13" 2.9Ghz or 15" 2.3Ghz

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by packgrad2000, Aug 9, 2012.

  1. packgrad2000 macrumors regular

    Sep 19, 2007
    I'm looking to buy either the new high-end, 13" 2.9Ghz or the low end 15" 2.3Ghz. Whichever one I buy, I plan to remove the optical drive and put in a OWC 6g SSD (probably 120GB) and store data on the stock HD, and the OS and apps on the SSD. And whatever the stock RAM is, I'll definitely put 8GB in there as well. I also plan to use it mostly with a 27" Cinema display so I don't care that much about screen resolutions.

    I'd really love to save the money and buy the 13" model, but the biggest reason I'd want to buy the 15" model is because of the quad core processor and the discrete graphics card. I'm not a gamer though. The most intensive stuff I'd be doing on it is photo editing (LR mostly), but D800 files are huge and need plenty of processing power. But I'm hoping the super fast SSD will compensate for the dual core processor. So I'm mostly want to know is the "weaker" processor of the 13" model combined with its integrated graphics card going to be enough for the next several years, especially for intense photo applications like PS and LR. I rarely do video editing or gaming. Thanks for your replies!
  2. miles01110 macrumors Core


    Jul 24, 2006
    The Ivory Tower (I'm not coming down)
    I think you are overestimating your processor "needs."
  3. inlinevolvo macrumors 6502

    Jul 11, 2012
    Yea, you'll be fine with the 13. Why the owc ssd? You can get the Samsung 830 256g for under 200 and the 128 for under 100. One of the most reliable drives out there, next to Intel.
  4. filmak macrumors 65816

    Jun 21, 2012
    between earth and heaven
    the 2.9 is avery powerful cpu, will cover your stated uses and save you some money plus the better portability.

    The 2.9 was better than the quad 2.3 in several tasks at macworld's testing.
    I think that in everyday use you won't notice a difference.

    With that said have in mind that the 15" has a larger screen for your photos, a superior discrete graphics card and 4 cores for your Lightroom.
  5. edk99 macrumors 6502a

    May 27, 2009
    I would opt for the 15" with the hi-res screen. Especially if you don't plan to use an external monitor.

    Using lightroom on the 13" screen is doable but really cramped compared to the 15" hi-res screen.

    Also go with samsung for the SSD and get the 256 one. This way you can dump plenty of photos to the SSD for processing then move them to the HDD for storage.
  6. iproductsuser, Aug 9, 2012
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2012

    iproductsuser macrumors 6502a

    Apr 13, 2012
    I'm in the exact same situation with the same usage requirements and i'm ready to buy.. I don't use an external monitor and I like 15" but what is more important? The quad cores or the GHz of the processor? I've been doing some reading but i'm still a little confused. Is it more advantageous to go with a 2.5+ versus a 2.0-2.5 processor or will the quad cores and high RAM account for system lag etc? As his recommendation in the 15", if I chose that and went for 8GB of RAM with a quad core i7, would that be a solid choice?

    Look at this one http://store.apple.com/us/product/FD318LL/A
  7. clyde2801 macrumors 601


    Mar 6, 2008
    In the land of no hills and red dirt.
    Most apps, save a few truly professional ones like FCP and the like, don't take advantage of multiple cores. If you have to ask if you need multiple cores, you probably don't.

    OTOH, if more and more mainstream apps do start taking advantage of multiple cores, then a quad could conceivably be of more use further down the road than a dual.

    Unless you're doing particularly intensive CPU apps, the bottle necks are usually in this order: RAM, Storage (amount or speed), GPU, and finally CPU.
  8. cherishzm macrumors regular

    Mar 13, 2011
  9. parseckadet macrumors 6502a


    Dec 13, 2010
    Denver, CO
    To me it sounds like you should be more concerned with the GPU than the CPU. You should be asking whether the integrated graphics on the 13" will suit your needs, or whether you need the discrete graphics with its on board video memory. I haven't kept up with the performance of the integrated graphics of Ivy Bridge when compared to the 650M on the 15", so I'm not able to answer your question directly. But, when you apply adjustments to those images the video memory will have a much bigger impact than more CPU cores or a higher clock speed ever will.

    But it's all a matter of degrees, because we're talking about fractions of seconds most likely. Are you doing this photo work as your main career, or only as a portion of your career or hobby? If you're going to spend all day, every day in LR or PS then you'll probably want the extra umph from the graphics card. If it's an after work or weekend affair, or only a portion of your professional life, then you probably won't need it. In all other regards, it sounds like the 13" will serve you very well.
  10. packgrad2000 thread starter macrumors regular

    Sep 19, 2007
    Thanks for the replies. I was hoping to go for the 13". LR4 can be painfully slow on my 3 year old iMac, and that's just with D7K files. D800 files (which I also plan to upgrade soon) would probably slow it to a crawl, so I just wanted to make sure it would work well. Looks like for rendering previews, exporting, etc., the quad core processor would still be a good bit faster though. OTOH, the 13" already has 8GB RAM and a bigger HD...I'd still have to upgrade the 15" RAM to 8GB.

    Didn't know about the Samsung SSD, so thanks for that tip too. I usually buy from OWC since they extensively test their stuff and I trust them. But sounds like the Samsung is the way to go (not sure if I can bring myself to buy Samsung considering the circumstances...:D).

    From what I understand, with RAM being equal, the SSD will make the biggest difference in overall "snappiness".
  11. pbmagnet4 macrumors regular

    Jan 25, 2009
    Idk why people think they need all this processing power for just CS6 and FCP. Im on a base line MBP 13" and it runs all of the above like a champ... I did install a Kingston HyperX 8gb 1867mhz RAM and 240gb SanDisk SSD. My next upgrade will be an internal blu-ray drive. To each is own, but I thought I should chime in and state that the 2.5ghz 13" MBP has been more than sufficient for FCP and CS6.
  12. superhrixenz macrumors member

    Jul 4, 2012
    May I know which website sells Samsung 830 256 GB for under 200?
  13. inlinevolvo macrumors 6502

    Jul 11, 2012
  14. HebronCL macrumors newbie

    Jul 22, 2012
    Can the ODD be replaced with the original HDD and put an SSD on there (hdd's place) ??
  15. pbmagnet4 macrumors regular

    Jan 25, 2009
    Yup, I personally have held on to my ODD, but yes it can be replaced, also maintaining a SATAIII connection.
  16. omgitscro macrumors 6502a


    Jul 12, 2008
    Yes, but you will need a hard drive caddy.
  17. thekev macrumors 604


    Aug 5, 2010
    That 15" isn't a bad buy really. I think they're holding off on putting up ivy refurbs to clear out older stock. They may have been left with more than anticipated. PS scales well enough up to 4 cores. LR scales really well with cores. You can just go by maximum computational power in that regard. Adobe agrees with me, although I can't find the blog entry. It was something about how much faster Sandy Bridge was. Older notebooks tended to be a bit laggy when dealing with sizable files. Desktops were a little laggy years before that. Just the availability of large amounts of ram and semi cost effective ssds has helped a lot with the performance of these applications on notebooks. I mention ssds as they do move around a lot of data, even with 8GB of ram installed. The 15" should be faster than the newer 13", so if you want that, get it. If you're not happy with the speed of the 15", I can guarantee you won't be happy with the 13". I can tell you those programs performed quite well on an early 2011 2.3 17".

    It should be fine. 8GB of ram is the lowest you should consider. I don't use lightroom often, but it's somewhat cpu dependent and scales well with core count compared to some other applications. This might be significant depending on how many photos you're loading up at the time. Most of Adobe's applications allow for a lot of tuning. Keep this in mind. Especially if you also use PS, you can tune the amount of ram allocated if you have a lot of it installed. Things tend to run faster on ram. Past a certain point, it no longer matters, but your times drop off a cliff if adjustments are held 100% in ram. When it was still a 32 bit application, I used to do a lot of things to conserve memory like shutting off thumbnails, keeping spotlight off on my scratch disks, and keeping history states super low. It cut down on some lag. I can remember when it had layer sets rather than layer groups. *shoos kids off his lawn*
  18. HebronCL macrumors newbie

    Jul 22, 2012
    Wich one do you suggest??

  19. omgitscro macrumors 6502a


    Jul 12, 2008
    Just get a cheap one from Amazon.
  20. HebronCL macrumors newbie

    Jul 22, 2012

    Will the ssd consume more battery than the original ODD?? Since odd's only require juice when cds/dvds are in use.
  21. omgitscro macrumors 6502a


    Jul 12, 2008
    Yes, but if you need more storage this is the most economical way of going about it.

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