June '09 MBP slower than late '08 MBP - thoughts?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by analog guy, Jun 28, 2009.

  1. analog guy macrumors 6502

    Mar 6, 2009
    i recently purchased a june '09 13" mbp (2.53/4GB) as an "upgrade" from my oct '08 15" (yes 15") mbp (2.4/4gb). (i say upgrade because although it's a got a smaller screen, every component known to me is the same or better in the 13" mbp. i had to get a 15" at the time because i needed firewire; i sold & re-bought when the new 13" with firewire was announced.)

    i transferred the hard drive (which was an aftermarket hitachi 320gb 7200 rpm drive) from the old machine to the new, so the OS was the same (10.5.7 (9j61) for both; *not* the upgraded build of 10.5.7 for the june '09 releases).

    both machines had 4gb ram, although the oct '08 model had memory supplied by OWC and the june '09 model's memory was chips installed by apple. for both machines, i only used the integrated nvidia 9400m chip. (the 13" mbp doesn't have the 9600m discrete chip, and i disabled it on my 15".)

    i know benchmarks are not everything, but i noticed something a little peculiar -- particularly with respect to the disk test. any ideas?

    xbench reports the following:
    1) "old" 15" mbp:
    overall: 132.93
    cpu: 160.12
    thread: 265.54
    memory: 181.74
    quartz graphics: 191.71
    opengl: 143.63
    UI: 296.70
    disk: 46.33

    2&3) new 13" mbp: (number before slash= before firmware upgrade / number after slash = after SATAII firmware upgrade)
    overall: 138.27 / 133.97 (green = better than oct '08 mbp)
    cpu: 168.61 / 170.29
    thread: 302.24 / 315.71
    memory: 182.53 / 188.56
    quartz graphics: 202.24 / 178.20
    opengl: 157.04 / 138.31
    UI: 329.67 / 330.52
    disk: 46.10 / 45.37 (red = worse)

    4) "old" mbp with a 250gb 5400rpm apple-supplied hitachi drive swapped from the brand new 13" mbp -- running 10.5.7 build 9j3050
    overall: 137.10
    cpu: 159.62
    thread: 268.92
    memory: 184.08
    quartz graphics: 190.15
    opengl: 150.10
    UI: 301.33
    disk: 49.02 (=best of the bunch)

    the machines all rate fairly close in the "overall" category. what surprised me was that the supposedly "better" 7200rpm drive that i swapped over to the new mbp (a) immediately dropped down a bit in performance when i popped it in the new mbp and then (b) performed a little worse after doing the firmware update (SATA II).

    also, (c) the 7200rpm drive rated worse than the apple-supplied hitachi @ 5400rpm.

    i'm scratching my head on this one. could it be....
    i) the 250gb 5400 rpm drive was absolutely clean and would likely decrease in performance over time? the old drive is 33% full.
    ii) that since i swapped hard drives, something in the earlier build of 10.5.7 is not optimized for the new mbps?
    iii) something else altogether?

    if (ii) is a possibility, is there any way for me to install that build as an upgrade to the earlier version of 10.5.7 without wiping the drive? (i'm sure 10.5.8 isn't that far away...and also 10.6 is coming, so that will make this question irrelevant in a few months.)

    thanks in advance for your thoughts.
  2. irontony macrumors member

    Dec 10, 2005
    New Zealand

    Have you tried to install the new MacBook Pro firmware update that is supposed to fix the SATA interface of some new machines?
  3. masse macrumors 6502a


    May 4, 2007
    I think your looking into it a little bit too much. No offense.
  4. mcdj macrumors G3


    Jul 10, 2007
    I was under the impression that specific computers had specific versions of the OS written for them, with specific drivers. That's why you can't install OSX on a 13" Macbook using the install discs from a 15" MBP.

    I understand you swapped the drives and it may have worked, but perhaps by doing so you are missing something from the intended install of the 13" MBP.
  5. TheWart macrumors newbie

    Jun 22, 2009
    The 'drop' in performance you are seeing is literally on the order of 1-2%.....which is well within the bounds of the margin of error for just about any possible benchmark.

    A stiff breeze might have reversed the results, lol.

    I wouldn't worry
  6. analog guy thread starter macrumors 6502

    Mar 6, 2009
    point(s) taken.

    i know they're just benchmarks, and i don't place a ton of faith in them, but i did think it was a little peculiar that the disk performance went down from old to new (and from new pre-firmware update to new post-firmware update).

    if i posted the individual components of the disk test (4 sub-categories for sequential and random reads and writes), the differences are a bit more pronounced -- up to 10%.

    i wondered if it was something i could/should fix (should i go through the hassle of transferring my data to an external drive, reinstalling the new build of os x 10.5.7, and migrating), or if it was simply acceptable error in the test.

    also, is the increase in performance (~6%) of the slower drive due to the fact that it's new/has less data on it?

    i've noticed good improvements in the past in going from 5400rpm to 7200rpm, so it stood out to have a drop in performance with that upgrade this time.

    thanks again!

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