Macbook Pro 2.53 Vs 2.66 , Advice for non - average user

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by sleyeu, Oct 18, 2009.

  1. sleyeu macrumors 6502

    Oct 18, 2009
    Resolved :)

    Ok (i misspelled the title, it sounds like its giving help, bu ti need help.. :()

    i have decided with my family that i am going to buy a macbook pro. (at christmas - february)
    i can get the 2.53 for like £1200 the 2.66 for like £1400

    I saw the 2.53 model looks great because its a good improvement from my old
    Dell 530s with 2.33 processor, 2gb ram and 256mb dedicated graphics (which suits me well, but its started to show a sign that it wants to retire and be given to my dad :) )

    However this mbp version has a shared gpu which i think is 256mb of shared graphics?

    256mb gpu is great but it is shared and i am worried it wont suit me.
    I do play games but no very intense games like Guild Wars, thats like the only game i play.

    That plays fine on my dell but thats got a dedicated graphics card (Also i want to have peace of mind that this macbook pro will play guild wars 2 when it comes out).

    I might be doing some picture or movie editing but thats basic and i will be using iMovie and maybe a simple 3d editor like Blender, google sketchup or equivalent.
    I will be having a go at iPhone Programming but thats not a process hog.

    I would like to know if there is a difference between the dedicated and shared graphics card and if there is a noticable boost from 2.53 to 2.66 while doing the stuff i listed.

    I might later on pay to upgrade my ram and hard drive but thats an 'if' and 'later'

    Oh yes, in this thread,
    i have read that the macbook pros will be updated soon. Do you think they will bump the specs worth me waiting untill february-ish. But if this has a maybe to cheaper price to the model which includes the dedicated graphics, i think ill wait as i dont need it, its just an upgrade from my nearly 3 year old dell.

    Also (sorry about so many questions, im really consious about when i get it, ill think that i missed out)
    Could someone explain the difference between a 3mb cache and a 6mb cache and what performance boost there is.

    If anything is unclear, which im sure something is, please tell me :(

  2. Andy348 macrumors 6502

    May 18, 2009
    You have until February, so I wouldn't get worked up now. I do know that the current systems will run Guild Wars fine because the older, Unibody MacBooks could run CoD4 on medium settings and it played well.

    I don't know about photoshop and stuff like that though, sorry :(
  3. sleyeu thread starter macrumors 6502

    Oct 18, 2009
    oh thanks, but they ran cod with dedicated or shared?

  4. Andy348 macrumors 6502

    May 18, 2009
    The unibody MBs have the Nvidia chip with 256MB shared I believe, but I'm not 100% certain.
  5. sleyeu thread starter macrumors 6502

    Oct 18, 2009
    hmmm :mad: well 256 or not gw only need 128 me thinks.

    well now im just bothered about the possible updates in february. if there is, ill be soooooo annoyed id probably sell it and buy a windows. unless i can get a refund or pay the difference for a new one.

    february... hmmmmmmmmm...

  6. Andy348 macrumors 6502

    May 18, 2009
    Was that some type of joke?

    Not meaning to be harsh, but do you really think that you deserve to pay the difference or get a refund 4 months after purchasing a Mac? There is always new technology coming out, both in the PC world and the Mac world. If you're getting your panties in a bunch when a new computer comes out 4 months after you bought yours, you've got a problem.

    People need to understand that this is technology; you rarely have the latest and greatest.
  7. mattyb240 macrumors 6502a

    May 11, 2008
    Wow you sure sound like the "non average Mac user". Buy the best you can afford. You want to play games get a dedicated GPU regardless otherwise you won't be happy in the future.
  8. jav6454 macrumors P6


    Nov 14, 2007
    1 Geostationary Tower Plaza
    All unibodies have the nVidia 9400M GT which have 16 cores and 256MB shared with main memory graphics.

    However, if you choose the next MacBook Pro (the 2.66GHz) model, then you get the 9400M GT and the 9600M GT. The 9600M GT has the 256MB of dedicated GDDR3 memory and it ha double the cores (32) as the 9400M GT. Also, it's clocked higher.

    The difference between the 2.66 and 2.53 is basically down to the graphics chips which I already detailed. Also, all MacBook Pro (15") models start at 4GB DDR3 RAM. Also, if you decide to upgrade the RAM later, the highest it can go is (2x4GB) 8GB DDR3-1066MHz. Right now, it is not recommended as the price for a single SO-DIMM of 4GB DDR3-1066MHz is quite high (some times cost prohibitively so). You might want to hold off on that upgrade.

    L2 cache only comes into play when you have video/audio encoding to do. Otherwise, that extra 3MB in cache won't do much. Also, think of the L2 cache as a mini-ram inside the CPU die. It's their so the CPU doesn't have to go fetch certain instructions all the time. It's good to have higher cache, but it isn't the end of the world if your CPU doesn't have 6MB of it. 3MB is more than plenty for the average user. Now, if you are an encoder of video/audio, then yes, the higher the better and it's recommended you get as much as possible.
  9. sleyeu thread starter macrumors 6502

    Oct 18, 2009
    no sorry i meant if i get in february and something new comes out like a week after..

    yeah i realised i wrote it wrong after i posted and it wont let me change the title, i also said it on the first post :(

    Thank You! this has basically stopped me worrying. This was a perfect answer, not that andy's wasnt, his helped too but now i understand. I will wait untill february, save a little extra and get the dedicated or the new uMBP that might come out early next year if there is one. Thanks

  10. Andy348 macrumors 6502

    May 18, 2009
    Oh now I understand! Sorry about that, I'm just used to hearing people expect companies to take their crap back when something new comes out -.-

    Anyways, looks like you know what to buy. Good luck!
  11. sleyeu thread starter macrumors 6502

    Oct 18, 2009

    i also said that if i could get a refun or pay the difference because apple seem to release new products without saying so...

    anyway, thanks for the help and i have my eyes set on the

    MacBook Pro 15" 2.66 with nVidia 9600 GT 256mb or equivalent in the possible update after christmas :D

  12. Andy348 macrumors 6502

    May 18, 2009
    I'm sure they'll be tuns of rumors a month before February that you'll pretty much know whats going to be updated. I understand being a month away from an update, buying a computer then going "D'oh!" because you didn't buy the new one, thats fair game. But theres always those individuals that expect Apple to take back their 5 month old laptop because a new one came out!

    Either way, I'd watch the rumors quite closely for the time being.
  13. SnowLeopard2008 macrumors 604


    Jul 4, 2008
    Silicon Valley
    Correction: Apple will probably NOT update the MBPs until they can get their hands on the Core i7 mobile processors, otherwise known as Clarksfield. I don't think it'll be February, correct me if I'm wrong. Most companies won't tell the media that a new product is coming out in X time. It'll stall sales since people will wait. We can speculate (like this forum) but not be 100% correct.

    You won't be able to pay the difference unless you buy X product and < 14 days Apple releases a new version of X product and you haven't opened the box yet.

    You won't get a refund unless you buy X product, it has a major defect and Apple offers you the refund.
  14. jav6454 macrumors P6


    Nov 14, 2007
    1 Geostationary Tower Plaza
    You might want to check that....
  15. drewsof07 macrumors 68000


    Oct 30, 2006
    Personally, I would try to find one of the first 2.53 uMBP's with 512mb of VRAM and 320gb hd. The newer 2.66 and 2.53 only have 256mb vram ;)

    Much better value in my opinion. The battery might not be quite as good, but if that's not a problem I would look for one of those.
  16. mamun01 macrumors newbie

    Oct 18, 2009
    Review: MacBook Pros (15-inch, Mid 2009)

    The 15-inch MacBook Pro has historically been the most popular model in Apple’s pro notebook lineup. It’s certainly easier to tote around than its more powerful and hefty 17-inch big brother, though its feature-to-price ratio compared favourably. Now, with Apple’s debut of a 13-inch MacBook Pro, the standard-bearer is now relegated to the middle ground. While this update to the 15-inch category delivers better value and even more specification options, the upgrades to this newly appointed mid-2009 model are more nuanced than flashy.

    Look and feel. From the outside, the new 15-inchers don’t have much new to meet the eye. The new models sport the same solid aluminium unibody enclosure with the indented thumb scoop for opening the lid. There’s the same huge touchpad that responds to the familiar range of finger gestures, and the same relatively stiff button that makes it easier to tap and swipe the touchpad with your fingers than to actually depress the button. There’s still the big glossy screen, which you either love or love to hate, with the same resolution of 1,440 by 900 pixels. All ports are still grouped together on the left side of the case, including the MagSafe power port, Gigabit Ethernet, FireWire 800, two USB ports, and separate audio in and out ports. The iSight camera is positioned in the same spot, as is the 8x SuperDrive. Despite these familiar features, Apple has applied significant changes to the mid-2009 15-inch models.

    15-inch MacBook Pro

    No ExpressCard/34 slot. Replacing this flexible hardware receptacle for eSATA cards, network cards, TV tuner cards, and more, is something new—a Secure Digital (SD) card slot that you can use not only to transfer files to your Mac, but also to boot the laptop. The SD card slot is sure to be a welcome feature for people who shoot photos or videos with cameras that use SD cards. The slot recognises the card as a standard USB device. The feature worked well on the laptop I tested. The card showed up promptly and behaved as a memory card should. I tried loading OS X on to and then booting the machine with the SD card, which worked just fine, too; this capability is a genuine consumer-friendly convenience.

    Apple says that the MacBook Pros support the following cards: SD (which holds (4MB to 4GB of data), SDHC (which holds 4GB to 32GB of data), microSD (with and adapter), and miniSD (with an adapter). It does not support SDXC, a brand new card specification that theoretically can support up to 2TB of storage, but this card is not yet available on the open market.

    Users who have invested in ExpressCard hardware will lament the decision to eliminate the ExpressCard/34 slot, especially photographers and videographers who use the slot for a CompactFlash adapter because their cameras do not support SD cards, or folks who use eSATA or 3G ExpressCards. Apple estimates that customers who actually use the ExpressCard slot make up a single-digit percentage of its laptop customer base. The 17-inch model retains its ExpressCard/34 slot, making it the only option for anyone who really needs it.

    Non-removable battery. Apple is using a relatively recent battery technology for this new generation of 15-inch laptops, one that it introduced earlier this year for the 17-inch MacBook Pro. Apple has abandoned replaceable batteries in the newly configured pro line. That’s because embedding the batteries removes much of the peripheral—wasted—space required for removable components, according to Apple. The space recovered from a removable battery is now taken up by a larger, flatter, more compact, and longer-lasting battery. The svelte new lithium-polymer batteries differ from the traditional lithium-ion cells of the past. A new characteristic of the battery, called Adaptive Charging, is designed to optimise each charge in order to prolong the battery’s lifespan. The new battery contains a chip that monitors things like charge level and temperature and communicates this information to the computer. An advanced algorithm processes this information to determine the optimal charging current.

    Because of this, Apple says that instead of the typical 300 recharges that most notebook batteries get, the new MacBook Pro batteries can survive 1,000 charges, or approximately five years, before reaching 80 percent of original capacity. Only time will tell if that claim meets the test of reality. It’s hard to objectively judge whether non-removable batteries is inherently a pro or a con: Some people will be totally happy never to handle the battery. Others will feel positively deprived without the ability to swap batteries (on a long flight, for example).

    Better screen graphics. The glossy screen of the previous generation of MacBook Pros literally popped with vivid colour and smoldered with distinctive grayscale tones. Its blacks were deep and rich. Now, Apple says that the display is even better, offering 60 percent greater color gamut than earlier MacBook Pro generations. Colour gamut is not a measure of brightness, sharpness, or resolution. Rather, it represents the range of colours that a device can display. MacBook Pro displays are accompanied by LED (light-emitting diode) backlight technology that promotes better representation of a wider range of colors onscreen. And, while no one really expected it, there is still no matte screen option for this notebook display, and likely never will be. People who care about this (and there are many who feel strongly) will continue to be disappointed.

    Greener than ever. The new line of MacBook Pros (including the 15-inch models) continue the environmental initiatives of the recent past to include arsenic-free display glass, BFR (brominated flame retardant)-free construction, mercury-free LED-backlit display, PVC (polyvinyl chloride)-free internal cables, recyclable aluminium and glass, reduced packaging, and an EPEAT (Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool) Gold rating. And Apple’s notebooks now meet the EPA’s newest Energy Star Version 5.0 requirements.

    New 15-inch MacBook Pros: Speedmark performance

    Longer bars are better. Blue bars in italics represent reference systems. Macworld Lab testing by James Galbraith, Chris Holt, and Helen Williamson.

    The new line of 15-inch MacBook Pros feature three models instead of two. Like the new 13-inch pro models and the white 2.13GHz MacBook, the bottom-of-the-line 15-inch 2.53GHz MacBook Pro features only the Nvidia GeForce 9400M integrated graphics chip. The other two new 15-inch pro models have both the 9400M and a discrete Nvidia GeForce 9600M GT graphics chip. The new pro models also contain the more powerful DDR3 SDRAM, as compared with the MacBook’s DDR2 memory. The new 15-inch pro models also have 4GB of 1066MHz DDR3 SDRAM, upgradable to 8GB.

    The new MacBook Pros are clearly in their own class, as reflected in their Speedmark scores. While our benchmarks show that, overall, the three new systems are fairly close in terms of overall performance—the high-end 2.8GHz model outpaced the low-end 2.53 model by 9.7 percent—a more compelling performance narrative based on the dual graphics chips is told with our Quake 4 frame rate test. In Quake, the high-end model was more than twice as fast as the low-end model and outpaced the mid-model 2.66GHz by more than 10 percent. We observed similar disparities with the Call of Duty 4 test: again the high-end model squeezed more than twice as many frames per second as the low-end model but was on par with the mid-model. If you’re a gamer, you’ll benefit from the dual graphics setup. Plus, the high-end 15-incher has twice the video RAM of the mid-model.

    Benchmarks: 15-inch MacBook Pros
    Speedmark 5 Adobe Photoshop CS3 Cinema 4D XL 10.5 Compressor 3.0.4 iMovie HD iTunes 7.7 Quake 4 Finder Finder
    15-inch 2.8GHz MacBook Pro 260 0:48 0:45 1:32 0:39 0:54 77.1 4:00 1:13
    15-inch 2.66GHz MacBook Pro 242 0:52 0:47 1:37 0:43 0:57 69.9 4:06 1:28
    15-inch 2.53GHz MacBook Pro 237 0:53 0:50 1:42 0:45 1:00 37.4 4:11 1:18
    15-inch 2.66GHz MacBook Pro (Mar. 2009) 241 0:53 0:47 1:36 0:43 0:57 74.1 4:10 1:18
    15-inch 2.4GHz MacBook Pro (Oct. 2008) 224 0:57 0:54 1:46 0:50 1:04 61.0 4:39 1:16

    Best results in bold. For Speedmark and Quake 4, higher scores are better. All other tests are timed results where lower times are better. Reference systems in italics.

    Speedmark 5 scores are relative to those of a 1.5GHz Core Solo Mac mini, which is assigned a score of 100. Adobe Photoshop, Cinema 4D XL, iMovie, iTunes, and Finder scores are in minutes:seconds. The two white MacBooks and the MacBook Pro were running Mac OS X 10.5.7 with 4GB of RAM. The Photoshop Suite test is a set of 14 scripted tasks using a 50MB file. Photoshop’s memory was set to 70 percent and History was set to Minimum. We recorded how long it took to render a scene in Cinema 4D XL. We used Compressor to encode a 6minute:26second DV file using the DVD: Fastest Encode 120 minutes - 4:3 setting. In iMovie, we applied the Aged Film Effect from the Video FX menu to a one minute movie. We converted 45 minutes of AAC audio files to MP3 using iTunes’ High Quality setting. We used Quake\'s average-frames-per-second score; we tested at a resolution of 1,024-by-768 pixels at the Maximum setting with both audio and graphics enabled. We duplicated a 1GB folder, created a Zip archive in the Finder from the two 1GB files and then Unzipped it.—Macworld Lab testing by James Galbraith, Chris Holt, and Helen Williamson.

    Value. Compared to the previous MacBook Pro generation, prices for all of these models have dropped substantially, at first blush. If you take a closer look on a model-by-model basis compared to previous MacBook Pro models, you'll find some compromises were made. But the end results are slightly lower prices overall.

    Take, for example, the new $2,699 2.53GHz pro model. It's around $1000 cheaper than the older 2.53GHz model released in October 2008, but the new 2.53GHz pro model lacks the 9600M GT graphics chip that the older model had. Another example: the new $3,199 2.66GHz pro model with the dual graphics setup is around $800 less than the older 2.66GHz MacBook Pro released in March 2009, but the new model has half the amount of video memory as the older model. The new top-of-the-line 2.8GHz model with a 500GB hard drive goes for $3,699, as opposed to the previous $3,999 high-end model with a 320GB hard drive.

    In addition to its upgraded RAM configurations, the new 2.53GHz and the 2.66GHz models come with 3MB of shared L2 cache. The 2.8GHz model ships with 6MB of shared L2 cache. All models retain the 1,066MHz frontside bus and built-in AirPort Extreme Wi-Fi with 3Mbps Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR. The 15-inchers come standard with Serial ATA 5,400 rpm hard drives of 250GB, 320GB, or 500GB respectively. Both of the higher end 15-inch models have the dual graphics setup with the Nvidia GeForce 9400M and GeForce 9600M GT, but the amount of video RAM for the 9600M GT differs-the 2.66GHz MacBook has 256MB, while the 2.8GHz has 512MB.

    Another part of the increased value of these notebooks is their expandability. The new 15-inchers have more upgrade capacity than they did before and additional build-to-order options, including: a 3.06GHz processor; a maximum of 8GB of RAM; a 500GB 7,200 rpm hard drive; and a 256GB solid state drive.

    If you want a smaller, lighter notebook to tote around, you may be glad to note that the 13-inch 2.53GHz MacBook Pro’s benchmarks results were nearly identical to the 15-inch 2.53GHz model, but it costs $300 less.

    Battery life. How long can you sit on a plane and work (or play) on your machine? Apple says the batteries on the 15-inch MacBook Pro will last 7 hours without having to be recharged, basically a day’s work, if you’re using only the Nvidia GeForce 9400M integrated graphics processor. Cut about an hour off of that total if you’re using higher powered graphics of the Nvidia 9600M GT graphics processor.

    Macworld Lab tested the batteries in the new 15-inch models in their “Better battery life” mode, meaning that testing was conducted with only the Nvidia GeForce 9400M graphics chip. We set the screen to full brightness, dimmed the keyboard, turned off AirPort, and looped a movie ripped to the internal hard drive at full screen until the battery was drained.

    We found that the new models ran for 4 hours and 3 minutes, 4 hours and 1 minute, and 3 hours and 56 minutes for the 2.53GHz, 2.66GHz, and 2.8GHz respectively—an average of 4 hours. That represents significant improvements in battery life compared to earlier models. For example, comparing the 2.53GHz MacBook Pro of today to one of the same clock speed in October 2008, reveals a 63 percent increase in battery life. Comparing the new 2.66GHz model to the older 2.66GHz model (from March) reveals nearly a 26 percent boost in battery life. As of the last full generation of MacBook Pro 15-inch models, only the previous 2.66GHz MacBook Pro released last March broke the three-hour mark for battery life with this test.

    Better colours. The new MacBook Pros also live up to Apple’s claim of expanded colour gamut. In a side-by-side comparison with the previous generation Pro notebook, we observed fairly significant differences in the rendering of a colour photo test image. Viewing this image in each machine separately, most eyes would perceive the vibrant colour we’ve come to expect from these glossy screens. However, viewing them together, the heightened intensity of the red and green spectra made the difference obvious. Mere eyeball observations were born out by Apple’s Color Sync utility. In comparing the last generation MacBook Pros with the new models, the range of visible colour was specifically expanded in the red and green areas. The blues stayed about the same.

    Macworld’s buying advice. The 15-inch MacBook Pro 2.53GHz, 2.66GHz, and 2.8GHz sport faster processors on the high end, higher RAM capacity, a larger solid-state drive option, longer-life battery, an improved display, and an SD memory-card slot (in lieu of the ExpressCard/34 slot found on the previous version). All of these changes are accompanied by lower prices.

    If you already have a unibody MacBook Pro, you will already have most of the great features these new models have to offer. However, if you’re a switcher, a new buyer, or have one of Apple’s older notebook models, you have a cornucopia of excellent choices at more advantageous prices than before. Gamers will want to consider only the mid- or high-end 15-inch model.
  17. sleyeu thread starter macrumors 6502

    Oct 18, 2009
    yes but like after christmas it would have passed the product cycles average time so we should be hoping for a new model.

    well, now im annoyed that there is pesimism about the updates... i thought i was going to get a good uMBP :(

    anyway what bonuses will i7 give?

    and i dont think buying an old model is an option because i dont trust ebay and im not sure about refurb, is it second hand?

    wow im really laying an egg here. if i could id buy a macbook pro today, but i cant so if i get it at christmas ill be kind of worried there will be an update soon and if i get in february ill be pulling my hair out if the new model comes out like next month. (chances are (90%) im gonna get the mpb only in february)

    i just need the information when the new mps will come out which is not gonna happen.

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