13" vs 15" vs Air

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by LeiQQ, Aug 11, 2011.

?

Which should I buy?

Poll closed Aug 18, 2011.
  1. MacBook Pro 13" 2.3 Ghz

    40.7%
  2. MacBook Pro 13" 2.7 Ghz

    14.8%
  3. MacBook Pro 15" 2.0 Ghz

    44.4%
  1. LeiQQ macrumors regular

    LeiQQ

    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2011
    Location:
    Taipei, Taiwan
    #1
    I am a PhD student as well as a lecturer traveling back and forth between two different cities quite often (1.5 hr commute via train & bus). I've been using an Asus Eeepc for on-the-go commuting and when staying in one city because when I bought it about the time the first Air came out because I needed something portable but cheap. At that time I was using and still have in use an iMac G5. Then it started acting up and about that time the updated mini released (not the latest update) and I was lucky to catch the Taiwan Apple On-Line store goof up with pricing (google if you are not familiar with it) and got a mac mini snow leopard server maxed out for less than $600US. The mini has been a great replacement for my dying G5 but this Eeepc is driving crazy. I need a portable machine but because I'm staying more and more in one city than the other and space is tight, it would be better for me to get a notebook to carry with me.

    At first I was in love with the Air but even with the larger number of pixels I cannot justify spending the money knowing that I can get a much more powerful MacBook Pro. Plus I've been told by my significant other that as a combined birthday and anniversary present I am getting a MacBook Pro 13". This excites me but I'm just wondering...Is it enough? (Not enough of a gift!! ha it's more than enough!) It's just that when I bought my G5 I maxed it out to the highest specs I could get, the same with the mini. Now with this machine since it's a gift, I can't really decide but I can of course throw in a little extra money of my own for something a little speedier. I just need to try to justify that there will be a noticeable difference in performance for me.

    Now my questions:

    Is it worth my paying for the speed bump to make this 2.3Ghz i5 13" a 2.7Ghz i7 13" or would it be better for me to just jump to the 15" 2.0 quad core i7 or not spend any extra money at all?

    Would the AMD Radeon HD 6490M with 256MB GDDR5 knock my socks off in comparison to the Intel HD Graphics 3000?
     
  2. Adamantoise macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2011
    #2
    I think a Core i5 13" MBP would suffice for most people so long as they don't play video games.

    I'm not sure but I think the i7 in the 15" is a quad core ... That would be more powerful, but trust me, the processor is not going to be the bottleneck in your system.
     
  3. Minhthien macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2011
    #3
    I voted for 15' 2.0 because that's what I have! :)
     
  4. Naimfan macrumors 68040

    Naimfan

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2003
    #4
    Get the 2.3 GHz i5 and then, if you want/need, put in 8 GB RAM and a 750 GB hard drive.

    From your description, I wouldn't bother with a SSD; the option would be to get a 15" although with your commute I think the 13" MBP is the way to go.
     
  5. LeiQQ thread starter macrumors regular

    LeiQQ

    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2011
    Location:
    Taipei, Taiwan
    #5
    Yes, the screen size is not a big issue for me actually. I think the 13" would be enough for me. I'm working with a 10.2" screen now and surviving. I think a 500 GB HD would be enough for my needs especially since I'll store most things on the mini.
     
  6. LeiQQ thread starter macrumors regular

    LeiQQ

    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2011
    Location:
    Taipei, Taiwan
    #6
    How comparable would the quad core i7 2.0 Ghz and the dual core i5 2.7 Ghz be?
     
  7. Naimfan macrumors 68040

    Naimfan

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2003
    #7
    The quad-core 15" is miles ahead of the 2.7 GHz 13". Either get the 2.3 GHz i5 13" or the 15" 2.0. the 2.7 GHz is grossly overpriced for what it provides relative to the 2.3 GHz i5.
     
  8. gorskiegangsta macrumors 65816

    gorskiegangsta

    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2011
    Location:
    Brooklyn, NY
    #8
    Absolutely not. Paying $250 for an upgrade that'll give you (at best) 10% increase in performance is not worth it.

    Yes, the 15 inchers are much more powerful than the 13 inchers and have higher resolution displays. But unless power matters to you, do not get the 15" model. If you're looking for higher res display, and if massive storage space doesn't matter to you, you may as well look into getting a 13" Air.

    The performance difference between 6490m and Intel HD 3000 is significant, but not staggering.
     
  9. PurpleMarmalade macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Aug 29, 2010
    #9
    You haven't said what you use it for, so it's impossible to know whether you will see the difference in CPU or GPU but, given your occupation, I would suggest that an upgrade to an SSD would be far more noticeable to you than going for a beefier processor.
     
  10. DustinT macrumors 68000

    DustinT

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2011
    #10
    Agreed, this with an SSD is the best combination. Especially when the 15" can be purchased now and an SSD purchased whenever you want. The quad core system, greater video card and expansion options make the 15" the one to get. My second choice would be the 13" and the Air last. Yes, its the most portable but it has the least power, lowest battery life and zero upgrade options.
     
  11. Young Spade macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2011
    Location:
    Tallahassee, Florida
    #11
    1) Paying that money is crazy; don't do it. I agree with you.

    2) In regards to the HD3000; I've been able to play Oblivion and Portal 2 on med-high settings with no lag at all. The machine gets very hot (~95 C) when playing, but overall gameplay is smooth and I have no problems.

    Definitely. The baseline MBP seems like a good choice for you; you can purchase RAM from an online retailer for cheap. If you want a larger HD or SSD, you can also get that online for cheaper than Apple suggests.
     
  12. danpass macrumors 68020

    danpass

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2009
    Location:
    Miami, FL
    #12
    I just picked up a MBP 13i5. I'm going to try it out.

    You've got 14 days to try it out.
     
  13. L0s7man macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2009
    #13
    Why would you pick 13" MBP instead of 13" MBA? It's not going to be any faster; even if it was, 1280x800 screen resolution is pathetic. At least MBA has 1440x900!
     
  14. gorskiegangsta macrumors 65816

    gorskiegangsta

    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2011
    Location:
    Brooklyn, NY
    #14
    Macbook Pros have faster processors, more capacious hard drives, more connectivity options, upgradeable RAM and storage, and are quite cheaper than Macbook Airs.
     
  15. Young Spade macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2011
    Location:
    Tallahassee, Florida
    #15
    This. Every point. Oh and it's upgradable, which might be helpful 2-3 years from now. The possibility of 2 drives? Hell you can just put a SSD in there and beat the Air out in all regards.
     
  16. L0s7man macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2009
    #16
    Aye, valid points, but for 15-17" MBP. 13" MBP is just TERRIBLE with 1280x800. It is slightly faster CPU, I grant you that, but it doesn't really matter; i5 or i7 in MBA is fast enough (I'm a programmer and I use Gentoo linux where you compile everything. If anything I'd be a CPU whore). As for RAM... yeah 8GB would be awesome but you can live (mostly) comfortably with 4GB.

    What I'd love to see is 13" MBP with somewhat decent dedicated GPU and high res screen. Oh and Apple should finally get rid of the damn optical drive (in all MBPs in my opinion) and offer decent Raid 0 config (yes you can do it yourself, but the optical drive controller is SATA2 not SATA3 which kinda sucks; RAID 0 SSDs can saturate SATA3...)
     
  17. Rhyalus macrumors 6502

    Rhyalus

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2011
    #17
    If you were ok with the Asus eepc (I have that POS as well), then you will be delighted with the base MBP.

    The 13" will give you good portability, and for $1199, you have a great machine. I upgraded to 8GB (it costs ~$50 USD now), and you can always add an SSD later. I am happy with the 340MB HD, personally.

    I really don't feel that the screen res is a problem at all, but then again, it is not my "primary" PC.

    R
     
  18. palpatine macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    May 3, 2011
    #18
    i am a phd candidate/lecturer/researcher who does a lot of traveling as well, and i am also a former asus eepc user. i say former, because i switched to mac a few months ago, and the netbook gets very little use these days. it's great for papers and minor stuff like that, but just cannot handle real work. i also do research in chinese, japanese, and english. i highly recommend osx for all three languages. in my opinion, it is a better environment for writing.

    i do most of my work on an ipad. today i am in a starbucks in osaka working on a chapter of my dissertation. i left the house this morning with a small man purse (waterfield's vertigo) holding my ipad, the apple bluetooth keyboard, and the incase origami workstation. the whole setup weighs just about the same as the macbook air and takes up about the same amount of space, but costs about half as much and has about twice as much battery life (i am at 78% now after a few hours of use). best of all, it makes a great reader. i have all of my sources and my personal library digitized.

    i have a macbook pro 13"/ 8gb ram base model at home. i love it for doing heavy work (messing around in adobe acrobat pro, formatting papers, etc.), but it really only gets a tiny bit of use each day. in my case, i photograph a lot of historical documents and need to process those. i also scan a lot of secondary sources and create pdf files. this would seem simple enough, but the netbook was dying, and i have been thrilled that my mbp easily completes work more than twice as fast (i timed it) without a hiccup. i save literally hours of time every day.

    i would definitely enjoy a faster processor for the 13", but the cost for a dual core seems unreasonable. the 15"would be fun as well, but for my uses i have to admit it is overpowered. with my workflow, the 13" is clearly the most cost effective. also, as much as i love the airs, i would leave it at home anyhow, because i have my ipad, so there isn't much point in paying a premium for portability.
     
  19. Rhyalus macrumors 6502

    Rhyalus

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2011
    #19
    If all you do is type documents, then the ipad might be considered a reasonable solution. Once you move towards powerpoint, image editing, and excel operations, I don't think it is a serious business machine.

    I guess it all depends on what the PhD is in.... :)

    R
     
  20. LeiQQ thread starter macrumors regular

    LeiQQ

    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2011
    Location:
    Taipei, Taiwan
    #20
    Fair enough. :)

    I use it for Safari & Firefox general web browsing, Office, Open Office, iLife, lots of movie watching & web streamed videos especially real video files, stats work, DVD ripping, and a few other minor cataloging programs.
     
  21. LeiQQ thread starter macrumors regular

    LeiQQ

    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2011
    Location:
    Taipei, Taiwan
    #21
    Right. When I am sitting at my desk at the graduate institute I will plug into the ethernet port and as far as I recall the Macbook Air doesn't have one. The university wireless is sometimes up and down so this is a consideration for me.
     
  22. LeiQQ thread starter macrumors regular

    LeiQQ

    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2011
    Location:
    Taipei, Taiwan
    #22
    Yeah, before I thought about an iPad but with the iOS I don't have enough control. My problem is that I will need to do heavy PowerPoint work and need the ability to manipulate the slides precisely.
     
  23. Prodo123 macrumors 68020

    Prodo123

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2010
    #23
    The sheer power of the MacBook Pro 15" causes nearby women to get turned on and the evil mother-in-law to send you flowers. It causes Chuck Norris to have a meltdown, brings Bruce Lee from the dead, makes The Hangover look like Toy Story, and gives promotions to Steve Jobs. If a PC fanboy stares at it for too long, their eyes will burn in pure jealousy, because the 15" is powerful enough to shoot invisible laser beams that can kill even Superman.





    Jokes aside, here's a comparison of processors.
    Dual core i5 = Last year's 21" iMac
    Dual core i7 = Last year's 27" iMac
    Quad core 2.0Ghz = Last Year's 6-core Mac Pro

    Here's the graphics.
    HD3000 = 320M
    6490M = 330M (Extremely better than above)
     
  24. Young Spade macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2011
    Location:
    Tallahassee, Florida
    #24
    Well then it seems that the most rational choice is to get a baseline 13 inch MBP.
     
  25. gorskiegangsta macrumors 65816

    gorskiegangsta

    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2011
    Location:
    Brooklyn, NY
    #25
    I [sort of] agree with you on resolution. While 1280x800 is not "terrible" I would have paid an extra $200 for a 1440x900 display upgrade more readily than for a 2.7GHz i7 upgrade. That being said, myself, as a student, portability/battery life is priority #1. The 13'' Core i5 model handles everything that I do on it perfectly (and then some), has great battery life and is easy to carry around with my books. The 1280x800 is really a non- issue, to me, personally. I also like the ability to upgrade the internals on my own, as way of extending the useful life of the machine. I already upgraded to 8GB RAM (I need to run Win7 in VM) and will be getting an SSD soon - this thing will scream for years to come.
     

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