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Old Apr 27th, 2010, 04:03 AM   #1
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Macbook Pro: i5 vs i7

Going to be getting a new mbp soon. Trying to decide between the i5 & i7.
Think the i7 is worth the extra $200? Since it's not the 4core i7 i'm not sure.

From what I can tell it's adds abbot 7-8% to the cpu speed? Think I notice the difference?
I'm a designer and developer.

Thanks,
Nick
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Old Apr 27th, 2010, 09:38 AM   #2
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The difference is that the i7 can overclock itself higher if the cores are not both maxed out. The i7 goes to 3.33 GHz, I think the i5 goes to 2.93 GHz. The i7 also has twice the video RAM than the i5 has. Depending on the design work you do, that may be something that is worthwhile.
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Old Apr 27th, 2010, 11:13 AM   #3
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The new i7 MBPs also get crazy hot - especially if you're taxing them frequently. Like, over 100 degrees Celcius:

Report: Core i7 MacBook Pros running hot

But yes, the 8-10% difference will be worth the $200 in the long run, I'd say.

MacBook Pro Core i5 and i7 vs others
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Old Apr 27th, 2010, 11:14 AM   #4
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The mobile i5/i7 processors are very similar differing only in clock speed and cache size between i5 and i7 (you're looking at processor numbers 520m, 540m, 620m). The i5's have 3MB of cache vs 4MB for the i7. Notebook check did some benchmarks comparing them:

Notebookcheck: Review Intel Core i3/i5/i7 Processors ?Arrandale?

Another place to check is the geekbench results here:

Primate Labs Blog : MacBook Pro Benchmarks (April 2010)

In practical terms, you probably won't be noticing the ~8% difference unless you're doing rendering or something that maxes out the processors for significant amounts of time, then maybe the $200 difference is worth the extra performance.

The processor has nothing to do with the amount of video RAM that the MBP is built with, though notably you can only get 512MB of VRAM with the i7 in the 15" version, the 17" has that standard.
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Old Apr 27th, 2010, 03:52 PM   #5
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Thanks guys. I'm 90% set on the 17" right now, so it's same video card.
Really just debating the processor and future proofing myself.
The heat issue is interesting. Did some reading and people say in the real world you don't really notice it.

The Prime Labs test above was interesting.
He said thought to keep the i5 and use the money saved to go to 8GB of ram?
I've done some reading on that, and most people say your computer wont really use 8gb of ram anyways? And uses about 3bg most of the time anyways. This is specific to running the adobe creative suite. Which is the most taxing thing I run (but I run it 40 hours a week). Thoughts?

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N.
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Old Apr 27th, 2010, 03:58 PM   #6
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It sounds like you'll be under the 4GB limit most of the times, unless you plan on opening a few more memory sucking apps in which case the extra 4GB would be useful. You're better off saving that ~$400 for now, or putting it towards an SSD instead.
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Old Apr 27th, 2010, 04:12 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spacemonkey View Post
It sounds like you'll be under the 4GB limit most of the times, unless you plan on opening a few more memory sucking apps in which case the extra 4GB would be useful. You're better off saving that ~$400 for now, or putting it towards an SSD instead.
I know I can always upgrade down the ram line, so I just though I'd ask. I opened a new thread for that, so it doesn't get to sidetracked.

Re the SSD drive. I've read a bunch of reviews, and it seems the SSD aren't that much faster than the 7200's long term. Their advantage seem to be being able to read anywhere on the drive without a speed loss, but on larger files like I'm working, the difference isn't worth the cost.
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Old Apr 27th, 2010, 04:33 PM   #8
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And uses about 3bg most of the time anyways. This is specific to running the adobe creative suite.
This should change with he imminent release of CS5, which is going 64-bit. At least I hope. The 32-bit RAM limit in CS4 is a bit of a pain.
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Old Apr 27th, 2010, 05:46 PM   #9
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Hey Guys,

Been reading and thinking, and I think I'm going to go for the i7 now. It adds future proofing, and it can't be changed/added later (like RAM and a SSD)

Cheers,
N.
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Old Apr 27th, 2010, 06:10 PM   #10
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Been reading and thinking, and I think I'm going to go for the i7 now. It adds future proofing, and it can't be changed/added later (like RAM and a SSD)
That's very true - the HDD and RAM can always be added later (And usually for cheaper than a BTO now) - but the Processor's soldered in there
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