Please help me understand the difference...

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by No Regrets, Dec 28, 2011.

  1. No Regrets macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2011
    #1
    Hi all,

    I will be buying a 15" MBP this week and need a little help deciding. Could you help me understand a couple of things?

    1st off, I don't mind buying refurbed. I primarily surf the web, but will now start doing some photo editing as a hobby trying to improve the photos taken with my new camera. I do not do any gaming.

    My questions:

    On the refurb site there is a basic 2.0ghz from early 2011, 4gb/500gb @5400rpm with HD6490 w/256mb of VRAM. I see in the fine print on the site that it says "memory available to Mac OS X may vary depending on graphics needs. Minimum graphics memory usage is 384mb." Does that mean the 256mb of VRAM will not handle the OS X?

    Do all early 2011 MBP's have backlit keyboard?

    Which is better? 750 gb @5400 rpm or 500 gb @7200 rpm?

    Is the 2.2ghz on the early 2011 15"MBP the same as the 2.2ghz processor on the current base model 15"MBP?

    Is the Current 2.4ghz processor with 6mb cache better than the early 2011 2.3ghz with 8mb cache?

    Sorry for the million questions....but this is a lot of money for me to spend, so I want to know I am making the best decision possible.

    Thank you for any and all comments.
     
  2. brad.c macrumors 68020

    brad.c

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    #2
    Others can speak to the value in the finer details, but rest assured the lowest rated specs of currently available hardware (new and refurb'd) will handily meet your needs as described. Just bump up the RAM as much as you can, and you will be fine.

    :)
     
  3. simsaladimbamba

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    #3
    I can only answer some questions:
    VRAM is video RAM, even a Mac with 128 MB VRAM can handle Mac OS X, even my 2004 iBook with 32 MB RAM can handle Mac OS X.
    The Mac you look at, has a dedicated GPU (HD6450) with 256 MB RAM and an integrated graphics processor (IGP) (HD3000) with up to 384 MB RAM taken from the 4 GB RAM.

    All MacBook Pros since 2006 and the PowerBooks from since 2003 have backlit keyboards.

    The 500 GB HDD will be a bit faster, but the 750 GB HDD will be fast too, due to the platter intensity.

    No.

    Depends on the applications you gonna use.

    And to learn more about Mac OS X:

    And this could help too:

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    Maybe have a look at Advanced Search to find similar threads:
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    But do a RAM upgrade yourself, as Apple charges 200 USD for an upgrade to 8 GB RAM, while doing it yourself will cost you only 40 USD, and you get to keep the original RAM modules.

     
  4. maril1111 macrumors 68000

    maril1111

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    #4
    Its funny that you said you can only answer some... cuz you basically answered all of them. :D
     
  5. simsaladimbamba

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    #5
    Yeah, I thought I couldn't, and some aren't really answered, you have to give me that. If s/he would have asked about that battery virus going its rounds on Friendface, I might have better answers.
     
  6. No Regrets thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2011
    #6
    Thank you for the excellent response!

    In regards to the following quote.....
    Quote:
    Is the Current 2.4ghz processor with 6mb cache better than the early 2011 2.3ghz with 8mb cache?

    Depends on the applications you gonna use.
    I'm sorry, but I do not understand what you mean here....could you expand on this for me a little bit?

    Another question if you do not mind. When I go onto a photography forum and look at other's photos on my new MBP.....does my dedicated graphics card and vram have anything to do with the quality of my screen display when viewing these photos?

    Thank you again for taking the time to help me!

    ----------

    Thank you for your reply. It is comforting to know that even the basic model that I am considering will meet my current needs.

    One fear that I have is that I might outgrow the basic computer in 2-4 years. I wonder, is there any downside to buying a MBP with a faster processor and better graphics card/vram other than the higher outlay of cash for benefits that I may not utilize? Such as, generating more heat? Battery not keeping as long of a charge? More operating noise?

    Any thoughts are greatly appreciated.
     
  7. simsaladimbamba

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    #7
    The CPU cache is the intermediary between the CPU and the RAM, thus the bigger the cache, the faster the access , but the difference between 6 and 8 MB is marginal at best. Anyway, I got the MBP with the largest cache at that time (2009).
    The early 2011 CPU with 2.3 GHz and 8 MB cache was top of the line, now the mid/late 2011 COU with 2.4 GHz and 6 MB cache is the middle of the road. The difference is negligible.

    No, only the speed, when you use an application like Lightroom or Aperture.

    As those CPUs consume the same amount of energy (TDP - 35 / 45 W), it will be the same.

    When I got my 2009 MBP, I chose the 17" due to it having a matte display (important for me due to photography and film/video editing/compositing) and it was the basic model, though compared to the 15" MBPs of that time, it was the ultimate model.
    If you have the money now and can spend it, then get the best you can, especially if you are still going to use it in four years. RAM and HDD can be upgraded by yourself, as mentioned before.
     
  8. No Regrets thread starter macrumors regular

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    #8
    Thank you simsaladimbamba, you have been very helpful and do very much appreciate it. My last laptop, a Gateway Pc, lasted 6 years. I am hopeful that I could make this MBP do the same. Do you think I might be unrealistic with this thought?
     
  9. simsaladimbamba

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    #9
    No, many members here still use PowerBooks and iBooks from 2003 or 2004.
     
  10. No Regrets thread starter macrumors regular

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    Dec 14, 2011
    #10
    That is good to know!!! Can I ask you opinion....which one would you opt for from the following?

    Late 2011 2.4ghz 4gb/750gb at 5400rpm HD6770/1gb vram $2035 via Amazon

    Early 2011 2.3ghz 4gb/500gb at 7200rpm HD 6750M/1gb vram $1994 via Applestore online.

    Early 2011 2.0ghz 4gb/500gb at 5400rpm HD 6490M/256mb vram $1427 via Applestore online.

    Thank you!!
     
  11. simsaladimbamba

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    #11
    The early 2011 2.3 GHz MBP, but that is due to that model still being able to run 10.6, as the current Mac OS X version (Lion) is not for me.
    But if you don't have a problem with Lion, take the late 2011 model, it only costs 41 USD more.
     
  12. nippyjun macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2007
    #12
    One thing to consider to make all the things you do with your mac better is getting a solid state hard drive.

    Putting one in even an older mac will make it seem like a completely different machine.

    So I personally would get the cheapest mac you are looking at and then get a solid state drive for it.
     
  13. BiggAW macrumors 68020

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    #13
    nippyjun is right. So many people are skipping over the biggest bottleneck in computers- the HDD. It is foolish to pay more than maybe $600 and not have an SSD.

    Processor doesn't matter, and the backlighting sucks hardcore, but there is a key to turn it down (off), so it's not a problem.
     
  14. No Regrets thread starter macrumors regular

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    #14
    Thank you to everyone who has replied. I truly appreciate everyone's help and advice!
     
  15. maril1111 macrumors 68000

    maril1111

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    #15
    I gotta disagree with you on this, when wanting to look up something at night, say when travelling in the car (as a co-driver) the backlighting does wonders as i don't have to guess which keys i will press.. but i guess its more of a different opinions issue.
     
  16. No Regrets thread starter macrumors regular

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    Dec 14, 2011
    #16
    Well, I have some "bitter sweet" news. I was about to order the new late model MBP 15" 2.4ghz yesterday through Amazon, but had to wait until I was able to get to a computer as my six year old Gateway PC was giving me problems..... my Antivirus had expired, and before a could download another one, it appeared that it had gotten struck by a virus and had a firm "grip" on my computer, not letting me get on the internet or access my files. I had called a computer repair place, described the problems I was having and they said for about $150+ they could maybe get it fixed. I said no thanks as the computer is on it's last leg anyhow.

    So as a last ditch effort, I tried a system restore to a previous date and now it is working!!!!

    The bitter news is I was all excited about getting my first new MBP. but the sweet news it that now maybe I can get by with this old PC for a few more months and be able to either get the new refresh in May or at least be able to buy the now current model on the refurb site at a savings!!!

    Anyhow, you all have been so helpful trying to get me squared away here, I just wanted to keep you all in the loop as to what's going on.

    Thanks again
     
  17. saberahul macrumors 68040

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    USA
    #17
    Based on this usage, I would say that the Air is a perfect fit for you. I did not go through all the other posts so if you said somewhere that you do not want the Air, then ignore this.
     
  18. BiggAW macrumors 68020

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    #18
    There are ridges on the F and J keys on pretty much all keyboards including the MBP one, and if you notch one those, then you're all set to type. I just do it habitually anyways, I never even bother looking at the 'board unless I'm trying to find one of the top keys but I basically know where the volume and brightness are, and there are software options for those too.
     

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