Cheap Core Duo vs. Expensive Core 2 Duo for non-power-user?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by fauxbourdon, Jan 4, 2007.

  1. fauxbourdon macrumors newbie

    Jan 3, 2007
    I am finally making the switch from a PC laptop to a MacBook Pro of some variety or other. I do not play computer games or do any other really processor-intensive things like graphic design, other than listening to/converting/burning music files and watching (but not editing) video. Mostly I just word-process, browse the internet, and listen to/watch MP3s and videos.

    I am trying to decide whether to buy a deeply discounted "out of date" Core Duo (NOT Core 2 Duo) MacBook Pro 17" or a current Core 2 Duo MacBook Pro 15".

    The "out of date" Core Duo is 2.16 GHz, 1 GB RAM, 120 GB HD, and 17" screen. The current model has the same specs, except only a 15" screen, and of course the Core 2 Duo instead of Core Duo. RAM and HD are the same.

    The "out of date" model with the bigger screen is approximately $1800, while the Core 2 Duo with the smaller screen is approximately $2000.

    Since I don't do anything that's seriously processor-intensive, it seems awful tempting to get the outdated model and enjoy the bigger screen for $200 less than the current Core 2 model with a smaller screen.

    My questions for those of you in the know are:

    (1) For someone with my user profile, will I even notice a difference between the 2.16 GHz Core and the 2.16 Core 2 in terms of speed, doing the tasks that I am doing, to make it worthwhile to buy the Duo 2 machine?

    (2) For someone with my user profile, should I be concerned about having only 1 GB of RAM, rather than the 2 GB that comes on the mid- and high-level current Core 2 Duo models, or is 2 GB simply overkill for someone like me who doesn't play games etc.? I have heard that more RAM is always better, but will the difference be vanishingly small for the stuff that I am doing?

    (3) Is there any difference between the reliability/workmanship of the older Core Duo and the newer Core 2 Duo MacBook Pros that might make it worthwhile to pony up the extra $ for the Core 2, even if the speed itself isn't decisive for me? Is the newer lineup less susceptible to the random shutdowns, fan weirdness, overheating, etc.? Will the firmware update that is available make the older machines just as reliable as the new ones?

    P.S. - I can foresee someone might say that someone who's a low-end user like myself should just opt for a cheap MacBook rather than a MB Pro, but whatever, I like the look of the Pro. ;-)

    Thanks in advance!
  2. jsw Moderator emeritus


    Mar 16, 2004
    Andover, MA
    You'll be fine with the Core Duo. I have a late-March 15" MBP, and, although technically slower than my recent Core 2 Duo MacBook, it seems the same. Yes, in some instances, it's a wee bit slower, but not with any "non-power" apps.

    Save the money. There are some possible plusses to the Core 2, but none you should care about, given the price difference.

    However, you might end up upgrading to 2GB at some point, but my wife has no problem with the 1GB MacBook (nor do I), so you might not even need to do that.
  3. dixiehacker macrumors newbie

    Dec 21, 2006
  4. e12a macrumors 68000


    Oct 28, 2006
    I think the OP just answered his question in his own title.

    Why get the more expensive, feature packed version when you call yourself a "non-power-user"?
  5. tjcampbell macrumors 6502a


    Aug 14, 2006
    I am a power user and my 15" Core Duo 2GHz MBP does the trick with ease. I added a gig of ram and she blazes! Fastest computer I've ever used.

    TRUTH IS! That five years ago I bought a G4 Titanium PB for 4500 CAD! And at the time I thought that it was a rocket. It was also touted as the computer for pros, power users etc... but now (in comparison) that computer is a slug. I guess I am just trying to say that nobody can tell you that a recent model is slow when at launch it was hailed as the saviour for industry pros. It's only the major revisions such as the ibook to the macbook that make dramatic differences.

    Right now, I am editing some video, posting to this forum, I have iPhoto open, I'm streaming from iTunes and ripping a DVD. All flawless. I love it. I'm going to get the extra 512 to max the ram soon just to see what secrets this sassy bitch holds. :D
  6. Father Jack macrumors 68020

    Father Jack

    Jan 1, 2007
    I would go for the C2D

    Its more future proof

    Its Faster

    It runs cooler

    The new MacBook C2D is very fast, it may well do your job and costs quite a bit less than the MBP

  7. Tarkovsky macrumors 6502


    Jan 4, 2007
    Whilst its true that we pay an unreasonable markup on the higher end chips in this case the difference is actually very important.

    The Core 2 Duo is 64 bit, the earlier Core Duo is not.

    Later versions of Mac OS will run much better, and eventually exclusively in 64bit.
    Most software will move to 64 bit, making things difficult for you if you even want to run basic programs in a few years time on your lapto, drastically reducing its resale value an usuability.

    Therefore this is totally worth the upgrade in terms of future proofing.
  8. Jiddick ExRex macrumors 65816

    Jiddick ExRex

    May 14, 2006
    Roskilde, DK
    In terms of future proofing this is of course a horrible argument seeing that only the processor runs 64-bit and the chipset on the motherboard doesn't. So basically it's only half future proof.
  9. Cybergypsy macrumors 68040


    May 16, 2006
    Central Florida!
    I sold my rev a macbook, in hopes that something new will be out this year....
  10. caligula357 macrumors member


    Dec 31, 2006
    yeah, i thought i heard that in order to operate in 64bit, processor, hardware and drivers all had to be 64bit, along with software :confused:

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