Got a 17'' MBP 2.8Ghz at a Steal, Return it Anyway?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by jufros, Mar 22, 2010.

  1. jufros macrumors member

    Joined:
    Nov 26, 2009
    #1
    Bing.com has been running 8% off buy it now purchases on ebay, I had a bunch of ebay bucks to burn, found a good deal on an MBP with AppleCare, and effectively snagged one of the newest models for around ~$1700 shipped as I was running into serious RAM headroom issues with my older 2.4Ghz MBP (maxed out at 4GB) when tracking guitarists in Amplitube 3 with any kind of acceptable latency. I had to use my RME Multiface II, an external preamp, AND turn pretty much everything off or render it to get acceptable latency at the first session I used Amplitube 3 at and realized that the software world was about to leave my machine in the dust with how demanding the latest and greatest is on RAM. I looked forward to installing 8GB and getting up to speed in 64-bit.

    I can still return this if I want to, and I'm wondering if it doesn't make a lot more sense to wait until Apple comes out with a core i5 Macbook Pro. How significant of a performance increase would I be getting with the new Intel processors? Am I just being obsessively and needlessly paranoid about laptop specs right now?
     
  2. MacDawg macrumors P6

    MacDawg

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2004
    Location:
    "Between the Hedges"
    #2
    Opinions will obviously differ, but mine is "yes" :)
    Sounds like you got a great deal and an awesome machine
    Enjoy
     
  3. delux246 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2010
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    #3
    I say sell it at a higher price then what you paid for it if you like the new mbp and if you dont like the update, keep it.
     
  4. JoeG4 macrumors 68030

    JoeG4

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2002
    Location:
    Bay Area, Ca.
    #4
    lol ... mmmm keeep eeet

    Or we could trade.. hrm $200 and a Sony F series? XD..
     
  5. jufros thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Nov 26, 2009
    #5
    Thanks for the quick responses guys I really appreciate it. Perhaps this thread might be more suited to the Digital Audio forum but I posted a similar thread as well and this seems to be the place for info regarding tech specs.

    So here's my situation. I use my laptop for a variety of music industry-related pursuits including mobile recording sessions, mixing, etc. I'm also a gigging keyboardist and bassist and use it on stage as a sound module, amp simulator, and effects processor. I do run it pretty hard sometimes if I am, for example, running a bass amp simulator, pitch-tracking oscillator, multi-band distortion and dynamics processor, multi-filter effect, modulation effect, and compressor/limiter all at the same time to "transform" my bass into a "synthesizer," but I use a PCIe audio interface plugged into the ExpressCard slot on the MBP and can do all of that on stage pretty easily.

    Live recording just became a different story. I bought IK Multimedia's Amplitube 3 recently. I don't personally use it but I purchased it in the hopes that it would satisfy and even inspire guitarist clients at my mobile tracking sessions. It's definitely done this for me but at a huge RAM cost.

    All that should be addressed when I upgrade my RAM to 8GB, but since the whole point of my buying the new MBP was to keep myself up to speed with the latest and greatest audio software, I just don't want to find myself in the same situation a year or a year and a half from now.

    So, I'm very curious to know just how much faster the new i5/i7 processors are over the Core 2 Duo's. If we're talking around 10% faster on Snow Leopard or some other fairly negligible number that in my case could be fully accounted for with a solid state hard drive, then I'm not only satisfied but thrilled with this new machine and will start upgrading it now. But if an i5/i7 would really speed everything up, I'm not so sure.
     
  6. ippikiokami macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2010
    #6
    Hey jufros. I work in the Music / Video industry right now and here is the main question I think you need to ask yourself.

    While you were maxing out your older MBP is the newer MBP really letting you do that much more that you need now? If not then I think you should sell your new one and wait till the refresh. Even if it does somehow take till June it's worth it. The new i5/i7 will speed up your processes anywhere from 15-25%. Over the course of the years and the hundreds of recording / producing sessions that can add up to a lot of time! Even at 10% if you were to be working in the lab for around 240 hours a year you would be saving a whole days worth of life / work time!

    This doesn't include the fact the new macbook might have a few extra benefits that could help your workflow. While all of that is even more pure rumor than the processor update. It still is quite possible.

    I am getting a macbook pro for video and audio work and definitely will be waiting for the update.
     
  7. jufros thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Nov 26, 2009
    #7
    There's really a multi-part answer to that.

    1) No, the issue isn't necessarily my processor per se but I'm convinced that it's definitely a RAM issue. The MBP that I just snagged $1750 supports 8GB and I currently have 4GB on my 2.4Ghz 15'' MBP. I can't return the new one if I change out the RAM so I don't really have a way of personally testing this but...

    2) Most audio software plugins are definitely pretty taxing of the CPU, but invariably, RAM is way more important than processor speed for live performances and recording. I'm not particularly concerned with how long it takes me to render a software instrument's MIDI file to audio, but I do want to be able to run, for example, run Voxengo's Elephant 3 limiter at 4x oversampling while I'm laying down a keyboard part in Kontakt.

    3) Cost is definitely a factor here. I paid $1750 for this 17'' 2.8Ghz with AppleCare. I definitely want to run a Solid State HD and obviously I need to upgrade to 8GB of RAM. Assuming the new MBP 17'' is still ~$2400, if I paid retail, tax, and bought AppleCare for it, I'd be looking at ~$1k more than what I just paid, which will definitely cover the cost of RAM, a screaming HD and then some.

    So, yeah I really do want to stay up to date with software development and I'm wondering if I just really made a fatal error there despite getting a good deal as far as the current market is concerned.
     
  8. gwsat macrumors 68000

    gwsat

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2008
    Location:
    Tulsa
    #8
    Before you finally make up your mind about whether to keep the 17 inch 2.8Ghz MBP, be aware that you can upgrade your 2.4Ghz machine to 6GB of RAM notwithstanding Apple's claim that it will support only 4 GB of RAM. I increased the RAM in my 24Ghz MBP3,1 last month and it has given me a dramatic improvement in performance. I run Windows 7 in a VMware Fusion virtual machine. They were both slow and unstable when I had only 2Gb of RAM. Since upgrading to 6GB, though, Fusion and Windows are stable and run a lot faster.
     
  9. jufros thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Nov 26, 2009
    #9
    Yeah I am actually aware of that thanks. I just hesitate to further upgrade a computer that I'm selling very soon and I think most buyers out there would a) not be aware that it does it fact support 6GB and b) turned off by the fact that I had modified beyond Apple's specifications / recommendations.
     
  10. gwsat macrumors 68000

    gwsat

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2008
    Location:
    Tulsa
    #10
    Yeah, that makes sense. Had I been in your position and getting ready to unload my 2.4Ghz MBP, I probably wouldn't have upgraded, either. My advice would only make sense if you intended to keep your old computer for awhile longer.
     
  11. ippikiokami macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2010
    #11
    Hey Jufros

    I would keep the 1700 and put it toward your new machine. If it's for a portable rig in live solutions you probably can get a pretty nice 13 inch (on the guess they stay with the same price range) with about 500$ to spare on more ram and an SSD. In my experience in the past it is a combination of processor speed and ram that limit real time effects processing. In some cases it was the CPU that was limiting so just a bump in ram (though from 4-8 will def help) might not be enough.

    If I were you I would send an email to Voxengo and ask them specifically which you would benefit from the most in the future. Again we are talking about at the most a few months wait and this is a machine you will be using for your work so I would be more inclined to wait it out if you have a solution that is manageble currently.
     
  12. jufros thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Nov 26, 2009
    #12
    I just did that actually thanks. I'd normally think your suggestion a perfect idea but I definitely need the ExpressCard slot because I use a PCIe soundcard (RME Multiface II). On stage, I can run WAY more effects at 64 buffers than I could possibly with FW at much better latency (~2-3ms better) and I can even usually get the buffer down to 32 and get 1.5-2ms latency. Currently, there aren't any other PCIe interfaces that work with the MBP like the Multiface does. RME has a proprietary PCIe -> ExpressCard piece that is very efficient and very fast. I used to run a FW400 interface (there are no FW800 interfaces on the market) and switching to the Multiface II was really like night and day.

    I feel pretty strongly that RME has the best AD/DA converters second only to Apogee, and even with their top-of-the-line models, you use a lot of the DSP 0 latency cue mix functionality that RME gives you for converters that are really only noticeably better on a really high end playback system. The difference between RME and M-Audio or Presonus converters was immediately obvious to me, however.
     

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