13" or 17" MBP?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by The Final Cut, May 8, 2010.

  1. The Final Cut macrumors 6502

    Sep 5, 2009
    Buying my laptop at the apple store someday next week (waiting for dell return credit:D). I can't decide which one I want. I like cheaper/ price and portability of the 13" but I also love the full hd 17" screen. I know for sure I don't want the 15" MBP. In the end the screen is much more important than portability, but cost is still a major factor.

    Here is what I plan to do with the machine/ other notes:

    Video editing in final cut, I am student right now so I really don't need the best rendering times possible. Very slight usage of after effects, and photoshop, etc.

    This is the most intense multitasking I expect to do: Mail, I tunes, safari (3 tabs), 2 finder windows, text edit, pages, dictionary, itunes, , transmission, and possibly unzip or transfer files at the same.

    Playing back 1080p files in VLC with no slowdown is a must. The ability to handle my massive itunes library is also a must (40GB+).

    I like the option of a matte screen, but don't know if I am going to take it.

    Speaker quality is something I consider as well. Usually use headphones, but don't want awful speakers.

    Yes, I will be running bootcamp (windows 7) to play games. I know a lot about graphics power in general, but not so much about theese mobile cards. I know 75% of my games are fine but what about more recent games? Does the 330m BLOW the 320m out of the water entierly or is just like oh, 1-5 fps better? Keep in mind I will probably have to stick to the 17" native res which is strenuous I know. I must say that I am just a weekend gamer, so this surely not the main part of my decision.

    So thats about it really.
  2. entatlrg macrumors 68040


    Mar 2, 2009
    Waterloo & Georgian Bay, Canada
    If you're going to carry your laptop often go for the 13" and buy an external monitor.

    If it's going to be in your home or office most of the time, or if you don't mind carrying around 6.6 pounds go for the 17"

    True, unless you're traveling screen size is more important than portability ... on your lap a 15" is as comfortable as a 13", maybe more comfortable because it's wider with more of a palm rest ... on the other hand you'll feel the 17" is 'a lot of computer' in many situations.

    I realize you mentioned you didn't want to consider a 15" ... here's our experience fwiw .... we've bought 17" MBP's twice for our Company, our Apple Business Rep talked us into it ... both times we returned them in exchange for the 15". Found them just a little too awkward ... takes up a desk space, clunky to manage, have on lap, put in bag, open in car, plane etc.
  3. andromedaan macrumors member


    Apr 10, 2010
    13" ! I have a 13" MBP 2010 and it's absolutely perfect. Trust me, if you'd get a 15 or 17 inch.. carying it around all day... not gonna be pleasant. Just yesterday i carried my 13" around and it was perfect, perfect to have on my lap while chilling in the train. In fact, i did some editing on it in the train en when I got home: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8YgPlwa2CTM.
    All in iMovie..

    Even for editing, as a student you'll see that 98% of the time you're just surfing and using iWork. You cant carry around a clunky 17", just to be a little more comfortable on a rare occasion where you'll be editing a video.

    Go with the 13", spend the rest of your money on a vacation, meet some new people in weird countries. Or a second display.
  4. alust2013 macrumors 601


    Feb 6, 2010
    On the fence
    I think I would suggest the 13", simply because the 17 is massive. I know that portability isn't a huge concern, but the 17" is a desktop replacement, that you can move, if you have to. For a student, I don't think I would ever really recommend a 17" for a student. Personally, I think it sounds like the 15 with the hi-res screen would be best for your uses, as it is less expensive and much more manageable than the 17, while still being as powerful as the 17 and more powerful than the 13. But if you are completely opposed to the 15, I would say the 13 is your best bet.

    EDIT - another huge benefit to the 13" - that extra grand you will have burning a hole in your pocket
  5. The Final Cut thread starter macrumors 6502

    Sep 5, 2009
    I have an iPhone w/ bluetooth keyboard for note taking. The laptop would only be taken out for special projects or extended down time. At most once a week, or a couple time a month. I just love the full HD screen on the 17", I lifted it up and looked at it and its size felt ok for my needs. Then again $1000 is a lot of money to save, but this laptop is my only big purchase, for the next 4 years so I don't know.
  6. flyfish29 macrumors 68020


    Feb 4, 2003
    New HAMpshire
    Just curious why not the 15" I think it is the perfect blend of portability and screen size. Big enough to have two windows open side by side and have a good amount of visible content, but not so big to lug around. Again, just curious....:D
  7. grahamwright1 macrumors regular


    Feb 10, 2008
    North of the Border
    I do a fair bit of FCP work, and the 1920 resolution matte screen on the 17 is perfect for me. It's a bit heavy but I only have to carry it from home to the office where it's on a desk all day. If I was walking around from class to class, it would get pretty heavy.

    Speakers are a LOT better than my previous MacBook and they are pretty loud.

    Performance with HD video on VLC is great.

    Not a gamer so I cant comment on the 320 vs 330 question.
  8. EasyJW macrumors member

    Apr 22, 2010
    i say go with a 13" mbp with lotttsss of ram [​IMG] that will boost your editing, plus buy an external monitor (around the 24" region) so that you get the best of both worlds! the 17 will be an effort for a student to carry around, and for the difference in price, an ACD can be bought
  9. 7thMac macrumors 6502

    May 10, 2010
    Reconsider the 15 as it would split the difference.
  10. AppleNewton macrumors 68000


    Apr 3, 2007
    1 Finite Place
    If its going to be lightweight work in regards not a full time uber production machine, consider ditching buying at the retail store and goto the Apple Refurb section 13" MacBook Pro's from Mid-2009 are generally on there between $900-1050 which is a steal IMO.

    the updated graphics & battery are nice, but upgrade the memory and hard drive with the money you saved by getting the refurb in all honesty.

    I picked up a 13" 2.26 added 8GB memory and 640GB hdd soon to put in a 1TB as my iTunes library is over 300GB.

    I can easily run logic 9, protools and i mess around with Final cut havent had issues with it. i hook it up to a 27" iMac from time to time.

    plus with the money saved, buy a nice set of desktop speakers.
    the $ i had left over picked up a refurbed AirPort Express and a set of z5500's and just have my itunes stream to that easily. really no more confinement which is a great convenience.

    so I say just stick with a 13" best portability options, great computer and this is coming form someone who had the early-2009 17" MBP, i loved that machine but i needed a somewhat portable machine and havent looked back with the 13".
  11. HBOC macrumors 68020

    Oct 14, 2008
    I have a Peryn 2.5GHZ MBP that i have had for about a year and a half. I carry that thing around A LOT. I am just used to the weight.

    Your question is kind of broad, as in the computers. If you "need" 1080P playback, then you only have one option, unless you can live with an external. I don't think many pro editors use a laptop to edit their work. Same goes with photographers or graphic designers, etc.

    I have a "massive" iTunes library of 92gigs of all music (most at 320K) and i run that with CS4 and Aperture 3 at the same time with no hickups. My "lowly" MBP only has 4GB of RAM and a 500GB 7200rpm Hitachi travelstar.

    I would second the 13", unless you needed the dedicated graphics card. That is why i got my 15".
  12. LJH08 macrumors newbie

    May 11, 2010
    From 17in Macbook Pro late 2009 owner

    Personally i would go with the :apple:17 inch. Bought my 17 in back in september or october and its amazing... only complaint i have with it is weight since it gets heavy lugging it around on campus and around town ..

    Full oppinion is long... you have been warned... read on at your own risk...

    But it has a dedicated video card.. the 13 inch ones are integrated ones... which will work on for most stuff.. but not that good for gaming. As far as FPS .. it can be effected by more than just which card u have. Temperatures and other variables go into the equation. however generally speaking dedicated cards perform a good deal better specially after a year or 2.

    If you plan to watch 1080 Videos on your new mac you'll have to go 17 in .. the 13in 's screen isn't 1080 .. cant remember the exact rez but its less than 1400 by 900 ....

    Speakers- good on my 17in.
    Storage - 500gb standard on 17in

    and finally to probably the most important aspect. Power... if you go 13in you only get a core 2 duo ... compared to a Core i7 ... decent size step there. (look at the 17in pages where it shows the performance jump from current model to last years (my model) ... that could kinda guide you comparing to a 13in since the core duos are close to same as mine)

    to sum it up .. the 3 things your looking at here are PRICE, POWER, and PORTABILITY .

    17in has high Power and Price and medium Portability, 13in has meduim power, low(er) price and high portability.

    Other thoughts to consider... where u will be using it .. Will there be SPACE for a 17in ? several classes i have had have had desks with those half tables that wouldn't hold the mac safely. can always hold it in your lap but still its a hassle that way.

    Screen Real Estate - 17 in is a good deal larger than the 13in one so you can be looking at more at once which is good for multitasking :)

    After you take in all of those ... PRICE! 17in is a great deal more expensive...

    The 17in WILL be a more powerful rig... its a desktop replacement of the mac world. while the 13in is the standard portable.

    Hope you are happy with which ever you pick! Good Luck
  13. LJH08 macrumors newbie

    May 11, 2010

    Have to agree here... the 15in would be a good one to reconsider on ... i almost wish i had got a 15in.. cept they didn't have but 1400 x 900 screens when i bought mine... so had to go with 17in

    but course.. if your set on 13in or 17in they both are good models as well..
  14. JodyK macrumors 6502a


    Jan 29, 2010
    Northern Atlanta suburbs
    Speaking from personal experience I would strongly urge you to buy a 15 inch MBP. I have owned a 13 inch Macbook Air, 13 inch Macbook, 13 inch Macbook Pro, 17 inch Macbook Pro and 15 inch Macbook Pro.

    I LOVE the 15 inch MBP! Based on what you said you needed it to run I would steer you away from the 13 inch MBP as it has the older processors and not the new i5 and i7. You are going to multi task and run final cut with 1080p you said while doing other things. A 13 inch will def see some of the beach ball swirling around doing that in my opinion and from experience.

    As mentioned by others the 17 inch is huge! If you are basically a desktop user who doesn't want a desktop or are the part time traveler then a 17 is great. But it is big.

    Sooooooooo ..... Quite fighting it and get a 15!
  15. modit macrumors 6502

    Apr 8, 2008
    So the only difference between the 15 and 17 inch Macbook Pro is screen real estate, portabilty in many places and HD being on the 17 inch version.

    But doesn't the 15 inch model have this option (MacBook Pro 15-inch Hi-Res Glossy Widescreen Display) which is 1080P HD?
  16. alust2013 macrumors 601


    Feb 6, 2010
    On the fence
    The Hi-res 15" isn't 1080p, it is close, at 1680x1050, but not quite 1080

Share This Page