13" v 15"

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by bootsydan, Jan 7, 2013.

  1. bootsydan macrumors newbie

    Jan 7, 2013

    I'm looking to buy a macbook pro (non retina) primarily for sound editing but with option of video editing.

    Looking at the options on the mac website it appears the only benefits of the 15" over the 13" is the quad core and the screen size. Are these really worth the extra $300? In about everything else the 13" seems to have better specs.

    If anyone has an opinion on this matter as to which one would better serve my needs it would be much appreciated!

    Here are the two I'm looking at:

    13-inch: 2.9GHz
    2.9GHz dual-core Intel Core i7
    Turbo Boost up to 3.6GHz
    8GB 1600MHz memory
    750GB 5400-rpm hard drive1
    Intel HD Graphics 4000
    Built-in battery (7 hours)2
    In Stock
    Free Shipping
    A$ 1,689.00

    15-inch: 2.3GHz
    2.3GHz quad-core Intel Core i7
    Turbo Boost up to 3.3GHz
    4GB 1600MHz memory
    500GB 5400-rpm hard drive1
    Intel HD Graphics 4000
    NVIDIA GeForce GT 650M with 512MB of GDDR5 memory
    Built-in battery (7 hours)2
    In Stock
    Free Shipping
    A$ 1,999.00

  2. InuNacho macrumors 65816


    Apr 24, 2008
    In that one place
    Save some dough and upgrade the HD and ram yourself.
  3. Barna Biro macrumors 6502a

    Barna Biro

    Sep 25, 2011
    Zug, Switzerland
    15" -er mainly because of the quad-core CPU that you'll benefit from the most.
    Do upgrade your RAM later down the road and an SSD can never hurt either.
  4. seveej macrumors 6502a


    Dec 14, 2009
    Helsinki, Finland
    Considering that the cMBP's are among the last self-customizable macs, I'll assume you know how to use a screwdriver. So disregarding trivialities such as memory and storage, the main differences between those models are:
    - display (the 13" screen resolution is appalling, this has always been a deal-breaker for me)
    - number of cores (4 vs. 2), but admittedly some apps will run faster on the 13"
    - discrete GPU in the 15"
    - size and weight

  5. xShane macrumors 6502a


    Nov 2, 2012
    United States
    First of all, I'd like to point out that if you're going to be doing video editing I'd *HIGHLY* recommend getting a dedicated GPU (which the 13" MBPs do NOT have).

    Second, I'm going to save you some money right now by telling you that price for the 15" is *horrible*. Click here. If the link doesn't work for you (because it's the US store):
    In the official Apple refurb store it's a...
    - 15" w/ 2.6Ghz Quad-core i7 (latest Ivy Bridge technology)
    - 8GB 1600Mhz
    - 750GB 5400-rpm
    - Intel HD Graphics 4000
    - Nvidia GeForce GT 650M with 1GB
    - etc.

    As you can see, all the major specs (CPU, RAM, HD, video card w/ VRAM) are not only better, but are significantly better. This *will* also make a *significant* difference in performance.

    Thank me later :)
  6. robvas macrumors 68030

    Mar 29, 2009
    One note: the i7 is not the same between the 15" and 13".

    The obvious thing is dual-core vs quad-core, but there's also a big difference in L2 cache size: 4MB vs 6MB

    That makes the lower-clocked 15" i7 almost the same speed as the faster clocked i7 in the 13" in sigle-threaded tasks.
  7. bootsydan thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 7, 2013
    Thanks very much for all your replies, seems there is no doubt that the 15" is the way to go.

    I'll thank you now haha. I hadn't shopped around for price yet as I was mainly interested in looking at the specs, but you've given me a good start on my next step :)
  8. takeshi74 macrumors 601

    Feb 9, 2011
    Worth is always highly subjective on any topic. It would be worth it for some and not worth it for others. If it was universally worth it no one would have a 13. If it was universally not worth it then no one would have the 15. You haven't provided enough info on you and your needs/wants/preferences for us to begin to attempt to answer your question.

    What are your needs? We can't read your mind. We only know what you tell us.
  9. xShane macrumors 6502a


    Nov 2, 2012
    United States
    No problem, glad to help :)
  10. el-John-o macrumors 65816

    Nov 29, 2010
    Like others have said, your needs determine which one, that's what you need to determine. That's why Apple makes two.

    I need a portable machine that's light, easy to carry, doesn't break the bank and fits neatly on a crowded desk or in my lap easily. The 13" MacBook Pro nails that. However, I don't do 3D gaming, video editing, or applications that demand quad-core power. If you do, then you need the 15" plain and simple.

    Figure out where you are and go from there. I also recommend going and playing with them. If you don't need the performance of the 15", but are unsure on the form factor, you need to play with them. This discussion comes up several times a week, and there are those who cannot imagine using anything less than a 15", and thought the 17" was the best form factor ever. THEN, there are those like me, who think a 15" starts to become unwieldy and a 13" fits like a glove. We're all different!
  11. bootsydan thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 7, 2013
    Like I said in the first post...

  12. el-John-o macrumors 65816

    Nov 29, 2010
    Well, like I said, you need to determine what those needs are in a bit more detail.

    For sound editing, both will work, though you'll benefit from the quad core in very intense applications. Also, you'll benefit from the GPU in the 15" for video editing.

    BUT, if it needs to be portable, more than it needs to be a bit faster in those once-in-a-while situations, then the 13" is the way to go.

    If it needs to be very portable, but you deal with heavy video editing or serious pro level sound editing EVERY DAY, then you're just going to have to lug around the 15" anyway.

    The 15" is very much a better performer, but the 13" is a little bit better form factor for many of us, plus it's much cheaper which is helpful if you don't think you'll need or benefit from the additional performance.
  13. bootsydan thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 7, 2013
    Yeah unfortunately as I'm in Oz I can't buy that one. At our apple refurbished store the same machine costs $2100 - however I've come across this one for $1700:


    It's obviously not quite as good, but do you know if it would handle:

    a) sound editing (logic or pro tools)
    b) video editing (final cut pro - little or no intensive 3d graphic rendering)

    The video editing I wouldn't need for at least a few months, maybe longer, so I'm thinking if it could handle the sound editing the best option might be to buy the cheaper option, then upgrade other parts later if needed.

    My concern with the cheaper version is the 4GB RAM and the NVIDIA with only 512MB of GDDR5 memory and my concern with both of them is the HDD @ only 5400rpm.

    What are your thoughts? I'm a bit of a noob..

    OK, thanks, it does need to be portable but performance is of a greater concern, so I've decided on the 15", now it's just a question of which 15"...
  14. el-John-o macrumors 65816

    Nov 29, 2010
    The GT650M will handle what you need. Obviously, a massive 12-core Mac Pro with dual graphics cards in crossfire would do even better, but you don't want that do you? LOL. But yeah, that 15" model will perform well for what you need.

    Don't worry about the RAM, it can be upgraded very easily. In fact, Apple even includes instructions on how to do it with your non-retina Mac!

    You can get 16 gigs of RAM under $100 (and less RAM for even less! Though lots of RAM is really helpful with video editing). I would suggest trying to get DDR3-1600 RAM as it's a bit quicker than DDR3-1333 (you'll find both and both will work).

    To replace the RAM, it's as easy as removing the screws on the bottom, removing the bottom piece, and swapping the sticks out. There are great videos on it on YouTube, piece of cake.

    I honestly think what you've got there would be a great deal would would handle what you need. I would upgrade the RAM, and if you can afford it, an SSD would be another really nice improvement as well.

    You said you won't be doing any 3D, so, 512MB of VRAM on the graphics card is plenty. (Honestly it's plenty for a lot of 3D stuff too...) Especially in a notebook platform, if you need more performance than what you've got there, then you really need to move up to a desktop. But you said it needs to be portable, so, the 15" 2012 MBP is probably your best bet! However, it'll handle FCP and Logic JUST fine.

    You're other concern was the 5400RPM hard drive, it won't kill ya, but yeah an SSD upgrade would be nice. I don't know who you buy electronics from down in Oz, but you should be able to get an SSD fairly inexpensive, they have dropped in price. I would get at LEAST a 256GB model, with 512GB preferable. However, either route you go, you should be able to get a USB 3.0 enclosure for the factory hard drive, stick it in there, and you'll have a fast external 500GB drive!

    If you need help with any of that, I can walk you through it. Just shoot me a PM or whatever. I just recently did all of the above. In fact, I even went a step further and installed a SECOND SSD in where my optical drive was and put my optical drive inside an enclosure!

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