MBP 13" 2.3GHz i5 OR MBP 15" 2.2GHz i7

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by rupnok, May 19, 2011.

  1. rupnok macrumors member

    Jul 22, 2002
    I have spent a LOT of time reading the forums and used the search function like mad, so I will make this quick. I am mainly looking for a desktop replacement (to be paired with Dell U2711 27" 2560x1440 IPS display) for semi-power usage:
    - Aperture: post-processing of RAW+JPEG images from a 18MP Canon T2i
    - iMove/FCP: light editing of H.264 1080p 24fps video from same Canon T2i
    - Handbrake: Conversion of DVDs/Blu-ray/Torrents to iPad format
    - iTunes: Manage 100GB+ FLAC/high bit-rate AAC library, and conversion of FLAC to AAC for use on iPhone/iPad

    Either machine will receive the following ~$350 in upgrades:
    - 120GB SSD (Vertex, Corsair, or Intel)
    - Moving HDD to Optibay
    - Upping 8GB RAM

    Part of the reason I want to invest is I've fallen in love with digital photography, and don't have much free time, so want a fast machine to post-process photos + video. I am coming from a 2.0C2D mac mini, which I had to sell, because it would choke on my RAW files. For me, Aperture is the deal-breaker. Is it truly multi-threaded, or just use Apple's GCD? Is it really utilizing OpenCL and would take advantage of the the 1GB Radeon in the 2.2 Quad?

    Basically, is the Quad worth 2x the Duo? What should I do:
    - Keep MacBook 13" - $1050 (bought on eBay MacMall deal, debating whether to return)
    - Buy MacBook 15" - $2000 (MacMall) or $2267 (with HD AntiGlare)
    - Sell U2711 & get an iMac
  2. RolandVet macrumors member

    May 8, 2009
    If you are planning to run those programs on the fly/move then I vote for the 15".

    A better option would be to keep your old lappy and u2711 (very good picture quality I hear) and use the money you were going to invest in a new mbp and use it to build a (hacintosh) PC. This tower will provide you with insane processing power.

    Sent from my HTC Wildfire
  3. peageesee macrumors newbie

    Aug 3, 2009
    I had a 13" but changed to a new i7 2.3Ghz 15".

    I wanted some power on the move for aperture and also final cut pro.

    i have a 480MB SSD and also popping a normal hard drive in as well to keep data files on. Pretty much as you intend doing. I have 8GB as well.

    I have the high res 15" screen and also i have a desktop machine too with dual 24" monitors for when i'm working at home/office

    My comments are:

    - the high res screen is a must, the 13" screen is just not big enough for aperture, so if you're actually going to do things on the go then the 15 is a must. If you're going to plug into a monitor then you can get the 13

    - I think one thing that people don't realise with the 15 is that it runs hot, the fans will spin up under moderate load. This is the biggest drawback to my idea. Also, under full load it draws more than the charger can handle and will use the battery as well. In stand alone i wonder whether the battery will last any time at all? This is more an issue for rendering though.

    Aside from that it works great. The issue is really whether you will actually work on the go? If so then the 15. If not then an imac might be better. Or an imac and macbook air for portable email and whatnot.

    if you have any questions ask away

  4. Darklandman macrumors newbie

    Feb 15, 2011
    Seeing as you'll probably be working on the monitor when doing most photo/video editing i would suggest selling your old lappy and monitor and buying a highend 27 inch imac and 11 inch macbook air for light surfing ect. The highend imac will PWN:D
  5. dagamer34 macrumors 65816


    May 1, 2007
    Houston, TX
    3 of the 4 programs you listed would directly benefit from a quad-core CPU, and 2 of them from having an actual GPU with video RAM. I wouldn't even bother with the 13".

    I personally have tried the whole "small SSD + HDD Optibay" trick and I find it to be too annoying to maintain. There are a lot of hacks you have to do to make it work correctly, and the problem is that you'd still want to have your photos and such on an SSD so that Aperture operations don't take forever to complete.

    My opinion is, if you can afford it, go with a 240GB SSD and leave the optical drive alone.
  6. awer25 macrumors 65816


    Apr 30, 2011
    If those are the programs you'll be using, the quad-core i7 is a no brainer. Most of those programs are CPU-intensive, meaning the more powerful your CPU is, the faster they go.
  7. rupnok thread starter macrumors member

    Jul 22, 2002
    Thanks for the input, guys! The reason I am leaning towards a MBP was:

    (1) Ability to user install an SSD, which I've heard can make a LOT of difference in Photo and Video editing, and generally "snappiness." I am handy with tools, and have done many upgrades, but the iMac upgrade scares me. Also, given the propensity for SSDs to flake before warranty, I have no desire to install one in an iMac, then have to un-install it if it dies, etc. So MBP wins on SSD.

    (2) Keep my Dell U2711. I have the U2711 because I also own a Lenovo Thinkpad X201 for work, and need an external monitor at home for big/hairy spreadsheets, so I'd like to try to keep the monitor. This is my "other lappie." As Darklandman suggests, I will probably be doing the majority of my photo and video editing sitting down at my desk, and not looking at the actual 13" or 15".

    (3) Hackintosh build has crossed my mind, but once again, I don't have much time to fiddle with/debug all the things that can go wrong with the Hackintosh. I also want to keep re-sale value in mind.

    So my questions are:
    (1) Does Aperture fully utilize multiple cores (Hyperthreaded) as well as the GPU (OpenCL)?
    (2) Does Final Cut Pro?
    (3) Could the 13" with Intel 3000 chipset appropriately power the U2711, without clipping/distortion/etc.?
    (4) Should I compromise and get the 15" 2.0 with the 256MB card?
  8. thunderclap macrumors 6502a

    Nov 8, 2003
    If you're comfortable with command lines and the such, and not afraid of Apple updates (possibly) breaking your system, a Hackintosh is an option. I have one, but with every OS update I have to install replacement files to fix boot issues. If you're not up for this sort of thing then stick with a standard Mac.
  9. rupnok, May 19, 2011
    Last edited: May 19, 2011

    rupnok thread starter macrumors member

    Jul 22, 2002


    Can you elaborate on the annoyance of the SSD + Optibay maintenance? I recognize that I have to do some scripting/smart aliasing in order to keep the home drive on the SSD, but have the files stored on the HDD. Is there anything else I should be concerned about?

    My proposed setup was going to be to use the SSD as Home, App, Scratch Disk, and use the HDD as repository of post-processed images and video, as well as my music and ripped DVD library. I absolutely HATE external storage, and the SSD + Optibay trick is the only reason I am considering the MBP route!
  10. dagamer34 macrumors 65816


    May 1, 2007
    Houston, TX
    Storing my iTunes and Lightroom library on a regular HDD while using the SSD as a system drive made it painfully obvious that the HDD was dog slow.
  11. dblissmn macrumors 6502

    Apr 30, 2002
    1) Yes. On the 15 inch 2.2 it's fun and pretty liberating to see it getting into the high 700 percent range on processor usage when it needs to, all four cores and hyper-threading going full-tilt in the midst of a big face recognition job, and still not pushing much past 80 degrees C. This is the first time Aperture has ever felt fast to me.

    2) Don't know, but Apple is moving strongly towards multiprocessor support on all applications.

    3) The integrated graphics on the 15 seem to do fine with my 1900x1200 NEC display so long as you're running the computer in clamshell mode. Wouldn't recommend it for gaming though, and operating temperatures go way up when you're running both the laptop display and external simultaneously which makes me think it's probably resorting to the dedicated GPU for dual display mode.

    4) I'd advise against the 2.0. It's a significant jump in performance from the 2.0 to the 2.2, a quadrupling of VRAM, much better CPU support for faster memory and disk encryption, and a better GPU. Intel crippled the i7 2635 processor on memory speed and encryption; Apple then compounded it with a lesser GPU and only 256MB of VRAM.
  12. dblissmn macrumors 6502

    Apr 30, 2002
    On your other questions, I'd suggest sticking with the stock 750GB drive and DVD before making any sudden moves, and see how you feel with it. It's impressively faster than previous laptop hard drives, particularly on restart. Doing a 200GB Time Machine backup in just over an hour and a half to an external 7200rpm drive impressed me a lot, as did restarting in as little as 20 seconds. The 8GB upgrade is essential; it's a pity 16GB is still so expensive because the testing is clear that it's a further major boost in speed.

    The 2.2 and 2.3 quad-core machines are fast enough to compete pretty closely with the iMac, although both of them, especially the 2.2, need as much extra RAM as you can shoehorn in. The 2.2 is MUCH closer to the 2.3 in performance than it is to the 2.0.
  13. rupnok thread starter macrumors member

    Jul 22, 2002
    Guys, thanks so much for answering all my questions! I am definitely committed to returning my MBP 13" as a result of this thread.

    As to what I'll end up doing - I will either go with the MBP 15" 2.2 or build a low-profile 3.4GHz i7-2600 Hackintosh (after the suggestion from RolandVet and second by thunderclap, I started doing some research). I've done a Hackintosh previously on my MSI Wind, and it worked relatively smoothly, save for having to swap out the WiFi card, and hacking the headphone jack.

    Ran across a pretty great article on a low-cost build that meets many of my needs:

    I could probably save enough on this, utilize my existing monitor, and still have enough in the bank to get one of the new Thunderbolt i5 MacBook Airs should they come out soon. Could have my cake and eat it too...

    Will let you know what I decided to do. Thanks again for all your help. Great responses all around!

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