Dude! I’m Getting a Mac!

Tower Above
Apple’s Flagship Manhattan Store

Well after many years as a PC user, in August of 2006 I pulled the plug and switched from a Dell laptop to a 15” MacBook Pro. For the last three years I’ve been using this MacBook Pro as my primary computer. I was really worried about switching over back in 2006, but actually it was a lot more painless than I thought it would be.

As it’s going on 3 years now, lately I’ve been thinking that it’s time to upgrade to my next primary computer. I have a desktop Dell machine at home that handles my Media Center stuff and I’ve been going back and forth about whether or not to buy another MacBook Pro or go back to a PC for my primary laptop. The PCs seem a little bit less expensive, but overall I’ve been happy with my MacBook Pro experience. And I think a lot of times you get what you pay for.

Today’s decision by Apple to reduce the prices on the MacBook Pro (the base model on the 17” is now $2,499) combined with an increase in the standard hard drive size from 320GB to 500GB and an increase in the processor upgrade option speed from 2.93GHz to 3.06GHz finally pushed me over the edge and I pulled the trigger. Supposedly it will take 5-7 business days to ship me my new Mac (I really hope it gets here before I go to L.A. a week from Friday) but at this point it is ordered and on it’s way. Dude! I’m getting a Mac!

Here is the configuration on the new MacBook Pro I ordered:

3.06GHz Intel Core 2 Duo
4GB 1066MHz DDR3 SDRAM – 2X2GB
500GB Serial ATA Drive @ 7200 rpm
SuperDrive 8x (DVD±R DL/DVD±RW/CD-RW)
MacBook Pro 17-inch Hi-Resolution Antiglare Widescreen Display
Backlit Keyboard (English) / User’s Guide
Accessory Kit

So in addition to today’s price decrease on the MacBook Pro, here are the other reasons that I upgraded today and why I went with a Mac over a PC for the second time around.

1. Bigger hard drive. The current hard drive on my existing Mac is 120GB. Especially with larger file sizes from the Canon 5D Mark 2 space is at a premium. I do have a 320GB USB powered external Maxtor drive that I travel with, but it will be nice having that extra disc space, especially when going out in the field for long photo trips, for storing my images. Also, given that Adobe Lightroom seems to like a lot of scratch disc space for photo processing, having this room on the drive is going to be very helpful. My drive on my current MacBook Pro is 5400 RPM, I ordered a 7200 RPM drive on the new MacBook Pro, so hopefully this will help with Lightroom’s performance as well.

2. Increased processor speed. I’m hopeful that I will get a significant performance boost out of Adobe Lightroom (my most important software) with the faster processor on the new MacBook Pro.

3. The antiglare screen rocks. Frequently I’m processing photos on BART or in a lighted room at home or work and the glare on my current MacBook Pro makes it very difficult. I went into the Apple store and checked out the antiglare screen in person vs. the standard display and for me at least the decision to upgrade to the antiglare screen made all the difference in the world. Check it out at the Apple Store sometime yourself in person.

4. The 17” display looks amazing. Even though it is only a little bit larger than a 15”, the 17” display felt significantly larger to me when checking it out in person. The 17” is still small enough as well that it fits comfortably into my LowePro camera backpack that I use daily. Having the extra space will make it easier for me to process photos on it. The 17” MacBook Pro is one sexy beast. I couldn’t stop petting it when I’ve visited it on recent stops off at the Apple store.

5. I’ve been very happy with the support I’ve received at the Apple Stores. My hard drive went out on my MacBook Pro just a week or so before it’s warranty ran out and Apple replaced it free no problem. They’ve also been very helpful with the iPhone issues that I’ve had. I’ve needed to replace the headphones and they’ve done this free for me twice and also helped me figure out that a piece of lint was inside my headphone jack a few months back when I could only hear sound coming out of one speaker on my iPhone. I like the genius bar approach where I can set an appt and have someone experienced help me and I *love* that even when I have to wait I have access to fantastic Mac machines with super large displays at the store that I can surf the internet on while I wait. The free wifi in the stores is a cool thing too.

Knowing that a physical Apple Store is there if I have problems with my computer is a big plus in my opinion, especially one with such good service that I’ve consistently received at both the Emeryville and San Francisco stores.

6. More and faster memory. I’m hopeful that the 4GB 1066MHz DDR3 SDRAM that I’ll be getting will help improve performance over the slower 3GB (upgraded) memory in my current MacBook Pro today. It’s also nice knowing that I can upgrade this machine to 8 gigs when the price of the upgrade comes down a bit and that Snow Leopard should allow Lightroom to recognize all 8 GB of RAM.

7. It’s about time I got on Leopard. I never did upgrade my current Mac to Leopard. Apparently I’ll also be eligible for a $10 upgrade to Snow Leopard when it’s out on the new machine.

8. It’s about time I get my kids on a Mac full time. At home my kids use the two Dells that we have today. My old Dell laptop which is in the kitchen and the Media Center Dell in the attic. Even with these two other computers available though they are constantly jockeying for my Mac. Especially my older son Jackson (who is 8 now) seems to always want to be on it. He’s going to be thrilled to be able to have more access to my current Mac.

9. Longer battery time. Much to do has been made about the new and improved battery time with the new MacBook Pros. It will be nice having more battery time, especially because I use so many battery intensive programs like Lightroom. My biggest complaint about my current 15” MacBook Pro has been the battery life.

So there you have it. The new Mac is on it’s way. More to report when it actually shows up! I’m excited.

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7 comments on “Dude! I’m Getting a Mac!
  1. Justin Korn says:

    Congrats on the purchase!

  2. Congrats! That’s the configuration I would choose. I built it, but couldn’t bring myself to click the button. Maybe when it comes with Snow Leopard….

  3. halfy says:

    Congrats!

    You made the right choice! Even a smaller hard drive is not the problem, larger faster and more stable SSD will be prevailing in very soon future, get one and find some screwers …

  4. It’s me again the engine repair man. I just wanted to say, Mac’s rule. I have a Mac Air with a picture of the new sports car Mercedes engine as my screensaver. As you know, I’m a gearhead. You just keep rolling out the cool pics. Love the Manhattan pic. Wish I was in Manhattan instead of the shop working on engines.

  5. Man I was this close to replacing my old dell desktop with a crazy custom desktop from ava – then wwdc today made me rethink the 17mbp, so then I started doing a little googling for lightroom performance on the Mbp’s as that’s my main concern, and came across your excellent post. Now I think I too will pull the trigger on the same config – I know you don’t have it yet, but do you expect to be able to edit files without too much lag when dragging adjustment sliders and stuff? I just want lr2 to “keep up with me” and since apple doesn’t have Lr2 in their stores there’s no way to find out without buying! Congrats on your purchase!

  6. Sam says:

    Congrats. I’m still clinging to my white macbook waiting to get a new 17″ pro but I’ll be damned if I will spend $2500+ on a laptop and not be able to burn blurays off it. Watching Blu ROMs would be a bonus but I continue to hate Apple’s insistence that this isn’t a needed feature on a ‘pro’ laptop.

  7. Susan says:

    Hi Thomas,

    Just curious to know how you’re liking the 17″ MBP as compared to the 15.4″…especially in terms of mobility-is it worth it? Any regrets?

    I’m thinking about going to the 17″ from the 15.4″ next upgrade-still on the fence about it. Would love to hear your thoughts now that it’s been a few months!

    Take care!