Core 2 Duo worth it still?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by michial, Oct 11, 2010.

  1. michial macrumors 6502

    michial

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    Sep 15, 2009
    #1
    We decided to get a powerhouse for a desktop to handle all our needs and wants as a main computer. Went with the 27" iMac core i7. Now we want a macbook but will only use it for the web, streaming audio/video, minimal photo editing,etc. We love the form factor of the 13"mbp. Even though its only core 2duo, Iam not sure I need anything more than the 2.4 c2d? Already have an ipad but want something in between to do some minimal business on. Not sure if forking out an extra $600 for the base i5 is worth it or if the c2d will be fine. It isnt a desktop or main computer, but more of a satellite, any thoughts-is it stupid to buy the 13" with the aging c2d? Or is it fine for what Ive listed I'll use it for. In three years I will be fine buying another at that price-but dropping nearly 2k on something I wont use seems silly. Sure it may be slower but how much slower...? Thanks
     
  2. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere

    GGJstudios

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    #2
    It depends on what you want to use it for, but I'm still perfectly happy with my 2 1/2 yr old C2D MBP. It does everything I need it to do. Very fast and reliable. Zero problems. YMMV.
     
  3. rprebel macrumors 6502

    rprebel

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    #3
    My main computer is a 1.5GHz Core Solo Mini and I ask quite a bit of it. It has yet to let me down. You should be fine with that "old" C2D, but as GGJ said YMMV.
     
  4. melterx12 macrumors 6502a

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    Jun 22, 2010
    #4
    core 2 duo is more than fast enough for general use, especially for a laptop. for instance, games running on an i7 870 gain only about 10fps compared to a core 2 duo e8400 (I have tested this using the same amount of RAM and same Video Card - im talking about desktop CPUs, both of which I own). and for every day use you wot notice a difference. the only huge performance difference I have noticed between my core 2 duo and my i7 is when encoding videos, the i7 is much faster (the i7 870 has 4 cores hyper threaded totalling 8, a macbook i7 has only 2 cores hyperthreaded to 4), but other than that they feel very similar.

    as far as macbooks go, there are only a few applications that would greatly benefit from an i5/i7.


    I hope this answers your question. an i7/i5 will definitly be faster than a core 2 duo from a technical perspective, but from a practical perspective, there is little difference except for some uses such as video encoding.

    having said that, you must also consider that the 15" macbook pro has a Nvidia 330M gpu, instead of the 320M found in the 13". the 330M has its own dedicated RAM and from what I heard is considerably faster than the 320M, meaning it will run Games and other graphic intesnive applications faster.
     
  5. C64 macrumors 65816

    C64

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    Sep 3, 2008
    #5
    The C2D will be too fast for your purposes. Most of the time the CPU will be sleeping.

    Nowadays most CPUs are plenty fast for day-to-day things. Even though marketers will like you to believe you need an i-something CPU, it's simply not true. The CPU will only come in play when you're e.g. encoding videos. In those cases you'll notice a difference between e.g. the i5 and the C2D CPUs. Differences between the i5 and i7 are far less noticeable. And keep in mind we're talking about applications here that'll let you wait on a render or encoding for a while no matter what. But with the i5 CPU it'll be done in 45 minutes instead of 60 (ballpark number).

    The bottle necks are usually RAM and hard drive speed. They'll both influence how many applications you can run on the same time and how smooth al of that works. And for most people that's what it's all about. Browsers tend to take up a lot of RAM when you have a lot of tabs opened up. If you're also working with photos the same thing will happen for those applications. Having enough RAM is essential here; 4GB is usually a good amount. Apart from RAM an SSD drive will do wonders. This will speed up things alot. Say that you feel that in a few years when you're using newer software things could be slower, prices for SSDs have probably dropped a lot already, and swapping out the stock drive for an SSD will breath new life into your machine.

    Bottom line: since you won't be using this for really heavy work, you won't be sorry. Don't worry that just because it doesn't have an i-something CPU it won't be able to handle anything. And the size is pretty nice of course for something light and portable.
     
  6. Tilpots macrumors 601

    Tilpots

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    #6
    What's the life expectancy on C2D machines? If they are well taken care of physically and maybe the battery is replaced, should a typical C2D last for three or four more years on a three year old machine???
     
  7. melterx12 macrumors 6502a

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    Jun 22, 2010
    #7
    im not sure I understand what youre asking... laptops are portable computers with batteries. solid state hardware such as the CPU should not die for no reason. current macbook pro batteries are rated to last 1000 recharge cycles (3-5 years depending on usage). if you replace a dead battery your computer will last a very long time.

    I have a PC that I bought back in 1999, whose CPU fan has been removed (Pentium III), its extremely slow but it still works.
     
  8. michial thread starter macrumors 6502

    michial

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    Sep 15, 2009
    #8
    I appreciate the honesty. Nobody on here is saying the iX isnt spec wise better, but if Im not using it for business and time is money and Im not running multithreaded apps then the core2duo should suit me just fine. Sure its not the fastest but Im in no hurry. Waiting an extra 30 seconds for my file to unarchive is worth the $600 in savings I will have. Plus I love the 13" form factor. Its a perfect size for portability and just kickin it at home on the sofa. Ill stick to my iMac for more intense work.

    Do you think my wife can play sims3 on low settings on this? Other than bejeweled that it for the gaming.
     
  9. Tilpots macrumors 601

    Tilpots

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    #9
    No, you're right on target. I was saying aside from the battery... Thanks.

    What I was trying to get at though, and I didn't frame the question so well:eek:, was what else would be likely to die in the next few years on older C2D machines.
     
  10. michial thread starter macrumors 6502

    michial

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    Sep 15, 2009
    #10
    As an aside-Ive read hwo the i7 and i5's run a tad hot. Will this core2duo 2.4 be just as hot-can it actually be used as a 'laptop' without getting a burn?
     
  11. melterx12 macrumors 6502a

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    Jun 22, 2010
    #11
    besides the battery the only other thing that might die is your hard drive, since it has moving parts it has a higher failure rate than other parts. after that, the RAM is the most likely component to fail. both the hard drive and RAM are user replaceable and servicable, not that im saying they will die in the next few years, all im saying is that they are more likely to fail than the other componenets due to how they work and are used.

    all other components are very unlikely to fail from normal use.

    have a look at this: http://www.anandtech.com/show/3762/...ly-2010-reviewed-shaking-the-cpugpu-balance/6

    and this : http://www.anandtech.com/show/3762/...ly-2010-reviewed-shaking-the-cpugpu-balance/4
     
  12. Tilpots macrumors 601

    Tilpots

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    #12
    Thanks.
     
  13. toxic macrumors 68000

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    Nov 9, 2008
    #13
    it'll do fine for that use. if you don't need a display to come with it, you should consider a Mac mini instead.

    I think Core 2 is about 10-20% slower at the same clock speed than Nehalem (Core i3), not counting things like Hyperthreading or Turbo Boost, which I think the i3 doesn't have anyway...
     
  14. michial thread starter macrumors 6502

    michial

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    #14
    The failure rate is the same regardless of cpu I decide on right?
     
  15. michial thread starter macrumors 6502

    michial

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    Sep 15, 2009
    #15
    How much slower is the 2.4 or 2.66 core2duo in comparison to the base i5 2.4? Is it worth the $600 more, and will it last longer,etc?
     
  16. melterx12 macrumors 6502a

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    #16
    yes
     
  17. melterx12 macrumors 6502a

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    #17
  18. akhbhaat macrumors regular

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    Sep 30, 2010
    #18
    My homebuilt desktop has an overclocked quad core i7 that would completely demolish just about any mobile CPU in any benchmark or encoding test. My laptop, meanwhile, is a mid-2010 base Macbook with the 2.4 GHz P8600 C2D. Like you, I was attracted to the portability of the 13" form factor, and didn't really intend to use the laptop for serious number crunching (why would I, when I already have a powerful desktop?).

    I can't tell the difference between them in typical day to day use (e.g. web browsing, email, documents/productivity, programming, moderate Photoshop and light gaming). Honest. There are a few comparable situations where the desktop seems a bit faster (loading large programs, mostly), but this is almost certainly due to the fact that it has a much faster hard disk setup (a handful of three platter 7200 rpm drives in a RAID array).

    For what it's worth, I was still using a Core 2 Duo E6420 (2.13 Ghz desktop model) for gaming as of this past March.

    Probably not worth it, given what you're telling us. You'd notice a bit of a difference (maybe 10-15%) when performing CPU intensive tasks like video encoding or compiling an operating system kernel or something, but I think your intentions preclude such things.

    Take some of the $600 and put a solid state drive into your 13" MBP. A computer with a C2D and a SSD will seem significantly faster in day to day use than another machine with an i5 and a 5400 rpm magnetic HDD. The SSD should (theoretically) improve reliability as well, as it has no moving parts--there's no risk of damage from moving the computer while it's reading or writing, for instance.

    Any electronic CPU will eventually fail due to a phenomenon known as electromigration (basically, the atomic structure of the copper circuitry inside of a CPU is physically imperfect, and this structure will over time become displaced/damaged due to collisions with the electrons that constitute electric current flow--this is also why your processor produces heat), but this takes a very long time. Intel and AMD have both casually and unofficially suggested that the MTBF for a modern processor should comfortably exceed ten years of continuous use. Your computer itself will probably not function that long without repairs of some sort, but it'll almost certainly be due to another component failure (probably mechanical--hard drives, fans, etc).
     
  19. itripped macrumors member

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    Apr 25, 2010
    #19
    Okay, I happen to have the 2.66 version of the 13" mbp. I use it on my lap all the time without it getting too hot for that. Having 'only' a C2D processor allows for better heat dissipation I guess. While I haven't played Sims, I have played a lot of other games, and am pretty sure that your wife will be able to run any of the Sim titles at better than low settings.

    To compare: I play Valve's Left 4 Dead 2 on OS X at full resolution (1280x800) without any issues, and I think I have it set on medium to high textures. I used to complain about the seemingly low resolution on this comp, but it turns out that it really helps in terms of performance for gaming. I also play Civ IV at pretty high textures (again at max res) and only experience minor performance issues (I wait an extra second or so between turns, etc). Overall, I'd say that your comp will more than live up to the expectations you have for it. But honestly, have you considered the regular macbook? It now has the same internals so you could save even more $$ if you don't need the aluminum casing.
     
  20. Mars2010 macrumors member

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    Aug 19, 2010
    #20
    I was in a similar situation; I bought a 27" iMac in July and the 13" MBP in August. I've been really happy with both purchases. If you aren't doing anything intensive, the C2D should be adequate. I like the portability and long battery-life of the smaller machine.
     
  21. wakeborder556 macrumors regular

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    May 31, 2008
    #21
    My core2 was getting a little long in the tooth but I got an SSD to help supplement it for another year or so.
     
  22. Thiol macrumors 6502a

    Thiol

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    #22
    Optical drive tend to fail in my experience.
     
  23. dallas112678 macrumors 6502a

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    Feb 17, 2008
    #23
    Like another person said, a C2D will be much more power than you actually need to do those things. I have a 2 1/2 year C2D 15" MBP (The 13" has a slightly higher clock speed) and i've never seen my machine go over 20% CPU power used doing pretty much everything you described. It wasn't to long ago that the C2D was top of the line, just because there are more powerful CPU's out doesn't mean that slightly older CPU's can't handle little things with flying colors. Really for the past couple years, any CPU would be more than enough to handle the things you described.
     
  24. Tilpots macrumors 601

    Tilpots

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    #24
    Interesting info. I'm hoping my C2D Mini HTPC will run for 10 years! Really though, I'm looking to get a used Laptop and trying to see what will last for the cheapest price.


    Yeah, fortunately they're not needed so much these days.
     
  25. lobeyonekenobi macrumors regular

    lobeyonekenobi

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    #25
    regarding ur question about running the Sims 3 , i run at at full settings on my 13" MBP and it works just fine, no lags or problems at all!!
     

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