Better graphics or lower cost? Which would you choose?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by Headlighted, Oct 30, 2010.

  1. Headlighted macrumors member

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    Feb 8, 2010
    #1
    So there is a great chance that on Monday, I'll be able to pick up my first MBP. Now I've been doing research and reading and searching these forums out the wazoo for weeks now. I've read dozens of threads and I feel like I've just jumbled up my opinion more and more, so I thinking some first hand opinions might be best.

    I'm having a hard time deciding between the 15 inch i7 with the 330M 512MB version with the high-res anti-glare screen, or the 15 inch i5 2.4 with the 330M 256MB version. Cost won't really be an issue, since my hubby and I view this as an investment more than if we were just upgrading my current PC.

    Currently I'm running a higher-end gaming PC with a pretty great video card in it. However, I'm still stuck with a C2D. I do some light gaming and dabble in a few hours of WoW a week. I'm also known to play some CS:S and MW2. I'm well versed in PCs, but Macs and their performance are a totally new ball-game for me.

    Is it worth it to go with the i7, or am I better off saving the few hundred dollars and going with the i5? Which would you choose? I am also aware that we're getting close to another refresh, but at this point I'm about fed up with my PC and ready to take the jump. We can always evaluate the refresh when it's here.

    Thanks everyone!
     
  2. sbddude macrumors 6502a

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    Nor Cal, USA
    #2

    Is this the 17 or 15"?

    I am a sucker for resolution, so I went with the 17" to get the high res screen and also got the 512MB graphics included. I did not pay to get i7 since all you are really getting is 1MB extra cache.
     
  3. Headlighted thread starter macrumors member

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    Feb 8, 2010
    #3
    The 15 inch. The 17 inch is just far too large for me to comfortably use.

    Sorry about that, in my revisions I took out the 15 inch without realizing. I've edited it to show now.
     
  4. sbddude macrumors 6502a

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    Nor Cal, USA
    #4
    Does the upgrade to high-res on the 15" get you the 512MB graphics?

    If so I'd go for the base model 15", upgrade the screen to high-res, and upgrade the SSD and RAM yourself later.
     
  5. Headlighted thread starter macrumors member

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    Feb 8, 2010
    #5
    No, the only way to get the 512MB graphics is to go with the i7, which is why I'm torn. Now, I wouldn't be going with a SSD, but I would likely keep the RAM at 4GB for the time being. I'm a stay at home mom, so the furthest it'll ever go is likely between the living room and the bedroom, so no real need for the SSD. The HDD size is also no issue for me, considering I barely fill up a 250GB HDD as it is.
     
  6. J&JPolangin macrumors 68030

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    #6
    ...If your gaming PC is good and just slightly lacking with a C2D CPU, why not just put some variant of a quad/six-core CPU into it?
     
  7. Headlighted thread starter macrumors member

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    Feb 8, 2010
    #7
    My rig is good, but it's sorely outdated. The CPU in it currently is 2.5 years old, and for me to get any sort of bang for my buck and sustainability I need to build a brand new PC minus the video card. Then, if we do that, we also need to completely upgrade my entire husband's rig. So you're looking at 2 basically brand new computers. If I get a MBP he wants to keep his current PC, since he is still happy with it.

    I could have upgraded long ago, but I've been so on the fence about a MBP that I've put it off and now it's not worth it to simply upgrade.
     
  8. Jaro65 macrumors 68040

    Jaro65

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    #8
    You're mentioning that the cost is not an issue. Why the questions then? If that were the case, I would simply get the top of the line i7.

    But...if you do look at the bottom line, I would consider getting a base i5 with hi-res screen. Do spend money (now or later) to get an SSD, as that will simply transform your MBP into a whole different level of performance. Eventually you can also upgrade your RAM (depending on your specific use case). In any case, I will venture out and state that your new MBP will be the most amazing computer you have ever owned.

    Wishing you a good luck with your decision!
     
  9. Headlighted thread starter macrumors member

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    Feb 8, 2010
    #9
    Thank you! I don't doubt that I will be absolutely in love with it, I've dabbled over this decision long enough. If you can't tell by my register date on the forum lol

    I have a really hard time stomaching the cost of an SSD. I understand the impeccable speed on it, and the advantages, just so much $$$ for a hard drive makes me utterly cringe. I guess we'll see what happens in the future with that, I want to see and hear more about them as time passes. A RAM upgrade may be very likely however, especially for only ~$150.

    I do think that I am leaning towards the i7. It works out to be just under a 10% increase in CPU performance, paired with the extra video memory. It's only a $300 difference with my edu discount. I think it's probably the best choice in the end, though I'll likely waver again.

    I do wish that the Apple Store was up so I could play around with the configs some more. I've spent way too many hours on that site recently. I'm having one hell of an internal battle with this decision.
     
  10. paintballswimgu macrumors 6502

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    Feb 13, 2010
    #10
    Mac laptops aren't very good for really any type of gaming. They will do it fine. However, they don't look nearly as pretty as a desktop rig. I would say to go for the low end mbp, my view is that the extra 256 of vram doesn't really seem to make that big of a difference. Get the hi res antiglare screen though. Its the awesome.

    As far as the C2D desktop being outdated. It really isn't that out of date. My last gaming rig that i replaced this summer with the one in my sig, was a Pentium D 830, with 2 GB of ram, and a radeon 4850. It could still play every game out, all beit not on high settings.

    If you still have a core2duo, you might look at picking up one of the new radeon 6xxx series cards, they look like a good bang for the buck. In my experience you can stretch a gaming pc a long time by just keeping your video card current. The CPU isn't really as big of a bottleneck as most people think it is.

    if you go i7, get the x58 chipset. Don't do that P55 junk... :D
     
  11. Jaro65 macrumors 68040

    Jaro65

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    #11
    I completely understand, as I had a hard time accepting it as well. I wouldn't personally buy an SSD at the moment, as I'm curious what Apple will do in the next MBP refresh. My wife's new MBA is an amazingly capable machine and I wouldn't be surprised if Apple went the flash route with the MBP's as well, given its obvious impact on the overall performance. Without doubt the future MBP's will be free of any electric motors. The time will show how soon this is going to happen.

    Also, you are right to look at an MBP purchase as an investment. These machines age really well - better than other high-tech purchases I've made. Part of it is due to the robustness of the OS and part due to their build quality.
     
  12. Headlighted thread starter macrumors member

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    Feb 8, 2010
    #12
    I'll be going with the 15in i7 for now. I'll be picking it up tomorrow or Friday, debating on driving to buy it from my friend who works for Apple in the town 3hrs away.

    I'll likely upgrade to 8GB of RAM in the near future, and hopefully down the line go for the SSD.
     
  13. Jaro65 macrumors 68040

    Jaro65

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    #13
  14. Headlighted thread starter macrumors member

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    Feb 8, 2010
    #14
    I'm in Canada, so I'm limited as to where I can buy them from. Buying online would cost me a ton in duty and taxes as it crossed the border. I am a university student though, so I will get the edu discount. Thank you for that link, however!
     
  15. Headlighted thread starter macrumors member

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  16. lickitysplit macrumors regular

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    Sep 26, 2010
    #16
    I opted for the i7 with the 512mb so that it will last a little longer performance wise. When I purchase MBP i intend to use them for at least 5 years so you may as well spend the extra couple hundred now so you can get extra life out of it before you need to purchase a new laptop. Thats just my personal preference.
     
  17. Headlighted thread starter macrumors member

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    Feb 8, 2010
    #17
    That was the exact reasoning my husband and I have.
     
  18. dusk007 macrumors 68040

    dusk007

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    Dec 5, 2009
    #18
    The only benefit of the 512mb is that you have more options adjusting the graphics quality in games. 256mb just limits because there can be no detail that doesn't fit in VRAM.
    People keep telling you here usually that it doesn't make a difference which is true as long as you fit anyhting in the 256mb but if you carefully adjust graphicssettings you can turn on some that with 512mb have only a minor fps hit while it kills fps on the 256mb card.
    If you have the money go for 512mb. If you play mostly on the Desktop anyway it really doesn't matter. A Core 2 Duo Desktop will still be many times faster than any MBP especially in gaming.
     
  19. mk1ap macrumors member

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  20. jav6454 macrumors P6

    jav6454

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    #20
    You do know that in laptops, the whole i7, i5 thing isn't the same as desktops? All laptop model CPUs get a P55 treatment. There is no mobile version of X58.
     
  21. Headlighted thread starter macrumors member

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    Feb 8, 2010
    #21
    Well, I'm home with my new MBP! Currently waiting for my son to go to bed so I can start transferring my files and put my PC up for sale.

    I ended up with the 15in 2.8/4GB/500GB/AG model. They didn't have any of the 2.6 model in stock so my husband told me to just go ahead and get the 2.8 instead of ordering it in. It's pretty safe to say I've got the best husband ever.

    Thank you all again for your help!
     
  22. wirelessmacuser macrumors 68000

    wirelessmacuser

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  23. Jaro65 macrumors 68040

    Jaro65

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    Mar 27, 2009
    Location:
    Seattle, WA
    #23
    Congrats on your new machine!

    Now...consider getting yourself an external HD for Time Machine backups. A Time Capsule is great for making the process transparent, but it is a bit more expensive as it also contains the full AEBS. If you already do have an AEBS (probably unlikely) you can just connect an USB HD to it and have the same functionality. Or...you can go with an external HD. I've had good success with the Western Digital My Passport or My Book Studio drives. The My Book series is a bit bigger, but you can form a FireWire 800 chain, which can be handy.

    Also check out a great program called SuperDuper! I have this running every night in order to create a complete image of my main drive. In case of trouble, you can boot off from the SuperDuper! drive and have access to all the data (can combine with Time Machine backup, in which case the maximum data loss will be constrained to the last 60 minutes). Maybe at some point in time you'll be ready to open your MBP up and, if you don't use the SuperDrive, you can swap it out and put another HD in there. I did that and use portion of that HD as my SuperDuper! drive. This is handy when I travel, as I have a built-in primary drive redundancy.

    Anyway, probably too much info thrown at you there right off the bat, but at least you'll see what the options are. Enjoy!
     
  24. Headlighted thread starter macrumors member

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    Feb 8, 2010
    #24
    Thank you! And thank you for the info, anything helps right now. I was actually pretty surprised at just how much of a learning curve there was for me. I guess it comes with all the training I have in Windows, I was over-thinking absolutely everything, the husband was too haha.

    We were looking at just formatting our extra 160GB HDD as a FAT32 and grabbing it an enclosure as our external for the time being. Then we plan on grabbing a WD My Passport, I like how small and compact it is.

    I do quite like the idea of using the SuperDrive space as an extra HDD enclosure, but I use my drive quite a lot. Who knows what I'll think down the road though.
     
  25. Blu101 macrumors 6502a

    Blu101

    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2010
    #25
    Not really:

    http://www.barefeats.com/mbpp22.html

    Seems to only help with external displays at very high resolutions.
     

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