New hardware

My 5 year old Macbook is still working, and except for some bite marks from the dog and the regular cracks from it being a “crackbook”, it is still pretty much in mint condition. However lately it’s been acting more and more like syrup. So I decided some time ago it was time to make an upgrade.

What made me do the upgrade now, however was that I’m also doing a camera upgrade soon. As I’ve mentioned before, I’m upgrading to the new Nikon D800 (or at least so I’ve said for a while, but nothing has happened. Nikon have been slow with delivering this camera and the waiting list have been long), a camera that generates much larger image files than the one I have now, so I’m afraid that if I tried to open one of them with my Macbook it would simply keel over and die instantly.

My Macbook have been faithful to me and I would love to upgrade to another Mac. However, my student budget does not allow it, especially since I wanted at least a 15″ and not a 13 “. Hence, I would have to go for a Windows based PC this time. After searching the Internet and finding some interesting candidates, I settled on a mid-range Toshiba computer; Toshiba Satellite P850-133. At least that’s what it’s called in Norway.

What made me choose this computer, was the power to price ratio. It was a reasonable prised computer, with a 3rd generation Intel i7 quad-core processor. It came standard with 6 GB of RAM, but I ordered 16 GB which I installed myself, saving some cash there. I also switched out the 750 GB 5400 RPM hard drive with a 750 GB 7200 RPM hybrid drive. The reason I didn’t go for a pure SSD was mainly a price issue. At the most my budget would allow for a 128 GB SSD and this size barely worked for my Macbook. I had very little saved locally on that machine, so this time I would need more. A hybrid disk would then give me reasonable space, as well as the most apparent benefits of a SSD and it would be affordable. The Toshiba machine also had the new Ivy Bridge architecture and USB 3.0. Ivy Bridge meant it had the new Intel graphics, but it also had a NVIDIA GeForce GT 630M with 2GB dedicated memory. I really missed having a proper graphic card on my Macbook and while this is not a very heavy graphics card, it’ll do the trick when it comes to regular stuff. Most of the really heavy work this machine will be doing is video and image editing, and RAM and CPU power is more important than graphics power for these tasks.

So, what I ended up with after my upgrades was a pretty powerful computer with lots of CPU power and RAM and with the graphics and storage space to handle most of what I will put it through. Actually, it was better spec’d than most of the standard Macbooks available and for under half the price I don’t think that’s so bad.

However, there are some drawbacks. The display has a fairly low resolution of only 1366×768, though considering the price for an upgrade and that I will be working with an external display for image and video work I figures it didn’t matter that much. Also it didn’t come with a Blu-ray drive, only DVD. However, I don’t remember the last time I used the DVD for anything on my Macbook so that didn’t really bother me. What actually bothers me  the most is the track-pad. I really don’t like it. The one on my Macbook is much better, however I hope it’s just a matter of what you’re used to. And that’s another thing that bothers me; it’s not a Mac. But, again; I hope it’s just a matter of what you’re used to.