Differences between 15" MBPs?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by Browzilla, Aug 26, 2007.

  1. Browzilla macrumors member

    Aug 6, 2007
    I'm looking at the recently-ish updated MPBs. I believe the 17" is a bit big (not to mention pricey), and I'm wondering about the performance differences between the 15" models.

    Most of the work I'm looking to do is basic enough, the typical student kind of thing: write, surf, listen, watch. I'm also heavily into photography, and plan to eventually pick up CS3. I'd also like to experiment a bit with composing music and such eventually. And maybe some games. Nothing really heavy, but just some basic stuff.

    My dilemma, being the relatively uninformed geek that I am, is this: How much will the 2.2 to 2.4 processor bump increase my performance? Also, what about the video card? Will the 256 vs the 512 make much of a difference?

    Also an option are the refurbs. At the moment, there's an older C2D 17" sitting there for $2199 that's also a bit tempting. The 2.33, I believe.

    Speaking of refurbs--How do the older 15" models compare? I've heard the processor improvements aren't all that great, but I'm not how much difference the ATI card makes compared to the NVIDIA.

    Then there's the option of buying now vs later. I don't really -need- it now, but it'd be nice. Buy it before the 16th, I can get one of the soon to be obsolete iPods.

    But if I hold till Oct, there's Leopard. Which should run fine on any machine I buy, but it saves me the hassle of upgrading later..

    And if I wait till Oct, I've heard rumours of the MBPs being updated again in November, or January at MWSF. Which is only waiting another 1-3 months.

    Any help/opinions would be greatly appreciated.
  2. vicious7 macrumors 6502a


    Jul 16, 2007
    Jacked into the net...
    Barring extensive 3D manipulation and graphic intensive games, the difference is minute. BTW, the vcards are 128MB and 256MB.
  3. Browzilla thread starter macrumors member

    Aug 6, 2007
    I meant that.

    So something like Photoshop will handle fine with the 128?

    Another thing I meant to inquire about was the hard drive speed. The base models run at a lower RPM, 5400, I believe? I don't know off the top of my head. How much faster would the 7200 RPM run, and is it major enough to see a difference? I do like my things to be blazing fast, but compared to the piece of crap I'm on now, anything this side of 2000 will seem like the Flash. Although this one, being a desktop, does have a 7200 RPM drive.
  4. aliquis- macrumors 6502a

    May 20, 2007
    For everything except gaming there will be more or less no difference, of course 2.4GHz is 1/11th faster but you will probably never notice that. 256MB graphics memory may give better results in games running at native (1440x900) resolution or higher, with lots of AA/AF/HDR and with very large textures. And newer games. For some reason it helps most in Windows, and games runs much faster in Windows anyway.

    So for regular work you will probably never notice the difference, and for games it depends on how hardcore you are. The 128MB one will probably be sufficient.
    The new cpus are a little faster at the same Hz, the new graphics card supports DirectX 10 (Windows graphics api) and seems to be around 50% faster in some reviews, depends on the game and so on thought.

    For regular student work what version you get probably doesn't matter that much, the new one got LED-displays which some people like more (only in the 15.4")

    Regarding if you should wait we can't decide for you :)
    You can always get Leopard later, and an iPod is worth more anyway isn't it? And you get the computer now.
    They where updated in november last and lastlast year I belive but I doubt they will be this time because there aren't any new mobile cpus coming out then and it wasn't that long ago when they where last updated so there are nothing to update to.

    What are the price for a last gen 17"? Is it 2800 or something?
    I think it's hard to decide for you what to do, the newer ones are faster and more up to date and 17" are larger to carry, so I would opt for a new 15.4" one.

    And then I would either buy now or after the next update if you can wait that long.
  5. aliquis- macrumors 6502a

    May 20, 2007
    The 7200 rpm are said to run around 30% faster. Access times will be lower aswell.

    Depending on how comfortable you are with opening the computer up you can always get another drive later, or you could use an external 3.5" desktopdrive in a firewire case or so.

    Or turn you current PC into a network file server and have your files on that.

    Thought of course as long as you have enough RAM and the machine doesn't swap you will only notice harddrive speed when you open things up (or save them), for Photoshop more ram are probably better aswell, but I guess that depends on how large and many images you will work with and at how many layers. 2GB of ram are quite much aswell.

    With the newer ones you can use 4GB, the old ones let you connect 4GB but only use 3 of them because of the intel 945 chipset only having 32 bit address space.
  6. Browzilla thread starter macrumors member

    Aug 6, 2007
    An old 17" is actually $2200.
    Refurbished MacBook Pro 2.33GHz Intel Core 2 Duo
    17-inch widescreen display
    2GB memory
    160GB hard drive
    8x SuperDrive (DVD+R DL/DVD±RW/CD-RW)
    ATI Mobility Radeon X1600 with 256MB of GDDR3 memory

    I plan to get the default ram and upgrade later if necessary, 2GB will hold me for now. My current config has 512, soooo...2GB is a definite improvement.

    Well, it sounds like for my needs, the 15" low-end should be fine. Although I might have to take a trip to the Apple Store to see just how big and heavy the 17" is.

    Can they do BTOs in store, specifically the 7200rpm drive? Or must those be done online?
  7. aliquis- macrumors 6502a

    May 20, 2007
    Yeah but what are a new one? I'm from Sweden and I where to lazy to check =P

    Anyway, I came back to make it easier for you:
    Only get the 2.4GHz 15.4" if you know that better game performance and then mostly in Windows will be worth those couple of hundred dollars more for you. If not don't.

    I think one had to buy with various options online, but I'm not sure, we have no Apple stores at all ;)

    I don't really see what the old 17" would give you over a new 15.4" thought. The 2.2 are probably as fast, harddrive speed sure a little better, the 17" can only use 3GB of ram, the X1600 are slower but do have 128MB more of vram for games which have large textures but don't require to much of GPU power. You do get a bigger screen with slightly higher resolution but on the other hand you do miss some portability.

    But I guess both purchases are fine.

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