13" vs 15"

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by coolhandbob, Mar 13, 2011.

  1. coolhandbob macrumors newbie

    Mar 13, 2011
    I've got a 2006 15" MBP with a 2.2MHz C2D (and a 20010 Mac Pro at home for the tough stuff).

    My MBP is still cranking along fine, but I'm considering an upgrade. If I do, it'll be either the top end 13" MBP or the bottom end 15", with a 128G SSD (and the high res screen on the 15").

    Two big questions:

    1) I need to feel a significant improvement in performance from my 5yr old MBP to make this worthwhile. I assume just the switch to SSD will make booting up/etc go much faster. And the longer battery life (I get 3hrs on a fairly new battery) will be very nice. But will I see an appreciable speed bump on the 13"? I do a little matlab and php/mysql coding, but mostly web stuff and excel/word/pp - ie nothing hardcore. It needs to feel like going from a civic to a sportscar...

    2) Is the 15" worth the several hundred $ price premium in terms of chip/graphics card? I have an old 12" powerbook g4 from around 2003 and it is slow as molasses - a fairly irrelevant point except that I like to keep my laptops around for a while and if the quad i7 in the 15" future-proofs me for a couple of extra years vs the 13"'s i5, it is probably worth the cash. Unless the next wave of MBP improvements is to screen resolution (which haven't improved much in quite a while)...

    I'm looking to integrate using my laptop more into my life (ie no more notes on paper etc) and thought about going with an Air, but the C2D chips in them worried me, future-proof wise. I know they are snappy computers now given the SSD benefits, but I assume they choke on the occasional mildly challenging excel spreadsheet?

    Any thoughts would be appreciated...
  2. Hellhammer Moderator


    Staff Member

    Dec 10, 2008
    Both of them are much faster than your current MBP in terms of CPU power. MBA would be a downgrade in CPU power so if your current MBP isn't fast enough, don't think about the MBA. It's way faster in general computing but not a monster in CPU power.

    I think the 13" would be fine for your needs. The biggest question is the screen size and resolution. Are you fine with the 1280x800 or are you ready to pay the extra for a bigger screen?

    Remember that you have 14 days to return/exchange the Mac so you could give the 13" a try and return it in case you don't like it or prefer the 15".
  3. bchertov macrumors newbie


    Jul 7, 2008
    I got a new MBP 13 with a SSD and 8Gig (which was probably unnecessary).

    It is WAY FAST! Even casual browser surfing is noticeably faster. Applications start almost instantly! There are speed improvement everywhere! It screams!

    I use an external monitor (24") and wireless keyboard and mouse. It all works great!

    The only hangup now is that I had to move my large itunes library to an external drive because of the limited 128 gig SSD size. That works well enough, but there are times when everything is paused to allow the external drive to spin up. Full heaven will come when I get an external thunderbolt SSD drive!
  4. Yebubbleman macrumors 68030


    May 20, 2010
    Los Angeles, CA
    In situations where a Mac desktop is your primary Mac or the Mac where your digital life is centralized, you don't really need the most powerful of the MacBook Pro line in order to have a laptop that is plenty sufficient for what you want to do when portable. Either model of current 13" MacBook Pro will blow your existing 15" MacBook Pro clear out of the water. More than that, if you have a Mid 2010 Mac Pro to do the serious stuff is overkill unless you need the MacBook Pro to also do serious stuff.

    If your Mac laptop is your primary Mac or the Mac where your digital life is centralized, then I'd say to go with a base model 15" MacBook Pro at minimum. I have a Mid 2010 Mac mini Server functioning as my desktop and when I get my 15" MacBook Pro, the mini Server will be used for surfing the web and listening to music when at my desk in addition to storing files that I don't need centralized.
  5. Jayrcee macrumors regular


    Feb 10, 2006
  6. ThaDoggg macrumors 6502a


    Sep 26, 2010
    Peterborough, Canada
    Go with the 13" for portability and get an external monitor for when you are at your desk.
  7. Bobcat16 macrumors member

    Sep 18, 2010
    What external monitor would you recommend for working at the desk?
  8. J&JPolangin macrumors 68030

    Jul 5, 2008
    Thule GL @ the TOW
    ...that must be an amazing MP, how'd you get it & what are the spec's if you are allowed to say?...:p:confused::p
  9. csjo00 macrumors regular

    May 17, 2010
    I was in this same boat last year, about this time too.

    I ended up going with the 13", and I don't regret it. It's the perfect size, and has great battery life, which both help as I take my laptop to most of my college classes.

    I just wish I could've gotten a Core iX processor instead of C2D, but assuming you'll get a 2011 model that's not a problem.

    As for monitors, I've heard nothing but good reviews from Dell's UltraSharp monitors, and that's what I plan on buying.
  10. Consultant macrumors G5


    Jun 27, 2007
    Either will be much faster. Consider SSD.

    As for me, just updated my 17" MBP to latest quad core. 15" is not too big.
  11. radicalcentrist macrumors member

    Dec 10, 2008
    Portland, OR

    That really depends on what you do with the 15". I had an '09 15" MPB, which I replaced with an MBA v2. Besides the (obvious) weight difference, the 13" is far easier to open on flights. On some flights (US Air, I think), I couldn't even open the 15" if the person in front of me reclined their seat.
  12. ThaDoggg macrumors 6502a


    Sep 26, 2010
    Peterborough, Canada
    I would go with the Ultrasharp line from Dell. The U2311H I think provides the most bang for your buck. The U2410 is pretty much double the price of the 23" but you are getting 16:10.

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