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New macbook pros/discussion

rhythmgamingrhythmgaming Registered User Posts: 650 Member
edited March 2011 in College Computers
So, lets talk about the new macbook pros.

The biggest thing I see though as a complaint is sticking to 5400rpm harddrives, which will still be a bottleneck. I think they should have went with higher capacity 7200rpm harddrives as the baseline. Some people were expecting SSDs to start, but of course still too early for that to become de facto. Over $1000 and getting a 5400rpm drive is disappointing no matter who you are.

Processor upgrades are good, though they're just meeting standards on the 13" (u36jc from Asus has already been sporting an i5, except faster than the base model) while the quad cores on the 15 inch are a pretty big step up, though a dual-core model should have been an option.

Graphics: I find the switch to AMD/ATI interesting. Benchmarks still need to be determined, since apple just used portal and hl2e2 as relative benchmarks is incredibly uncertain, we dont know what graphics settings they mean and such. Still, its inbetween a standard and gaming-focused gpu, though not enough to really help OS X as a gaming platform.

Battery life took a hit, and is no longer really a big point. Quite a few windows laptops up in that 7 hour cap (which even then may still be exaggerated, once again more testing needed).

Thunderbolt... eh, largely irrelevant. Performance is largely going to be equal to USB 3.0 because there aren't many uses yet (4.8gb/s is like being able to use a fast SSD externally, and that isn't anywhere near practical yet). Since it isn't USB 3.0 though, it might suffer from lack of general interests, unless it starts getting adopted more from PCs (which will sort of make this neutral anyways).

Overall the new line isn't really too impressive. In my opinion it still remains overpriced, though some of the new capabilities due to sandy bridge (such as faster processors or a 2.0ghz quad core in a 15 inch) are nice, but definitely let the PC market flesh out with sandy bridge before making any decisions.

As for direct, immediate PC competitors, I still think the U36JC is on top of the 13 inch macbook, though it lacks an optical drive (though that probably isn't really a huge dealbreaker anymore, they're becoming more irrelevant). I think the biggest challenger will be Lenovo's new laptops or Asus when they update the U-series.
Post edited by rhythmgaming on

Replies to: New macbook pros/discussion

  • NotCloseToFourNotCloseToFour Registered User Posts: 133 Junior Member
    I actually think that the Macbook Pro updates are great. The bump in processors was much needed as the Core 2 Duos were getting rather outdated. The new processors make the machines significantly faster for the same price. Battery life is not lower as you mentioned, they are just now using a different method for measuring it (basically they were lying for the past generation as you can only get 10 hours of battery life if the laptop is on dim and no activity is being done... the computers were always at 7 hours). I guess it could be argued that they are overpriced... not to hard to debate when you can get comparable machines for half the price. I will still be buying one though because of the seamless integration among products as well as ease of use. I think this really justifies they high price point. Mac OS X in my opinion is greatly superior to Windows, and with Lion coming out this summer, Macs can't be beat.
  • ALFALF Registered User Posts: 1,166 Senior Member
    I'll be interested to see independent reviewers determine how much faster the new MBPs are in doing real-life tasks. That should happen soon.
  • zorigoozorigoo Registered User Posts: 83 Junior Member
    What laptop(current or upcoming new ones) should I get if I want to:

    -watch HD movies/maybe blu-ray
    -open multiple applications and run them fast
    -play games(don't care about the graphics)
    -easy to install a SSD if it doesn't come with it
    -portability
    ideal range <$1500
  • rhythmgamingrhythmgaming Registered User Posts: 650 Member
    What do you mean by watching HD movies? 720p or 1080p? If by connecting to a screen, then there is a bit more leeway with screen resolution of the computer. Otherwise, factors like battery life come into play. There is the asus n53jf for example, but battery life is kinda lacking, but media focused-ones typically do lack in battery life anyways. There are also 1366x768-resolution laptops that can play blu-ray after having the optical drive swapped (and some sites also offer this service). Just ask yourself where you need to be willing to sacrifice.

    Also if you have plans to put in an ssd, make sure your computer has a fast port (usb 3.0 or esata), then just get a 1tb or so internal hdd and an enclosure. Would allow storage to be played easily.
  • ALFALF Registered User Posts: 1,166 Senior Member
    Here are some benchmarks for the new MBPs:
    MacBook Pro Benchmarks (Early 2011)
  • aStyleaStyle Registered User Posts: 973 Member
    MBP i7 AMD 6750= 10k geekbench score, 10k 3DMark06 score WOW!!!
    All in a 1 inch chassis without causing a fire.

    Prices are still sky high because there's hardly any competition. :(
  • mleone10mleone10 Registered User Posts: 11 New Member
    I plan on getting a maxed-out 15" at some point in the near future, with the 7200rpm HDD over the larger, slower one.

    I was actually kind of hopeful for a hybrid drive set up (OS X on a separate SDD), but as OP said, I suppose it is a bit early for implementation.

    Coming from a lifetime PC user (Dell E310 for the past 3 years...) I'm definitely looking forward to this. It's funny how a half-inch think aluminum slab runs faster than my tower.

    As far as battery life goes, Apple apparently is using a new testing protocol that promises more accurate results, so that may explain the hit.

    I think we'll start seeing new Thunderbolt-capable devices now that its out. So true, it's a moot addition now, but I foresee it being handy in the future.

    The only thing I have trouble understanding is a dual core in the 15". I say if you want a dual-core, go with the 13". The Intel IGP isn't nearly as powerful as the 6750m, but if you need the better graphics, wouldn't you want to go with the quad? Just my opinion.
  • powerbombpowerbomb Registered User Posts: 3,364 Senior Member
    How do you determine performance/price ratio for the 2.0 vs 2.2 GHz 15" MBP?

    Also, is it advisable to configure/customize your MBP? Or should one typically skip that step?
  • ALFALF Registered User Posts: 1,166 Senior Member
    According to Macworld, the 2.2GHz i5 is almost 20% faster than the 2.0 and it costs $300 (18%) more. I don't know if most of us will notice a 20% difference in speed, so it doesn't sound worth it to me. For that $300 you also get a 50% larger hard drive (750GB instead of 500GB) and a faster graphics processor with 4x more dedicated graphics RAM (Radeon 6750M w/ 1GB RAM, vs. Radeon 6490M w/ 256KB RAM).

    If the bigger hard drive is important to you, then it very well might be worth it to spring for the faster 15". Alternatively, you can configure your own MBP and get that 750GB hard drive for $90 more. So, the cost of the faster central and graphics processors is a little over $200. The only other thing that you could consider customizing is the amount of RAM, but Apple charges a lot for this - if you want more RAM you might want to just wait and do it yourself.
  • powerbombpowerbomb Registered User Posts: 3,364 Senior Member
    a faster graphics processor with 4x more dedicated graphics RAM (Radeon 6750M w/ 1GB RAM, vs. Radeon 6490M w/ 256KB RAM)

    This sounds significant, but what does it mean?

    also, how do I "wait and do it myself" if I want more RAM?

    In other words, what's the difference between RAM memory (4GB?) and HDD memory (500GB)?

    Is extra RAM for gamers?

    Sorry for being so uninformed.
  • BCEagle91BCEagle91 Registered User Posts: 22,762 Senior Member
    That's video ram - the ram that comes on the discrete graphics solution. My guess is that you can't do it yourself.

    System ram you can do yourself. Buy 4 and upgrade to 8 for less than what Apple charges.

    System ram is semiconductor-based and has access time measured in nanoseconds. HDDs access times are measured in milliseconds.

    Extra system ram is probably only useful for virtual machines.

    Extra discrete graphics ram is useful for gamers and those with multiple monitors.
  • ALFALF Registered User Posts: 1,166 Senior Member
    There is system memory, which consists of memory chips mounted on a circuit board. New MBPs come with 4GB of system RAM, but you could add another memory module that would double the amount of system memory. This would make some actions faster, particularly if you have several applications open simultaneously.

    Storage memory is in the form of a hard disk. The 15" MBPs come with either a 500GB or 750GB hard drive that is used to store all your applications, documents and system files. Larger drives don't give you much more performance, but they allow you to store more stuff. This is particularly important if you are going to store lots of large audio, graphics and video files. If not, then 500GB should be plenty.

    Graphics RAM is built into the graphics processor and is used to run video out to your display. More graphics RAM makes video display rates faster. This is important for video-intensive games or video/graphics editing. If these are not that important to you, more graphics RAM is not so important.
  • aStyleaStyle Registered User Posts: 973 Member
    RAM is basically the short term memory of your processor. The more RAM the faster you can do stuff such as multitasking and doing intensive apps. Usually 4 GB is for normal consumers.

    Hard drive memory is the stuff where your songs, documents, videos, basically everything is stored. "Long term memory"

    VRAM (video) is RAM for the graphics card obviously. More VRAM means that the graphics card can do more.

    Of course there is a limit on how fast it can go. A crappy graphics card with 1 GB of VRAM is useless since the gfx card can't use all of it. A computer with 8 GB RAM won't blaze through internet pages since it's limited to the internet bandwidth speed.
  • DoinSchoolDoinSchool Registered User Posts: 738 Member
    I have the 15" 2.2 ghz 128 gb SSD and I love love love it. It's my first mac and I have no complaints. One of the main things I was looking for in a new laptop were low noise level. This laptop is nearly silent, if that matters to anyone who considering buying one. The solid state drive is pure awesome. Boots and shutdowns take about 5 seconds or less.
This discussion has been closed.