Why is the new 17 inch Macbook Pro such a small speed bump on my old black Macbook?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by keysersoze311, Mar 7, 2009.

  1. keysersoze311 macrumors newbie

    Mar 7, 2009
    Hi guys,

    Am new to the forum, I joined because I have one specific question, and I thought some of you might be able to help me out.

    I bought a macbook in August of last year, it's the all black model.

    It has a 2.4GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor.

    I am pretty keen to upgrade to the new unibody 17 inch Macbook Pro, mainly because of the extra screen size.

    But, considering it is in the "Pro" line, and it's also a much newer model than my black macbook, I would have expected it to be considerably faster.

    But it's processors is only a 2.66GHz Intel Core 2 Duo.

    What's up with that? That's hardly any faster than my old macbook!

    Sure, processor speed isn't everything, but it's pretty important. The 17 inch macbook pro is more than twice as expensive as my macbook, almost 3 times as expensive in fact, and that's the only increase in speed I get? Just about 10% faster processor?

    Am I missing something key here? I don't know much about computers, but am I missing out some vital statistic like L2 or L3 cache or something? Maybe the ram's a bit faster, but still, come on.

    And yeah you can get a solid state hard drive which is considerably faster, but that's an optional extra, and it's a lot, lot more money.

    I admit the long battery life is great, but I just don't see why the performance isn't more spectacular.

    Because I just can't believe that the brand new top of the range Macbook Pro model is only 10% faster than the 6 month old "consumer" range macbook.

    Would really appreciate some advice and comments,


  2. Pagga macrumors 6502


    Feb 21, 2009
    Closer to the Artic circle than I like to be
    Yes you are missing a key: Speed versus energy and heat. A notebook will always be a compromise between machine power and mobility.

    2.66 GHZ (or 2.93) should be more than enough for most current software. Also, if it´s a pure matter of speed for you, why not consider a solid state upgrade?

    Never the less, there is of course a commercial aspect to all this. Existing technology is being held back for the benefit of gradual sales. Apple is no exception.

  3. taphil macrumors regular

    Jun 16, 2007
    That 2.66 GHz processor is close to the top-of-the-line that Intel has available now, and thus is near the top of what Apple has available offer. Apple could have made the 2.93 GHz processor standard, but they are stingy especially with the high-end models.

    The other option would be to use quad-core mobile processors, but those are in the $800-1000 range and probably not worthwhile given higher power requirements that the thin case and heatsink can't handle and a reduction in battery life. One also has to consider that 4 cores might not provide a huge performance advantage in daily use of a mobile computer.

    It won't be until the end of this year when mobile Core i7 mobile processors are available that there will be a relatively big jump in performance compared to the previous Core 2 Duo processor and the current ones.
  4. bossxii macrumors 68000

    Nov 9, 2008
    Kansas City
    While everyone see's "value" differntly. Just as you paid extra for the black color vs the white machine some like the Unibody design, alum look, style of the new MBP's.

    To the hardware, I don't have all the spec's but there are some differneces that make this gen as well as the last gen worth more.

    L2 cache is double (6 vs 3) of older machines
    Buss speed is faster
    Battery is better
    Screen is brighter, larger vs Macbook
    Graphics huge improvement vs Macbook
    Sound/speakers better
    HDD size (base spec anyhow)

    Bottom line is we all have different reasons for buying what we buy. This 17" Unibody MBP serves as a mobile desktop machine which is what I was looking for. OSX also a huge factor vs other brands makes it well worth it.

    I did price out a Sony 16.4" machine with similar base specs and ended up at $2400. That vs $2800 is no comparison. OSX is worth 400 more to me. The rest of the design, quality and my own experience with customer service makes a difference for me.

    Good luck with your choice.
  5. Sneakz macrumors 65816


    Jul 17, 2008
    Toronto, Ontario, Canada
    Lets make a list

    - Faster Processor (Core 2 Duo T9550 @ 2.66GHz 6MB L2 Cache vs. T8300 @ 2.4 GHz 3MB L2 Cache)
    - DDR3 Memory support (Up to 8GB)
    - Better integrated graphics (GeForce 9400M vs. Intel GMA X3100)
    - Dedicated Graphics (9600M GT)
    - SATA superdrive
    - Superior screen (provided you get the glossy, can't say too much about the matte, haven't seen it yet)
    - Multi touch trackpad and backlit keybaord
    - Way better battery
    - Unibody enclosure
  6. keysersoze311 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 7, 2009
    Yep, the superior graphics card is a very good point. It's much better on the pro line.

    Anyway, my friend showed up with his brand new 15 inch Macbook Pro, glossy screen, about 2 minutes after I posted this thread.

    It was his purchase that made me intrigued about upgrading myself.

    Anyway, I've just been playing about with it, and I absolutely love it.

    The new track pad is awesome, and even the 15 inch screen is sensational. Love the black surround. Watched some 1080p movie trailers on apple's website, and just wow! And the 15 inch doesn't even display full 1080p resolution.

    Shame you can't play blu-ray or download 1080p films from itunes yet... Hopefully that'll change soon.

    To be honest, my point was basically academic. It seemed a bit of a shame to me that it wasn't much faster than my old macbook, but, to tell you the truth, I never had any complaints about the speed of my macbook. It's pretty damn nippy. And the Macbook Pro will be faster, even if not by as much as I'd expect.

    So yeh, I'm pretty sure I'm going to go for the 17 inch macbook pro. Probs stick with the 2.66ghz processor, and maybe go for 320gb 7200rpm hard drive - just can't justify the cost of the 256gb solid state, and 128gb isn't enough.

    Thanks for your help guys.
  7. Abstract macrumors Penryn


    Dec 27, 2002
    Location Location Location
    First of all, the 17" MBP isn't MUCH newer than your MacBook. New CPUs don't come out every day, or every week. It's just one upgrade newer.

    However, other components of the computer are faster than on your unit, and you get a proper discrete graphics card that has its own video RAM, which it can probably access faster.

    So no, your system isn't as fast. There's probably a decent difference. Oh, and some of the components, such as the screen, are better on the MacBooks.
  8. kastenbrust macrumors 68030


    Dec 26, 2008
    North Korea
    "Why is the new 17 inch Macbook Pro such a small speed bump on my old black Macbook?"

    Thats why

    But seriously, any Macbook Pro made now is designed for Snow Leopard, so wait for that, install it, and enjoy the full speed of you Macbook Pro.

    I would explain why, but the simple reason your asking gives me little hope of reasoning with you until you see for yourself.

Share This Page