What Macbook Spec should i get?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by cambsno, Jun 21, 2013.

  1. cambsno macrumors newbie

    Jun 21, 2013
    Am wanting to upgrade my 4yo Macbook but totally unsure what to get!! My one has 2gb RAM and 320HD and 2Ghz and does lag at times. HD often hits 300GB used but I do need to clear up some pics. Main uses (aside from mail and web) is Lightroom and iMovie. Dont use Adobe PS yet but may well do in future.

    I am confused by chips - something like a 2.9 dual core i5 compared to a 2.4 quad core i7... what is the difference? Is a slower quad core better than a faster dual?

    Budget wise I am flexible, ideally want to keep cost around £1500 but if I have to spend more I will. So, is the better graphics in the 15" that much better and useful for what I do?

    I am torn between retina and non retina. Screen is nice but the big thing for me is the size and weight of the retina (plus in the store, the screen 'wobbled' more on non retina). Would I be better off with say a 750mb or even a 1gb HD or going for a smaller SSD and using Time Capsule as a storage place for stuff like music or film footage?

    Tempted by a refurb, some just have a price, others have a saving added, does that mean anything? Also, is it likely to be marked or have scratches? Are they ex store machines?

    I am also considering holding off until a new one is launched as I dont NEED one yet (but will at some point this year). Maybe the newer one will have the ac wifi, better battery life, cheaper ssd and the option of 16gb on a 13"?

    At the moment I think the ones i favour are:

    non retina 13" 2.9 i7 with 8gb RAM and 750 HD for £1249
    retina 13" with 2.5 i5 with 256/512 SSD at £1409 or £1569
    retina 13" with 2.6 i5 with 512 SSD at £1689 or possibly
    retina 15" 2.4 i7 quad for £1799 (8gn ram & 256 SSD)

    So, any ideas and tips to the above? I would like this to last a few years, and maybe in a year or 2 I may upgrade camera to a Nikon D800 (typical files approx. 36mb+ as opposed to my current 10-12mb size).
  2. Wuiffi macrumors 6502a


    Oct 6, 2011
    About CPU speed. In general a quad core is not always faster than a dualcore, but in the current macbooks the quadcore with the higher TDP, turbo, more cache will perform (much!) better that higher clocked dualcores in about 90% of the time.

    from the ones you listed I would go with the 15'' retina. It has a gorgeous display - it seems you are working with photos.
    And the SSD will be a big help when you are working with the huge raws of the D800.

    I personally think performance (SSD) over space (HDD). If the SSD is not big enough you can buy an external hard drive later.

    I have never owned an refurb but only heard good things about them. As far as I know the internals are checked again and the external are (as good as) new - no scratches, nothing
  3. cambsno thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 21, 2013
    Thanks for that. Cant decide about the 15" size wise. Like the feel of the 13", but may keep my old 13" as a 'travel laptop'. That helps a lot - GHZ is not necesarily the sign of a faster machine, a bit like in photography where a 18mp camera is not always better than one with 12mp!
  4. sonicrobby macrumors 68020


    Apr 24, 2013
    New Orleans
    Think of it this way:
    dual core @ 2.9Ghz = 2 x 2.9 = 5.8
    quad core @ 2.4Ghz = 4 x 2.4 = 9.6

    But I will tell you from my experience so far, had a 13" cMBP, loved it. The size was perfect. Went to apple store one day saw the rMBPs and fell in love. proportionally, I was more impressed with the 15" retina. It was a much bigger feat making that 15 inch as thin is it was. I was hesitant at first, but went with my gut and got the 15" rMBP. I dont regret it at all. Its spectacular, and its not any less portable than my 13" cMBP.

    Edit: Also on the refurb topic. Ive gotten a refurb iPad before, and it looked and ran good as new. As far as the savings stuff, The savings is only listed on models that are currently on sale (i.e. mid-late 2012 models or early 2013 models). The savings and discounts arent listed for anything of early 2012 or earlier.
  5. cambsno thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 21, 2013
    Thanks. Is the gpu significantly better in the 15" too. Spec wise it looks it but in the real world? For example is that really for gaming and any stuff like design?

    Need to have a play size wise in store, although do think the 13" is preferred.

    How important is processor speed? If I was to wait till haswell is out, let's say there was a 2.6 and a 3.0. If the 2.6 had 16gb ram and the 3.0 only 8 of ram would performance even out?
  6. snaky69 macrumors 603

    Mar 14, 2008
    That is 100% dependent on the type of workload you put on the computer. Nobody can answer your question with a response specific to your situation without you providing that information.

    You can ask a programmer to make you a program that'll push your processor to the limit while taking little to no memory. In that case, the processor would win out.

    You could run multiple virtual machines to test website development under multiple platforms. In this case, more RAM would yield better results than more processing power.

    See what I mean?

    EDIT: The GPU in the 15'' isn't even in the same galaxy as the crappy Intel 4000HD as far as performance goes.
  7. sonicrobby, Jun 23, 2013
    Last edited: Jun 23, 2013

    sonicrobby macrumors 68020


    Apr 24, 2013
    New Orleans
    13" non retina contains only the Intel HD 4000 Graphics
    13" retinas also only contain Intel HD 4000 Graphics
    The 15" retinas contain Intel HD 4000 + NVIDIA GeForce GT 650M

    The 15" contain a dedicated NVIDIA card, which is a significant improvement in graphics compared to just the Intel HD 4000.

    I can personally say that it CAN games. All ive played is garrys mod, granted its not a very graphics intensive game, i do get 80-100+ fps on servers with 25 people. Ive never tried very high demanding games yet, but ive heard it can handle them. It definitely is fit for design too.

    That last part kind of exceeds my knowledge. What I can do is use this analogy to help explain what i know. Think of a person juggling something (the something represents programs).

    The processor determines how fast the person can juggle.
    The ram determines how many items the person can juggle.

    I just dont know if they would exactly "even out".

    But if you are going to play games, have solidworks and auto cad and other demanding programs open at once, more ram is definitely important. But personally I think 8GB is enough. (unless you seriously are going to have multiple high demanding programs open at once), but I personally would go for higher processor speed.

    EDIT: Comparing to my 13" non retina model to my 15" retina model:
    Processor: I definitely notice a difference in speed. The 13" had and i5, and the 15" has the i7. Its MUCH faster. Programs open quicker and lag less.

    Graphics: On the 13" i got 15-30 fps on the same kind of server. (compared to the 80-100 fps on the 15")

    RAM: They both had 8GB, so no difference is really noted.

    But overall, Im much happier with the 15" retina its slimness is definitely sexy! and its not as big as I thought it would be. I would definitely recommend getting the 15" over the 13" if you really could. The only bad thing about the 15" is the size. But the bad thing about the 13" is lesser internals (mainly graphics). And personally, id choose the extra 2" for significant graphic improvement.
  8. cambsno thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 21, 2013
    That helps. Dont play games on the Mac, unlikely to either moving forward. If I did it would most probably something not very graphic like Football Manager.

    The only thing I do use graphics wise would be Lightroom to edit photos, and imovie for camcorder footage. am assuming the current 13" should handle that without any hassles.

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