13 inch macbook pro vs 15 inch macbook pro for student

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by pixy2, Jun 1, 2010.

  1. pixy2 macrumors newbie

    Jun 1, 2010
    I'm going to be in ap computer science next year and then independent study at college level with computer science. I use my mac for typing essays, music, web surfing, and doing comp sci assignments with programs like Blue jay. Sometimes I do graphics design or 3-d modeling, but i'm not a gamer on my mac
    Which 2010 updated macbook pro should I buy? The 13 inch with core 2 duo and better graphics vs 15 inch with core i5?
    I'm gonna bring my computer to school everyday and the 15 inch model makes me worried about portability tho
  2. GoCubsGo macrumors Nehalem


    Feb 19, 2005
    Totally original question. Go for the 13" for power and portability.
  3. Surely Guest


    Oct 27, 2007
    Los Angeles, CA

    The sad part is: totally original response.:p
  4. brucem91 macrumors 6502

    Dec 9, 2009
    Don't worry about that. My old University requires most students to purchase a 15" MBP (we get a special bundle, its sorta cool). And lot of students walk or bike to school. I biked(occasionally walked) 2 miles to school, and 2 miles back. The 15" was not a problem when it came to portability. It was just everything else I brought with me that was the problem, the books, drawing pad, wacom tablet, mouse, keyboard, ect. That said, my old MB was the 13" MBu. I was able to do some 3D work on it no problem. The 13" MBP is also cheaper, which is good for college students.
  5. Luba macrumors 65816


    Apr 22, 2009
    if you don't need the power/speed of the 15, the 13 plus an external is an intriguing setup -- best of both world. The 13 plus 24" ACD is about the same price as an i5 or i7 15 depending upon options selected.

    I'd say the "difference" between the 13 and 15, is greater than between the 15 and the 17. To me going to the 17 the only difference I really notice is the bulk even though spec-wise the 17 weighs more than the 15. 13 to 15, I "feel" the weight and the size difference. Perhaps for me, the 13 weighs in below the threshold where I think it's significant.

    Anyway, if you only want to deal with one piece of equipment I'd lean towards the 15 for extra screen real estate. Sometimes only 13" can be annoying.
  6. brucem91 macrumors 6502

    Dec 9, 2009
    Speaking of weight, my stepdad's(my old) MacBook 13" Alu. Unibody feels heavier than my 15" MBP (Late 2009). Could the difference be that he has a 'user-removable' battery? I've used both, and the 13" is nice when I don't have that much room to use. A couple of times when I have had the chance to use mine or my stepdad's, i've opted to use his(mainly when using wifi while at a restaurant waiting for food or something).
  7. DontMacTheGyver macrumors regular


    Mar 20, 2010
    Go for the 13"... nice machine and the best choice in portability... I carry it around with me every day...
  8. alust2013 macrumors 601


    Feb 6, 2010
    On the fence
    I'm not sure why it feels heavier, it weighs in at the exact same 4.5 pounds as the 13" MBP, about a pound less than the 15"

    Anyway, go with your personal preference, and whatever suits you better moneywise. Either computer can do what you need.
  9. macsmurf macrumors 65816


    Aug 3, 2007
    I use an alu macbook 13" + 24" external monitor (1920x1200) with a BlueTooth keyboard for coding at work. I wouldn't want to code (I'm going to pretend using BlueJ is coding ;) ) on a 13" or 15" for extended periods of time, but a few hours is no problem.

    So my advice is to get the 13". I lack a compelling reason to go pro for this type of work, but my next laptop probably will be a pro, since I like the aluminium.
  10. 7thMac macrumors 6502

    May 10, 2010
    LOL - that's maybe the post of the week!
  11. student_trap macrumors 68000


    Mar 14, 2005
    'Ol Smokey, UK
    I have used both a 15" mbp and a 13" mb at university, and must say that while using the macbook pro, i hated carrying it around, and tried to avoid taking it with me whenever i could.

    By contrast, when i moved to the smaller macbook it was such a good change: much lighter, less awkward to carry in different bags, and generally much less hassle.

    I massively regret buying a 15" macbook pro when I did, it was an absolute waste because while it was faster, it was in no way portable enough to be used properly.

    My advice would definitely be to go for the 2.4 13" mbp, and if needed, grab a larger desktop monitor (perhaps the 24" acd), which would together cost the same as a 15" mbp on its own!
  12. seb-opp macrumors 6502

    Nov 16, 2008
    It depends on the size of the other things you'll be carrying in your bag. I like the 13" because its roughly the same size as an A4 paper pad, or two average sized books next to each other. Lightness is also good, as being a History student I'd rather have a lighter mac and be able to carry more books.
  13. Intense macrumors regular

    Sep 18, 2008
    I just sold my early 2008 (silver keys - older) 15" macbook pro, it was a great machine with the 512 video card and I am buying the 13" Macbook Pro. I even wanted to go for the Macbook Air with the 128 SSD, yet out of the budget at the moment + no firewire for external video editing + 1 usb port which will require a plugged-in extension, anyways, not an option at the moment for me.

    I do iMovie HD video editing, will be working on 3D modelling this semester (which 3D modelling software will you be using ?) and I work on lightroom + photoshop with 15+MB files and 30+ mb photoshop files ... I am going for a 13" because I'd rather have a laptop that's a little bit slow than having to carry the 15" with all the other stuff.

    Like a member said above, the 15" is not a problem to carry, it's when you have other items in the bag that it gets a little heavy to log around all day.
  14. iDisk macrumors 6502a


    Jan 2, 2010
    Menlo Park, CA
    All of this weight talk about the notebooks is rather amusing.

    If 4.5lbs is heavy then you need to hit the gym. I know girls who complain less about stuff being soooooooo heavy. Geeeeezzz whatever happened to guys being real MEN.

    I recommend buying a 15"....... core2duo is being EOL in 2011 why pay a premium for old technology?

    I love apple, but they should have lowered the price at least $200 or $100 of any current Mac that is running Core2Duo.

    I would have rather waited until WWDC to see the entire line up with i7 or i5 processors then to see the same prices for Old Technology.. I'm just sayin
  15. Intense macrumors regular

    Sep 18, 2008
    I am a 5'9", 215 lbs. I workout every two to three days and sometimes every day. I see what you're saying in terms of 4.5lbs seeming to be light.

    However, day to day use, and depending on your lifestyle, a pound makes a difference. That's why you have some people that go through the hassle and loss of money to switch from 15 to 13".

  16. Vylen macrumors 65816

    Jun 3, 2010
    Sydney, Australia
    Weight difference between a 13 and 15 shouldn't matter at all unless you think you're going to carry it around a lot and you're weak or something.

    Realistically, you're gonna be sitting on your arse all day compared to the "inconvenience" of carrying a laptop with you as you walk between classes.

    I suppose, though, I'm just a bit angsty about such trivial things ever since I carried camera gear and a laptop in one backpack :p
  17. elpmas macrumors 68000


    Sep 9, 2009
    Where the fresh snow don't go.
    why has this thread turn into how weak men are? lame...
  18. zmttoxics macrumors 65816


    May 20, 2008
    I had a few laptops going to College. The best were the smallest. My 12" sony went EVERYWHERE. My 13" MacBook also went everywhere. My 17" Toshiba was a royal pain in the ass.

    I definitely like 13" for lugging around campus. Especially if you use city transpo to get to and from campus.
  19. whidbeyben macrumors member

    Nov 7, 2007
    West Coast
    Small is Beautiful

    I bought the 15" MBP i7 to "replace" my aging 12" PBG4. I got the high res antiglare screen because I view X-rays, and for that purpose the 15" MBP shines. It, however, is not a great portable machine, especially after being used to toting the 12" PBG4 for years. So now, I keep the 15" MBP i7 at the office, and still use the 12" PBG4 to read e-mail, surf the web and travel with. For Word, Excel, Safari and Mail, there is no noticeable improvement in speed between the 1.5GHz G4 and the 2.66GHz i7 for "mundane" tasks. However, iCal, Aperture, and video conversions all are markedly improved with the i7, so I'll bring the MBP home for those tasks.

    For a student, I think the 13" MBP is the best since you will be toting it around a lot, and students have limited desktop space and limited space for "stuff" in general. I still wish Apple would make a 12" MBP.
  20. student_trap macrumors 68000


    Mar 14, 2005
    'Ol Smokey, UK
    it does so every time this topic is mentioned. Some people just have no concept that it is not that people couldn't carry something heavier around, its just that they prefer not to.

    Moreover, it says a lot of peoples concept of gender if in the 21st century masculinity still = strength :rolleyes:

    I suppose I should try to grow my arms longer so that my knuckles scrape along the ground, perhaps then i'll get it
  21. Shaman Beloved macrumors newbie

    Jan 21, 2008
    Which ever you get, remember to boot into some geek flavour of Linux. Gentoo, or maybe Arch Linux, I hear. The hardcore CS students might agree Apple's hardware (laptops) is quality stuff, but they will laugh you out for using an OS where you install applications by dragging and dropping colorful icons :)
  22. smc333 macrumors regular

    Jan 24, 2010
    Boston, MA
    I'll start by identifying myself as a Computer Engineering major, so we share a lot of similar tasks for our majors.

    I've owned a 13 inch, then a 15, and now a 13. The 13 is definitely better than the 15" for portability. You could carry the 15 with you every day, but it won't be fun, I can promise that. The 13" is much better for portability, and it is enough for web browsing/programming, etc. Just use spaces for when you need to multitask, or with the money you have saved, go for a large 1080p LCD when at your desk. The Core 2 Duo and 320M have plenty of power for the next 4 years.

    Go for the extra portability and battery life, as the i5 is not a huge jump, especially since it is still a dual core. That's just my $.02, some people here may have valid reasons for disagreeing.
  23. kny3twalker macrumors 65816


    Oct 25, 2009
    why do you keep starting the same thread over and over?
    I replied to one of them, but apparently it must have been moved to the wasteland. I think you are trolling, and your post history confirms it.
  24. Mhkobe macrumors regular

    Jun 25, 2009
    If weight is a big factor get an MBA; I used an MBP for a year, and then bought a refurbished SSD 2.13GHz MBA... I love it, and think it is the best laptop money can buy. I would wait for a refresh though, and buy refurbished.

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