I have been using Aperture on a first-generation 15″ MacBookPro and a new MacPro desktop. While there’s no doubt the desktop machine outperforms any Mac laptop, I recently realized just how much I prefer using a laptop as my core machine.
So I ordered the new MacBookPro Core 2 Duo 17″ laptop with 2.33 GHZ processor and three gigs of RAM. I also ordered the smaller, faster 7200 RPM disk. I’ll get to that in a minute.
Screen real estate is a big deal when you’re using Aperture, and having 17″ to work with really gives Aperture a chance to shine.
When I first turned on the computer I was immediately taken aback by how bright the screen was. Simply put, the screen is absolutely wonderful. I was also happy to discover the 1680×1050 resolution. I hooked my 23″ Apple Cinema Display to the laptop to extend my screen size and found myself preferring the screen clarity and brightness of the laptop to the Cinema Display. I have to admit that surprised me. What can I say? My pictures look superb on this screen and it’s more than enough to work with.
This computer features the ATI Mobility Radeon X1600 has 256 MB SDRAM. While that’s not the fastest graphics card in the universe, for a laptop, it’s pretty darn fast. I find that Aperture 1.5.2 runs well with this card, even when performing GPU intensive activity. It feels like the same performance I used to get out of my Dual G5 with a Nvidia 7800 card. I do occasionally get the spinning beach ball, but not often.
I picked the 7200 RPM disk because certain operations in Aperture require fast disk access. Now the problem with this choice is that the drive is only 100 gigabytes in size. I’d love even 20 gigs more space, but nothing’s perfect.
My workflow goes something like this. If I am away from my office, I keep about 20 gigs free on the hard drive, and use that for what I call my working library. Then, as I process images, I move them to an external firewire drive. When I get home, I dump the images into a larger Aperture library on a RAID drive that’s also rated at 7200 RPM.
So far, this system has produced a good user experience and, I’ve had no problems keeping track of my images since I export them as projects.
For those of you who have been wondering, can a MacBookPro and Aperture peacefully co-exist, in my opinion, the answer is yes. I realize that your mileage may vary.
Photo Copyright Scott Bourne 2005 - All Rights Reserved