Macbook Pro 13-inch Purchasing Suggestions

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by SkaarjHunter, Jul 5, 2011.

  1. SkaarjHunter macrumors newbie

    Jul 5, 2011
    Hey all,

    I apologize if this was covered before, I just couldn't find it here on the forums by searching.

    I am seriously considering purchasing a 13 inch Macbook Pro and am wondering whether I should get a 2010 refurbished model with the Intel Core 2 Duo and the Nvidia 320m chipset, or the newer Core i5 model with the Intel HD3000.

    I am going to use it for regular everyday use, as well as some gaming on Windows through bootcamp.

    To me, either option will cost around the same.

    Any help or suggestions will be most appreciated!
  2. saberahul macrumors 68040

    Nov 6, 2008
    As far as I know, the newer is almost twice as fast than the 2010 model. Plus with the newer you're likely to purchase thunderbolt devices when they become cheaper so it may be beneficial. I'd go with the new one. Plus it isn't refurbished (which i doubt matters but i personally like new over refurbs)
  3. babyt macrumors regular


    Jul 28, 2009
    Refurbs are an awesome. Awesome deal
    Idk if apple has them up yet, but try to get a 2011 refurb :)
    The 2011s are WAY better then the 2010 :)
    If you can't get refurb try student if you are one :)
  4. cloroxbleach4 macrumors 6502a


    Dec 28, 2007
    Go for the 2011. If you have a microcenter nearby you can get it for $999.
  5. babyt macrumors regular


    Jul 28, 2009
    Or use
  6. GermanyChris macrumors 601


    Jul 3, 2011
    Get the old one SSD it and your good to go..I've read to many bad things for me to want an 11 MBP, WiFi, heat, TB powering displays. While that i7 is tempting it hasn't tempted me away from mine yet.
  7. SkaarjHunter thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 5, 2011
    Thanks for all of your input.

    I know that the new Intel Core i5 and i7 processors are superior to their predecessors, but as GermanyChris said, I have also heard things about overheating problems and the like.

    Also, I hear that the Nvidia 320m chipset is much better than the Intel 3000HD.

    Are these statements true? What have been your experiences with either of these models?
  8. arcite macrumors 6502a


    Sep 6, 2009
    Cairo, trapped in a pyramid with my iphone
    I have the 2010 macbook 13. It runs great, battery lasts a long time, no heat problems what so ever. The most demanding game I run is perhaps Half life 2 on occasion, and the temps get a little warm but nothing serious. It's not a gaming machine, but everything else runs like butter (apps, video ect...). Frankly, if you can get a good deal on an older model, why not? Save money now, then you can upgrade to an even better machine a year or two down the road when the next generation macbook pros come out.

    So; older model with max memory and even an SSD, it would be an awesome machine!
  9. ABadSanta macrumors regular

    Jul 3, 2011
    The new Sandy Bridge i5 and i7 in the current 13" are very, very fast processors, and the current 13" itself is significantly faster than the last generation C2D models.

    It is true that the old nvidia 320m was better for gaming than the current integrated chip, but the current 13" will still be able to run most games on pretty good settings.

    Here's the current 13" with an i5 playing Call of Duty 4-
  10. SkaarjHunter thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 5, 2011
    arcite, what settings do you play Half Life 2 on? That's actually one of the games I'm planning to play.
  11. Nostromo, Jul 5, 2011
    Last edited: Jul 5, 2011

    Nostromo macrumors 65816


    Dec 26, 2009
    Deep Space

    What problems in plugging in external displays do you mean?
  12. Fugue macrumors 6502

    Jan 14, 2011
    I have the 13" 2011 model, baseline.

    The 320M is a better graphics card, for most games, but it's not worth tugging along the Core 2 Duo CPU with it. Just get the 2011.

    The integrated graphics are not as bad as I previously thought. I play Torchlight, Team Fortress 2, Age of Empires III, and Call of Duty 4 at maximum resolutions, except the former, without a hitch. It doesn't provide for amazing gaming, but it pulls its weight.
  13. jetblk328i macrumors 6502

    Apr 20, 2010
    Although the 320M is better than the new integrated chip, I believe that the improvement in the processor far overweighs any advantage the 320m has.

    As many before me have posted, the integrated chip isn't THAT bad and can handle games fine(for the most part). However, the i5 is speedy and should be more futureproof, especially if you are looking to play the newest, greatest games...
  14. dsio macrumors regular

    Jun 19, 2011
    The HD3000 varies between being about equal and about 10-15% better than the old Nvidia chip, Windows and Linux performance isn't currently as good due to immature drivers, but Mac performance is very good for what it is, the i7 also runs a bit faster than the i5 version of the HD3000 and having 8GB of ram ups it to 512MB of video RAM.

    Get the i5/i7, its better by far.
  15. GermanyChris macrumors 601


    Jul 3, 2011
    in everything we're posting here makes me wonder:

    What are you guys doing that requires i7/i5?

    I know a vast majority of the time I run 5 to 30% of cpu usage.

    From what I read processor power has little effect on gaming perfomance but I don't really know.

    The problems with monitors seems to be that not all the MDP to whatever seem to be working not even the Apple converters. I'm sure that not everyone is effected but it seems pretty prevelent.

    If you can get a good deal on the '10 13" spend 60 on ram and 100 on a small SSD and keep your platter it will hold long enough to get ivy bridge with a discrete gpu in say '13 maybe even '12

    I use CS5 daily (no video) and never really felt like I needed more processor power. I even transcoded a 5 min .mov file to MPEG2 in I think a minute or so it suprised me how fast.

    If you handbrake alot then the processor power would be important.

    Those are my thoughts I could be wrong but this is an enthusiasts board so newer and faster are always better.:D

  16. lukekarts macrumors regular

    Mar 16, 2009
    Based on the info you've given, I don't get the impression you will be doing many CPU intensive things, and my C2D certainly doesn't get overstretched with anything I do today. The iX range are much faster, but also more expensive, so you have to factor in what you value more - performance or price!

    Gaming may be a the deciding factor for you. The Intel Chip peforms slightly better in terms of general use, in OSX, but over in Windows, where you'll be doing gaming, it shows the following:

    Intel vs. Nvidia

    3D Mark 03: 9039 vs 10494
    3D Mark 05: 6794 vs 7168
    3D Mark 06: 3949 vs 4346

    PCMark Vantage: 4088 vs 3816

    Windows 7 EI: 5.2 vs. 5.2

    Actual gaming benchmarks:

    COD: Black Ops:
    Low: 27 vs 41 fps
    Medium - 18 vs 28 fps

    FIFA 11:
    Med: 54 vs 66 fps
    High: 32 vs. 57 fps

    Starcraft 2:
    Low - 64 vs. 110 fps
    Medium: 20 vs 26 fps

    Battlefield: BC2
    Low - 36 vs 36 fps
    Medium 22 vs 21 fps

    Benchmarks suggests in actual gaming performance, all being equal, the 320M ranges from equal to significantly better.
  17. arcite macrumors 6502a


    Sep 6, 2009
    Cairo, trapped in a pyramid with my iphone
    I don't know, probably medium. The point is, the 13' core duo 2 isn't a game machine, however if you want to play a few 'older' games on it, that would be fine. If you're expecting more performance in games, might as well go for a windows laptop.
  18. SkaarjHunter thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 5, 2011
  19. Lennyvalentin macrumors 65816


    Apr 25, 2011
    I have the 13" Core i7 MBP, so GPU clock speed is slightly higher than the base version, performance increase should be quite marginal though.

    I only run Macos also, no windows at all on this machine. This limits gaming options quite substantially, so I've only tested Valve games, WoW and Torchlight. Half-Life Ep. 2 is a little sluggish, but runs alright I'd say. Obviously not as pretty as on a desktop, due to the low screen res and dumbed-down settings, but it's playable enough in single-player campaign.

    TF2 is not as successful, on default settings it's fairly choppy for a competitive "twitch reaction" player-vs-player game at 800*600 pixels. Dumbing it down some more helps, but I've been having huge issues with mousing, due to pointer acceleration totally screwing up my aim.

    Original Portal runs great. Portal 2...runs. :p It's certainly not great, or even good really, but since it's not an action game you can get by. Hard to play with the Magic Mouse though if you're like me and want to jump with the right mouse button... Sometimes it REALLY slows down, particularly when inching up close to a portal.

    WoW Cataclysm runs surprisingly well at native screen resolution (1200*800), as long as view distance is kept under control. Most of the advanced graphical effects aren't even available (either they don't work with the Intel graphics processor, or the Mac client doesn't support them period). I also turned down water and shadows to its lowest setting, and most everything else on low as well. Performance is good enough to hanker by on when just doing daily quests and such. I didn't try doing any dungeons or raids before my gametime expired. Haven't bothered to reactivate either.

    Torchlight probably is the nicest game to play of those I've tried so far. As long as there isn't too much water on-screen it runs a smooth 60 frames/sec much of the time, even with every setting on max and anti-aliasing activated. I also think it's a rather fun game!

    Diablo 2 doesn't work in snow leopard unfortunately, otherwise that one would have been ideal to play methinks. :( Haven't tried Warcraft 3, but its graphics is so simple I'm sure it'll run great. Starcraft 2 is probably much like WoW; need to knock everything way down; haven't tried either even though I have it installed.

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