Humble comparison: Macbook Pro i5 2.4Ghz high res antiglare vs. i7 2.66Ghz glossy

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by GoyoNeuff, May 7, 2010.

  1. GoyoNeuff macrumors member

    Apr 13, 2010
    Note: Moderators, if this post should not be here, please apologies and move it to the right place, or merge it.

    This post objective is to help others in the dilemma of the i5 2.4Ghz 2.53Ghz and i7 2.66Ghz, and high resolution antiglare vs. standard resolution glossy.

    Currently owing the top of the line i7, and after reading a lot about the antiglare and its high resolution I went to the Apple store (twice) to check and compare both screens. I spent around 2.5 h trying to make my mind, looking at different angles, playing movies, launching applications, etc. I was almost giving up in trying to find a solution for this when an apple store rep. talked to me. His suggestion was to look at the same picture on both computers at full screen. He said that for photos and prints, the antiglare image will be closer to what you get in the prints (with out any extra monitor calibration off course). When I started looking at the pictures very closely and with detail, I could see that the clarity and quality of the same picture was better and "crispier" on the antiglare than on the stock glossy resolution. That was my turn point and made my decision on the antiglare high res. There are other reasons why I wanted the antiglare, like the reflections I am getting in my home; but really the point was made once I looked at the clarity of the pictures in the high res screen compared with the standard res.

    One point I noticed in the high res screen was that the only application where I could say the fonts were really small and maybe uncomfortable for me was on iWork applications. The icons for the format bar were really small. But in Office, everything seem OK for my eyes (I need glasses for long distance sight).

    I can say that by looking at both machines at home, the glossy colors look more vivid, and that the viewing angles are better than the antiglare which looks a little bit like washed off to me. But still, prefer not to have reflections and the crispier pictures.

    I went ahead and get a refund approval from Amazon and looked for a high res antiglare screen. I found that the options were the i5's and really long waiting for the i7's. I decided that my times of gaming are long in the past (Quake (I, II, III, IV), Doom 3), and that I do not do any really intensive graphic design on my home machine, so therefore, the i7 was an over killing machine for us. I always wanted a Mac, so when the refresh was on the wild, I bought the i7 right away, it is a really nice piece of greatness, but I came quickly to realize that it was indeed too much of what I really needed. Then the options for antiglare were in the i5 and thinking that the 2.53Ghz was the right option, went ahead and order one from MacMall. Later on the day I realized (and after reading a little bit more) that the differences between the 2.53 and the 2.4Ghz are so small for real daily use (one can argue about encoding, super high CPU intensive tasks, etc. that over years of use could save you time, but I am talking bout real use) that even the 2.53 was an overkill again for the price/benefit stand point. Also, the rationale was this: benchmarks (and this is not real daily use) show that even the new i5 2.4 lower end of new Macbook Pros is faster than the once upper 2.8Ghz C2D latest generation Macbook Pro. Some will argue that having the i7 will give longevity to their machines, but just by following this rationale, it doesn't make too much sense. I think that I will see better machines in the future that even the low end products will be faster than todays i7's. The only differences between the i5 2.4 and 2.53 are the CPU speed, HDD capacity (not speed, both being 5400rpm, and amount of video memory. CPU diff in benchmarks show very little difference, video memory is not an issue for me (as explained above), and even when I had the i7 I knew I wanted to change the HDD for a 7200 rpm one, so I already had ordered the 7200 rpm 500GB Hitachi HD20500 IDK/7K from Amazon. Therefore, I went ahead and cancelled the i5 2.53Ghz and order a 2.4Ghz with the high res antiglare.

    With the good management of the "sleep" function on Mac OS X it might not be of too much interest the boot times, but I f’ound there is a slower boot time in the 2.4 compared to the 2.66. Now, both HDD’s are 5400rpm, the one in the i5 2.4Ghz is a 320GB Toshiba MK3255GSXF and the one in the i7 2.66Ghz is a 500GB Hitachi HTS545050B9SA02. I did it 20 times and the i5 2.4Ghz boot time average was 41 sec and the i7 2.66Ghz average boot time was 28 sec. This really surprised me since I always thought the major factor for the boot time was the HDD and not so much the CPU. But these are real numbers. To be honest, I did this comparison on boot times after I saw a youtube video where a guy compares side to side the i5 2.4Ghz vs the i7 2.66Ghz boot times, without he i7 being faster. Well, it is.

    I did a clean install on the 7200 rpm 500GB Hitachi HD20500 IDK/7K since I wanted to have it as new from factory. After I installed Snow Leopard, and all the applications that come in the other DVD, and installed all the current updates I ran the boot time test again. I was very impressed because now the boot time in the i5 2.4Ghz is average 27 sec ! Well, I knew the faster HDD will make an impact, but with puts back the i5 with the i7 !!!

    This might sound strange, but another observation was that the temperature was 3 to 5 degC higher on the i5 2.4Ghz than the i7 2.66Ghz. I know this does not make sense, but this was true when leaving both computers with the highest screen brightness, not sleep, not screen off. I let them both sit there for a while, and the results where that 3 to 5 degC difference (measured with smcFanControl and iStat widget). After I open the same Youtube video and let it run on both, the temperatures leveled up, but still sometimes the i5 was still 1 degC hotter than the i7. Must admit that this is a weird result for me since in theory the i5 should consume less energy, therefore less heat produced should come from it. But that is what I got as results. Maybe this is just an isolated expample with my new i5 2.4Ghz.

    Finally, I am extremely happy with this final decision and result. I think the bigger resolution is wonderful, and for what we do here at home, the Macbook Pro i5 2.4Ghz is much more than enough, and I could say that it is the case for many people out there. Many other have said this, get a better HDD, even better if it is a SDD (I still think the price/benefit factor is not optimum yet), more ram, and you will have a very fast and responsive machine. Now if you really need the extra punch on CPU and video memory, go for the i7 and better if it is high res. Really the i5 2.53Ghz mid point is not very optimum.

    Cheers to all ! :)
  2. entatlrg macrumors 68040


    Mar 2, 2009
    Waterloo & Georgian Bay, Canada
    It is interesting the i5 runs warmer than the i7?
  3. kolax macrumors G3

    Mar 20, 2007
    I agree with the fonts being uncomfortable on the high res screen. I owned the HR AG 15" for a week before taking it back for the standard resolution glossy.

    Could you have kept the high-res?
  4. dsprimal macrumors 6502a


    Mar 27, 2010
  5. GoyoNeuff thread starter macrumors member

    Apr 13, 2010
    @ entatlrg:
    Yes, as I said it, I noticed this happening. Either it is just an isolated issue with my Macbook Pro, or maybe is that for the same tasks, the i5 at 2.4Ghz needs to do more work than an i7 at 2.66Ghz, therefore the the i5 2.4Ghz gets hotter due to the harder work (?). I really do not have any other possibilities to explain this.

    @ Kilamite:
    I kept the High resolution. As pointed in the short review, the photos looked crispier than in the standard res. After these weeks of use, I still think I did a good choice by keeping the High Res. The only big differences and very small fonts were on iWork, but since I have both Office and iWork, I kept using Office :)

    @ dsprimal:
    Cheers for you comment.

    The purpose of this post was to help any lost soul (like I was) that was looking for a simple comparison between the i5 and i7, and also to provide feedback on the High and Standard resolution decision. For some people having the latest and newest is the way to go, but some others might be looking for help on if an i5 2.4Ghz is or not enough for their simple tasks.

    Cheers to all,

  6. iVinay macrumors newbie

    Jun 1, 2010
    Hi GoyoNeuff,

    Thanks for the post, this is exactly what I have been searching for lately. I am planning to get a MBP this week and had confusions between i5 & i7, your comparison makes sense its better to invest on i5 as I would not use processor intensive applications.

    Do you think i5 can handle Final Cut Pro and other professional video editing tools? Not that I am a pro and want to use these tools, I want to learn them and potentially use resource centric applications in future. I was also thinking for opting Hi-res Glossy which gives 64 extra pixels, I guess you went for this? I love small fonts/icons and I did see a demo in Apple Store which looked impressive.

    My main purpose would be with Video/Image editing tools (Adobe CS5 suites) and also to install a copy of Windows 7 to use some of windows applications & games. Is i7 worth the investment or should I stick to i5 and upgrade my hard disk (7200 rpm) and Ram giving it the extra edge it needs?

    Thanks again for this post, very insightful.

  7. dusk007 macrumors 68040


    Dec 5, 2009
    The i5 can handle everything the i7 can handle it is only a little less than 10% slower. That is really not a very big difference. Encoding someting that takes 50mins with the i7 takes 55min with the i5.
  8. iVinay macrumors newbie

    Jun 1, 2010
    Sweet! Thanks for that, I am going for i5 then. Any suggestions on SSD? Should I buy the base model & upgrade RAM/HDD (5200 vs 7200) myself or it is better off doing on Apple? Glossy vs Hi-Res Glossy?

    Thanks :)
  9. felixelgato macrumors member


    Sep 25, 2008

    The real diference in terms of speed doesn´t be related with i5 or i7, is the disk speed what realy matters. Try a SSD and you will see ...
  10. thejadedmonkey macrumors 604


    May 28, 2005
    Fixed it for you. There are many programs that max out the CPU, where the i7 would perform faster.
  11. sadcamper macrumors regular

    May 19, 2010
    Great post! I'm still going back-and-forth between the antiglare and glossy, but this was very helpful overall.

    I fully agree that for what you use it for (which is the same as what I would use it for), the 2.4 i5 is sufficient (probably more than).

    Enjoy your machine!
  12. GoyoNeuff thread starter macrumors member

    Apr 13, 2010
    @ iVinay:
    You are more than welcome. That is the idea, to share thoughts and help others.
    I am not, by all means, an expert...heck, not even close to that ! But I think that the i5 2.4Ghz will be able to handle Final Cut Pro. Going for the high res. screen is a good option, but I would say that if you are going to do photo/imaging work, maybe is better the Antiglare. It seems that the antiglare will give you more realistic colors and what you print will be closer to what you see on the screen. If you are going to go really heavy on editing and colors, you might want to get into a photo club and borrow a color calibration hardware to get your screen at the best calibration (or if you have lots of money, might want to buy one. Again, if you are really going to go into photo editing).
    The i5 2.4Ghz provides, I think, the best cost/benefit ratio of all the current Macbook Pros. As I said before, if you definitively have to have the latest on tech, and love to brag about your gadgets, then go for the i7. Otherwise, the i5 2.4Ghz should be more than enough.
    Cheers !

  13. GoyoNeuff thread starter macrumors member

    Apr 13, 2010

    If you have the cash for the SSD, go for it ! But right now the price is very high. I can only imagine what a SSD would do to my machine, if the humble Hitachi 7200 rpm 500GB HD20500 IDK/7K bumped the start up time of the i5 2.4Ghz to the same aprox. 25 s that the i7 was doing. Whatever you decide, go and do it yourself. Buy the components on the net, and put all together, it is not very difficult (hint:
    Screen: already answer you on previous post.

    Cheers !
  14. Shaman Beloved macrumors newbie

    Jan 21, 2008
    HDD speed

    You should know that higher capacity HDDs are faster because of higher data density on the platters. Rotation speed is just half the equation. Of course, should you compare HDDs of same capacity, higher rpm would win.

    The difference you had does seem really big. I'm sure models from different manufacturers have different performance too, don't know about Toshiba/Hitachi though...

    Anyway, enjoy your new MBP(s)! :)
  15. GoyoNeuff thread starter macrumors member

    Apr 13, 2010
    @ Shaman Beloved:

    +1, indeed big of a difference it made, the i5 2.4Ghz w/Hitachi upgraded I kept.


    Cheers !
  16. Hellhammer Moderator


    Staff Member

    Dec 10, 2008
    Exactly, but with Hitachi's 500GB 7200rpm drive, there are no challengers really. The WD's 1TB is triple platter and 5200rpm so it loses. 750GB is now double platter so it can fight against Hitachi's behemoth though.

    Anyway, SSD + 5400rpm is the best ;)
  17. Pikkuroope macrumors member

    Oct 25, 2008
    So it's not actually possible to change the resolution of the AG display to a smaller one? That's what I don't quite get..:confused:
  18. GoyoNeuff thread starter macrumors member

    Apr 13, 2010
    Agreed with Hellhammer I am, if cash is what you have...! SSD is the best, but expensive they are still. Results/price factor on Hitachi perhaps currently the best is.

    Cheers !
  19. Hellhammer Moderator


    Staff Member

    Dec 10, 2008
    As far as I know, you can but it really kills the idea of the nice screen as everything which is non-native res looks blurry and awkward.
  20. DEXTERITY macrumors 6502a

    Aug 14, 2004
    in regards to the fonts being smaller, cant you simple adjust them in the system settings as you can with a mac pro? I only ask because I'm about to purchase a laptop and do not want the glossy screen because of glare. However, I do want to be able to see text within documents :)

    thanks for the insight on your purchase.

    I wonder how a mac pro 2 x 2.66 compares to the i5 laptop. I assume the newer laptop is faster?
  21. GoyoNeuff thread starter macrumors member

    Apr 13, 2010
    I do not know about the adjusting, I would say yes. If you tell me how you do it on the Mac Pro, I will test it for you. I think I saw somewhere here in the forums that you could do the adjusting. However, you will be able to see text within documents. As I said in the original post, what I consider really small fonts I saw was when running iWork applications, on their tool bars, but I decided to use Office, so not an issue for me.
    Depends how do you define fast. If you have a test in mind, or want to get done something specific I would be more than glad to do it for you in my MacBook Pro and then you could compare with your results.
    Cheers !
  22. DEXTERITY macrumors 6502a

    Aug 14, 2004
    thanks for the reply. I have to double check on the text adjustment. I know how to do it once looking at the program, not from the top of my head :) in regards to speed.. how long does itunes take to open? I'm not sure if the amount of play list will matter. the only other test would be pro tools related which I assume you don't have :)

    thanks for your time.
  23. altoburgo macrumors newbie

    Jun 15, 2010
    Brisbane, Australia
    tks a lot, you just saved me 460 australian dolars!!

    I was going for the i7 with antiglare screen, 500gb hd 7200rpm and 8gb of RAM, but I will get the same in the i5 2.44 now. I'm not a hardcore gamer and I don't do any video editing, I use my computer to manage linux server, photo editing (I'm an amatour photographer) and webdesign (with some php programming).

    the only games I will play are simcity 4 and cities xl (never tried the cities xl) and I think 256mb of video memory will be enough!

    I'm placing my order in 3 days (waiting for my salary) so I'm just changing my shopping cart in apple store!

    tks again, I really enjoy your post since is the first one to really helped me to decide!
  24. babyt macrumors regular


    Jul 28, 2009
    Ok so I've been back and forth with getting the i5 or i7
    I'm going into graphic design/ photography and will be using photo shop apps apperture and maybe final cut.
    I'm not computer savvy and just want to know IN THE LONG RUN will the i7 be better then the getting an i5 I plan on keeping the MVP for two years then selling and buying the newer model.
  25. runebinder macrumors 6502a


    Apr 2, 2009
    Nottingham, UK
    The i5 will last you 2 years

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