MacBook Pro 15" 2.4 i5 vs 2.66 i7 cost-performance

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by LSXL, Apr 20, 2010.

  1. LSXL macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2010
    #1
    Hey guys. I have lurked and waited for Arrandales to hit the stores from last years November. Now that they've arrived, I can't make up my mind! What would you guys do in my shoes? Opinionate me!

    Coming from Late 2006 iMac 2.0Ghz C2D, 2GB RAM, 160 GB HD, OSX 10.6

    My needs:
    Music production in Logic Express. I'm moving on from Garage Band and plan to record instruments, heavily use virtual instruments and effects for electronic music. Focusing on Guitar Rig, Absynth and Ultrabeat.
    Small time photography. From time to time I need to take some good quality on-site production photos for my business and would like to edit them smoothly. Looking forward to use Aperture and Photoshop Elements.
    Casual gaming. Waiting for Steam to hit the Macintosh platform.

    I'm debating between 2.4 i5 and 2.66 i7 both in high resolution anti-glare. Any suggestions in temperature and battery life department?
    Is it a good idea to to swap the HD to an after-market SSD and use an SD Card as a scratch disc for Logic? I want to keep it separate from my back-up HD. Seems like an option to avoid second external HD and I just dont want to do the Opti-bay mod because of Time Machine.
    Also, any point to upgrade the RAM for my kind of needs?

    Thanks in advance :apple:
     
  2. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

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    #2
    Get the 2.4GHz i5 and save your money towards SSD, HD(s) and RAM, they'll make more difference than 260MHz would
     
  3. LSXL thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Apr 20, 2010
    #3
    Dude, I knew you would reply! I MRoogled and roamed this forum for quite a while and your Immortal avatar is quite memorable :D

    Thanks for the advice. How about the SD Card scratch disc thing?
     
  4. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

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    #4
    I have no personal experience with SD cards but it should work and it's easier solution than external HD as you don't have to carry anything extra (just couple SDs which you can keep in your wallet for example). They are more expensive but if your scratch disk doesn't have to be very big, SD card(s) would be okay.

    BTW, if you need A LOT space, you can remove the SuperDrive and get two 1TB HDs (replace the SupDrive and HD) to get total of 2TBs!
     
  5. striatedglutes macrumors 6502

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    USA
    #5
    Do you have experience doing this? I would imagine the wear and tear (compression and bending) to be high when carried in a wallet, leading to a reduced lifespan.

    edit: haha i'm blind.
     
  6. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

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    #6
    As I said, I have no personal experience, that was just an example that came to my mind as it would be easy way to carry them. There are those plastic cases for SD cards which protect them pretty well
     
  7. Jack Stacks macrumors newbie

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    Mar 17, 2009
    #7
    Its more then 260MHz, it would at least be 260MHz per core/thread. Plus the i7 has 50% more cache then the i5 in addition to being able to hit much higher "turbo" speeds.

    You can always upgrade the HD or ram down the line but your stuck with the cpu forever.
     
  8. Jack Stacks macrumors newbie

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    Mar 17, 2009
    #8
    Where are you buying 1TB 9mm height 2.5' laptop hard drives? Largest is 640 GB, do the research before you make suggestions.


    As far as the OP, get the screen and cpu upgrade. Then upgrade ram/hd yourself for way cheaper down the line. Then you can sell the mem/hd or throw the hd in a case for us as a time machine drive.
     
  9. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

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    #9
    Well, for 400$, 260MHz + 1MB (it's 33% more) more cache isn't worth it IMO. Sure that 260MHz is ~10% so it's 10% faster than base 15" is but the i7 is also 20% more expensive...

    RAM and SSD/HD upgrades will give better performance than i7 would. i7 would make importing/exporting and such things faster but at least I can wait few seconds longer..
     
  10. breathesrain macrumors regular

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    #10
     
  11. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

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    #11
    You should do the research before posting...

    Any unibody MacBook (Pro) can take 12.5mm drive, even two of them if you do Optibay solution.
     
  12. squirrel77 macrumors member

    squirrel77

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    Mar 17, 2006
    Location:
    Barcelona ES
    #12
    What about with the 17" option?

    Similarly I'm looking at the 17" and wondering if the 2.53 to 2.66 (or whatever it is) upgrade is worth the £160?

    I had a good play with the 2.53 antiglare model in the shop on sunday (I'm definately going antiglare), it only had a 5400rpm drive in there and opening and closing apps was very quick.
    I will probably go with an aftermarket SSD drive a year down the line when they become a bit cheaper (guessing the upgrade is as easy as the prev MBP?) but £40 for the 7200rpm version won't break the bank and I noticed a big difference on my 1.83ghz core duo mac mini when I upgraded from 5400 to 7200, more than going from 1gig to 2 gig of ram.

    I will be going from a 5 year old 12" ibook G4 1.2gz with 1.25gig ram!

    New laptop will get used for boot camp/parallels windows 7 for when I am on client site.
    At home it will get used for audio/video editing and conversions, some authoring of DVDs, garage band, heavy use of elgato eyeTV for converting and streaming too possibly. I am therefore guessing CPU and hard drive need to be the fastest, RAM maybe not so much an issue at moment, better value for money if I upgrade that separately at a later date if need be?

    Thanks everyone
     
  13. LSXL thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Apr 20, 2010
    #13
    Man, I had the same laptop! Flash or even html5 were just killing it. Gave it to my mother for email and chat.

    Thanks for various opinions so far people!

    As far as the HD's go, I will probably be stll very fine even with a 320GB or 500GB drive. No need for double drive yet. So I'll just probably to get 7200 rpm Hitachi Travelstar HD that is very well spoken of on this forum and get an SSD along with more RAM later.

    Now I'm just separated by heat and battery consumption of i5 Vs i7.

    So far leaning towards 2.4 i5 since it's so much cheaper. And I have to get Apple Care since I'm buying it in Japan and there is no Apple Store in my country to get it from... Any ideas on bypassing that?
     
  14. SoCalRich macrumors 6502

    SoCalRich

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    NorCal
    #14
    +1
     
  15. BRAVOSON macrumors newbie

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    Mar 27, 2010
    #15
    but on the i7 you get 256 MB more videoram. That could make difference in more demanding games or visual apps.
     
  16. LSXL thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Apr 20, 2010
    #16
    Intel i5 has multi-threading with 4 virtual cores too man.

    Thanks everybody for all the input! 2.4 i5 still seems like a great bang for the buck - 400 bucks for 10-15% of performance improvement for my kind of tasks seems negligeble.
     
  17. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

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    #17
    i5 does have Hyper-Threading...

    iMac's i5 doesn't but it belongs to Lynnfield family, not Arrandale, so as I said, the only difference is the clock speed and 1MB more cache in i7

    I don't get it why I have to say these same things over and over again. If you checked your information before posting, we wouldn't have to discuss about this
     
  18. SoCalRich macrumors 6502

    SoCalRich

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    #18
    Sorry guys... I did check my information... at the Apple Store... That was what I was told by the "Business Professional" Rep... Guess I can't believe everything I'm told by a supposed "knowledgeable" Apple person.

    I will check my OWN information in the future.

    Again... My bad... Sorry....
     
  19. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

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    #19
    Oh, well, I understand you now. It's sad that some Apple employees aren't that knowledgeable about the products they sell :(

    Debating is allowed and I find it entertaining but sometimes it's annoying to repeat the same facts over and over again

    Cheers
     
  20. Plutonius macrumors 603

    Plutonius

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    New Hampshire
    #20
    If you plan to do any gaming, get the i7 just for the 512GB of video memory.
     
  21. nickane macrumors 6502

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    Feb 24, 2005
    #21
    I am also immensely interested in the price/performance ratio now that this whole nVidia thing has meant the low-end 15" have to have DGPs again (every cloud...).

    I need an MBP for home use mostly but I will need to run a fair bit of Shake/Nuke and some FCP as well. If I trick them out with 7200rpm and anti-glare, the difference narrows, but its still:

    £1739 for the core i5 2.4ghz

    £1959 for the core i7 2.66ghz

    which is 11% more CPU, 50% more cache and double the VRAM

    for 12.5% more money.

    Besides, I can get it with the stock HD for £1619 and upgrade the HD later, as others have suggested which makes the price difference more like 15-20%.

    Thanks for the info. You've really helped me out.
     
  22. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

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    #22
    Well, do you want to pay 20% more for 10% performance increase? i5 is fast enough but i7 will make import etc times shorter in e.g. FCP but that's pretty much it, it won't speed up Safari or Mail. Get the stock HD and upgrade if needed
     
  23. DanBUK macrumors regular

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    Oct 9, 2007
    #23
    LSXL, I have just now ordered the 15" core i7 (with 7200rpm drive and high res glossy) and as I think we are in similar situations (also Squirrel77), here is my reasoning...

    Anandtech have some interesting reading re: i5 vs i7.

    For photoshop:
    For Aperture 2 importing:
    3D rendering (I don't do this):
    The consumer focused "taking an XviD and converting it to an iPhone-supported H.264 format":
    Anand's summary:
    I am upgrading from a serious antique- my loyal, beautiful 12" 1Ghz Powerbook that I bought with very tight student funds in October 2003. It has been incredible (and I am using it now) and I doubt there will ever be a keyboard I like better, but for the last few years, for all photo and video work I have kidnapped my girlfriends MacBook. Sometimes intensive work has been painful but I have been saving for the new MBP.

    I want this purchase to last almost as long as the 12" PB and so, although a cheaper, more basic laptop would have been fine in 2003 (pre YouTube etc), getting the best I could afford has paid dividends as it has been able to cope with technological progress over the years.

    So, I would get the best you can possibly afford and the gain in useful life will outweigh the initial outlay increase.
     
  24. squirrel77 macrumors member

    squirrel77

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    Barcelona ES
    #24
    Great thanks DanBUK (and the other contributors)! That video import statistic really swung it to i7 for me.
    Just need to take the plunge now and sort out getting it ordered and delivered!

    If I take out applecare and then upgrade the stock hard drive a year down the line and then something goes wrong where do I stand?
    I've waited for it to expire on my other macs before upgrading!
    I'm not worried about messing up the upgrade itself (having been in and out of my mac mini loads and the hard drive upgrade there looks far more difficult than MBP HD upgrade) but if something else goes wrong might they then try to blame my own handy work thus invalidating the warranty?
     
  25. LSXL thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Apr 20, 2010
    #25
    Thanks DanBUK and Plutonius!
    The thing is that I have unconceously renewed computers every 3 years - 2001, 2004, 2007... So I am pretty positive I'm getting a new machine in 2013. Gaming has becoming a nostalgic need (doom 3, quake 4, call of duty series, valve games) and for new games I plan to get Playstation 3.
    As for creativity, I'm more interested in running apps without hickups like recording with buckloads of Audio Units which I guess is more in RAM department?
    But I'm getting the picture, though could max out the ram instead, still considering going all out for i7.
     

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