Core 2 Duo iMacs vs MacBook Pros

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by superiska123, Jun 5, 2014.

  1. superiska123, Jun 5, 2014
    Last edited: Jun 5, 2014

    superiska123 macrumors newbie

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    #1
    Hi, I am currently considering buying a used iMac or MacBook Pro, since I do not have the budget or needs for a new one. My first question is, are Core 2 Duo machines still "usable" for daily usage? I don't consider my self a power-user so to say, but I would like Webpages and email to be opened swiftly and I would occasionally like to fool around in programs such as Photoshop, iPhoto and iMovie. My other question is, which iMac or Macbook Pro to buy? I have done lots of research, but I would still like to hear somebody else's opinion. For the iMac, I am taking into consideration the following models: iMac "Core 2 Duo" 3.06 24-Inch (Early 2008), iMac "Core 2 Duo" 3.06 24-Inch (Early 2009) and iMac "Core 2 Duo" 3.06 21.5-Inch (Late 2009). As for the MacBook Pro, I am considering these models: MacBook Pro "Core 2 Duo" 2.53 13" (SD/FW), MacBook Pro "Core 2 Duo" 2.4 13" Mid-2010 and MacBook Pro "Core 2 Duo" 2.66 13" Mid-2010
    Which of the iMacs would you recommend, and which of the MBP? Feel free to add another, possibly better model, but also C2D. Also, could you tell me which price do you think is appropriate for the model you think is best?
    Thanks in advance,
    superiska123
     
  2. SandboxGeneral Moderator

    SandboxGeneral

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    #2
    Yes, absolutely they are! I have the very same iMac as your first link you show. It has Mavericks on it and runs great. I still use it in a production environment for Garageband at church. It's very capable and should continue to be so for the foreseeable future. The only thing I did to it was max the RAM out to 6GB.
     
  3. SpinalTap macrumors regular

    SpinalTap

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    #3
    FWIW, I've just recycled two 2009 CD2 Mac Mini's for a single 2012 Mac Mini.

    For me, Mavericks was the prime cause for the Mini's relatively poor performance. It would typically take over 2 minutes to start up, while opening Safari would take quite some time/with spinning beach-balls.

    If I had kept them, swapping the standard drive for SSD would have been key to its daily usability.
     
  4. somemacuser macrumors newbie

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    I have an early 2009 24" iMac C2D 2.66. I did put in RAM years ago, but the bigger deal was the SSD upgrade. Even with the slower SSD speed relative to the newer models, this thing just is smooth and peppy as ever. I've run every OS since leopard without issue, and am presently on Mavericks.

    And by the way, even before the SSD upgrade, I could use iTunes to serve up an HD movie to my ATV, serve another hd movie to an iPAD w/ homesharing, *another* to a second iDevice, while transcoding video in handbrake and all while surfing the web on the iMac simultaneously. I kid you not. That is amazingly impressive for a 5 year old computer, and a testament to the underlying OS technology. It is also why I can't justify buying a new one yet. Its totally and completely usable for me.

    I bought my mother the same model (smaller screen size) last christmas and did the same upgrades (RAM, SSD). She is thrilled with it (but not a power user of course).
     
  5. hologram macrumors 6502

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    #5
    I have an early 2008 Core2 Duo 2.8 w/4gb ram, and Mavericks runs very smoothly on it, as do all the apps including Photoshop. It was getting pretty slow under Mountain Lion, but Mavericks sped it up and made it feel a couple of years younger. As for daily usage, I use it all day every day.

    I'd go for the early 2009 iMac, but that's just me. I like the larger monitors the desktops offer, and I don't need it to be portable. As long as you get some sort of warranty (after all, you're talking 4-6 year old hardware), you should be very happy with it.
     
  6. SandboxGeneral Moderator

    SandboxGeneral

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    I still contemplate putting the SSD in my older C2D iMac from time to time. I think if I did that, I'd probably just do an external USB SSD and boot to that. I'm in no mood to open up another iMac when the speed benefit will be marginal between SATA II and USB 2. Either option is much faster than the HDD.
     
  7. tbobmccoy macrumors 6502a

    tbobmccoy

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    #7
    I use a MacBook late 2009 as my primary computer at work and it runs like a dream still. I'm still rocking Snow Leopard, so that might be part of it ;)
     
  8. SandboxGeneral Moderator

    SandboxGeneral

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    #8
    Snow Leopard is a great OS and I miss certain features of it still. But even with Mavericks, my older iMac still runs just as great as it did with SL.
     
  9. js81 macrumors 65816

    js81

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    #9
    There would be a HUGE difference between SATA II and USB 2! USB 2 maxes out at around 480Mbps... that's 60MBps, if I read right. And that's theorhetical; I never got over ~20MBps with a USB hard drive and the same drive would get ~100 connected via SATA. My SSD on SATA II gets ~150-160MBps in my 2009 mini - by contrast, my external Firewire RAID drive barely pulls 50MBps, and Firewire 800 is faster than USB 2.

    In short, put that thing inside! It's worth it (though I know it's a TON of work on an iMac)!
     
  10. SandboxGeneral Moderator

    SandboxGeneral

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    #10
    Yeah, you're right - it's not quite as marginal as I made it out to be. :p

    But still it's head and shoulders above the HDD. I have an SSD in my 2010 iMac with SATA II so do I know how fast it is.
     
  11. js81 macrumors 65816

    js81

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    #11
    Are you sure about it being above the HDD? Most modern-ish HDDs should pull in at least 60-80MBps via SATA II... I tested some Caviar Black drives a few years back when I built some systems and single drives were pulling in 130+! :eek:
     
  12. SandboxGeneral Moderator

    SandboxGeneral

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    #12
    Oh yes.

    Here is a HDD in a MacBook Pro that was run on Saturday this past weekend:
    [​IMG]

    Here is my Samsung 830 in a USB 3 enclosure connected to my MacBook Pro via USB 2:
    [​IMG]
     
  13. js81 macrumors 65816

    js81

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    #13
    How the heck are you getting 225+ on USB 2?!?!? I don't even get that internally via SATA II (granted your drive is better than mine, but mine's still a SATA III drive). Most I EVER get is ~190-200.

    EDIT: For comparison, here's my crappy WinXP laptop's SSD benchmark with HDTune... (just ran, btw). Drive and computer are both SATA II, computer is a Dell D520.
     

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  14. SandboxGeneral Moderator

    SandboxGeneral

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    #14
    Beats me! :p But that's the truth, it really performed like that.

    Here is the same Samsung 830 inside on the SATA III interface of the same MacBook Pro from over the weekend. (In case you're wondering, I upgraded to an 840 EVO over the weekend which is why I have all these test results.)

    [​IMG]
     
  15. js81 macrumors 65816

    js81

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    #15
    That. Is. Awesome!

    Are the Samsung drives that great or are you just lucky lol... And to believe I just posted a thread about upgrading my mini server to dual SSDs to boost performance. :rolleyes:
     
  16. SandboxGeneral Moderator

    SandboxGeneral

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    Well, I've been very pleased with the Samsung SSD's for a couple of years now. One iMac has an 840 in it (SATA II) and my MBP [now] has the 840 EVO. My other iMac and mentioned above still has the original HDD. Plus I've put a few Samsung SSD's into some PC's at the office too.

    For fun, here is the new 840 EVO in the same MBP as listed above. It pegged the needles this time! :cool:

    [​IMG]

    ----------

    Is that on the Windows XP box? Do you have a TRIM enabler for it? I would be willing to guess that there is no TRIM running on that SSD which, over time, can cause it to slow down.
     
  17. superiska123 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #17
    Ok, so first a HUGE thanks to anyone who replied to my post :) I think that I am leaning towards getting an iMac. So, the question is, which one? I like the 2008 one, but the DDR2 memory concerns me, because it wouldn't be as easy to upgrade. Bcoz of that, the other 24 inch one looks better to me. Now as for the 21.5 ich one, I really like the fact that the screen is 1080P and IPS, but the graphics performance seems like it's the worse, even on the higher-end model with ATI graphics. Also, how big is the difference between the two 24-inchers? I am especially interested in the difference between graphics, but also ddr2 vs ddr3 and anything else that differs between these two models.
     
  18. js81, Jun 5, 2014
    Last edited: Jun 5, 2014

    js81 macrumors 65816

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    #18
    Wish I was in front of my Mac instead of this XP dinosaur... regardless, I know that my SATA II numbers are nowhere near that. Pegged needles FTW! :D

    So... my next SSD with be a Samsung, I suppose. :) Thanks for the screenshots, even if they do make me feel inferior lol. A side note... the SSD that is in my old XP Dell used to be in my mini, striped with its twin brother that now lives in my wife's old hand-me-down Dell D820. Even striped I could barely break 200...

    No - the 200-ish speeds are on my mini, running Snow Leopard, TRIM enabled. Is there a TRIM enabler that will work for XP? I haven't found one... good news is that the OCZ drive I have in it does have garbage collection, so that's better than nothing, I suppose. :) I get in the low 100s on the XP machine, but the responsiveness of the SSD makes up for it. I paid $29.99 for these crappy Vertex R2's that are in both my Dells, btw. :D

    I don't think you'll notice a SPEED difference in DDR2 to DDR3 so much; what you WILL notice, though, is the RAM ceiling. Personally, I don't want anything with less than 8GB of RAM nowadays (and even that isn't enough most of the time; I have to restart my mini once every few days due to lack of RAM). And I'm typing this from my XP laptop with... wait for it... 2GB of DDR2. :D

    And sorry that I've kind of highjacked your thread to talk SSDs. In short, whatever you get, get an SSD. :D
     
  19. superiska123 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    No problem! It's really useful to know all these things about SSD's :)
     
  20. SandboxGeneral Moderator

    SandboxGeneral

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    #20
    What do you plan on doing with it? If it's just general stuff, any of them would be okay with me. Go for the best price at this point.

    But if I had to pick, I'd get the 2009 24" iMac because it's a year newer than the other one. For the MBP, I'd pick the one that is the 2.66GHz one.

    Well you can't complain too much about the price of the Vertex! I have no idea if there is a TRIM enabler for use on Windows XP. It was just a thought I had as to the possible reason why it was slower. It could just be that it's the brand (Samsung) with better NAND technology - or something like that. :p
     
  21. js81 macrumors 65816

    js81

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    #21
    Best investment I've ever put in any computer I've ever owned. PERIOD. And that even includes the $150 60GB SSD that was my first - Well.Worth.It.
     
  22. superiska123 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #22
    Thanks, I kind of like that one the best as well :) I won't be using it for much, just internet, very casual gaming and video editing and similar stuff. What about the 21.5 inch iMac? Is it a lot worse?
     
  23. SandboxGeneral Moderator

    SandboxGeneral

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    #23
    Much agreed. SSD's are arguably the best upgrade one can do to a computer. The other being RAM, if it has very little and starts using swap space, add more.

    I just chose the 24" over the 21" simply for the screen size. I prefer a larger screen.
     
  24. js81 macrumors 65816

    js81

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    #24
    I just realized I never answered your question like I intended to (got sidetracked lol)... my advice would be the 21.5" iMac and the reason is really simple - it's the newest. :) Plus, it has a 16:9 display, which while not really a "pro," will at least look newer. Plus, some of the older 24" iMacs had issues with "banding" in the LCD from uneven backlighting with age. Not sure if this is true of the newer ones or not, though.

    Then again, ANY of the Macbook Pros would be easier to upgrade to an SSD. Have you considered a mid-09 15" Macbook Pro (the 2.53GHz C2D w/9400M graphics)? They should be fairly cheap nowadays and the larger screen is worth it. :)

    EDIT: I found THIS ONE on a very quick search. Disclaimer: I have no idea about the seller or even much of the condition; I only skimmed. :) Upgrade the RAM to 8GB and slap in an SSD and you'd be set.
     
  25. superiska123 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #25
    I had taken the 15 inch MBP into consideration, but only for a short amount of time. While I do like bigger screens with desktops, I prefer smaller ones with laptops, I just think it would be to bulky and heavy for me, so I wanted to stick with 13 inch models. Also, I am not from the US nor from the UK, so eBay is only an option if they ship worldwide, but then it has to be dirt cheap because it adds up with shipping. Where I'm from, the older 15' MBPs are like 100-150 Euros more expensive than 13 inch ones, so that's an issue as well. Another thing is, based just by benchmarks, the iMacs just seem a whole lot faster than any MBP, so that's my concern as well.
     

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