Which of the two 13" MBPs?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by ctbear, Mar 7, 2011.

  1. ctbear macrumors 6502a

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    Dec 6, 2010
    #1
    I'm looking to buy the new MBP when back to school sale starts this summer. Due to budget I will not be able to afford anything over $1500, so I'm going to stick with 13".
    The question is which one should I pick? The higher-13 one has i7 CPU and bigger HDD space. Storage space is not an issue for me so it all depends on how much faster the i7 is than the i5.
    I mostly do programming on my laptop, some HD movies and youtube, of course. If the spec allows I might play some casual games with boot camp.
    So get the faster one, or save the couple hundreds on something else?
     
  2. mehanika Guest

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2011
    Location:
    Copenhagen, Denmark
    #2
    I cannot see the reason for you to have the i7. To be fairly honest, i don't see anyone ever wanting a i7, on a computer lacking a graphic card. You will probably hardly be ever getting to use a i7 on a dual-core anyway. :)

    Save the money, get the 2.3GHz

    - Regards Mehanika
     
  3. Spanky Deluxe macrumors 601

    Spanky Deluxe

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    London, UK
    #3
    If by "HD movies" you mean watching HD movies then chances are you won't notice much of a difference. If "HD movies" means editing movies then it would make a slight difference.

    Overall, the i7 will be about 17% faster than the i3. You are unlikely to notice this difference much though - especially not with 'standard' user stuff such as web browsing, word processing, watching videos etc. You're unlikely to notice any difference while programming but you could notice a difference if you have to compile your code a lot. If your code usually compiles in 10 seconds then you're not going to notice it. If it takes 10 minutes then you could start noticing the difference.

    Games wise in boot camp you're unlikely to notice much of a difference. The games will be heavily GPU bottlenecked. You'll probably be able to play quite a few games just fine but the it will be the GPU holding you back and not the CPU.
     
  4. ctbear thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #4
    "HD movies" means "watching HD movies"...lol my bad
    I don't expect to play Crysis 2 on it, but for other games with lower requirements, Im concerned with how much the i7 outperforms the i5 in this regard. Every bit counts in this case. But afterall gaming is not high on my priority list.
    I have been working on some OpenCL graphic projects and they usually take ~30s to compile on my C2D 2.4Ghz PC. So I can assume that i5 and i7 won't make a huge difference here?
    I'm also considering upgrading the i5 model to 128GB SSD. That would be $1324 compared to $1399 of the i7.
     
  5. Spanky Deluxe macrumors 601

    Spanky Deluxe

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    London, UK
    #5
    Gaming wise, honestly, there's not going to be any real discernible difference due to the GPU bottleneck.

    With 30s compile times I doubt you'll notice much of a difference between the i5 and i7.

    The SSD will make the i5 model 'feel' faster than the i7 model. SSD drives are *much* faster and for day-to-day tasks they make much more of an observable difference compared to a faster processor. You'll notice it when applications load ten times faster than with a standard HDD - far more than I suspect you'd notice a 17% faster CPU. Of course, the question is, can you live with only 128GB of HDD space? This really depends on how big your iTunes and iPhoto libraries are.

    The system and apps don't have to take up much space provided you're not as lazy as me in terms of uninstalling apps that you don't use. However, my iPhoto and iTunes libraries are ballooning - especially since getting an iPhone. Reason being, my iTunes library now stores all the many applications I've downloaded for my iPhone including the ones I don't currently have installed and my iPhoto library is now full of HD videos of my dog and cat. All of that can add up fast! Any other 'large format' content can easily be kept on an external drive, the 'HD movies' you talk of for example but the stuff stored in iTunes and iPhoto isn't so easy to keep elsewhere. Also, bear in mind that boot camp with a 128GB main drive isn't really feasible. I've got a 64GB partition on my SSD for Windows 7 and I can't have more than a few games installed at any one time. A 32GB Windows 7 partition would likely only have enough space for one game at a time and would only leave 96GB for OSX.

    Having said all those caveats, if you can live with 128GB of space then that would by far be the best option in my opinion.
     
  6. wisty macrumors regular

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    Feb 18, 2009
    #6
    OpenCL + Intel integrated GPU = Pain. The last MBP is probably better at OpenCL. The MBA is probably better.

    That said, I'd go the i5 + SSD (or third party upgrade) any day over the i7 + HDD. It's not just the insane responsiveness of SSD; mechanical hard drives break easy (especially if you knock them around ... i.e. use them as a laptop, not a desktop), and broken hard drives suck hard.
     
  7. Spanky Deluxe macrumors 601

    Spanky Deluxe

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    #7
    That's a very good point. I haven't heard any good things about OpenCL on Intel integrated graphics whereas nVidia have excellent support for OpenCL and you can use CUDA too. If OpenCL's important to you then the 256GB MBA might be a better buy (although I'd probably spend the extra to get it CTO'd to 4GB of RAM).
     
  8. ctbear thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    Dec 6, 2010
    #8
    Now that I think about it, 128GB might be a little tight for my usage. The 256GB build is a whopping $1684 and I would much rather buy a 15" with that price. HDD for me then.

    I won't say OpenCL is critical to me. I'm just working on those as weekend projects. I'm not convinced with spending $1000+ on a laptop with 1.4G C2D either.
     
  9. boywonder27 macrumors newbie

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    Aug 1, 2008
    #9
    Like others have said i7 fast, but seeing the benchmarks you might not know the difference, saving the money for apple care, or upgrade ram, and if down line upgrade SSD. True what they say too you can get a lot more PC for $1119 then the MBP 13". It is a little over priced.

    That said I am about to buy one today or tomorrow. I know I could get more for my buck with PC. My main reason is customer service. I am paying the extra money to be able walk in any Apple Store and bam help, and no BS hassle. Go to Best Buy and other places all the time here customers yelling, etc. Apple Store they take care of you and fast. I have taken my system in there MBP 15" HD fail, and once for USB failed. Each time, once just gave me new MBP, second time sent to Houston for repair had it back in two- three days. I love the no hassle, no BS, and well just fix it for you attitude. Did not pay a dime either. Thats worth buying Apple for me.

    That said the MBP 13" i5 should work for you, max out the RAM, and upgrade later SSD.
     
  10. ctbear thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    Dec 6, 2010
    #10
    If I purchase a base model with mechanical HDD, and down the road I want to upgrade to SSD, can I bring it back to Apple store and do the upgrade?
     
  11. ann713 macrumors 6502a

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    Nov 30, 2008
    #11
    Most likely, they'll refer you out to a certified Apple repair shop within your area. It'll cost an arm and a leg for labor, so you're better off doing it yourself.
     
  12. AllenPSU macrumors regular

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    Feb 24, 2003
    Location:
    USA
    #12
    Go with the i5 and upgrade the HD

    I am also in the process of making the same decision and did a lot of homework about these new processors.

    From what I can tell (haven't seen an iFixit breakdown yet), the 13" i7 probably uses a 2620M processor while the 13" i5 uses something like a 2410M (one of the specs doesn't line up, but Apple should be using something close to this chip).

    That said, this i5 is not like older i5's... most notably, it has hyperthreading enabled which alleviates much of the former i5's short comings. Other than the clock speed difference, the i5 does not have the following capabilities seen in the i7.

    - Virtualization technology for directed I/O (VT-d)
    - Trusted Execution technology
    - AES new instructions

    None of these should impact your user experience.

    So it comes down to the cost versus benefits equation. What do you get for $300 (remember that this is ~25% of the price)? Well, a slightly larger HD and the better processor. If you configure the i5 with the larger HD, then you are looking at $250 for the processor. So you are looking at a 20% increase in price for a 17% increase in speed. The ratio is about the same so the question is will this slight increase extend the "life" of your computer, and traditionally the answer is no. Given either computer, both will reach end of life about the same time, so I vote for the lower end model.

    What am I buying? An i5 with a 750GB HD, and 8GB of ram.

    Really hope this helps.
     
  13. ctbear thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    Dec 6, 2010
    #13
    I have similar thoughts about i5 VS i7...and leaning more towards the i5 after reading anandtech's review
    I guess for me ultimately, it's down to 128GB SSD or just save the $300.
    Like Spanky Deluxe said above, 128GB is probably not enough for dual booting Win7. 256GB is ridiculously priced so it's out of the question. I would prefer upgrading the SSD myself since it'll be cheaper but seemingly TRIM doesn't work for non-Apple branded SSDs.
    I do have some external HDDs for storage but it would be nice to store a couple of movies on the laptop so I can watch them on the go.
    If I just get the base model I feel like I'm missing something :/
    Ahh decision decision...
     
  14. boywonder27 macrumors newbie

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    Aug 1, 2008
    #14
    Just got my MBP i5. I love it so far. Now in process of external monitor for some editing work.

    I asked Apple Store if want to upgrade to SSD do I bring it here, The answer is no, they dont do upgrades in the store. All upgrades done online when purchased. So most likely have to take it to Apple Authorized dealer.
     
  15. ctbear thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    Dec 6, 2010
    #15
    Good to know. Thanks!
     
  16. Yebubbleman macrumors 68030

    Yebubbleman

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    May 20, 2010
    Location:
    Los Angeles, CA
    #16
    As was the case with the Mid 2010 line-up, the higher-end 13" MacBook Pro is the biggest rip-off as the same financial difference between it and the low-end model is the same between it and the low-end 15" MacBook Pro. If $1500 is your limit, try to do what you can for those extra $300 (cheaper if you buy it from the Apple Online Store for Education) or get the low-end model. Benchmarks have shown that there isn't really THAT much of a difference between the 13" MacBook Pro's Sandy Bridge i5 and its i7.

    So yeah, I'd go with a decked out low-end 13" model (i.e. bigger hard drive and/or 8GB of RAM should you not want to open up your bottom cover) or somehow increase that budget to accommodate the lower-end 15".
     
  17. AllenPSU macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2003
    Location:
    USA
    #17
    Final order

    Made a slight change on my final order... decided to order the 13" i5, 750GB HD with the standard 4GB of RAM and am ordering the 8GB RAM upgrade kit from Other World Computing as that saves you close to $60.

    I also got Apple Care... based on three of the last four macs I've bought, Apple Care pays for itself in the long run.
     
  18. boywonder27 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2008
    #18
    That works. I am still using 4GB editng on external Samsung 2333T its not TN moniotor nor IPS but its cPVA screen so in the middle. For $169 23" it works till get money for $600 to $1000 screen. I am doing PS and LR editing and no problems, and video skyping same time, little MBP 13" i5 going good.

    Only regret should upgraded 750GB when bought it. lol no worries.
     

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