Dual Core v Quad Core MBP, would I tell the difference?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by TJ82, May 28, 2019.

  1. TJ82 macrumors 6502a


    Mar 8, 2012
    Im really struggling to get an idea of which I need. I just want something fast for web browsing and typing. Something that starts up fast and opens apps fast. Feels fast. Occasionally I might do a little light photoshopping or photo editing.

    I have some bad but necessary habits. I usually have a couple of browsers open with a whole bunch of tabs open. The we are usually website apps that are just a part of my daily life.

    My current 15inch is a quad core 2.2 with 16GB (2014) and I look to be returning back to studying shortly and want a 13 inch for portability. Will a slightly older dual core be fast enough for me? Maybe a 2017 dual core touch. It would save me a lot of money if it was. Want something to be snappy 3 to 4 years from now.
  2. nudoru macrumors regular


    Feb 27, 2012
    Near Charlotte NC
    I think you'll be fine with a dual core. You won't use them for browsing or office apps but you may for photo editing if you're working on large images or using complex filters - Photoshop type stuff. More RAM would be a better choice than cores in this scenario.
  3. Howard2k macrumors 68020


    Mar 10, 2016
    I use a dual core 13”. For what you’re describing it works great today.

    I am on the fence about getting a 2020 and if I did it would be a quad core (even if they still made a dual core). I do some stuff that is more taxing than you do - GarageBand processing hits it fairly hard. DVD ripping sits at 100% for 45-60 minutes.

    Could I keep this for another 3 years? Yeah I could.
  4. pshufd macrumors 6502a

    Oct 24, 2013
    New Hampshire
    I have a 2015 dual-core 13 and a 2015 quad-core 15. These aren't new models but the differences back then may be similar today. The fans come on quite a bit more on the 13-inch model - that's likely due to better cooling in the 15 because it is physically larger.

    If you are running a lot of tabs, then I recommend getting at least 8 GB (I don't know what the base RAM is these days). I'm running Firefox with 8 tabs open (they are static lightweight pages), Apple Mail and iCloud Notes and I'm using 7 GB. Note that Intel Integrated graphics is probably using up some of that memory as it uses system RAM. If you're watching a lot of videos, then the fans can come on more quickly.

    Sometimes there are stumbles (the system slows down) if I'm running a lot of things at the same time but it doesn't sound like you're doing that. The 15 is always smooth unless I run low on RAM (I have some applications that use a lot of RAM).

    At some point, I'd expect Apple will make 16 GB RAM standard (they already have on the 15s) and 32-64 as optional. Web browsers can use a ton of RAM these days.
    --- Post Merged, May 28, 2019 ---
    My son does work on GarageBand and he has no problems but he has a personal 15 and a work 15 so he can just let it run on his personal. He loves GarageBand for composing.
  5. frou macrumors 6502


    Mar 14, 2009
    Even Core-2-Duo era CPUs can still be somewhat fine for light use. So something from many generations into the Core-i era will be just fine.
  6. pshufd macrumors 6502a

    Oct 24, 2013
    New Hampshire
    I have two 2008 Nehalem Desktops that were dirt cheap (used) and they compare well with 2015-era MacBook Pros. These systems could be outfitted with 24 GB of RAM, multiple SSDs and modern video cards (I put in 750 Watt PSUs). Someday I may try to Hackintosh one of them.
  7. playtech1 macrumors member

    Oct 10, 2014
    I just answered a similar question on another thread, but based on my two 2015 MacBook Pros, one dual and one quad-core, I find the quad-core significantly 'snappier' in day to day use, even for typing on MS Office, Finder and web browsing (Chrome in particular). Of course, the post-2015 dual cores may well be better - I could see a newer chip which turbo boosts more quickly and to a higher clock speed might overcome the dual-core's slight hesitancy that I have seen, as well as quicker graphics.

    Also, I suspect I really only notice the difference because I have both machines and switch between them fairly often. If I had only ever had the dual core, I probably would have been perfectly happy with it.

    Startup and app opening times are pretty similar on both - the fast SSD is good no matter how many cores you have.
  8. kp98077 macrumors 6502


    Oct 26, 2010
    I agree with your summary...you will see real world changes with dual, vs. quad etc. in almost all aspects on daily use.... its a win win, plus you are future proofing... so if you go to resell it, well all the better....I always prefer snappier machines..
  9. TJ82 thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Mar 8, 2012
    Thanks guys, that was all really helpful in deciding - I just wasn't really able to choose myself either way. In the end I went for a quad core 2.3 2018 Touch Bar model. A guy on eBay had an insurance replacement one with only 12 battery cycles and accepted £1090 for it so that was too good a deal to pass up. Just this morning I realised I do actually have one app that is very power hungry - Zwift. Can't believe I forgot about mentioning that. Pretty sure that benefits from having the quad cores. Dodged a bullet there. Otherwise definitely seems like dual core is plenty for my other daily use..

    Only thing I'm worried about now is the keyboard. Read loads of comments from people saying to stay away from this model.
  10. reserves macrumors member

    Feb 10, 2009
    I've had both the 13" 2017 Dual Core (16gb/512gb) and the 13" 2018 Quad Core (16gb/512gb)

    I noticed the difference in day to day tasks, so for me it's worth the extra.
  11. MrGunnyPT macrumors 6502


    Mar 23, 2017
    Yeah pretty much I also own a 2017 TB 13” and dual core is more than enough I do notice some hiccups here and there with many apps on background and with 2 VMs.
  12. currahee2100 macrumors regular

    Feb 9, 2009
    This is a matter of what you want today vs what you want tomorrow. I have a 2012 MBP with a dual core i7 and it works well. That was the high end 13” MBP at the time and I got the processor because I wanted longevity. It still runs things just fine.

    Now I’m giving that to a family member as a hand me down. I know for what they do it will be more than enough. I bought a 2018 MBP 13” and got the 4 core model for the very same reason- future proofing.

    Well that and I have a tendency to squeeze every ounce of power out of computers. I know that the 4 core MacBook will last me well into 2026!

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11 May 28, 2019