Maccast Members 2011.03.02 - Buying a New Macbook Pro
V Apple doesn't make it easy
* Apple has a lot of great choices with very subtle differences in the line
* Apple has a "Which Mac is Right for You" page in their "Why Mac" section
V Assess your needs
* Do you need portability? How much? Are you willing to for go other features to get it?
* How much local storage? Do you need speed? Willing to spend more to get faster performance at the cost of GBs?
V What kinds of applications are you running and what systems do the place demands on?
V Games, Video, 3d, Image processing
* Better GPU, more memory, faster HD
V Expandability
* What ports, memory expansion, hard drive replacements.
V Breaking down the new Macbook Pros
V Screen sizes and options
* Makes a difference in portability and working space.
* Will you connect to a second monitor and use a desktop?
V Resolution can effect readability of text, but give you more working space
* High-resolution 1680-by-1050 option on 15" models
V Glossy vs. Anti-glare
* Silver bezel, changes look.
V Graphics Processors
V 13" only offers the integrated Intel 3000 HD GPU
* Shared memory
* 15" lower end model is AMD Radeon HD 6490M with 256MB GDDR5 memory
V 15" higher and 17" have the AMD Radeon HD 6750M with 1GB GDDR5 memory
* More memory will give better performance.
* The Radeon HD 6750 mobility dedicated GPU seems to provide significant performance boost in Open GL performance
V GPUs seem to be a significant differentiator
* Open CL and other OS X tech will take advantage of the GPU
V Processors
* Quad-Cores will offer noticeable performance increase in MP aware applications, even at lower clock speeds.
* Typical real world performance jump between "point" processor speed increases seems to be maybe 10-15%
* Bottom line, anything from the new line is going to provide significantly better performance over a Mac from 2-3 years ago.
* BareFeats: "The fastest 2011 13" MacBook Pro runs faster than the fastest 2010 17" MacBook Pro."
V Hard Drives
V Upgrading to 7,200 RPM or SSD drive will aid read/write performance
* Speedier app launching and wake from sleep
* Good for apps that use swap disk
* Virtual memory
* Standard SATA drives, so you can replace yourself.
* From BareFeats: It's been confirmed that the internal SATA port on the 2011 MacBook Pro is 6 gigabit. One reader installed a Crucial C300 and got 362MB/s average read speed for large sequential transfers. We're looking forward to testing the Intel 6Gb/s 510 SSD and OCZ 6Gb/s Vertex 3 which should be even faster.
V Memory
* 4 GB is good, but more is always better
* HD and Memory is "user replaceable" need to remove 10 Phillips #00 screws and remove bottom plate
V Other ports
* SDXC card slot (not on 17")
* FW 800 on all
* SuperDrive on all.
* Thunderbolt - All models
* Extra USB on 17"
* Express-34 (only on 17")
V The Questions
* From new Maccast Member Rick
* 1.) When you, Adam, buy your MacBook Pro, do you upgrade them or buy as is?
* 2.) Is the $250 upgrade to go from the 2.2GHz Quad-core Intel Core i7 to the 2.3GHz Quad-core Intel Core i7 worth it? On Apple's website it states: "You can upgrade the processor in your MacBook Pro to the 2.3GHz quad-core Intel Core i7 processor, featuring 8MB L3 cache and Turbo Boost speeds up to 3.40GHz." Is that a Big Deal?
* 3.) Is 4GB 1333MHz DDR3 SDRAM enough or is it better to upgrade to 8GB 1333MHz DDR3 SDRAM?
* 4.) What is better, more space or a fast RPM, 750GB Serial ATA Drive @ 5400 RPM vs. 500GB Serial ATA Drive @ 7200 RPM?
* 5.) Is the MacBook Pro 17-inch Hi-Resolution Antiglare Widescreen Display better to look at because it is in HD?
* 6.) I am thinking about waiting until Lion is on the machine, so I don't have to pay for another upgrade and is it bad to lay a newer OS on top of an older OS? What are you thoughts about awaiting for Lion this summer?
V Other models?
V 13" White Macbook, not worth it at all
* Spend extra $200 and get the 13" Macbook Pro or the same and the 11" Macbook Air
V 13" Macbook Air
* If portability is your primary goal and your don't need all the extras then something to consider.