Which MBP? 17" -vs- 15"

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by Dubba, Oct 10, 2006.

  1. Dubba macrumors regular

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    Nairobi, Kenya
    #1
    Although I am a newbie, please allow me to point out that I have read (and re-read) the appropriate threads on this forum – in fact, I have even posted in some.

    However, I now turn to you for your advice on my specific situation.

    Since November 2004 I have been using a 12" PB G4. In that time, it has been in to Apple (UK) for repair twice for logic board replacement. Last week the optical drive stopped working, and after a long phone call with AppleCare and Customer Service, they are sending me the entry-level 15" MBP as a replacement as soon as they receive my 12” PB which was collected yesterday.

    My dilemma is this – do I keep the base 15” model or do I upgrade to the 17” (I have a ready buyer for the 15” at slightly below list price)? I have outlined some of the facts, and some of the pros/cons (in order of importance to me). The advice from the experts (i.e. you guys) would be much appreciated.


    Facts
    Needs/Uses: Mainly for E-mail (Entourage – I am a traitor, I know, sorry!), Excel, Word, Safari, iPhoto, iTunes, watching DVDs, and iDVD (a little).

    Portability: As I no longer travel regularly or extensively, extreme portability (ala 12” PB) is not a requirement. However, I would like some portability as I only want a single machine and am happy to carry it between home and work. I either walk or drive the short distance, and am unlikely to be carrying much else, so the weight is not an issue. Being mobile around the house is somewhat of importance, moving between the table, sofa, and bed.

    External Screen: Not an option at home due to space, and not something I am keen on for the office due to cost (and a likelihood that I may be working from home again in a few months).

    Wants: “Cool” machine; I believe in buying the best given cash constraints and requirements - my 12” PB was fully speced-out and the perfect size for my weekly trips; it would have been fine for my needs had it not died. Now that I am getting the 15”, I am SO close to the 17” (and in my opinion, the “Best”), I feel like I want (and note the “want”, not “need”, because in no way am I a Pro user) the 17”, but not if it impedes on the mobility of the machine.


    Pros/Cons (in my opinion)
    17”: Pros – Screen Size & Resolution; Aluminium Casing; Desktop Replacement due to screen size (and hence no/less of a need for an external monitor); 1GB of RAM as standard; 120GB Hard Drive, the other features like the 256MB dedicated VRAM, etc. are nice, but not essential; Cons – Concern about mobility around the house; £400 in extra cost (mainly for screen real estate) - “Is it worth it?” I keep asking myself.

    15”: Pros – Free (from Apple); more mobile than the 17” in/around the house; Cons – not the “best” machine on the market; only comes with 512MB RAM, so will have to spend £100 to get it up to 1GB; only a 80GB hard drive.


    I am not overly fussed about the Merom chip so that isn’t really going to factor into my decision. Having said that, I am going to wait until December 1 to purchase in any event (when I am back in the US), so if they are out then, my bonus, but if not, that is also fine.

    The bottom line is this – 1) how important is screen real estate given my portability/mobility needs, and 2) is 2” of additional diagonal space worth approximately £400 (which is the difference between my sale price of the 15” in the UK and buying the 17” in the US)?

    Thanks in advance for any thoughts/insights/opinions.

    Dubba
     
  2. danielbriggs macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2006
    Location:
    Manchester, UK
    #2
    Hi!

    A macbook would suit your needs very well, but if you want to spend more get a MBP!

    Again the 15" is nice, but if you want the BEST and have some spare cash, gety the 17" with 2GB of ram (not from apple) and 7200RPM drive.

    I'm going for the 17"!

    AFTER the new ones are out!

    Have you thought about this: Buy the top white macbook and a 20" imac? Then use .mac to sync. Then you have 2 PC's, portable and fixed, a big and small screen, loads of space, and cool computers! All for the same price?? :p


    Anyway!


    Dan :)
     
  3. pianoman macrumors 68000

    pianoman

    Joined:
    May 31, 2006
    #3
    for your needs, i would say if you can trade in a 12" PB and get a 15" MBP for free (essentially), why not spend a few extra hundred and get the 17" MBP?

    it is portable enough for what you say you'll do (moving around the house, going to work).

    you get more than just a bigger screen, mind you. if you can't justify the extra cost, however, stick with the 15". either one is quite larger and definitely faster than your 12" PB.
     
  4. ozone macrumors 6502

    ozone

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    Location:
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    #4
    Having hauled a 17" PB G4 around for a while, it's not the easiest, but really, I don't think there's a huge difference between toting around a 15" versus a 17". The only place where it's tough is economy class during flying. Sure you can use it, but it is a bit awkward. But if you don't care that much (you only read or listen to tunes while flying), who cares?

    If you're keen on portability, go 12" (well, 13.3" is your only choice I guess) or smaller into the ultralight category (with PCs).

    17" will always feel like deadweight if you're going a long distance - get a good bag. However, the irony is that a 17" is easiest to use on a lap (it actually spans your legs) and hey, it looks bloody cool when you open it up and you remind yourself how sweet it is! :D
     
  5. miles01110 macrumors Core

    miles01110

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    #5
    Personally I think the 15'' is ideal size for a mobile computer. I'd keep what you have and upgrade the RAM.
     
  6. seany916 macrumors 6502

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    Jun 26, 2006
    Location:
    Southern California
    #6
    get a Macbook & 2GB of RAM

    keep the money saved in a coffee can for the latest & greatest laptop Apple releases sometime in mid-2007. put $150 into the coffee can each month from here until then. start sighting in your rifle now. you'll know when to pull the trigger.

    then sell your Macbook for 75% of what you paid for it (okay, maybe 70%), then put that back into the coffee can for the next computer.
     
  7. Dubba thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2006
    Location:
    Nairobi, Kenya
    #7
    Dan - thanks for your thoughts; despite my WANT of a 17", you're right - I only NEED a MB. Hence, I am now leaning towards getting the top white MacBook, maxing the RAm at 2MB, getting the 120GB Hard Drive, AppleCare, and a MightyMouse Wireless. Given that I can sell my 15" MBP here in the UK for between £1,100 - £1,200, I will not be out of pocket at all and will have a machine perfectly capable for my needs. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and giving me some good advice.



    Pianoman - after thinking with my head and not with my heart, as you can see from the previous post, I think I am going to go with a fully kitted out MB, unless of course you (or anyone else) feels super-strongly that I shouldn't. Thanks for your insights in any event; they were much appreciated.



    Ozone - thanks for your thoughts. Although portability is not the deciding factor (as it was when I bought the 12" PB), I am leaning towards the MB. The second reason is the sheer size and weight of the 17" - as you rightly pointed out, I would need to get a good bag, which would set me back at least another $100, whereas with the MB, I can continue using the case for my PB. Again, thanks for sharing your insights and experiences with me.



    miles01110 - As you can see, I am going one step further and probably downgrading (at least in terms of screen size) and going with a 13" with maxed out RAM.



    seany916 - I think your post was the clincher - thank you. I have pretty much decided to do what you recommended - get a Macbook (white - no point in paying the extra $200 for black, at least in my opinion) and max out the RAM. I am also going to go with the biggest hard drive and get 120GB. Given that I am selling this in the UK (it is a UK-spec MBP) and buying the US in December, going down this route means that I am not out of pocket, and if I am lucky with the sale, then perhaps even put $100-$200 in the bank.

    However, I don't think I am going to upgrade in mid-2007; I liked to get my machines and use them for at least 2-4 years until they no longer do what I want them to. However, should the cashflow from the new business allow it, then I might just... ;-)

    Again, thanks for your recommendation; like I said, it swung it for me.
     
  8. Dubba thread starter macrumors regular

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  9. Dubba thread starter macrumors regular

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  10. Dubba thread starter macrumors regular

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  11. Dubba thread starter macrumors regular

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  12. killmoms macrumors 68040

    killmoms

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    #12
    Okay, Dubba, seriously... double posting? Frowned upon? Quintuple posting? Just go back and edit your post, man. Yikes.

    And to demonstrate...

    EDIT: As to the 15 vs 17 debate... having used a 17" PowerBook in the past, I'd say just stick with the 15. Yeah, it's not THAT much smaller, but the 17 demands a bigger bag, more muscle, and really the horsepower between the two isn't all that different. I'd only say get the 17 if you ABSOLUTELY HAD TO HAVE either the bigger screen, the dual-layer drive, or the built-in FW800... and since it sounds like you don't absolutely need those things, just save some cash and keep the 15. It's a pretty great machine.
     
  13. Dubba thread starter macrumors regular

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    #13
    Killmoms,

    Sorry about that - I just don't know how to get quotes from different people's posts and put them in one reply/post of my own - any advice?

    Dubba

    EDIT: Took your advice and made the changes into one post.

    On the 15" -vs- 17" debate, thanks for your insights. Any thoughts on downgrading to the 13" MB given that I don't need the processing power, etc., and it saves me some £$?
     
  14. killmoms macrumors 68040

    killmoms

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    #14
    I dunno, there's a couple ways. Command+click Quote into a new tab and then copy/paste the quote block into your existing post-window? Or just write out the QUOTE tag and paste in from the previous posts down the posting page? Either way works. Or make up one of your own. :D

    (Can you tell I love editing?)
     
  15. danielbriggs macrumors 6502

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    Location:
    Manchester, UK
    #15

    Super Duper!

    I'm kinda in the same boat.
    But b4 I buy, I'm waiting for the C2D. But:

    I WANT a 17" MBP, need ~ the power of the MB (not too fuss on games so the dedicated isn't too much of a fuss, but would be nice, same with the screen)
    I've got the money for the 17" (just!) but I could get the MB Top White - and save a bomb.

    But that's just me being indecisive!

    Lol

    Glad you decided!

    Dan :)
     
  16. Dubba thread starter macrumors regular

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    #16
    Dan,

    I haven't 100% decided - only 99%! :)

    Depending on when the new C2Ds come out, and what, if any, other changes the MBPs have, I could be swung... but when I think practically, the MB will be fine....

    Dubba
     
  17. danielbriggs macrumors 6502

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    #17

    Yeah, me too.
    At first I was 100% 17" MBP, but now i'm 51% / 49% (51% MB White)


    Argghh!

    Lol :)
     
  18. Dubba thread starter macrumors regular

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    #18
    I was 100% 17" MBP too, but am now 90% MB White... good luck deciding: whatever you do decide on, know that it was the right one; after all, a Mac' a Mac! :)
     
  19. jTreu macrumors 6502

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    #19
    agreed, 17" is only really good for going from desk to couch or something imo.
     
  20. generik macrumors 601

    generik

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    #20
    The 17" definitely, because even the fastest computers today can't send emails faster enough :rolleyes:

    And they warp much more easily too!

    The only one who can answer this question is you, what matters to you more? Portability? Or "cool"? Or will it end up being so cool that you couldn't be arsed to bring it around because it is too bulky for your lifestyle?
     
  21. asparagus macrumors newbie

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    #21
    Heh. I'm in the same boat as everyone else, it seems.

    My logic was that the MB was basically the same dimensions as the 15", and the price increase wasn't impossible to overcome (~$1000 to $1600). Then, I thought 'hey, it's close enough and will last all of law school. go for the gold.'

    but then i look at the price tag again and go 'dayum'.

    What do I need? Email, Word/pages, ppt/keynote, and OneNote. Not hefty.

    Then I went into the store again and was thinking 'damn that 17" is a big laptop."

    Arrrgggghhh! This should be on comedy central - Indecision 2006.
     
  22. Dubba thread starter macrumors regular

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    #22
    Treu - Not from home-office-home daily in a car? :-( I guess you guys are making my decision to get a fully kitted out MB instead of the MBP easier...


    generik - no need to be sarcastic; some of us are newbiews here and asking for the collective wisdom many of you have. We KNOW that the final decision is ours, but were looking to people for their views on portability, etc. In any case, thanks for your thoughts...


    Asparagus - I agree; it really does feel like Indecision 2006. I think I am going to go with the MB, unless i can get £1,200 for my 15" MBP, which might get me thinking about the 17"; oh, and of course all the changed people keep talking about. Anyway, we'll just have to see when it comes and I am able to sell it.
     
  23. kgarchar macrumors 6502

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    Sep 21, 2006
    #23
    I'd say go with the macbook pro 15 inch, if you're going to run an external monitor, the gma sucks really bad, it's what I have right now, and I really hate it, I'm going to be upgrading to a MBP pretty soon here.
     
  24. Dubba thread starter macrumors regular

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    #24
    kgarchar - if I am not running an external monitor, does that change your opinion? I am really torn between the MB or the 17" MBP, and although I am edging towards the MB, your advice is much appreciated and welcomed.
     
  25. shecky Guest

    shecky

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    #25
    i was on the fence for a while about the 15 vs. 17 MBP and then i did a very wise thing: i went to an apple store and saw them side-by-side. the 17 is marginally bigger in size, marginally heavier, and marginally more expensive. but you get much bigger screen, better video (in this incarnation at least) FW800, cooler running, more battery life. now who is to say what the C2D versions will bring, but at the moment the benefits far outweigh the negatives on the 17. i think people who say "thats huge! its not portable!" etc.. have never actually stood in an apple store and seen it next to a 15.

    the 17 vs. a MB seems like to wildly different ends of the spectrum to me. if you can live with the MB then it seems like the 17 would be way too much computer for what you are doing; in which case save the money and go to a macbook. for me (professional designer in print + motion) the MB is not enough. Actually i was considering going with an entry level MB and a mid-level Mac Pro since i MUST have portability but i can do all the heavy stuff at home; unfortunately that would be 30% more expensive and a bigger PITA to sync data across two machines, so since i can only afford one machine its gonna be the 17 MBP.
     

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