i5 or i7 for L4 Mac - Help & Suggestion from Mac Users Appreciated!

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Posts 90
Chris Hulshof | Forum Activity | Posted: Fri, Apr 16 2010 7:12 PM

Following up from something I posted a while ago....

The new Mac Book Pro's are out.  The 15" come in i5's or i7's.  I'm looking for help in deciding if an i7 is overkill to run L4.  I have a Best Buy gift card (store credit for a PC laptop that was DOA) so I'm limited to what they have in stock.  Since I have nothing to compare using L4 to as far as Mac's go I'm depending on some forum help here...

Option 1: Intel Core i5 2.4 GHZ; 4 GB DDR3 RAM; 320 GB HD (5400); Intel HD Integrated Graphics Card + NVIDIA GeForce GT 330M with 256 MB (dedicated).

Option 2 Intel Core i7 2.66 GHZ; 4 GB DDR3 RAM; 500 GB HD (5400); INtel HD integrated Graphics Card + NVIDIA GeForce GT 330M with 512 (dedicated).

I use Logos weekly for sermon prep, bible study, and scripture exploration.  I have the Scholar's Platinum collection with numerous add-ons to that collection.

Thanks for the help and suggestions,

Chris

"If heaven ain't a gift I ain't gettin' in." - Lecrae Moore

Posts 54
Dave Smith | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Apr 16 2010 8:13 PM

My day job is in video production so my macs take a beating in the other apps I use them for. So logos is a walk in the park compared to 3D apps and compositing. I too have the platinum collection that I use on the last generation MBP. 

Anyway from what I've seen the 2 processors are pretty close to each other. Depending on price I'd lean towards the Option 2 with a bigger hard drive and better graphics card but I don't think you'll see much of a performance difference between the two. 

Here's a comparison between the two: http://barefeats.com/mbpp18.html

Posts 90
Chris Hulshof | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Apr 16 2010 10:30 PM

Thanks Dave!  Those tests do put both of them very close.  The price difference between the two systems is $400; which is why I figured I'd ask first.  I want to make sure that the difference is worth $400.  I know from the PC system requirements that a 512 dedicated graphics card is recommended - but that's the PC side so it's hard to know if that's just another result of the way a PC manages the laptop.

Chris

"If heaven ain't a gift I ain't gettin' in." - Lecrae Moore

Posts 1567
Ben | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Apr 17 2010 5:27 AM

THe main difference between the mobile i5 and i7 (other than Mhz) is cache size.   I follow Apple hardware and rumor sites fairly closely, and all the discussion I've seen (including some reviews) say that the performance difference between these two is minimal, and probably not worth the money.

The video memory, on the other hand, may well make a difference in L4 performance, but who can say how much?

I'd be sorely tempted to go with the i5 and spend any extra on a SSD, which WILL make a huge difference in performance.

"The whole modern world has divided itself into Conservatives and Progressives. The business of Progressives is to go on making mistakes. The business of Conservatives is to prevent mistakes from being corrected."- G.K. Chesterton

Posts 2
J Brian Morris | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Apr 17 2010 6:00 AM

Because of my line of work I get asked questions similar to this on a regular basis. These are two recommendations I make for buying a personal computer:

1. Buy a Mac

2. Buy the best you can afford

The best may only be 10% than second best, but the better unit you buy now the longer it will be before you have to buy another one.

Posts 90
Chris Hulshof | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Apr 17 2010 6:16 AM

Thanks Ben and Brian.

Ben - I'm limited to what Best Buy carries only because I have a Best Buy Gift card to replace a PC that went DOA.  I have thought of getting the i5 and taking it to our Apple Store and upgrading the 4GB of memory.  From the L4 PC side the graphics card and hard drive speed tend to show up as the issues.  However, I think some of that will be different from the Mac side because of the way Mac does things.

Brian - I purchased a Mac Mini for the family at the beginning of the year and that began the switch in our family.

"If heaven ain't a gift I ain't gettin' in." - Lecrae Moore

Posts 2
J Brian Morris | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Apr 17 2010 6:33 AM

Chris,

I don't see the new MacBooks on Best Buy's web site so, if you can wait a few days, you might a wider selection there. I believe you can use your gift card at bestbuy.com as well (they may even order it for you from the store).

Upgrading the memory to 8 GB is certainly a good idea. If you're going to have the case cracked, I'd suggest upgrading the hard drive to a 7200 RPM version. It will help!

Otherwise, I don't think you'll be disappointed with the i5 processor. This is a great upgrade for the MacBook Pro and I am certainly lusting after one myself!

Posts 5478
Forum MVP
Mike Binks | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Apr 17 2010 6:34 AM

Chris

If this is your first Mac you are in for a pleasant surprise. I am running L4 alpha on one of the first intel two core mac-books.  I don't find that it slows me down other in those areas where it is acknowledged that the coding is slow has not yet been optimised.

I use L4 alpha without recourse to the windows environment and while I don't know what I am missing what I have suits me pretty well. Christmas comes round once a fortnight. I am just happy that for the most part the church hasn't noticed so for them I carry on with the regular church year.

Tootle pip

Mike

tootle pip

Mike

How to get logs and post them. (now tagging post-apocalyptic fiction as current affairs)

Posts 54
Dave Smith | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Apr 17 2010 7:01 AM

Apple is notorious for overcharging for their RAM. I've always upgraded my RAM and HD through 3rd party suppliers. 

Upgrading the HD and RAM in a MBP are pretty easy. You can see a tutorial here. It's also where I buy my HD and RAM: http://eshop.macsales.com/installvideos/macbookpro_15_unibody_mid09/

You will want to keep your HD and RAM if you upgrade. Apple can be picky about the warranty if you have 3rd party HD or RAM if you take it in to a Genius Bar. It hasn't been my experience but it doesn't hurt. If you replace the HD you can buy an external case and use old drive as a time machine backup. 

Posts 1567
Ben | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Apr 17 2010 8:22 AM

I'd probably go for the i7 then.

As for extra RAM, order it through Crucial.com It's easy to figure out what you need (they walk you through some questions, Apple>Macbook Pro> then choose the processor speed/model you end up with)

And it's really easy to install.

"The whole modern world has divided itself into Conservatives and Progressives. The business of Progressives is to go on making mistakes. The business of Conservatives is to prevent mistakes from being corrected."- G.K. Chesterton

Posts 15805
Forum MVP
Keep Smiling 4 Jesus :) | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Apr 17 2010 11:54 AM

Observation: Crucial.com configurator is excellent.  If comparing memory prices, newegg.com usually competitive - several reviews of memory mention Mac model success.

The "I Fix It" website http://www.ifixit.com/ has illustrated upgrade steps for many Mac models. 

After installing 8 GB RAM, found enabling 64 bit kernel in Snow Leopard improved overall responsiveness - did verify applications and printer work OK with 64 bit kernel.  Personally used nvram example from:

http://macperformanceguide.com/SnowLeopard-64bit.html

Keep Smiling Smile

Posts 12
Pierre-David Pfister | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Apr 17 2010 12:50 PM

In my opinion, it is best not to buy the best, but upgrade more often.

Laptops do not last forever, and whatever you buy today will be outdated in a year or two... Processor speed is probably not the limiting factor today. HD and memory are far more important.

Posts 15805
Forum MVP
Keep Smiling 4 Jesus :) | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Apr 17 2010 8:11 PM

Pierre-David Pfister:

In my opinion, it is best not to buy the best, but upgrade more often.

Laptops do not last forever, and whatever you buy today will be outdated in a year or two... Processor speed is probably not the limiting factor today. HD and memory are far more important.

Personally favor best bang per buck (hence preference for Apple refurbished models) - includes HD and memory.

Observation: any computer purchase is obsolete - faster/better/cheaper in pipeline to replace.  When changing models, like to jump generation (or two/three) for processor and graphics - noticeably faster.

Mac Rumors web site has Buyer's Guide section - tracks Apple model refreshes since 2002.

http://buyersguide.macrumors.com/

If considering i5 or i7 MacBook Pro and Apple's iPad - have reason to pause, pray, and consider whether to purchase i7 laptop (bit faster) or get i5 laptop with an iPad.

Keep Smiling Smile

Posts 90
Chris Hulshof | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Apr 21 2010 1:58 PM

Thanks all!

I picked up the i7 MBP on Saturday.  It's been such a crazy busy week that it's still sitting in the box in my office.  I hope to get to it after Sunday when next week will be a touch slower.  I went with the i7 for the fact that it had the 512 graphics card (an issue on the PC side) and that it had the newest processor.  I can always upgrade the RAM down the road but it's difficult (if not impossible) to upgrade the processor or the graphics card down the road.  I hope to download the Alpha on Monday and give it a spin on the new MBP.

Chris

"If heaven ain't a gift I ain't gettin' in." - Lecrae Moore

Posts 1567
Ben | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Apr 21 2010 2:08 PM

Report back your impressions when you do!

"The whole modern world has divided itself into Conservatives and Progressives. The business of Progressives is to go on making mistakes. The business of Conservatives is to prevent mistakes from being corrected."- G.K. Chesterton

Posts 343

Does Apple have a program where you can take your Macbook Pro to their store, and pay for a processor upgrade?

Jason Saling

Posts 492
R. Mansfield | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Apr 21 2010 2:25 PM

Jason Saling:

Does Apple have a program where you can take your Macbook Pro to their store, and pay for a processor upgrade?

Yes, but you have to buy the rest of the computer to go with the new processor :-)

It's a shame really...back in the PowerPC days, there was a lively third party processor upgrade industry. This was a really big deal with OS X came out because it was initially so slow. But I don't know of any way to upgrade processors now.

RMansfield@mac.com
http://thislamp.com 
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Posts 90
Chris Hulshof | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Apr 21 2010 3:35 PM

Ben... I will post after I've had a chance to mess around with it a bit.  

What I really need is some sort of book to help me learn the "in's and out's" of a Mac and Snow Leopard.  The Mac Mini I purchased for the family at the beginning of the year was my first Mac and this MBP is my second Mac.  I need some hands on tutorial kind of book to help me understand how and what these two Mac's can do.  When I was learning Photoshop I appreciated Scott Kelby's books for not only what he taught about PS but about how he taught it as well....very straightforward and almost always things you needed or should know.

Chris

"If heaven ain't a gift I ain't gettin' in." - Lecrae Moore

Posts 505
Michael Kares | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Apr 21 2010 5:23 PM

Make an appointment with a Genius at the Apple Store.  They do free basic (and probably a little advanced) discipleship for recent converts. Stick out tongue  S. J. could teach us something....Hmm

 

Hope this helps,

Have Fun!

Posts 1567
Ben | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Apr 21 2010 6:21 PM

The MAC 101 series at TUAW is useful too.

http://www.tuaw.com/category/mac-101

As does Apple's page.

http://www.apple.com/findouthow/mac/

"The whole modern world has divided itself into Conservatives and Progressives. The business of Progressives is to go on making mistakes. The business of Conservatives is to prevent mistakes from being corrected."- G.K. Chesterton

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