Which of these configs is most sensible...

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by sumgoodman, Apr 20, 2010.

  1. sumgoodman macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2010
    #1
    Will be ordering a MBP soon, my first. I'm returning to college as an old man (26) but I need this machine to be a little more than your typical student laptop as I will be using it for other purposes. Essentially what I need is a jack of all trades; something very portable that is capable when it comes to amateur video editing, RAW image processing, and transcoding/encoding/conversion processes. I'd also like to run older strategy games such as Age of Empires 3 with no hiccups.

    I've narrowed it down to 3 options with a budget of under $2300;

    2.4GHz Intel Core 2 Duo
    8GB 1066MHz DDR3 SDRAM - 2x4GB
    128GB solid-state drive
    $1949.00

    (The 8 gigs of RAM is for running multiple programs like Aperture and Final Cut, while also (hopefully) improving system performance and making up for the C2D)

    2.66GHz Intel Core 2 Duo
    8GB 1066MHz DDR3 SDRAM - 2x4GB
    128GB solid-state drive
    $2199.00

    (So far I like this option the best, I'm actually willing to spend the 200 for a processor bump, but I also want to run a cool machine)

    2.4GHz Intel Core i5
    4GB 1066MHz DDR3 SDRAM - 2x2GB
    128GB Solid State Drive
    SuperDrive 8x (DVD±R DL/DVD±RW/CD-RW)

    (I would really prefer the 13 form factor, but this baby has an i5 and hi-res screen for the same price as the 2.66 C2D minus 4 gigs of RAM)

    I need guidance. Anybody want to slap some sense into my head?
     
  2. DeusInvictus7 macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2008
    Location:
    Kitchener, Ontario
    #2
    From what you say you do, I would probably go i5, since those kinds of applications use the CPU more so than the RAM, you can upgrade the RAM later on if you want, but 4GB is plenty. The boost in processor is big enough that you definitely will see a difference.

    And if you can/are willing to, buy the SSD elsewhere, since you can get a much better one for cheaper and it will have significant performance advantages over the SSDs that Apple uses.
     
  3. sumgoodman thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2010
    #3
    That seems to be the consensus around here, yet I haven't seen any evidence that the current line of MBPs are of poor quality. I would almost be inclined to say that Apple knows what SSDs work best with these machines.
     
  4. thecheda macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2006
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    #4
    Older Generation

    Older MBP do just as well, and will probably cost half the money.
     
  5. Kingcodez macrumors 6502

    Kingcodez

    Joined:
    May 13, 2009
    Location:
    China
    #5
    The SSD's aren't low quality, their just outdated and slow (compared to the newer offerings by other more reputable companies). Either Samsung or Toshiba supply the current Apple SSDs.

    Anyways just pick a form factor, go with 4gb of ram, get an aftermarket SSD, and you are good to go.

    Highres screen would be nice, if you can foot the bill. You don't really need 8gb, and if you do you can just sell your 4, and buy some 8 down the road. The SSD will more than make up for anything else wrong with the hardware setup. As for the CPU, it's more of a time thing, if you can wait the extra 20 seconds to do some massive math equations, then save the money and get the C2D.

    If I were you, I'd get the i5, just because it's i5, and the HD screen.

    Remember the 15" has the dedicated GFX card, which is a nice thing to have (but it's NOT required).
     
  6. LSXL macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2010
    #6
    Dude...

    Forget C2D. 2.4 i5 already beats 2.66 C2D processor wise and 330M is considered better than 9600 GT although, true, with 256MB less VRAM. I was comparing C2D and i5 MBP just today at Apple Store! I would defenitely get the new generation. Longer battery life is pretty important in case of "jack of all trades" machine - I feel you on that one as I'm one as well. Spontaneity needs battery. I also love to play bit older games like Half Life 2, Doom 3, Quake 4... - 2.4 i5 man.

    You can always get more RAM and SSD even from Apple if you are really inclined. You'll be stuck with the (last generation) processor though. Don't get me wrong, I'm not here to tell you spend every buck you have. I have a similar post like you if you check it out and what I realized the most is that yes i7 is faster, but I don't need it, I need just something better than C2D with more battery and high resolution.
    And oh, did you "notice" 7 threads of bitching and moaning over C2D and low resolution screens being well overdue in MBP's?

    To sum up:
    Go i5. Get high resolution screen. Hold your cash and then look for aftermarket parts according to what you feel could be improved.
    Its easy with C2D since everything over there needs to be upgraded while with i5 you can rest your cash.
     
  7. DeusInvictus7 macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2008
    Location:
    Kitchener, Ontario
    #7
    They typically use Toshiba SSDs, which by all means aren't bad, there are just faster ones out there, like the OCZ Vertex and Intels X-25M series, for the same sort of pricing. And buying it separately, you are able to keep the stock drive as an external or something.
     
  8. student_trap macrumors 68000

    student_trap

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2005
    Location:
    'Ol Smokey, UK
    #8
    everyone slams the c2d's, but they really are very capable cpu's. Remember that the C2D's in the mbp's are still excellent, and if not the best, would still be very able for amateur video or RAW photo work.

    For me at uni. form factor is everything with a laptop, and after using a 15" mbp for a year, and then a 13" macbook. I find the macbook's smaller size enables much more comfortable day to day travel, and as a consequence the laptop is used much more by me.

    Also, don't worry about the speed for games like AOE3, It is a particular favourite of mine and I play it with absolutely no issues on my macbook (2.13Ghz/2GB RAM/9400m)

    The 13" mbp is a great little machine, and if a small yet powerful machine is what you are after, you can't go too wrong with it.
     
  9. striatedglutes macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2009
    Location:
    USA
    #9
    Can't imagine a 13" would be great working with photos or video. I don't have experience with video, or editing photos on a 1280x800 display, but I can say that editing on a 1680x1050 works just fine (more is always better though). I think your 15" Hi-Res decision is the correct one. 4GB with aftermarket SSD and never look back! Turbo boost is going to help you out big time.
     
  10. student_trap macrumors 68000

    student_trap

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2005
    Location:
    'Ol Smokey, UK
    #10
    Problem is that the 15" is simply not overly portable.

    Remember that the OP states his video work is amateur. With this in mind an external monitor would be perfect.

    I usually edit my images on my 23" acd, but if I was stuck I can always use my macbook while im on holiday etc for slight touch ups (obviously no colour work though)
     
  11. sumgoodman thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2010
    #11
    I'm pretty sure I agree with you here. A decently clocked C2D with 8 gigs of RAM and SSD in a13 inch form factor seems like a tight machine when compared with the base i5 model. My main concern is the longevity of the C2D line of processors and future software support but I suppose Apple wouldn't put out a dinosaur unless they wanted to fend off angry customers for the next 4 years or so.
     
  12. Quad 2.5 G5 =) macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Mar 29, 2009
    #12
    *coughPPCcough* The last, to my knowlege, PPC-based Mac was the PM G5 series, when production stopped in August 2006. That was coming up on 4 years ago. And, if I remember correctly, Core Duo machines were replaced in 10/06, making the age of that under 3 years, and those were unsupported as of the release of Snow Leopard. When will the day be that requires a Quad-Core processor in a Mac? 10.8, 10.9? Mac OS 11?
    P.S. Mac OS 11, I believe, should be the first 3D OS. :D
    Remember that the iPhone OS 4 leaves the iPhone 2G (Original) out, as far as support? That was released under 3 years ago.
     
  13. Penn Jennings macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2010
    Location:
    Michigan
    #13
    General system performance

    My opinion is this:

    IF you have money to burn and just want to get an i5. Thats cool. Many people just like the cool new toys. Just look at how many people spent $500 on iPad with no clue as to how they would use it.

    However, if your pockets are not infinite. More memory is the biggest bang for your buck if you want to multiple things at once. An i5 will NOT help you much if you are memory constrained.

    Depending on how often you "hit the HD", a faster hard drive could be your second best upgrade.

    If you are gaming, the GPU is the biggest factor in performance as long as your have enough memory.

    Assuming that you have enough memory and aren't performing a lot of I/O or slamming the GPU the i5 will out perform the C2D but in most case not by a huge margin.
     
  14. Quad 2.5 G5 =) macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Mar 29, 2009
    #14
    +1

    I completely agree with this, and the best site for memory upgrades, IMHO, is Newegg (http://www.newegg.com/) It will be far less expensive to do both HD and RAM upgrades, as they sell their stuff for far less, while it still being of high quality. And the above poster is right, your pockets are not infinite (mine aren't either), so, you need to get the most value for your dollar.
     

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