2.4GHz i5 vs. 2.66GHz i7 --> C$205 difference, is it worth it?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by JCPH, May 22, 2010.

  1. JCPH macrumors member

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    Tannhäuser Gate
    #1
    Hi all,

    My 1.67GHz PB G4 has had a good run, but I've decided it's time to upgrade to a MBP. I'm just not entirely sure which one to get. With my edu discount, the difference between a 2.66GHz i7 with 512MB of vram and a 2.4GHz i5 with 256MB of vram is C$205. (Everything else is the same: 4GB RAM, 128GB SSD, Hi-Res Matte 15" screen) This seems like a good deal, thoughts?

    The most intense things it'll get used for are graphic design and print media in Illustrator and Photoshop CS5, some web design in Dreamweaver, and games (StarCraft II). I appreciate that the extra vram doesn't allow the 330M to run any faster, but does it not help when the laptop is connected to an external display or television? Also, without getting the usual i7 fanboys' spiel, is the i7 a much more powerful processor? Some stats are clearly showing there's not much difference, so I'm wondering what people think of the effect of the faster processor on battery life (it's obviously not worth losing time you could be running on battery power for a negligible increase in processor power).

    And I just have to say...after having looked at the different screens on offer at the apple store, I still don't understand the allure of getting a glossy screen so you can look at the ceiling lights...

    Thanks in advance. You're all always a great help.
     
  2. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

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    #2
    When running more than one display, the extra VRAM is handy as it's divided to half (256MB per display). It's still doesn't help much unless you plan to game on external screen or do some graphics intensive work. i7 is about 10% faster than 2.4GHz i5.

    IMO the 2.4GHz is better as 8GB RAM will do more for you but 200$ isn't that much and CPU isn't upgradeable. Your call, is that ~10% worth 200$ for you?
     
  3. Str8edgepunker macrumors 6502

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    Location:
    Philadelphia, PA
    #3
    I've been comparing both of these recently. Using GeekBench, the 2.4 i5 is about 13%-15% slower, and the 2.53 i5 is about 9-10% slower, than the 2.66 i7, which got a score of about 5400. While that may not be significant for some, others are a little more picky like me. :D Ultimately, it's your call. Keep in mind, like the last poster said, you will not be able to upgrade either of them.

    Personally, I've looked at both the antiglare and glossy hi-res screens and I've found that blacks are a lot darker and colors a bit richer with the glossy. While not as significant with higher resolution displays, the glossy also helps to eliminate the "screen door" effect caused by the space in between pixels. However if glare is primary, then go antiglare.
     
  4. JCPH thread starter macrumors member

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    #4
    Thanks. Yeah, the idea would be to game and work on larger design projects on an external screen / television with the MBP in clamshell mode. Not only is the CPU not upgradable, but you can only get the 512MB of vram when you go for the i7...so I see it as C$205 for a ~10% speed boost and twice as much vram. I also am not entirely sure what that ~10% would look like (quantifiable user-experience terms), because I have to image that CS5 runs just as smoothly on the 2.4GHz as it does on the 2.66GHz.

    Also, does anyone know how the ~10% increase in processor speed translates to power consumption / how long you can go on the battery?
     
  5. teerexx52 macrumors 68000

    teerexx52

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    Florida West Coast
    #5
    I've been buying Macs at a rapid pace for six years now. Never have I bought the top of the line until last week when I purchased the 2.66 i7. My wife took my 13" 2.26 pro. Machine is "scary" fast. My battery life seems to be running 7-8 hours surfing, email, instant messenging and such. Battery does well as long as it is running the intel graphics. Good luck
     
  6. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

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    #6
    I'm not sure how the VRAM works when MBP is in clamshell mode, could be dedicated for the external display.

    That 10% increase in processor power speeds up things like rendering, encoding etc, but in normal usage, there is no difference
     
  7. dsprimal macrumors 6502a

    dsprimal

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    Mar 27, 2010
    #7
    go with the 2.66ghz i7. i was going to buy the 2.4ghz a first. until i realized like you did, that for 200 more i can get the top of the line 15" mbp. so yeah, the 200 is worth it...and once again, the cpu/gpu isn't upgradeable.
     
  8. gnasher729 macrumors P6

    gnasher729

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    Nov 25, 2005
    #8
    That is not how VRAM is used.

    All that is dedicated is what you need for double-buffered display for the monitors, so for say two 1920 x 1080 monitors with a total of about four million pixels you dedicate 4 million x 4 bytes for the display, 4 million x 4 bytes for the next frame being calculated, and 4 million x 2 or 4 bytes for Z buffer, total = 40 or 48 MB. The rest is for buffering the content of windows, textures, possibly fonts.

    I often have one monitor full with windows, and the second monitor contains very little. If you dedicated half the VRAM to each monitor, performance would suffer for no gain.
     
  9. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

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    #9
    That's what I read from other thread, not sure is it right or wrong but I know you know your stuff ;). Plus I alway doubted the splitting as well, but some wiser guys than me told me that so... The extra VRAM doesn't give big boost anyway unless you have +1080p resolution.
     
  10. mmdc macrumors newbie

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    Oct 18, 2009
    #10
    Your PowerBook G4 is should be about 4-5 years old now. If you plan on keeping your MacBook Pro for 4-5 years as well, then you probably will not regret spending some more for a better processor and graphics before you have to upgrade again. Seems worth it if you're going to be using and keeping it for the next long while!
     
  11. JCPH thread starter macrumors member

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    #11
    Thanks!

    Thanks everyone for all of your insights! I've decided to go with the 2.66GHz i7 (4GB RAM, 128GB SSD, 15" HR AG) and am looking forward to receiving it soon.
     
  12. swish2351 macrumors 6502

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    Feb 28, 2010
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    Michigan
    #12
    No. there is a $32 price difference on Intel's website. It is a HUUGE rip-off. That's a HORRIBLE deal. It will also decrease your battery life. 2.4GHz is not only a better price, but better value.
     
  13. djasterix macrumors 6502a

    djasterix

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    #13
    Totally agree, invest the extra cash in RAM, and you'll be just fine.
     
  14. JCPH thread starter macrumors member

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    #14
    Regardless of the price difference on Intel's website, I don't think I'm capable of performing the necessary surgery to put it into a computer and have it function properly. But kudos to anyone who can. RAM and hard drive upgrades are the limits of my ability.

    Additionally, I don't know when I'm ever going to need a full eight hours of battery life. It's great to have it (or a little under because of the faster processor), but I'll be much happier having massive Photoshop and Illustrator files render ~10% faster. Because, if the big projects move along faster, I won't need as long (and in turn as much battery time) to complete them. I suppose if you're just doing emails and importing photos and not touching CS5 and external displays, it's all overkill...but I am, so it's not...and I want it to last into 2015.
     
  15. DoFoT9 macrumors P6

    DoFoT9

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    Jun 11, 2007
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    Singapore
    #15
    well. i have severely been mis-informed then! thank you very much for outlining that. i knew my method sounded shady ;) (get it?)......:(


    nice choice on the i7 OP. you will be happy with that machine.
    so if 1 monitor is fully black, and the other is gaming.. there would hardly be any performance loss?
     

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