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SportsShooter.com: Member Message Board

PC to Mac???
Mat Gdowski, Photographer
Las Vegas | NV | USA | Posted: 12:52 AM on 12.28.10
->> Hey all...

I'm seriously considering moving from a PC to a Mac. I've used and worked on PC's (including building them) for the past 25 years...ya, ya, save the old jokes. :P So, I really haven't worked on Macs at all, however, I always heard that their graphics were better, especially regarding photography. (just what a I heard...I'm not trying to start a war...not saying it's true or not)

Anyway, I've been able to use my wife's Mac here and there and have seen some benefits to possibly going to a Mac. Here is my question...

I just upgraded my PC laptop and currently run the following:

* 17" WXGA+ HD display HP PC laptop
* Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit)
* 2.0 GHz Pentium Dual Core Processor (T4200) (1MB L2 cache & if I remember correctly, it's 667 MHz bus)
* 4 GB 800MHz DDR2 SDRAM (upgraded from 3 GB)
* 500 GB 7200 RPM hard drive (upgraded from 160 GB 5400 RPM)
* Intel Graphics Media Accelerator 4500M

Now, as most of you probably know, Macs are more expensive (at least initially) than PC's are, so this is what I'm looking at for a Mac that I can afford:

* 13.3" MacBook Pro
* Snow Leopard OS X 16 (can run 64-bit)
* 2.4 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo (3MB shared L2 cache & 1066 MHz Frontside Bus)
* 4 GB 1066MHz DDR3 SDRAM
* 250 GB 5400 RPM hard drive
* NVIDIA GeForce 320M graphics processor (256MB of shared DDR3 memory w/main memory)

What my question is...is it worth going from a 17" screen to a 13.3" screen and a faster processor? I may put the original 160GB hard drive back into the PC and pull the brand new 500GB 7200 RPM drive and put that one in the new MacBook Pro that I get. So, that kind of negates the drive difference between the PC & the Mac.

I'd love to buy the 15" MacBook Pro, but I just can't afford it. Maybe if I could get enough for my current PC and sell it first, then maybe I can do it, but for now, I'm focusing on the differences between my PC and the 13.3" MacBook Pro.

Any suggestions or comments would be appreciated. I know a lot about PC's, but not about Macs. From what it looks like to me, the MacBook Pro would be much faster for processing image files than my current setup is. It seems to me (from the venues that I've shot at) that a lot of people are running Macs, so I figured I'd see what everyone thinks here and go from there.

The main programs that I'd be running is PhotoMechanic, Lightroom 3, Photoshop CS5 and some sort of FTP program (probably Transit, but I currently use FileZilla) to process and upload images.

If you have any questions, please ask and I'll do my best to answer them.

Thanks for reading and any input.

Regards,
Mat
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Patrick Murphy-Racey, Photographer
Powell | TN | USA | Posted: 1:20 AM on 12.28.10
->> just get the smaller macbook and pick up a nice 24" monitor at best buy... for $19 for the little adapter, it's killer... 13" is fine for most P-shopping but when you need critical size... it's still great with a big monitor...

my .02 pm-r


ps. Which is faster 0-60, a Porshe 911 Turbo or a Ford Powerstroke Pickup?
Now add a 10,000 lb. trailer to each filled with lead pipe (Windows).
Now which one will get you to 60 mph faster?

Mac = stability, coolness, speed.
PC's = cheap

Welcome to the family... And, if you opt for my advice, get the less expensive mac and spend the different on their stock... ;) pm-r
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Phil Hawkins, Photographer
Fresno | ca | usa | Posted: 2:25 AM on 12.28.10
->> Let me suggest you go down to the Mac Store in your neighborhood and have this discussion with them. Not that you won't get good info here, but they LOVE PC guys coming in asking how to migrate. And they will know the technical aspects of your question. Don't be shy; they will stay with you until you run out of questions and won't pin you down for a sale. At least that was my experience. Best Buy carries Macs, but at least in Fresno, the sales people are not well versed on Macs.
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Michael Fischer, Photographer
Spencer | Ia | USA | Posted: 3:10 AM on 12.28.10
->> Let me suggest you hit the apple website and go to the store location. Once there, scroll down the left column and go to special deals and click on refurbished units.

They have the same warranty and are a great deal most of the time. Take the rest and spend it on Apple Stock :) ( As an aside I gave my 15 year old $200 in cash and told him to buy some stock... he said "Apple" I laughed and told him he couldn't buy a share for $200....)

M
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Steve Violette, Photographer
Gulf Breeze | FL | USA | Posted: 8:53 AM on 12.28.10
->> go to the Apple Sore in your area

http://www.apple.com/retail/locator/index.html?storename=apple%20store&q=la...

and talk to the guys as suggested above

also +1 on PMR's comments

Steve
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Butch Miller, Photographer
Lock Haven | PA | USA | Posted: 9:13 AM on 12.28.10
->> +1 on the Apple refurb store ... Great savings, same warranty though the item may arrive in a plain brown box than the spiffy white box.

I prefer the 15" screen over the 13" mainly because the larger version usually have a better graphics card ... And ... If you shoot RAW ... You may want to look at the i5 or i7 processors and maybe also add some RAM ... But check third party options on the RAM .. Depending upon the model ... You can save quite a bit if you don't buy it from Apple.
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Will Powers, Photographer
Denver | CO | USA | Posted: 10:22 AM on 12.28.10
->> You definitely want to max out the RAM on whatever Mac you get. Macs are more enclosed then they were in the past and harder to do self installs, but not impossible. The third party RAM is a good idea, and not that bad to have a pro do it.
I would lend my support to the 15" screen, too. Often the refurbs were gifts that are returned, but now they can't be sold as new.
I use external hard drives so my MacBook doesn't really need a large internal HD.
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George Bridges, Photographer, Photo Editor
Washington | DC | USA | Posted: 10:40 AM on 12.28.10
->> If you can wait a little bit you may want to. Though they are rumors, Apple should do an update to the MB and MBPro lines in the first quarter of 2011.

Macrumors.com and it's buyers guide has good guidelines on the regularity of updates to Apple products.

MB Pros are updated on average of every 200 or so days, and it has been well longer than that since the last major update.

But, if you need, or really want, a new computer than the choices given to you above are sound. I use a 13-inch MB Pro for game coverage just because of the smaller form and weight factor and it does great. I shoot all RAW and it handles it fine, better than my older 15-inch. The screen size does not bother me at all.

I do all my office work on a MacPro with a 24-inch monitor and should be adding a second monitor in the next couple months.
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Mike Isler, Photographer, Assistant
New York | NY | US | Posted: 12:08 PM on 12.28.10
->> The Buyer's Guide that George references is found here: http://buyersguide.macrumors.com/ . Always worth checking before buying any new Apple product!
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Frank Lauri, Photographer
Larksville | PA | USA | Posted: 12:16 PM on 12.28.10
->> Mat....you have a lot of great info here to sort thru and find the best fit for what you need. From a former PC person that thought the PC was the greatest thing since corn flakes....I experienced 2 major crashes within a 3 month period so I convinced myself to try a Mac. I ordered an iMac on 12/30/08 and UPS was delivering it the next day. A year later I purchased a 13" MBP for when I travel plus I use it for all my billing and invoicing. I haven't looked back since and I haven't had one issue with either machine.

For me...there was a little bit of a learning curve in the transition but it was very minor and within 1-2 weeks it was non existent.

I currently run CS 4, LR 3 and Filezilla on both machines and there are no problems.

Here is some links to forums I used as a reference that were informative for me.
www.mac-forums.com/forums/
www.myfirstmac.com/
http://hintsforums.macworld.com/
www.apple.com/support/mac101/work/
www.apple.com/support/switch101/

Hope this helps and good luck in the transition.
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N. Scott Trimble, Photographer
Lake Oswego | OR | USA | Posted: 12:28 PM on 12.28.10
->> WAIT!!!!!!!!

There is a major interface change poised to happen this year, Firewire is out the door, and APPLE ISN"T taking on USB 3.0 which puts Apple in a delicate situation.

They are working with Intel to use Lightpeak, a fiber optic based connection that uses 10 gb/s (USB 3.0 claims 3 gb/s, and USB 2.0 rated 480MB/s but never in my experience moved faster than Firewire 400 MB/S and Firewire 800 MB/S). Thee is also word of a second interface called Wigig that will use a bluetooth-like transfer of speeds around 4gb/s without cables.

PCs will be USB 3.0 this year. Third party accessories are rolling out with drives and card readers with 3.0. But Apple NEEDS to introduce Lightpeak this year. If not, then they will be lagging with USB 2.0. You can't buy new Firewire 800 card readers now because they are discontinued. AND we have to hope Lexar, Sandisk, WD, LaCie etc will pick up Lightpeak. So, as you can see, there is a somewhat pucker powered transition going on that might finally hurt Apple if they aren't careful.

Now, having said that, I am an Apple user, and plan to continue to do so, but I am waiting with my three year old computers for this particular interface situation to resolve in, hopefully, the Spring. So my advice is to wait to see if Apple announces Lightpeak officially in the Spring. If not, then either grab a soon to be very rare firewire 800 card reader NOW and get whatever Mac comes out in the Spring and realize that PC will have an advantage with data transfer speeds with other devices or get a PC.
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Chris Wilson, Student/Intern
Bowling Green | Ky. | US | Posted: 12:48 PM on 12.28.10
->> I bet someone's already said this, but my suggestion, if you're worried about downsizing screen size, is keep your 17 inch and use it as a secondary monitor.

The issue with that is: the colors won't match exactly, so calibrate the 17 inch and tone your photos on that one, and do your other workflow on the 13 inch screen.
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Mat Gdowski, Photographer
Las Vegas | NV | USA | Posted: 3:12 PM on 12.28.10
->> I greatly appreciate all of the awesome info you all have given me. Much, much appreciated.

The good thing is, I do have a 17" monitor (non-laptop) that I can plug into the Mac (with the adapter, of course). I forgot to mention that initially.

So, if I had to, I could use that at home/office for editing and use the 13" monitor on the MacBook Pro for work on site.

Thanks for the info about the refurbished units. That was exactly what I was looking at initially when transferring. They have the 13.3" MBP for $1019 and that's what I was considering. However, if I can get a fairly decent price for my used PC on Craigslist, I might be able to squeeze out the $1836 (w/tax) for the refurbished 15.4" MBP and that's even with a 2.53GHz processor. I'd like to try and get the 15.4" laptop if possible, but we'll see how it goes.

Again, I appreciate everyone's information and help. I may even wait until the spring to see what gives with the new transfer options they go with. Problem is, $1800 is a lot for me, that's why I was considering the 13.3" because it was only around a grand (like almost $1200 w/tax), but it's really tearing me up because I know I'd rather have the 15.4" screen. My current 17" screen PC is just too much and it's bulky and heavy. So, I figure the 15.4" MBP would be perfect...if it wasn't for the price. LOL

It also amazes me the pricing difference of the OS upgrades. I just upgraded my PC a while ago with Windows 7 64-bit and it was like $120. We just upgraded my wife's MacBook (3yrs old and still works flawlessly) with Snow Leopard and it was frickin' $29.99 at Best Buy. And, it seems to me, that the base OS has a lot of things you have to buy separately/extra with Windows/PCs.

Anyway, just surprised me. When I bought the Mac OS X, I was waiting for another disc I had to buy or something for the upgrade. I was like, "It can't be just $30. No frickin' way!" LOL

Anyway, thanks again for everyone's help, links and insight. I truly appreciate it.

Mat G.
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Jim Colburn, Photo Editor, Photographer
McAllen | TX | USA | Posted: 5:13 PM on 12.28.10
->> "We just upgraded my wife's MacBook (3yrs old and still works flawlessly)"

I have an Apple G4 Tower (ten years old) that I keep around just to see if the latest OSX would work. Snow Leopard needs an Intel chip so that's out but I've kept upgrading it through 10.5.8 and it stills works fine.
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Al Goldis, Photographer
East Lansing | MI | USA | Posted: 8:45 PM on 12.28.10
->> Keep checking the Apple Store for refurbs. Apple doesn't keep a list of all the models; they appear and disappear all the time as they come in and out of stock. So you may find a $1200-$1400 15" MacBook Pro. Obviously, it won't be as well equipped as the $1800 model but it will still be better equipped than all but highest-end Windows PCs (with a high-end price tag to match).

There is also
http://www.refurb.me/

It's handy for a list, however, I keep hearing complaints about refurb.me email notifications not working.
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Andrew Malana, Photographer
San Diego/Tokyo | CA | USA | Posted: 8:55 PM on 12.28.10
->> Mat..

Macs may be more expensive at purchasing time, BUT, I feel the true total cost of ownership and the engineering makes up for the 'cost'. All posts here offer good and very valid comments. I too plan to upgrade all my gear to Mac in 2011.
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Stanley Leary, Photographer
Roswell | GA | USA | Posted: 9:08 PM on 12.28.10
->> I just did the conversion couple weeks ago after 25+ years on PC. I too was familiar with Macs and had my wife on a mac.

The software changes you will make with what you listed will be easy.
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David Chandler, Photographer
East Grand Rapids | MI | USA | Posted: 10:33 AM on 12.30.10
->> I made the switch last year and never looked back. I have to say though... I switched from a 17" 1920x1200 laptop to a 15.4" 1440x900 laptop and it was a pretty good adjustment. I also have a 24" external monitor (only a Dell) but the Macbook Pro screen is so much better I can't go back to the 24".

I also have a 27" iMac and those are really good bang for the buck sans the portability.

The best thing I can say about my move to Mac is that they "just work as they should". I'm sure geeks can get their PC's to work but I didn't have the knowledge or patients to keep fixing the bugs that popped-up in my PC's. You pay for it but to me it's worth it.

I wouldn't even consider moving to a 13" MBP from a 17". 15" will still take an adjustment period.
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Mike Doran, Photographer
Petaluma | CA | U.S.A. | Posted: 2:45 AM on 01.03.11
->> I made the switch 5 years ago and have never looked back. I went from having to buy a new laptop once a year to just replacing my MBP this year in at the end of March and just replacing my Imac 24 with a Imac 27 in December. The transition was fairly easy. You will not regret it.
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William Guerro, Photographer
Galloway | NJ | USA | Posted: 8:18 AM on 01.03.11
->> Mat,


I found this on Mac Worlds web site. I thought it might be helpful to you.

http://www.macworld.com/article/153952/2010/09/superguide_switchingtoamac.h...
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Israel Shirk, Photographer, Assistant
Boise | ID | US | Posted: 10:53 AM on 01.03.11
->> Wait a little while before making the purchase if you haven't bit the bullet already; they're going to release something new soon - http://buyersguide.macrumors.com/#macbook_pro

Apple has always been on a very consistent release schedule; they're probably about to let out something really significant - as others have suggested, there's going to be lightpeak or something similar that they need to get out the door.
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Thomas Boyd, Photographer
Portland | OR | USA | Posted: 2:43 PM on 01.03.11
->> I would also suggest looking at an after market SSD drive. I have an apple version in my MBP and it really speeds up the overall performance experience. Apps boot almost instantly and it silent. I don't think I'll ever buy a hard drive again.
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Darren Whitley, Photographer
Northwest Missouri | MO | USA | Posted: 3:45 PM on 01.03.11
->> I like buying used Macs. I got an awesome machine from another SS member. Before that, I had looked at welovemacs.com. If you're buying a new Mac, I think having Applecare is a great idea as it extends your warranty for up to three years. With what they cost, that's a really good idea.
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David Seelig, Photographer
Hailey | ID | USA | Posted: 11:14 PM on 01.04.11
->> MY last three towers were all bought used no troubles. i have an imac no trouble bought reurb from mac. My last laptop a refurb from mac died 4 times before mac finally said take a new laptop on us . This was all after the warranty ran out.
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N. Scott Trimble, Photographer
Lake Oswego | OR | USA | Posted: 1:23 PM on 01.06.11
->> I just talked with an Intel engineer over the weekend and Lightpeak is dragging, and probably not expected before the Fall release, so assume USB 2.0 ports and Firewire again. Start scrounging those firewire readers!
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Matt Barton, Photographer
Lexington | KY | USA | Posted: 1:36 PM on 01.06.11
->> "LaCie Brings USB 3.0 to OS X"
http://www.thinq.co.uk/2010/11/5/lacie-brings-usb-30-os-x/

Crisis averted. Buy a mac tower.
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Mat Gdowski, Photographer
Las Vegas | NV | USA | Posted: 7:45 PM on 01.06.11
->> Thanks again to everyone for all of your info...

William - Thanks for the link...that looks like a handy guide to check out! :-)

Thomas - I actually bought a hybrid SSD/HD recently and it does work MUCH faster than a standard HD. 4GB of the HD is SSD (it's a Seagate Momentus XT) and it does memorize programs that are run a lot and puts them into the SSD part of the drive (along with bootup programs) and it has worked much faster than my 5400 drive that I had in my former PC laptop.

Well, I did bite the bullet today and ended up getting the refurbed 15.4" MacBook Pro with the 2.66GHz i7 processor in it. I'm hoping it's the last time in a while that I have to buy a laptop/computer. I got lucky and had some extra cash from Christmas that I was able to use.

Again, I thank everyone for their insight and help here. Definitely appreciated! I should get my MBP on Monday, if Apple ships it out today (Thur). If not, then I'll have to wait till probably Tue. I HATE waiting for stuff to be shipped. LOL!
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N. Scott Trimble, Photographer
Lake Oswego | OR | USA | Posted: 9:01 PM on 01.06.11
->> Problem is Matt, if you have a new Macbook Pro, it doesn't have PCI or Expresscard slots on it, just firewire, USB, and sd card slot!
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Mat Gdowski, Photographer
Las Vegas | NV | USA | Posted: 9:54 PM on 01.06.11
->> NST - Very true...but I can't win them all. LOL I'm used to not having all that fancy stuff as it is now, so that wouldn't be too much of a change.

I currently use SD cards, so I always used my SD card reader that is in my PC laptop. The MBP that I just ordered has that as well, but I'm sure I'll be changing back over to CF cards and the best I can do for that is get a Sandisk Firewire card reader. Last I saw Sandisk and Amazon still sold them (even if they are $99 a shot!).

So, that's the best I can do right now, but at least it all should be faster than my current PC setup. :-)
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Butch Miller, Photographer
Lock Haven | PA | USA | Posted: 9:08 AM on 01.07.11
->> Mat ... if you want a FW CF card reader ... get it now if you can find one ... they have all been discontinued so what is currently available is all there will be ...
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Shane Psaltis, Photographer
Aquebogue | NY | USA | Posted: 9:18 AM on 01.07.11
->> Mat,

I have read all the advise given here and it is some great advice , the only thing I can tell you is hold out for the 15.4 screen you will notice a significant difference, I have the 15.4 MBP and when I go to my wifes computer which as a 13 screen it drives me crazy.

That's my 2 cents,

Good luck

Shane
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Frank Lauri, Photographer
Larksville | PA | USA | Posted: 1:14 PM on 01.07.11
->> I don't know how the Apple Care program is viewed but I would highly recommend it. The display on my 24" iMac is starting to go bad and I called Apple the other day....they ordered the parts and the technician called me this morning. He'll be at my house shortly to do the repairs. One can't ask for more than that. That type of service goes a long way with me.
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Mat Gdowski, Photographer
Las Vegas | NV | USA | Posted: 12:06 AM on 01.08.11
->> Butch - Thanks for the info...I'll be picking one up in a week or so, as soon as I can afford the $100 for it. :-)

Shane - That's why I finally ordered the 15.4" screen the other day because my wife also has the 13.3" and going from my 17", I'm like, "Where the heck is all my room I need?" LOL So, I finally ordered the 15.4"...I should get it on Wed. It's coming from PA instead of CA, like I thought it would. :-( If I knew it was coming from PA, I would have splurged for 2 day delivery.

Frank - That sounds like pretty darn good service to me. I appreciate the info about your experience. Only problem is, I already ordered the MBP and it's enroute to me now. I wonder if I can buy the Apple Care Programe after the fact? At least it has 90 days (or was it 30 days?) telephone support and 1 yr limited warranty. I think that's pretty good considering it's a refurb unit. When I got my refurb 10D from Canon, I think I only got a 30 day warranty on it.

Mat G.
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Kevin M. Cox, Photographer, Assistant
Galveston & Houston | TX | US | Posted: 1:09 AM on 01.08.11
->> Mat, you can add the extended AppleCare support at any point before the 1 year warranty ends.

http://www.apple.com/support/products/faqs.html

"Can I purchase the AppleCare Protection Plan anytime?
You can purchase the AppleCare Protection Plan anytime within the one-year limited warranty period. Your eligibility for coverage under the AppleCare Protection Plan starts from your hardware purchase date. Apple strongly recommends that you purchase the AppleCare Protection Plan when you purchase your Apple product to maximize the additional benefits provided under the plan."
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Larry Lawson, Photographer
Portland | OR | USA | Posted: 11:19 AM on 01.08.11
->> Mat - for your MBP, how much ram did you get and do you use LR3? Or anyone running an i5 or i7 with 4GB ram and LR3 - I'd be very interested in knowing how LR performs on that platform. I'm leaning towards biting the same bullet.
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Mat Gdowski, Photographer
Las Vegas | NV | USA | Posted: 10:39 PM on 01.12.11
->> Kevin - Thanks for the info. Much appreciated. :-) Maybe in a month or two I can afford to add on the AppleCare Protection. :-)

Larry - Sorry for taking so long to respond. I've been waiting for my MBP to get here, so I haven't had much access to a computer with my PC laptop packed up to sell. It just got here this afternoon (I'm using a work computer at the moment), so I'll be testing it late tonight after work or tomorrow morning.

However, I'll be running 4GB of RAM (for now - planning on upgrading to 8GB as soon as I can afford it) and I will be running LR3. I'll let you know because I have a bunch of images to download into the MBP and work on them in LR3 as soon as I install it on the MBP..so I'll be happy to give an update (if no one else does first) when I get going on them.
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Mat Gdowski, Photographer
Las Vegas | NV | USA | Posted: 7:08 PM on 01.28.11
->> Larry - My workflow speed has MUCH improved with the transfer to my MBP. I'm sure it will help when I upgrade to 8GB of RAM as well, but for now, I'm very happy. LR3 runs it's operations much more quickly. I'm glad I made the switch.

By any chance, does anyone know if the newer MBP's (15.4" version with the core i7) have the 9 pin Firewire 800 port on them? On the info from Apple it just says it has a Firewire 800 port, but I'm not sure how many pins it has. I'm planning on buying a Firewire 800 CF card reader and switching back to CF cards from SD cards, but I'm not sure if I have a 9 pin FW port on my MBP or not. Seems like all the FW800 card readers need a 9 pin and the 6 pin won't work. (from what I was reading anyway)
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Kevin M. Cox, Photographer, Assistant
Galveston & Houston | TX | US | Posted: 11:51 AM on 01.29.11
->> Mat, yes the Firewire 800 connector is 9 pins (and as far as I know all FW800 connections are). It is the older, slower Firewire 400 that has 6 pins (for a powered connection) or in some cases like Sony i.Link an (un-powered) 4 pin connector.

Apple's Firewire connections have always been powered.
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Mat Gdowski, Photographer
Las Vegas | NV | USA | Posted: 1:04 AM on 02.03.11
->> Awesome...thanks a bunch for the info, Kevin.

After I wrote it, I also decided to look at it (when I got home) and counted off 9 pins...duhhh! LOL Some days I guess I'm just not "with it". LOL

Thanks again!
Mat
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