Quad-Core versus Dual-Core. What do YOU think I need?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by DrJames, May 24, 2012.

  1. DrJames macrumors member

    Feb 5, 2012
    Okay, so I will be attending college for the first time in the fall and will be purchasing a Macbook Pro.

    However, I would love to have a SSD in my Macbook. I will not be able to afford a 15" (which has a quad-core) with an SSD so my option has been moved to a 13" with a SSD.

    I am mostly concerned about the dual core processor. Do I really need a Quad-Core?

    What do people usually use a quad core processor for? (Compared to a dual core, that is.)

    Any advice would help tremendously! Thanks in advance.
  2. throAU macrumors 603


    Feb 13, 2012
    Perth, Western Australia
    Post is useless without your usage scenario.

    if it is facebook, internet, email and typical home user stuff you'll be fine with a dual core.
  3. DrJames thread starter macrumors member

    Feb 5, 2012
    Basic Office Utilities
    Photo Editing (CS6)
    Music Creating/Editing
    Streaming Video
    Email, Internet, and Movie Playback

    Maybe basic gaming.
  4. nuckinfutz macrumors 603


    Jul 3, 2002
    Middle Earth
    Quad Core with SSD

    Hopefully you'll have both with the next refresh.
  5. cmChimera macrumors 68040


    Feb 12, 2010
    Quad-core. Like someone said, hopefully you get an ssd standard on the next refresh. If not though, many SSD's can be acquired for cheap. You could possibly live with a platter drive until you save up enough for an SSD.
  6. ahdickter macrumors 6502

    Jun 12, 2011
    Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
    I would go with Quad-core. Not because you need it now, but because you'll need it later. Obviously, you'll want the MBP to last a few years and will update the OS as each new version comes out. Getting the quad-core will be beneficial for future-proofing your purchase. You can always buy an SSD later. You can only choose a CPU once.
  7. Stetrain macrumors 68040

    Feb 6, 2009
    If you're buying it for the fall semester it's pretty likely that there will be updated MBP models by then. Which processors are available on which models and the situation with SSDs might be completely different after the update.
  8. riptideMBP, May 24, 2012
    Last edited: May 24, 2012

    riptideMBP macrumors 6502

    May 29, 2011
    I have no idea what you would need a quad core for... yeah it would be cool to have, but I can tell you that my dual core from 2010 does all the 3D modeling, virtuilizing, gaming (TF2 and COD), and video rendering that I've thrown at it with good results. I'd say the only reason you would need a 15" is for the screen, otherwise the computing power of a 13 would be fine. Also make sure to put in SSD/ram aftermarket rather than through apple. Hope that helps

    Edit: also you might need a 15" for the graphics card depending on what games you play
  9. pragmatous macrumors 65816

    May 23, 2012
    Generally speaking and this is completely vague but:

    Dual core = word processing, internet, email, facebook games, basic photo editing (remove red eyes); 4GB RAM is plenty

    Quad core = video editing, Virtualization, gaming, video encoding, professional photoshop, program development; 8-16GB RAM depending on need.

  10. mikepro macrumors 6502

    Sep 3, 2010
    Consider getting the SSD after market. Crucial M4 256 GB SSD can be found for under $200 now.

    But, also since you don't need it until Fall, wait for the refresh and see what is offered. If you don't like it, or want to stretch your money further, watch the Apple store for a refurbished 2011 15" that has the options you like.

    On thing you may want to consider, is getting the 15" and the Hi Res Anti-glare scree option. You may appreciate the extra screen real estate, and it's something that can't easily be added later, unlike an SSD.
  11. Coldmode macrumors regular

    Mar 10, 2010
    First, wait until about August to buy. There may be a model refresh this summer.

    Second, have you considered buying refurb? The machines come with the same warranty, so you'll still be covered for the same 3 years with AppleCare. If you want new, I don't blame you. I always buy new.

    Third, you definitely need the quad core, especially if you're going to be doing music editing or if you decide to get in to movie editing. When I was in school (graduated last year) having a top of the line computer was really nice because I didn't have to live in the audio/video lab.

    Fourth, you DO NOT want to pay Apple prices for drive or RAM upgrades. Buy that **** aftermarket and install yourself. You want 8GB of RAM, MINIMUM.
  12. MisterSensitive macrumors regular

    Mar 22, 2012
    What kind of music editing? DAW work? lots of plugins? lots of virtual instruments?

    That's the only thing listed that I see as potentially a challenge on a Dual-core.

    Even so, I've been running MOTU's Digital Performer on a nine year old G5, running about 40+ tracks of audio with plugins and modest amount of VIs and that seems to work pretty well.
  13. yusukeaoki macrumors 68030


    Mar 22, 2011
    Tokyo, Japan
    With video and photo editing, quad core.
    But add a SSD so the image can be read and written faster.
    Quad Core MBP's can gold up to 32GB RAM.

    This is a huge advantage for photo/video editors.
  14. andyhe macrumors newbie

    May 24, 2012
    I don't think you need to get a quad-core, unless you have sufficient budget.

    If you want to do photos and videos, graphic card is more important.
  15. latestmonkey macrumors 6502

    Aug 13, 2002
    are the new mbp's hds considered user replaceable components? (warranty purposes)
  16. thekev macrumors 604


    Aug 5, 2010
    yes same as always, imac line aside
  17. latestmonkey macrumors 6502

    Aug 13, 2002
    cool thanks. I'm gonna upgrade my friend's hd but didn't want to mess with the warranty.
  18. nuckinfutz macrumors 603


    Jul 3, 2002
    Middle Earth
    Grand Central Dispatch in Mountain Lion will be the 3rd OS X version so it should be pretty effective at managing quad cores.

    Team that with OpenCL GPU and you've got a pretty powerful combo. SSD is vital for Quad Core computers because typically a HDD cannot keep up with the I/O for more than 2 cores unless you're talking about a really fast HDD.

    The hope is that with Ivy Bridge Apple will insert in a QC processor (which now fits within the MBP 13 power envelope) seeing as how the QC processor is roughly the same cost as the former DC.

    What they may do is a 2.8Ghz DC as the $1199 model and then upgrade buyers to the QC model with the $1499 model.
  19. apolloa macrumors G4

    Oct 21, 2008
    Time, because it rules EVERYTHING!
    Everyone will say Quad because you have mentioned CS6 and music creating, and that is what Mac Pro's are used for a lot, so most certainly Quad core as these activity's will use the CPU a lot.

    Remember, you can change the HDD or SDD, but you cannot change the CPU.
  20. ml.sail1 macrumors regular

    Aug 23, 2010
    This. I agree with all of the above, but more so than anything else, #4 on this list-> Make sure you buy any RAM or SSD upgrades aftermarket, that way you know exactly what you’re getting and what it is worth. Don’t pay the bloated Apple prices for a relatively inexpensive upgrade.

    I would suggest the following after market upgrades:
    Corsair 8GB DDR3 RAM
    Samsung 830 128GB
  21. Medic278 macrumors 6502a


    Feb 1, 2012
    New York
    I have a late 2011 dual core i7 MBP with 8GB of RAM and a 240GB Intel 520 SSD. I have never had a problem running any programs on my MBP. I use Aperture, Photoshop CS5, Final Cut Pro and Logic Pro and my MBP runs them all just fine. I don't experience any slow down or anything like that and I never get beach balls. Unless you are dealing with hard core video/photo editing the dual core i7 will serve you well. I have been very pleased with my MBP performance and never have felt that it was underpowered it always can handle everything I throw at it. Sometime I use photoshop in one desktop will working on Final Cut Pro on another and switching between the two and its never been an issue for me. I think the dual core i7 is plenty for most users, it is a pretty powerful machine.
  22. iamthedudeman macrumors 65816

    Jul 7, 2007
    The best advice would be to wait a few weeks. You may get all the above without shelling out more money for the same thing. The refresh is not just a refresh, it will be a redesign.

    If you need one now and can't wait any longer under any circumstances, get it now. But I would wait.

    The next Mac Book Pro's will be a complete redesign. SSD standard most likely, ivy bridge with Intel 4000 GPU on the 13, if not a discrete GPU. Quad on the 13 is likely, not just a possibility. Unlikely a discrete GPU on the 13, but the Intel HD 4000 is decent. Way better than Intel 3000 integrated GPU.

    If you wait, you will probably get a redesign, SSD standard, better GPU or discreet GPU, Quad core possible, and to top it off a retina display. And this may all be for the 13 also. The only thing out of the above the 13 may not get is a discreet GPU. Quad core is likely. Or dual core and discreet GPU.

    If this was just a refresh, I would say go for it. But its not. I would wait.
  23. fleawannabe macrumors regular

    Dec 16, 2011
    *I would definitely wait, the new MBP should be out by August.

    One thing I would like to add is my opinion on buying a refurb. With your student discount the price difference is only going to be 50-70 dollars between refurbished and a new one in most cases. I would just by new with your student discount.
  24. MR.BUTTON macrumors member

    Apr 2, 2012
    Vancouver,Canada and Shanghai,China

    wait for the next refresh. for the current model, go for the 15-inch, which is quad-core. it gives you speed and big screen for photo editing and everything else.:)

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