Retina 13" i5 or i7?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by zxspectrum, Oct 24, 2012.

  1. zxspectrum Guest

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    Oct 24, 2012
    #1
    Hi, i'm planning on getting a 13" retina MacBook Pro.

    With educational discount it makes it just about affordable. I'm going to get the 256gb model but I am unsure If I should upgrade the CPU to the i7.

    My 2 main uses will be Multi-track recording on Logic Pro/GarageBand and using handbrake to encode 1080p videos.

    Will upgrading to the i7 benefit me for my uses? Does it have features the i5 doesn't apart from the obvious speed increase?

    Thanks
     
  2. dehory macrumors regular

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    Sep 17, 2008
    #2
    Ars wrote an article ("Core i5 or Core i7—does your computer need the extra juice?") just for you.
     
  3. zxspectrum thread starter Guest

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    #3
  4. Mr MM macrumors 65816

    Mr MM

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    Jun 29, 2011
    #4
    no it doesnt run that hotter, the thing is that the i7 dual core it aint worth the money

    I would go for a larger ssd
     
  5. TheRdungeon macrumors 6502

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    Jul 21, 2011
    #5
    To be fair encoding videos and running an audio workstations are exactly WHY you'd get a faster CPU! I'd go for the i7
     
  6. mankar4 macrumors 6502a

    mankar4

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    #6
    The geekbench was about 12-13% better for the i7... 7800 vs 6800, which is quite a bit in my book. Its true that it sits idle for most of the time, but when (if) you need it, it is there.
     
  7. entatlrg macrumors 68040

    entatlrg

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    Location:
    Waterloo & Georgian Bay, Canada
    #7
    i5 - less heat, less fan noise, longer battery life
    i7 - 10/15% faster for 'heavy lifting' tasks

    Depends what's most important to you.
     
  8. shellbryson macrumors 6502

    shellbryson

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    #8
    Also worth bearing in mind that a good CPU will extend the life of your machine (make it useable) a little longer before it's just to slow.

    Personally, in the trade off between larger SDD or faster CPU, I went for the faster CPU. I can always buy an external SDD if I run short of space, but if I run out of CPU grunt, there's nothing I can do about it.
     
  9. zxspectrum thread starter Guest

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    Oct 24, 2012
    #9
    Which is correct?

    I don't mind getting the more powerful i7, its just I don't want it to be hotter or have the fan run louder all the time...

    Also i read the i7 does hyperthreading while the i5 doesn't, how does this help?
     
  10. Queen6 macrumors 603

    Queen6

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    #10
    Unless the 13" form factor is an absolute I would go with the base 15" it`s a far more powerful computer and with a discrete GPU, $2200 for the i7 13" is a bad joke...
     
  11. zxspectrum thread starter Guest

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    Oct 24, 2012
    #11
    I was thinking that but 15" is just to big. Also I don't game on laptops so I have no use for a discrete gpu...
     
  12. zxspectrum thread starter Guest

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    Oct 24, 2012
    #12
    although I just noticed -

    £1,599.60 - Retina 13" 256gb i7

    £1,528.80 - Retina 15" 256gb i7

    Makes it a hard choice!
     
  13. Maczor macrumors regular

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    LU, Switzerland
    #13
    The i7 in the 13" is a DUAL CORE, while as the i7 in the 15" is a QUAD CORE.
    Not really a hard choice if you know you need as much power as you can buy and size doesn't matter.
    ... also don't forget that the 15" comes with a dedicated GPU and can be configured up to 16 GB memory.
     
  14. zxspectrum thread starter Guest

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    Oct 24, 2012
    #14
    Yeah, looking at those prices I can't justify a 13" i7.

    the 13" with 256gb is £1,461.60 so may have to go with that...
     
  15. Maczor macrumors regular

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    LU, Switzerland
    #15
    If performance / price is the decisional factor, then for sure you'll get more from the 15" rMBP.

    For me personally, size was more important and although a quad core would have been nice and more memory, it's not a deal breaker. I went for a maxed out 13" rMBP ( 2.9 GHz and 768 GB SSD ). I'm a software engineer and 2.9 GHz dual core is quite enough. I also don't run a crap-load of VMs so 8GB memory is again plenty... I do play games sometimes, but the HD 4000 can handle them decently enough ( don't need everything to be maxed out / at ULTRA settings ). But of course, that's just me...
     
  16. ImperialX macrumors 65816

    ImperialX

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    #16
    I wouldn't get an i7 on the 13" rMBP. With that price I'd just get the 15". Quad-Core too.
     
  17. 0x000000 macrumors 6502

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    Aug 26, 2011
    #17
    I think the same, only that I hate the size of 15"... so now I'm stuck with a load of money, no computer and no idea what to buy. It all sounds bad to me.
     
  18. ImperialX macrumors 65816

    ImperialX

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    #18
    Get the 13", it's fantastic. It's a ripoff, but it's still a great computer.
     
  19. switon, Oct 25, 2012
    Last edited: Oct 25, 2012

    switon macrumors 6502a

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    Sep 10, 2012
    #19
    RE: audio/video workstation...

    Hi zxspectrum,

    I just wanted to add my two cents of experience before you buy...if you don't mind.

    You state that your "main uses" are multi-track recording and Handbrake transcoding. For the Handbrake transcoding, the processor speed is irrelevant, in my opinion, since it is not a realtime event and you can just set up a batch process in Handbrake and let multiple videos be transcoded overnight. It doesn't matter, in other words, whether it takes 5 hours or 5.5 hours to transcode all of your 1080p videos, in the morning they will be done.

    On the other hand, the multi-track audio and video recording is a realtime event, and for this the speed of the CPU does matter. If the CPU is not fast enough (or the Firewire/USB interfaces are not fast enough) and hiccups, then you won't be able to do your multi-track audio and video recording. (Yes, I'm assuming that the 1080p videos you're transcoding are ones you're also recording.)

    In the last month, I have made about 15 hours of 1080p/30fps videos along with simultaneous 3- or 4-channel (3 or 4 microphones, depending up the precise recording setup) audio recordings all controlled and recorded on a 2.7GHz quad core i7 machine. These recordings were made with either an Avid/M-Audio or Focusrite interface (I tried both) and a Canon camera for the video. The laptop controls both the camera as well as the audio interfaces remotely. I have found that this setup taxes the rMBP fairly well, both in terms of CPU as well as the interfaces. I have experienced one hiccup (either the CPU or the USB interface did not "keep up" at one point) during these 15 hours of recording, requiring that one video had to be redone.

    Also, you should know that GarageBand switches from the integrated GPU to the discrete GPU of the rMBP -- I don't know why GarageBand does this, that is, whether it actually uses OpenGL to offload some of the computational work to the GPU or not, but since GarageBand does cause a switch from integrated to discrete graphics it very well might. The temperature of my GPU does rise while I'm making these recordings, so I suspect it is being used to do some of the computations (although I don't know whether the GPU is simply doing the display computations for the GarageBand interface or if it is being called upon to also perform some of the computations for the audio).

    In conclusion, I would be careful buying the 13" rMBP with its dual core i5 and without a discrete GPU, if indeed your plans are to do realtime multi-track audio and video recordings. If funds are a concern, you might then consider a cMBP with quad core i7 and discrete GPU as a way to save some money, especially since for your stated purposes you do not require the Retina display of the rMBPs. Another option might be to use two separate computers, one for the video and one for the audio, to lessen the computational requirements for any one machine.

    ...just a little free advice, the quality of which is exactly what you pay for it...i.e., none.

    Regards,
    Switon

    P.S. Before the rMBP, I used to use a 2011 cMBP 2.4GHz quad core i7 with discrete Radeon GPU to perform similar audio/video recordings. I found that these recordings heavily taxed the cMBP, and I experienced more "hiccups" with the cMBP than I have with the rMBP, thus in my experience the faster machine made these recordings easier.
     
  20. Mac-Tech macrumors regular

    Mac-Tech

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    Location:
    Toronto, ON
    #20
    buy a 15' RMBP it is 10X's better then the small 13'!!!!!!
     
  21. oxfordguy, Oct 25, 2012
    Last edited: Oct 25, 2012

    oxfordguy macrumors 6502a

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    Oxford, England
    #21
    It doesn't do that (I have an i7 in my mid-2012 MBA), battery life is perhaps marginally less that an i5, but it'll get the job done quicker

    That's old news, the current range of i5 and i7 processors *both* have hyper-threading now [EDIT: this is only true for the mobile CPUs, not the desktop ones, but it's the former we're talking about].

    The i7 does have a larger (4Mb vs 3Mb) level 2 cache and also is meant to have some other processor optimisation/features over and above the i5, though I think they're pretty minor.

    I went for an i7 for my MBA, because I wanted to maximise the horsepower of the MBA, as it needs all the help it can get, but this is less necessary with the faster processors in the rMBP, probably not worth it

    ----------

    Get a BTO Macbook Air (i7 CPU, 8Gb RAM, 256Gb SSD), its much better value (and lighter) if you want a 13" machine, unless you're dead set on the retina screen
     
  22. zxspectrum thread starter Guest

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    Oct 24, 2012
    #22
    thanks for all the information!

    I think sticking with the i5 is the way to go...the i7 just doesn't offer enough over the i5 to warrant the money.

    The thought of getting a 15" is tempting but I would just find it to big. I have been waiting for a 13" retina for ages.

    Will have to go into a apple shop to check them out in person first though. I assume they have them out on display now?
     
  23. switon macrumors 6502a

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    Sep 10, 2012
    #23
    RE: the 13" rMBP...

    Hi zxspectrum,

    Just to satisfy my curiosity, how did you ascertain that the i5 dual core without GPU would be fast enough to do realtime multi-track audio/video recording?

    Switon
     
  24. oxfordguy macrumors 6502a

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    Feb 27, 2008
    Location:
    Oxford, England
    #24
    Fair enough. And yes, for the rMBP the i7 is not worth it (but I think it is on the MBA still, as it needs all the help it can get!)

    Not sure, they didn't have them (nor the iPad Mini or A6X retina iPad) on display in the London Convent Garden store yesterday evening
     
  25. zxspectrum thread starter Guest

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2012
    #25
    Just to clarify I'm not doing the audio and video at the same time.

    Logic pro for multi-track music recordings (using a usb sound card and usb midi keyboard).

    Handbrake for encoding video files (sd and hd).

    (neither of which need or use a dedicated GPU).


    Are they not selling them in store yet either then?
     

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