Adventures with Adobe and an Intel Mac – Part 1

I recently decided to purchase an Intel Macintosh for my main work system, despite there being no native binaries for the software that I use most often: Macromedia Flash and Adobe Photoshop. There was a few reasons I decided to take this plunge:

  1. My 12″ 1ghz Powerbook was far too underpowered to do daily work on, or even to use for training / presenting at conferences.

  2. I work at home, the office, and while traveling. I was sick of trying to synchronize 3 computers, and more than a little bit worried about overwriting the wrong file.

  3. There was no way I was going to shell out major coinage for a new powerbook that wasn’t using the newest processors.

  4. Bootcamp/Parallels should (more on that later) let me run Windows versions of the software I need when I require good performance.

  5. The new Macbook is just a ridiculously good deal in terms of price/performance/features, especially by Apple standards.


So, I jumped in head first and bought a dual 2ghz white Macbook, upgraded to a 100GB harddrive and 2GB of third party RAM for well under $2k. I opted for the Macbook because I won’t be playing games or using 30″ monitors (just my 23″ ACD) with this baby, so I don’t really need the integrated GPU that the almost $1k premium on the MacBook Pro buys you. While the other goodies like lighted keyboard and aluminum case would be nice, they didn’t justify the price increase for me. Likewise, I went for white because I didn’t want to be constantly reminded (or have other people realize) that I’d been duped into spending $150 for a paint job.

I received my new baby on Tuesday, and so far it’s been working absolutely beautifully (with the exception of some frustration trying to install the RAM upgrade). The screen is gorgeous! Amazingly bright and with wonderful contrast – on par with my 23″ ACD (which is hella bright). I actually have to turn the brightness down in darker conditions or it gives me after-images and sore eyes. No problems with glare so far, the heat seems fine – not any hotter than my 12″ and definitely not painful to the touch, no bad pixels, great wireless reception, keyboard has an ok feel (though not as nice as my 12″). The only thing I don’t like is the mushy feeling of the trackpad button, but I usually use a mouse or trackpad taps anyway.

My plan for this system is to run most of my apps in OSX, including Flash 8 and Photoshop for lower intensity work, then switch over to Windows XP in Parallels virtualization software for more intensive work, or to do ActionScript 3/Flex 2 projects until a player/IDE is available for Mactel. I’m going to try to skip bootcamp completely – I don’t want to have to reboot every time I need to do something in Windows (how archaic *grin*). This is part of the reason I went with 2GB of RAM – 1GB for XP when its running, and 1GB left over for OSX.

I’ll be posting more as I experience real world use, including how usable it is for a work system (using the above plan), how well the built in webcam works for my experimental work, and anything else that seems useful moving forwards. I’m guessing there’s a lot of Mac Flash users (and more than a few PC users) out there that are considering these new machines who could benefit from this info.

PS. It’s pretty odd (and also kind of cool) to look over and see the Windows XP screensaver running in Parallels on my second monitor.

Grant Skinner

The "g" in gskinner. Also the "skinner".

@gskinner

12 Comments

  1. just a question: it’s possible to have both a linux and a winXP VM running together on the OSX? i mean: not only winXP VM or linux VM but both contemporary?

    i’ve never bought a mac, but this seems to be the right time to do the jump ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. in terms of overwriting files and synching between comps – i have to say svn & trac have changed the way i so stuff. Not sure if you’re using a verisoning system , but that combo is pretty killer.

    At any time i can hook up to my own bit and grab whatever files I need.

    I’m jealous of your pretty laptop.

  3. Federico – yes, you can. I’m considering installing a linux distro to play around with, just because it is so easy to do. Parallels automatically resizes your virtual drives as needed, so you don’t have to dedicate much harddrive space to the guest OSes until you need to.

    Stacey – we use SVN, but I have over 150,000 files on my system, and I don’t want to check them all into version control. My email alone is over 50,000 files. Life is so much easier when you can just carry your whole digital life around with you. ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. Dude, I can’t wait anymore to buy this. It’s not available in my city but I would still manage to buy it ๐Ÿ™‚

    Thanks for your feedback, it certainly helps while making decision.

    -abdul

  5. Colman de Silva June 9, 2006 at 7:08am

    Coolness – been thinking of buying my 1st Mac – and it would be great to hear experiance with it!

    Saving to get the 15″ MacBook pro though…

  6. thanks for your advice gskinner!

  7. I bought a core duo mini to replace my aging wintel workstation. So far its been absolutely awesome, with the exception of CS2 (no universal binary). Not to mention that Adobe was less than keen on the idea that they should transfer my existing CS2 license from Windows to Mac. The customer service guy actually laughed at me! But that’s an Adobe thing, not an Apple thing. My favorite app so far: an FTP client called “Transmit” that lets you edit files as though they were on your local machine. It handles the file transfer stuff behind the scenes. Here’s more on why I made the switch to Mac: http://tom-lee.blogspot.com/2006/04/windows-on-mac-or-final-nail-in-wintel.html

  8. So I assume your laptop has taken over as your main machine and you have deserted the big monster? A year and a half ago someone gave impetus to my purchasing a PowerBook and FOR PETE’s SAKE it has been a great machine ๐Ÿ˜‰ Only once found the illuminted keys useful. I use a combination of xcode, gProject and Flash IDE for development.

  9. I too picked one up.. Great machine but needs more than the stock memory. Where’d you pick up the 2GB? Anywhere local? Price?

  10. Hi, nice review on the Adobe/MacBook experience. I’m considering buying a MacBook Pro for my graphics/web design work, and it has made me have second thoughts from what I was hearing.

    The most important software for me is Flash 8. And browsing Flash sites must work well too. Without no slow down on animations. CS2 is important too, but I heard that runs ‘oke’, not super fast, but oke.

    Can you share with us how the experience is of browsing Flash sites?

    What about work with in Flash 8 IDE in MacBook? Is it workable? If not, what are the symptoms? (slow viewport updating?) I don’t need top speed in Flash as long as everything works oke.

    Looking forward to see more of your experiences. ๐Ÿ™‚

  11. Hi Grant,

    I have bought a MacBook Pro 2 month ago and it works perfectly , but for real flash 8 on rosetta sucks if you have 2 soft running under rosetta it takes a lot of memory (I have 1 gig of Ram) so last week I ‘ve decided to install win XP so as to work , and it’s really awesome I ve never seen windows like that , the boot camp installation is really easy , all the drivers are packed on a cd and your win xp is intalled in about one hour , all the soft run at full speed , and it’s really stable

    so enjoy …

  12. HI Team

    Still considering the switch but need assurance that viewing Flash sites do not represent slow down when viewed in the XP environment. Grant how’s your experience on this subject

    This is a site that runs perfectly (30-60 fps) on a Win XP PC and I can see a REAL slowdown on a G5.

    What are your results???

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