Difference between the Feb 2011 and the Nov 2011 MBP 15"

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by No Regrets, Dec 17, 2011.

  1. No Regrets macrumors regular

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    Dec 14, 2011
    #1
    Hi all,

    I've never had a Mac product before, but I will soon (hopefully within a couple of weeks).

    I do not have much knowledge when it comes to computers, so I was hoping maybe some of you could help me out.

    I want a 15" MBP standard glossy screen.

    But what are the differences between the Feb '11 2.0 ghz quad i7 4gb/500gb AMD 6490/256mb for $1359 refurb vs the Nov '11 2.2ghz 4gb/500gb HD AMD 6750/512mb for $1800?

    Unfortunately, I do not understand what these numbers mean even though I see that they are different. Is there any meaningful differences between these two computers?

    Are there other differences between the Feb '11 vs the Nov '11 computers other than listed above?

    Thank you!!
     
  2. Satnam1989, Dec 17, 2011
    Last edited: Dec 17, 2011

    Satnam1989 macrumors 65816

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    #2

    Faster processor and GPU is the only difference, CPU has 200Mhz more and GPU and 256MB more dedicated for graphics built within the graphic card which means it should/will perform a little bit better.....if you aren't looking to anything intensive like play HIGH rated games, video editing etc etc you will be more than happy spending the $1359 compared to $1800.....but if you have the extra money might as well spend it....

    all in all the $1800 option is 10-20% faster/better than the $1359 option in simple words, here are some options you can consider if you go with $1359 to make it even better:

    1) Get a Solid State Drive(not from apple but from 3rd party store ex Best Buy, Tiger Direct etc etc), Remove your optical bay drive(CD/DVD DRIVE) and put the original 500GB HDD into that spot with a caddy/holder you can get from eBay. The Solid State Drives don't have any mechanical spinning/moving parts so they work SUPER FAST, almost instant! I have the setup and I have the Early 2011 (the one thats selling refurb now for $1359) and my Macbook Pro boots in 15seconds! This will allow you to have SUPER FAST SPEED, Storage on your 500GB HDD and biggest bang for your BUCK!
    2) upgrade to 8GB Ram/Memory

    You can do the above upgrades your self at home, its little DIY commitment and EXTREMLY simple even for the least handy person. I have recommendations in a thread on the forum you can refer to that. I can post link if you interested once you get it.
     
  3. No Regrets thread starter macrumors regular

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    Dec 14, 2011
    #3
    Hi Satnam1989,

    Thank you for your reply and the tips for further upgrading. Are there any other differences between these two computers that may not be spec related?

    For instance, I was at a local dealer for a brief visit and he mentioned something about being able to hit a button and what was presented on the screen became fullsize....filling up the entire screen. He said that was something new for MBP. I don't know if that is new for the late model 2011 or if also included on the Feb 2011 model. I thought that was kinda nice because it made reading the type easier for my aging eyes.

    Any other differences between the computers other than spec related?

    Thanks again.
     
  4. Satnam1989 macrumors 65816

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    #4
    Thats the new OSX Lion, Should come with it if it doesn't you can claim it from apple because it is purchased after June (Obviously lol) so you will be eligible if it comes preinstalled with OSX Snow Leopard...Lion is amazing!

    There are no other differences it was completely just a spec(hardware) bump. every other thing is 100000% identical.
     
  5. Akack macrumors 6502a

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    USA
    #5
    Main difference is the late 2011 has a better video card compared to the early 2011. If all you use the computer is for web browsing and simple tasks just get the less expensive one since you won't notice the difference between the graphics card.
     
  6. thundersteele macrumors 68030

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    Oct 19, 2011
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    Switzerland
    #6
    Most differences are negligible.

    If you care about gaming, the new model has a significantly more powerful graphics card, so that is something to consider.

    If you buy from the Apple refurbished store, the machine will come with OSX Lion installed - this means that there will be no differences on the software side, all features of the new model will also be available on the old model.

    The stock configuration is fine for most users. The upgrades Satnam mentions are very useful, but not necessary.

    One thing that can't be upgraded later is the screen. If you do have an Apple store nearby, you could go and compare the different options for the 15'' displays (normal, high-res, and high-res antiglare). The normal display is still very good!
     
  7. bill-p macrumors 68000

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    Jul 23, 2011
    #7
    If I have to make it short, the $1800 computer is faster in general, but it also puts out more heat (noticeably more), and it'll likely have worse battery life as well (this is generally not verified but is a safe assumption).

    To go a bit more in depth, the Early 2011 only supports up to 1333MHz DDR3, whereas the latter model supports up to 1600MHz DDR3. It's just newer hardware.

    If you absolutely must have the bleeding edge, I'd say go for the Nov '11. If you care more about battery life and heat, then go for the Feb '11. That's the most noticeable difference between those two in my opinions.
     
  8. JamesGorman macrumors 65816

    JamesGorman

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    #8
    Sorry, but to be blatant you are wrong. The early 2011 actually unofficially supports 1600MHZ ram whereas the late 2011 2.2GHZ only supports 1333MHZ. As well the heat is about the same. It is not noticeable at all.
     
  9. No Regrets thread starter macrumors regular

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    #9
    I mostly just do web browsing, but I am going to start a new hobby...photography. So for doing post processing work/ photo editing, etc working in lets say Aperature 3 for instance, will the updated video/graphics card come into play here at all? Or would it still make sense to buy the early 2011 version?

    I really appreciate everyone trying to help me get into the right computer!!!
     
  10. thundersteele macrumors 68030

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    #10
    This is also not fully correct. The early 2011 2.0 GHz also only accepts 1333 MHz RAM.
    Only the high end models, i.e. the early 2011 with 2.2 GHz and the later 2011 with 2.4 GHz can handle 1600 MHz RAM.

    The heat from the CPU must be the same, since they have the same TDP. The GPU might get hotter and suck more power. But I don't think it's notable.
     
  11. bill-p, Dec 17, 2011
    Last edited: Dec 17, 2011

    bill-p macrumors 68000

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    #11
    Well, my bad. You are right. The Feb '11 model with higher end processors do support 1600MHz. But the lower end model doesn't.

    Specifically, here are the processors in the Feb '11 Macbook Pros:
    http://ark.intel.com/products/53463/Intel-Core-i7-2635QM-Processor-(6M-Cache-2_00-GHz)
    http://ark.intel.com/products/50067/Intel-Core-i7-2720QM-Processor-(6M-Cache-2_20-GHz)

    And compare them to the Nov '11 Pros:
    http://ark.intel.com/products/53470/Intel-Core-i7-2675QM-Processor-(6M-Cache-2_20-GHz)
    http://ark.intel.com/products/53474/Intel-Core-i7-2760QM-Processor-(6M-Cache-2_40-GHz)

    Disregarding the CTO processors, of course. So only the higher-end models support 1600MHz. Unless you don't trust Intel to know about their processors.

    The heat is different because the Radeon HD 6750M consumes twice the amount of power that the Radeon HD 6490M does when both are in use. On average, the Radeon HD 6490M's power consumption is about 13-15W, whereas the Radeon HD 6750M uses up to 30W or more in some cases if overclocked.

    Heat from CPU is about the same, with the thermal envelope being 45W, but also taking that into account, the thermal envelope of both machines when the GPUs are in use would be like this:

    Feb '11: CPU 45W + GPU 15W = 60W
    Nov '11: CPU 45W + GPU 30W = 75W

    Assuming all other components' heat emission is negligible, the Nov '11 model can potentially put out 25% more heat than the Feb '11 model.

    Also reviews did note the noticeably higher temperature in the Feb '11 model with the 6750M.

    http://www.notebookcheck.net/Review...-GHz-quad-core-glare-type-screen.50344.0.html

    I'd assume that things have not changed much since then between the 2.2GHz Feb '11 model and the 2.2GHz Nov '11 model aside from a CPU upgrade, and VRAM downgrade. Unless you have data that says otherwise?
     
  12. JTravers macrumors 6502a

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    Jun 28, 2010
    #12
    I think the $1359 model will be just fine. Maybe look to step up to the model with hi-res/anti-glare display. Check it out in an Apple store to compare. These refurbs come in and out of stock every few days.
    http://store.apple.com/us/product/G0LZ2LL/A?afid=p201|1916646&cid=AOS-US-AFF-FEED
     
  13. No Regrets thread starter macrumors regular

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    Dec 14, 2011
    #13
    Please forgive my ignorance here. When watching a dvd on the MBP, would this take advantage of the better graphics card, or is this basically only the case when playing games?

    I do not play games, but there will be times when traveling I'll want to watch a movie on this computer.

    Otherwise, I think I would appreciate having a cooler MBP resting on my lap vs a hotter one.

    Also, would it be safe to say that both the early 2011 model and the late 2011 model would have the same battery life if the graphics card isn't running?
     
  14. yousifabdullah macrumors regular

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    Jul 19, 2011
    #14
    AnandTech has a quite detailed review on the Late 2011 refresh: http://www.anandtech.com/show/5113/apple-15inch-macbook-pro-late-2011-review. Basically you will want a Late 2011 model, simply because the base 2.2Ghz configuration almost matches the high end configuration of Early 2011 with a similar processor, without costing you more money.

    OS X can dynamically switch between the two graphics cards, but if you're really concerned about battery life, there's an app called gfxCardStatus that can easily let you disable either graphics card on the fly. This way, you could only have the Intel HD 3000 enabled, which is plenty for watching videos, films, et cetera. Generally you'll want to have the AMD Radeon HD taking its course if you're doing graphically intensive tasks, such as editing photos in Aperture. Gaming is another use case, too.

    Hope this helps.
     
  15. thundersteele macrumors 68030

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    #15
    This makes sense. Where did you find the numbers for the power consumption of the GPUs? Notebookcheck only has estimates apparently.
     
  16. Akack macrumors 6502a

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    USA
    #16
    Have you considered the high end early 2011 refurb?

    high end early 2011 : 2.2 ghz 6750M with 1 gb vram $1699 refurb from Apple

    low end late 2011 : 2.2 ghz 6750M with 512 vram ~ new $1700-1800 depending on where you buy it



    http://www.appleinsider.com/mac_price_guide/
     
  17. No Regrets thread starter macrumors regular

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    Dec 14, 2011
    #17
    yousifabdullah,

    Thank you for such a great post, and yes, it does help. It's good to know that the AMD Radeono HD will be useful for editing photos and I appreciate you sharing the link comparing the late 2011 base model to the early 2011 top model. Very informative!

    Thanks again.
     
  18. No Regrets thread starter macrumors regular

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    Dec 14, 2011
    #18
    Hi Akack,

    No, I had not thought of this as an option. So basically it's the same identical machine but with greater video memory?

    So when a person buys a refurb mbp from the applestore, does it come in "like new" condition or will it have scratches, dents, or other cosmetic issues?
     
  19. CaleM3 macrumors member

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    Mar 30, 2011
    #19

    I am typing from a refurb unit right now...It looked brand new when I took it out of the packaging. I have the 2.0 GHz 15 inch and got it for $1359. There were no dents, scratches, or anything out of the ordinary cosmetically. This machine is simply beautiful. I didn't feel as if I needed a new Fall '11 model for roughly $300-$350 more. If you do not game a whole lot or do extensive video editing, the 256mb VRAM is fine.
     
  20. Akack macrumors 6502a

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    #20
    If you want to be very technical, the i7 2.2 ghz processor is not the same processor between the two but you won't notice a difference. Main difference like you mentioned is the video ram.

    Buying Apple refurbished is like buying new, think they change the unibody case to a new one. My old refurb mbp was flawless cosmetically, plus it also comes with one year warranty. I just brought up the refurb high end early 2011 because it's basically the same price as the low end late 2011 but with better specs.
     
  21. No Regrets thread starter macrumors regular

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    Dec 14, 2011
    #21
    Hi CaleM3,

    Thank you for your response. It's good to know that the refurbs come looking like new and gives a person the ability to save some money, or I suppose you could apply the savings towards the Applecare extended warranty!

    ----------

    Hi Akack,

    I appreciate you mentioning this as a viable option to me as I wouldn't have thought of it myself. A new unibody, a one year warranty, and reduced pricing....why wouldn't someone consider buying a refurbished unit?
     
  22. CaleM3 macrumors member

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    Mar 30, 2011
    #22
    I used the extra money saved to buy a 128GB SSD and 8GB RAM...Theoretically, you can use that towards applecare, but I am going to wait a few months and see what the new MBPs look like - I almost got a 13" Air, but I like my screen bigger than 13". If they come out with a nice 15" air, I would love that. If not, then I'll go after the applecare next summer sometime.
     
  23. No Regrets thread starter macrumors regular

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    Dec 14, 2011
    #23
    I like how light the 13" was as I always have the computer on my lap, but I also felt that the 13" screen was too small for me. I was kinda hoping for a 15" Air to come as well, but I must say I still like the color rendition on the 15" MBP vs the Air's....so I would probably still end up with the MBP due to that.

    Also, my current PC laptop is six years old and is about ready to die, so I think I will be pulling the trigger on a MBP within the next few days....as soon as I make up my mind which configuration to go with.

    Everyone here has been very helpful with trying to give me solid suggestions and answering my questions, for which I am very grateful.
     
  24. ShoG macrumors member

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    Dec 6, 2011
    #24
    Tastes change my friend, as you pointed out you just started doing photography stuff. If you want to be safe go for the 1800usd option since you cannot upgrade cpu and gpus on laptops. RAM, hard disc drives, ssds all can be upgraded, but if your tastes change and youre stuck with an inferior cpu/gpu your out of luck kinda.
     
  25. No Regrets thread starter macrumors regular

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    #25
    That's a good point. Thank you.
     

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