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SHOOTOUT:
Two MacBook Pros -
Core Duo versus Core 2 Duo

Posted November 7th, 2006, Rob-ART Morgan, mad scientist
Updated November 9th, 2006, with info on unmatched memory
and 7200rpm vs 5400rpm drives

We have a 15" MacBook Pro 2.33GHz Core 2 Duo in the lab. Though we expect a 17" MacBook Pro 2.33GHz Core 2 Duo to arrive soon, we went ahead and tested this one against our 17" MacBook Pro 2.16GHz Core Duo.

Legend of Graphs (and configuration of test units)
MacBook C2D 2.33 = 15.4" MacBook Pro Core 2 Duo 2.33GHz with 2GB of 667MHz DDR2 SDRAM (matched 1GB pairs), ATI Mobility Radeon X1600 (256M GDDR3) GPU, and Hitachi 120GB 5400rpm internal hard drive
MacBook CD 2.16 = 17" MacBook Pro Core Duo 2.16GHz with 2GB of 667MHz DDR2 SDRAM (matched 1GB pairs), ATI Mobility Radeon X1600 (256M GDDR3) GPU, and Seagate 100GB 7200RPM internal hard drive

CONCLUSIONS
The MacBook Pro Core 2 Duo's advantage over the Core Duo version ranged from 9% to 60% depending on what app we ran. The faster core clock speed should provide an 8% advantage, so everything beyond that is "gravy." Most surprising were the significant gains with Aperture 1.5 and Photoshop CS2.

More good news. Using Graphiccelerator, we were able to display the core frequencies of the ATI Mobility Radeon 1600 GPU while running OpenGL 3D games on the new 15" MacBook Pro. To our delight, the core clock jumped from 311MHz to 423MHz. The memory clock jumped from 297MHz to 450MHz. In the previous series of 15" MacBook Pros the clock speed remained at lower levels (we assume) due to cooling issues. Only the 17" MacBook Pros were up-clocking.

FOR 3D GAME RESULTS COMPARING A 17" MACBOOK PRO CORE DUO TO A 17" MACBOOK PRO CORE 2 DUO, GO TO THIS PAGE.

We are happy to see the FireWire 800 port back on the 15" MacBook Pro.

We were hoping that the 15" model would be the equal of the 17" MacBook Pro in every way except the screen size. However, this is still not the case. The 17" version has a faster SuperDrive (8X versus 6X). The faster 7200rpm 100GB drive is an option on the 17" but not on the 15".

DO MATCHING PAIRS OF MEMORY HELP?
Though we ran the tests above using matching 1GB SODIMMs in both MacBook Pros (for a total of 2GB), we also ran the same tests in the 15" MacBook Pro Core 2 Duo with one 1GB SODIMM and one 2GB SODIMM for a total of 3GB of memory. We wanted to see if non-matched modules would cause the MacBook to slow down due to the loss of interleaving.

The answer is "no, it didn't slow down." In some cases we saw a gain in speed. An example is Aperture where the "lift and stamp" ran 11% faster with 3GB of RAM. But that's probably due to the fact that Aperture + OS X = more than 2GB of total memory usage.

When we get our hands on a second 2GB SODIMM, we plan to run two of them. Even though only 3GB of the 4GB will be available, we want to see if a matched pair of 2GB SODIMMs will show anything different.

WHICH DRIVE SHOULD YOU GET FOR YOUR MACBOOK PRO?
Check out our test page where we compare the 4200rpm 200GB drive with the 5400rpm 160GB drive with the 7200rpm 100GB drive.

WHERE TO BUY A MACBOOK or MACBOOK PRO

Apple Online Store has the MacBook Pro with free shipping. Check the SPECIAL DEALS section for factory refubished MacBook Pros. (Click Apple display ads or text links and you help support Bare Feats.)

Small Dog Electronics -- New and refurbished MacBook Pros

PowerMax -- New and Refurbished MacBooks Pros; Refurbished PowerBooks

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© 2006 Rob Art Morgan
"BARE facts on Macintosh speed FEATS"
Email , the webmaster and mad scientist