Confused! - i7 duo or i7 quad?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by 2tallyAwesome, Mar 8, 2011.

  1. 2tallyAwesome macrumors regular

    Jan 16, 2007
    I've searched the board, and haven't found an answer to this specific question, so I thought I would ask it.

    I'm curious as to which processor would be better for my uses, the 2.7ghz i7 duo, or the 2.0ghz i7 quad?

    I use Sibelius, Logic, Ableton Live, Reason, etc., and I haven't been able to find any information as to whether or not these programs would benefit from 4 cores? I've seen benchmark data from certain applications and processes that say the duo is better for certain things, but I'm unclear as to where to make that distinction?

    Anyone have any ideas?

    Thank you for your help.
  2. Eddyisgreat macrumors 601

    Oct 24, 2007

    Gen 2 Core i7 is quicker clock-4-clock and boosts to, what, 3.4 GHz in single thread situations (temperature notwithstanding).

    Logic Supports multiple cores as does Albeton (I think).

    The only time things get tricky is when hyperthreading is involved,because of misconceptions
    but like I said,
    get the quad.
  3. mariannukka macrumors newbie

    Feb 6, 2009
    I don't think that is true. Quad core = FASTer. Plainly faster.

    If you are interested in just everyday tasks and even processor-intensive tasks (Logic and such) the low-end 13" MBP will do just fine. The more graphic-intensive tasks need a 15".

    Remember, the low-end 13" MBP is even faster than the last 17" MBP. That alone should be enough, if not the integrated intel hd card...

    Of course, this is a consumer's voice :D
  4. gman34 macrumors member

    Jun 26, 2009
    dual core is usually better for gaming.
    maybe you saw benchmarks comparing applications and games and misunderstood it?
  5. ZZANG macrumors regular


    Feb 25, 2011
    Planet Cybertron
    Not always. If this statement was made a year or two ago then ya. However, some games are CPU intensive - and since Quad is becoming more affordable, more games than in the past utilize the extra processors to the games advantage.

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
  6. Toto_Marten macrumors newbie

    Mar 5, 2011
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    Do programs need to be rewritten to take use of the quad core compared to the dual core? Or would a normal old program, lets say Office 2008, be as fast on a dual core and a quad core if they had the same GHz?
  7. Eddyisgreat macrumors 601

    Oct 24, 2007
    no , apps need to be rewritten (or written in the first place) to have multicore support.

    But for word and stuff I mean lol you wouldn't probably be doing anything that serious but if it came down to same architecture dual / quad, whichever one had the fastest clock would get the job done first.
  8. thunng8 macrumors 6502a

    Feb 8, 2006
    The Quad 2.0 Turboost is 2.9Ghz, not 3.4Ghz
    Quad 2.2 is to 3.3Ghz
    Quad 2.3 is to 3.4Ghz

    The i7 2.7Ghz in the 13" Turbo boosts to 3.4Ghz

    In many situations depending on the application, the i7 2.7 dual core IS faster than the i7 2.0 Quad. You would have to benchmark the application to really find out.
  9. Eddyisgreat macrumors 601

    Oct 24, 2007
    u rite.
  10. 2tallyAwesome thread starter macrumors regular

    Jan 16, 2007
    So....what I'm gathering here is that the duo could well be faster than the quad, and if it isn't, it's really negligible.

    So if I'm only ever going to use this for Sibelius, Logic, Live, etc., and I'm never going to run any games or take an interest in photoshop or anything like that, then I would probably be better off saving the money and going with the high end 13''?

    The extra screen space would be nice, but not really necessary as I have a 24'' monitor at home.

    Am I missing anything?
  11. ZZANG macrumors regular


    Feb 25, 2011
    Planet Cybertron
    Yes and no. As more programs utilize quad - quad. Right now - either way you want to swing would be fine. If you want to save money now - go with the duo i7.

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
  12. mac jones, Mar 14, 2011
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2011

    mac jones macrumors 68040

    Apr 6, 2006

    I'm in the same 'audio boat' , and have pondered the same question: "Is the 2.7 actually faster in certain situations than the lower clocked quad?" (in my case the 2.2ghz quad). Audio is a complicated scenario , as there's so many different aspects. You listed a few audio apps that might have diverse requirements.

    First, the quad is much more powerful 'in general', so that's solved. But what about 'real time'?. This is a very important requirement in audio as it involves latency. The good news is that these quad chips seem to be able to turbo boost to approximately the same freq as the 2.7GHZ duo, so in effect it's a win/win approach where you have the best of both worlds with these new quads. They have much more powerful multiprocessing, yet can shut down cores when not needed, and ramp up the freq for apps that don't need the other cores; I other words, if your running a latency sensitive app like Ableton, the quad can in effect, become like the faster duo by shutting down 2 or 3 cores and ramping up the clock to 3.3ghz (approximately the same as the duo). They say this actually works really well, and is not some temporary experiment that will be abandoned later. It works, and does what I just said (they say).

    So why would anyone even want a Duo at this point, if they cost about the same? (which I believe these two do). Well the thermal requirements for the quad make it unsuitable for a lot of machines. If you put the quad in the 13" it would, in effect, only behave like a duo and never fire up it's other cores (hypothetically of course), but you get the picture.

    My only question is: "Is there latency involved in the process of determining what cores to shut down and how to ramp up in the quad with turbo boost ". They answer to this is probably "Yes of course", but the duo does this also as it has the same turbo boost (I believe) , yet it starts off at a higher clock. But the fact that it 'starts' at 2.7ghz and the quad at 2.2ghz is sort of irrelevant if the turbo boost stage is engaged as the latency will be the same in either case.

    I got most of this brilliant insight (cough cough) from the Anandtech review which everyone should read ( exceedingly good reviews from these guys BTW ). Anand on passing mentions that the 2.7GHZ 'might' be just a little faster as it can turbo boost faster? (this isn't a scientific analysis, but just a speculation, going probably on common sense, as if any of this has anything to do with commons sense. In other words, this is perhaps wrong). But all of this is moot without tests.

  13. grahamnp macrumors 6502a

    Jun 4, 2008
    Keep in mind that the stated turbo frequency is a best case scenario, you may not be able to maintain that speed for an extended period or at all.

    The 2.7 will generally be better in applications that are not multithreaded. I don't know anything about the programs you are using but the 2.0 quad will not be far behind in single threaded apps and will run circles around the 2.7 in multithreaded apps.

    The apps generally don't see a distinction between two and four cores. To put it simply, they are either written to open one active thread or more than one, after which it just scales according to the number of threads you have available. However, some apps don't scale very well (diminishing returns) past a certain number.
  14. joe8232 macrumors regular

    Jun 21, 2005
    I had a question similar to this but couldn't quite express it very well. I am a PhD student and I write a lot of code in Fortran and IDL which only runs on one core of the processor so would I be better off with the dual core and a faster clock speed or would the advantage of having three idle cores whilst my code runs on one be far more advantageous?

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