Advice on 1.1 or 1.3 processor

Discussion in 'MacBook' started by BlueEyedSon, Jul 24, 2015.

  1. BlueEyedSon macrumors newbie

    Jun 14, 2015
    I think I've decided that my next computer will be a Macbook and that the 256gb ssd will be fine for me, but I can't decide whether to just go with the base 1.1 processor or upgrade to the 1.3. I'd welcome any advice.

    I continue to be entirely happy with my current computer (a 2012 Macbook Pro 2.9ghz i7, 8gb of ram, with the older spinning style hard drive). The main thing I want in a new computer is for it to be lighter and a better screen. As long as the performance was "as good as" or "on par with" the current one but in a lighter package and better screen, I'll be very happy.

    I've been keeping a close eye on activity monitor over the last couple of days to get a sense of how much I'm actually using what my current computer has to offer. As I suspected, my normal usage doesn't push it very hard at all. I primarily watched the "bottom line" numbers about how much of the processor was idle. Here's a summary -

    Percent of processor idle: approximate time in that range
    90: 35
    80: 35
    70: 10
    60: 10
    50: 5
    less than 50 idle: 5

    From previous input, I've gathered that the newer core-M processors would be slower than what I currently have, but perhaps not as much as the numbers alone would indicate, which is still hard to get my mind around. The newer macbook would also be an upgrade for me to a solid state drive. I think my usage is relatively light, including safari, firefox, mail, iTunes, spotify, occasional editing of a few pictures in photos, preview, word, powerpoint, and excel. The word files can get long and include some basic images. Powerpoint files also can get larger with images. I'm a student/teacher. So, my primary uses are research or writing projects, ranging from article to book length in word, and teaching, which can involve presentations with powerpoint.

    So, with that in mind, would you recommend a 1.1 or 1.3 processor? Both would be within budget, but I'd rather not get more than I need, especially because I'll also be purchasing a portable CD/DVD drive and a usb-c hub for it.
  2. sasha.danielle macrumors regular

    Mar 15, 2015
    Get the 1.1 and put the money you'd use for the 1.3 aside for now and use it next year to upgrade your machine to Skylake.
  3. Ghost31 macrumors 68000


    Jun 9, 2015
    That is exactly what I'm doing. The price difference is probably what I would have to pay on top of selling my current MacBook. So it all kinds evens out and next year I would get a brand new sky lake one. Win win
  4. Vanilla Face, Jul 24, 2015
    Last edited: Jul 28, 2015

    Vanilla Face macrumors 6502

    Aug 11, 2013
    It won't be. Your MBP has an average Geekbench score of 6740 while the 1.3 Macbook has an average score of 5300. With that said, it'll be fine for your usage, but maybe it'd be better to wait for the skyline version for your peace of mind.
  5. tbirdparis macrumors 6502

    May 30, 2015
    The geek bench result is of course useful and true to a certain extent. Certainly if you use CPU rendering-style tasks where you can set a stopwatch and see who finishes first, your 2012 MBP will probably be first to cross the line every time. However, don't discount the difference in performance that isn't purely CPU-related you'll get, due to the fact that the rMB has a much much faster storage system than your MBP does with it's old spinning drive. Especially if that drive is a 5400rpm model.

    I ran the Blackmagic disc speed app the other day on my rMB and my 2011 3.4Ghz i7 iMac just for kicks. My iMac has two distinct drives (it was the series just before the fusion drive models came out), the system drive is a 256GB SSD and the data drive is a 2TB 7200 rotational drive. On the rMB, I got read speeds around 850MB/s and write speeds around 470MB/s. On the SSD of the iMac, the very best read speed I saw was 215MB/s and the best write was around 160MB/s. However on the classic spinning drive of the iMac (and it's a 7200rpm drive), I only got around 80MB/s consistently for both read and write.

    Yes disk access is absolutely not the be all and end all. But looking at the way you described you work with a computer (the programs you use, the type of work you do), it doesn't sound like you do a lot of things that rely solely on a CPU's ability to take a big bunch of data and crunch it as fast as it can. Your actual use case is probably one where a machine which offers a snappy combo of drive speed and a CPU which can turbo frequently and efficiently as needed will make for a good experience. Given that the drive speed on the rMB is literally an order of magnitude faster than your current MBP probably is, I think you might find that the performance in your kind of use will be either about what you're used to, or sometimes even better. Certainly boot up times, app loading times, and anything that involves disc access (swap files included) will give you a very noticeable perception of it just being snappier and faster that you're used to. Balance that with how often you actually render a bunch of effects in photoshop or final cut and you should get an idea of if it will work for you or not. Of course the best way to be sure is to spend some time actually using one as if you owned it, doing the work you do, to see what happens..
  6. ghanwani, Jul 25, 2015
    Last edited: Jul 25, 2015

    ghanwani macrumors 6502a

    Dec 8, 2008
    He currently has a spindle drive in the old MBP. Forget the processor. Going to a current-gen SSD is going to be huge improvement in performance. Of course, he could get that by upgrading the SSD. The other thing to look for is memory speed. In the MB it's 1600 MHz. Not sure what the OP has in the MBP.

    IMO memory speed and disk speed are far more noticeable in terms of performance than CPU speed for regular use.

    I usually like my machines to last 5 years, but I don't think I would be able to pull that off with a rMB. 2 years, maybe 3 years tops...unless of course, PC technology is hitting a plateau. Is it?
  7. ZipZap macrumors 603

    Dec 14, 2007
    Terrible advice. He's happy with his current machine. Pass on the gen 1 macbook and but ALL your money aside for the next version.
  8. tbirdparis macrumors 6502

    May 30, 2015
  9. tbirdparis macrumors 6502

    May 30, 2015
    Yep, waiting for the next generation is never the worst thing you can do if you're not in a hurry to upgrade, sure. But the OP did say he wants something with a better screen and lighter, just as long as the performance is at least not a downgrade. The rMB definitely has a better display, arguably one of the nicest ones Apple sells right now and certainly the best in its class (presuming the OP's MBP is not retina, otherwise there's not so much of a difference). It's also lighter and more compact - downright nearly an ipad compared to the 13" MBP, so that's two boxes ticked. Just comes down to performance and price. From what I gather about what the OP uses a computer for, I think the faster RAM and way faster disk speed will make for at least on-par performance most of the time, possibly even feeling faster in general. It will definitely be slower at some things, but probably not in ways that really count for the tasks the OP does. If there was any game playing or video work in the mix, that would be a red flag because (I think) the 13" MBPs have a dedicated GPU, putting them at a distinct advantage for that stuff.

    Best advice would be to try one out for as long as possible doing actual work using the software the OP uses all the time. In my experience, the Apple Stores seem to only have the base model on display, so if using one of those doesn't live up to expectations, I doubt ordering a 1.2 or 1.3 machine would change things enough to make it worthwhile. In that case I'd definitely wait, and probably just upgrade the drive in the MBP to an SSD in the meantime. But if it turns out that a 1.1 is up to the task, then he can make a decision based on some practical experience, can decide if the display really is the upgrade he wants and get a feel for whether the size and light weight is significant enough to be worth the spend.
  10. ghanwani macrumors 6502a

    Dec 8, 2008
    Interesting. I didn't know that.
  11. ghanwani, Jul 25, 2015
    Last edited: Jul 25, 2015

    ghanwani macrumors 6502a

    Dec 8, 2008
    Went to the local store this evening and was playing with a 1.2/512 display model. I opened 5 tabs in safari and had videos going simultaneously. Absolutely no heat issues.

    My old MBP gets super hot and I have the fan going full speed with much less than this. Is it a Chrome problem? I think I'll try the same thing when I'm back home.

    But I now think I should upgrade.

    What are the specs on the 2010 MBP camera? Is the same as the rMB or worse?
  12. BlueEyedSon thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 14, 2015
    Thank you very much for the advice!!! It's much appreciated.

    To clarify - I'm happy with the performance of my current mac, but I'm not happy with the weight. My current mac even has the CD/DVD drive in it, weighing in at 4.5 pounds. So, getting a Macbook would enable me to lose about 2.5 pounds in what I carry in my briefcase, which would be significant for me

    And to respond to a few questions that came up ...

    I guess I was just wondering whether I'd even notice it because I don't push my current computer's processor very hard at all. For 80% of my use, at least 70% of the processor is idle. I don't really know much about processors, but it makes me wonder if I'd notice the slower processor in a Macbook if I'm not even using my current one to its fullest. When I calculate those numbers, it seems like I'm using less than what a macbook would offer. But, again, I'm not very knowledgeable about processor speeds and how to gauge something like this.

    I've double checked and, yes, my current hard drive is the 5400 rpm model. So, the transition to a SSD would be a significant upgrade for me, I think. I just haven't known whether the faster drive might equal out the slower processor for my usage.

    The RAM in my current computer is 1600 MHz DDR3. The macbooks are also 1600MHZ but of "LPDDR3" type. So, I'm not sure what the difference in ram type (DDR3 vs LPDDR3) would be for me.
  13. tbirdparis macrumors 6502

    May 30, 2015
    Are you unable to go to a store in your area to physically try out the rMB for an extended period? Unless you live too far away from a store and it's really impractical, I think this would be one of your best ways to get a feel for the machine and ease your concerns (or possibly the opposite..)

    Ideally you'd want to take in a bunch of work files and use the programs you actually use for a couple of hours and see how it goes. This might be tricky on a demo machine because if you brought in an external drive you'd need a USB-C to A adapter to connect it and they can be weird in stores about opening boxes to try out adaptors if they don't already have one out. But you could always have a bunch of work projects available on some cloud storage like Dropbox. Next, I'm not sure if they have Office installed on demo machines, you could call an Apple Store or other reseller nearby and ask. And if not, I'm sure there's still plenty of stuff you can work on with a demo machine to get a feel for what it'd be like if you were just working like usual. Really go to town, shut the machine down and restart to see how the boot up speed feels. Go in to system preferences and tweak everything to how you like it. Open a tab for every site you can think of that you go to on a regular basis and then keep coming back to them while jumping around to other programs to do other things. After an hour or so, even less, you will have gotten a far more meaningful metric on what it's like as a computer in terms of what you actually do than any kind of abstract discussion of specs will help you get.
  14. Significant1 macrumors 6502

    Dec 20, 2014
    "The SSD will still run through the SATA buss on the Air whereas the rMB uses flash memory that's directly connected to the PCI bus which is quite a bit faster."

    It is also wrong. Don't think Apple has sata ssd in any of it's machines any longer. Definitely not in the MacBook Air's.

    What tbirdparis may have been thinking of is NVMe vs AHCI.
    The Macbook is the first to Apple computer to use NVMe.
  15. tbirdparis macrumors 6502

    May 30, 2015
    No you're right, I got confused between different threads.. I didn't mean the MacBook Air, I was referring to the 2012 MBP the OP has which, unless it is a retina model, still uses a built in SATA drive. So in the case of wanting to swap out that drive with an SSD, it wouldn't be as fast as what the built-in flash storage is on current macs that use it which I guess includes the Air. Replacing a rotational drive on an older MBP with an SSD will be going via the same buss as what the built in drive was, which would be faster due to SSD but still not as good as the PCI flash memory (of the non-ugradeable kind) in current laptops. Indeed if the OP already had a recent Air then the option of replacing the internal drive would be moot anyway.

    Re the use of classic SSD's, doesn't the iMac still have that? Or is the fusion drive now a combo of PCI flash and spinning drive as opposed to SSD+spinning drive?
  16. Significant1 macrumors 6502

    Dec 20, 2014
    Imac also use e PCIe connected SSD. And it is a lot of trouble to reach:

    I have a 2009 iMac with Sata2 interface and getting speeds of around 260MB/s with an Intel320 640GB ssd and in daily use, that feels just as fast as my 512GB MacBook Air and it's speeds of 700+MB/s. Much much faster than a spinning drive because the seek times are gone. Transfer speed only really matter when copying lots of GB.
  17. tbirdparis macrumors 6502

    May 30, 2015
    Yep good point re seek time vs sustained transfer speeds. Definitely no argument that upgrading to an SSD would significantly improve the pep of the OP's 2012 MBP, there'd be no reason why it wouldn't feel faster than the rMB in all areas after that. So the last question remaining is just the OP's desire to have increased portability. To get that, it really just comes down to either getting an Air or an rMB I suppose.

    Btw just on a side note re this discussion of SSDs and flash storage. It's great that it's all so fast now, but boy do I wish the capacity/price equation would make some leaps forward. A few years back it felt like we were finally getting to the promised land of big capacity - you could take out the useless (for many people) optical drive on a MBP, put in a 2TB drive instead and you started having serious storage on the go. Now it feels like the whole sandcastle has been knocked down and we're starting from scratch again. I love the speed, it's great for me with a satellite laptop like my rMB.. but I'd love to be able to own a pro laptop again that could have my entire work sound library on it and project dropbox with no need for an external drive. Let's see where it lands in a couple of years I guess....
  18. 0928001 Suspended

    Sep 15, 2012
    I know I'm not adding anything valuable to this post, but this made me LOL.

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