Resolved Which MacBook Pro Is "Better"?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by xShane, Nov 2, 2012.

  1. xShane, Nov 2, 2012
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2013

    macrumors 6502a

    xShane

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2012
    Location:
    United States
    #1
    EDIT: I went ahead and purchased a MacBook Pro similar to my first option. The one I purchased, however, has a full 1GB instead of 512MB as you all suggested. It's also slightly faster at 2.6Ghz, comes with the full 8GB RAM, and also a 750GB hard-drive. I thank you all very much for your support when helping me to choose a MacBook Pro right for me. Now, I just can't wait for it to arrive :p

    Hello everyone,

    First off, I'm new to MacRumors, so hello :)

    I'm writing here today to compare two MacBook Pro notebooks that I am very interested in and there is a strong chance I will be purchasing within the next month or so.

    About me: This is basically what I plan on doing on my future MacBook... I'm a student in high school (12th grade), so I'm also looking for a strong computer to last me through college (so Mac, right? :) ). I also have to get my gaming fix. Most of the games I play have their Mac equivalent, such as World of Warcraft. However, there are a few Windows only games, and also games such as Battlefield and the Call of Duty franchises that I would love to be able to play running Windows on Mac (I don't want to buy the Mac equivalents). I also do occasional programming (Java) and sometime down the road would like to break into the music field (music production, editing, etc.). So this will definitely be a multi-purpose Mac, and do plan on multitasking (many apps open at once), except when gaming.

    Please note: The second one listed is approx. $50 more, but does come with Parallels Desktop 8 (to run Windows on a Mac).

    First One I Was Looking At (I'll only be listing the key specs of both)
    Processor: 2.3 GHz Quad-core Intel Core i7 (Turbo Boost up to 3.3GHz)
    Cache: 6MB shared L3 cache
    Memory: 4GB (2x2GB) of 1600MHz DDR3 SDRAM; supports up to 8GB
    Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 4000 and NVIDIA GeForce GT 650M with 512MB of GDDR5 memory
    Storage: 500GB Serial ATA, 5400 rpm
    USB: 2 USB 3.0 ports

    Second One I Was Looking At
    Processor: 2.4GHz Intel Core i7 Quad-Core Sandy Bridge (Turbo Boost up to 3.6GHz)
    Cache: 6MB L3 cache
    Memory: 4GB (2x2GB) of 1333MHz DDR3 SDRAM; supports up to 8GB
    Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 3000 and AMD Radeon HD 6770M with 1GB GDDR5
    Storage: 750GB 5400 rpm
    USB: 2 USB 2.0 ports

    Things That Are The Same
    Almost everything else is the same. They are both 15" screens, Bluetooth, etc.

    What I'm Concerned About
    • The first one has the Intel HD 4000 and NVIDIA GeForce GT 650M with only 512MB of GDDR5 memory while the second has the worse Intel HD 3000 but AMD Radeon HD 6770M with twice as much GDDR5 memory (1GB). Which one is the BEST for gaming?
    • I'm not too concerned about the storage (hard drives). 500GB should be plenty, but 750GB could never hurt. Either way, I could always upgrade the 500GB if I had to. I'm much more concerned about the non-upgradeable parts (down the road), such as graphics and processor.
    • The first one has the 2.3GHz quad-core Intel i7 (Ivy Bridge I believe) while the second has the 2.4GHz quad-core Intel i7 (Sandy Bridge). I believe the 2.3GHz is newer, but is it better? How would it relate to gaming purposes?
    • Is the USB 3.0 vs. 2.0 something to be worried about?
    • The first one has a much higher speed of 1600MHz while the second only has 1333MHz. How would this affect gaming/intensive use of applications?

    If I can think of anything else I would like to know, or if there is something you'd like me to mention, I'll add it :)

    Any help is greatly appreciated :)
     
  2. macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2005
    Location:
    Southern California
    #2
    Go with the first option. It has more power and will last you longer. Will it last you 5 years? Absolutely, if you take care of it. That being said, I'm betting after 3 years you'll be itching to upgrade.
     
  3. macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2010
    #3
    I hope you're not actually planning on gaming via parallels because you wont be able to.
     
  4. macrumors 601

    Prof.

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2007
    Location:
    Chicago
    #4
    Go with the first one, then upgrade the RAM to 16GB and maybe a 256GB/512GB SSD when the prices come down.
     
  5. macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2010
    #5
    Gaming with Parallels is tough. If you really wanna do it, just use bootcamp
     
  6. macrumors 603

    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2006
    Location:
    Oregon
    #6
    Either one will do a great job. I'd go for the newer model if only for USB 3.0.
     
  7. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Apr 30, 2012
    #7
    Which MacBook Pro? I would go with the classic MBP you call still do a lot of upgrades on the RAM and harddrive also you still have a lot more ports and slot drive.
     
  8. macrumors 603

    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2006
    Location:
    Oregon
    #8
    Both MBPs he has listed are the classic MBP.
     
  9. macrumors 68040

    Orlandoech

    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2011
    Location:
    Salt Lake City, UT
    #9
    First one for sure since its a. 2012
     
  10. macrumors member

    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2012
    Location:
    Canada Eh
    #10
    The first one has the Intel HD 4000 and NVIDIA GeForce GT 650M with only 512MB of GDDR5 memory while the second has the worse Intel HD 3000 but AMD Radeon HD 6770M with twice as much GDDR5 memory (1GB). Which one is the BEST for gaming? _ Toughie according to Notebookcheck the GT650M has the edge however the extra VRAM on the 6770M could potentially help in some situations however that may be negated by the 128 bit bus, the 650M has the edge IMHO


    I'm not too concerned about the storage (hard drives). 500GB should be plenty, but 750GB could never hurt. Either way, I could always upgrade the 500GB if I had to. I'm much more concerned about the non-upgradeable parts (down the road), such as graphics and processor. - You are correct, more is nice but you could upgrade later. Note that a 7200RPM drive would give you a little performance boost if it's an affordable option.

    The first one has the 2.3GHz quad-core Intel i7 (Ivy Bridge I believe) while the second has the 2.4GHz quad-core Intel i7 (Sandy Bridge). I believe the 2.3GHz is newer, but is it better? How would it relate to gaming purposes? - Id say the performance boost with the newer CPU's trump the small clock advantage of the older Chip, either way it would be close.

    Is the USB 3.0 vs. 2.0 something to be worried about? - Nope but USB 3.0 is a nice feature to have (speedy USB Sticks/Drives)
    .
    The first one has a much higher speed of 1600MHz while the second only has 1333MHz. How would this affect gaming/intensive use of applications? - There is an advantage with 1600 over 1333 with regard to memory bandwidth, would you notice it ? i'm not so sure but that's just an opinion.

    Speaking of which, I'd go for the newer machine :)
     
  11. macrumors 68020

    TheMacBookPro

    Joined:
    May 9, 2008
    #11
    Absolute no-brainer, go with the first one.
     
  12. macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2011
    #12
    I don't think either processor will affect gaming any differently.

    USB 3.0 will leave you more up-to-date on external drive speed down the road, but it's not a deal breaker difference

    The key for gaming (which you suggest is important) is the video card and vram. Research that one a bit, I'm assuming newer is better but I have an irrational preference for AMD and also, I know things like x-plane 10 have abnormal use of vram, look at game specs for things like Black Ops and see what they say.

    Otherwise, I assume 2012 is better model
     
  13. macrumors 601

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2011
    #13
    +1 - Definitely Boot Camp for gaming. If you need Windows for non-gaming stuff you can still use Parallels/Fusion/etc to run Windows alongside Boot Camp.
     
  14. macrumors 68030

    yusukeaoki

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2011
    Location:
    Tokyo, Japan
    #14
    Buy the first one, get a SSD and optibay with HDD and get 8~16GB RAM.
    Then you are all set.
     
  15. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2011
    Location:
    New Zealand
    #15
    Like most people have said so far definitely go with the first option. I myself have the base 2012 MacBook Pro and use it a bit for gaming in bootcamp. It plays all the latest games on high settings. Having more VRAM won't really affect the gaming performance but the GT 650m on the other hand is a lot faster than the HD 6770m. Also geekbench scores which measure CPU and RAM performance show that the 2012 MBP also beats the 2011 and it uses a lot less power and heat doing so which in turns means longer battery life. Basically everything in the 2012 model is an upgrade from the 2011 apart from the HDD. But if you can afford to I would definitely recommend replacing it with an SSD.
     
  16. macrumors 68040

    dusk007

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2009
    #16
    Neither CPU nor RAM speed make any difference at all.

    In terms of VRAM I would buy neither if Gaming is important. A GPU of the 650M speed should have 1GB at a minimum and 2GB VRAM by default. 512MB for such a fast card is a joke and depending on the game engine will limit your settings or performance. It is really bad in games with great viewing distance like Battlefield, Flight sim, ... Not so bad in tight mostly indoor or very streaming based engines like the old Call of Duty.
    Today 512MB is already the minimum in games. Many new game engine will probably only support the bare minimum quality with such low VRAM.
    A gamer once put it this way. Nothing beats VRAM when one wants visual quality.

    The 650M is still a much faster GPU than the 6770M and in all settings that aren't severely limited by the VRAM will be much faster. For a lan party gamer it is good who will end up playing older games anyway. For a sit at home gamer who plays new titles I would try and get my hands on more than 512mb.
     

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