Help in choosing between the 15 inch i5 and i7

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by nikhilkas, Dec 20, 2010.

  1. nikhilkas macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2010
    #1
    Hi
    My 3 yr old PC laptop was stolen couple of weeks back.Planning to buy the 15MBP to replace it. Needed help from the forum members in choosing between the i5(2.4 ghz) and i7 (2.66)models. Usage is mainly web surfing, documentation work, running AutoCad couple of times a week(6-10 hrs total usage) and recreational gaming.

    Questions I have

    1.Would the i7 model with the extra 256 MB graphics ram and 33% more cache with the little bump in processor speed make a difference in running AutoCad (would be running it in bootcamp) especially in rendering.

    2.Does the extra ram in the graphics card and the increased hard drive speed ( if I go for the i7 would choose the 7200 rpm drive since its only a $45 upgrade) in the i7 reduce battery life as compared to the i5 keeping screen brightness and other factors the same.

    3.In normal usage ( web surfing,watching movies etc.) would the i5 run cooler as compared to the i7 model with the 7200 rpm drive

    Also, appreciate any suggestions on configuration. Thanks in advance.
     
  2. zerostar macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2008
    Location:
    South Florida
    #2
    I had similar questions to yours when I purchased, I literally JUST got my Machine on Friday....

    I only had so much $$ to put into it so I got the i5 15" model then I got 8GB Ram from newegg.com for like $98 and threw in an Intel X-25M SSD Drive (80GB for $199 since I don't need that much room on my laptop it was enough for me and I trust the Intel SSDs the most) I also stuck a 32GB SD Card in it for more storage :)

    I figured the SSD and 8GB Ram made up for the boost the i7 would give and I would stay cooler with an SSD and maybe use a lil less power too.

    For the RAM Apple would hit me $400! I got the ram the same day and it took 3 seconds to install and saved me $300 I put towards the SSD.

    The ONLY thing I would like with the i7 is the 512MB Graphics RAM, that may come in handy oneday, but since I don't game I wasn't too worried.
     
  3. Vantage Point macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2010
    Location:
    New Jersey
    #3
    According to Geek tests the difference between the i5 2.4 and i5 2.53 is about 5% and the difference between the i5 and 2.4 and the i7 2.66 is about 15%. Keep in mind the 2.4 also comes with the smaller and therefore slowest drive. My thinking was to buy the 2.4 i5 and for about $100 double the RAM to 8gb and later on replace the hard drive - perhaps a 500Gb 7200rpm Hitachi desk drive from Amazon is about $65 or a Seagate Momentus hybrid for $120. So for about the price difference of the 2.4 vs 2.53 I can get a nice performance bump with 2x the ram and a larger faster drive. (or spend about $230 for a OWC 120GB SSD). I will wait a while to bump up the hard drive as I am perfectly satisfied with performace

    In summary, my thinking was get the base 15" and upgrade myself - so far zero complaints. Oh yeah, I don't game just edit still photos in Photoshop CS5 - a ram hog

    Here are the performance geek tests
     
  4. zerostar macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2008
    Location:
    South Florida
    #4
    Yep exactly my thoughts too... Tho I'd go with the OWC SSD (if thats what you chose) ASAP! and once you get it you will wonder why you didn't get it sooner...

    I have an OCZ Vertex 2 in my iMac and as I said the Intel X-25M SSD in my MacBook Pro and WOW they are nice :) and Heat is cut down too.

    Its nice to not have to be waiting on a slow HD for things...
     
  5. nikhilkas, Dec 20, 2010
    Last edited: Dec 20, 2010

    nikhilkas thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2010
    #5
    Appreciate the replies to my post. Just wanted to elaborate a little. The gaming I do is recreational and not very imp. when choosing between the i5 and i7. The main question is if the bump in the graphics card from 256 to 512 and in the speed of the processor with the extra cache will make a difference in running AutoCad (i.e is rendering going to be noticebaly slower and cumbersome) and if so how much?
    Also is there a difference in the battery life and heat between the i5 and i7(with 7200 rpm) if other factors in usage are kept the same.(From the replies I realize that shifting to the SSD will reduce heat and improve performance but in the short run which one is easier on the system)
     
  6. Saturdays macrumors member

    Saturdays

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2010
    Location:
    Somewhere in USA
    #6
    Battery life is about the same.
    You are right about the extra cache being a benefit for AutoCAD, as well as the extra Video RAM for Gaming.
    You will notice a difference, but dont forget your are gaming at a higher resolution, so the difference is offset a bit.
     
  7. Blu101 macrumors 6502a

    Blu101

    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2010
    #7
    http://www.barefeats.com/mbpp22.html

    The i5 will have a little less heat and slightly longer battery life, but nothing major.

    You're better off with the 2.4GHz i5, use the money saved for a RAM (8GB) and HDD upgrade (7200RPM or SSD). Get the hi-res screen if you can, glossy or anti-glare, whichever you prefer.
     
  8. nikhilkas thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Aug 11, 2010
    #8
    Will be definitely getting the HI-Res Antiglare. Tried the glossy in the store and wasn't very happy with it
     
  9. nikhilkas thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Aug 11, 2010
    #9
    I plan to get the Hi-Res antiglare display. Will the extra 256 mb graphics in the i7 make a noticeable difference when running AutoCad with this display or even when doing some recreational gaming?
     
  10. Blu101 macrumors 6502a

    Blu101

    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2010
    #10
    The link I posted shows that the extra 256MB in Vram only makes a real difference on external displays at a resolution of 2560x1600. The test used 3D games, so autocad should be fine, i.e. no difference. If you're going to do some heavy gaming or heavy autocad work, then it would help, otherwise, not needed. And the i7 is only ~10%-13% faster than the i5, which again, can come in real handy if you're doing CPU intensive work, otherwise, won't make any really noticeable difference. For the usage that you posted, the 2.4gig i5 is plenty, especially if you take the $$ saved and put it towards increasing the RAM and a new, faster HDD.
     
  11. nikhilkas thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Aug 11, 2010
    #11
    Thanks for the link. Didn't see it the first time. Your reasoning for the i5 makes sense.
     
  12. mark28 macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2010
    #12
    I disagree, it's not slightly longer, it's pretty significant difference in battery life. Just look at this benchmark :eek:

    [​IMG]

    The i7 uses 10W more than the 2.4 ghz i5 ( the i7 uses 10W more both in idle and under maximum load, so it's consistently draining way more energy ). And this is ignoring also the power the extra 256 VRAm uses. ( not sure how much power the extra VRAM uses though )
     
  13. Blu101, Dec 20, 2010
    Last edited: Dec 20, 2010

    Blu101 macrumors 6502a

    Blu101

    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2010
    #13
    Wow, didn't realize the difference was that much.


    EDIT: I found that graph online, and it should be noted that those figures are overall system power consumption, not CPU alone. In either case, yes, it will make a difference, as the i7 will run a few more watts over the i5, task for task (even on idle).
     
  14. Vantage Point macrumors 65816

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    New Jersey
    #14
    Now I feel even better about buying the i5.
     
  15. smallnshort247 macrumors 6502a

    smallnshort247

    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2010
    #15
    Well, I purchased the 2.4Ghz i5 15' MacBook Pro. Since then, I've upgraded the hard drive from a 320gb 5400rpm hard drive to a 640gb 7200rpm drive. I've also upgraded the ram to 8gb. I've noticed a huge increase in speed. My MBP can handle anything I've thrown at it so far. If you have the money, I'd probably get the i7 but if you're not sure which i5 model to get, go with the lower end and just upgrade the ram and hard drive yourself. It saves you a good amount of cash and still gives you a very fast mac!
     
  16. nikhilkas thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2010
    #16
    A big thanks to everyone who posted to this thread:). Giving it some thought, I am going with the 15" 2.4 with the Hi res anti-glare. It should be able to handle everything I plan to throw at it.Will probably upgrade to a faster drive and a larger ram at a later date with $$ saved.
     
  17. 113 macrumors newbie

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    Dec 21, 2010
    #17
    I just got my 15" 2.4ghz Hi-Res antiglare delivered 5 minutes ago. I went with the antiglare because after testing the glossy in stores I was very worried about the reflections in even a bit of light. The hi-res is actually sort of a bonus because it comes with the antiglare screen.

    Like you, I'll probably be upgrading my ram eventually to 8gb for about $100. I'm not sure if I'll upgrade my HDD, I think i may have to because I don't think 320gb will hold everything once i transfer my 60+ gigs of music, and my movies, and downloading all the other stuff I will download.

    I think it's worth noting that I've been the proud owner of the first Macbook Pro to come with intel chip (2006-summer intel core duo). It was my first apple computer and after having problems with sending back my old PCs with problems about every 6 months I have never had to sent in this Macbook Pro for any problems. It's only been the last couple months were the computer has slowed down to painful levels when doing multiple tasks for school. I figured 4-5 years was plenty to own a very solid laptop and upgrading was the right choice as I move on to grad school.

    You won't regret buying a Mac, the newer Macbook Pros are even more solidly built than mine is. Enjoy
     
  18. aimbdd macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2008
    Location:
    East Cost
    #18
    ehh. I have to disagree with everyone here. Sure you save money now... but you can't upgrade the processor or the video ram later on... your stuck with that until you buy a new computer. I would buy the i7 now and save up for the ram later.
     
  19. mark28, Dec 21, 2010
    Last edited: Dec 21, 2010

    mark28 macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2010
    #19
    If his i5 becomes too slow, so will the i7. It's not future proofing at all.

    When Ivy Bridge arrives ( the next CPU after Sandy Bridge ), the i7 which you spent alot of money on is a complete joke by then. The low end Ivy Bridge CPU is probably twice as fast as the i7 since the low end models are standard quad cores if what I read is true ( The Sandy Bridge quad cores run at similar clocks as the Dual cores, so that's why they are twice as fast. Ivy Bridge is a die shrink of Sandy Bridge at 22nm which is more energy efficient )

    Hence future proofing is a futile exercise.

    edit: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sandy_Bridge_(microarchitecture)#Ivy_Bridge

    Wiki is not always 100% true, but they say that the entry level CPU's are Quad cores.
     

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