Real world speed differences between MB C2D's?

Discussion in 'MacBook' started by StuBeck, May 13, 2008.

  1. StuBeck macrumors 6502

    May 6, 2008
    I was looking at getting a MacBook. I have an X31 which works alright, but it is slow, and I'd like to get a Mac again. I was going to get a new one, but then looked on eBay (and here) and noticed you can get older ones for a lot cheaper.

    My only real concern is the speed differences between the different Core 2 Duo's (I don't want a core duo because I want to put 4 gbs in, I know that half of them can only accept 3.25 max, but I'm okay wiht that.) I know GHz wise there isn't a big difference unless you get an absolutely new one, but I was wondering what internal enhancements. Apple is no help since most of their tests aren't real world, they make up the results for the new one, or they base it against the original Core Duo MB.

    I also would like to get something which either has AppleCare already, or which I can get AppleCare on. Thanks.
  2. Luigi239 macrumors 6502a

    Jan 25, 2007
    Well there have been two major updates to the Core 2 Duo Macbooks. The first was Santa Rosa, which meant a new, more efficient chipset and a much improved graphics accelerator. (Intel X3100). The newest Macbooks are probably just as big of an upgrade, as they use Intel's new Penryn chips. These are important because they are made with the 45nm process, meaning they are smaller, cooler, and much quieter. You ought to just go with a new Penryn model, or wait a few months and get a used Penryn. It will be worth it in the long run.
  3. mosx macrumors 65816

    Mar 3, 2007
    Not entirely true. While the X3100 is certainly better on paper (both are actually very impressive on paper), all but two benchmarks (one by barefeets and another website) show the GMA 950 is still the better chip. Even after all this time, the GMA 950 still performs better and has more stable hardware and drivers. The X3100 is an example of why Apple shouldn't be ripping people off with integrated Intel GPUs and should at least include a dedicated GPU thats on par with what the last iBook had.
  4. QCassidy352 macrumors G4


    Mar 20, 2003
    Bay Area
    Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; U; CPU like Mac OS X; en) AppleWebKit/420.1 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/3.0 Mobile/4A102 Safari/419.3)

    that's laughable. The update to penryn was one of the least consequential since the change to intel. The differences between the penryn and SR macbooks is negligible.
  5. Luigi239 macrumors 6502a

    Jan 25, 2007
    Heat and power wise? No way. The Penryn Macbooks run a great deal cooler and quieter than the old Santa Rosa Macbooks. Speed wise, it wasn't the greatest upgrade, but you can't deny the fact that the chips now run more efficient.

    Integrated GPUs are fine for most people, who won't be doing gaming or heavy video editing. And surely, the integrated graphics of today are far better then the extreme low end graphics cards found in the old iBooks. Hell, the old iBooks didn't even officially support screen spanning, only mirroring. The only reason Apple gave the iBooks dedicated graphics (if I am not mistaken) was because there was no integrated graphics solution for the PowerPc platform at that time.
  6. mosx macrumors 65816

    Mar 3, 2007
    GPUs have more functions than just gaming and video editing. For example, in Windows, modern dedicated GPUs can do ALL of the video work. Decoding, deblocking, color correction, deinterlacing, etc. A lowly GeForce 8400M GS can basically do all of the work required to play blu-ray and HD DVD discs without even raising a single degree and the processor just sits back and decodes the audio.

    Just look at the difference in playback between OS X and Windows with a dedicated GPU. Not only is the image quality significantly better, but the CPU use is way lower and the GPU is still functioning in a power saving mode. DVDs in OS X tend to use up about 20-30% of a single core. In Windows with a dedicated GPU, your CPU is going to hover around 2-3% and the GPU will be doing all the work in a power saving mode. H.264 video on OS X can eat as much as 60% of one core for a 720p stream. Windows with a dedicated GPU? 2-5%.

    Theres also the fact that integrated GPUs have other functions as well. So they can't clock down significantly like dedicated GPUs can.

    As for comparing them to the dedicated GPUs in the iBook. Well, the last iBook had a Radeon 9550 in it. The 9550 was based off the infamous 9700, just clocked lower. I had a Radeon 9550 256MB PCI in a system with a Celeron running at 1.1GHz and 256MB of RAM with XP. It ran both UT2k4 and Half-Life 2 (had to bump the CPU up to 1.2GHz to meet the requirements for that) better than my MacBook does with the GMA 950. We all know the GMA 950 is a better performer than the X3100 in nearly all real world situations.

    UT2k4 can't even choke out 30fps at 800x600 on either the GMA 950 or GMA X3100. HL2 can only be played at 1280x800 on a MacBook if all of the settings are set to the lowest. At that point you have to ask whats the point of even playing the game. Half the reason to play the game is the atmosphere created by the graphics. But my old Celeron system could push out 30fps in UT2k4 at 1024x768 with everything set to high. Same with HL2.

    Hell, my old HP dv5030us that I bought instead of an iBook had an ATI Xpress 200M with 128MB of dedicated memory (still an IGP though). It could push 30-40fps in UT2k4 at 1280x800 same settings. Same goes for Half-Life 2.

    The Intel GPUs are truly the worst of the worst. There is absolutely no reason for Apple to use them. One can't argue size because of the MBP and Apple TV. One can't argue heat either because of them, nor battery life. It's truly awful that the Apple TV gets a GeForce Go 7300 in it and it only costs $229 while the MacBook at $1299, $1400 or so after taxes, gets stuck with the worst of the worst when it comes to integrated graphics.

    The iBooks didn't support advanced multiple display functionality because Apple deliberately limited it. There were solutions available that unlocked these capabilities. All of the dedicated GPUs ever used in the iBooks supported spanning, mirror, etc. Apple choose to limit that functionality. The same way the now choose to limit the functionality of the MacBook by using IGPs. If they want to stick us with IGPs at least let us have an nVidia GeForce 7150. Oh and Apple used to actually flaunt the GPU power of the iBook and Mac mini. But now? heh. Upgrading to a GeForce 7150 from the X3100 would probably knock a whole $3 off their profit margin. A GeForce 8400M GS? Oh I would imagine that would cost them maybe $30. Considering their profit margins, letting us have a GeForce 8400M GS in the MacBook would be considered good customer service. But I guess profit matters more than keeping customers happy.
  7. nick9191 macrumors 68040

    Feb 17, 2008
    The reason the macbook and mac mini have integrated graphics is because otherwise they would steal sales off the iMac and Macbook Pro (and Mac Pro). Its not about an 8400GS only costing $30.
  8. StuBeck thread starter macrumors 6502

    May 6, 2008
    Anyone know of any place with benchmarks between all the three different C2D MBs?
  9. mosx macrumors 65816

    Mar 3, 2007
    If people are spending $1,000+ over the other systems just to get decent GPUs then they're stupid, really.

    To the OP, all the benchmarks you're going to find out there are synthetic and not a real world representation of the performance differences between the different models.
  10. eXan macrumors 601


    Jan 10, 2005
    MacBooks rev. A, B and C (Core duo, Core 2 Duo 1.83 - 2 GHz, Core 2 Duo 2 - 2.16 GHz) supported up to 3.2 GB RAM and had GMA 950 graphics.

    Rev. A (Core Duo) had 802.11g wireless, while all Core 2's have 802.11n.

    Rev. D and E (Core 2 Duo 2 - 2.2 GHz, Core 2 Duo 2.1 - 2.4 GHz) have Santa Rosa chipset so they support up to 4 GB RAM and have GMA X3100 graphics.

    There have been reports that some games (like GTA) don't work on X3100, but they do on GMA950. The performance of these cards is about the same (both are terrible).

    The CPU difference is very low, noticable only in CPU-taxing tasks like encoding DVDs in Handbrake. The biggest increase was from rev. A to rev. B (Core Duo to Core 2 Duo).

    Rev. E (Core 2 Duo 2.1 - 2.4 GHz Penryn) run cooler. They also don't have Apple Remote included.

    Starting from rev. D (Core 2 Duo 2 - 2.2 GHz) MacBooks have differently mapped F-keys, with the addition of media control keys.
  11. Warbrain macrumors 603


    Jun 28, 2004
    Chicago, IL
    iBook didn't support spanning because Apple disabled it. They handle it just fine.
  12. alecgold macrumors 65816


    Oct 11, 2007
    To get back on topic :) i just bought a new EOL MBP 17" cto hi-res with the 2.4ghz peocessor instead of a new 15" MBP with penryn. They did cost the same, but I now got a nice hires screen and 4gb mem as well a big HD. Inless you really need the cutting edge, getting an EOL is about the safest and cost efficient thing to do. Buying used MB can go very well, very cheap but als horribly wrong! Then again with a year orso of applecare, it could safe a lot of trouble.

    Just do the math and don't buy a CD but a C2D.
  13. StuBeck thread starter macrumors 6502

    May 6, 2008
    Couldn't someone test how long it takes to encode a DVD between the different models and post that? If I can find someone who posts actual benchmarks of each system doing common things like that or converting an MP3 it'd be really helpful. That wouldn't be synthetic and would be useful for figuring out the difference. I've been having problems finding reviews that say anything other then "OMG its so fast."
  14. Daveoc64 macrumors 601

    Jan 16, 2008
    Bristol, UK
    That's what it comes down to.

    The GPU is the differentiator between the two models in terms of performance.

    As for comparisons, only the Core 2 Duo models can run 64 bit programs. With Apple making the latest Java release only run on 64 bit Intel systems, it would be unwise to get an older model now.
  15. Solo13 macrumors newbie

    May 10, 2008

    That's just wrong. Apple didn't seem to worry about iBook sales affecting PowerBook sales, or mini sales vs iMac sales a few years ago, they just had worse (but still far more functional than todays rubbish) gpu's in the "consumer" than the "pro" line, and has been said before, positively slagged off rubbishy windows pcs with integrated graphics.

    I'm sure it wouldn't be too hard for them to plug a low end GPU, or a better integrated one and still differentiate the two lines. Its not like anyone is really expecting to run the latest and greatest in full on special effectsovision on these laptops, but it'd be nice to be able to run some half decent games on what is (at least a little bit) marketed as a fun computer.
  16. StuBeck thread starter macrumors 6502

    May 6, 2008
    Just wanted to update that I decided to get a 2 GHz late 07 MB on ebay for $700. Of course would have liked a faster one, but for the price I can't complain much. It will help me be portable and get me a Mac again instead of the desktop I was going to build for about the same price.

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