Buying advice needed: Upgrade a powerful 2011 MPB 2.2 GHz for 2.5 Ghz MBPs retina?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by fragazzi, Feb 13, 2015.

  1. fragazzi macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2015
    #1
    Hello everyone,

    I bought in late 2011 a pretty powerful MBP: 2.2 Ghz, 8 Gb Ram, Hi-Res display (1680 x 1050) and have installed a 500 GB SSD running along a 1 TB additional drive (I removed the optical drive). I use Parallels a lot and the performance has been sluggish recently.

    I looked at the specs of the new MBP retinas and I have been wondering if the update is really worth it! Currently the high end model has 2.5 Ghz, with 16gb ram and the retina display.

    So my question is: except the 8 Gb ram bump (which I can add to my existing config) and the retina, is a 0.3 Ghz in processor is all I can hope for? Is there no other big improvement? Are there any other reasons why upgrading will increase the overall performance of my mac?

    Thanks for all your savvy pieces of advice!

    F
     
  2. snaky69 macrumors 603

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2008
    #2
    Virtual machines tend to be a lot more RAM hungry than they are CPU hungry(depending on the task, of course).

    The days where the only measure of performance was clock speeds (the GHz) are long gone my friend. Intel has worked to shrink die sizes, improve instruction sets and architectures. You need to look beyond the clock speed.

    Benchmarks are a good way to measure the differences.

    .3Ghz isn't all that much (.3 divided by 2.5 is about 12%) , but the difference between processors mean that your current processor scores (on average) 10268 points on geekbench, whereas the newer 2.5 scores 14835 points on the same benchmark.

    What that translates to is an increase of 44% in raw processing power for tasks which heavily rely on the processor.

    Would you notice it in your day to day tasks? It depends on what you actually do with a computer. If you are not being limited by your current processor, the newer processor will be of no benefit to you.

    Another benefit to the retinas is that their SSD have much higher speeds than regular SATA drives, so you may notice a bit of an improvement there also.

    Hope that helped.
     
  3. yjchua95 macrumors 604

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    Apr 23, 2011
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    GVA, KUL, MEL (current), ZQN
    #3
    What snaky69 said.

    Besides, the 2011 models are Radeongate-prone. I'd get rid of it immediately.
     
  4. fragazzi thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2015
    #4
    Thanks both for your replies. snaky69 the points you raise do make a lot of sense. I would however need to see if by upgrading I get 3,000 dollars worth of a better experience :) I do use quite a bit of CPU hungry software (recently a lot of graph visualization) so it might actually make a difference. My main concerns is with running Windows software on Parallels however. I guess I need to visit Parallels forums to see what works best, and if it is indeed, like you suggest primarily about RAM.
     
  5. yjchua95 macrumors 604

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    #5
    If I were you, I'd sell it off immediately because of Radeongate.
     
  6. Samuelsan2001 macrumors 603

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    Oct 24, 2013
    #6
    Radeongate

    As the others said due to the problems with the graphics card on the 2011 macbook pros the fact that yours hasn't failed catastrophically yet is just down to luck. It could go at any time and if it's working well it could be your last chance to sell it.

    You will see a performance increase and a fairly substantial one I expect but the peace of mind and the ability tostill sell your 2011 machine make now a good time for you to upgrade. If you had a 2012 I'd say upgrade the RAM but for that machine get rid quick and move on.
     
  7. fragazzi thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Feb 13, 2015
    #7
    Actually, I forgot to mention that my display already failed catastrophically and it got repaired. So I suppose I am still on the safe side. But yes, it is just a matter of how long until I need to change the computer anyway...Thanks again for all the pieces of advice!
     
  8. Samuelsan2001 macrumors 603

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    Oct 24, 2013
    #8
    Was that a new logic board???

    If that was a replacement logic board to sort the failed graphics then you are on borrowed time they have been been know to last only a few months after repair and almost inevitably fail again soon.
     
  9. glenthompson macrumors 68000

    glenthompson

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    Apr 27, 2011
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    Virginia
    #9
    Memory is most likely your current slowdown. When I had 8gb I would see lots of page outs when running Parallels but never running only Mac apps. With 16gb I never see them regardless what I am running.

    Hard to justify putting much money into a machine that is living on borrowed time. My AppleCare ran out a few months ago and I will not spend any more on upgrades for my MBP.
     
  10. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

    Staff Member

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    Location:
    Boston
    #10
    Parallels will eat up a lot of resources as you run your system. That may be one reason why you're seeing the performance hit.

    My MBP has 16GB and I run Vmware, and I don't see any swap outs or performance hits.

    You can maybe try scaling back the amount of ram your guest OS has, that may help with the overall system performance.
     
  11. austinpike macrumors 6502

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    #11
    So does that imply that at some point performance was adequate? Hardware can't slow down over time, software does. Unless your usage has changed dramatically. The easiest free fix would be to spend some time backing up and doing clean reinstalls.

    Besides that I'd be inclined to throw another 8GB into and see if it helps, with the idea that you can always sell off the RAM if/when the laptop dies.

    At the same time the days of big leaps between processor generations are long gone... Anytime you buy a new machine it instantly "feels" better because it doesn't have years of crud built up in the OS. With a clean install on a 2011-era machine I don't think you would notice much difference vs a new one for regular tasks. Granted if you max the CPU regularly and bust out the stopwatch the new one will perform better, but probably not $3000 worth ihmo.
     
  12. yjchua95 macrumors 604

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    #12
    But still worth the cost for USB 3 (2011s only have USB 2), retina display, 4K support (not really a must have), and a far better thermal design and ventilation.

    Plus, the 2011 models have Radeongate.
     
  13. austinpike macrumors 6502

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    Oct 5, 2008
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    MN
    #13
    Better light it on fire before it burns itself up and takes your house down with it.

    If it works fine for the OP now, might as well milk it until it dies. imho.
    Or sell it off and feel a nagging sense of guilt about dumping a ticking time bomb on some unsuspecting soul. Whichever.
     
  14. stevemiller macrumors 65832

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    Oct 27, 2008
    #14
    i went from the 2011 2.2ghz to the 2013 retina with 2.6ghz. both have ssd's and 16gb of ram. the newer one is faster, but its not a night and day difference or anything.

    i do a lot of heavier 3d work at my job, so the incremental improvement was worth it for me, but the 2011 machine is still extremely capable. or maybe i'll call a spade a spade and say i just wanted the lovely screen ;)
     
  15. Woochoo macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2014
    #15
    I'd go to retina just for the Radeongate like other people say. Otherwise, the Virtual machines are more RAM hogs than other thing, so if you finally don't go to a retina, just upgrade to 16GB your Mac.
    Or if you don't mind waiting till the end of the year and get the Skylake one, the jump will be much more noticeable than jumping from a 2011 MBP to a 2012.
     

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