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Should I get the MacBook or the MacBookPro?

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David answers all questions, including those on acting, advertising, Internet scams, music, podcasting, radio, sound, television, voiceovers, the Web, and on Macintosh, UNIX and Windows computers.

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(called via 1-800-39-ONLINE; click to listen to the audio)

Hey...what's up, dude?

This is James Miller. I was just wondering if you're very familiar with the MacBook as opposed to the MacBook Pro and the pros and cons, besides the dedicated video card and memory. When it comes to booting into Windows XP and playing Windows games, etcetera, is it worth the extra thousand bucks?

I'm mainly going to be using the laptop for Latin music performance. I have a 17 inch Powerbook right now, but I'm wanting to know if it's going to be worth it for me to spend the extra money to get the dedicated video card.

I'm sure Steve Jobs would like the free advertisement.

All right, dude...see ya!


It's interesting that you'd ask, as I just made this decision when I purchased my new...MacBook. I passed on the MacBook Pro for the very reasons you mentioned and a few others. I, too, use my MacBook for voiceover work when on the road (my agent can count on me MP3'ing my auditions to her when I'm out of town), production, editing and more.

The MacBook and the MacBook Pro, for the uninitiated, are the new Intel chipped Macintoshes that have recently been introduced. As James mentioned, the Pro, similarly configured to the MacBook, usually runs about $1000 more.

The pros and cons are fairly straightforward. The MacBook Pro is meant for video users, and in my estimation, the MacBook is for us audio guys.

You're absolutely right: the big difference in price is due mainly to the dedicated video card. But the extra $1000 dollars you'll spend for that, the PC card slot and the faster FireWire port (the Pro has an 800) isn't worth it, unless you're a hard core Mac gamer, or a hard core video editor.

Read on... (more ahead)

As for booting into Windows XP with Bootcamp, gaming is exactly the area that I'd be concerned with in terms of complete compatibility. I haven't heard any horror stories with regard to games not working on a Bootcamp-laden MacBook or MacBook Pro, but I doubt there are any serious gamers who have given up their Windows machines to try out the MacBook in the real world. If you have, please let me know your experiences by clicking on the comment button below.

The MacBook and MacBook Pro have exactly the same speed chips available (I got the fastest at the time, the 2.13 Ghz), the exact same hard drive options (again, I got the largest, the 100 gig), and the same RAM space (I maxed mine out at 2 gigabytes, more than enough to share with the video circuitry).

Interestingly, The MacBook has a few advantages over the MacBook Pro, not the least of which is the glossy screen. It is, far and away, the best screen I've seen, ever, Mac or PC.

In addition, it comes in black (for an extra $200 - the oohs and ahhs have been more than worth the extra dough), and the 15 inch version is larger than the 12 inch Powerbook it replaced - a very comfortable compromise between the cramped nature of the 12 inch screen, and the airplane-unfriendly 17 inch option.

I can tell you that I love this machine, and I think you will too. ProTools has an Intel-friendly upgrade to 7.1.1 if that's what you use for music production (most of the plug-ins have been upgraded as well for Intel compatibility), and so far, it's been the smoothest transfer to a new machine I've ever experienced.

Thanks for listening, and for calling in and asking!

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