13" or 15" rMBP for College

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by mangobravo, Jul 29, 2014.

  1. mangobravo macrumors newbie

    Jul 29, 2014
    I will be entering uni this fall, and I can't decide between purchasing the 13 inch base model or 15 inch base model. I'll be using the laptop primarily for school work and video streaming. I might possibly use it to play an MMO. Do I need a 15" or will a 13" suffice?

    My current laptop is a 15" PC, and I like the size of the screen, but I've been using it as a desktop. I usually use my dad's 13" PC when I'm on the go. I'd like the 15" as it would be less strenuous on my eyes, but I'm concerned about portability... the size, not the weight.
  2. SandboxGeneral Moderator emeritus


    Sep 8, 2010
    It sound like you've already got it figured out. The 13" is probably what you want. It's smaller and easier to carry around.
  3. Branskins macrumors 65816

    Dec 8, 2008
    Are you going into Computer Science or a field that would require the extra screen and performance of a 15"?
  4. carjakester macrumors 68020


    Oct 21, 2013
    the 13 is perfect for portability and i found that the screen size is a non issue, you can always scale down the resolution to get more screen space if it is needed. Having to carry a 15" computer around isn't worth it in my opinion.
  5. B5Burn macrumors newbie

    Jan 19, 2011
    Had the same thoughts returning to Uni last year.. went for a 13" rMBP.

    It's uber compact and fits in every bag I have (2 decent backpacks and a Waterfield bag). The 15" would not fit as conveniently in any of them.

    Fits those annoying kidney table chair/desks and is much easier to rest on your legs during theatre lectures and when cubicle space is limited between laptop, textbooks, iPhone, notes.... space becomes valuable.
  6. mangobravo thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 29, 2014
    My declared major is Bio.

    Thank y'all for all the responses so far.
  7. Branskins macrumors 65816

    Dec 8, 2008
    I don't think you could go wrong with either then. If you prefer the compact size, get the 13".

    The bigger question now is how much RAM and what SSD capacity to get :)

    I would for sure upgrade to the 512 SSD as 256 probably isn't enough to last through college.

    The 8 GB should be fine for your needs... though if the 16 GB fits in your budget then go ahead :)
  8. ogremoustro macrumors 6502a


    Aug 17, 2011
    Los Angeles, CA
    Not my thread but I would like to ask you why a 15" would be better for Computer Science? I'm going into CS myself this year and would like to know.
  9. Freyqq macrumors 601

    Dec 13, 2004
    13" sounds good. You can always get an external display later if you need more screen space.
  10. Branskins macrumors 65816

    Dec 8, 2008
    I had the 15" before I had to return it (screen issues) and am back to my 13".

    Now I do all of my programming on my 13", but when I had the 15", the screen felt less cramped. Xcode has many panes that can take up space and I have many windows open to the point that my 2009 MBP 13" can get sluggish (I mean it is a Core 2 Duo from 2009... so this example might not be helpful. The 13" MBPr probably wouldn't get sluggish from this).

    With the simulator going, several projects, possible VMs, and who knows what else you will come across during school, the extra power of the 15 might come in handy over the next four/five years.

    A 13" got me through CS, but after using the 15", I probably would have preferred its extra screen size and its performance. This doesn't mean that all CS majors would prefer the 15" however.

    Also, using the iPad retina and iPhone retina simulator on the 15" was very nice while I had it :)
  11. Angriff macrumors member

    Dec 28, 2013
    I'm actually in the same exact situation, going back to university after taking a few years off due to having to leave with medical issues, and currently I have an 11" MacBook Air, and I'm taking a couple summer courses. Just doing any schoolwork on this has me realizing I definitely need a larger screen so I was thinking rMBP 13", but after going and playing with both in the university computer store I really think that the extra real estate on the 15" really makes a lot of sense if you aren't planning on bringing the laptop with you to every single class for note taking or something. Personally I have an iPad that I use if I need something in class so I'm thinking the extra real estate on the 15" for side by side documents and such is the best bet. But I'm also somewhat space constrained with my desk at home and my work habits I know I'll be working on the couch quite a bit so I won't be using an external monitor. If an external monitor back on your desk is part of your plan and you want to tote the MBP along with you daily, I think the 13" makes sense but if you want to get work done without using an external display I think the 15" is the way to go.
  12. thekev macrumors 604


    Aug 5, 2010
    How do you transport it? I throw my 17" in a backpack when I need to take it along, and it's fine. It's going to be annoying to carry notebook + charger under your arm, unless you are relying solely on battery while away from your residence. That is likely to be a tough major, so don't spend too much time on the mmo's.
  13. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    I'd go with the 15" just because of the larger display. I know that's bucks the trend for recommending a MBP for students but I think overall its a better laptop.
  14. ogremoustro macrumors 6502a


    Aug 17, 2011
    Los Angeles, CA
    Thank you very much for your response!

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