesn't have the same color, b) looks crap, and c) usually never joins back perfectly once the case has been serviced. Actually some people (fortunately not me) have experienced brand new MBPs with varying gaps between the plastic lining and the Al.

The unibody doesn't have that plastic. No linings, no joins. The case is actually finally all aluminum. And had the MBP offered a serious performance benefit over my 2.4 GHz MBP I would have already bought it. Now I guess I'll just have to wait another six months or so.
     
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Nov 17, 2008, 04:47 AM
 
Originally Posted by issa View Post
As for CS4. I think that TG Daily review is perhaps a bit superficial. And maybe I didn't explain it well in my brief comment of earlier. But the Open GL drawing, GPU acceleration and possibly other updates to the CS4 code does showed a marked difference, even if the acceleration is not implemented in all tools.
I haven't seen any benchmarks regarding gpu acceleration (feel free to provide links to any if you can) and the videos I've seen so far concern zooming, panning and rotating pictures -- not really exciting to me. In some forums I've seen claims that CS4 is actually slower than CS3.
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Nov 17, 2008, 05:20 AM
 
Originally Posted by OreoCookie View Post
I haven't seen any benchmarks regarding gpu acceleration (feel free to provide links to any if you can) ... In some forums I've seen claims that CS4 is actually slower than CS3.
Sorry, I haven't seen any benchmarks either. That means I can only speak from hands-on experience, so can only offer anecdotal evidence based on what I've observed. While that may mean nothing to others, I'm convinced by what I'm seeing.

I have no real idea what that chat on forums is about. Haven't been reading it. I did notice, though, that Dave Girard referred to something that might be relevant in the CS4 review I linked to earlier:

Another limitation: GPU acceleration affects drawing speed. You will find that drawing is slower than in CS3 if you have a weak GPU, and the computer is under a heavy load. I discovered this while doing 3D renders in the background on a Mac Pro with an Nvidia GeForce 7300 GT. Brush drawing was slow, and when I restarted with GPU acceleration disabled, it was faster than with it on. I did some testing on my MacBook Pro, and the difference wasn't as noticeable, so it looks like the crappy Mac Pro GPU was to blame. The lesson: get as beefy a 3D card as you can afford, because it will pay off in the long run.

If his observations are accurate, there might be some cases when using a "weaker" GPU that CS4 will operate more quickly with GPU acceleration disabled. I haven't experienced anything but enhanced speed on the Penryn MBP, though.

Digressing slightly, I think we are also likely to see other applications of GPU acceleration in the future. For example, I believe it is to be included in Snow Leopard, although I don't know to what extent. As such, it can't hurt to have a GPU with as much dedicated RAM as possible.
     
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Nov 17, 2008, 06:13 AM
 
This doesn't really answer the real question: is GPU acceleration on a fast graphics card really faster than rendering via CPU? If you don't really notice any difference between the two, IMO it's more of a gimmick than a feature at this point. (Although it is obvious that the industry is moving more into the direction of offloading tasks to the GPU).

The situation reminds me of earlier Photoshop times when only a handful of filters could use several cpus properly -- YMMV.
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Nov 17, 2008, 07:35 AM
 
I have the 2007 MBP and now the new one and I still maintain my position the unibody model is by far a better, faster machine. I was comparing the two laptops last night and I found the 07 model, looks like many other laptops on the market. The edges are square and its a bit of a boxy design, where as the rounded corners and edges of the unibody model make it look sleek and a piece of art. Don't get me wrong the older laptops were a nice design, back when apple released the Alu Powerbook. Its been many years and the design is a little long in the tooth.

On the performance side, its quite a bit faster, I'm amazed at how fast the integrated graphics is even running aperture. There are some issues that seem to be software related and I expect the next update to the os to address those (external monitor not waking up, lost clicks on the trackpad, etc). Overall system performance is quite a bit snappier, probably thanks to the faster FSB and DDR3 memory and when I switch to the discreet GPU then performance kicks into high gear.

The display is excellent, I was quite nervous about going from a matte display to a glossy but found that once I calibrate the display, the knocks of over-saturation of images were unfounded. Yes the glossy display can and does produce more reflections but I made sure the organization of my office is such that its a non-issue. I suspect many people do the same, why live with reflections when all you need to do is move the office around a bit or change the lighting.

To date, based on designs, features and performance the unibody MacBook (Pro) is Apple's best laptop.
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Nov 17, 2008, 08:19 AM
 
Originally Posted by OreoCookie View Post
This doesn't really answer the real question: is GPU acceleration on a fast graphics card really faster than rendering via CPU?
Cool. I understand your doubt and concerns. And I suppose some reliable benchmarks will appear in time. I almost wish I had the setup on hand to do proper comparative testing along those lines and see what data they might reveal, one way or the other. I may be able to get a little time on that same unibody MacBook at the end of the week. So, if there are any specific parameters you have in mind for a quick comparative test or two that you would like to see run, then feel free to PM them to me.

Originally Posted by OreoCookie View Post
The situation reminds me of earlier Photoshop times when only a handful of filters could use several cpus properly -- YMMV.
Agh. Scary flashbacks at remembering that one. Still, this time around the benefits feel much more real to me. At least real enough in my use so far that they will impact my workflow in a positive fashion. Not that it adds to the discussion or addresses your questions, but Adobe's TechNote listing what is accelerated can be viewed here.
     
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Nov 17, 2008, 09:00 AM
 
I beg to differ. First of all, I do have an early MBP which right now is collecting dust because I'm unwilling to use something that before hand I know that it "might" fail one time or another (GPU). I can hardly call that a classic MBP.
Reason no. 2 .. there will always be something better, faster, etc within time. There is no way in stopping progress. Believing that having firewire could out balance things out, is like still lamenting that 3.5 disk drives aren't. My suggestion for this fact is to get over it, turn the page and look for a solution. If the solution is to stay in the past, well that's commendable opinion that should be respected.
     
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Nov 17, 2008, 09:14 AM
 
Originally Posted by issa View Post
Cool. I understand your doubt and concerns. And I suppose some reliable benchmarks will appear in time. I almost wish I had the setup on hand to do proper comparative testing along those lines and see what data they might reveal, one way or the other.
Why don't you do the benchmark on your current machine: make a list of gpu-accelerated actions (afaik that's image navigation for now).
Test run 1: Execute these actions using CS3.
Test run 2: Execute these actions using CS4 via the CPU.
Test run 3: Execute these actions using CS4 with GPU acceleration.

Rinse and repeat with a reasonably-sized image (tens of MB, perhaps).

All you need is a machine with a fast GPU, you don't need a MacBook. If you have a new ProBook, you can use the MacBook's graphics card as well by switching between graphics chips. You can then see (i) whether CS3 is faster than CS4 (which some people claim) and (ii) whether GPU acceleration really `accelerates' your workflow.
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Nov 17, 2008, 11:22 AM
 
Originally Posted by OreoCookie View Post
Why don't you do the benchmark on your current machine
Sure. I've got both CS3 and CS4 on this MacBook Pro, so that kind of test is easy enough to do where I sit. I'll give it a run in the morning, provided clients don't start hounding me too early.

Clinging to the notion that the idea was to run tests on the unibody Macbook vs. the early 2008 MBP, which is where this discussion began, is what left me feeling unequipped to do the tests you might be interested in seeing. I'll be running the first batch on my new-old early-2008 2.5GHz machine. That means I cannot switch between the GPUs to test "motherboard GPU" performance, but can at least turn GPU acceleration off and on within Photoshop. I might later test on other hardware in the house until I find a need to go into the office, which is where I can access the MacBook and a MacPro for additional comparisons.

I feel a bit guilty at distracting from Big Mac's thread with this topic, and even more so now that we are diverging some. As a moderator, you're obviously best positioned to decide whether or not we should continue this in the Applications forum under a title such as "Testing the merits of Photoshop CS4 GPU Acceleration".

You are right that most of the benefits I have observed with GPU acceleration involve image navigation, or the UI, if you will. But with image drawing, zoom, rotation, panning, new tools and views working so much more smoothly and quickly, it already changes the experience greatly. A good deal of time is spent in this type of manipulation, after all. Of course, I will also test some filters, although don't anticipate any benefits form the acceleration there. For fun, here's a link to an introduction of some of the accelerated functions. The videos on the second page are executed poorly, but might give a slight feel for one or two aspects of the evolving interface.

Thanks also for the link. That discussion is about running CS4 on a Windows machine, and it seems that "bvdc" overcame at least some of his/her problems after changing hardware.
     
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Nov 17, 2008, 12:31 PM
 
Originally Posted by issa View Post
Clinging to the notion that the idea was to run tests on the unibody Macbook vs. the early 2008 MBP, which is where this discussion began, is what left me feeling unequipped to do the tests you might be interested in seeing.
If it turns out that the CPU mode of CS4 is as fast as the GPU mode, then this begs the question whether there is any benefit at this point. Ditto if CS3 is as fast as CS4. I know that this doesn't answer part of your question, but this test can tell you that you won't see any difference whatsoever on the new MacBook (namely if the cpu mode is about as fast as the gpu mode or if CS3 is just as fast).
Originally Posted by issa View Post
I feel a bit guilty at distracting from Big Mac's thread with this topic, and even more so now that we are diverging some. As a moderator, you're obviously best positioned to decide whether or not we should continue this in the Applications forum under a title such as "Testing the merits of Photoshop CS4 GPU Acceleration".
That's actually a good idea. I'm sure it'll be beneficial for everyone if someone like you who is in a position to test this can share his experience with CS4.
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Nov 17, 2008, 02:03 PM
 
The Late 2008 MBP is the single best laptop Apple has released to date. So no, I don't agree that the early 2008 iteration is the best. No way.
     
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Nov 17, 2008, 07:06 PM
 
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. On top of that, there's cognitive dissonance, which basically says that once you have made a decision about something, you then mentally upgrade all the positives about your decision while denying that your alternative-possible-choice had any validity whatsoever. In other words, you actively seek out articles and reviews that show your decision in a positive light, while at the same time you actively avoid anything positive about the choice you didn't make.

This is especially true if you made an expensive decision, because you then have to actively defend the choice you made in spending all those bucks.

Truth is, the best Mac ever is the one you already have. Gotta love the one you're with, no?

Or at least that's the case until you decide to buy a new one, at which point your previous best-ever Mac then becomes inadequate, antiquated, and a stone around your neck.

Problems arise when you buy a lemon, natch. Or when your best buddy buys the choice you didn't make, and starts crowing about it.
     
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Nov 17, 2008, 09:10 PM
 
I really can't stand the super reflective screens, especially with their black bezels that are just as reflective. Even when the entire screen is bright with images, the reflections on the bezel still stand out and are distracting. I take my 'book on the road all the time and I don't want to constantly be searching for a neutral background that won't be reflected by a laptop screen and bezel. The previous MacBook Pro and aluminum PowerBooks have a neutral, non reflective screen bezel that doesn't draw my attention from what's on the screen. Neither does the keyboard as it blends in with the rest of the 'book.

I'll go even farther by saying that the PowerBook G4 aluminum is a near perfect laptop design as it is simple, symmetrical (i.e. the screen bezel is the same width on all 4 sides), uni-colored, again nothing to distract / draw my attention from what's on the screen. The design isn't bling, it's striking in its austere beauty.

I play games once in a while and though I have no new games at the moment I can run all my games (that work on the Intel Mac) with every feature turned up to max, a big change up from the PowerBook G4 and ATi Radeon Mobility 9800. If I played more games and the new MacBook Pros featured a current high end video GPU then I might have been tempted but then I'd need to buy anti glare screen protectors like the one on my iPhone.

The new MacBooks and MacBook Pros feature reduced I/O and have stylistic changes that have nothing to do with utility and even detract from it. I had to upgrade from my 17" PowerBook G4 and it was an easy decision when I checked out the refurbs as now I'm posting this from my new (refurbished) MacBook Pro 2.6 Ghz 17" Hi Rez (matte) (200 GB 7200 rpm HD) notebook. It's in perfect condition and I hope it lasts until the time when Apple features a new notebook with a "groundbreaking non-reflective screen".

Features that might have made me buy the new design:
• current high end video GPU
• separate FW 400 and 800 ports
• BluRay drive (HD Blu Ray DVDs would look very fine on this 1920 x 1200 display) not to mention the large optical storage capacity of BluRay
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Nov 17, 2008, 10:26 PM
 
I find that most of those who oppose the latest MBPs are from people who don't own them or from those who have not used one for at least a week. This is new tech. New tech takes time to get used to. The trackpad, for instance, on the UniMBP takes some getting used to. At first, I did not like it, and now I am starting to really like it. The glassy glossy screen threw me way off at first in the store, but after 1 week, I would never go matte again, ever. The screen is just so much better on these new rigs. I agree with a few others here that the new UniMBP is the best laptop Apple has produced. It is fast, has a meaty graphics card, and is super sleek and strong. Way stronger and sturdier than previous generations of Apple's metal books.

I use my MBP hard, and preivously owned a 2007 MBP 2.16 GHz. Its design is long in the tooth for sure. Plastic bezels everywhere, ugly, sheared aluminum cutouts... the finish was poor... poor when compared to the UniMBP. The UniMBP simply takes the aluminum MBP to much higher levels in and out. I can't recommend it enough, as I stare at my overly silvered, dented, grainy screened (matte) 2.16 GHz MBP.
     
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Nov 18, 2008, 12:19 AM
 
Faster? 2.53 GHz new MacBook Pro. 2.6 GHz refurbished MacBook Pro. So how is it faster? GPU is the same as the old one but faster clock speed, but there are much better GPUs currently available that the MacBook Pro should feature.

I have eyes that are easily distracted. Want proof, talk to my ex-wife. I've spend some amount of time with the new MacBook Pro at the Apple Store, at least several hours over the course of several weeks, as I did before buying my PowerBook G4, which sold me on it back then. I really want to like the new MacBook Pro. But I can't. The black bezel reflects everything behind it and me and I find that distracting. I can see myself reflected in the screen and if I want a mirror I don't need to spend thousands of dollars on one. The non reflective bezels on the earlier MacBook Pros and PowerBooks are non-reflective in order to not distract the users vision. The new reflective screens and bezels are there to attract buyers because humans like shiny things even if they are bad for them. I do not need a computer that my visual cortex must adjust to in order to block out extraneous information.

Add to that the chicklet keyboard. Why Apple has gone exclusively to chicklet keyboards is beyond me. I still use an older white Apple Pro Keyboard and it's one of the best keyboards that Apple has ever made. It may not be as sleek as the super thin Apple Keyboard but the keys have travel and tactile response that the chicklet keyboards don't have. Ditto for the new MacBook and now MacBook Pro keyboards.

It's funny, I never once heard anyone hear complain about the plastic edging on the PowerBooks and MacBook Pros. No one complained that there were FW 400 and FW 800 ports. I've had zero complaints about the industrial design and all I wanted was an upgrade in platform and performance (and an iSight). The 17" is still available and I might have bought that if this excellent refurbished 17" wasn't on the list the night I searched for it.

The original Al PowerBooks unified the Apple Pro design as they captured the look of the PowerMac G5 beautifully. The new MacBook and MacBook Pro also unify an Apple design, that of the iMac and iPhone. Given that current PC laptops are delivering better performance and more advanced features than Apple's flagship laptop range (despite Macs and PC's sharing the same hardware) then it's obvious where Apple's priorities lie. Apple laptops are consumer portables, not professional notebooks. I wonder when Apple will again make a true professional portable?

I have owned Macs from the Macintosh 512k through iMacs, PowerBooks, Newtons, and MacBook Pros and have been an Apple evangelist for years. But the allure of the company has faded for me and for my next computer purchase I'll be looking at PC's as well as Apple.

Oh wait, I just bought an iPhone. Jeez, I'm hopeless. Hmmm new MacBook Pro.... I suppose I can abide with the new glass screen if there were an anti-glare "screen protector" for it....
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Nov 18, 2008, 01:05 AM
 
is the general consensus pretty much split down the middle?

i have been reading posts on this forum as well as several other mac forums for hours now and still can't figure out what is right for my needs. every time i think i've come to a conclusion i get pulled in another direction. i've been saving $ for a year now, so i dont take this decision lightly.

so...
the basics about me: i'm a graphic designer. i spend A LOT of time on my desktop g4 but i need something portable and upgraded, in general. i also need to be able to get accurate representations on my display of the graphics i edit for print. im posting because i CANNOT figure out what i should get... i am thinking that the early '08 MBP is the best choice for me but even there i am uncertain.

with that said...

1 : as far as the reflective nature of the glossy and glassy screens go, it seems as though they are still the preferred screens over matte in a wider variety of situations. right? i've noticed a lot of people preferring matte in general, but from people who actually made the switch to glossy it looks as though they are pleasantly surprised that they prefer it... yea?

2 : which is better for your eyes??? i cant figure this out. in some places i read that dr.'s believe matte is better and in others i read that glossy is.

3 : because i need my final prints to be accurate, should i just settle my decision on matte no question about it? in general, i was leaning towards glossy, but this could be the deal breaker.

4 : i dont play games. i pretty much only use my computer for the internet (personal and business use) and for photoshop/illustrator. sooooOO.... do i even need the pro? when i search that question it says the easy answer is that if youre a designer you should opt for the pro but i havent figured out why it's worth the hundreds more yet.

...i realize i'm new to the research that everyone else already has under their belt. so, i apologize if this is redundant. im just sick of reading and coming to no conclusions.

should i get the early '08 MB or MBP... and with which screen?
???
     
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Nov 18, 2008, 02:41 AM
 
Originally Posted by Scooterboy View Post
I'll go even farther by saying that the PowerBook G4 aluminum is a near perfect laptop design as it is simple, symmetrical (i.e. the screen bezel is the same width on all 4 sides), uni-colored, again nothing to distract / draw my attention from what's on the screen.
I think you've not been keeping up to date. The last two (or three, depending on how you count) generations of the MBP have had symmetrical screen bezels.

The Al PB G4 case has not a single advantage over the previous Al MBP cases. The main differences are that it's fatter and the antenna windows are smaller. I don't see how those two things are of any advantage.

I you think the Al PB case is about as good as Apple could do, you should get a refurb Early 2008 MBP. There's a whole lot of great offers to chose form right now.
( Last edited by Simon; Nov 18, 2008 at 03:02 AM. )
     
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Nov 18, 2008, 02:58 AM
 
Originally Posted by Scooterboy View Post
Faster? 2.53 GHz new MacBook Pro. 2.6 GHz refurbished MacBook Pro.
The 2.6 GHz model was a BTO upgrade option for the high-end 15" model at 2.5 GHz. You now have that same BTO option to go from 2.53 GHz to 2.8 GHz. And of course the new chipset comes with a much faster FSB and faster memory. Seriously, there is absolutely no doubt the new MBPs offer more performance than the last generation. I'm not saying you can't prefer the last generation, but arguing speed is just silly.

So how is it faster? GPU is the same as the old one but faster clock speed, but there are much better GPUs currently available that the MacBook Pro should feature.
Oh really? So I'm anxious to see what you suggest Apple should have done. Sure, there are two or three faster mobile GPUs than the 9600M GT. But I don't see any of them running at a lower TDP than the 9600M GT does (or the 8600M GT did). The 9700M GT for example has a 50% higher TDP than the current part. As the owner of an 8600M GT MBP I can assure you the GPU is already more than toasty enough. Sure we all want more GPU performance, but if it comes at the cost of making th MBP even hotter than it already is, I for one definitely do not want it.

Also, don't be fooled by labels. Apple has in the past downclocked fast GPUs to reduce their thermal output. Apple could have taken the fastest GPU on the market and clocked it down until it reached the 23W TDP of the 9600M GT. But would that really be an improvement? Chances are performance would be no better, but you'd have to pay for a much more expensive GPU w/o getting your money's worth.

Unless you know of a GPU that performs better than the 9600M GT and has a lower TDP I'd say your criticism makes little sense in the context of the very thin MBP. No offense.
     
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Nov 18, 2008, 03:16 AM
 
Originally Posted by asyrum View Post
is the general consensus pretty much split down the middle?
I'd say so. Some love the new design and additional performance. Others dislike the new glass screen or the lack of a second FW port. Fortunately there are still a lot of Early 2008 refurbs (at great prices too) to chose from so everybody should be able to get what they want.

So I guess the answer to the OP would be no, but there are many who think otherwise too.

1 : as far as the reflective nature of the glossy and glassy screens go, it seems as though they are still the preferred screens over matte in a wider variety of situations. right? i've noticed a lot of people preferring matte in general, but from people who actually made the switch to glossy it looks as though they are pleasantly surprised that they prefer it... yea?

2 : which is better for your eyes??? i cant figure this out. in some places i read that dr.'s believe matte is better and in others i read that glossy is.

3 : because i need my final prints to be accurate, should i just settle my decision on matte no question about it? in general, i was leaning towards glossy, but this could be the deal breaker.
I firmly believe in the end only you can tell what you should get. Go to an Apple store and check out the new MBPs. Crank up the brightness, try out different angles, see what it's like with different background lighting, but also with different kinds of screen content. Then do the same on a matte or glossy (but non-glass) display. In the end go for the one you liked most. There is not a single correct answer. Different people have different needs and different preferences. There is no right or wrong. But there is a right for you. You find out what that is.

4 : i dont play games. i pretty much only use my computer for the internet (personal and business use) and for photoshop/illustrator. sooooOO.... do i even need the pro? when i search that question it says the easy answer is that if youre a designer you should opt for the pro but i havent figured out why it's worth the hundreds more yet.
There are apps that benefit form a fast GPU: Aperture, Motion, FCP previews, CS4 (although the jury's still out on what the gains there are and Adobe doesn't have a good record when it comes to taking advantage of the GPU). You can get the MBP with a faster CPU. Then there's the large screen and added pixel count of the MBP. The screen quality is also better on the MBP (angle!). Finally the MBP offers ports and expansion options the MB doesn't. A lot of people would get the MBP for reasons other than the GPU.

That said, there are others who simply find the MBP too big. They prefer the MB because it's lighter (the weight difference is larger for the unibody models) and smaller. Again only you know what's more important for your kind of usage.

But finally, from a financial POV I don't think there's a reason to opt for a MB over a MBP seeing as you can get a 2.5 GHz refurb Early 2008 MBP for the same $1499 a high-end MB costs right now.
( Last edited by Simon; Nov 18, 2008 at 04:18 AM. )
     
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Nov 18, 2008, 03:59 AM
 
Originally Posted by Scooterboy View Post
It's funny, I never once heard anyone hear complain about the plastic edging on the PowerBooks and MacBook Pros. No one complained that there were FW 400 and FW 800 ports. I've had zero complaints about the industrial design and all I wanted was an upgrade in platform and performance (and an iSight).
In all fairness, you simply haven't been listening.


There were *numerous* complaints about oxydation in little spots on the palmrests of Alu PowerBooks.

The area where you most rest your wrist is exactly above the optical drive slot, which flexes down easily. You will hardly find a Powerbook/MBP where the palmrest hasn't bent down slightly and the disks face considerable friction (if not obstruction) from the curved topcase.

The keyboard leaving imprints on the screen on virtually all models.

Shall I continue?
     
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Nov 18, 2008, 04:10 AM
 
Originally Posted by asyrum View Post
the basics about me: i'm a graphic designer. i spend A LOT of time on my desktop g4 but i need something portable and upgraded, in general. i also need to be able to get accurate representations on my display of the graphics i edit for print.
The ProBook's screen is a lot better than the MacBooks, so on that basis, you should get a ProBook. IMO glossy vs. non-glossy is becoming more and more of a matter of taste. Most conservative people go for matte, because that's what they are used to and on first glance glossy displays really are bothersome.

In any case, if you need accurate colors, you have to use an external screen anyway, no notebook screen can keep up with a quality external screen in terms of gamut, angle dependence, etc. They are good enough for rough edits, though.
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Nov 18, 2008, 03:39 PM
 
I've had a look at both, the new MacBook and the new ProBook. The ProBook is gorgeous. The screen was really impressive (and I had my doubts, I never got to like my sister's HP's glossy screen). It overpowered all reflections in the room.
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Nov 18, 2008, 03:48 PM
 
Originally Posted by Spheric Harlot View Post
In all fairness, you simply haven't been listening.


There were *numerous* complaints about oxydation in little spots on the palmrests of Alu PowerBooks.

The area where you most rest your wrist is exactly above the optical drive slot, which flexes down easily. You will hardly find a Powerbook/MBP where the palmrest hasn't bent down slightly and the disks face considerable friction (if not obstruction) from the curved topcase.

The keyboard leaving imprints on the screen on virtually all models.

Shall I continue?
***The blown out of proportion police are on there way.***

Seriously, can you provide any links to any of what you're mentioning that applies to MBP's? Please don't lump the two together (powerbooks and macbook pros that is). I'm not saying you're lying...I just wanna see what you're referring to with my own eyes.
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Nov 18, 2008, 03:56 PM
 
Originally Posted by Spheric Harlot View Post
The keyboard leaving imprints on the screen on virtually all models.
The last Apple laptop I saw where the keyboard left imprints on the screen was the Pismo, back in 2000.

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Nov 18, 2008, 04:25 PM
 
Originally Posted by CharlesS View Post
The last Apple laptop I saw where the keyboard left imprints on the screen was the Pismo, back in 2000.
Are you serious?
You've never seen this problem on a titanium PowerBook? Chronic issue on all machines with removable keyboards.
All iBooks had this problem, as well.

My 15" PowerBook (alu) had a glued/screwed keyboard, but left nice little oily keyboard outlines in the screen when I carried it around without a cloth in between, anyway. Happened with my 12" PowerBook, as well. The design has not changed at all in the MBP.

On all plastic MacBooks, the little ledge at the bottom of the keyboard will leave an oily imprint on the screen. I don't know if this would scratch the screen over time - I use a cloth to make sure it doesn't happen.
     
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Nov 18, 2008, 04:37 PM
 
Originally Posted by iREZ View Post
***The blown out of proportion police are on there way.***

Seriously, can you provide any links to any of what you're mentioning that applies to MBP's? Please don't lump the two together (powerbooks and macbook pros that is). I'm not saying you're lying...I just wanna see what you're referring to with my own eyes.
"Blown out of proportion"?

I was responding to a claim of "ZERO complaints" about industrial design.

Black oxidation may not have been as widespread on the MacBook Pros as on the alu Powerbooks, but it was there:
http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=279750
http://www.mactechnews.de/gallery/thread.html?id=57522

Keyboard screen imprints I've addressed in the post above.

Dip in the topcase above the optical drive:
Had it myself on my 15", and I've seen it on rather a lot of others. In most cases, not enough to cause problems.
     
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Nov 18, 2008, 04:47 PM
 
I think it's clear: you either love the new UniMBP or you don't. I love the keyboard, screen, etc.
     
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Nov 18, 2008, 05:43 PM
 
I love how it looks, but I'm quite content with my current MBP. Never had key imprints... they don't even come close to the screen.

That's not to say I wouldn't buy a new MBP in a heartbeat if the price was right, especially if the LED Cinema Display won't gain a friggen DVI adapter.
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