I’m : a programmer, writer, podcaster, geek, and coffee enthusiast.

Re: MacBook Pro comparison


I’m torn between the $1999 and $2500 MacBook Pros. Here are the big factors for me:

Advantages of the $2500 MacBook Pro

  • Has extra GPU ram, which is useless to me because I’m not a gamer. BUT, Snow Leopard will take advantage of this extra processing power for normal tasks as well. Is it worth it?
  • 6MB of cache. Will I notice it?

I’m opting for the 250gb 7200 rpm drive either way, so the extra capacity the more expensive MBP offers is moot.

Video RAM is mostly used for texture memory in games. This matters if you like playing high-end 3D games with the options cranked up, but for anything Snow Leopard is doing with the GPU, it’s unlikely that the difference between 256 and 512 will ever be noticeable.

The 6 MB of L2 cache is significant (up from 3 MB in the $1999 model), but the clock-speed difference isn’t (2.4 vs. 2.53 GHz), especially since the FSB is the same (1066 MHz). Bigger caches increase performance noticeably in some CPU-intensive tasks, especially number-crunching and typical server roles. But there are diminishing returns, and 3 MB is already pretty good.

My vote’s for the $1999 model. Save that $500 for current and future component upgrades that you’ll actually notice every day: max out the RAM (4 GB, +$150) and always buy the fastest hard drive you can afford. And don’t forget to get AppleCare sometime within the first year of ownership.