Macbook / Pro - How do the new quad cores compare?

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  • boo 31 May 2011 11:52:18 11,757 posts
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    I'm currently running a 13" Macbook, with a 2.4Ghz processor, and to my mind it's still very quick, even though it's three and a half years old. Certainly stands up against my wife's much newer Windows machine.

    Just idly thinking about what I might replace it with when the time comes (probably not for a year or two at least), and started looking at the Macbook Pro specs.

    It appears that the 15" that I was looking at has either a 2.0Ghz or 2.2Ghz quad core i7 processor (although I think 2.3 might be a cost option).

    Just wondered how that would stack up against my 2.4Ghz, which isn't a quad core. Anybody know what kind of difference it makes? I'm guessing most of the time (web browsing etc) you're not going to notice the difference, but maybe with photo editing, film editing etc it might show up.

    Does the quad core improve everything, or does it depend on whether the software has been written to take advantage of it?

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  • buggrit 31 May 2011 12:54:31 5,178 posts
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    They will, quite frankly, smash your machine in the balls. I can't wait until I can afford to replace my aging Macbook Pro.
  • dominalien 31 May 2011 12:58:16 6,848 posts
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    They will, but mostly because of the new gfx cards.

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  • Deleted user 31 May 2011 12:59:46
    What do you use it for? Personally I'd bung an SSD in you Pro, it'll be lightning after that.
  • simplerotation 31 May 2011 13:05:14 332 posts
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    boo wrote:
    I'm currently running a 13" Macbook, with a 2.4Ghz processor, and to my mind it's still very quick, even though it's three and a half years old. Certainly stands up against my wife's much newer Windows machine.

    Just idly thinking about what I might replace it with when the time comes (probably not for a year or two at least), and started looking at the Macbook Pro specs.

    It appears that the 15" that I was looking at has either a 2.0Ghz or 2.2Ghz quad core i7 processor (although I think 2.3 might be a cost option).

    Just wondered how that would stack up against my 2.4Ghz, which isn't a quad core. Anybody know what kind of difference it makes? I'm guessing most of the time (web browsing etc) you're not going to notice the difference, but maybe with photo editing, film editing etc it might show up.

    Does the quad core improve everything, or does it depend on whether the software has been written to take advantage of it?

    I've just done the same upgrade, I went from 13" 2.2 Gh blackbook which was about 3 years old to 17" 2.2Ghz i7, it's fucking brilliant. I don't have much more of a technical analysis than that, but my laptop was fine, still going strong, still fairly fast, but this new laptop is just awesome. Also high res display, totally worth the money :)
    In other news my black macbook (admittedly with original box) went for £470 on ebay, and I bought my 17" with student discount at a US apple store for £1500. Score!
  • Fake_Blood 31 May 2011 13:08:19 4,171 posts
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    Don't upgrade yet, seriously.
    I'm in the same boat, I've got a 13" unibody non pro macbook with a dual core at 2.0ghz. Sure, the new ones will be faster at very heavy duty stuff, but unless you're doing video encoding or something all the time, browsing and stuff won't be faster. My advice? Get an SSD for your current Macbook, or if you really want something new, get an HP envy 14, which is a lot cheaper than the 15" macbook pro. Seriously, the new macbooks are way too expensive.
    My macbook is about 3yo too, and the upgrade bug bit me last week, did some research and decided that upgrading would be crazy right now.
  • THFourteen 31 May 2011 13:17:21 33,256 posts
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    sounds like you are a git, and you need to stop being so selfish and buy your mrs a new machine :-P
  • boo 31 May 2011 13:43:14 11,757 posts
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    :o)

    Hey - she chose a Toshiba running Vista. I told her to get a Mac, but she wasn't having any of it. Now she's had an iPad for a while, she's coming round to the way of the Apple.

    Also, to people who've got them, what's the best option on a screen?

    Standard - 15" Glossy Widescreen
    £80 extra - 15" Hi-res Glossy Widescreen
    £120 extra - 15" Hi-res Anti Glare

    I could be persuaded to splash out the £80 for a hi-res screen if it's worth it, not sure about the anti glare though.

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  • Deleted user 31 May 2011 13:46:31
    It is, not seen the anti-glare screens.

    I agree with fake_blood, they're stupidly priced at the moment, although I do find that they last a lot longer than windows machines I've had.
  • Kay 31 May 2011 13:54:34 17,838 posts
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    I was looking at the Macbook Pros just a few weeks back, as a replacement for both my five year old, practically falling to bits now first-gen Macbook, and 3-year old gaming PC that I've barely had a chance to use.

    Having looked at it, I decided I'd have to go for a 15" model, as the 13" ones are barely an upgrade from the Macbook. Then I read that the graphics card on the base 15" is disappointing, and that the 1GB version is the one to go for. Add in the high-res screen (which, for me, is a necessity) and it came to around £1700, and that's after the student discount... can't justify spending that much. I do wonder how that 17" Pro would compare to my current gaming PC, though.
  • boo 31 May 2011 14:05:42 11,757 posts
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    I specced one out last night, and it came in at £1950, which made me yelp.
    Then Mrs Boo pointed out that the Macbook had cost about £1080, and I'd used it every single day for three and half years, and it's still going strong.

    So expensive it might be, but (from my point of view), value for money, as it's reliable, and a joy to use.

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  • 1Dgaf 31 May 2011 14:36:58 3,801 posts
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  • Fake_Blood 31 May 2011 14:39:31 4,171 posts
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    You just have to ask yourself just how many apps you run that will take advantage of the 4 cores.
    And it all depends just how crazy you are, reading this thread, apparently some people don't mind paying £1500 for a higher res screen.
  • yegon 1 Jun 2011 10:52:46 5,222 posts
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    If your old machine is still going strong and you're not running things at full load all the time, I'd wait another year or so to buy a MBP. A complete redesign in the not too distant future is a possibility, maybe doing away with the optical drive or at least an official option to do so. How long you're willing to wait is also dependent on whether you go near Rev A Apple products - my late '08 (Rev A) 15" MBP has been a fantastic purchase, even the battery is still good for 3-4hrs after 3 years and 500+ cycles. Still looks and feels like new tbh, mbp's don't come cheap but I can't fault the build quality!

    Just wish you could buy a sub £200 512gb ssd. It's not a case of being a skinflint, I just cannot stomach the thought of laying down more than that for storage, and anything less than 512gb would be a pain in the long run.
  • lucky_jim 20 Jun 2011 15:37:03 5,285 posts
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    Thought I'd hijack this thread rather than start a new one. I'm finally in a position to replace my ancient G4 with a shiny new MBP, I know what spec I want and the cash is sitting there waiting... the only thing holding me back is the concern that there might be some better model or slight spec upgrade to accompany the release of Lion next month. Tbh, I've been using the same computer for so long (nearly ten years!) that I don't pay much attention to these things anymore.

    I don't mind just buying one now and paying the £20 for Lion when it arrives (I'm so overdue an upgrade that paying for the upgrade later would seem worth it rather than wait any longer). I'd be annoyed, though, if when Lion comes out I realise I could have got an MBP with a better graphics card or something, if that's likely then I'd rather wait.

    So can I just splash out now, or will I be kicking myself in a couple of weeks if I do?

    Edit- and does anyone know whether the 2.3Ghz Intel Core i7 processor is worth the extra £200 Apple want over the 2.2Ghz version? Seems really steep, even for Apple, so I'm wondering whether there's more to it than the clock speed.
  • Kay 20 Jun 2011 15:43:32 17,838 posts
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    The Macbook Pros were updated in March, weren't they? So I doubt they'd be refreshed again anytime soon.

    Also, if you buy a new Mac now, you're eligible for a free upgrade to Lion when that comes out, afaik.
  • Ford 20 Jun 2011 15:44:30 398 posts
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    http://buyersguide.macrumors.com/#MacBook_Pro
  • Deleted user 20 June 2011 15:45:37
    Ask yourself why you'd need an i7?
  • lucky_jim 20 Jun 2011 15:50:19 5,285 posts
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    CrispyXUK64 wrote:
    Ask yourself why you'd need an i7?

    Partly because whenever I get a new computer I aim for the best spec I can afford at the time, but chiefly because the only MBP model which doesn't come with an i7 is a 13-inch model and I want a 15. I can manage the extra £200, but that seems like crossing a line into absurdity.
  • nickthegun 20 Jun 2011 15:51:08 59,527 posts
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    Kay wrote:
    The Macbook Pros were updated in March, weren't they? So I doubt they'd be refreshed again anytime soon.

    Also, if you buy a new Mac now, you're eligible for a free upgrade to Lion when that comes out, afaik.

    The upgrade plan started on the day of the announcement, jun 6th.

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  • Deleted user 20 June 2011 15:57:13
    Go for the minimum you need and install an ssd
  • mal 20 Jun 2011 15:57:32 22,473 posts
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    FluffyTucker wrote:
    A feature most people turn off in the BIOS for various reasons[/qpoiler]
    They do? Hyperthreading might have been of dubious benefit when it was first introduced, but these days it basically counts as twice as many real proper extra cores in a lot of real situations. What's not to love?

    Edit: A good SSD rocks btw. I fitted one to my shitty little EeePC and it's a completely different machine now. The disc drive did cost me almost as much as the machine did originally, mind you.

    Cubby didn't know how to turn off sigs!

  • Ford 20 Jun 2011 16:00:37 398 posts
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    The whole MacBook Pro line currently looks expensive to me, all the more puzzling given how popular the iPad is, surely eliminating some of the use-cases of the laptops.

    This is why I went for the base iMac recently, with a DIY memory upgrade.

    Also, check prices on Amazon, I was surprised to find them a lot cheaper than the Apple store itself, although they don't stock everything and obviously don't do BTO.
  • mal 20 Jun 2011 16:02:33 22,473 posts
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    Benchmarks, schmenshmarks. Damn, I must have been fooled by Intel tech specs again. It looked like they've duplicated enough of the processing units that most of the time you could run the extra units in parallel with the original units. I did a bit of reading when the Nehalem architecture was first announced, but I've not really been following it since.

    Cubby didn't know how to turn off sigs!

  • nickthegun 20 Jun 2011 16:06:10 59,527 posts
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    The thing they get you with in the poverty models is the graphics card.

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