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A New Gadget? Not Yet, But Soon…

November 26, 2009

I think I am about to do something that will surprise a few people. But before I tell you anything, I need to make sure you understand that I am NOT switching. I am NOT dissatisfied with what I have. I just want to try something else and expand my knowledge. I am planning to purchase a MacBook Pro 13″ over the Christmas break. Kind of like my Christmas present to myself. I figure I can justify it as a gadget, a toy. My main machine will still be running Win7. 

So why am I doing this? Well, I guess there are a few things. I have a few friends who work there so I can get a bit of a discount. Plus there is the USD to Euro conversion. After all is said and done, I can get that model (basic config with the faster of the two procs) for about 950 Euros. The software that comes on the Mac is fantastic. Sure, I can make up a bit of that using Windows software, but the integration cannot be beat (as far as I know). That alone can justify maybe a two or three hundred Euros of the cost. So best case I am at about 650 Euros. 650 Euros is high-priced gadget level (Remember, no kids, no wife, no girlfriend, no extra costs in my life, just me). People spend 650 euros on cool gadgety phones. 

But I think I can justify the rest of the cost just in being able to intelligently talk on the topic. I think that Windows just works. You hear of complaints, but it tends to work great most of the time, nearly all of the time. I think that there are definitely more problems that come up on the Windows platform, but most of that is due to the relative lack of choice on the Mac. Apple has done an amazing job of turning that weakness into a major strength. 

I am looking forward to getting my Mac. I am looking forward to seeing whether my preconceptions of the platform are true (pretty sure they are) or they aren’t and I have made a mistake. I’ll be sure to let you know right here.

Before that purchase I want to make sure I am buying the right machine. I don’t want to go gung ho and buy the best machine possible because I am not convinced that it’s the right place to spend that much money on right now. Keeping it under 1000 euros makes it easier to justify in my head. But is the MacBook Pro 13 inch with the 2.53 GHz chip going to be good enough? I am planning to be using Photoshop CS4 and Lightroom on this. Compared to every Windows laptop I have had in the last 5-10 years, the resolution on the MBP 13 or 15 inch is terrible, but I am prepared for that (ok, the 15 inch isn’t much lower than with Windows PCs, but definitely lower). The 13 inch model is about the same size as my T61 Thinkpad (a little thinner though) and I really don’t want to go much bigger. 

I am a bit concerned with the video card. Is the 9400M graphics card good enough? I have seen some reviews online saying its plenty, others saying that its crap. I have no idea. Sure, its not good for games, but does anyone buy a Mac for games?!? To get the next better video, I have to go up in price to about 1250 Euros. Does the extra 300 make sense? It’s a bigger laptop and I want to stay in that smaller size. CS4 does use the GPU for some things, but I think the 9400M will be good enough for those features. 

Nothing will happen on this till Christmas though. I have enough to think about till then without learning a new platform. But if you have any suggestions for me, I would love to hear them.

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