Confused Student -- Core 2 Duo or i5 MacBook Pro?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by mBurns, Jun 16, 2010.

  1. mBurns macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2006
    Location:
    USA
    #1
    OK, so here's my dilemma.

    I currently have a Core Duo MacBook Pro which has treated me well for many years. Now that I'm heading off to college, it's time for an upgrade.

    I've narrowed down the perfect size for college -- 15.4" MBP and want this MBP, like my last one, to last me four years.

    So, I realize the MBPs were recently updated to i5. I started to parouse the refurb store and noticed that they have 15 MBPs previous-gen Core 2 Duo like


    Refurbished MacBook Pro 2.8GHz Intel Core 2 Duo
    15.4-inch LED-backlit antiglare widescreen display
    4GB memory
    500GB hard drive
    8x SuperDrive (DVD±R DL/DVD±RW/CD-RW)
    SD Card Slot
    Built-in 7-hour battery
    NVIDIA GeForce 9400M + 9600M GT with 512MB
    Illuminated keyboard

    for $1829

    or here

    Refurbished MacBook Pro 2.8GHz Intel Core 2 Duo
    15.4-inch LED-backlit antiglare widescreen display
    4GB memory
    128GB Solid State Drive
    8x SuperDrive (DVD±R DL/DVD±RW/CD-RW)
    SD Card Slot
    Built-in 7-hour battery
    NVIDIA GeForce 9400M + 9600M GT with 512MB
    Illuminated keyboard

    for $1999

    What's the story here? It seems like these machines have superior graphic cards (VRAM-wise). That's the only reason the previous gen seems good. Do the older generations have greater graphics capability? What is more important in the long run (graphics or processor)?

    If this was your money, and you're looking to maximize longevity (poor college student), what would you get? Last gen or new version? And if I go with the last gen, which one?
     
  2. mynewromantica macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2009
    #2
    Letting us know what your main uses will be is going to help you get your answer.
     
  3. iSpoody 1243 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2008
    Location:
    Australia
    #3
    the 2.4ghz i5 is faster than the 2.8ghz core2duo
    the 330m gt is about 30% faster than the 9600m gt
    it seems like a no brainer to get the base i5
     
  4. sn0warmy macrumors 6502a

    sn0warmy

    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2009
    Location:
    Denver, CO
    #4
    +1
     
  5. tuna macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2010
    #7
    Google some benchmarks of the new i5 and i7 vs the old C2D. They destroy them. Like 30% better CPU performance than the outgoing models.

    Now there is a downside of the new models vs the old models, but its more of a conceptual downside and considering the real world tradeoff the new models are still probably a better deal. The deal is that the integrated graphics is actually significantly more powerful in the old models than in the new models, and while nobody complained about running normal desktop applications with the old integrated graphics, Apple has had to make the new MBP's discrete graphics turn on automatically to ensure acceptable video performance. This has actually decreased battery life vs the old models in real world usage.

    However, like I said with the new models you're getting massively better CPU performance, and the new discrete GPU is a worthwhile upgrade too. Its just that since Intel forced Apple into using Intel integrated graphics, battery life had to be sacrificed a little.
     
  6. robotmonkey macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2010
    #8
    To me, the c2d is fast enough. But at those prices for a refurb with a noticeable decrease in performance? I think not. The c2d is plenty fast and most of the time will be on par with the i5 for most people, but it is noticeably slower. I love it in my 13 inch, it is right for me. But I would not pay that much for a used computer... maybe if it had the same chipset, but not one of those.
     
  7. Rithem macrumors 6502

    Rithem

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2008
  8. Sun Baked macrumors G5

    Sun Baked

    Joined:
    May 19, 2002
    #10
    Hyper-Threading is the biggie which makes the i5 worth the extra few hundred when you expect to keep the machine for a bit as a college student.

    Core2Duo = 2 cores

    i5/i7 = Built-in Hyper-Threading allows two threads to run simultaneously on each core, so Mac OS X recognizes four virtual cores instead of just two. When you’re running multiple applications at once, the Core i5 and Core i7 processors spread tasks more evenly across a greater number of cores — so you can get more done, faster.
     
  9. mansanas macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2010
    #11
    no brainer... those prices arent attractive enough, or at all.
    new base i5
     
  10. agentphish macrumors 65816

    agentphish

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2004
    #12
    new base i5 matte screen. Don't buy a refurb, it's not worth it when the new is so much better.
     
  11. Saladsamurai macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2009
    #13
    +1. With a student discount, you can get the i7 for 15" $1999!

    And I am pretty sure there is no such thing as "base model with matte finish." Only the hi res upgrade comes in matte now :(
     
  12. mBurns thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2006
    Location:
    USA
    #14
    Thanks for everyones help. This was a quick answer -- I was just slightly confused.... with the 256 vs. 512 difference (which at first glance seems like a downgrade).

    I definitely will only go with the matte screen!
     
  13. MacCentric macrumors newbie

    MacCentric

    Joined:
    Apr 16, 2011
    #15
    Apple refurbs are alright!

    I don't agree. I've purchased 3 refurbs and they've all been pretty much flawless, not a fingerprint to be found. They come with a full warranty and seem to come in more environmentally friendly packaging to boot. What is so much better about a new model vs. a refurb?
    Now, with Philips, don't touch one of their refurbs, they do come with fingerprints, and grime, and usually don't work either.
    This is from my own experience, ymmv.
     
  14. mike 2011 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2011
    #16
    Unless you need the bigger screen and better performance, the 13" will suit your needs for college just fine. You will be happy that it's not the largest object in your bag.
     
  15. bozz2006 macrumors 68030

    bozz2006

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2007
    Location:
    Minnesota
    #17
    Queefer, this thread was a year old and resurrected by Maccentric.

    Maccentric, I don't think he was knocking the quality of the refurb. Rather the hardware of those specific refurbs.
     

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