Identically-specced Macbook Pro and iMac - is the Macbook any slower barring the HDD?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by amt2002, Apr 23, 2010.

  1. amt2002 macrumors regular

    Jul 18, 2008
    Apart from the hard drives, assume for a moment my iMac and Macbook Pro are identical (both C2D 2.66GHz, both 9400 graphics, both 4GB 1067GHz DDR3 Ram etc).

    My question is: were these computers to be running IDENTICAL hard drives, would their performance the same or would something in the Macbook cause bottlenecks where the iMac wouldn't break a sweat?

    My iMac feels so much 'snappier' than the Macbook Pro, and I'm wondering if this is all down to the Hard Drive speed or whether something else could be bottlenecking?

    I ask because I'm thinking of replacing my 24" iMac and 13" Macbook Pro for a 17" Macbook Pro with SSD, and I demand the computer to be as 'snappy' as the iMac was, even when loads of programs are open.
  2. Eidorian macrumors Penryn


    Mar 23, 2005
  3. aiqw9182 macrumors 65816

    Apr 22, 2010
    Your MacBook Pro has a 5400 rpm hard drive and your iMac has a 7200 rpm hard drive. An SSD will be faster than both.
  4. Hellhammer Moderator


    Staff Member

    Dec 10, 2008
    Basically they should but iMac uses 3.5" HDs and MBP uses 2.5" so you would have to replace iMacs HD with 2.5" one.

    SSD will make it feel faster as 99% of beachballs happen due CPU waiting for HD
  5. mattrothcline macrumors newbie

    Sep 23, 2009
    What exactly do you mean by "snappier"?

    A faster hard drive will help operations like:
    * Opening applications
    * Saving & opening documents
    * Scrolling through large photo/music libraries

    The HDD in your iMac is almost certainly faster than the drive in your laptop. But, for example, both machines should perform identically if you're dragging a window around the screen, browsing the Web, doing calculations in a spreadsheet, or playing a game.

    Computer performance is affected by a bunch of different things. If you want an answer to your question that's not pure speculation, you need to be more specific about what you mean by "snappy".
  6. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere


    May 16, 2008
    Of course, you're not expected to understand, as you're new to the forum. If you use MRoogle to search the forum for "snappier", you'll find it a very often-used term to describe faster performance. Somewhat of an inside joke, especially when referring to Safari.
  7. dusk007 macrumors 68040


    Dec 5, 2009
    There is one other thing but it is hardly noticeable. As the MBP makes have use of power saving techniques it responds slower in some cases. You will never notice it unless you compare them side to side. If you run a benchmark and the MBP opens all the pipes to deliver performance it will perform the same.
    Desktop HDD are definitely the biggest difference.
  8. Eddyisgreat macrumors 601

    Oct 24, 2007
    I can't find any concrete evidence.

    But I'd wager that the iMac is set at a constantly higher voltage and thus will appear snappier because the processor isn't scaling back as much during inactivity. Wheras your laptops will constantly adjusts to load which may or may not be transparent to you, the user.

    Again, just a guess.

    Edit: Owned by dusk007 ¬.¬ I was looking for evidence lol.
  9. amt2002 thread starter macrumors regular

    Jul 18, 2008
    Thanks for the replies - it's good to know if i move to an SSD-MBP as my sole computer it won't be a step down in responsiveness from the iMac.

    I couldn't cope using the 13" MBP with it's stock drive as my main system - the hard drive is so frustratingly slow, even doing basic stuff like iPhoto, loading docs in Pages etc. It's not bad until I step back up to the iMac which never bogs down, regardless of how many things I've got open on it.

    But interesting to note about the power savings perhaps being a cause of the ever-so-slight stutters I experienced on the Macbook Pro - but then it could be the hard drive again - it's very hard to tell :rolleyes:

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