2.6GHz vs 2.3GHz Macbook Retina

Started Jul 4, 2012 | Discussions
Wojtek Bialy
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2.6GHz vs 2.3GHz Macbook Retina
Jul 4, 2012

Hey,

I'm going to buy either macbook with retina 2.3GHz 16GB RAM 256GM SSD or version with 2.6GHz 16GB RAM and 512GB ssd. Do you think I may need the higher one? Here's what I need it for:

  • I need this computer hopefully to stay with me for FIVE YEARS

  • Lightroom 4, no more than 10 000 pictures in catalog (and probably Lightroom 5)

  • atm I use 12MP camera, buy I will go up to 18-36MP in the future (but not higher)

  • Photoshop

  • Diablo III

  • I won't be running PS + LR + Diablo at the same time. But probably PS + LR + Safari/Mail/iTunes will be a constant combo

What do you guys think? Is it worth paying extra for better processor?

Thanks in advance!
Wojtek

Jen Yates
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Re: 2.6GHz vs 2.3GHz Macbook Retina
In reply to Wojtek Bialy, Jul 4, 2012

The 2.6 is faster than the 2.3 (10% faster using geekbench). That's 10% improvement in speed for 30% additional cost, but you also get an additional 256GB of built in ultra fast SSD capacity.

In five years time the 2.6 will still be 10% faster than the 2.3.

In five years time the speed difference between the 2.6 and the 2.3 will probably be much smaller than either of them and the top of the range machines Apple brings out in mid 2017. By this I mean they'll both seem slow compared to buying a top of the range new machine, especially on the GPU front as Intel has huge improvements coming on their integrated graphics.

In one years time the 2.3 and 2.6 will both have slow GPUs compared to the 2013 machines.

In two years time the 2.3 and 2.6 will both have very slow GPUs compared to the 2014 machines.

My advice though: Buy now if you need to but get the most RAM you can, get the fastest CPU you can as neither of these can be upgraded using third party methods of any kind (internal or external).

The 'sweet spot' in my opinion is the 2.6/16GB/512GB model.

Disclaimer: The difference between the 2.6 and 2.7 is tiny and not worth it when you look at the price to performance ratio.... and yet I bought the 2.7/16GB/512 RMBP as it's a per percentage points faster than the 2.7 which will be noticeable when I'm compiling software on the machine even if it's not when I'm running Lightroom etc.

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Wojtek Bialy
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Re: 2.6GHz vs 2.3GHz Macbook Retina
In reply to Jen Yates, Jul 4, 2012

Thanks a lot for great answer Jen.
The follow-up question is:

Will 2.3GHz easily handle library of 10 000 36MP photos in LR6 while using PS CS8 running Mac OS XI ? There won't be any new game I want to play, though, and this is the most CPU intensive thing

(leaving the HD size argument, but I keep it on my mind and I will make a decision based on it as well of course - I just don't need any more info on it, the CPU is what I'm not sure about )

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Tom_N
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Re: 2.6GHz vs 2.3GHz Macbook Retina
In reply to Wojtek Bialy, Jul 4, 2012

Put it this way – if the 2.3 GHz machine isn't fast enough, then one that is only about 10% faster won't be fast enough, either. The main benefit of jumping to the 2.6 GHz machine is the 512 GB or 768 GB of SSD storage, although if you run long batch jobs, I'm sure you'll be happy to pocket the 10% speedup.

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Powerdoc
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Re: 2.6GHz vs 2.3GHz Macbook Retina
In reply to Jen Yates, Jul 4, 2012

I second that : the sweet spot is the 2,6 16 GB/RAM, 512 GB SSD.
Normally, I will receive mine tomorrow.
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Najinsky
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Re: 2.6GHz vs 2.3GHz Macbook Retina
In reply to Wojtek Bialy, Jul 4, 2012

I agree with various others that the sweet spot is 2.6GHz/16GB/512GB.

Even if it were upgradeable, you couldn't realistically upgrade the SSD and RAM for the price difference, so you essentially get the 2.6 boost over the 2.3 for free.

You could probably get by with a 2.3/8/256 for 3 years, but 5 years would be pushing it you plan to upgrade OS and Apps as they evolve. I think it would be showing definite signs of choking in 5 years with up to date Apps.

I've gotten by with a 256GB SSD, 4GB RAM and 2.13GHz Core 2 Duo for almost 2 years, but it was a sacrifice made for portability.

However, the ram is definitely too little now and is starting to becoming a bottleneck. 8GB RAM would be okay for a couple more years I think. (5D2 - 21MP, Sony NEX 5N - 16MP, Olympus OM-D - 16MP).

The 256GB has always been constraining as I have around 3TB of meadia I want to be portable, so I'm even considering going for the 768GB options, but it's not good value and I haven't decided on it yet.

Having said that, portable media is getting bigger, cheaper and lighter so I could probably still get by with 256GB internal if I really had to, it's just a case of being organised. More space just means a longer gap before I'm forced to organise myself.

So I think 2.3/8/256 would be comfortable for about 2-3 years, with RAM being the biggest concern (you can CTO to 16GB RAM on the 2.3 for an extra $200 and I'd definitely take that option if going for the 2.3)

I still haven't decided between a new MBP-R or new MacBook Air. I'm on a 2 year replace cycle and I think the new MBA's are about twice as fast as my 2010 model, and now it can be configured with 8GB Ram and a 512GB SSD, which would easily get me throughout the next two years.

I have to check several things out before deciding, so if anyone has any opinions, chip in!

New MBA:

  • Screen: Better colour accuracy?

  • GPU: How much faster?

MBP-R:

  • Heat: I'll be using it in hot countries, I've seen reports of crashes due to heat?

-Najinsky

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Tom_N
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Re: 2.6GHz vs 2.3GHz Macbook Retina
In reply to Najinsky, Jul 4, 2012

Najinsky wrote:

New MBA:

  • GPU: How much faster?

http://arstechnica.com/apple/2012/06/review-the-2012-macbook-air-soars-with-ivy-bridge/

Looks like you might get a useful speed increase from your 2010 MacBook Air: they say that going from any 2010 or 2011 model to any 2012 model "will get you a noticeable improvement in graphics".

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Jen Yates
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Re: 2.6GHz vs 2.3GHz Macbook Retina
In reply to Wojtek Bialy, Jul 4, 2012

Wojtek Bialy wrote:

Will 2.3GHz easily handle library of 10 000 36MP photos in LR6 while using PS CS8 running Mac OS XI ?

As others have said. In four years if you're finding things 'too slow' will an additional 10% improvement make enough of a difference?

Test it out. Fire up lightroom and try and work. After every action, close your eyes for ten seconds, then do it again but this time close your eyes for 9 seconds?

Did you notice a difference?

Okay, extreme example but 10% is a tiny increase when you think about it... and now I think about it why did I get the 2.7 over the 2.6?

But....

The last MBP I bought was a 2.26 dual core and my Xcode tasks (compiling apps) were getting too slow to fit in with my usual workflow. I was waiting for 20 seconds for each compile.

A month ago I switched to using my quad core hackintosh which 'in theory' benchmarks twice as fast as my old laptop. In reality my compile times dropped to sub four seconds. So that's 4x the performance from a 2x faster machine (In all other respects the machines are equally specced with RAM, SSD etc)

I didn't want to be forced into an early upgrade this time or curse the fact I bought I lower spec machine.

Get the 2.6 unless the extra expenditure is going to force your kids to loose a few pounds in weight through lack of food.

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noirdesir
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Re: 2.6GHz vs 2.3GHz Macbook Retina
In reply to Jen Yates, Jul 4, 2012

Jen Yates wrote:

Wojtek Bialy wrote:

Will 2.3GHz easily handle library of 10 000 36MP photos in LR6 while using PS CS8 running Mac OS XI ?

As others have said. In four years if you're finding things 'too slow' will an additional 10% improvement make enough of a difference?

Test it out. Fire up lightroom and try and work. After every action, close your eyes for ten seconds, then do it again but this time close your eyes for 9 seconds?

Did you notice a difference?

Okay, extreme example but 10% is a tiny increase when you think about it... and now I think about it why did I get the 2.7 over the 2.6?

My argument is usually that you get more enjoyment by not buying the fastest machine and investing the saved money into shortening your upgrade cycle. Say you put away $50 every month, that means you could buy a $1200 computer every two years or a $1800 computer every three years. If you add the resale value, you can probably buy a $1800 computer every two years (buy $1800 computer now, put away $50 every month, in two years sell your $1800 computer for $600 and you have again $1800 for a new computer). In the three year scenario, you could start with a $2400 computer, accumulate $1800 and resell for $600 to buy another new $2400 computer.

Now assume an increase in speed of 20% per year (and a 20% faster computer when going from $1800 to $2400) and a total run of six years.

  • Scenario A: 2 yr speed x, 2 yr speed 1.44x, 2 yr speed 2.07x, average speed: 1.5x or more relevantly, average work done in a given amount of time: 4.35 (2/1+2/1.44+2/2.07)

  • Scenario B: 3 yr speed 1.2x, 3 yr speed 2.07x, average speed: 1.64x, average work done: 3.95 (3/1.2+3/2.07)

Now, enjoyment of speed is highly subjective and non-linear and these assumptions here are just examples. It starts with a 20% speed increase year-over-year and a 20% speed increase for a 33% price increase (plus assumptions about depreciation, non-linear here). But a rule of thumb might be that if the price increases more than the performance (in relative terms), it might not be worth buying. The real problem of this calculation, however, is the very non-linear enjoyment of speed (eg, what might matter is how many percent you are below the top speed currently available as an average over time).

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MysteryRider
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Re: 2.6GHz vs 2.3GHz Macbook Retina
In reply to Najinsky, Jul 6, 2012
-- hide signature --

I just bought a mac pro retina.
My own justification for what I got.

The processers are pretty equal not really enough that a human would notice.
did 8g memory, 256 disk, the vidio cards were all the same.

I got mine otd for $2200.00 with an external dvd plus some extras. The next one up was $2800 and the top was $3700.00 ( i think, it might have been $3500).

I use an external drive so the disk size isn't an issue. The memory, processer and most of all the video card are the things I needed. I didn't care about doing an external dvd. I looked at the mac pro and it was the same price with a 512 disk and little hotter cpu and a DVD but I wanted the retina screen. So far it is soooo worth it.

The only things mine will have on it are Lightroom 4.1, PSE 10 and windows office. I don't do any games, but I will do netflix on it.

There are issues with heat from the video cards. In fact my old pc had major problems running elements 10. Once the video card heated up it was all over unless I wanted to wait forever for things to load. I think some of the older machines like my dell pc are having to use cold mats to run some of the video intensive software now.

My catalog was very small. I don't keep my pics in elements catalog. I don't know how LR will be yet.

I have had the pc for 24 hours and LR and Elements are lightning fast on it.

I am currently building the catalog in LR. I don't know how it will be with 1000 pics yet but I will find out soon enough.

Laurie

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Karen
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Re: 2.6GHz vs 2.3GHz Macbook Retina
In reply to MysteryRider, Jul 6, 2012

I have the lower (cheaper) MacBook retina display and I LOVE LOVE it. It's very fast, and very lightweight. I couldn't justify the extra money for the faster model, and using this one, I'm glad I didn't You still need to buy an external dvd player via usb port, and then all the camera expenses and software ... cha ching! I will have to develop better back up habits, and store photo's on a harddrive.

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AZBlue
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Re: 2.6GHz vs 2.3GHz Macbook Retina
In reply to Karen, Jul 7, 2012

Hey guys, I think you are confused...

There is no older generation "MacBook retina"... similarly there is no 2.3 GHZ MacBook Pro w/ Retina Display. There are two MacBook Pro lines - the regular one and the MacBook Pro w/ Retina. In order to get the higher resolution Retina Display, you can only get that with the MacBook Pro w/ Retina. That model is only available in two flavors - 2.6 GHz and 2.7 GHz. ANYTHING ELSE DOES NOT COME WITH A RETINA DISPLAY!

You will note that the CPU performance difference between 2.6 GHz and 2.7 GHz is about 5% and completely negligible. Again, please make sure you are shopping for the correct model. Only one MacBook Pro series comes with the Retina display, so don't order the wrong one!
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Tom_N
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Re: 2.6GHz vs 2.3GHz Macbook Retina
In reply to AZBlue, Jul 7, 2012

AZBlue wrote:

there is no 2.3 GHZ MacBook Pro w/ Retina Display

Incorrect. See the online U.S. Apple Store.

In order to get the higher resolution Retina Display, you can only get that with the MacBook Pro w/ Retina.

Yes, by definition.

That model is only available in two flavors - 2.6 GHz and 2.7 GHz. ANYTHING ELSE DOES NOT COME WITH A RETINA DISPLAY!

Incorrect. Both types of 15-inch MacBook Pros (Retina and non-Retina) are available with 2.3 GHz, 2.6 GHz, and 2.7 GHz CPUs.

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Najinsky
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Re: 2.6GHz vs 2.3GHz Macbook Retina
In reply to AZBlue, Jul 7, 2012

AZBlue wrote:

Hey guys, I think you are confused...

There is no older generation "MacBook retina"... similarly there is no 2.3 GHZ MacBook Pro w/ Retina Display. There are two MacBook Pro lines - the regular one and the MacBook Pro w/ Retina. In order to get the higher resolution Retina Display, you can only get that with the MacBook Pro w/ Retina. That model is only available in two flavors - 2.6 GHz and 2.7 GHz. ANYTHING ELSE DOES NOT COME WITH A RETINA DISPLAY!

http://www.apple.com/macbook-pro/specs/

The take away from this is shouting doesn't turn false into true.

-Najinsky

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Lee Beasley
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Re: 2.6GHz vs 2.3GHz Macbook Retina
In reply to Karen, Jul 7, 2012

Thanks, Karen! I've been thinking of getting the same model. I'm retired and figured I had an extra nanosecond to burn on the slightly slower processor. Glad to know you like it.

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gatorowl
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Re: 2.6GHz vs 2.3GHz Macbook Retina
In reply to Lee Beasley, Jul 8, 2012

I too vote for the 2.3 version. I can't justify spending an extra $600 just to get the bigger SSD (yes, I'm totally discounting the speed increase).

I'm going to wait and hope that Apple adds the 512GB as an upgrade option after Christmas. If I change my mind about waiting, I will go with the lower-priced model with 16GB of ram.

Lee Beasley wrote:

Thanks, Karen! I've been thinking of getting the same model. I'm retired and figured I had an extra nanosecond to burn on the slightly slower processor. Glad to know you like it.

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Tom_N
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Re: 2.6GHz vs 2.3GHz Macbook Retina
In reply to gatorowl, Jul 8, 2012

gatorowl wrote:

I too vote for the 2.3 version. I can't justify spending an extra $600 just to get the bigger SSD (yes, I'm totally discounting the speed increase).

I'm going to wait and hope that Apple adds the 512GB as an upgrade option after Christmas.

I believe that most of that $600 is for the bigger SSD.

If you upgrade the 2.6 GHz model to have a 2.7 GHz CPU and a 768 GB SSD, you pay $250 for the CPU speed bump, and $500 for the extra 256 GB of SSD space. Apply the same relative pricing to the $600, and you're probably paying $200 to get the 2.6 GHz CPU, and $400 to get the upgrade to the 512 GB SSD.

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lablover
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Re: 2.6GHz vs 2.3GHz Macbook Retina
In reply to Tom_N, Jul 8, 2012

forget I spoke...LOL

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Lee Beasley
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Re: 2.6GHz vs 2.3GHz Macbook Retina
In reply to gatorowl, Jul 8, 2012

My 11" MBA is a 1.8 GHz processor with 4MB of RAM, and it's extremely fast. I just love it. I'm really thinking that the 2.3 GHz/16 MB RAM combo would do everything I like to do with no problems, too. I'm not so concerned about the extra HD storage space as I used to be. 256 MB is really OK in a laptop. After all, I can work on a project and then store it elsewhere. I'd like to have the 512 MB SSD, but I don't see it as critical.

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gatorowl
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Re: 2.6GHz vs 2.3GHz Macbook Retina
In reply to Tom_N, Jul 8, 2012

Tom_N wrote:

gatorowl wrote:

I too vote for the 2.3 version. I can't justify spending an extra $600 just to get the bigger SSD (yes, I'm totally discounting the speed increase).

I'm going to wait and hope that Apple adds the 512GB as an upgrade option after Christmas.

I believe that most of that $600 is for the bigger SSD.

If you upgrade the 2.6 GHz model to have a 2.7 GHz CPU and a 768 GB SSD, you pay $250 for the CPU speed bump, and $500 for the extra 256 GB of SSD space. Apply the same relative pricing to the $600, and you're probably paying $200 to get the 2.6 GHz CPU, and $400 to get the upgrade to the 512 GB SSD.

In the interest of being frugal–and having a very limited budget–I'd rather just pay the $400 for what I need instead of $600 to pick up a very marginally faster chip as well.

Lee Beasley wrote:

My 11" MBA is a 1.8 GHz processor with 4MB of RAM, and it's extremely fast. I just love it. I'm really thinking that the 2.3 GHz/16 MB RAM combo would do everything I like to do with no problems, too. I'm not so concerned about the extra HD storage space as I used to be. 256 MB is really OK in a laptop. After all, I can work on a project and then store it elsewhere. I'd like to have the 512 MB SSD, but I don't see it as critical.

I kind of think that I can get by with 256GB as well, but I'm not sure. I currently travel with a MBA with 256GB of storage. It hasn't been a problem yet, but I want my next laptop to last 2-3 years.

Anyway, I'm not in a hurry, and the January updates may add 512GB to the low-end model or provide it as a $400 bto option. Therefore, I'm going to wail.

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