Specifications on Macbooks?

Discussion in 'MacBook' started by BlueEyedSon, Jun 14, 2015.

  1. BlueEyedSon macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2015
    #1
    I'm thinking about purchasing a new computer. The light weight of the new Macbook line is very appealing to me, but I'm wondering how to assess the specs on it in relation to my current computer in terms of day to day use.

    I've currently got a mid 2012 13" Macbook Pro with a 2.9 ghz i7 processor, 8gb ram, and an HDD drive. I'm not very knowledgeable about processor speeds, but with the numeric difference in the processors, it feels like going to a 1.1-1.3 processor would be a very significant slow down. On the other hand, it's a newer processor and I don't know how comparable the numbers are by themselves. Plus, the new Macbook would be a switch to a solid state hard drive, which I've heard are much faster than what I current have. So, I'm just not sure about how to weigh those specs (difference in processor and hard drive type). As long as day to day performance would be the same (or better, of course) as my current computer, I'd be very happy to lose the extra weight and gain a retina screen. How would you guess I'd find the performance on a Macbook (I'd probably go with a 1.3 to be "safe") in relation to my current Mac? Slower? About the same? Faster?

    For reference, my current uses include writing long word documents (book length projects), sometimes with line drawings of images, creating and displaying powerpoint files, reading PDFs, music listening, occasional light photo editing, internet, and email. My current computer has been entirely fast enough for me and I've been pleased with it except for the weight. Any help in comparing the two?
     
  2. keviig macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2012
    #2
    Your usage is roughly the same as mine: quite light. I have the 1.1 ghz rMB (coming from 2015 13" rMBP) and it feels just as fast as the rMBP in everyday tasks (especially with El Capitan). For this type of usage the SSD is just as important as the processor. And keep in mind the 1.1 will boost up to 2.4 GHz when it needs to (It will throttle down to 1.8-1.9 under long heavy usage such as Handbrake). So the difference isn't as big as you might think. Also you can't compare processors from different generations just with clock speed alone. At the same clock speeds the new rMB would perform better than your 2012 MBP.

    The only place i feel the slowdown is when playing games (lower fps) and converting video files (handbrake). But on the other hand there's no noise when doing those things!

    I don't even think you need to go for the 1.3. Save the money and go with the 1.1. I did and i'm very happy with my decision! In summary the rMB would feel faster than your MBP mainly due to the SSD and the Core M processor which is very speedy for quick tasks.
     
  3. MyopicPaideia macrumors 68000

    MyopicPaideia

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    Mar 19, 2011
    Location:
    Trollhättan, Sweden
    #3
    The Intel CPU's can be super hard to get your head around if you aren't familiar with their naming systems, so definitely don't feel bad about not being able to immediately discern an obvious better or worse performance based on the clock speed of the CPU!

    For a rough comparison most people look at standard benchmark scores to see overall system performance differences. The Geekbench 3 64bit benchmark is probably a good starting point here:

    mid 2012 13" 2.9 Core i7 MBP
    Single Core 3239 Multi Core 6704

    2015 12" 1.3 Core M rMB
    Single Core 2866 Multi Core 5839

    According to this allround general purpose benchmark, your 2012 MBP has probably around 13-15% higher performance than the 1.3GHz rMB.

    For the use cases you have specified, I would be willing to bet that you won't notice much of a difference at all in real world user experience. As far as responsiveness with the basic OS and UI, opening apps, etc. it will probably feel a bit quicker than your current machine simply due to the SSD. Those really big Microsoft Word files might take a few seconds longer to open, though.

    In addition to the great retina display, you'll also probably see an added bonus of 20% or so better battery life, based solely on the published specs of each machine, though of course here YMMV as always.

    If your current machine provides performance that is more than good enough and portability/form factor is your primary concern, the rMB actually sounds like a decent fit for you. However, if you are thinking that you may want to upgrade performance significantly while still gaining a lighter and thinner form factor, a 2015 13" rMBP might be a better option.

    The best advice really, is to go out and get the rMB and live with it for a solid two weeks. You'll probably know anyway within the first 5-7 days whether it is the machine for you or not, and can always return it and go for the rMBP instead if you don't absolutely love the rMB.
     
  4. JoePa2624 macrumors regular

    JoePa2624

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2014
    Location:
    AZ
    #4
    Based on your uses for the computer, I'd be more interested to see if the redesigned keyboard will work for you. The keyboard has been very polarizing and it sounds like you spend a significant amount of time typing.

    For performance, I'm thinking the new MacBook will be slightly slower than your current computer. I doubt you'll notice this though because you'll have an SSD which makes a huge difference.

    The other thing I look at is comparison to MBPr. To purchase a comparable MBPr today compared the one you're replacing, you're going to spend almost $2K. New MacBook will set you back $500 less if you go with 1.2ghz and 512gb SSD.
     
  5. BlueEyedSon thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Jun 14, 2015
    #5
    Thanks for offering your thoughts! It's very helpful to me. I just haven't known how to assess how the differing specifications are likely to translate in terms of day to day use, especially because I don't think I'm using my MacBook Pro to its fullest. So, even though a new Macbook might be "slower" in terms of the numbers, I might not actually experience it as slower, perhaps even faster for some things with the solid state hard drive.

    I have checked the MacBooks out and really like how light they are and the screen. I was "neutral" on the keyboard and I think it's something to which I'd grow accustomed in a short period of time. I suspect I've just learned through many years of typing a certain force that's needed to push a key and the style of keyboard on a macbook requires less. I found myself adapting fairly quickly and was able to type just as fast and accurate. So, I think the keyboard wouldn't be a problem.

    Thanks, again!
     
  6. Queen6 macrumors 603

    Queen6

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    #6
    Very much depends on your usage, I have found the rMB to be very "snappy" in actual use, thanks to the "burst" nature of the Core M & the new SSD, equally any prolonged heavy use of the CPU will result in throttling for obvious reasons.

    The Keyboard is certainly different to any other portable I have used, equally I have always liked the feel of mechanical keyboards and the feel of the rMB reminds, I found adjusting to the short throw of the keys took a little time.

    Q-6
     
  7. keviig macrumors 6502

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    Jun 7, 2012
    #7
    Let us know what you end up getting!
     
  8. JoePa2624 macrumors regular

    JoePa2624

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    Oct 12, 2014
    Location:
    AZ
    #8
    I think that's a very accurate way to describe performance on the rMB. It's snappy. Last night when I was watching episodes of Entourage on VLC Player, writing emails, checking Excel spreadsheets, surfing the internet, and text messaging for a pretty good length of time, the computer got pretty warm and I noticed some throttling. But right now just surfing the web and sending a couple of emails, with nothing else going on, this thing flies!

    For what it's worth, when it does throttle, it's still not bad by any means. But you do notice some of the animations aren't as smooth and apps take just a bit longer to open/close.
     
  9. Queen6 macrumors 603

    Queen6

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    #9
    What I observe with my 1.2 rMB is that the Core M will throttle down to 1.4GHZ under 100% load and looks to return to maximum frequency as soon as the thermal conditions allow. I also tried a powered cooler directly under the base of the rMB and it held at a solid 2GHz + under the same 100% CPU load.

    I compared my rMB directly to my 13" 2014 2.8GHz rMBP, opening typical office productivity applications there is no realistic difference, as you move on to more processor intensive applications this is where you see the rMBP pull a head, the higher the load, and longer time frame the rMBP gains ever more ground. Once the rMB hits it`s thermal limit, it clearly reduces frequency, equally much depends on what you are running as to the impact on the system.

    n.b. I use Movist over VLC, as it`s less resource intensive, by a fair margin.

    Q-6
     
  10. JoePa2624 macrumors regular

    JoePa2624

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    AZ
    #10
    Awesome information! Thanks
     
  11. Queen6 macrumors 603

    Queen6

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    #11
    Few more;
    1. System Preferences - Accessibility - reduce transparency
    2. System Preferences - Dock - deselect "Animate Opening Applications"
    3. System Preferences - Dock - Minimise Windows using "Scale Efect"
    4. System Preferences - Dock - deselect "Magnification"
    5. uBlock Safari extension
    6. Chrome users, switch to Chrome Canary as is far more optimised for OS X
    7. VLC users, switch to Movist as less resource intensive
    8. Close applications, when not in use, you can deselect "Close windows when quitting an app" in System Preferences - General to bring them back to the same state when opened
    9. Those that require AV, use ClamXav and set up the sentry & scanning intelligently
    10. Skip Flash period
    Will buy you a little more run time and help on the thermals, I tend to leave transparency on at home on the road I reduce it. I do the same with my 2014 13" rMB on the road an can get 10+ hours on battery, rMB I expect 7-8

    Q-6
     
  12. BlueEyedSon thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2015
    #12
    Thanks for the added input.

    I don't think my usage would amount to a sustained heavy load, though I'm not sure what would count as such. I typically have numerous applications open (safari, mail, itunes, word, zotero, preview). My predominant use is probably internet/e-mail and typing in word. The word files can get long and include image files. I also prepare and use powerpoint files for lecturing on a regular basis. It sounds like a Macbook would be very sufficient for me. As I don't think I'm using my current MacBook Pro to its fullest, it sounds like a macbook might not even feel slower, which is really hard to get my mind around ...

    Thanks, again!
     
  13. theSeb macrumors 604

    theSeb

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2010
    Location:
    Poole, England
    #13
    @Queen6 , could you elaborate a bit more on your experience with Canary? I haven't tried it myself, so I am curious about stability and resource use. Also, do Chrome extensions work in Canary? I can't live without Ghostery, FlashBlock an Adblock.
     
  14. Queen6 macrumors 603

    Queen6

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    #14
    I have used it the past, as other users do now, I never had any issue with stability and it`s lower on resources. Try it and see if you like it, you can always remove if Canary if doesn't work out.

    Q-6
     

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