Macbook Pro decision headache

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by stephen85, May 8, 2013.

  1. stephen85 macrumors member

    Jun 25, 2012

    I've searched and read multiple threads on the topic but none tailored to my specific needs and would appreciate guidance.

    I currently use a Vaio Core 2 Duo machine for music production professionally (believe it or not) which has and continues to tax the CPU. I also do what most others users do with their laptops (photoshop, video encoding/coverting dvd & bluray film,web browse,youtube, email, etc etc).

    The laptop will essentially be a mobile desktop workstation that i'm looking to last 5-6years.

    I've made the decision buy (before the June 10th 2013 announcements) a cMBP Quad i7 with the Hi-Res screen option and plan to increase the RAM with 16GB HyperX pnp and the HDD to a 750GB Momentus XT. The rMBP although a beautiful machine wont work for me due to HDD space, I/O, long term upgradeability and price.

    What i'm finding difficult is understanding and choosing either the 2.3ghz model or 2.6ghz model (2.7 is out of my price range).

    I understand web browsing, photoshop etc will see no difference for the extra 0.3 increase but will audio production,rendering and overall CPU benefit ?

    Will the extra 512mb GPU ram that comes with the 2.6ghz model make any difference?

    Will the turbo boost essentially make the 0.3 increase irrelevant once activated by doing CPU intensive tasks?

    Any advice or help is greatly appreciated.
  2. B..., May 8, 2013
    Last edited: May 8, 2013

    B... macrumors 68000


    Mar 7, 2013
    The 2.3 vs. 2.6 is an interesting option because it also offers 512 more MB of graphic card. The 650M is a very capable card, but I'm not sure 512 MB would be enough to keep it "future-proof" for a few years (3+). Would you game at all with it? Many modern games are already requiring 512 MB, and that might change soon to 1 GB.

    2.3 GHz CPU should be fine. The 2.6 of course will be a little faster (Geekbench shows around 9% increase for something that will really tax the CPU. That equates to around a few minutes (maybe 5-10) faster on a task which takes a few hours and does not tax the CPU 800%. The real issue is the GPU, and the 512 MB seems like it might be a stretch if you want to keep it, updating the software and OS, doing the same things and potentially more demanding things in the future.
  3. Krazy Bill macrumors 68030

    Krazy Bill

    Dec 21, 2011
    I think you're splitting hairs when it comes to the 2.3 vs. 2.6. You won't even notice. Your best overall performance booster will be the 16GB RAM upgrade. The cMBP is still a nice unit. It would be nice if you could scrounge up another $400 for a 512GB SSD.

    Your biggest obstacle will be the HD4000. Nothing you can do about that but based on your usage needs I really think you'll be fine.
  4. Asuriyan macrumors 6502a

    Feb 4, 2013
    GPU is usually the first component to be obsolete, and 512MB is not a lot by today's standards. I believe they are both gDDR5, so the difference in applications outside of gaming is likely to be minimal, but it's something to consider- especially since you are opting for the high-res screen.

    As for the CPUs, for tasks that are processor-bound it's about a 10% difference in performance.
  5. maxosx macrumors 68020

    Dec 13, 2012
    Southern California
    Excellent assessment.

    I'd pass on the CPU upgrade and get the 512GB SSD. More storage is always a valuable asset.
  6. stephen85 thread starter macrumors member

    Jun 25, 2012

    Thanks for reply.

    I wouldnt game with it as I'm mainly a console gamer (ps3) and even that is becoming a distant pastime. I will eventually be using it with an external dell U2412m monitor so would that cause any problems GPU related?
  7. B... macrumors 68000


    Mar 7, 2013
    No because even the 512 MB 650M is capable of powering one (maybe even more in Windows) moniter. Even a 13" with only an iGPU can power two (Retina model).
  8. stephen85 thread starter macrumors member

    Jun 25, 2012
    I've always liked them but due to the rMBP not being upgradable I'm having to stick to the 2012 model. I'm actually intending on buying it before the June 10th WWDC announcement with the 14 returns policy in my favour incase apple decides to kill the cMBP leaving me stuck with buying a refurb

    I'd love to see haswell in the cMBP form as the dedicated graphics seems to keep up with the 650m.

    I eventually will put a ssd in the optical bay but I've read that for music production atm the speed increases aren't that huge compared to the opening/closing program/boot times etc. something for the future for sure though .


    That's pretty awesome then as I've been victim to a laggy external screen because of a failing and terrible GPU.
  9. saturnotaku macrumors 68000

    Mar 4, 2013
    Couple things. If you're concerned about I/O, you'll really want an SSD. I have the 960 GB Crucial M500, and it's fabulous. Tons of space for OS X and Windows, and I don't have to get rid of the SuperDrive. That makes Windows installs much easier because the classic MBP needs the SuperDrive for this process. The drive is a bit pricey at $600, but it's way cheaper (and faster) than the $1100 960 GB OWC Mercury Electra 3G. If you can get away with 480-512 GB of space, then you have many more options. I'm partial to the OCZ Vertex 4 or Vector, but the Crucial M4, Intel 520, and SanDisk Extreme are solid choices, too.

    On the RAM front, don't waste your money on HyperX. The MBP will automatically set the timings to its taste, and you can't adjust it. Go for cheaper Crucial DDR3-1600, which has been tested and certified for Apple computers.

    Good luck with your purchase.
  10. stephen85, May 9, 2013
    Last edited: May 9, 2013

    stephen85 thread starter macrumors member

    Jun 25, 2012
    Thanks for th input, an SSD will definitely be a "down the road upgrade" as budget atm won't allow for it. I'd like to have the SSD for just the OS be it Windows or OSX and keep the files on a higher 7200rpm drive as it seems for music production real time sample reads and writes don't see a gain from a SSD so it's purpose would be for more OS read/writes/boot times etc.

    Regarding the Hyper X pnp ram, I'm mainly buying it because of it's "CL" rated at 9, most other brands (includingkingstons value ram) are rated at 10 & 11. According to the web the difference between 9, 10 & 11 are hardly noticeable with normal use but when called upon it can makes a difference.

    Please correct me if i'm wrong because most of the above is a recent revelation to me and was unaware of
    "CL" on ram.
  11. CitrusPisser macrumors member

    Apr 20, 2013
    I have the 2012 2.6ghz MBP, and after upgrading the RAM to 16gig, i find that it handles music production type stuff VERY well. Rack after rack of virtual effects and have yet to see a slow down in rendering. Really an awesome CPU in the 2.6 for not much extra cash ( + the added bonus of the 1 gig graphics card). I'd be inclined to get the 2.6 and upgrade to a solid state drive down the road when you can afford it.
  12. stephen85 thread starter macrumors member

    Jun 25, 2012

    I've never owned a mac so production on one will a first for me so your user experiences is reassuring.

    The 2.6 with that extra 512 and processor bump is becoming more and more appealing, although it will mean i forgo a magic trackpad, rain stand and bluetooth keyboard for the time being the processor is something i cant add down the road unlike accessories .

    Overall do you ever find it not keeping up/lagging with what you want to do both with production and day to day tasks?
  13. saturnotaku macrumors 68000

    Mar 4, 2013
    Those differences are irrelevant as the Mac's firmware will set the timing to what it needs (CL 11 if I'm not mistaken), not what the RAM itself is rated at.
  14. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    Most users won't ever use the extra vram found in the higher end model. Its a nice to have option in case you do need it now or in the future but I think in general you'll not notice a huge difference between the two models.

    Since you can't upgrade the vram later on, and if its within your budget, then get it.
  15. stephen85, May 9, 2013
    Last edited: May 9, 2013

    stephen85 thread starter macrumors member

    Jun 25, 2012
    Ahhh ok, so down clocks it to CL11 regardless of the default ram CL timing ?
  16. stephen85 thread starter macrumors member

    Jun 25, 2012
    I understand, i originally wanted the base 2.3ghz with the hi-res with my upgrades and accessories (magic trackpad,rain design stand, anker bluetooth keyboard) which would come within budget but if i was to go for the 2.6ghz i forego the accessories.

    Like you said vram/processor can't be upgraded down the line whereas accessories can, plus my bday is around the corner and nobody knows what to buy me so i can throw those in their direction for ideas.

Share This Page