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How fast are the "Late 2011" 13-Inch, 15-Inch, and 17-Inch MacBook Pro models compared to one another? How fast are they compared to the models each replaced?
Please note that the "Late 2011" MacBook Pro models have been discontinued. These models were replaced by the "Mid-2012" MacBook Pro line on June 11, 2012.
Even with a quick review of a comparison between the "Late 2011" MacBook Pro line -- the MacBook Pro "Core i5" 2.4 13-Inch, "Core i7" 2.8 13-Inch, "Core i7" 2.2 15-Inch, "Core i7" 2.4 15-Inch, and "Core i7" 2.4 17-Inch -- and the "Early 2011" models replaced, it should be clear that the "Late 2011" line is a modest enhancement and one should not expect major performance differences.
As such, it shouldn't be a big surprise that Apple quietly released the "Late 2011" models with nary a press release and not even a "new" designation in the Apple Store. The company did quietly update its own promotional performance information, but this information compares the "Late 2011" MacBook Pro models to the much older "Mid-2010" line rather than the "Early 2011" line actually replaced.
As the "Late 2011" MacBook Pro line is similar to the line replaced, the blogosphere generally declined to provide real-world tests or reviews.
However, for a solid general overview of the performance differences between the "Late 2011" MacBook Pro models as well as how these models compare to earlier MacBook Pro models, EveryMac.com's own Ultimate Mac Comparison makes it quick to compare side-by-side 32-bit-and 64-bit Geekbench benchmark averages with all other G3 and later Macs for thousands of possible performance comparisons.
The slowest "Late 2011" MacBook Pro model -- the MacBook Pro "Core i5" 2.4 13-Inch -- returns an average Geekbench score of 6750 in 64-bit mode. The higher-end 13-Inch model -- the MacBook Pro "Core i7" 2.8 13-Inch -- is roughly 14% faster, the 15-Inch models -- the MacBook Pro "Core i7" 2.2 15-Inch and "Core i7" 2.4 15-Inch -- are 33% and 47% faster than the fastest 13-Inch model, respectively. The high-end 17-Inch model -- the MacBook Pro "Core i7" 2.4 17-Inch -- is a whopping 69% faster than the entry-level model and roughly the same speed as the fastest 15-Inch model.
It also shows that the stock "Late 2011" 13-Inch models are 5% and a mere 2% faster than the models each replaced, the 15-Inch models are 8% and 5% faster than the models replaced, and the 17-Inch model is 5% faster than the model it replaced, too.
In basic terms, it is safe to say that the "Late 2011" MacBook Pro models are around 5% faster than the "Early 2011" models replaced.
Although extra performance always is welcomed, and there are users who need as much power as they can get, others may find this small performance difference trifling and prefer to purchase a used model to save money.
Site sponsor PowerMax has new and used configurations of the MacBook Pro models available free of sales tax and OWC sells memory and hard drive/SSD upgrades for the "Late 2011" MacBook Pro models at affordable prices.