MBP Intel i5 vs i5 upgrade vs i7 binned?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by keviig, Dec 11, 2016.

  1. keviig, Dec 11, 2016
    Last edited: Dec 12, 2016

    keviig macrumors 6502

    Jun 7, 2012
    Edit: This is not a thread about the difference in value between CPU, RAM and SSD upgrades. I won't bother answering posts where people bash on about RAM and SSD being better value when they don't have the slightest idea of how i use my Mac's and what my needs are.

    I'm considering which model to go for. I'm fine with 8GB RAM and 256GB SSD, as i have a desktop PC on the side. I would like a bit more performance than the i5-6267U base model (2.9-3.3GHz), thus i'm considering the upgraded i5, or maybe even the i7, though that one seems like bad value considering it's just a higher clocked i5.

    Now, i know from years of overclocking both CPU's and GPU's that sometimes additional voltage is needed to get a chip stable at higher frequencies. 3.3 vs 3.5 vs 3.6 in this case. Does anyone know if the 3 models use the same voltages while under load? I get that the higher clocked models will use more power, but if it's at the same voltage, i'd be fine with that. If however the upgraded models need higher voltages to reach those frequencies, then i think the power usage would outweigh the increase in performance for me personally.

    Any thoughts? I've tested the base i5 (2.9-3.3) model, and it uses 23-24W under full CPU load (Handbrake conversion). Would anyone be able to test the same scenario with an upgraded model?

    I used this clip for the Handbrake test: http://4ksamples.com/puppies-bath-in-4k/
  2. ibizarocks macrumors regular

    Oct 2, 2007
    Not worth doing anything to the CPU if you're leaving it at 8GB of RAM
  3. Howard2k macrumors 68000


    Mar 10, 2016
    Totally true. Nobody ever had any benefit from a faster CPU without going for 64GB. It's totally impossible.
  4. Wowereit macrumors 6502a

    Feb 1, 2016
    Double the RAM is cheaper than 10% faster CPU and people are still going for CPU?

    Wow, just wow.
  5. keviig thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jun 7, 2012
    I clearly stated the i7 was bad value. The one i'd be interested in is the upgraded i5, which is half the price of upgraded RAM. I am just interested in gathering info on all 3. Besides, i have no need for 16GB of RAM.
  6. skids929 macrumors 6502a


    Mar 24, 2011

    I think what folks are trying to emphasize is you should do the RAM upgrade, put your money there. The days of upgrading a CPU and it making a difference are basically over. The thing that will slow on your Mac first will be the graphics then the RAM, then CPU would be last down the list.

    Sounds like you are getting the 13, so the graphics is integrated nothing you can do there, so put the $$ into the RAM and the SSD before the CPU. It will give you more headroom and the laptop should give you more service over a longer period.
  7. linguist macrumors member

    Mar 31, 2009
    definitely not true. RAM benefit reach diminishing return, extra core benefit also diminish sharply for most task beyond 3-4 core, unless the project involve huge size RAW files in many layers, both core 2 quad with 32GB ram and 32 core xeon with 128 GB RAM would do most needed task much slower than higher clocked core i7 quad core with higher clock even only having 8GB RAM.

    problem is the performance jump from current i5 to i7 is too little, the CPU upgrade would only yield little benefit.
  8. Gav2k macrumors G3


    Jul 24, 2009
    There both rated for the same wattage and average consumption. The faster of the two isn't an overclocked variant of the latter
  9. keviig thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jun 7, 2012
    I think he was being sarcastic :)
  10. leon771 macrumors regular

    Sep 17, 2011
    Save you're money and just leave the CPU stock. There is not way you would really notice any difference between the 2 i5 versions. If using the laptop to encode via Handbrake, the upgraded i5 would be ever so slightly faster, but not so fast that you would justify spending the money to upgrade to it.

    Most laptops throttle the CPU when they get hot anyways, so it's not like you'll be running at full speed all the time.
  11. linguist macrumors member

    Mar 31, 2009
    hahahha if that so, then my bad !!! :oops:
  12. keviig thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jun 7, 2012
    I know, but the faster processors are known to be using more power. They don
    I know the difference would be very small. This is just as much me being curious about the differences as it is my interest in getting the upgraded models. That's true, but the MBP isn't most laptops :) The tbMBP barely has the fans running when at full CPU load and sustain max boost speeds for as long as you want it to.
  13. xraydoc macrumors demi-god


    Oct 9, 2005
    In terms of processor performance & upgrades... if 7-10% improvement is to you worth the $300 price, then go ahead.

    In real-world situations (i.e., not doing a 4-hr handbrake encode), you'd be hard pressed to see any difference.

    But if finishing a 4-hr handbrake encode 15 minutes sooner is worth $300 to you, then by all means make the upgrade. For some people, that 15 minutes means extra income. For others, it ultimately makes no difference whatsoever.
  14. Samuelsan2001 macrumors 604

    Oct 24, 2013
    It's unlikely it will make any difference to you!!
  15. chabig macrumors 603

    Sep 6, 2002
    The CPU affects processing speed. RAM not so much. CPU speed is like RPM in a car, while RAM is like the size of the gas tank.
  16. pookitoo macrumors regular


    Apr 16, 2015
    It's strange because i've ordered the MacBook Pro 13 touchbar with the standard I5 proc (16 g ram), use it during 1 week with all my software but because of the graphic glitch I returned it and take the I7 version ( I'm using it right now), and with exactly same software installed it feel snappier . Maybe it 's just a feeling because on paper only 10% differences but in real life usage It feel snappier .

    Maybe it's just me or the previous one with the graphic glitch have some hardware issue ;)
  17. linguist macrumors member

    Mar 31, 2009
    Interesting observation, thank you !!! for sharing your experience, could be real perceived difference or system works better for software or hardware reason, and as I investigated further could be real,

    So being curious I looked closer at all Skylake mobile CPU used in TB model, instruction set, cache, slight difference in GPU clock speed, then I stumbled upon something I haven't seen mentioned in this forum.

    according to cpu-monkey.com website, looking only at CPU operation, all i5 model actually has higher turbo for multi/all core operation.

    for example :

    i5 2.9 ghz model
    3.1 ghz i5 vs 3.0 ghz i7 (all core turbo)

    i5 3.1 ghz model
    3.3 ghz i5 vs 3.0 ghz i7 (all core turbo)

    yes all core turbo in i7 is actually lower

    and the benchmark do shows multicore performance for 3.1ghz i5 model is actually higher than i7 3.3ghz.

    one possible explanation why i7 could be snappier, is GPU throttle a less with lower freq multicore turbo.
    generally GPU heats up faster than CPU, since they share the same heatsink and power source, by lowering CPU max power draw it give priority to GPU operation making GPU throttling later/less than sooner.

    I guess it's all not as cut and clear in real world use as most would've thought.
  18. keviig thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jun 7, 2012
    Interesting find. The all core turbo of the base i5 is indeed 3.1 (from my own testing). Sounds weird that they would clock the i7 lower all core!
  19. linguist macrumors member

    Mar 31, 2009
    if this were indeed the case for snappier i7 operation, I gave intel optimisation thumbs up and keviig & pookitoo !!! as well for sharing the experience in detail.

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