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Switcher Hangout The place for switchers to discuss their new machines, and how to work with OS X. General support can be had here for newbie stuff, like "How do I restart my new iMac?" :)

Another i5 vs. i7


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HonestIllusion

 
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I sold my self built desktop PC and a bunch of other gear. Along with that and my financial aid from school, I have come up with $1800. I customized an i7 MBP along with apple care and the student discount... the total comes to $2600. Along with a case and some accessories, it will come to about $2800. That's $1000 I still need to come up with and absolutely no idea how to do so. I'm trying to find a summer job between college semesters, but I have a suspicion that might not be possible.

I went back and made the same customizations but with an i5 instead of an i7 and the total came to $2300. Is the i7 really $500 extra? Why? Is it really worth it for the speed increase? I'm going to be doing lots of graphic design work at school with Adobe products and I plan on playing modern games on it as well... so how important is it for me to get an i7? I want the laptop to last me a while as well and speed is important to me but if the difference isn't huge... $500 is easier to come up with than $1000.

Help?

Don't know what I'm supposed to say, but I keep speaking these words anyway.
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IvanLasston

 
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Always buy the most you can afford - if you worry about upgrading then the i7 will have the longevity.

According to mactracker the geekbench scores are as follows (which is current average)
2.4GHz 4806
2.53GHz 4994
2.66GHz 5422
Primate Labs Geekbench

What does that mean? In real life - you will see stuff filter and render faster with the i7 when working with graphics - but if you are working with large files it might speed it up more by getting RAM (staying out of swap) so it is always hard to say how worth a speed up is. Best bet - is see if you can run your program and data at the apple store to see if it makes a difference for what you do.

Honest truth - the i5 is plenty fast unless you are doing a lot of rendering, 3d, engineering, etc - but you'd probably be doing that kind of stuff on a beefy desktop instead.

To put it in perspective I have the 2.8Ghz which scores at 3764 and I do graphics, HD video editing, run virtual machines, convert video, etc and it works fine. Would I rather render with the latest and greatest - yes but I run intensive apps and am satisfied with the speed.
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HonestIllusion

 
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Thanks for the info.

I just realized something though... if I downgrade to the i5, it also downgrades the graphics card to 256. I guess that makes more sense for $500 less. That makes me worried though because I'm a gamer as well and will be wanting to play modern games on the laptop with high-max settings. I wonder what difference there is between 256 and 512. Hmm...

Don't know what I'm supposed to say, but I keep speaking these words anyway.
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CrimsonRequiem

 
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As much as I want to game on an Mac it doesn't seem to pan out that way. Sure it can game but don't expect anything ground breaking especially when you can make a dedicated gaming rig for half the price of MBP and outperform it. It's okay in a pinch when you want to game in between classes or something.

The MBP is an all around good multi use notebook. It does a little bit of everything but notebooks and gaming still don't mix very well together. Considering the pricing and performance you get out of it.

I'm making two gaming rigs this summer. One for myself which is around 2 grand, and another that is 700 dollars for my cousin. I gotta say that the 700 dollar budget rig (Tricore/Quadcore if I can unlock the other core) is looking pretty awesome considering it only has 1 GPU right now. It can easily be made to have two. The plus side to building your own of course is expandability and being able to upgrade. Although you having building rigs yourself I'm sure you know this already.

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IvanLasston

 
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Comparison question about graphic cards and processors

I've been playing some steam games like Civ 4 and Portal. I do have the older 9600GT with 521M of ram. The performance is acceptable but as CrimsonRequiem said - If I really want to play a game I'll go onto my PC or Xbox 360. If you always used a Mac then games would be new to you - but since this is a switcher hangout - most games on the Mac are older PC games. The nice thing is with Steam - if I registered a game on the PC and it is available for Mac I can play it on either.
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HonestIllusion

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CrimsonRequiem View Post
As much as I want to game on an Mac it doesn't seem to pan out that way. Sure it can game but don't expect anything ground breaking especially when you can make a dedicated gaming rig for half the price of MBP and outperform it. It's okay in a pinch when you want to game in between classes or something.

The MBP is an all around good multi use notebook. It does a little bit of everything but notebooks and gaming still don't mix very well together. Considering the pricing and performance you get out it.
Unfortunately I don't have much of a choice. I sold my self built desktop PC last week. It was 2 years old, but could still play games at max settings. I'm done with PC and I only have the money for one computer... so MBP it is. I know that notebooks aren't ideal for gaming, but my goal is to at least get the best gaming rig for the money that I have with the available customization for the MBP. I think that graphic design will be my #1 use for the computer, with gaming a close second.

Don't know what I'm supposed to say, but I keep speaking these words anyway.
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nepenthe

 
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Perhaps an iMac (desktop) would be a better solution for you. You would could have a true quad core processor and a 4850 graphic card with the 27" model. This for less that the price of an i7 macbook pro.

MBP 15" 2.4GHz i5 4GB/1TB
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HonestIllusion

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nepenthe View Post
Perhaps an iMac (desktop) would be a better solution for you. You would could have a true quad core processor and a 4850 graphic card with the 27" model. This for less that the price of an i7 macbook pro.
That will probably be my next big purchase. But for now, I really need something portable to take to school with me. I work in the digital audio lab at school, but the lab computer in there doesn't run Adobe products and so I need my own laptop to work on my homework while I'm there. That's just one reason out of many that I need a laptop over an iMac right now.

Realistically I would probably play games more at home than away from home... but at least for this year, I will only have one computer and that will be the MBP.

Don't know what I'm supposed to say, but I keep speaking these words anyway.
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CrimsonRequiem

 
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Benchmarks from barefeats. It's gaming so probably what you are looking for. Too bad they didn't show the lower end GPU model.

Another benchmark, with the two GPUs compared.

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HonestIllusion

 
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Well according to that, there is barely any difference between the i5 256 and the i7 512 unless I'm hooking up to the 30" display, which I won't be. When doing audio engineering and such, I'll be using a 22" Dell wide-screen monitor that I used with my PC that I just sold.

Although... I was thinking about trying out the laptop on my 47" TV. I wonder how it performs at 1080p?

Thanks for the links.

Don't know what I'm supposed to say, but I keep speaking these words anyway.
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nepenthe

 
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For audio engineering, wouldn't a 13" MBP suffice?

MBP 15" 2.4GHz i5 4GB/1TB
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HonestIllusion

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nepenthe View Post
For audio engineering, wouldn't a 13" MBP suffice?
As my original post stated, I'm using this primarily for gaming and graphic design while going to school. I'm also an audio engineer, but that isn't my main focus and I'll be doing that on a larger screen anyway.

Don't know what I'm supposed to say, but I keep speaking these words anyway.
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DarkestRitual

 
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So why don't you nix the customizations for now and just buy the best stock rig for you. Gaming isn't as much about VRAM as it is about the clocks on all the shaders and main GPU clock. You'll still get the 330m. Get the i5 (since they're both dual core chips anyway), and buy your upgrades after the fact from a third party (where they will be cheaper). How was this not the obvious choice?
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nepenthe

 
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Check EBay.... First do a bing search for "Apple Macbook", then click the ebay.com link. If you purchase a "BUY IT NOW" MBP, you can receive an 8% rebate. Coupled with no sales tax and you are doing well. Consider refurbs from the online apple store. As Darkest Ritual stated, there is no harm in adding parts later (more ram, larger HD or an SSD).

MBP 15" 2.4GHz i5 4GB/1TB
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