2.6ghz i7 quad or 3.1ghz i7 dual - not sure which I need?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by amanda1234, Apr 7, 2015.

  1. amanda1234 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Apr 7, 2015
    #1
    I'm having trouble deciding between a rMBP 15" 2.6ghz i7 quad core retina or a new MBP 13" 3.1ghz i7 dual core retina. They're about the same price, and both have 8G RAM and 256 flash storage. The rMBP comes with a GPU (NVIDIA GeForce GT 650M with 1GB of GDDR5 memory) and the MBP (13") doesn't.

    I usually have the following things open (and am constantly flipping between them): MS word (with markups), MS excel, SPSS (several datasets) and/or R/Rstudio, preview, chrome (several tabs and windows), and MS powerpoint. I'd like to have this laptop for 5+ years.

    No real gaming, photo editing or video editing needs.

    Any advice on which is better suited to me? Thank you in advance!!
     
  2. DavidBlack macrumors 6502a

    DavidBlack

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2013
    Location:
    Somewhere In Apple's HQ ;)
    #2
    Get the 15 inch if you can. However, if you don't need the machine ASAP you should wait until June/July which is when Apple is expected to update the 15" Macbook Pro. Plus the 15" will be much faster than the 13" Macbook Pro because of the quad core processor. (In Apps that take advantage of it)

    EDIT: The 15" that you're mentioning is the 2012 version?
     
  3. ZBoater macrumors G3

    ZBoater

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    Jul 2, 2007
    Location:
    Sunny Florida
    #3
    Based on your needs, the 13" will be fine ten times over and last you a long, long time.

    The quad core will be faster in things that take advantage of four cores. For your use, the dual core might actually be faster. If definitely won't be slower.
     
  4. amanda1234 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Apr 7, 2015
    #4
    The 15" is from February 2013. The only reason I can afford it is because it's refurbished, so waiting the new 15" MBPs likely won't be options for me.

    Thanks for the info!

    ----------

    Is one particularly 'better' than the other? They are the same price, so I just want the one that will last the longest..

    Thanks!
     
  5. TechZeke macrumors 68020

    TechZeke

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    Jul 29, 2012
    Location:
    Rialto, CA
    #5
    In all honesty, you have no need for the power of the 15", nor even the i7 upgrade for that matter. With that said, even the Early 2013 15" will be plenty fast, a new 2014 model would be a modest improvement over it.
     
  6. David58117 macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2013
    #6
    Having owned both a retina 15" and a retina 13" - the size difference is noticeable. It's not so much the weight as it is the footprint (length x width).

    I think the 13" is much more comfortable/portable..

    You're not doing anything where a quadcore/dGPU is needed - I think the 13" sounds like the better buy..
     
  7. ZBoater macrumors G3

    ZBoater

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2007
    Location:
    Sunny Florida
    #7
    Better? No. One is quad core. One is dual core. Is quad core "better"? If you are going to be doing something that benefits from having a quad core, then yes. But the quad core laptop is bigger and heavier. So there is a down side. It all boils down to what your intended use is. Smaller could be "better". For you. Only you can decide that.

    Do you want to lug around a bigger heavier laptop? You might need to if you are doing CAD design and can use the quad core. If not, maybe smaller and lighter might be "better".
     
  8. amanda1234 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Apr 7, 2015
    #8
    Ah, ok I see. Thanks all! The help is very much appreciated. :)
     
  9. snaky69 macrumors 603

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2008
    #9
    A base macbook air can do all that at once without breaking a sweat. None of the listed usage needs much computing power. I'd be more concerned about lack of RAM if you insist on using that ressource hog of a browser.
     
  10. amanda1234 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Apr 7, 2015
    #10
    Hmm. The macbook I have now (2009) has a 2.26ghz core 2 duo and 4G RAM, and it struuuuuuggles with those apps. My activity monitor tells me that I'm pretty close to using the whole 4G, but does the processor speed have nothing to do with it? For example, when I'm using around 3G of RAM it's still painfully slow to open a new to type, highlight, open a file etc. (The base MBA comes with 1.6ghz i5 and 4G RAM)

    Thanks!
     
  11. Hieveryone macrumors 68030

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    Apr 11, 2014
    #11
    I would get the 15"
     
  12. Samuelsan2001 macrumors 604

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2013
    #12
    A few things

    Firstly if you have updated to mavericks or yosemite, they use all of your RAM as much as possible and the only relevant stat in activity monitor is the memory pressure graph if it stays green then you have more than enough ram for your workload.

    Secondly that sounds like either a full HDD slowing you down or an old HDD starting to fail. It may also just need a disk repair to be run in disk utility to give it a new lease of life. Unfortunately there is never just one possible reason for a slow computer and likewise many fixes possible.

    Of course a new computer will fix these issues and 6 years is a good innings for any laptop.

    So to your understanding of the differences between the laptops is where you are struggling.

    Your old laptop has a penryn cpu it is not that powerful despite it's relatively speedy ghz score. The 1.6 ghz i5 in the current air benchmarks much better than the old core duo between 30% and 120% better depending on the benchmark!!

    The SSD makes all the difference for snappy fast computer use and even just sticking one in your old macbook would make it feel much faster at everything. This will make opening apps, windows and moving between desktops a joy.

    RAM is difficult to say if you have enough more won't make your computer faster, although it may run a bit smoother and easier.

    Basically any of the current MacBooks will be a massive step up. I doubt you need a 15 inch one and if bang for your buck is what you want the 13 inch Pro is a better deal than the air once you set your ssd and ram levels the same.

    I wouldn't worry too much about processor upgrade I'd just get one with the 512gb SSD so you have plenty of storage space and a good processor in the 2.9gHz i5 (the i7 is still dual core and is only about 5-6% faster is you are maxing out it's speed it's just not worth the cash for most people).
     
  13. snaky69 macrumors 603

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2008
    #13
    You can't compare processors like that. If you want to make direct comparisons, they need to be from the same generation. The days when you could compare directly with the clock speed (GHz) have been over for nearly a decade.

    Your old penryn processor is roughly 4x slower than the i5 in the current generation MBPs. Heck, even the low voltage processor in the MBA would blow it right out of the water without raising an eyebrow.

    Using a lot of RAM and using a lot of processor time is completely different, and doing one does not necessarily mean you are doing the other. Again, you can't link the two like that. So no, processor speed has nothing to do with that in your case. I'm willing to bet you've not seen it hit 100% in activity monitor all that often, which means it's not running to it's full ability.

    What you are experiencing is either due to lack of RAM or a hard drive on it's way out(they tend to slow to a crawl before croaking). If you've upgraded to Yosemite, many people around say that it doesn't play all that nice with traditional hard drives, which is what your old Macbook has.
     
  14. amanda1234 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Apr 7, 2015
    #14
    Oh wow, this was super helpful - thanks so much! It is true that I know almost nothing about processors. :)

    (I'm using Snow Leopard for the reason you've described, and I run disk repair every few months - it's made a huge difference, especially in the last year or so. But my hard drive makes a ton of noise and seems to be stressed out constantly.)

    I'm thrilled that the 2.9ghz i5 will be enough - cheaper is better! Thanks again all!

    ----------

    Ah ok, this was great -thank you!! I think I'm going to opt for the 2.9ghz i5 with 250 or 500 SSD. Thanks to everyone on this thread for the awesome help!
     

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