Should I get the 13" Macbook Pro with i5 or i7 processors? 4 vs 8GB Ram?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by MikeSharkey, Mar 5, 2011.

  1. MikeSharkey macrumors newbie

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    Mar 5, 2011
    #1
    So, I will be going away to school in August (Penn State!)! I've decided I want a Macbook Pro and I feel the 13" will be perfect for me! The only thing I'm stuck on is which model I should go for, the one with the i5 or i7 processor? (Planning on getting 500GB of hard drive space...possibly 750GB)

    I'm not really a gamer, I'll probably download some games from the new Mac App Store but nothing crazy! I'm a biology major so I'm not really going to be doing any video editing or Photoshop, although I may install Photoshop to mess around with! I'll manly use the computer for Word documents, internet browsing, video chat and music/videos! (Possibly thinking of jumping into iOS development while at school)

    As far as the ram goes, I won't be upgrading to 8GB from Apple, I'd probably purchase it somewhere online and install it myself...will I notice a big difference? Explain.

    I plan on having this computer for all 4 years of school and possibly some of medical school afterwards, I want to make the most of it!

    Thanks in advance!
     
  2. sporadicMotion macrumors 65816

    sporadicMotion

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    #2
    the base model will do ya just fine... in fact, it's about the same speed as the last gen 2.8 i7. I'm working on relatively large Logic files with the i5.
     
  3. un.titled macrumors regular

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    Jan 2, 2011
    #3
    I am a dual major in Biology and Mathematics at Penn State. I have never needed more than my 2010 13" C2D MBP. It handles Mathematica and Maple flawlessly. Any protein modeling software will be handled on the computers at school ($10,000+ software anyway).

    I would recommend the i5 and 4GB of ram. If you're tight on cash, check out the Penn State Computer Store online, they have some good deals going on right now (2010 models).
     
  4. MikeSharkey thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Mar 5, 2011
    #4
    How do you like Penn State? I'll be starting off at Altoona...know anything about that campus? Mathematica and Maple?
     
  5. snow blind macrumors regular

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    Mar 3, 2011
    #5
    I second the base 13" in fact... I just picked one up tonight :D

    And as a PSU alum (university park all 4 years) I can say you'll really enjoy your experience! Altoona's campus is nice, but I never attended class there. G'luck, and enjoy!
     
  6. un.titled macrumors regular

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    Jan 2, 2011
    #6
    I've been to the city of Altoona plenty of times (not too far from State College), but I've never been to the campus there. Penn State has a great biology curriculum, you will enjoy it. Make sure to start enquiring about undergraduate research within your second semester (if you have plans of going to graduate school).

    Mathematica: http://www.wolfram.com/mathematica/
    Maple: http://www.maplesoft.com/products/maple/
     
  7. applefanDrew macrumors 65816

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    #7
    Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; U; CPU iPhone OS 4_2_1 like Mac OS X; en-us) AppleWebKit/533.17.9 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/5.0.2 Mobile/8C148 Safari/6533.18.5)

    I got the i7. It's blazing! (plus an SSD always helps!)
     
  8. thinkinblue613 macrumors 6502

    thinkinblue613

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    Planet Earth
    #8
    Save your money and go with the baseline model. Trust me man, the i5 processor and 4 GB of memory is more than enough for anything you'll be doing.

    I'm in college and got the baseline 2011 model. It's awesome bro, you won't regret buying it. The only thing I did change was the hard drive.

    This computer will last me a long time. The only thing I'd recommend you do is get a case for the laptop like Speck's Satin case, it'll help with the resale value and keeping it safe since you're in college. Check one out or search YouTube for reviews on it if you're not sure.
     
  9. MikeSharkey thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Mar 5, 2011
    #9
    What do you mean you changed it?
     
  10. MikeSharkey thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Mar 5, 2011
    #10
    Thanks, I'm very excited!
     
  11. SuperCachetes macrumors 6502a

    SuperCachetes

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    #11
    Can't comment on i5 vs. i7, but memory is something that's easily upgradable later, and for less money than the OEM option anyway. Go with the base model and in the unlikely event 4GB holds you back you can go to 8GB at any time.
     
  12. thinkinblue613 macrumors 6502

    thinkinblue613

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    #12
    I replaced the 320 GB Hard drive with a 500 GB. I wanted more potential space for data and the $50 upgrade was good enough for me. I originally was going to get a 1 TB hard drive but didn't NEED it for now.

    Down the road, I will upgrade the memory but that is maybe a year away.
     
  13. adnoh macrumors 6502a

    adnoh

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    Nov 14, 2010
    #13
    go with I7 + 8GB ram and the machine will last 4+ years
     
  14. MikeSharkey thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Mar 5, 2011
    #14
    I'm gonna go with the i5 model with 500GB of hardrive space, but as far as ram goes...

    Do you know if can replace one 2GB of ram with a 6GB for a total of 8GB, or do I need two 4GB's?
     
  15. aznguyen316 macrumors 68020

    aznguyen316

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    Oct 1, 2008
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    Tampa, FL
    #15
    I recommend the i7. Great great CPU and beats out any mobile dual core around, even the best i7-640m 2.8Ghz of last generation which was only available as BTO for 15" and 17". If you plan on keeping the system for a bit, I say why not. It's not a measly jump like 2.4 to 2.66 C2D of 2010, but i5 2.3 to i7 2.7 is 400Mhz and that's not to mention the turbo boost jump to 3.2Ghz and 3.3 on dual and single core respectively. You can upgrade to 8GB in the future which is only like $60-80 aftermarket. Want SSD? sell the 500GB HDD included which will fetch more than the 320GB. Just my suggestion after having owned the i7 machine. It was ballin'.
     
  16. daneoni macrumors G4

    daneoni

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    Mar 24, 2006
    #16
    Two 4GBs. I think Intel still uses Dual-Channelling (important for the integrated graphic's bandwidth). So identical pairs are better. I'm not sure though but thats how it was in the past.

    Also i agree, go for the i5.
     
  17. HBOC macrumors 68020

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    #17
    i don't think anyone would recommend running two different RAM sticks. You will get way better performance when buying the same capacity/kind. Also I believe it would be cheaper to get 2x4GB instead of 1x2Gb and 1x6GB.
     
  18. MikeSharkey thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Mar 5, 2011
    #18
    You really think I'd notice the difference between i5 and i7 with simple tasks such as web browsing, documents, music and movies?

    I think I'll do just fine with the i5 processor! I figure by the time I get out of school, whatever's out then will be a fantastic upgrade!
     
  19. aznguyen316 macrumors 68020

    aznguyen316

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    #19
    You're probably right in terms of those uses. I know I didn't bother with iMovie with my C2D machine before (although it would've been fine I'm sure) but with the i7 I messed with iMovie for the entire weekend and uploaded a few youtube movies. It really opened a few doors for me to just TRY out and stress the CPU. Just the fact that I could import/export and edit movies so fast it was nice. Not that the i5 can't do this either though, both are great processors.
     
  20. chrono1081 macrumors 604

    chrono1081

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    #20
    Altoona campus is nice. I went there for two years. Oh wait I forgot its not called Altoona anymore, for the next 60 days its called "POM Wonderful Presents The Greatest Movie Ever Sold". (All I know is it has something to do with some movie)
     

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