Great BTO/i7 vs. Standard/i5 review

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by u6crash, May 31, 2010.

  1. u6crash macrumors member


    Jan 29, 2007
    DeKalb, IL
    Hope this isn't some sort of heresy posting a MacWorld article, but I found this to be pretty informative in deciding what to get on my next Mac.

    New Built-To-Order MacBook Pros

    Benchmarks are compared between the standard high-end 15" (i7 w/ 4GB RAM, 5400rpm HD) and an upgraded 15" with 8GB RAM and 7200rpm HD. Comparisons are further made between the standard 17" (i5 w/ 4GB RAM) and the built to order i7 option.

    Bottom line (if you don't want to read it) is that the processor and RAM aren't giving huge increases. The gains are seen mostly in processor intensive stuff, but the gains aren't huge. I was pretty much sold on upgrading a 17" to the i7, but now I think I'll save the $200.

    Further tests are made comparing a 27" quad core iMac which does the best. Almost makes me want to get an iMac for the serious work (I have my current MacBook hooked up to a 24" screen now) and an iPad for casual lounging in bed web surfing, but I can't quite make that leap just yet.
  2. dusk007 macrumors 68040


    Dec 5, 2009
    And you didn't guess that. It has always been little value in a CPU upgrade.
    The only thing why some thought about a corei7 on 15" was because of the 512MB VRAM.
  3. Jof macrumors regular

    Oct 2, 2008
    Such comparisons are of limited value to all but mainstream consumer use:
    - A video professional could save hours a week with just a 10% increase in CPU speed; that's real financial savings over time.
    - 4GB is utterly unusable for me; right now my computer is using 7GB and only because I closed a few apps. 8GB is essential.

    If you need the memory, you need the memory. If you need the speed, you need the speed. That's all there is to it. Everyone else should be happy with a 2.4Ghz 4GB c2d model. Which, it appears, they are.
  4. scaredpoet macrumors 604


    Apr 6, 2007

    Just curious: What apps are you running that require 7GB of ram?
  5. dusk007 macrumors 68040


    Dec 5, 2009
    No App requires that much RAM but the Data you work on with an App can be huge. In his case it will be movies but also opening lots of big RAW pictures eats RAM. HD movies need a lot of memory compressed and a lot more when they are still edited and you cannot edit a fully compressed movie very well.
    The Application itself never needs that much RAM.

    If you need the Speed it is also not that expensive. You get about 10% more performance for a 10% higher price.
    If you don't need the Speed the 2.4Ghz looses relatively less resale value and 10% is not enough to be noticeable unless you do some serious stuff. BTW I would prefer to get at least a Quad Core Lynnfield for real encoding power. They are about 3 times faster afterall. Or a dual socket 6 core Westmere rig that is super computer fast in comparison to a 2.66Ghz Arrendale.
  6. MikeinJapan macrumors regular

    Apr 23, 2010
    I will be going for a 17" i7 just for a little bit of future proofing. I think will buy a Mac Pro once I have settled down more. The extra power is worth the extra cash.
  7. Jof macrumors regular

    Oct 2, 2008
    As an absolute minimum (i.e. my startup apps) I run:
    - Safari (about 20 tabs across 2-3 windows, mostly webapps)
    - Parallels (WinXP, 1GB of ram allocated, max vid ram)
    - Skype
    - Spotify
    - Preview (several extremely large images normally)

    By the time it's been running a couple of hours, usually the following are open (they are right now, for instance):
    - iMovie (usually one file of about 1-2GB - nothing huge)
    - Audacity (multiple files, usually a few hundred MB in total)
    - XCode
    - Adobe Illustrator
    - Parallels second instance (Ubuntu, 768MB ram allocated)

    By that time it's starting to page out and I usually close apps. To give you an idea, Safari, Parallels, Xcode and Preview are currently taking 5GB combined right now alone.

    For what it's worth I'm not a video guy - I work in games - but I can imagine they have similar sorts of apps open.
  8. Jof macrumors regular

    Oct 2, 2008
    That's what I'd do, but right now I travel so much I wouldn't have anywhere to put it. Hence the MBP...
  9. Mirabella macrumors regular

    Apr 27, 2010
    Exactly. I fully agree.
  10. cryer macrumors regular

    May 3, 2010
    So should I get i5 or i7 for:

    - Xcode
    - heavy Internet browsing (maybe both Safari and FF, 5+ windows and 5-10 tabs each with a few using Flash)
    - Photoshop, Fireworks, Illustrator (graphic design stuff, maybe 10 files max open with maybe a few having 50+ layers)
    - Hulu at times
    - Virtual machine running Windows just for IE pretty much
    - iTunes, iPhoto, some word processing app

    I do web design and software development (iPhone/iPad development). I don't play games or do any major video-based or photography work.

    I would get i7 but not if it's minimal gains over an i5 and could save some cash that way. So would I miss an i7 for what I do if I went i5 or no?
  11. DieterRams macrumors regular

    Aug 3, 2010
    +1 on this question, except for 17"
  12. No1nfoProvided macrumors 6502

    Dec 1, 2009
    +1 on this. The video cards on the MBPs are only midline compared to current standards. I wish they were a lil better.
  13. mark28 macrumors 68000

    Jan 29, 2010
    The 512MB VRAM is not even needed even on the High Res Anti glare screen. Modern games like COD MW2 runs super smooth with AA maxed out at 1680 x 1050.

    So, you want to sacrifice battery life for gaming performance on a big external monitor? :D The extra VRAM and the i7 drain more power. If you game on a big external monitor, better buy a new GPU for a PC like the GTX 460 instead. That upgrade path is even cheaper.

Share This Page