Comparison Review: 13" i5 2.3 GHz v. 13" i5 2.4 GHz

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by Naimfan, Oct 30, 2011.

  1. Naimfan, Oct 30, 2011
    Last edited: Oct 30, 2011

    Naimfan macrumors 68040

    Naimfan

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2003
    #1
    Well, through a series of events I won't bore anyone with, I wound up selling my 13" i5 2.3 GHz and buying a 13" 2.4 GHz i5.

    The only difference that I can discern is that the newer 2.4 has a slightly faster processor and comes with a 500 GB hard drive, vs. the 320 GB drive of the 2.3. In terms of appearance, feel, etc., they are identical. Perhaps "duh" is in order, but worth noting.

    In performance terms, the newer machine is, as you would expect, ever so slightly faster. Can you tell in normal use? Absolutely not. Only on Geekbench and CineBench can you tell the difference. My 2.3 i5 scored 6030 on Geekbench (32 bit), the 2.4 i5 scored 6230. Cinebench showed a slightly bigger difference, but still nothing to get too excited about. No clue why, but the 2.4 i5 did edge out the 2.3 i5 on the OpenGL test, 6310 to 6125. I'd have expected them to be identical given the identical graphics unit.

    The same was true in my normal use. I'm darned if I could sense any difference in even large iPhoto, iMovie, or iTunes tasks. The new one MIGHT have felt a TRACE quicker on iMovie rendering, but that could also just be me expecting/wanting it to be a touch faster. Office, web stuff, etc., was identical, at least to my perception.

    The only thing I consistently noticed was that the new one seems to be integrated with Lion a bit better - it just seems to beachball a bit less, and it seems like some Lion specific features ran a bit faster and a bit more reliably. Not a huge difference by any stretch, but it was the one thing that I consistently noted.

    Overall, if you have a 2.3 i5, save your money for the Ivy Bridge refresh - I'm comfortable saying the new 2.4 is nothing more than a spec bump done more for marketing purposes than any performance problem. Of course, the answer is probably different for the 15" base MBP, which got what looks to me to be a fairly significant upgrade. In terms of value, the base 13" does look to be improved - mainly due to the larger hard drive. It remains, in my opinion, a significantly better value than then any of the Airs, and remains a great introduction to Apple's laptop line.
     
  2. dmk1974 macrumors 68000

    dmk1974

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2008
    #2
    Great write up...those were my thoughts as well. While I usually like to have the latest and greatest, the 0.1 MHz speed bump really isn't enough to pay the extra for it, especially since I was going to replace the hard drive with an SSD anyway.

    I wound up getting an open-box base early 2011 13" MBP at Best Buy last week for $835 pre-tax ($1039 - 10% open box - $100 promo). Probably the best bang for the buck right now (even better than the Apple refurb site) and it comes with the full 1-yr Apple warranty. Trick of course is just finding one in stock there.
     
  3. Peter Franks macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2011
    Location:
    London UK
    #3
    I thought it was just i5 or i7? Or has something happened I don't know about!!
     
  4. Naimfan thread starter macrumors 68040

    Naimfan

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2003
    #4
    Apple refreshed the Macbook Pro line last Monday with slightly faster processors and in some cases storage and/or graphics updates. The base 13" MBP remains an i5 but now runs at 2.4 GHz and comes with a 500 GB hard drive compared to the early 2011 MBP having a 2.3 GHz processor and 320 GB hard drive.
     
  5. AppleGoat macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2010
    #5
    How much of a hit did your wallet take making this transition?
     
  6. Naimfan thread starter macrumors 68040

    Naimfan

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2003
    #6
    I came out about even - I was able to buy the new one on a military base, so no sales tax and they price matched Microcenter. Then bought 8 GB RAM at Microcenter for $40 (which the 2.3 also had).
     
  7. AppleGoat macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2010
    #7
    Oh really, that's not too bad. IMO, this is the least significant refresh the 13-inch has ever experienced. Half of it doesn't even matter to most people, since many of us here have outfitted our 13-inchers with SSDs or faster HDDs. Then who the hell notices a 100 MHz difference? Glad you posted Geekbench scores since I couldn't find them anywhere. I'll give kudos to Apple for not labeling the MBP as 'new' -- even though the larger models have undergone more of a shake-up.
     
  8. Naimfan thread starter macrumors 68040

    Naimfan

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2003
    #8
    I agree. I think the biggest improvement is upping the hard drive to 500 GB - 320 GB is just too small. I had a 750 GB 7200 RPM Hitachi in the 2.3, and the same in the new one. When I run all the numbers, I wound up $20 ahead, only because I was able to buy the new one with no sales tax.

    The one difference I can see is in running SETI@home - the new 2.4 is averaging about 6% more "credits" than the 2.3 (with identical settings, etc.).

    I think the real news on this "refresh" was the base 15", which got what seems to me to be a noticeable improvement - faster processor, significantly improved graphics, etc. Whereas before I'd have held out for the higher-end 15", now I think the base 15" has the edge in value. Conversely, I think the base 13" is a steal, and will be an even bigger one once Microcenter starts stocking and selling them for $999.
     
  9. windowstomac macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 23, 2011
    #9
    Interesting post. Could the fact the Lion features seem better be down to the new one having Lion natively installed vs. the old one being upgraded from SL...i.e. clean install vs upgrade?

    B
     
  10. Wattser93 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2010
    #10
    You came out ahead, because now you have a warranty starting now, instead of the purchase date of your 2.3 13" So you got a few free months of warranty and basically the same machine.
     
  11. Peter Franks macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2011
    Location:
    London UK
    #11
    Ahhh.... Typical! Missed the boat again on that one! Just saw the £1000.00 one I bought being reduced this week... I suppose if we wait we'll never buy. How much difference does 2.3 make to 2.4, Noticeable? I could have done with the 500 instead of the 320 though.
     

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