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jdcfsu
2009-06-14, 15:16
I had planned to buy a MacBook Pro in February when my current MacBook's AppleCare expires but am now wondering if I should jump on the updated 15" line now. Basically I'm asking if there are any processor changes on Intel's horizon that would merit waiting the AppleCare out? Thanks.

chucker
2009-06-14, 15:23
As Anandtech put it: (http://anandtech.com/mac/showdoc.aspx?i=3580&p=7)
Ever since I first looked at the power consumption specs of Nehalem I thought it didn’t make any sense to buy a new, expensive notebook before Arrandale’s launch in Q4 2009/Q1 2010. While performance will definitely increase considerably with Arrandale, Apple just threw a huge wrench in my recommendation. The new MacBook Pro is near perfect today. If you need a new laptop now, thanks to its incredible battery life, I have no qualms recommending the new MBP.

So, yes, there might be a major CPU change by February.

torifile
2009-06-14, 15:25
But you'll be able to get much more for an MBP under warranty than out of it.

Robo
2009-06-14, 16:55
But you'll be able to get much more for an MBP under warranty than out of it.

This is true.

It really just depends on how future-proof you want your MBP to be, I guess. They're basically perfect now, but Nehalem-based mobile processors are right around the corner (relatively speaking). I think it's going to be a decision you're going to have to make for yourself, based on your own uinque values. Good luck :)

Maciej
2009-06-14, 17:35
What are the biggest advantages of Nehalem architecture going to be?

Partial
2009-06-14, 17:36
Nehalem is going to be a game changer. Do you qualify for the free iPod right now? If so, then I'd buy it now. If not, then I'd wait.

I've heard casually that performance increase of 40% with massive power savings out of nehalem. I'm sure it was a headline on digg or something, so it may have been slanted. Remember, its worth what it costs (nothing).

Swox
2009-06-14, 18:00
I've been wondering the same thing. I can apply for a grant for a laptop, but if I do it now, I need to spend the money before September. If I wait until the new school year, I can spend the money anytime in the following 8 months. I'd just wait, but I sure wouldn't mind a free iPod Touch...

Dorian Gray
2009-06-14, 18:31
I'm not sure Nehalem will be a "game changer", though it will probably be nice. Even if it improves performance by 40% that's hardly going to change what we do with computers. That would be just a bit more than the improvement we expect from routine speed bumps of an existing architecture.

Desktop Nehalem processors have been high end and high power consumption so far, and it seems likely that Nehalem will come to notebooks in a similar fashion. Someone who knows the roadmap can correct me, but I think Clarksfield is arriving first: a quad-core CPU with a TPD of around 45 watts and relatively low clock speeds (like 1.6 GHz). I doubt Apple will use this, to be perfectly honest. Too hot and too slow on single-threaded or poorly-threaded workloads. It won't look good against ~3 GHz Core 2 Duos for most tasks.

Arrandale, a 32 nm dual-core chip with an integrated GPU, is more likely to appeal to Apple. But I think that's only coming out in mid-2010, and maybe even later if Intel continue delaying things. We might have to wait that long to see Nehalem-based MacBooks, or even longer if Apple decide not to jump immediately, as they sometimes do with new tech. Is it worth the wait after this very nice refresh?

Robo
2009-06-14, 18:52
Arrandale, a 32 nm dual-core chip with an integrated GPU, is more likely to appeal to Apple. But I think that's only coming out in mid-2010, and maybe even later if Intel continue delaying things. We might have to wait that long to see Nehalem-based MacBooks, or even longer if Apple decide not to jump immediately, as they sometimes do with new tech. Is it worth the wait after this very nice refresh?

Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intel_Nehalem_(microarchitecture)) (bad, I know) cites Q4 2009 for Arrandale, which fits in with Intel's yearly tick/tock thing. That might be optimistic but it's definitely possible that we'll see Arrandale in the MacBook Pro by February. That'll be about eight months after this refresh, after all. :)

I agree that we probably won't see the higher-TDP Clarksfield in the MBP (especially not after such a nice refresh!) but in the iMac, where Apple currently uses ~45W processors? It's a good bet for this fall, I think.

jdcfsu
2009-06-14, 20:29
It really just depends on how future-proof you want your MBP to be, I guess. They're basically perfect now, but Nehalem-based mobile processors are right around the corner (relatively speaking). I think it's going to be a decision you're going to have to make for yourself, based on your own uinque values. Good luck :)

Looks like there isn't really a huge benefit if I wait until Feb. There could be a new architecture but my AppleCare Book will have a higher value now rather than later. It's almost a push. As far as future-proofing is concerned, I assume that a high-end MBP would be highly future-proof all things considered.

To better weigh my options, how much of a benefit would the 3.06 upgrade be over the 2.8? In other words, is it worth the $300 cost? It seems like it is, I just don't have much of a perspective on it.

(unrelated, can someone please fix my typo in the title? silly quick fingers. thanks.)

torifile
2009-06-14, 20:33
It's almost never worth going from the middle choice to the top one when looking at Apple's offerings.

Robo
2009-06-14, 21:05
It's almost never worth going from the middle choice to the top one when looking at Apple's anyone's offerings.

Fixed. ;) Bleeding-edge stuff always has a premium attached. (The 3.06 GHz chip was announced just this month, at Computex.)

jdcfsu:

With the 3.06 GHz model, you'd be paying 12% more for a notebook with a processor that's 9.5% faster. That doesn't seem to be a horrible deal until you realize that there's a lot more to a notebook than the processor.

Ultimately, you're going to have to make that call. If you think hitting the big 3 GHz is worth it to you, and you have the cash, go for it. :) But you are paying a pretty penny for those extra 266 MHz.

Getting a 3.06 GHz MBP for the price of last week's 2.66 GHz one isn't a bad deal, by any measure. But it might not be as good of a deal as getting a 2.8 GHz one for $300 less, y'know? But nobody can tell you if it's "worth it for you" except...you.

Dropping $50 on the 7200 RPM HDD upgrade is another way to boost performance, for a lot less money.

Hope that helps! :D

jdcfsu
2009-06-14, 22:52
I did notice the 7200 RPM option for $50. That's an upgrade I will clearly choose. I guess when it comes down to it, at 4GB of RAM, 6MB L2 Cache and 1024MHz FSB, the 266MHz is pretty nominal.

Swox
2009-06-15, 13:34
I was just talking about this with a friend, and I realized that if you waited for 8 months to get a new computer at any point in recent history, you'd be getting something noticeably better. If we kept putting off buying for that long to get something better, we'd never buy a new computer! I know it seems kind of obvious in retrospect, but I've been pretty tired lately

I'm going to go for it!

I wouldn't go for the processor upgrade, personally, for the reasons already stated. I sure do wish that I could upgrade to a matte screen though... (I know, old gripe, not worth continuing to complain about...)

jdcfsu
2009-06-15, 13:56
I just came to the same decision you made, Swox. I think the only upgrade I'm going to go for is the 7200 RPM hard drive. The computer is practically perfect and should last me a good 4 to 5 years or more. I'm pretty excited.