MacBook Pro with Retina display Processor Options

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by Rhapsody, Aug 2, 2012.

  1. Rhapsody macrumors newbie

    Dec 21, 2004
    I have been planning on getting a MacBook Pro with Retina display base model with 16GB of RAM as soon as in-store pick up becomes available. With the recent addition of extra processor options, I am a bit unsure of what the difference is between them. I did a comparison between all three here, but I am really only considering the 2.3GHz 3615QM and the 2.6GHz 3720QM. Other than the small clock speed difference, they seem pretty similar. In fact, the price of both chips are the same. This makes it seem rather silly to spend an extra $100 for a chip of the same price. The only other difference is the 2.3GHz 3615QM appears to be a physically smaller chip than the 2.6GHz 3720QM. That might explain why they both cost the same. My question is, will there be any benefit of getting the 2.6GHz 3720QM other than the slightly faster clock? Does the physical size of the chip make a difference, maybe in terms of cooling or logic board layout?
  2. iDabble macrumors regular

    Jun 24, 2010
  3. jonfarr macrumors 6502a


    Jun 29, 2012
    no expert here, but from what I understand, the 2.6 has more cache also with the faster processor.
  4. Slivortal, Aug 3, 2012
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2012

    Slivortal macrumors 6502

    Jun 14, 2012
    2.6 has no more cache than the 2.3. The 2.7 has 8MB of L3 cache compared to the 6MB in both the 2.3 and 2.6 - that's the presumed reason it costs that much more.
  5. Rhapsody thread starter macrumors newbie

    Dec 21, 2004
    The 2.3GHz 3615QM and 2.6GHz 3720QM both have 6MB of L3 cache and Intel prices them at $378. The 2.7GHz 3820QM has 8MB of L3 cache and is priced at $568 from Intel.
  6. Panini macrumors regular

    Jun 12, 2012
    Palo Alto, CA
    I heard somewhere that the 2.3 gets marginally better battery life, but if you think you will need just a little more processing power, go for the 2.6.

    Sure, it's $100 more, but it's not like you can upgrade it yourself. Think about what you would have done had you not known they were the same price. Choose whatever you think is worth it for you, not what the actual value is, since it doesn't matter - you can't buy it and install it anyway.
  7. Adidas Addict macrumors 65816

    Adidas Addict

    Sep 9, 2008
    99 out of 100 would not notice the difference.
  8. Panini macrumors regular

    Jun 12, 2012
    Palo Alto, CA
    Yes but if you happen to be in the 1%, you will notice a huge difference (ex. gaming).

    It's the difference between playable and unplayable framerates in Starcraft (a very CPU intensive game).
  9. leman macrumors G3

    Oct 14, 2008
    The difference will never be as dramatic as you say. Already 2.3 Ghz i7 is almost an overkill for gaming (when paired with the 650M). If there will be an increase, its more along 1-2% (if at all). And whether you play the game with 50 fps or 51fps... it does not really matter. The 2.6 version will save you several seconds per day if you are a professional working with image or video editing and it will save more if you are constantly running simulations on your machine. Thats all.
  10. noaka macrumors newbie

    Aug 3, 2012

    is i7- 3820QM so useless like all people say? there must be some users choosing 2.7 cores with considerable reasons.. I really want to know why and what they expected from it. :confused:
  11. AzN1337c0d3r macrumors 6502

    Sep 13, 2010
    The additional 2 MB of cache increase performance up to about 5% in some applications.

    Basically, for those people whose livelihood depend on the processor speed, it can be a decent financial proposition.

    But most people just buy it because they have the money =P.
  12. Queen6 macrumors 604


    Dec 11, 2008
    Land of the Unexpected
    Simply search, you will see that the performance between the three CPU`s is negligible;

    The difference you will see is time save at full performance, the 2.7 is useful to those that rely on their Mac`s for businesses, if you can reduce your render times by say an arbitrary figure of 10%, you can moniterize the time saving, increase your productivity etc. 2.7 with the 8Mb L3 will really only be of significant benefit to certain applications such as video rendering, essentially you will see no benefit unless applications can utilise the additional cache.

    For the average user the 2.6 and even the 2.7 will offer little if any real world increase in performance, a few fps in a game etc, even the base 2.3 is an extremely powerful machine by portable standards. The 2.6 or 2.7 are simply not going to kick in and "smoke" the 2.3, dont get me wrong the 2.6 & 2.7 are faster the only question is will you ever notice that difference being so small? Hardly anything, certainly nothing worth shouting about

    MacBook Pro (15-inch Mid 2012)
    Intel Core i7-3820QM 2700 MHz (4 cores)

    MacBook Pro (15-inch Mid 2012)
    Intel Core i7-3720QM 2600 MHz (4 cores)

    MacBook Pro (15-inch Mid 2012)
    Intel Core i7-3615QM 2300 MHz (4 cores)

    My own 2.3 consistently bench marks over 11K further narrowing the margin. I know it`s very cliched, however if you need to ask, you likely dont need the performance increase.
  13. sth, Aug 3, 2012
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2012

    sth macrumors 6502a

    Aug 9, 2006
    The old world
    The difference between the three CPUs is measurable, but unless you're doing something where you're actually waiting for the CPU to finish a task (e.g. rendering, encoding), it's imperceivable.

    And even in those use cases, it might cut down your rendering times by a few percent, but it's not as much of a difference as, for example, going from a dualcore to a quadcore was. If you're for example a video professional who needs a fast setup on the go, then upgrading might make sense because time is money and cutting your rendering times from 30 minutes to 25 might be worth it if you're doing stuff like this every day, but almost everyone will benefit more from the slightly better battery life of the lower-end CPU.

    *rofl* You noticed that the speed difference between the CPUs is at best ~13%, right? (in reality, it will often be much less because other stuff, like the memory bandwidth, won't scale).

    Even if Starcraft was 100% CPU-bound (which it isn't most of the time, but let's just assume it was), the 2.6ghz CPU would give you – at best – 13% higher framerates. That would be 34fps instead of 30fps, for example – hardly a difference.

    And besides, even last year's models were fast enough for Starcraft 2.
  14. sk8r1230 macrumors 6502


    Aug 3, 2010
    i had the money and wanted the best. thats all
  15. magbarn macrumors 68000

    Oct 25, 2008
    Lol, huge difference is about 10% or less, vast majority of games are gpu limited.
  16. ColoArtist macrumors regular

    Jul 3, 2012
    Denver, CO
    Me too. Actually I got it for the extra speed. :)

    Although the base machine is plenty speedy and an excellent choice for most folks, how much is performance worth? Would people opt for a 1.8GHz machine for $100 less? A 1.5 machine for $250 less? At what point does a slower processor become a poor match for those speedy SSDs?

    I was using 250GB on my old MBP, so I knew the new one needed to be a 512GB machine. At the time, that meant it also had to be at least a 2.6GHz machine.

    For an 8% increase in price for a 3.5% increase in performance might not seem like a good deal, but for me it was worth it to know I'm getting the fastest speeds possible. Not just today, but for the future, probably 3-4 years.

    Primarily, the thing that swayed me the most was that when the machine is crunching on something big, I didn't want to be wondering, "what if?".

    My old MBP was plenty fast when it was new, but the older it got the more it got bogged down running the newest OS and software.

    The extra speed could also mean it'll be slightly more productive at the end of its useful cycle and allow me to wait a bit longer before getting the next replacement. Plus, the resale value will be slightly a bit more.

    FYI...if you keep the machine for 3-4 years, that faster processor's cost would be between $0.17 and $0.22 per day. ;)

  17. swamyg1 macrumors regular

    Dec 11, 2007
    I guess I'll wait for my 2.3 to get here on Monday, then decide. After reading the responses on this thread, maybe the 2.3 is sufficient for me. While I am doing a lot of Image and Video editing, I may be able to live with the lower processor speed. Glad I have my 16gb of RAM, definitely my first priority.
  18. hellstorm12345, Aug 3, 2012
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2012

    hellstorm12345 macrumors newbie

    Jun 24, 2012
    Just to put things in perspective, the 2.3 Ghz model is faster than the 2760qm 2.4 Ghz from last year and about equal to a stock 2920xm. Unless you are doing some serious encoding or other very CPU intensive applications, the 2.3 is already overkill.

    By the time an i7 is unable to keep up with most demanding applications, that 0.3 Ghz is not going to matter much.
  19. PS65 macrumors 6502

    Jan 25, 2008
    United Kingdom
    Put simply, you haven't got a clue. Don't listen to Panini.

    I did exactly what you're building and got a 512GB SSD. Yes, its near enough the same at the top end model, but without the processor bump. Why, you ask.

    Read this for the technical details

    Read this for the actual reality when using your machine.

    Read this if you want a short answer.

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