Educator discount - i7 now worth it? & SSD question

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by cowsop, May 31, 2010.

  1. cowsop macrumors newbie

    May 31, 2010
    Hey guys, I'm gonna buy a macbook pro soon and I've been doing some research. I still have some questions though, this is where I'm at.

    I definitely want the 15 inch macbook pro. The general consensus seems to be that the i7 is not worth it because of only marginal performance increases, and a possible decrease in battery life. After looking around a bunch, I finally conceded and decided to get the 2.4 Ghz option since it seemed the most cost effective. My plan was then to only upgrade the screen, and upgrade the HDD after buying with the Hitachi Travelstar 7k500.

    Then I realized that I'm eligible for educator pricing. This brings the difference between the 2.4 and the i7 to only 300 dollars (there is an extra $100 saving), and also includes the larger hard drive. The main reason that I want the i7 is the 512 mb of video card memory. People say that it wont matter since the card isn't that good, but I do plan to play a few games (steam games, starcraft 2, etc), and it should make some different right?

    Do you think the i7 is still not worth it, even after the education discount?

    And here are my hard drive questions:
    If i do get the 2.4, installing the 7k500 is a good idea since its cheaper, right?

    If i get the i7, should I pay the $50 and upgrade to 7200, or should I keep the 500gb drive as backup and still buy the hitachi (which only costs $80)? (What drive does apple use, is it better/worse/the same as the 7k500?)

    Lastly, I was considering getting the new seagate SSD hybrid. Do you think this is a good option, or should I go with my current plan and wait 8 months or so until full SSDs come down in price, have been tested, and are in second generation?

  2. miles01110 macrumors Core


    Jul 24, 2006
    The Ivory Tower (I'm not coming down)
    I honestly don't understand the appeal of hybrid drives. Maybe I'm oversimplifying the matter, but to me it seems like you're paying a premium for a not-quite-SSD while still incurring all of the risk of mechanical failure of a platter-based drive. The main reasons to get an SSD are speed and reliability; why pay more if you're only getting one of them?
  3. cowsop thread starter macrumors newbie

    May 31, 2010
    Because it is only a fraction the price of a standard SSD drive. You can get the hybrid drive for around $140 for 500 GB, whereas a 500GB SSD drive for laptops is wildly expensive. And I need the space.
  4. Vitr macrumors member


    May 30, 2010
    Vancouver, BC
    According to your link, the hybrid drive will only have 4 GB of solid state memory, which isn't very much. With only 4 GB's, you will likely fill this quickly (particularly with gaming as you mentioned in your op) and end up running certain programs off of the conventional drive, which really is defeating the purpose of the SSD.
  5. cowsop thread starter macrumors newbie

    May 31, 2010
    If you're not aware, the drive has new software that automatically puts the most used data in the 4 GB partition. It's gotten, on the whole, really good reviews and appears to offer substantial speed increases.

    That said, if the general consensus is still that its not worth it, I'll just opt for a 7200
  6. Xombie11 macrumors regular

    Nov 2, 2009
    According to Barefeats, there is no difference between 256 and 512mb of VRAM on the 330M until you hit resolutions of 2560x1600 or above.

    So you shouldn't just opt for the i7 because of the increase in VRAM. Nor should you opt for the i7 because it includes a slightly larger hard drive that Apple charges an extra $50 for -- despite the fact that it probably runs even less than $50 retail.

    You should, however, opt for the i7 if you want a significant performance increase (CPU-wise) over the 2.5 i5. Barefeats has some benches here.

    Whichever route you choose, get the Momentus XT (for reasons I have stated elsewhere). When SSDs get larger and cheaper in a year's time, install one then. 4GBs of NAND isn't much, but it'll have you booting twice as fast as your 7200rpm comrades, and it'll make your web browser, word processor (and other most used programs) all the more faster (sp).
  7. Vitr macrumors member


    May 30, 2010
    Vancouver, BC
    I was unaware of this feature. If this is the case, it does seem like a very good option.
  8. dusk007 macrumors 68040


    Dec 5, 2009
    Forget the momentus XT unless all you care for is most speed with 500GB at minimum price.
    It has not a very good power efficiency. Battery life will go down a little. You should get an SSD if you want speed and battery life.

    I would get either an 128GB SSD now or 256 if that is not too expensive or a standard HDD an upgrade later to an SSD.
  9. cowsop thread starter macrumors newbie

    May 31, 2010
    Anyone else on the i5 vs i7, with the education discount factored in?
  10. hippo206 macrumors 6502

    Apr 8, 2007
    Me personally, I always opt for the best. Too many times in the past (when I try to save money) I have ended up regretting it. So I say get the i7... that way you know you got the most you could at that time.
  11. MovieCutter macrumors 68040


    May 3, 2005
    Washington, DC

    I just picked up 2 500GB Momentus XT drives for $130 each. I edit video all day so it'd totally worth it for me.
  12. mdatwood macrumors 6502a

    Mar 14, 2010
    Denver, CO
    I just got the 17" i7 using a similar discount. After looking around I don't think Apples SSDs are that great and they way over charge for the HD upgrade to 7200 rpm so I went with the standard HD. When the next gen SSDs come out I'll grab one of those and move my current HD to the optical bay.
  13. cowsop thread starter macrumors newbie

    May 31, 2010
    If i do get the i7, should I upgrade to the 7200 rpm drive, buy the hitachi 7k500, or buy the seagate hybrid?
  14. DesmoPilot macrumors 65816

    Feb 18, 2008
    That test is pretty useless.
  15. hippo206 macrumors 6502

    Apr 8, 2007
    You wouldn't just be happy with the one it has until you out grow it?
  16. cowsop thread starter macrumors newbie

    May 31, 2010
    Not sure, aren't the 5400 drives significantly slower? I saw another post where someone was complaining that there i7 macbook pro was pretty slow, and people said it was because of the 5400 drive

    Plus I probably won't upgrade for at least 8 months, maybe a year
  17. raxafarian macrumors regular

    Jun 8, 2007
    I just got a 15" i7 with the standard drive and it's a lot faster than my early 2008 MBP which also has a 5400rpm 500Gb drive. I have moved most of my photo library to external disks and I think that is one key: keep the drive less than 1/2 full (or maybe at least 1/3 empty) and the 5400 performs fine. My old MBP only had 40-70Gb free.

    I plan on keeping an eye on the momentus XT and any competing products unless/until SSD becomes a lot cheaper but I'm fine with the stock 5400 drive for now.
  18. DesmoPilot macrumors 65816

    Feb 18, 2008
    When it comes to Mechanical drives these days the difference between 5400 and 7200 isn't as great as it used to be. If you go for a 7200 drive the only two really worth it are the Western Digital Scorpio Black 320GB or the Hitachi 7K500 500GB.
  19. Hydrocity macrumors 6502a

    May 14, 2010
    what do you guys think the best option would be based on the factors of speed and reliability...dont think I will use 500GB, but I dont think you can get a 15" i7 without it...

    i7 2.66GHz + 500GB @7200 = ~$2100
    i5 2.53GHz + 128 SSD = ~ 2050
  20. Xombie11 macrumors regular

    Nov 2, 2009
    The i5.
  21. wirelessmacuser macrumors 68000


    Dec 20, 2009
    Without knowing what you use the computer for it's hard to offer a suggestion. It's much too easy to obsess over specs, benchmarks & the like. Unless you do a significant amount of demanding resource intensive work, an i5 with a reg 5400 rpm hard drive will serve you well.
  22. Hydrocity macrumors 6502a

    May 14, 2010
    Well I was comparing them agianst speed and reliability, but I am getting a MBP in about a months time, and I dont know what to get...

    Main uses for the computer is going to be:

    Video Editing (Final Cut, iMovie)
    Video Recording (Capture Cards)
    Designing (Photoshop)
    Website Building/Editing (Probably Dreamweaver)

    I realize that videos take up alot of space, but videos can easily be placed on an external drive.

    So what would you recommend for the uses I have listed above?

    15" i7 + 500GB @7200


    15" i5 + 128 SSD

    Also the i5 comes with less video RAM, would I notice the differences when using any of the tasks listed above?
  23. JonD25 macrumors 6502

    Feb 9, 2006
    Don't forget that with your educational discount, you also get a free iPod. If you turn around and sell it, that's even more of a discount. Extra $100 off the i7, plus extra $200 from selling the iPod, means you basically pay $100 to upgrade from the base i5 to the top level i7. Seems like that's definitely worth it.
  24. cowsop thread starter macrumors newbie

    May 31, 2010
    Well, you get the $200 off the base i5 so not really. Its $300 more. Worth it for gaming? There just aren't enough benchmarks!
  25. alphaod macrumors Core


    Feb 9, 2008

Share This Page