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#13052 - 11/29/10 08:25 PM Mac Notebook Upgrades
MG2009 Offline

Registered: 08/05/09
1. I noticed that anti-glare is an upgrade option on Mac notebooks.

Under what conditions would it be advisable to have this type of screen upgrade?

To my surprise, I quite like the vivid "look" of the glossy screen and am wondering if there is any LOSS of picture quality with the anti-reflective feature. Any other pros and cons?

2. In looking over the specs of the MacBookPro, I noticed - but for the difference of $100 - that the 15" model has the i7 processor while the 17" model comes with the i5 (with the option to upgrade to the i7).

In practical terms, what is the noticeable difference between the i5 and the i7? Better to go with larger screen at i5 or the smaller screen with i7?

Not looking for a sales pitch here - I can get that at the Apple Store or Future Shop. (hehehe) Just looking for some common sense type of direction/advice.

Thanks a bunch.

Many thanks,

#13060 - 11/30/10 09:33 AM Re: Mac Notebook Upgrades [Re: MG2009]
joemikeb Offline

Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: Fort Worth, Texas
Some professional graphic designers and others prefer the anti-glare screen because they feel the ambient light reflections on the glossy screen distort how they see subtle color variations. I am not a graphics designer and like you I prefer the glossy screen. My preference may also be at least partially due to the intentionally diffuse lighting in my work space. According to my sources, the anti-glare screen is the glossy screen that has been subjected to a very careful and precise sandblasting treatment.

As far as the difference between the i5 and i7 processors go these benchmarks are on a PC but the relative differences should be about the same on a Mac. I would venture that unless you are a hard core gamer, or a professional graphics person doing lots of Photoshop work you would never notice the difference between the two in normal service.

In your shoes, I would look at how I would be using the MacBook and make the decision between the two based primarily on screen size.
  • If you are a full time road warrior and constantly hauling you MacBook all over the country, I recommend looking very seriously at the 13 inch model. The smaller size and lighter weight quickly add up to a huge difference in portability. In fact I use a MacBook Air for that very reason and I am not a dedicated road warrior.
  • If I had only one Mac and it spent most of its time on my desktop with only occasional forays on the road my choice would be the 17 inch screen simply because the extra space on the screen desktop is so nice to have.
  • The 15 inch models seem to me a compromise between portability and screen size but they are not that much smaller or that much less expensive than the 17 inch model. In fact a 17inch with the 2.53GHz i5 is only $100 more than the 15 inch with a 2.66GHz i7. When the 17 inch is configured with the 2.66GHz i7 that difference increases to $300.
No matter which model I chose I would consider bumping the RAM up from the default 4GB to 8GB purchased from Other World Computing, or Crucial to save some money. In the 15 and 15 inch machines I would invest in the additional $50 to $150 for the 7200 RPM 500GB hard drive unless money were no object in which case I would go for th 512GB SSD. Either of those will make a noticeable difference in system performance and the SSD should do wonderful things for battery life as well as system performance.

One last suggestion. When I am using my MacBook Air at home I always use an Apple wireless keyboard and Magic Mouse. IMHO they just beat the hound out of the built-in keyboard and trackpad.
joemikeb • moderator

#13064 - 11/30/10 10:31 AM Re: Mac Notebook Upgrades [Re: MG2009]
Virtual1 Offline

Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: Iowa
it's been my experience that the ambient lighting dictates what works best for you. High ambient light does better with matte finish because the screen isn't reflecting all that light coming in from behind you. I was working on an imac in a breakfast nook and had to close the drapes on the patio because all I could see on the screen was their pool. My MBP is a matte screen for similar reasons, I use it outside too much. matte screens do tend to 'soften' the image just a little bit, removing a tad bit of the sharpness.

Graphics artists tend to work in low lighting, and are interested in very deep blacks and very sharp images, and glass gives that better than matte. LCD itself isn't exactly ideal for really deep blacks either, but LCD screen tech has come a long ways.
I work for the Department of Redundancy Department

#13080 - 11/30/10 05:53 PM Re: Mac Notebook Upgrades [Re: Virtual1]
MG2009 Offline

Registered: 08/05/09
Thanks folks. This has been VERY useful information.

I most likely will go for the glossy screen with the 17". (The i5 seems quite enough; I am no video gamer.)

Currently, I am using a 21", 2006 model, PPC desktop which is "still" working just fine for the kind of stuff I do on it. (I had upgraded to 2.5 RAM and Leopard a couple of years ago.)

I like the idea of moving to a laptop/notebook for the portability . . . and the 17" screen will give me the kind of desktop space closer to what I have been used to using. It is good to know that I can hook up my keyboard and mouse if/when I want to sit at my desk to compute.

Still mulling over the 8GB upgrade . . .

#13088 - 12/01/10 06:03 AM Re: Mac Notebook Upgrades [Re: MG2009]
roger Offline

Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: Vermont
one other thought, just to muddle things back up a bit, is to get the 13" and use the money saved to buy a 24" (or larger) flat-screen. then you've got the big screen when you have the M'book at home, but you have the portability of the smaller Mac on the road.

just a thought! cool
MacBook 2.4 Ghz · 4 Gb ram · 10.7.5
stuff I'm interested in
iPhone 4s 7.0.2

#13091 - 12/01/10 10:30 AM Re: Mac Notebook Upgrades [Re: roger]
MG2009 Offline

Registered: 08/05/09
Excellent alternative.

. . . but my plan is to get rid of the desktop and/monitor altogether. If I really want the "bigger screen" down the road, I suppose I could hook it up to my LCD TV.

#13424 - 12/26/10 11:05 AM Re: Mac Notebook Upgrades [Re: roger]
MG2009 Offline

Registered: 08/05/09

I misread: the M'book at home as iMAC.


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