Top range 13" rMBP with 16GB RAM vs Bottom end 15"

andyp350

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Original poster
Aug 14, 2011
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After many weeks trying to decide which model rMBP to go for I have narrowed it down to the top end 13" retina model, upgraded to 16GB RAM or the bottom end 15" model as it is. My total maximum budget that I have stretched to is £1500 and both these come in at just under that.
I have a powerful quad core Hackintosh with dedicated GPU for all my heavy video and photo editing, so will only use the Macbook for mostly general use (web, iPhoto, email, iTunes) but I do want to be able to run Photoshop and iMovie efficiently (nothing too intensive, only a few photos open at once and basic video editing) The 13" is preferable for it's size and portability if its up to handling these tasks. I would definitely make use of the 512GB storage but its not essential, and I think having 16GB RAM for what I need it for is more a case of future proofing than a necessity so I can't fight the feeling that I'm probably better off with 8GB in the 15" and getting the benefit of a quad core CPU and the Iris Pro graphics. Any opinions welcome, sorry if this has been discussed before, I did do a search but most comparisons seemed to be the age old 8GB vs 16GB.
 

maflynn

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May 3, 2009
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The quad core will help you more for photo editing then the 16gb imo.

That is, an 8GB quad core will be better.
 

andyp350

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Original poster
Aug 14, 2011
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The quad core will help you more for photo editing then the 16gb imo.

That is, an 8GB quad core will be better.
Thanks that's helpful to know, do you think the difference would be noticeable enough to warrant the decision to go for a 15" notebook when a 13" size is much more preferable to me? I think I would only decide to go for the 15" if the difference would be very noticeable when carrying out every tasks and doing basic editing, i.e. I don't want to be waiting 20 seconds for a filter to be applied on the 13" if the 15" would do it instantly.
 

andyp350

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Original poster
Aug 14, 2011
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15" 8gb quadcore!
Could you possibly give an explanation for your opinion, is it purely as it's more power for the money, or do you genuinely believe the 13" would under perform in the tasks I have said I will use it for?
 

Meister

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Oct 10, 2013
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Could you possibly give an explanation for your opinion, is it purely as it's more power for the money, or do you genuinely believe the 13" would under perform in the tasks I have said I will use it for?
the 15" performs better overall and for photo and video the screen estate is nice.
I have rendered on my 13" and its slow. More ssd and ram will not change this.
 

Cloudsurfer

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If your primary interest is regular usage, then 2000$ for the 15" may be overkill. The dual core i7 runs iPhoto and iMovie just fine, in fact, the i5 would be more than enough in that regard.

The base 15" is an insanely powerful computer. If you consider this model you can even bring your heavy video editing to it. It would be a waste to use it just for occasional photoshop and iMovie IMHO.
 

Meister

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If your primary interest is regular usage, then 2000$ for the 15" may be overkill. The dual core i7 runs iPhoto and iMovie just fine, in fact, the i5 would be more than enough in that regard.
You have a good point. The OP would be better served with a base 13" rmbp.
The 15" can be had for 1700,- here new.
 

thundersteele

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Oct 19, 2011
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Thanks that's helpful to know, do you think the difference would be noticeable enough to warrant the decision to go for a 15" notebook when a 13" size is much more preferable to me? I think I would only decide to go for the 15" if the difference would be very noticeable when carrying out every tasks and doing basic editing, i.e. I don't want to be waiting 20 seconds for a filter to be applied on the 13" if the 15" would do it instantly.
Well the 15'' can't do magic. If the applications can make proper use of the quad core, the 15'' can be (up to) twice as fast - so 10 seconds instead of 20 for that example. Note however the 15'' can be slower than an upgraded 13'' in single core tasks.

Since you have a hackintosh for the heavy lifting, the 13'' wouldn't be such a bad choice. You should also ask yourself whether you really need the 16 GB RAM on the 13'', since you don't seem to have a problem with getting the 15'' with only 8 GB.
 

andyp350

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Original poster
Aug 14, 2011
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Well the 15'' can't do magic. If the applications can make proper use of the quad core, the 15'' can be (up to) twice as fast - so 10 seconds instead of 20 for that example. Note however the 15'' can be slower than an upgraded 13'' in single core tasks.

Since you have a hackintosh for the heavy lifting, the 13'' wouldn't be such a bad choice. You should also ask yourself whether you really need the 16 GB RAM on the 13'', since you don't seem to have a problem with getting the 15'' with only 8 GB.
That's a very good point and something i'm now considering. The more I think about what I will actually use it for the more I think the 13" is better for me, I don't really need the power when I'm out and about, I tend to do all the intensive stuff in a desktop environment. I may save myself a bit of money and get the 8GB, 256GB 13", as you are right, I don't need 16GB I'm just the sort of person who likes to future proof.
 

squidkitten

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Mar 10, 2012
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Since this thread is here, I'm going to go ahead and ask my own questions because I've been debating the same thing haha.

After going to the Apple store and checking out the machines again, I really think I prefer the 15" size over the 13", but I'm not sure if a 2.0 (or maybe 2.3)ghz quad core i7 is better than a 2.6ghz dual core i5

I understand that programs that can take advantage of the quad core would obviously run much faster (which is great because I use Final Cut and several Adobe programs for school and work), but will things like Safari or Chrome run about the same or faster than they would on the i5? I always see mixed responses. Some people say programs like that would run slower on quad core, and others say that the machine will operate single core programs on their own separate cores in order to maximize efficiency.

Basically, I'm not like constantly running CS or FCP, and usually when I am I'm not running several apps at once, but a majority of my everyday use is just web surfing. So will my machine run slower on a 2.0/2.3 i7 with, say, Tweetbot, Messages, Safari, and Chrome all open at once than it would on a 2.6 i5?
 

Meister

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I understand that programs that can take advantage of the quad core would obviously run much faster (which is great because I use Final Cut and several Adobe programs for school and work), but will things like Safari or Chrome run about the same or faster than they would on the i5? I always see mixed responses. Some people say programs like that would run slower on quad core, and others say that the machine will operate single core programs on their own separate cores in order to maximize efficiency.
So will my machine run slower on a 2.0/2.3 i7 with, say, Tweetbot, Messages, Safari, and Chrome all open at once than it would on a 2.6 i5?
Safari and chrome, and so on don't have any real hardware requirements.
In theory there should be no performance difference.

In reality the mba runs those basic tasks the fastest, but the difference is neglegtable.
 

MartinAppleGuy

macrumors 68020
Sep 27, 2013
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Since this thread is here, I'm going to go ahead and ask my own questions because I've been debating the same thing haha.

After going to the Apple store and checking out the machines again, I really think I prefer the 15" size over the 13", but I'm not sure if a 2.0 (or maybe 2.3)ghz quad core i7 is better than a 2.6ghz dual core i5

I understand that programs that can take advantage of the quad core would obviously run much faster (which is great because I use Final Cut and several Adobe programs for school and work), but will things like Safari or Chrome run about the same or faster than they would on the i5? I always see mixed responses. Some people say programs like that would run slower on quad core, and others say that the machine will operate single core programs on their own separate cores in order to maximize efficiency.

Basically, I'm not like constantly running CS or FCP, and usually when I am I'm not running several apps at once, but a majority of my everyday use is just web surfing. So will my machine run slower on a 2.0/2.3 i7 with, say, Tweetbot, Messages, Safari, and Chrome all open at once than it would on a 2.6 i5?
Do remember that the quad core 2.0Ghz i7 still turboboosts up to 3.2Ghz (even if you are just using single threaded applications).
 

alphaod

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Feb 9, 2008
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I have a couple programs that really can't take advantage of more than two cores, but it's always faster on my rMBP. Also when the rMBP is running just two cores, it's really at full capacity and therefore runs cooler whereas in the dual core models it's essentially running at mostly full capacity.

4750HQ is more powerful than 4258U even in single-core mode i7 4750HQ vs i5 4258U
CPU Boss is a terrible site. A lot of the specs are wrong and it only compares specs.
 

happyfrappy

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Oct 14, 2007
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Location eh?
Considering newer OSes(Lion/Win7) are optimized for multiple cores & load balancing, "Turbo" mode of Intel processors for single core tasks doesn't always kick in on the Core i-series and for thermal reasons its just a "burst Turbo" than sustained... on the old Core 2 platform it was more common for the 200mhz "turbo" to jump into action. Keep in mind those who own a quad(portable or desktop), will generally keep their Mac/PC longer--I had a hard time going from a quad desktop vs dual-core, certain "bad" habits such as lots of tabs w/Hulu or Netflix stream going on would drag my 13" MBP to a crawl.

If you do encoding/transcoding such as ripping CDs/DVDs, photo batch resizing/processing or exporting Final Cut/iMovie to any format the quad of the 15" will slice process time nearly in half. Shop around with other Apple authorized dealers, typically during the student grad/back to school promos other dealers will cut prices to attract non-students and a 15" quickly dips into $1699 price point. (last year 15" cMBP dropped to $1599 and rMBP hovered at $1649-1699 until the new models launched)

When it comes to mobility/bag choices, 13" holds an edge there, only excuse why I keep my old 13" around :cool:
 

andyp350

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Aug 14, 2011
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I've had a complete turn around in my decision making today, I'm think I am going to go with the top end 15" model with the dedicated GPU and get rid of my Hackintosh. Its a big stretch above my initial budget but it's a long term investment and I just can't shake the feeling that getting a dual core CPU and making do with the basic Iris graphics is going to be a mistake long term so I'm just going to bite the bullet.
Going off on a bit of a tangent, I have a Geforce GTX 650 Ti 2GB GPU in my Hackintosh, how does this compare to the 750M in the rMBP, gamings not an issue but for video and photos.
Actually while we're on comparing my current PC spec is
CPU: i5 3570k 3.43Ghz
RAM: 8GB
GPU: Geforce GTX 650 Ti 2GB
SDD: Samsung 840 250GB

How will this compare performance wise to the rMBP, obviously the RAM and SSD are better, and I would assume the i7 CPU is better but then my i5 is a higher clock speed so maybe it wouldn't be so much better?
 

happyfrappy

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Oct 14, 2007
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Location eh?
Desktop GPU still blows away the notebook version, higher GPU clocks and desktops aren't as cramped as a notebook thermal limits. I'm not sure if CUDA on the Geforce 750M is supported yet, I know on my 2012(650M) there is a snappy boost for software which takes advantage of it.

Workflow/style will influence your decision, some get by with dual-cores as they walk away or use another computer while waiting for the task to finish--maybe that is why you're leaning towards selling the Hackintosh?
From my own experience with a 2.5Ghz i5(2011) Mac mini vs my 2012 cMBP, the MBP handles batch jobs without slowing down if I'm doing work on the machine. Mac mini I'm better off letting it do the job(walk away).
 

RandomCitizen

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Jan 24, 2014
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Goldsboro, NC
After seven days with my 15" i7 Quad core with 8 GB of RAM, I honestly think it's not an either or proposition. I wish mine had 16 GB of RAM and I'm thinking about returning it while I still can do so. I'm working with VMWare, so there's my issue.

If you're doing video or image editing, 16GB is a no brainer to me and so is Quad core.
 

yjchua95

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Apr 23, 2011
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Desktop GPU still blows away the notebook version, higher GPU clocks and desktops aren't as cramped as a notebook thermal limits. I'm not sure if CUDA on the Geforce 750M is supported yet, I know on my 2012(650M) there is a snappy boost for software which takes advantage of it.

Workflow/style will influence your decision, some get by with dual-cores as they walk away or use another computer while waiting for the task to finish--maybe that is why you're leaning towards selling the Hackintosh?
From my own experience with a 2.5Ghz i5(2011) Mac mini vs my 2012 cMBP, the MBP handles batch jobs without slowing down if I'm doing work on the machine. Mac mini I'm better off letting it do the job(walk away).
The GT750M supports CUDA Compute 3.0.
 

happyfrappy

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Oct 14, 2007
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Meister, VMWare drinks memory like its water and considering self-switching GPU nature Intel IGP pulls 512MB-1GB of memory so you're down to subtracting whats remaining after the overhead of OS+IGP there is a tricky balance to make. 8GB of RAM isn't enough if someone runs Windows 7/8 and needs to dedicate more than 4GB of memory to their VM. Give too much memory you'll go into virtual memory territory(excess SSD read/write cycles)

On my old 2010 MBP, I had to do a bit of memory juggling with 8GB and the GeForce 320M(384MB shared memory)

The GT750M supports CUDA Compute 3.0.
While that is true, some developers on OS X are still dragging their feet to support it or you need to do silly stuff like Adobe CS6 Premiere such as deleting/editing to include GPU name to "cuda_supported_cards.txt" and "opencl_supported_cards.txt"
 

RandomCitizen

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Jan 24, 2014
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0
Goldsboro, NC
what is the issue? what happens? what doesnt work right?
Yeah, VMWare and Parallels are doing very unnatural and amazing things which (can) travel outside the bounds of the auspices of a laptop, even a 2.8 GHz with 16 GB of RAM.

Mine does okay with VMWARE, especially since I only need to run one copy of Win 7.