I recently found myself in a bit of a pickle. I am about to graduate from college, and my mac has done a good job keeping me productive through that time. However, after 4 years of beatings and moving between continents, this machine is not what it used to be.
My current mac is a 2008 MBP, 15" Intel C2D 2.4GHz with an nvidia 8600.
I have checked out the new line of MBP's (I expect a refresh soon, so I wouldn't buy till then) but I find the current video card offering to be appalling. Unless I spend about $1800, any portable mac will have an intel GMA 3000. As a gamer and frequent user of VNC for simple linux administration tasks, I enjoy having some horsepower.
I have noticed that Windows based laptops have come down in price considerably these past few years. For a similarly spec'd machine, I can save about 1/2 the cost. I love the build quality of my mac, but stability of the OS's is about on par these days. Anyone who says that OSX is more stable than windows these days is kidding themselves.
With last-gen hardware and the new OS, my mac suffers GPU lockups. Upgrading to Lion ate 1/2 my bootcamp partition to make a recovery partition without warning. Also, my cpu often jumps to 100C+ while I am doing multiple tasks.
I am also concerned about moving my photo and music libraries from OSX's single file libraries back to the pc. My iphoto library is a single 20GB file- is there an easy way to move it back to a normal file structure?
I am completely open to getting a new mac as well... it would require a lot more time to obtain, but I can't get over how they use an intel GMA on such expensive machines. Even my 2008 mac has video power that rivals the gma graphics.
It doesn't deserve to be called a MBP if it doesn't have a discrete GPU in it. Plain and simple.
How about a nice desktop? You'll get way more for your dollar.
It has to be portable, sadly. I have 2 towers around (one is my linux server, the other is my gaming PC) but I move a lot, and I am doubtful I will get to hold onto a tower for more than a year. I will most likely be moving to Australia in 9 months or so, a heavy desktop would cost more to ship than its worth. So for now, I need to keep it portable.
And I agree, a pro model should be capable of doing "pro" tasks; in my opinion, pro is more than web surfing.
In that case, ASUS runs a good line of gaming notebooks....."G" series? At least they used to be good, now some weird dance tracks starts playing when you visit their site and I couldn't really stand it long enough to find out what they've got.
I would go back to a PC laptop if i was in your situation right now. It seems you kind of need the dedicated GPU. I agree with the stability of both OS being on par these days.
One question that you really need to answer is "Are you ready to use a non-Apple trackpad?"
I myself tried to go back to a PC laptop but always find the trackpad to be extremely awful. Lenovo might be an exception though.
I was thinking about the trackpad situation... it is nice =/ However, I usually have a portable mouse anyway (for typing up papers, I find a mouse easier).
I heard asus uses pretty cheap trackpads, haven't much from the lenovo camp.