Why does this older MBP look better than the newer top of the line?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by chriskol, Jan 22, 2014.

  1. chriskol macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2014
    #1
    Long time lurker and first time poster.

    I've had my 15" Macbook Pro since the Summer of 2007. Now that the CD drive is almost inside out thanks to a drop (it stopped functioning a couple years ago anyway), my the spots where my wrist sit are basically black, and occasionally it makes a sound like a motorboat driving on a concrete floor, I figure it might be time for a new computer.

    I do a lot of graphic design and a little bit of video work so I need something with a quality video card, 15", and a bunch of RAM.

    I was looking at the top of the line MBP (about $3400 after Apple care!)

    I then went to the refurb section and saw a slew of older MBPs for a cheaper price (makes sense, they're older) but a lot of them seemed to have better specs than the current ones (even maxed out with the configuration options). The only difference I could spot was the Nvidia video card seemed to be the previous year's model?

    Here's a link to the refurb section and a couple of the MBPs I was talking about. Here, here, and here.

    Am I missing something? Is there any reason I shouldn't get one of these apparently better refurbs over the current top of the line?

    Thanks so much!!!
     
  2. Altemose macrumors G3

    Altemose

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    #2
    Welcome to the forums! The newest model released in October of 2013 offered PCI SSDs with absolutely astonishing benchmarks. Try searching YouTube for disk speed tests on the new machines. That being said, the Nvidia card from the model before (early 2013) will out perform an Iris card as it is integrated. As long as you get the upgraded video card, the newer one will out perform the refurb.
     
  3. leman macrumors 604

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    Oct 14, 2008
    #3
    What do you mean, 'have better specs'? The 2013 model has faster CPU, GPU, faster and bigger storage (1TB vs 768GB). That said, the difference in speed is quite minimal and does not justify the large cost difference in my eyes. I would go for a 2012 refurb model.
     
  4. rex450se macrumors regular

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    Location:
    Independence, MO
    #4
    I'm no Mac or computer expert by any means but you can't really compare just the specs. They are somewhat misleading. If you are looking at Retina MBP's the newest ones will have the PCI-E flash based storage while the old ones are SATA which is a difference of 430~ MB/s and 700+ MB/s read/write speeds on the 256/512 GB models and I've seen over 1300 MB/s on the 1 TB version. The battery life is also a lot better. I believe Mavericks helped the older machines but the Haswell and Crystelwell chips the newer machines have is also a big reason due to their lower power consumption. So on paper the old one may seem like better specs but it is not better performing. And if you need the good video card I'd go with the new one that doubles the previous versions Ram. Just my .02.

    Victor
     
  5. chriskol thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Jan 22, 2014
    #5
    Thanks so much for all the help everyone. I'm not a techie by any means and "on paper" is really all I know how to get by on. The help you guys are giving is invaluable!

    When I talked about the newer MBP, I meant the top of the line one with base specs.

    But so what I'm gleaning from this is that despite the lower ghz and larger HDs, the newer one actually has a faster CPU and the HD runs much faster?
     
  6. kelon111 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2013
    #6
    The Retina models use a special type of drive called a "Solid State Drive." It is much faster than that ancient HDD technology that you are talking about.

    I can write a few paragraphs and include some benchmarks to demonstrate why the new MacBook Pro Retina models are faster than what you are used to but you can just use google.com and look up that information for yourself.

    FYI , Apple no longer updates the old models that are called just "MacBook Pro."

    The base model of the Retina 15.4" will be much faster than any normal laptop from 2007.

    If you want an even faster GPU , you should choose a model with the Geforce GT 650M or GT 750M.
     
  7. chriskol thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Jan 22, 2014
    #7
    I thought that when something is referred to as Flash, that refers to an SSD. The refurb links I posted all used flash memory I believe. Are the new MBPs using a different type of SSD beyond the PCI vs SATA mentioned above?
     
  8. kelon111 macrumors 6502

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    Mar 16, 2013
    #8
    The 2013 models use the fastest flash memory on the market right now
    The 2012 models use slower flash memory but they still are very fast.

    The GT 650M is available on the lowest Retina 2012 model so that's fine but the 2013 models have faster flash memory.
     
  9. chriskol thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Jan 22, 2014
    #9
    Those were the ones I was looking at.
     
  10. kelon111, Jan 22, 2014
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2014

    kelon111 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2013
    #10
    Those are all 2012 models so be aware that the newer ones can be a lot better.

    Here is what you can do:

    Look at all models with the GT 650M and the GT 750M and see which ones you can afford.

    Of course the RAM and flash memory you know about already.

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16834100329

    Same model , different price
    http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1010898-REG/apple_me294ll_a_15_4_macbook_pro_notebook.html

    If you can afford the refurbs , you should be able to afford that.
     
  11. chriskol thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Jan 22, 2014
    #11
    Actually, unless I'm not getting how Apple labels things, 2 of the 3 refurbs I linked were released in 2013.

    Also, just to clarify, the New Egg MBP is the same as the current top of the line one on the Apple site, just $50 cheaper?
     
  12. kelon111 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2013
    #12
    There was a slight refresh but nothing major. The major refresh was in 2013.

    Can you buy from the US or are you stuck buying from Canada?

    The Newegg one I linked to was the top model but the price is based on USD.
     
  13. chriskol thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Jan 22, 2014
  14. rex450se macrumors regular

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    Independence, MO
    #14
    Even ones that were released in 2013 may not have the faster PCI-E SSDs in them. If I'm not mistaken there are 2 2013 versions. The early 2013s and late 2013s. It was only the late 2013s that have the faster SSDs as well as the Haswell and Crystelwell processors that give you the better battery time. So if using the laptop as a true mobile device and not having to worry about being plugged in as much I would suggest the near late 2013 models. I have the late 2013 15" with the nVidia 750M, 16 GB Ram and 512 SSD and I couldn't be happier. I moved to this from a high end ASUS ROG laptop with 32 GB of Ram and 2 Samsung 840 Pro SSDs. I am glad I made the switch. I usually have at least one other display plugged in at a time and with a video on one and AutoCAD on another have never heard the fans run. And the battery life is unbelievable. The ASUS I came from I would be lucky to get a couple hours. I don't even think of plugging this in until the end of the day. I've been really impressed.

    Victor
     
  15. Intelligent macrumors 6502a

    Intelligent

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    Aug 7, 2013
    #15
    It just has a higher GHz, its not that much of a difference, newer models have a better GPU (2GB VRAM), and is able to store more things on a faster PCIE SSD.
     
  16. Dark Dragoon macrumors 6502a

    Dark Dragoon

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    Jul 28, 2006
    Location:
    UK
    #16
    With regards to the processor clock frequency (GHz), you can't use it to compare processors unless they are from the same micro architecture and generation, and even then it may not be a great way of comparing them.

    As an example take a look at the benchmark chart here:
    http://www.cpubenchmark.net/common_cpus.html
    You can see right at the bottom there are some older 3 GHz processors which are very slow,
    then near the top of the chart you can see some much faster more modern processors which are 2.4 GHz.
     
  17. Peace macrumors Core

    Peace

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    #17
    The newer model has the Haswell chipset with the much better Intel HD iris Pro.

    Thunderbolt 2

    PCI-e Flash storage. The February 2013 used SSD drives.

    802.11ac wireless instead of 802.11n


    Big improvements over the Feb 2013 models.
     
  18. barkmonster macrumors 68020

    barkmonster

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    Location:
    Lancashire
    #18
    If you could get the previous 2.7Ghz model with 16Gb RAM and a 512Gb SSD for less than the cost of just adding 16Gb RAM to the base 2Ghz model. I doubt the I/O improvements would make up for the smaller drive capacity, lower RAM and lower CPU performance. Those refurbs look like a great deal right now compared with the only new alternatives.
     
  19. SarcasticJoe macrumors 6502a

    SarcasticJoe

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    Finland
    #19
    I get the feeling the thread starter has probably been blindly starting at the CPU clock rate figures...

    What Intel has for last few years been doing is focusing on power efficiency and per-clock performance improvements. What this means is that while the 2.8 GHz Ivy Bridge CPU of the top-of-the-line early 2013 model looks faster than the 200MHz slower CPU of the top-of-the-line late 2013 model, the "slower" processor is actually about 10% faster (according to the SiSoft Sandra CPU benchmark rankings).
     
  20. barkmonster macrumors 68020

    barkmonster

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    Lancashire
    #20
    It looks from all CPU benchmarks that the new models scale in line with the previous CPUs by a margin of Haswell 2Ghz = 2.3Ghz Ivy Bridge, Haswell 2.3Ghz = 2.6Ghz Ivy Bridge etc... so they're faster clock for clock and add the faster Thunderbolt and faster PCIe SSDs, they're better value for money but with used 2.3 and 2.7Ghz Ivy Bridge Macbook Pros available as refurbs with additional RAM or increased SSD sizes, the trade off of slower SSDs and Thunderbolt is still worth it on the refurb systems offering £400+ off retail because they offer more CPU power, more storage and more RAM than the standard 2Ghz 15" Haswell config because there's quite a few of the early 2013/late 2012 15" quad i7s with upgraded specs as refurbs right now.
     
  21. tymaster50 macrumors 68030

    tymaster50

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    New Jersey
    #21
    I wouldn't pay that much for a laptop unless it also cooks breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
     
  22. SarcasticJoe macrumors 6502a

    SarcasticJoe

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    #22
    I suppose the standard thing to do is mention the expression called Sour Grapes...
     
  23. tymaster50 macrumors 68030

    tymaster50

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    #23
    I can have one I just don't feel the need to shell out 3k for something that has no use for me lol
     
  24. SarcasticJoe macrumors 6502a

    SarcasticJoe

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    Finland
    #24
    3000 dollars? That's well above the price of the baseline model and even the one with the dedicated GPU, so somebody is clearly trying (and failing) to explain away their feeling of sour grapes. It's basically the same thing as people who drive Geo's, Saturn's or other budget cars and scoff at people driving European cars or non-budget brands.

    It's also basically the same thing as the picture with an old 13" MBP and the text "$2000 facebook machine" that Windows fanboys like to post all the time.
     
  25. barkmonster, Jan 23, 2014
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2014

    barkmonster macrumors 68020

    barkmonster

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    #25
    The problem with the "$2000 facebook machine" comments is the spoiled spawn of credit card millionaire or upper middle-class parents probably does get one just for facebook, twitter and instagramming their cornflakes.

    It's when idiotic adults who can't conceive of a PC of any brand being used for more than basic internet access and the occassional letter that the real stupidity of that statement comes into play. Then the smug, self-builders love to "educate" anyone they can on the "openness" of a PC (running Windows).
     

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