Macbook Pro a better choice?

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by nREMfan, May 29, 2012.

  1. nREMfan macrumors member

    Feb 10, 2010
    So, on Sunday, a colleague of mine was over and I was showing him some Photoshop tips/tricks. He has the February 2011 2.3 i7 17" Macbook Pro with 16GBs of RAM, and a 7200rpm HD. Me, the entry level 2010 MP 2.8 quad with 16GBs of RAM and 2 7200rpm drives.

    For kicks, I wanted to see how fast his machine was compared to mine. So, I downloaded the Photoshop SpeedTest from and his MBP... smoked my MP. 18.5 seconds vs 14.1. I couldn't believe it.

    Now, I know there is a lot of talk about the faster i7's and then my MP is 2 year old tech. But, for heavy Adobe CS 5.5 use, is it smarter to buy a MBP these days (as a main machine)? Or is this test an "isolated" script? Where my MP would win out in overall use? Maybe I'm reaching, but I couldn't believe that "little" Mac was faster.
  2. Zwhaler macrumors 604


    Jun 10, 2006
    MP Quad is the "slowest" Mac Pro and other MBPs and iMacs will beat it in processing power. Mac Pro wins in graphics (assuming you have the 5770 or 5870), RAM (assuming you have more than 16GB), storage (assuming you are using 2 or more bays)... you see where I'm going. Basically the Mac Pro is a chassis with wonderful expandability. You can always upgrade your quad to a 3.33GHz or 3.46GHz 6 Core, that would put you ahead of other MBPs and iMacs.

    It would be smarter to buy a MBP over a Mac Pro only if the Mac Pro the buyer is considering is a quad core model. Anything higher (with the exception of the 2.4GHz 8 core in some cases) is faster, plus you can work on a larger screen than the 15" or 17" MBP with faster graphics performance.
  3. GermanyChris macrumors 601


    Jul 3, 2011
    The better question is why you find this suprising. A 2 generation newer quad core processor is faster than the older one no matter the machine it's in.
  4. amarcus macrumors 6502

    Feb 26, 2008
    London, UK
    This really depends on whether you value portability over upgradability. Your Mac Pro while slower at a raw benchmark still beats his MBP in a number of areas:

    • Substantially better graphics performance (important if you work with CAD)
    • Supports multiple HDD's so you can safely store vast amounts more media
    • Quieter under load - listen to his MBP during the benchmark his fans will be going crazy!
    • Multiple drive bays that are upgradable e.g. could house a Blu-Ray drive to publish your media
    • ECC ram that reduces the likelihood of errors - this is really more useful if your running simulations

    This is ignoring the fact that a top of the range MP will include a substantially better processor than an equivalent MBP. But if none of the above benefits appeal to you, then you might be better off with a MBP.

  5. theSeb macrumors 604


    Aug 10, 2010
    Poole, England
    A simple and general rule is that if you don't think that you need a Mac Pro, then you probably don't.
  6. thekev macrumors 604


    Aug 5, 2010
    To be fair here, Apple did somewhat cut down the base hardware of the mac pro with the 4,1 revision and beyond. Aside from this, turbo boost in the newest macbook pros was an advantage as photoshop scales better via clock speed than core count. Its overall scaling is still somewhat dismal.

    Noo..... the first rule of Mac Pro is you don't talk about Mac Pro:cool:.
  7. deconstruct60 macrumors 604

    Mar 10, 2009
    Since this is between a specific Mac Pro. Not necessarily. Just as the CPU could be two generations behind (noted in another comment here), the graphics can be just as far back. Spot mobile GPU's 2-3 generations arch advantage and there is more parity with "higher mobile" to "entry Mac Pro card option" offerings.

    The general quip is that the Mac Pro you can "expand"/"upgrade" the GPU. Hold that thought for a moment.

    If willing to blow away mobility and trade-off small amount of money can bring this into storage footprint parity with a MBP equipped with Thunderbolt.

    It isn't that hard to attach a 6TB , immobile, storage repository to a MBP.

    Options to access to very large storage and also increasing GB/s bandwidth then the advantage MP. If just want to be "bulk" up at "fast enough" speeds then the current MBP's can do that.

    Ditto on the Blu-Ray drive. If as immobile as the Mac Pro, there are several solutions.

    ECC doesn't reduce errors. Primarily, it allows you to know when and if they are happening. If you don't measure, you don't know. That is always useful. The folks who try to pawn ECC off solely onto long running computations entirely miss the point. [ Not particularly surprising since that sort of commentary almost always is trying to justify why it isn't needed. "Corner case the issue and then try to squash it" strategy. ] I bet if a bank lost some of their money on a millisecond ATM transaction most folks would be bent out of shape. It is also a matter if the data is valuable or not.

    Secondarily, you can recover from minor issues. This is useful in long running computations because then don't have to throw it all away and start over.
  8. gjwfoasfsaevg macrumors newbie

    Jun 12, 2007
    It does, that's why it's called error correcting code. All single-bit errors can be corrected.
  9. prvt.donut macrumors 6502a


    Jan 1, 2008
    Was that error intentional, either way, it works.:D
  10. scottsjack macrumors 68000

    Aug 25, 2010
    I'm always amused at the should I get a MacBook Pro or a Mac Pro question. What is really being asked is which of two non-interchangeable, totally different intended use computers should I get. It sounds more like confusion than a question.

    One might as well ask should I get the faster Ford Mustang or the more expensive, slower Audi? The person asking this question needs to decide for what purpose do they want a car for.
  11. deconstruct60 macrumors 604

    Mar 10, 2009
    But it does not prevent the error from occurring in the first place. What you are talking about is what happens after the error occurs. It does not prevent errors from happening (i.e., errors decreasing in likelihood.).

    You get two things. One, the system is aware the error occurred. Two, some of these can be repaired on the fly. Even if the error can't be repaired, the first is highly valuable for a system that needs to be kept in high availability status. Tracking errors over time can enable extremely effective preventative maintenance on the box. That value is vastly more widespread than "Just simulations".

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