13" MBP v. 15" MBP : Worth $600 more for display?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by gretschdrummer, Mar 8, 2013.

  1. gretschdrummer macrumors member

    Sep 1, 2011
    I am torn between getting the 13" MBP for $1129 and the 15" MBP for $1709. I use iMovie a bit and game somewhat (mostly Windows XP-era games on Boot Camp). I have a couple of questions:

    1. Is it ridiculous to pay $600 more for a discrete graphics card and larger display?

    2. The 13" has 4GB ram; the 15" has 8GB. Is there a noticeable difference?

    3. As I mentioned earlier, I have a lot of old Windows games that I'd like to play. Will both Macbooks run these well (graphic-wise)?

  2. majkom macrumors 65816

    May 3, 2011
    ad 1) depends on your own preferences
    ad 2) you can expand your ram easily and dont have to pay apple tax
    ad 3) which games? (name them) - too old games dont need discrete gpu to be playable
  3. Sean76 macrumors 6502a


    Feb 10, 2013
    IMO...More Ram is always good, especially if you plan on keeping the machine a few years. However with a classic you can always tinker and upgrade the ram down the line, if your the tinkering type that is.

    If your not I'd deff go with the 15 and 8GB of ram.

    And of course the more important question at hand is...

    Can you comfortably afford the more expensive machine? If yes, I'd deff go with the bigger machine...especially if you enjoy gaming!
  4. gretschdrummer thread starter macrumors member

    Sep 1, 2011
    Some examples: Sid Meier's Pirates, Simcity 4, The Sims 3, Command and Conquer Generals, Half Life 1, Deus Ex 1, ect.

    I guess my question is if I were to play one of those games, would it matter if I had a Geforce or an Intel HD4000?

  5. AFDoc macrumors 68030

    Jun 29, 2012
    Colorado Springs USA for now
    A stand alone graphics card IS worth the price jump alone but along with the larger screen it's a no brainer. I originally bought the 13" rMBP but upped it to the 15" for a few hundred more when the prices dropped (bought mine 4 days before the price dropped lol). I must say I like the 13" form factor better but I do like the extra screen real estate and, though I have not needed it yet, I like the idea of having a bit more GPU hp under the hood.

    Edit after seeing your second post....

    Yes with some of those games you will see a huge difference with the stand alone vid card. C and C gens especially.... get two large forces going on the screen at one time with lots of planes and launched weapons going at one time and on board graphics will choke and sputter for sure (no real world proof with a MBP but have played it before on many types of machines with different results).
  6. Stetrain macrumors 68040

    Feb 6, 2009
    Are you in the US? If so check out Apple's certified refurbished store:


    It's a great way to go if you're on a budget. Generally they're indistinguishable from new and they have the same return policy and warranty as a new Mac.

    Right now there's a 2012 15" for $1529 and a 2012 15" Retina for $1779.

    Something to keep in mind is that the base model 15" MBP only has 512mb of graphics card memory, while the base model 15" retina has 1GB of graphics memory.
  7. maflynn, Mar 9, 2013
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2013

    maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    Not if you need the larger display. I had a 13" MBP and found the size too limiting when using Photoshop and Lightroom. The GPU gives you the extra boost in performance if you're using some intense apps. I think Apple's Aperture for instance can benefit from the discrete GPU.

    I think 4gb is minimum and you may run into page outs (performance issues as OSX writes memory pages to disk to make room)

    These will probably benefit the most from the discrete gpu.

    The bottom line is form factor, which laptop best fits your needs, the smaller and more portable 13" MBP or its bigger brother. Only you can make that decision but for me, I found the 15" to be a better machine for my needs
  8. David58117 macrumors 65816

    Jan 24, 2013
    Dont forget you're also getting a quad core vs dual core with the 15".
  9. Serban Suspended

    Jan 8, 2013
    I think in the next haswell upgrade will be also quad core in 13" too.
  10. leman macrumors G3

    Oct 14, 2008
    Come on, this game is 10 years old... the HD 4000 is faster than any dedicated card which existed at that time. For the games that OP wants to play the dedicated card is waste of money.
  11. nando4 macrumors regular

    Mar 21, 2009
    $600 isn't a lot to pay if you needed the GT650M dGPU. Older Windows games will run OK with the HD4000 iGPU provided you have a dual-channel RAM config. Meaning, add another 4GB RAM to the 13" cost to get 4GB+4GB.

    One other pitfall of the 15" MBP is it's not a good candidate for battery life while running under any OS other than MacOS. That's because the iGPU can't be engaged.

    So it would make sense then to go the cheaper 13" MBP option. Could go one step further and grab one off ebay with remaining warranty. That's because the new Haswell machines will be released June/August 2013 so expect (then) older Ivy Bridge tech to drop in price.

    You could also consider an eGPU like in my sig if you needed further graphics acceleration. There you'd be outbenching the 15" MBP GT650M.
  12. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    Maybe, maybe not we'll not know until apple releases the 13" Haswell MBP and I suspect they'll hold off on that until after the 15" MBP.
  13. gretschdrummer thread starter macrumors member

    Sep 1, 2011
    Thanks to all who replied. I got the 15" and I am loving it. Definitely worth the extra money for the better CPU and GPU.

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