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Old 10-25-2018, 09:43 AM   #1
Ronald
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Default Dell vs. Mac: Advice on buying a new laptop

My old Dell conked out on me. Hopefully Best Buy can retrieve my files, but after seven years, it doesn't look like I'll be running the old girl anymore.

I always hear graphic designers/artists swear by Macs, and I'm considering making the transition. I'd like at least a 15" screen and something that can handle graphic design, photography and possibly some moderate video editing.

I'm currently being tempted by a 17.3" Dell Inspiron 2-in-1 that folds into a touchscreen, for around $1,100. The 15.4" Macbook Pro I looked at was around $2,600.

Some more pros and cons I was provided:
- The Mac will last as much as 8 years while the Dell will last around 5 or 6.
- Apparently Windows' discs are prone to scratching/damage if the laptop is shook around too much. Mac discs are more durable.
- The Mac warranty is shorter than Dell.
- The Dell has 1T hard drive and 16 GB memory; the Mac has 512 GB HD and 16 GB memory.
- The Mac graphics card allows better visual texture while the Dell has a better frame rate for video.

Another issue I have is, I freelance for my old employer, which uses 2002 Flash MX software. I installed this on my old laptop, but with a Mac, finding a compatible version will be questionable. I'd probably have to work at their office.
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Old 10-25-2018, 12:06 PM   #2
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I'm sure others will weigh in with their experience and views but, until they come along...'-}}

Macs have had that "macs are better for graphics" reputation because in the early years that was true but I don't think it's so true now--Apple is making its money (by handfuls and gobs) in other areas now and if reading the colorsync users' list is indicative at all, there are many mac graphics users who are pissed off at Apple for their failure to continue to innovate.

Of course, then there's the virus and malware known as Windows 10 which it's likely you would end up with on the pc side. I wouldn't touch Windows 10 if they gave it away for free...oh! wait! they did...I still don't want it. That stated, if you do decide to go with Win10 (ewww! gag!), then make sure to get Windows 10 Pro and not Home which is even crappier than Pro.

Now...Dell...well...hell...'-}}

I go a long way back with Dell laptops even though I'm not a laptop person; however, all the people I do tech support for are laptop people. Because of that, I have a fair bit of experience with Dell laptops over the years and I recommended them to people who preferred laptops over desktop system (for desktop systems a custom build is the way to go). My recommending Dell laptops ended a few years ago when my sister bought her last (note..."last") Dell laptop which was a very disappointing acquisition--not as well made as in the past, very narrow viewing angle on the screen and just overall, a disappointing laptop. The thought of doing any sort of graphics work on that Dell laptop is laughable...

Then, a few days ago, we were discussing laptops in a thread here (starting around post #17) and I went to the Dell site to browse around what they had to offer in laptops on the business side (I always ordered from the Dell business side as generally there were more configurable options than on the home/home office side). I was appalled at the lack of options offered and only Windows 10 is offered. Ugh!

If you are going to stick with laptops on the pc side, then take a look at HP's ProBook line (if you have a MicroCenter near you (microcenter.com) see if they have any ProBooks in stock) as I've been impressed with them since my sister bought one for one of her clients--this led to my buying a ProBook for myself and then realizing how stupid it was because I'd probably not use it much so I gave it to my sister and she gave me her Dell laptop (discussed above) which I use as a backup/testbed. Another of my sisters also has a HP ProBook. HP is still offering a choice of Win7 or Win10. Also check out what Lenovo has to offer--I've not used any Lenovos but Steve has so perhaps he will wax rhapsodic on them...'-}}


Lastly...I've always thought that desktop systems with a good monitor were "better" for graphics work than laptops both because laptop screens were generally not very good (at least on the pc side) and they are too small.




Fingers crossed that the above ramblings might prove useful...



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Old 10-25-2018, 01:05 PM   #3
Steve Rindsberg
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- The Mac will last as much as 8 years while the Dell will last around 5 or 6.

Even if so, which I sort of doubt, you can buy another Dell and still be money ahead.

- Apparently Windows' discs are prone to scratching/damage if the laptop is shook around too much. Mac discs are more durable.

Again, dubious. In any case, that'd only be an issue with regular hard disks; most computers have SSD (solid state drive) disks as an option. They're more expensive but worth it generally. Faster, for one, and they don't suffer from mechanical shock.

- The Mac warranty is shorter than Dell.

Which'd seem to conflict with the "Macs last longer" theory, no?

- The Dell has 1T hard drive and 16 GB memory; the Mac has 512 GB HD and 16 GB memory.

No brainer there, eh?

- The Mac graphics card allows better visual texture while the Dell has a better frame rate for video.

I don't know what "better visual texture" means. Better frame rate would be useful for gamers and video but for graphic design, it's probably a non-issue.

>> Another issue I have is, I freelance for my old employer, which uses 2002 Flash MX software. I installed this on my old laptop, but with a Mac, finding a compatible version will be questionable. I'd probably have to work at their office.

His Most Serene (and yet still dead) Highness, the Great and Powerful Jobs decreed that there shall be no Flash. A lot of other people seem to be following suit. I think even Adobe's decided to stop supporting it, haven't they? IOW, some other technology may be a better long-term bet.

https://www.theverge.com/2017/7/25/1...f-support-2020

   
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Old 10-25-2018, 04:22 PM   #4
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I'm not going to wade into the Windows v MacOS discussion, it is a matter which you prefer these days. I use Fedora (Linux) so I don't have any reasons to take sides.


Do get a laptop with a solid state drive - in addition to what Steve mentioned, it will make the battery last longer as well. If you can only get a smallish SSD buy a large external hard drive to back up your work on, a good idea to do even if you can get a larger internal SSD.


A FHD display is fine for 15" laptop, but check it is sufficient for a 17" before buying one. Personally I'd go for 15" and a good larger external monitor.


The Mackbook's display have on the surface a higher resolution but due to how all those pixels are used the actual resolution isn't always higher. Read https://9to5mac.com/2016/12/02/15-in...lution-blurry/ for more on that. Small displays with very high resolution can make text too small to read without scaling.


As for Flash, tell your old employer it is time to move on. Support in web browsers is being phased out, and will soon be a distant memory (Yay!) Greensock is a great option: https://greensock.com/.

   
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Old 10-25-2018, 05:02 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ronald View Post

I'm currently being tempted by a 17.3" Dell Inspiron 2-in-1 that folds into a touchscreen, for around $1,100. The 15.4" Macbook Pro I looked at was around $2,600.
How big is your current screen? Going from 17 to 15 is a big jump and you're likely to feel it with graphics work. So, unless you currently use a 15" laptop, get a look at this for real.

Quote:

- Apparently Windows' discs are prone to scratching/damage if the laptop is shook around too much. Mac discs are more durable.
That's seriously silly. When talking about hard drives, there is no such thing as a "Windows disk". Yes, the formatting may be different but the physical disks are the same. And no hard drive is going to get "scratched" in any case. So someone is either making stuff up or totally mixing issues that are not really relevant.
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Old 10-25-2018, 05:15 PM   #6
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Whatever you get, check it out in a store. Look at how much the screen changes depending on which angle you view if from. If tilting it back or forth as little as half an inch changes what you see, realize that it will be near impossible to accurately judge colors by simply looking at them.

Also, think about the money you have invested in software, and realize you will need an extra layer to run the Win version on a Mac. Or what it will cost to buy Mac versions.

   
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Old 10-25-2018, 06:26 PM   #7
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Thanks so much for the detailed feedback, everyone!

Based on the comments, it looks like I need to shop for an HP laptop with Windows 7, a 15-17" screen and a Solid State Drive. How much memory should I strive for? Anything else I need to keep in mind?

Here are some models I found on Best Buy:

HP - ProBook 15.6" Laptop - Intel Core i7 - 8GB Memory - 256GB Solid State Drive (apparently the only one with Windows 7)
https://www.bestbuy.com/site/hp-prob...?skuId=5261004

HP - ENVY x360 2-in-1, 15.6" Touch-Screen Laptop - Intel Core i7 - 8GB Memory - 256GB Solid State Drive
https://www.bestbuy.com/site/hp-envy...?skuId=6254989

HP - ENVY 2-in-1, 15.6" Touch-Screen Laptop - AMD Ryzen 7 - 8GB Memory - AMD Radeon RX Vega 10 - 256GB Solid State Drive
https://www.bestbuy.com/site/hp-envy...?skuId=6237336

HP - Spectre x360 2-in-1, 15.6" 4K Ultra HD Touch-Screen Laptop - Intel Core i7 - 16GB Memory - 512GB SSD
https://www.bestbuy.com/site/hp-spec...?skuId=6188321

Quote:
Originally Posted by terrie View Post
Fingers crossed that the above ramblings might prove useful...
Very much. Thanks so much for the insight, Terrie.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Rindsberg View Post
His Most Serene (and yet still dead) Highness, the Great and Powerful Jobs decreed that there shall be no Flash. A lot of other people seem to be following suit. I think even Adobe's decided to stop supporting it, haven't they? IOW, some other technology may be a better long-term bet.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bo Aakerstrom View Post
As for Flash, tell your old employer it is time to move on. Support in web browsers is being phased out, and will soon be a distant memory (Yay!) Greensock is a great option: https://greensock.com/.
You’re absolutely right. It’d downright stupid they haven’t left Flash already. But hey, as long as they offer me work using a program that came out when I was in high school, I’ll be happy to help.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kayza View Post
How big is your current screen? Going from 17 to 15 is a big jump and you're likely to feel it with graphics work. So, unless you currently use a 15" laptop, get a look at this for real.
My current laptop is 17". I'd really like to stick with that, but I can live with 15".

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kayza View Post
That's seriously silly. When talking about hard drives, there is no such thing as a "Windows disk". Yes, the formatting may be different but the physical disks are the same. And no hard drive is going to get "scratched" in any case. So someone is either making stuff up or totally mixing issues that are not really relevant.
Sorry, I honestly don't know that area and am trying to reiterate what was told to me. But it sounds like getting a Solid State Drive will take care of things.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Andrew B. View Post
Whatever you get, check it out in a store. Look at how much the screen changes depending on which angle you view if from. If tilting it back or forth as little as half an inch changes what you see, realize that it will be near impossible to accurately judge colors by simply looking at them.

Also, think about the money you have invested in software, and realize you will need an extra layer to run the Win version on a Mac. Or what it will cost to buy Mac versions.
Good points. Thanks, Andrew!
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Old 10-26-2018, 08:48 AM   #8
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For the sake of a machine that'll last you a while, I wouldn't get anything with less than 16gb of memory. Or at least make sure that an 8gb machine is easily upgradeable.

Before settling on a 4k display, I'd try and view your commonly used apps on such a critter, especially older software. Some programs haven't been written to cope with such high rez screens. I literally had to put an 8-power loupe on the screen to read the 640x480 pixel screens one program displayed. 640 pixels displayed on a 4k pixel screen is darn small!

   
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Old 10-26-2018, 11:26 AM   #9
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Don't forget to check the keyboard. Some new laptops have very shallow travel or a cheap feel in general. Important to have a good one if you intend to type a lot.

   
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Old 10-27-2018, 07:54 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bo Aakerstrom View Post
Don't forget to check the keyboard. Some new laptops have very shallow travel or a cheap feel in general. Important to have a good one if you intend to type a lot.
How many APPs am I allowed here?

That'd be Amens Per Post.

That's one of the things I've always loved about ThinkPads (previously IBM, now Lenovo). The keyboards are good, or at least my fingers think so. When my main lappie's at home, it's tethered to a dasKeyboard keyboard. Clicky and very light touch.

Come to think of it, that's something else that's worth looking into if the laptop's your only PC and you do serious work at the office and elsewhere: a docking station. You can leave your external drive(s), monitor, keyboard, mouse etc plugged into the docking station and only have to disconnect IT from the lappie rather than deal unplugging/re-plugging all that stuff each time you pack up and go.

   
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