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  1. #1


    Member Since
    Jul 23, 2012
    Posts
    341
    Macbook Pro, 13" vs 15"
    I want the new 13", to replace my 3 year old 13" (which I've already sold), except that it comes with the stupid glossy (mirror) display, which I don't want.

    The 15" has a non-mirror display, but it's a lot bigger than I want, and it's $700 more. To pay that much just for a non-mirror display sucks - it is a significant percentage of cost of the 13".

    I can send the 13" off to have a non-mirror display put in my an aftermarket vendor, for $300.

    I'm really struggling with what to do here. I really want the 13", but by the time I have the non-mirror display put in, the price difference is only $400. For that, you get:

    2.6GHz quad-core Intel Core i7 instead of 2.9GHz dual-core Intel Core i7
    NVIDIA GeForce GT 650M (1GB) instead of Intel HD Graphics 4000
    1,680-by-1,050 15" display instead of 1200x800 13" display
    Audio line-in/line-out instead of headphones jack

    A lot for only $400 more - but it's still a lot bigger (physically) of a machine than I want. Also, I have two 27" monitors, so if I am doing anything that really requires screen space, and I am at home, I can just hook it up.

    Has anyone else been faced this dilemma? How did you come out?

    FWIW, I've already bought for my future machine:
    16GB of RAM
    480 GB SSD Drive
    a device that lets you replace the optical drive with a second hard drive

    Now I just have to figure out which of these two to get.

  2. #2


    Member Since
    Feb 25, 2009
    Posts
    2,112
    Specs:
    Late 2013 rMBP, i7, 750m gpu, OSX versions 10.9.3, 10.10
    Which you get really needs to depend on what you plan to do with the machine.

    You may or may not have a real need for the (extremely) better GPU, you may or may not have a need to have a quad core CPU, you may or may not be able to deal with the lower resolution screen as you have the huge monitors at home.

    More information about what you actually plan to use the machine for would be required before even a slightly competent answer could be given...
    My Macs: Late 2013 rMBP w/ 750m, 16Gig ram; 2013 Mac Pro 6 core w/ D700, 16Gig Ram; Mac mini G4, 1.25 GHz, 512m ram (server); Late 2011 11" MBA, 1.8GHz i7, 4Gig Ram, 256Gig SSD, HD3000; Powerbook 12" G4 1.33GHz running Linux; Apple TV (1080p version)

  3. #3


    Member Since
    Jul 23, 2012
    Posts
    341
    My question was really about portability. How much less portable the 15" is over the 13".

    If the answer is "a whole lot" - then that tells me I should get the 13" and send it off to have a matte display put in it. I don't care about the extra power of the 15", unless it is available at nominal additional cost and doesn't cost me much portability.

    If the answer is "almost the same - not likely to see much difference" - then that tells me I would be better off spending the extra $400 to get the 15" and get some additional features. However, the additional features are not desirable if it means giving up significant portability convenience.

    As for what I will use it for - the answer is really, "whatever" - except gaming - no interest in playing games. Business use - productivity apps & development. Personal use - photos & movies, plus everything I would use for business and development. I also run WIndows using VirtualBox. Either way, the machine will have 16GB of ram and a OWC 480GB Mercury Extreme Pro SSD in it Both of which already purchased), so it should be a bit of a screamer. Additionally, I have an OWC Data Doubler ready to put in my future machine, so the stock HD it comes with will be a 2nd HD installed in the optical drive bay.

    My current apps include:
    Audio Hijack Pro
    BBEdit
    Carbon Copy Cloner
    coconutBattery
    Cyberduck
    DiveLog
    Eudora
    Firefox
    Flash Player
    Flip4Mac
    Google Earth
    GraphicConverter
    HandBrake
    LibreOffice
    MailServe Snow
    Miro
    OmniGraffle Professional
    pgAdmin3
    QuickBooks 2010
    RapidWeaver
    Skype
    SuperDuper!
    SyncMate
    Temperature Monitor
    The Unarchiver
    Thunderbird
    TinkerTool
    Toast 10 Titanium
    UnRarX
    VLC
    WebCrusher
    X-Assist
    AccuProcess
    Adobe Acrobat X Pro
    Adobe Bridge CS4
    Adobe Bridge CS5.1
    Adobe Device Central CS4
    Adobe Device Central CS5.5
    Adobe Dreamweaver CS5.5
    Adobe Drive CS4
    Adobe Extension Manager CS4
    Adobe Extension Manager CS5.5
    Adobe Fireworks CS5.1
    Adobe Flash Catalyst CS5.5
    Adobe Flash CS5.5
    Adobe Illustrator CS4
    Adobe Illustrator CS5.1
    Adobe InDesign CS5.5
    Adobe Media Encoder CS5.5
    Adobe Media Player
    Adobe Photoshop CS4
    Adobe Photoshop CS5.1
    BOS-5.7.1
    Business_Process_Visual_ARCHITECT_10.0
    DbVisualizer-8.0.10
    GarageBand
    iMovie
    iWeb
    iWork '09
    Microsoft Communicator
    Microsoft Messenger
    Microsoft Office 2008
    Microsoft Office 2011
    Microsoft Silverlight
    Mission Control
    NetBeans
    Remote Desktop
    Remote Desktop Connection
    Sound Studio
    VirtualBox
    VLC
    VueScan

  4. #4

    pigoo3's Avatar
    Member Since
    May 20, 2008
    Location
    U.S.
    Posts
    38,657
    Specs:
    2011 13" MBP 2.3ghz, 8gig ram, OS 10.8.5
    Quote Originally Posted by anynamewilldo View Post
    My question was really about portability. How much less portable the 15" is over the 13".
    Of course the smaller 13" is going to be more portable. Smaller = More Portable.

    Is this a "big deal"...in my humble opinion...no. If you like the 15", and the 15" will do what you want it to do...get the 15"!

    - Nick

    p.s. FYI...there was a time when there was no such thing as a 13" laptop computer. All there was were 15" and larger...and they were all heavier than today's laptops...and we survived!
    - Too many "beachballs", read this: Beachballs
    - Computer seems slower than it used to? Read this for some slow computer tips: Speedup
    - Almost full hard drive? Some solutions. Out of Space
    - Apple Battery Info. Battery

  5. #5


    Member Since
    Jul 23, 2012
    Posts
    341
    Best machine ever made was the Powerbook G4 12". I WISH machine with that form factor were available with modern internals. I noticed a HUGE difference between that and the size of the MBP 13".

    So, what I'm wondering is will I see that difference between the 13" and the 15" ? I've been to the apple store and looked at it there - but that's not the same as having a lot of experience with both and being able to coherently describe the difference.

    As for your comment on 15" computers - much smaller ones than that have been available since at least 1995 - which is when I got my first portable. Ancient computer history doesn't really interest me.

  6. #6


    Member Since
    Feb 25, 2009
    Posts
    2,112
    Specs:
    Late 2013 rMBP, i7, 750m gpu, OSX versions 10.9.3, 10.10
    More cores will give a better experience in regard to:

    running multiple apps simultaneously
    Running apps that have been optimized for multicore work (I really don't use Adobe applications, but I think photoshop can take advantage of extra cores, beyond that you'd have to check with someone that is more familiar with Adobe products)

    In terms of RAM, you'll want to research on the Adobe apps (assuming that's what you use a lot of) for what is recommended for RAM. The 13" air can get to 8 gig, but the 15" rMBP can go to 16 and the 15" non-retina can go to 16 with 3rd party RAM.

    In terms of portability, as already mentioned, the air is SIGNIFICANTLY lighter then the 15" by like 2-3 lbs (depending on config). I had an 11" air, and I definitely feel the difference carrying around the 15" vs the 11" air.
    My Macs: Late 2013 rMBP w/ 750m, 16Gig ram; 2013 Mac Pro 6 core w/ D700, 16Gig Ram; Mac mini G4, 1.25 GHz, 512m ram (server); Late 2011 11" MBA, 1.8GHz i7, 4Gig Ram, 256Gig SSD, HD3000; Powerbook 12" G4 1.33GHz running Linux; Apple TV (1080p version)

  7. #7

    pigoo3's Avatar
    Member Since
    May 20, 2008
    Location
    U.S.
    Posts
    38,657
    Specs:
    2011 13" MBP 2.3ghz, 8gig ram, OS 10.8.5
    Quote Originally Posted by anynamewilldo View Post
    As for your comment on 15" computers - much smaller ones than that have been available since at least 1995 - which is when I got my first portable. Ancient computer history doesn't really interest me.
    If you've got this much interaction with laptop computers...then it would seem to me that you have more than enough personal experience to answer the 13" vs. 15" portability question!

    And if all of your laptop computers since 1995 have been smaller & lighter than today's 15" MacBook Pro's...then again...seems to me the answer is easy...get the 13" MacBook Pro.

    Lastly...if you're REALLY concerned with portability...get an 11" MacBook Air!

    - Nick
    - Too many "beachballs", read this: Beachballs
    - Computer seems slower than it used to? Read this for some slow computer tips: Speedup
    - Almost full hard drive? Some solutions. Out of Space
    - Apple Battery Info. Battery

  8. #8


    Member Since
    Jul 23, 2012
    Posts
    341
    Quote Originally Posted by pigoo3 View Post
    If you've got this much interaction with laptop computers...then it would seem to me that you have more than enough personal experience to answer the 13" vs. 15" portability question!
    I was specifically looking for input from people who have had a MBP 13" and moved to a MBP 15", and what they thought of the size difference after many hours of use.

    Lastly...if you're REALLY concerned with portability...get an 11" MacBook Air!
    Yeah....MBA is not a consideration, unless I am going to get a second machine. MBPr is not a consideration at all.

  9. #9

    pigoo3's Avatar
    Member Since
    May 20, 2008
    Location
    U.S.
    Posts
    38,657
    Specs:
    2011 13" MBP 2.3ghz, 8gig ram, OS 10.8.5
    Quote Originally Posted by anynamewilldo View Post
    I was specifically looking for input from people who have had a MBP 13" and moved to a MBP 15", and what they thought of the size difference after many hours of use.
    One person's portability concerns (13" vs. 15") will be different than another person's. What happens if you get 10 people responding (5 think that it's a big difference & 5 think it's not a big difference). Now you're back where you started! At the end of the day...it's really what you think!

    You should also consider what you get with a 15" MBP vs. a 13" MBP (it's not just a larger footprint). With the 15" you get:

    - more screen real estate
    - dedicated video hardware (512meg of dedicated vram)
    - faster cpu performance (the 15" MBP's have 4 cores vs. 2 cores in the 13" MBP's)

    - Nick
    - Too many "beachballs", read this: Beachballs
    - Computer seems slower than it used to? Read this for some slow computer tips: Speedup
    - Almost full hard drive? Some solutions. Out of Space
    - Apple Battery Info. Battery

  10. #10


    Member Since
    Jul 23, 2012
    Posts
    341
    Quote Originally Posted by pigoo3 View Post
    One person's portability concerns (13" vs. 15") will be different than another person's
    OK, thanks anyway - sorry for posting.

    - more screen real estate
    Don't care.
    - dedicated video hardware (512meg of dedicated vram)
    Don't care.
    - faster cpu performance (the 15" MBP's have 4 cores vs. 2 cores in the 13" MBP's)
    Don't care.

  11. #11

    pigoo3's Avatar
    Member Since
    May 20, 2008
    Location
    U.S.
    Posts
    38,657
    Specs:
    2011 13" MBP 2.3ghz, 8gig ram, OS 10.8.5
    Quote Originally Posted by anynamewilldo View Post
    OK, thanks anyway - sorry for posting.

    Don't care.
    Don't care.
    Don't care.
    It would seem that if you do not care for any of the differences that the 15" MBP has over the 13" MBP (and considering that it would cost you $700 bucks more to get something you "don't care" about)...then I think that we've answered your question...just get the 13" MBP!

    - Nick
    - Too many "beachballs", read this: Beachballs
    - Computer seems slower than it used to? Read this for some slow computer tips: Speedup
    - Almost full hard drive? Some solutions. Out of Space
    - Apple Battery Info. Battery

  12. #12


    Member Since
    Jul 23, 2012
    Posts
    341
    Ordered the 15"
    Well, I ordered the 15-inch MacBook Pro. Given it ships tomorrow at the earliest - what are the odds it will come with Mountain Lion on it pre-installed, vs having to download it later?

    Available to ship: 1 - 3 business days
    Delivers Jul 30 - Aug 1 by 2-3 Day Shipping
    Part Number: Z0MW
    With the following configuration:
    • 2.6GHz Quad-core Intel Core i7, Turbo Boost up to 3.6GHz
    • 8GB 1600MHz DDR3 SDRAM - 2x4GB
    • 750GB Serial ATA Drive @ 7200 rpm
    • SuperDrive 8x (DVD±R DL/DVD±RW/CD-RW)
    • MacBook Pro 15-inch Hi-Res Antiglare Widescreen Display
    • Mini DisplayPort to VGA Adptr 065-0805 No VGA Adapter
    • Backlit Keyboard (English) & User's Guide (English)
    • Accessory Kit

    I figure if it turns out to be too big for my tastes, I can just sell it, take the loss and buy something else.

  13. #13


    Member Since
    Jan 31, 2012
    Posts
    48
    Your dilemma
    AnyName:

    As I read this thread, your dilemma sounded like mine, I couldn't quite get what I wanted. What I really wanted was a 15" MacBook Air. My wife has a 17" MBP glossy screen which I hate. The MacBook Air screen does not reflect like the 17 MBP.

    I would not buy the 15" retina MBP due to the highly reflective screen.

    What I ended up buying was a 15" MBP 2.2/4/500 with hi-res matte screen. Portability is a non-issue with the protective sleeve. So far I am happy but if I had to do it over, I would have bought a 17" MBP with matte screen given the photos work I do where the larger screen real estate would be appreciated more than capability; the MBA has all I need.

    Good luck
    JPH
    MacBook Pro 17: 2.5 Ghz, 8GB RAM/1 TB, Anti-Glare
    MacBook 1.1Ghz/8 GB RAM/256 GB,
    iPad3, iPhone 6s+ 64 GB, Verizon.

  14. #14


    Member Since
    Jul 23, 2012
    Posts
    341
    Quote Originally Posted by JPH675 View Post
    Portability is a non-issue with the protective sleeve.
    This doesn't make any sense to me - can you explain?

    So far I am happy but if I had to do it over, I would have bought a 17" MBP with matte screen given the photos work I do where the larger screen real estate would be appreciated more than capability
    I have the 17" one at work. It is WAY too big. Completely impractical for sitting in bed and watching a movie, that's for sure. I can't imagine taking it on a plane either. The screen space isn't all that helpful either because the text is all so tiny! If I'm using the web, I have the make the font size so big that it takes up most of the screen anyway. Plus, the lid/display is so heavy that if you're using it any any sort of angle, it just flops over into the closing position.

    I'm hoping I will not have the same issue with the 15".

  15. #15


    Member Since
    Jan 31, 2012
    Posts
    48
    Portability
    AnyName:

    By portability, as compared to a 13" MacBook, it (15") fits easily into a specially designed backpack with my 2 main camera bodies and lenses. The slightly over 1 pound difference in weight, and size, is hardly noticeable. I bought a black sleeve for the 15 by 'Incase' that does a nice protective job. A 17" MBP for me would be tight, but it still fits.

    I have used the 15 on an airplane seat's fold down tray and it takes it all up, a 17" may be too big for a seat tray. We have never experienced an issue with the screen falling down on either of our MBPs, 15 or wife's 17.

    When I want extreme portability, with far fewer features, the iPad 3 works for me.

    If Apple soon increases the pixel density of the 27" Thunderbolt monitor, I may stay with the 15, upgrade the RAM and add a SDD and be in good shape for a while...

    Enjoy your new Macbook Pro!
    JPH
    MacBook Pro 17: 2.5 Ghz, 8GB RAM/1 TB, Anti-Glare
    MacBook 1.1Ghz/8 GB RAM/256 GB,
    iPad3, iPhone 6s+ 64 GB, Verizon.

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