DPP Home Gear Imaging Tech Hi-TechStudio: Workstation To Go

Friday, February 27, 2009

Hi-Tech Studio: Workstation To Go

Apple’s new MacBook Pro and LED Cinema Display are a sleeker, faster and greener solution for the fluid studio

Configurations. MacBook Pro op-tions include a choice of 2.4 GHz and 2.53 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processors, and Apple upgrades several specs on the faster model. The 2.53 GHz model ships with 4 GB of RAM (the system maximum), while the base model starts at 2 GB, with the option to upgrade. Likewise, the faster model starts with a 320 GB hard drive, and the slower with a 250 GB drive. Both models can be equipped with a 128 GB Solid State Drive (SSD), though this newer technology is still relatively expensive for what you get.

Switchable Graphics Processors. Both configurations include one of the more interesting new features for imaging pros: dual graphics processors, each designed for a different balance of performance and battery life. The NVIDIA GeForce 9400M is an integrated processor and is the default processor “out of the box.” Integrated processors share memory with your system, degrading high-end graphics performance, but also reducing draw on the battery—ideal for tasks like e-mail and web browsing.

When you need optimum graphics processing for memory-intensive photo and video applications, you can switch your MacBook Pro to use its NVIDIA GeForce 9600M GT graphics processor. The 9600M GT is a discrete processor, meaning it has its own dedicated memory—256 MB on the 2.4 GHz model and 512 MB on the 2.53 GHz and 2.8 GHz configurations. Your battery will deplete about 20% faster (4 hours vs. 5 hours when using the 9400M), but you’ll have desktop-class graphics performance for serious image editing.

Connections. Apple appears to be making a move away from FireWire, as this port has been omitted from the new 13-inch MacBook. The MacBook Pro still has FireWire 800 though, along with two USB 2.0 ports. Apple’s new Mini DisplayPort connects directly to the new 24-inch LED Cinema Display and most other screens with their respective, optional adapters. For network connectivity, there’s 802.11n Wi-Fi, Gigabit Ethernet and an Express Card/34 slot if you use a wireless modem to access your mobile carrier’s Internet service. Bluetooth is there, too, for wireless peripherals.

The Bottom Line
The MacBook Pro starts at $1,999 for the base model and $2,499 for the upgraded processor configuration. The 24-inch LED Cinema Display is $899. Contact: Apple, www.apple.com.


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