rMBP: Dual-Core vs. Quad-Core

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by matt1219, May 21, 2013.

  1. matt1219 macrumors regular

    Sep 16, 2008
    Hey guys, I'm going off to college in the fall at THE Ohio State University, and I'm looking to get a rMBP to replace the trusty old iMac I've had for four and a half years.

    I know new rMBP's are on the horizon, but just in case they don't update the 13" models to quad-core processors, is going up to the 15" rMBP worth the quad-core processor, or am I fine going with the high-end 13" rMBP?

    I plan on using it for school work (Business major), media, and occasionally Adobe Illustrator (if I can pick up some freelance graphic design jobs).

  2. Jugney, May 21, 2013
    Last edited: May 21, 2013

    Jugney macrumors member

    May 6, 2008
    I can't speak to the difference specifically on the retina models, but I do have a dual core 13" Macbook Pro from 2 years ago (upgraded to an SSD and 8GB of RAM), and a quad core Mac Mini with 16GB of RAM purchased 6 months ago.

    Somewhat ironically, the Mac Mini is slower overall because it still has a standard rotating hard drive. Where its quad core processor shines for me is in Final Cut Pro - the export times are joyfully shorter, and it makes processing a weekend's worth of sessions much faster. (Though with software improvements like queued exports, even that doesn't matter as much as it used to). Speaking honestly, exporting video is a very small amount of the time I spend doing computer tasks.

    So it depends on how much of your day-to-day usage is actually tasks that are that processor intensive. As mouth-watering as raw performance specs are, the question might be more about what size screen you want, the weight you want to be carrying around, and what your budget is.

    I would be surprised if they actually put quad-core processors in the 13" model this year. The thermal problems that introduces are not small. Not to mention the dual-core vs quad-core difference serves as an incentive for people to pay more and get the 15" model.

    The 15" model does have a discrete graphics processor as well, and in combination with the quad core processor should make it a very fine machine performance-wise. But they both have SSD drives, which is the biggest factor in terms of performance, and is part of why either retina model will be a beastly upgrade to what you're used to. So again I would point you to consider what form factor is the best fit for you, and what your budget is.
  3. SMDBill macrumors 6502

    Apr 12, 2013
    For your needs either would be fine. I would leave it to preference, comfort, etc. and pick which one you think you'd be most happy using. Quad core is worth it if you want to use it further into the future, but nobody can tell you at this time how far into the future that added horsepower will get you versus the dual core.
  4. matt1219 thread starter macrumors regular

    Sep 16, 2008
  5. ToomeyND macrumors 6502

    Sep 14, 2011
    For tOSU classes, you probably could get by with an abacus. ;)

    I'm agreeing with everyone here. I just got a base mini (dual-core), dropped in an SSD, and it is handling all of my needs very well. Those include a lot of college-appropriate apps.

    Congrats on heading to a good university that will take care of you in the future.

    That said, go Irish. ;)
  6. thekev macrumors 604


    Aug 5, 2010
    For the uses mentioned I doubt it will make a big difference. Software changes over time. At some point Apple and other developers stop supporting the older models. Going by that, I doubt it's going to be a major issue unless the OP's usage habits change assuming he uses it through the last supported version of each several years from now.
  7. jg321 macrumors 6502

    Aug 29, 2012
    I'd agree with pretty much everyone else - dual core is probably fine for your uses. I even do the occasional Handbrake encode (which would of course benefit from quad core!) on my dual core, and if replacing this would likely still get a dual core again.

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