Translating specs to plain English ;-)

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by joeyki, Oct 2, 2011.

  1. joeyki macrumors newbie

    Aug 28, 2010
    Hey all.

    I have made a decision to purchase MBP, most likely one of the 13" models.

    My problem is- I don't know which version would suit me better. By looking at the specs, I can clearly see the differences are 500GB \ 320GB and 2.3GHz (i5) and 2.7GHz (i7).

    I'm not bothered by the drive's capacity- as I'm using an external drive of 1 TB.
    I'm much bothered by the core difference. I read about the differences in Intel Core i5 and Intel Core i7, but unfortunately, I have no experience whatsoever with MBPs, to fully grasp the difference for a notebook I'm gonna use for the next couple of years.

    My work is based mostly on student needs - many open documents and internet tabs. Besides that, I do some music, torrents and that's about it.
    Most likely not - games and stuff.

    Before posting this, I had read the i7 consumes more battery, gets very hot and for most cases isn't worth the difference of $200-250 USD.
    HOWEVER, would the i7 processor be a better deal for the long run (say 3-5 years), for any kind of reason?

    Last question - there're many rumors about the upcoming MBP models. I'm very confused about whether I should wait. Is it safe to assume that due to my requirements, any improvement in terms of CPU \ Memory and such would NOT change the slightest for me?
    Hence- the MBP's specs nowadays, are more than enough?

    thanks in advance!
  2. AmbiguousNinja macrumors regular


    Jun 15, 2011
    The difference between i5 and i7 is almost unnoticeable. As for the new MBPs, I'm guessing either a silent update in November and/or a new model in March 2012.
  3. squeakr macrumors 68000


    Apr 22, 2010
    Bought the base for my wife (a teacher) and it suits her fine. She never even pushes it to the extreme. For your needs the base would be sufficient as well.
  4. awer25 macrumors 65816


    Apr 30, 2011
    The standard i5 is definitely the better buy for you and 99% of everyone else.
  5. Quinoky macrumors regular


    Sep 18, 2011
    Groningen, Netherlands
    The only difference between the i5 and the i7 is that the i7 has HyperThreading. I'll have a go at explaining this properly.. Both processors have two cores (these process the information thrown at them). In principle this would mean that both processors are capable of handling two processes at once. However, as mentioned before, the i7 has HyperThreading, which means that each core is capable of handling two processes at once. The i7, therefore, is theoretically capable of running four processes at once in total, in theory twice as much as the i5. However - and this is important - in practice, the software you are running has to support HyperThreading in order for it to work. If it doesn't, this HyperThreading feature is simply turned off. And that's the thing: 99% of the applications a casual user would run do not support (or even need) HyperThreading, which means the Core i7 has no advantage whatsoever (apart from the slightly higher clock speed) over the Core i5 in these circumstances.

    Hope this helps. :)
  6. jgz macrumors regular


    Mar 4, 2011
    So, if I use software, which supports multithreating, the difference between i5 and i7 will be very noticable?

    I will use Adobe PS, ID and AI, Cinema4D, AUtocad and Vectorworks and RHino...

    list of 2010 software, which supports hyperthreating

  7. dusk007 macrumors 68040


    Dec 5, 2009
    Get your facts straight.
    ALL i5 support HyperThreading. Only mobile i3s don't and some Desktop i5

    The only real difference between the i5 2410M and the i7 2620M is 1 MB LLC and the clockspeed. The 1mb cache difference is negligible and you can calculate yourself the how much clock speed difference there is.

    @jgz It really doesn't matter what kind of Applications you use. Any application the i5 is not fast enough for this i7 won't be either and you'd need some serious upgrade like a Quad Core or more.
    They are both dual core, both have Hyperthreading, both Turboboost, both the same CPUs with 15% difference in Clock speed.
  8. derbothaus macrumors 601


    Jul 17, 2010
    Yes. HT doubles the threads your processor can "process" and on some applications it can effectively double your processing power. More likely you'll feel more of a 50% increase. It is almost like having more cores. Almost. It will not make your iTunes faster but it will double your Cinebench score.
  9. Quinoky macrumors regular


    Sep 18, 2011
    Groningen, Netherlands
    Ah, I did research on the difference between i5 and i7 a long time ago and everywhere it said the i5 did not support HyperThreading. I wasn't aware that it was different for mobile chipsets, apologies.
  10. AnonMac50 macrumors 65816

    Mar 24, 2010
    I thought the i3-350M has HyperThreading.
  11. derbothaus macrumors 601


    Jul 17, 2010
    The dual core mobile i5's support HT. The Quad Core i5's do not. All support Turbo boost up-clocking.
  12. eternalife macrumors regular

    Jul 21, 2011
    Based on your stated need there isn't a computer on the market that wouldn't meet your needs. Most computers these days are extreme overkill for the typical user. However, if your are into gaming, heavy video'ing or photoshop post processing, etc. the decision gets harder.

    In terms of the i5 and i7 there is very little user perceivable difference in performance. Based on your demand the i5 will grow with you for several years. The software landscape doesn't change that much over three or so years. The problem is we do. What you are happy with today you won't be happy with 3 years from now because you will 'feel' like it is slow (even though nothing has changed with your hardware). You will one day work on a machine that is new and that will be much faster than yours and all of the sudden your machine will seem slow when in reality it has been fine all along.

    Of course this is all relevant to your stated need. As your demand grows hardware becomes more important.
  13. grahamnp macrumors 6502a

    Jun 4, 2008
    Going with the CPU now means your laptop lasts longer without being performance limited by the CPU but the i7 isn't that much better than the i5 if you're not doing anything hardware intensive and you've suggested that you aren't.

    The i7 is a more powerful CPU so it will get hotter but given the same task, it shouldn't be much hotter than the i5, possibly cooler. Think of this way, an open doc would use 10% of a lesser CPU but only 5% of the more powerful one. Running at its limit, the i7 will be hotter but it also gets more done.

    If the next update brings a mild clock speed improvement, then no, it won't be much of a change for you.
  14. dusk007 macrumors 68040


    Dec 5, 2009
    True actually no mobile CPU doesn't support HT. i3's only miss TurboBoost.

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