Processor Intensive Tasks?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by BlueEyedSon, Jul 17, 2015.

  1. BlueEyedSon macrumors newbie

    Jun 14, 2015
    I'm shopping for a new laptop to replace my 2012 MacBook Pro and I'm pretty sure that the new Macbook will have enough power for my needs. But as I've read numerous reviews of them, I continue to come across a caution: they aren't able to handle processor intense/intensive tasks for a long period of time. It's probably obvious to some, but what would be included as such a task? That I need to ask this question suggests to me that I probably don't do any. But I thought I'd ask ...
  2. gnasher729 macrumors P6


    Nov 25, 2005
    They are all capable of handling any processor intensive task just fine, they just take longer. For example, there's an application named Handbrake to convert DVDs into movies that play on your iPad or iPhone. That's processor intensive, but any MacBook will handle it, just takes a bit longer.

    As an example, there is one MacBook with a "1.1GHz dual-core Intel Core M processor Turbo Boost up to 2.4GHz". So you have two processors, which will run at 2.4GHz as long as that MacBook is cool. As you use it, it heats up and then the speed must be reduced, down to 1.1 GHz. If you just read posts on MacRumors, it will run at 2.4 GHz. If you use Handbrake, after a short while the speed will go down to 1.1 GHz to keep the Mac cool.
  3. zhenya macrumors 603


    Jan 6, 2005
    Typically what people mean when they say this is things like transcoding video, gaming, working intensively in programs like Photoshop, or with CAD files, or editing video files. There are plenty of other things that might be processor intensive; this is just a general list of some of the common types.
  4. Samuelsan2001 macrumors 604

    Oct 24, 2013
    You'd be better off telling us what your usual workload is (which apps and what you have open at the same time) and we'll tell you what your best bet is laptopwise...
  5. T'hain Esh Kelch macrumors 601

    T'hain Esh Kelch

    Aug 5, 2001
    A good rule is that if you computer either displays a progress bar or is showing the spinning colored wheel, then it is doing something extensive, and often using the CPU significantly in those situations. If you can tell us what you do with your laptop, then it would be easier for us to tell you what you may run into.
  6. BlueEyedSon thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 14, 2015
    Thanks for the input. I just haven't been clear about what counts as a processor intensive task, which has made it kind of hard to gauge how the new macbook would work for me when reading the reviews. With my current computer (a 2012 Macbook pro, 2.9 i7 processor, 8gb ram), it's very rare that I see a spinning beach ball and there's no pattern when I do see it. So, I don't think I'm ever really pushing my current computer to its max.

    Re/ my normal uses of a computer - I'm a student and teacher. I use word for writing projects, which can range from shorter (~30 pages) to book length (250-300 pages), which can make for larger file sizes. These documents sometimes include basic line drawing images and I use zotero for footnotes/bibliographic management. I also use powerpoint for creating basic slideshows for lecturing and excel as a gradebook. Occasionally, I'll edit a photo with photos. When doing those sorts of things, I'll also have safari, firefox, mail, and itunes going as well.
  7. ApfelKuchen macrumors 68030

    Aug 28, 2012
    Between the coasts
    You could run Activity Monitor (Applications > Utilities) while you work to get an idea of the load you place on the processor, RAM, and other systems.
  8. kohlson macrumors 68000

    Apr 23, 2010
    I would break these out into three types, though this is off the cuff. First is "batch" type. Handbrake is like this -- converting a moving from one format to another. You fire it up and it takes awhile, though usually not more than 20 minutes or so. The fans kick in and then slow down when it's done. Faster Macs do this is less time. Any Mac can do this. The next type is related, but much more intensive: rendering. Something like Blender. You fire it a job for a 30-second clip and it runs for 4-12 hours, or more. Once in awhile, no problem. All the time, it's hard to know what will burn out first -- your patience or the Mac. The third is on-demand. That is, Photoshop or FCX. Much or all of the interaction of these programs try to be real-time. That is, you apply or something and there is minimal or no delay in seeing the results. Obviously, 4 cores/16GB memory/fast disk will do this better than something with half that.

    I wouldn't necessarily count coding as processor intensive, especially if you're doing server-based work. My wife uses her MBA and never complains about speed.

    All that said, it's a wide world. Try before you buy. But from what you've said, I bet you're seeing beach balls primarily from a spinning-disk based system. FWIW I have a 2014 MBP, that I love because it's light, better monitor, and much faster than the 2011 it replaced. I create corporate content, including PPTs, PS, docs, and videos.
  9. Samuelsan2001 macrumors 604

    Oct 24, 2013
    Any current mac will run that work case with ease, so will your 2012, any slowdown is probably your hard drive and 4Gb of ram. Double your RAM and add an SSD and your current computer will eat that workload for breakfast.

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