About to pull the trigger... does this sound like an well-customised Macbook Pro?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by ajdb9, Mar 23, 2011.

  1. ajdb9 macrumors member

    Oct 19, 2008

    Been trying to decide between two configurations.
    Ideally, I'd go with the cheaper one (about US$200-300 cheaper) but if the expensive one is way better in your opinions I will consider it.

    The two options are:

    2.0Ghz MBP 15" (256 graphics etc) with,
    • Antiglare HR display
    • 8GB ram
    • 500GB 7200rpm HDD

    2.2GHz MBP 15" (1024 graphics etc) with,
    • Antiglare HR display
    • 500GB 7200rpm HDD

    I will be using it primarily for general web/word/etc but also for the likes of Logic and Pro Tools. I have been advised by a very experienced music producer that HDD speed and RAM are the most important when buying a computer for this.

    Based on all of the above, could you possibly advise me which you think is best for my needs? I am inclined to think the 'cheap' one, as I can still afford more ram.

    The main difference is:
    EXPENSIVE has .2GHz (x4 cores) more processor, and x4 graphics card (more or less) than the 'cheap' one.
    CHEAP has 2x the ram of the 'expensive' one.

    Hope this isn't too confusing, sorry!
    Thankyou so much
  2. thejadedmonkey macrumors 604


    May 28, 2005
    Get the more expensive one. You can always upgrade the RAM later on, not so for the CPU or GPU.
  3. Tadros86 macrumors 6502


    Jan 29, 2007
    New Jersey
    I say, go big or go home. Besides, the better the comp is - the longer it will last you. Go with the 15inch.
  4. TheFarmer macrumors 6502

    Jan 13, 2011
    Get the 2.2 now and expand when you can later. Come back here and thank me when you do.
  5. ajdb9 thread starter macrumors member

    Oct 19, 2008
    Hang on hang on,

    The difference in processor speed is almost negligible right?
    And if I'm not doing gaming/video editing/intense photoshopping then I don't need the hardout graphics card.

    So what gives? Why are you all telling me to spend a few hundred more for something that doesn't really seem necessary for my uses (as far as I was aware anyway)?

    Or am I wrong? Do these components actually make a huge difference to the general computing experience? (and the bit of Logic/Pro Tools I'll be using?)

    Thanks again
    I do appreciate your replies!
  6. TheFarmer macrumors 6502

    Jan 13, 2011

    Can you spare a few hundred?? Do you plan on spending a few hundred on upgrades anyway???

    Do you NEED the added speed?? If not, buy the base model...MacRumors edited.
  7. squeakr macrumors 68000


    Apr 22, 2010
    I my self would go the expensive route, but if you do go the cheap route (which is fine if it suits you best), don't waste the money on Apple upgrades and get the RAM third party and save even more.
  8. nebulos macrumors 6502a


    Aug 27, 2010
    I'm seeing $2,250 for this.

    I'm seeing $2,350 for this.

    ... confusing indeed.

    I'm a musician also. I've been playing for years, but haven't done much production. However, I've also been shopping and reading a lot about what I need in a computer.


    As far as I know, recording guitar, bass, drum, vocal tracks is not CPU intensive. Because of this, a lot of people mistakenly say that CPU is not important for music.

    The fact of the matter is, in music production, aside from recording audio, you use all sorts of effects, EQs, compressors, REVERBS, as well as virtual instruments, like synths, etc. These things can be VERY CPU intensive!

    That's FYI.

    Now, the fact of the matter is, both of these CPUs are VERY powerful! The 2.2 is, of course, faster. The tougher question is, will you notice it?

    Honestly, I don't enough to answer that question, though it surely depends LARGELY on what you plan to do in music.

    I've asked around a bit for my own shopping needs and it seems a lot of times people say to get the more expensive machine. "Buy the best you can afford." is an old adage in this game; I do not agree with this at all! ... Ideally, you should buy the cheapest machine that will cover all your needs. This is a hard problem, because the inexperienced don't understand what they need, and needs change over time; 'Buy the best' is the simplest, but probably not best solution to this problem.

    However, I do agree with spending on things you can't upgrade later, and also that you should buy the ram 3rd party; You can save about $100 bucks that way.

    To me, the biggest difference is the GPU, which potentially matters to me, but seemingly not to you.

    To put the CPU difference in some perspective, consider the following geekbench scores (taken from the very useful www.everymac.com), which should be taken with a grain of salt, as they're not necessarily reflective of real world relative performance:

    (G5 tower = 1000 = "reference")

    2006 2.16 Core 2 Duo 15" ~ 2800

    2009 2.8 Core 2 Duo 15" ~ 3800

    ... it took 3 YEARS to increase by 1000 points.

    2010 2.4 Core i5 (Dual Core) 15" ~ 4800

    ... the jump from C2D to Core iX was 1000 points, from the high end to the low end!

    but then, ...

    2011 2.0 Core i7 (Sandy Bridge Quad Core) 15" ~ 8800!!!

    2011 2.2 Core i7 (Sandy Bridge Quad Core) 15" ~ 9800!!!


    bottom line, if you're really worried about the cash, know that either machine is VERY powerful. (upgrade ram later, and maybe even HDD on the lower end).

    if you want to invest some more $ in the machine, if you get serious, it may pay off in the long run.
  9. ajdb9 thread starter macrumors member

    Oct 19, 2008
    Cool! What do you play?
    I'm a pianist originally, but picked up singing a few years ago (and I play a bit of acoustic and electric guitar to haha!)
    I did my classical piano diploma last year and am working at a similar level with classical singing now, but when I'm not working on the classical stuff I'll sing a bit of anything with my piano - any good songs like 1960-today (and even some pre-60s haha)
    Getting into Logic and stuff now thanks to an awesome paper I'm taking at University.

    Thankyou so much for your great reply!
    I am leaning now towards the more expensive one.
    I'm just concerned 4GB isn't enough today to run Logic Pro/Studio happily?
  10. nebulos macrumors 6502a


    Aug 27, 2010
    i play guitar mostly, electric, also acoustic. self taught, but i did study classical guitar for a bit; didn't have the patience/interest for it. i play some piano, bass, drums too. not much of a singer, but i try sometimes.

    by all means, upgrade the RAM immediately if you like; i misspoke, but meant that upgrading on your own, with 3rd party RAM will be less than half the $200 Apple charges; if you want to pay for convenience, that's another story. if you want 3rd party RAM, look around. you can probably find a deal.

    no harm in going with the better CPU. the better GPU might help resale value if you decided on that later.

    i love playing music. unfortunately, recording it and organizing it can be a grueling process, fraught with technical annoyances. however, its a great feeling when you've really polished a track and can play it loud on nice speakers. its hard in the beginning; its like learning another instrument; but you've got good training for that!

    good luck and ENJOY!
  11. kushed macrumors regular

    Mar 13, 2011
    can you play any of those on your mac?
  12. kushed macrumors regular

    Mar 13, 2011

    for what youre doing you do not need the 2.2 in fact, you could use an AIR and be flying around on your computer, IMHO get an ultimate air and come back and thank me later, however if you want a bigger screen, get a lower end model with maxed out ram. or SSD. go with apple SSD just for trim support, again its not the fasted but for what youre doing it will open any Application before it bounces once.. yeah its that fast i have one =). but however you go it will work. Truthfully id highly suggest an 11 inch maxed out Air! they are just so friggin sick.
  13. nebulos macrumors 6502a


    Aug 27, 2010
    pardon me?
  14. phyrexia macrumors 6502a

    Sep 3, 2010
    Do not buy an Air for your recording needs.

    I would spend the extra 5% on the nicer one if I was in your position.
  15. Tadros86 macrumors 6502


    Jan 29, 2007
    New Jersey
    If you're buying this computer for recording - hands down get the 15inch. I just bought the 17inch for my studio.
  16. Tadros86 macrumors 6502


    Jan 29, 2007
    New Jersey
    And IDK what engineer told you that ALL that matters is RAM and HDD speed. They matter, obviously, but so does the processor. Ever hear of CPU overloads in Protools? They're annoying.
  17. Tadros86 macrumors 6502


    Jan 29, 2007
    New Jersey
    Best recording solution would be - as many cores as you can get on your processor. As much RAM as your computer can handle. A SSD cause it's the fastest write speed. eSATA or Thunderbolt (though I doubt they are out yet) external for recording onto. You never want your recording program and what you're recording to be on the same drive.

    Make sure you get at least a 7200 RPM HDD. The CPU in both the computers you've listed are fine being that they are both i7. .2 ghz isn't going to make a difference. And the graphics card on the lower end model sucks, so I hope you never have to do post production in your studio.

    Ignore my original post - for some reason I read the first option as a 13inch. If that were the cause you would have gotten i5 processors, and i7 are obviously better. It's not the case though, so go with the cheaper if you aren't doing video editing.

    I personally went with the 17inch for the expressport slot.
  18. Tadros86 macrumors 6502


    Jan 29, 2007
    New Jersey
    Wait a second! I just read the post again! I was right the first time lmao. If the processor on the cheaper model isn't a quad core, don't get it. Your post is confusing me in that respect lol. Is it the core2duo 15 inch, or are they both i7 quadcore? If they are both quadcore then go cheaper. If the more expensive one is the only quadcore - go the expensive one and get 8gb RAM upgrade from OWC like I did.

    Clarify your post so I can help you lol
  19. 1quick1 macrumors member

    Sep 10, 2008
    Get the upper one as you can upgrade the ram you can't upgrade the GPU.

    I bought 8gb of G.Skill ram on Newegg shipped for $65.
  20. Andrmgic macrumors 6502a

    Jun 27, 2007
    go for the high end one.

    Upgrade the ram yourself to 8GB if you find that 4GB isn't enough for less than $100.

    If you ever think you might connect it to an external display or perhaps multiple displays in the future, having the extra video ram won't be a bad thing.
  21. Tonepoet, Mar 24, 2011
    Last edited: Mar 24, 2011

    Tonepoet macrumors regular

    Nov 11, 2010
    It almost sounds like you're comparing two different generations, all 15"+ macbook pros this generation are Quad Core i7s, jumping up from the entire line of dual core processors of the last. So the expensive option having quad core wouldn't be an advantage over the prior, unless there was a generational jump.

    Assuming that's an accurate assumption with no misunderstanding, the difference in processing power isn't negligible. Even the high class 2.8 GHZ Macbook Pro of yesteryear pales in comparison to the lowly 13" of this generation. If you check the overall geekbench scores, a 2.2 Ghz sandy bridge M.B.P. performs relatively on par with a 2009 Mac Pro workstation, in terms of raw CPU power.

    That having been said, if you were considering a previous generation computer for your needs, I'd really look into getting a 13" as being an even cheaper, more powerful solution. Recording couldn't be very graphics intensive and while I can't be absolutely certain, I doubt you'd need all 8 Gigs of RAM, so the need for a dedicated GPU would be regulated to auxiliary uses like Firefox 4's new graphics acceleration.

    If there was a misunderstanding and you were comparing two current generation computers, which would make sense with the other given specs, I'd consult the activity monitor to see how many resources you're using right now in the moment. If you're not using more than 4GB's of RAM at the moment, the 2.2 GZH processor will undoubtably be the better upgrade.
  22. tbobmccoy macrumors 6502a


    Jul 24, 2007
    Austin, TX
    Glad you mentioned the GPU there because that was about to make me feel even older with my 3.06ghz C2D! The graphics on 13" this generation are barely better than last gen... so if you need graphical prowess, you need a 15" to be sure. I'd also go for the high end one, too, because the 256mb card is really a screw you from Apple for those who want cheap MBP 15"s. 256mb is not enough VRAM these days... :(
  23. pjcforpres2020, Mar 24, 2011
    Last edited: Mar 24, 2011

    pjcforpres2020 macrumors regular

    Jun 21, 2010
    It is clear the OP is talking about the 2011 MBP 15" options.

    If possible, it would be best to get the 2.2 over the 2.0. While the video card might be alright today, if you plan on keeping the computer for several years it is going to struggle down the road, and will hurt resale value big time.

    Also, like others have said, RAM is easily upgradeable on your own for less than $100 from a 3rd party vendor, and this is an Apple approved upgrade. Plus, you get the benefit of being able to more easily use an external monitor down the road, and if you really get into production do video production work more easily and quickly with the extra graphics power.

    Last generation (2010 MBP) the base model was the best deal, and this generation for the average user that is still the case, but anyone looking to do more than surf the web should be looking at the 2.2 given the increase in graphics alone, plus the long term resale value, it is faster, etc.
  24. illian macrumors regular

    Jan 13, 2008
    Porsche-City, Germany
    Well I'm a student (computer science) and i don't do a lot gaming, video editing..mainly web developing, using VMs. No way i'm paying the extra 400€. I think you will be fine with the base model
  25. T-bag Guest

    Jan 20, 2011
    I think 2.2 is a better deal. The better components will be Good enough for more years to come.

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