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You are here: MacNN Forums > Hardware - Troubleshooting and Discussion > Mac Notebooks > Which Mac would you pick?

Which Mac would you pick?
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driven
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Apr 30, 2012, 11:26 PM
 
If you had a choice between two 15" Macbook Pros, which one would you take?
(Differences are below, all other items are the same)

Item 1:
- Prev Gen 2.3 Ghz Quad Core i7
- 500GB 7200 RPM Hard Disk
- Radeon 6770M with 1GB RAM

Item 2:
- Current Gen 2.2 Ghz Quad Core i7
- 256GB SSD
- Radeon 6750 with 512MB RAM


I'm leaning toward item #1.

Thoughts?
- MacBook Pro 15" Core i7 2.3Ghz / 256SSD (Work laptop)
- iMac 3.2Ghz 1TB
     
Eug
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Apr 30, 2012, 11:41 PM
 
I would get neither and wait for the Ivy Bridge USB 3 MacBook Pro, but if I had to choose, I'd take the one with the SSD.

However, I don't need heavy duty graphics performance in my laptop, nor do I need a lot of storage space in my laptop.
     
driven  (op)
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Apr 30, 2012, 11:42 PM
 
They both have 8GB RAM.

The graphics card wouldn't make a difference to you?
- MacBook Pro 15" Core i7 2.3Ghz / 256SSD (Work laptop)
- iMac 3.2Ghz 1TB
     
SierraDragon
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Apr 30, 2012, 11:58 PM
 
You have not mentioned your usages.

Yes the GPU matters for some of us (e.g. Aperture in my case) but the SSD matters for all of us. IMO an SSD is mandatory for laptop boot drives. Therefore if the laptop does not come with SSD one needs to include the cost of retrofitting SSD in the analysis.

Note that IMO the best current MBPs are the ones retrofitted with an SSD or HDD drive in the optical drive slot so the box has HDD capacity plus essential SSD latency.

Given those two choices and needing all the GPU I can get (today) I would pick the better GPU and retrofit an SSD to it. If I used regular apps less GPU-demanding and did not retrofit an SSD I would pick the SSD box.

However new Mac laptops will almost assuredly be out very soon (Q2 2012) and stronger GPUs and better SSDs are likely. Wait if you can to see the new boxes.

USB 3 adds about zero value for my usages.

HTH

-Allen Wicks
( Last edited by SierraDragon; May 1, 2012 at 12:08 AM. )
     
driven  (op)
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May 1, 2012, 12:35 AM
 
Originally Posted by SierraDragon View Post
You have not mentioned your usages.

Yes the GPU matters for some of us (e.g. Aperture in my case) but the SSD matters for all of us. IMO an SSD is mandatory for laptop boot drives. Therefore if the laptop does not come with SSD one needs to include the cost of retrofitting SSD in the analysis.

Note that IMO the best current MBPs are the ones retrofitted with an SSD or HDD drive in the optical drive slot so the box has HDD capacity plus essential SSD latency.

Given those two choices and needing all the GPU I can get (today) I would pick the better GPU and retrofit an SSD to it. If I used regular apps less GPU-demanding and did not retrofit an SSD I would pick the SSD box.

However new Mac laptops will almost assuredly be out very soon (Q2 2012) and stronger GPUs and better SSDs are likely. Wait if you can to see the new boxes.

USB 3 adds about zero value for my usages.

HTH

-Allen Wicks
Just to be clear, these are corporate machines, and these are my choices. There is no waiting. (As nice as that would be.) <-- I always seem to get a new machine just before another machine comes out. LOL

My usage is primarily as an iOS developer. That said: I also run 1-2 instances of VMware machines simultaneously (Win7, Win2008 Server mostly) during most of the work day as part of the development process.

If I keep the HDD based machine I'll be retrofitting it, although that will be cost out of pocket. If I take the one with the SSD already in it, I'll slap an existing external HDD on it.

I guess my main question is this: Is it worth it to spend money to retrofit an SSD, just to keep the ever-so-slightly faster proc, and the better GPU?

Thanks for the feedback folks. Sorry I didn't include my use-case.
- MacBook Pro 15" Core i7 2.3Ghz / 256SSD (Work laptop)
- iMac 3.2Ghz 1TB
     
mduell
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May 1, 2012, 01:03 AM
 
#2 no doubt... the GPU and CPU difference are an eyeroll at best, the SSD is huge.
     
ghporter
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May 1, 2012, 06:36 AM
 
With a 256GB SSD? Choice #2, in a heartbeat. My first gen MBP ran and ran for years with only a 100GB drive, and after I upgraded to a 500GB drive, it's like I have this empty warehouse of a drive-it's all echoy and roomy. Of course it's not my only computer, but with a notebook you tend to keep stuff you might need on the drive, so I've noticed that there's a bunch of stuff on it that I don't use very often. So yeah, I'd take the one with the (pretty massive) SSD.

Glenn -----OTR/L, MOT, Tx
     
OreoCookie
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May 1, 2012, 07:21 AM
 
Get the one with the SSD. Nuff said
I don't suffer from insanity, I enjoy every minute of it.
     
richwig83
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May 1, 2012, 07:24 AM
 
#2... SSD is the was forward.
MacBook Pro 2.2 i7 | 4GB | 128GB SSD ~ 500GB+2TB Externals ~ iPhone 4 32GB
Canon 5DII | EF 24-105mm IS USM | EF 100-400mm L IS USM | 50mm 1.8mkII
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driven  (op)
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May 1, 2012, 08:45 AM
 
Awesome. Thanks. Sounds like I was approaching this wrong.
Most appreciated.
- MacBook Pro 15" Core i7 2.3Ghz / 256SSD (Work laptop)
- iMac 3.2Ghz 1TB
     
abbaZaba
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May 1, 2012, 08:52 AM
 
if you've never used an SSD in your work machine, you're going to love it
     
driven  (op)
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May 1, 2012, 09:22 AM
 
BTW: This isn't my only Mac. It's a work machine. At home I have an iMac 20" (Core i3) with 1TB disk that I use for iPhoto, iTunes, etc. (Sort of the "mothership" for all things digital)

When I need a doc on it, I either use Back to my Mac (when I can) or LogMeIn. Works very well, and allows me to travel with a more reasonable sized laptop with less exposure to lost data if the laptop gets lost / stolen.
- MacBook Pro 15" Core i7 2.3Ghz / 256SSD (Work laptop)
- iMac 3.2Ghz 1TB
     
Eug
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May 1, 2012, 11:29 AM
 
For general everyday usage, my 4 GB Core 2 Duo MacBook Pro with SSD feels faster than my 12 GB Core i7 iMac with 2 TB hard drive.

For video encoding, my iMac blows the MBP out of the water of course.
     
SierraDragon
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May 1, 2012, 01:06 PM
 
With those apps #2 for sure. Plus I just noticed it is a 256 GB SSD, which is a big value over the much cheaper 128 GB SSD in my 2.2 GHz 2011 MBP.

You are going to be amazed by how the new MBP performs. SSD with Sandy Bridge and 8 GB RAM is a beautiful synergy, and 256 GB will allow as many VM partitions as you see fit. Note too that you can retrofit 2x8=16 GB RAM to that box if you experience page outs in an 8-GB RAM workflow.

Enjoy!

-Allen
     
driven  (op)
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May 3, 2012, 04:17 PM
 
I posted a video comparing the boot up performance and application loading differences between the two.

I think I'm keeping the SSD model. I was originally going to just swap drives, but the matte display is growing on me for demo purposes. You can see by some of the reflection in the video that the glossy isn't good for filming.

SSD performance comparison on a MacBook Pro - YouTube

Curious as to what you think.
- MacBook Pro 15" Core i7 2.3Ghz / 256SSD (Work laptop)
- iMac 3.2Ghz 1TB
     
Eug
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May 3, 2012, 05:31 PM
 
Long video, considering it's for a 10 s SSD bootup.

Here's my Core 2 Duo booting up with a "slow" SSD.

Kingston V100 SSD and MacBook Pro 13" on Vimeo
     
SierraDragon
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May 3, 2012, 07:40 PM
 
Everyone here says the same thing. Get the SSD box. Now that you tell us the SSD box has matte display I am adamant, get the SSD box.

SSD impacts are many, not just boot times. Anything with i/o benefits from the greatly reduced latency. Operations that lead to page outs also benefit.
     
jmiddel
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May 3, 2012, 08:22 PM
 
21 seconds, Eug. Impressive. I just had to see it for real. I'm looking at the Crucials and Kingstons, still waiting for a price drop....
     
driven  (op)
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May 4, 2012, 08:48 AM
 
Originally Posted by Eug View Post
Long video, considering it's for a 10 s SSD bootup.

Here's my Core 2 Duo booting up with a "slow" SSD.

Kingston V100 SSD and MacBook Pro 13" on Vimeo
I do a lot of public speaking. I'm good at turning short topics into long discussions. LOL
- MacBook Pro 15" Core i7 2.3Ghz / 256SSD (Work laptop)
- iMac 3.2Ghz 1TB
     
driven  (op)
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May 4, 2012, 08:49 AM
 
Originally Posted by Eug View Post
Long video, considering it's for a 10 s SSD bootup.

Here's my Core 2 Duo booting up with a "slow" SSD.

Kingston V100 SSD and MacBook Pro 13" on Vimeo
BTW: That was an impressive boot-up time on your 13". I like it.
- MacBook Pro 15" Core i7 2.3Ghz / 256SSD (Work laptop)
- iMac 3.2Ghz 1TB
     
driven  (op)
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May 4, 2012, 08:53 AM
 
Originally Posted by SierraDragon View Post
Everyone here says the same thing. Get the SSD box. Now that you tell us the SSD box has matte display I am adamant, get the SSD box.

SSD impacts are many, not just boot times. Anything with i/o benefits from the greatly reduced latency. Operations that lead to page outs also benefit.
You know, aside from making videos I generally prefer the glossy screen. The colors seem to be richer and the blacks darker. BUT: It's growing on me. I've already decided that I'm keeping that machine, and I have a glossy on my iMac, so .... it might grow on me.
- MacBook Pro 15" Core i7 2.3Ghz / 256SSD (Work laptop)
- iMac 3.2Ghz 1TB
     
Eug
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May 4, 2012, 10:58 AM
 
Originally Posted by driven View Post
BTW: That was an impressive boot-up time on your 13". I like it.
And just to reiterate: That's a lowly Core 2 Duo, with one of the slower SSDs on the market at the time.

Originally Posted by driven View Post
You know, aside from making videos I generally prefer the glossy screen. The colors seem to be richer and the blacks darker. BUT: It's growing on me. I've already decided that I'm keeping that machine, and I have a glossy on my iMac, so .... it might grow on me.
The lack of glare on matte screens is great. It makes a difference in home office during the day since there are several windows nearby. My iMac has glare up the yinyang. At night it's great though.

Similarly, my plasma TV is almost painful to watch during the daytime because of the glare. But at night, it's great.
     
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May 4, 2012, 12:52 PM
 
Originally Posted by Eug View Post
And just to reiterate: That's a lowly Core 2 Duo, with one of the slower SSDs on the market at the time.
Worth pointing out again: Moving from the fastest possible HDD to the slowest mainstream SSD currently on the market gets you 96% of the speedup that you'd get from moving to the fastest SSD on the market. Just buying a cheap SSD is a HUGE speedup compared to a regular 3.5" HDD. The speedup from a laptop 2.5" drive is freaking absurd.
The new Mac Pro has up to 30 MB of cache inside the processor itself. That's more than the HD in my first Mac. Somehow I'm still running out of space.
     
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May 8, 2012, 02:30 PM
 
Get the second one. SSD will make a huge difference!
     
   
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