Apple or Microsoft Laptop?

Wifey needs to replace an oooooooold laptop. We’re trying to compare Apple with Microsoft in a convincing way and hoping you guys could help please?

Purpose - using to work on her photo and graphic designs using a Wacom tablet, so predominately heavy image editing. Needs to be transportable (hence not desktop).
Looks like with done funding she can push to £1,500 but hoping to keep it under a grand.
Being able to run the same software on my Win 10 pc would be handy but not essential.
If you need more info let me know.
All thoughts and suggestions welcomed!

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Not hear me say this much but Mac book. Good for image work. Saying that, we’ve a few surface pros in work and they are class

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I recommend LaptopsDirect. I’ve bought a bunch of stuff and know other people who have an have yet to have/hear any problems.

In terms of OS, I’d say go with what she’s most familiar with. If she is about as familiar with either, I’d lean to Windows because you can find some really nice bang for buck deals for similar Apple money.

Have a poke around on RockPaperShotgun, they often post decent laptops for around this money, you might even be able to pick up some of the recommendations cheaper through LaptopsDirect.

Edit:

Having a quick peak, there are laptops in either flavour on LaptopsDirect for under £1000.

I have no idea about the Mac, but aside from only having 8gb system ram and having not heard of the brand before, its got more than enough grunt to handle Photoshop. If she needs to work on havier loads the ram can be upgraded.

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I concur with Vred re Laptops direct. Bought from them and can’t complain.

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@Jester is your MacBook man. Calling Jes!

But from those requirements, I would suggest MacBook as well.

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Thanks all. Yeah I’ve always had the feeling that Mac is the way most people go for this kind of thing, it’s just the worry of not being able to use the same software on PC in case she needs to use mine instead. But kind of leaning towards MacBooks at the mo.

I was thinking much like Hammy. Once upon a time Mac was the way to go for design. But MS been pushing the new surface stuff heavily in that direction. But that’s all I got… sorry. Just though I’d lob that wee grenade in there. And run…

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I have a Wacom, been using it for ages. I use my PC for photoshop and lightroom so some photoediting too. However I use a standard Win laptop or my desktop for it. You wanna shoot for around 16GB ram as I know from experience in PS and LR or other drawing programs (Illustrator, Painter, clip studio paint) you can run out of ram with multiple layers and effects fairly quickly.

I know the Mac 2018 was pretty decent for its time (intel 8xxx series) whereas the newer models are getting stupidly hot and run sometimes even slower. You don’t need a crazy graphics card for PS or LR, gpu acceleration is practically non existing in older versions (I still use CS6 and LR 6.17). Other programs not sure, please do your research.

If she already owns certain softwares, or gets them from work, make sure the license works for your OS. Older licenses for PS or Paint are specific for either MAC or Win and can cost more than the PC itself. If thats no issue you are free to use whatever you want.

However in the design industry Macs are wildspread and the data transfers can be a bit tricky between Win and Mac. I would ask the company first what they use and go from there.

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Mac fanboi enters the room. Cheers @n0tch. Sorry - been at work.

I should be able to say that there is no competition. That Macbooks have advantages over any PC based competition because they have years of design experience - and their screens are second to none (tbh - a retina screen is amazing). I should be able to say Apple work with Adobe to ensure 100% colour mapping and calibration so that designers see on screen the real world colour comparsion.

I should be able to say this. I want to be able to say this. It used to be the case.

There are frankly other options - certainly cheaper. For Adobe work - I personally wouldn’t go less than 16GB RAM. I have a Macbook Pro (which I love - but it is 4 years old, and even then 8GB felt limiting) It handles everything well enough… BUT - I also have a Ryzen 2700 PC with more cores and 32GB of RAM.

Guess which I use more for work?

To get 16GB on a MBP, even now, you’re looking at the top tier units. £1500+

RAM is cheap as fuck at the moment. It’s an insult.

So what are your other options? Well - I did a quick bit of googling and this REALLY caught my eye:

Now - I’d do some more research before you go out and buy it… and I can help with that if you want me to dive into the spec in more detail - but on the face of it, it is a 13" laptop with a 4K screen that is also touchscreen (direct to screen graphic manipulation is amaziballs). It’s got 16GB of RAM and a 512GB SSD. If you specced that in a Macbook you’d be looking at the £2K mark.

Additionally - it’s got full Thunderbolt 3 support from what I can see. If that’s the case then it’d support eGPU enclosures. - So if you really wanted to make it a high end graphically workstation at home you could look to add an external graphics card down the line.

The Dell website is a bit of a minefield to navigate - the navigation and UX is fucking appalling imho - but there are good deals to be had (Hayley got a cracking deal)

I’m sure there are comparisons already if you google them - But I’d like to do some more research into the Dell 4K screen vs the Apple Retina screen in terms of colour representation - to see which has the highest RGB and Adobe Gamut

Now - as @Zorndar said - you have to be aware of the environment you’re working in. I still use my MBP for programming for that reason. But saying that, I have a file server that talks to my PC and Mac just fine. If she is using the latest Adobe they are all supplied as a service, so platform doesn’t really matter.

Hope that helps.

Note: There maybe other Dell models that might be better than the one I looked at. Just aim for at least a 4K screen, thunderbolt 3, 16+ GB RAM and then a decent processor. :slight_smile:

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One final thing - which is very important but does contradict what I said slightly.

and that is fan noise. My Macbook is VERY quiet. I mean silent. It only kicks in when it runs low on RAM. Hayley’s Dell turbo’s like mad sometimes (games mainly). Admittedly, it’s an older machine and she doesn’t do design work on it - but when it’s under stress, it turbo like a jet engine.

Edit sidenote: I did upgrade her machine to 32GB RAM recently and it does turbo a lot LESS. So RAM is the common factor.

I know when I’m working on design, turbo fans do my nut in.

Now, it could be the case that modern Macbooks turbo like crazy and the latest Dells are whisper quiet. But as a business user I don’t think it is unreasonable to question this with the sales guys and get them to give you some assurances - and if it is impossible to work with, get a refund.

Something to consider.

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I will do another one too, it might sound nuts BUT I love my old Gigabyte and MSI notebook. I sold my friend my old GS 42 and bought a Gigabyte Aorus a while ago. The MSI still lives to this day, going 6 years strong now. Sure people look funny at me with this 15" RGB monster if I forget to switch it off at the project meetings. They typically stop though when my answer to “too bad we can’t render that right now” or “do you have the drawing at hand” with a clear yes. As long as I don’t run games its “quiet” enough that with headphones its no problem. In Inventor or PS/LR its ok without headphones.

The one I would recommend would be the MSI Stealth line, looks less like a gaming pc. Their keyboards are the best I had so far (used to be made by Steelseries) and I was able to easily upgrade ram and the ssds. The latter was no issue in my Gigabyte Aorus 15 too. The Aorus is my current work horse which I abuse sometimes for gaming too. Beside the anoying keyboard (the ESC key especially) it is a very trusty companion so far. Thanks to the 6 core intel CPU (8750H) and the upgraded ram to 16GB it runs everything well. Autocad Inventor, PS, Lightroom, Illustrator and Matlab are my most used programs due to work or hobbies. The 1080p 144Hz is a godsent for games but it comes in 4k 60Hz too for productivity. Try to get a 8xxx series intel CPU as the 9xxx and 10xxx series intels are a nightmare for notebooks.

These two would only be an option if you get one for a good price.

A similar but very different monster was the LG Gram I used back in Korea. Very nice and light, surprisingly powerful CPU and ram (no gpu) for its very compact size, quiet and good battery life . Unfortunately a bit expensive outside Korea, and the keyboard was questionable at best though. Other downsides were the lack of upgradeability.

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Thanks for all the input guys, really helpful. Confident that I can push her in the right direction, but I think she’ll probably want to go “simple” and order something from Amazon with Prime cover. If she does, the one that seems to leap out is the;

Dell Inspiron 5491 14-Inch FHD IPS Touchscreen 2-in-1 Laptop (Silver) Intel Core i7-10510U, 16GB RAM, 512GB SSD, FINGERPRINT READER, Windows 10 Home

It ticks that 16GB RAM box and the ssd box, good size screen but with the obvious huge drop in processor speed. Will the RAM make up for that?

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maybe try the XPS 13 9380 instead. In the right combination its just within your budget, but you get a slightly better onboard graphics chip (intel 622) and a 4k display. I heared good things about last years model (i7 8 series cpu, 16GB ram, 512GB ssd). It comes with 2x Thunderbolt 3 as well.

You decide if its worth the extra cost.

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I have an XPS 15. It’s a great laptop to use, but can get warm under heavy load (Pix4D rendering).

Even with the USB-C connections, if you have a range of peripherals, I would recommend getting a docking station of some sort.

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£1500 makes it fairly simple. You won’t get anything worthwhile from Apple at that price point - I get education pricing and won’t touch the specs at that price on the laptops. 16GB is fairly well mandatory on them now thanks to Catalina, and heavy image editing requirement completely invalidates the straight macbook and macbook air options. Which lends itself nicely to this - anything particularly taxing, and this:

is about as low as you want to go.

Refurb macs are the domain of last resort users. If anything goes wrong, your “warranty” is worthless.

I’ve just had my 2013 MBP die, and i’m looking at a £600 mainboard replacement to get it fixed, even then i’ll have to do it myself, as anything older than the 2015 cannot be repaired by Apple or the Authorised repairers, as they cannot order the parts from Apple due to them being classified as Antiques.

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Just so that we all know - I had to look up what a Thunderbolt port is…I feel old.

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But we still love you. Like that old relative sat in the corner with blanket over his knees banging on about how good Chuck Berry was. We know you’re there. :kissing_heart:

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With the stupidty of some manufactures trying to have less and less ports on “professional” gear its nice to have a solid amount of connectivity. The 2 ports on the xps 13 are kinda nice as they are also available for power and have 4 dedicated PCIe Gen 3 lanes. Beside that you also get a build-in USB-C 3.1 port AND a micro SD card reader.

With a nice Thunderbolt desk station where you can plug in the wacom directly and even have the option for an additional dedicated GPU enclosure Jester mentioned IF she ever needs one. She can connect the power, Wacom and maybe even a mouse, keyboard and main screen creating a fully fletched office with just one connector plugged in. The connectivity on the XPS is miles ahead of the Inspiron.

Depending on what Wacom model she uses that can help a lot to reduce cable clutter (mine needs a displayport and a dedicated usb port to function).

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I read that and thought “Jes isn’t a girl, Phoenix is a girl”. I am so hungover right now.

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Also, do you really need the laptop now? It’s not really a buyers market at the mo what with so much required working from home.

I’m in the market for a half decent laptop for 3D printing design, so maybe a discrete GPU, but decided to wait until hopefully we get some sales again.

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