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You are here: MacNN Forums > Hardware - Troubleshooting and Discussion > Mac Notebooks > 17" i5/i7 = happiness?

17" i5/i7 = happiness?
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evoLver
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Sep 29, 2010, 02:27 PM
 
I am running a 15" 2.2 Ghz Macbook Pro. I have been convinced to upgrade to 17". I do audio production. Looking forward to more screen real estate and more power ( I heard these new ones are some 40% faster).

Are people pretty happy with the build and overall experience of the last gen 17"?
I am inclined to wait the 6 weeks(?) till the next gen.
15" Macbook Pro / 2.2ghz / 4g ram / 10.6
     
solofx7
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Sep 29, 2010, 03:04 PM
 
hmm... I am not sure how to weigh in on this one.
I have a 17 inch i7 MBP. I love it and love the size/power.
I also hate the size. I will say that if it is going to be your only computer and you are not going to hook it to an external monitor then go for 17 inch. I had a 17 then to a 15 and now back to a 17. My point is that it is not that portable and it is great if it is going to stay in one area. I also upgraded to a Seagate Momentus XT. The extra resolution is great and worth the money if you do not have an external monitor and do not mind the size/weight.
I now also have a 27inch iMac i7, so I bought much more computer than I needed in the MBP and for me personally I feel like it is a lot to carry around as I only use it for school once a week.

Bottom line is that it is a great computer, the resolution is great, the i7 or i5 rock and the seagate combo HDD is great for the money. Make no mistake about it though. It is a very big computer
If you have any questions, let me know.
iMac 27inch 3.4 i7 16gb ram, MacBook Air 11 inch i5 128gb, iMac 27inch 2.8 i7 8gb ram, MacBook Pro 17 inch 2.66 i7, 4gb ram 500gb HDD Seagate XT,
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imitchellg5
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Sep 29, 2010, 03:52 PM
 
If you're traveling a bunch doing audio production, I'd say stay away from 17". But if you're based in a single studio, go for it.
     
rjt1000
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Oct 1, 2010, 03:19 AM
 
I have the same MBP 2.2 ghz and was considering a similar upgrade (to either the i5 or i7 15").

I wanted to know if I would see much difference in performance so I checked out the Mac Benchmarks that compares the different models using Geekbench http://www.primatelabs.ca/geekbench/mac-benchmarks/

If I am interpreting it right, it looks like the speed would be nearly double for the i7 and a bit less than that for the i5.

Geekbench scores:
MacBook Pro (Mid 2007) Intel Core 2 Duo T7500 2.2 GHz (2 cores) 2891
MacBook Pro (15-inch Early 2010) Intel Core i7 M 620 2.67 GHz (2 cores) 5532
MacBook Pro (17-inch Early 2010) Intel Core i7 M 620 2.67 GHz (2 cores) 5529
MacBook Pro (15-inch Early 2010) Intel Core i5 M 540 2.53 GHz (2 cores) 4939
MacBook Pro (17-inch Early 2010)Intel Core i5 M 540 2.53 GHz (2 cores) 4937
     
SierraDragon
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Oct 2, 2010, 09:04 AM
 
Originally Posted by evoLver View Post
I am running a 15" 2.2 Ghz Macbook Pro. I have been convinced to upgrade to 17". I do audio production. Looking forward to more screen real estate and more power ( I heard these new ones are some 40% faster).

Are people pretty happy with the build and overall experience of the last gen 17"?
I am inclined to wait the 6 weeks(?) till the next gen.
After years of 15" Mac laptops I got a 17" in 2007 and absolutely love it, will never go back to the 15" size. The 40% or so extra screen real estate and additional pixels are a huge, huge benefit. The 17" only weighs 1.0 pound more for all that extra display, and the EC/34 slot improves versatility and extends the life cycle. I never noticed the weight difference, but you probably will need to update your laptop case to suit the larger dimensions.

By all means get the matte display option.

I too am in the market for a new 17" because a cup of spilled hot chocolate has me using an external keyboard with the old one. IMO today's 17" is sweet; lack of cash is the only reason I do not buy one. Since you have a good functional box now I would wait to see what the next MBP update brings, because power and value just keep improving.

The only way I would go with 15" is if I used the laptop on an every-day commute on something with a small tray like a plane or train. If one only flies once a week or once a month I would still go 17".

-Allen
( Last edited by SierraDragon; Oct 2, 2010 at 09:16 AM. )
     
OreoCookie
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Oct 3, 2010, 07:45 AM
 
I got a 15" Core i5 2.4 GHz and the speed-up compared to the Core 2 Duo clocked at 2.33 GHz, it's much, much faster. So if you need speed, you don't need to get the 17". Which size you prefer is IMO just a matter of how big your tolerance for heft is.
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solofx7
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Oct 5, 2010, 09:14 AM
 
Originally Posted by OreoCookie View Post
I got a 15" Core i5 2.4 GHz and the speed-up compared to the Core 2 Duo clocked at 2.33 GHz, it's much, much faster. So if you need speed, you don't need to get the 17". Which size you prefer is IMO just a matter of how big your tolerance for heft is.
I cosign that. At the time of purchase for me I had gone from 17 - 15 because there was no 17 at the time.
So overall I just missed the size, now I miss the weight savings.
iMac 27inch 3.4 i7 16gb ram, MacBook Air 11 inch i5 128gb, iMac 27inch 2.8 i7 8gb ram, MacBook Pro 17 inch 2.66 i7, 4gb ram 500gb HDD Seagate XT,
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SierraDragon
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Oct 6, 2010, 12:30 AM
 
Originally Posted by OreoCookie View Post
I got a 15" Core i5 2.4 GHz and the speed-up compared to the Core 2 Duo clocked at 2.33 GHz, it's much, much faster. So if you need speed, you don't need to get the 17". Which size you prefer is IMO just a matter of how big your tolerance for heft is.
Oreo's implication being that the 17" is much heavier and that the comparison is mostly about speed, which just is NOT true: 1.0 added pound is not that much unless you are a really small or weak for some reason human. Which size you prefer is instead IMO more a matter of how much you appreciate ~40% more screen real estate and pixels, EC/34 capability (not a little deal), slightly better heat tolerance and speed - for ridiculously little extra cost.

All by themselves the ~40% additional screen real estate and pixels present a HUGE value add.

-Allen Wicks

P.S. I agree that you don't need to get the 17" just for speed because any performance differences are small.
( Last edited by SierraDragon; Oct 6, 2010 at 12:37 AM. )
     
OreoCookie
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Oct 6, 2010, 03:57 AM
 
Originally Posted by SierraDragon View Post
Oreo's implication being that the 17" is much heavier and that the comparison is mostly about speed, which just is NOT true: 1.0 added pound is not that much unless you are a really small or weak for some reason human.
The 17" ProBook is also not faster, you can get the same processors in the 15" ProBook.

From the personal experience of carrying several mobile Macs to class and university and traveling frequently (I spend 6~8 weeks a year away from home), I can tell you for a fact that 500 g plus the additional size makes a very big difference to road warriors. The 17" MacBook Pro will not fit in my backpack anymore, for instance, even the 15" fits barely. The other thing is leverage: the larger the machine, the harder it is to hold with one hand and the more it sticks out from your lap (which makes it harder to work on a plane or the subway).

By far the nicest machine to carry around were my 12" iBooks and my boss' 13" AirBook. However, the latter has too many restrictions and I would have gone for a 13" ProBook instead if it were available with a Core i5 or Core i7 processor. The additional screen estate means very little to me*, I have external monitors at home and work anyway (22" and 24", respectively).

Note that I'm not saying that a 17" ProBook doesn't make sense or isn't a nice machine. It's just that in practical terms, the additional weight may be much more significant than apparent to the eye.

* The 15" HD screen has the same resolution as my external 22" monitor. But even the 1280x800 pixel^2 would be fine for checking out and sorting photos as well as all the other work I do.
I don't suffer from insanity, I enjoy every minute of it.
     
evoLver  (op)
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Oct 6, 2010, 03:26 PM
 
Thanks for all the feedback. Not hearing any horror stories here. I checked out the machine at an Apple store and I liked the non-gloss compared to the glossy. Can't really imagine a good reason to get the glossy (I have windows and a light on my ceiling).

The next release could take awhile, huh? I should be patient.
15" Macbook Pro / 2.2ghz / 4g ram / 10.6
     
evoLver  (op)
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Oct 6, 2010, 03:29 PM
 
Oh - can anyone enlighten me on the following;

Will the EC/34 with USB card create a 4th individual USB, or will it essentially work more as a bus/hub on another USB throughput.
15" Macbook Pro / 2.2ghz / 4g ram / 10.6
     
solofx7
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Oct 6, 2010, 04:31 PM
 
Originally Posted by evoLver View Post
Thanks for all the feedback. Not hearing any horror stories here. I checked out the machine at an Apple store and I liked the non-gloss compared to the glossy. Can't really imagine a good reason to get the glossy (I have windows and a light on my ceiling).

The next release could take awhile, huh? I should be patient.
I know I am in the minority here, but I love the glossy!
iMac 27inch 3.4 i7 16gb ram, MacBook Air 11 inch i5 128gb, iMac 27inch 2.8 i7 8gb ram, MacBook Pro 17 inch 2.66 i7, 4gb ram 500gb HDD Seagate XT,
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OreoCookie
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Oct 6, 2010, 04:33 PM
 
I'm fine either way. But I love the glassy surface for the fact that it's easier to clean and the nice black frame. This is just sexy in my opinion.
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imitchellg5
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Oct 6, 2010, 05:09 PM
 
Originally Posted by solofx7 View Post
I know I am in the minority here, but I love the glossy!
Same here. And it does look super sexy with the black frame.

I should clarify, I love Apple's glossy, but not other company's glossy (like HP).
     
solofx7
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Oct 6, 2010, 07:28 PM
 
Originally Posted by imitchellg5 View Post
Same here. And it does look super sexy with the black frame.

I should clarify, I love Apple's glossy, but not other company's glossy (like HP).
I super agree there. I just got back from Best Buy and all of the PC laptops are too plasticy for me.
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SierraDragon
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Oct 6, 2010, 10:56 PM
 
Originally Posted by evoLver View Post
Will the EC/34 with USB card create a 4th individual USB, or will it essentially work more as a bus/hub on another USB throughput.
I don't know the specific answer, but I would never waste the EC/34 on USB. IMO it is best used for a PC card (I have an adapter for a Verizon card), for eSATA or the like.

-Allen Wicks
     
SierraDragon
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Oct 6, 2010, 11:01 PM
 
If all that was available was glossy I would never upgrade until forced to, and then I would get a small MBP and use external displays.

-Allen
     
SierraDragon
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Oct 6, 2010, 11:26 PM
 
Originally Posted by OreoCookie View Post
The additional screen estate means very little to me*, I have external monitors at home and work anyway (22" and 24", respectively).
Agreed, if one uses a laptop as a portable desktop moving among permanent locations that have external displays the 15" size or smaller is decidedly more optimal.

...But even the 1280x800 pixel^2 would be fine for checking out and sorting photos as well as all the other work I do.
Perhaps for your work but not for mine. Whether working a spreadsheet, choosing among pix in Aperture, viewing a poster in Photoshop or looking at a 2-page InDesign spread I find 40% more screen and pixels hugely more productive. Even for simple web surfing additional display area and pixels can be much nicer.

-Allen Wicks
     
Salty
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Oct 14, 2010, 01:49 AM
 
Best laptop I ever owned was the 12 inch PowerBook... though considering my 13 inch MacBook has lasted over four years now maybe I'm not giving it enough credit. Either way both are killer machines. I've thought of getting a 15 inch when I'm at home and rarely move my laptop. But now that I'm out writing a lot working on my novel, I'm so glad for the 13 inch form factor... I'll even move to an 11 when I have the money if it comes out and isn't horribly under speced.

In your situation I'd probably go for the 15 with the high res option but that's just me. Oh and of course get the i7 if you can. My rule of thumb buy the fastest class of processor (but not the fastest mhz wise always that can get insane) and then after a year or so spec out the HD and RAM and it'll feel like you just bought a new Machine again.
     
   
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