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MacBook Pro 15 inch or 13 inch?

gagecloutiergagecloutier Posts: 2Registered User New Member
edited May 2011 in College Computers
I'll preface this by saying that it's a priority that I get a Mac for college. I've had a 13 inch white MacBook for about 3 years now and I will never go back to PC, period. I'm going to CSU to major in Computer Science and like many other students, I'm debating on getting either the 13" model (portability) or the 15" (performance). For some of my CompSci classes, it's pretty safe to assume that i'll have to run VMWare Fusion/Parallels to debug other OSes (Linux, Windows) and run apps like Python. What concerns me most is that the 13" model still sports the Intel Core 2 Duo chipset which is long outdated and Intel has already moved on. The 15" model would be more time-proof since it features the i5 chipset but it's also 2 inches larger. And yes, I've heard about the rumors of Apple announcing a new lineup of MBPs around April but it was also recently announced that Intel has recalled their Sandy Bridge chip architecture, which the new MBPs were supposedly going to utilize. I should also mention that this laptop will be my primary computer and most likely my only computer throughout my four years of college which really makes that i5 more appealing since it's newer tech than Core 2 Duo, but the portability is also a concern for me.
Post edited by gagecloutier on
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Replies to: MacBook Pro 15 inch or 13 inch?

  • pascal12pascal12 Posts: 165Registered User Junior Member
    Would 2 inches really make a big difference in portability?
  • gagecloutiergagecloutier Posts: 2Registered User New Member
    You wouldn't think so, but I've looked up various other threads about my exact same question and a lot of them said they've downgraded from 15" to 13" simply for the sake of portability. If it wasn't a real concern, I would just settle for the 15" and not even think about it but since so many people have addressed it, it's made me think more.
  • ALFALF Posts: 884Registered User Member
    It is my understanding that there was nothing at all wrong with the Sandy Bridge CPU, it was just one of the support chips that had a hardware 'design problem'. It is apparently a simple fix and would probably only delay the introduction of new MBPs by a couple of months.

    If you could, I would suggest waiting until the next MPB refresh, because the 13" versions would probably sport more modern CPUs. A 15" screen is nice if you have a lot of debugging windows open, but it is harder to lug around.
  • HawkwingsHawkwings Posts: 1,191Registered User Senior Member
    Those two inches definitely do make a difference. If you're going to be doing major compsci work on your laptop though, definitely get the 15". The extra computing power will make your life a lot easier, bot to mention the bigger screen will let you work more comfortably.
  • aStyleaStyle Posts: 973Registered User Member
    For goodness sake, just get the 15''. Yes, it's noticeably larger, but 5.6 lbs isn't that bad! If you're a guy, man up. If you're a girl... then man up. ^__^

    The biggest thing about Sandy Bridge is the quad core processors. They have more power and they give about 2x more battery life. However, I dunno if Apple can fit quad core into the current 0.95'' chassis and not have it melt. Maybe....
  • PHSPhilipPHSPhilip Posts: 34Registered User Junior Member
    The extra 2 inches definitely make lugging it around a bigger pain. But on the other hand...the difference between a Core 2 Duo and an i5 is not small. I personally think the i5 is worth the extra weight, with the caveat that I agree with the sentiment that you might want to wait and see what this year's MBPs are like.
  • ALFALF Posts: 884Registered User Member
    The new MBPs came out, and the 13"-ers come with either an i5 or i7. The previous 13" MBPs only had Core 2 Duo processors, making them inferior to the processors in the 15" models. With these new models, I would personally go for a 13", which feels more portable to me. Of course, the 15"-ers still have better processors, quad-core i7.
  • PHSPhilipPHSPhilip Posts: 34Registered User Junior Member
    I definitely agree with ALF. The new 13" is /much/ better than the old one. For ordinary use, you really don't need the quad core from the 15". The 13s are more than powerful enough now.
  • DoinSchoolDoinSchool Posts: 738Registered User Member
    It's totally worth it to get the 15" if your only concern is portability. It's really not an issue at all imo unless you want to carry it with you everywhere you go
  • jason21jason21 Posts: 19Registered User New Member
    Keep in mind that the 13-inch has more GHz
  • PHSPhilipPHSPhilip Posts: 34Registered User Junior Member
    "Keep in mind that the 13-inch has more GHz"

    Pretty much irrelevant, to be honest. The 15" is quad core (vrs the 13" dual core).
  • NuclearPakistan1NuclearPakistan1 Posts: 1,285Registered User Senior Member
    If you're going to a campus where you need to walk around a lot to go from class to class, I would suggest you go with the 13" because its lighter. I go to NYU, and I have a 15" which is great in terms of its power and whatnot, but it sucks to carry around sometimes especially when it's raining or snowing.
  • DMOCDMOC Posts: 1,442Registered User Senior Member
    I chose the 15 over the 13, purely because I like a larger screen to look at.
  • UCLAriUCLAri Posts: 14,728Super Moderator Senior Member
    I think the 15" is generally a better size. My wife has a 13" MB, and she's often opining that the 15" MBP work gave me is easier to work with. More pixels, bigger area, easier to do stuff that requires a lot of text.

    The weight difference is big, but interestingly, the battery life is not. For the price, the 15" is the winner of the MBP in my opinion.

    Also, this is a friendly suggestion: skimp on Apple-installed RAM. Get the cheapest amount, order more on Crucial, save big bucks.

    Spend more on the CPU. Apple is fair with CPU prices.

    HD? I'd go 7200 RPM or SSD if you don't mind the price.

    Overall? 15" for my money.
  • res ipsares ipsa Posts: 1,925Registered User Senior Member
    Thanks for the recommendation on the memory upgrade. For a 13" MacBook Pro, will there be a noticeable enhancement in performance with the 8 GB vs. 4GB? Is the upgrade worth a hundred bucks?
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