15-inch 2009 or 13-inch 2012 Macbook Pro

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by katherine98614, Jul 18, 2014.

  1. katherine98614 macrumors newbie

    Jul 18, 2014
    I have two possible computers I can buy. A 15-inch laptop from 2009 that was top of the line and was the most expensive thing available(besides 17 inch), with the most enhanced software.
    Theres also a 2012 13 inch (non retina) that was the least expensive and powerful of the macbook pro line.
    I want this computer for college and I'm a photographer. Which one do you think is better?
  2. MarvinHC macrumors 6502a

    Jan 9, 2014
    I have had a late 2008 15" (not much different to your 2009 version) and am now writing this on my 13" 2012 cMBP, both with 4GB RAM. So I can quite well compare your two options.

    The 15" screen is obviously a lot bigger, and I have to say the extra screen real estate is noticeable, plus it has a higher resolution. Screen wise it is definitely nicer. You definitely have to put an SDD into the 15". I had a Samsung 840 Evo in and it handled Mavericks easily. The 2012 was still clearly quicker but not by a lot.
    In the end I kept the newer 13" for the following reasons:
    - portability: it is a lot lighter and smaller
    - it has USB 3.0 ports
    - battery life is about double (I get around 6 hours out of it, on the 15" even with a brand new battery there was not much more than 3 hours in there)
    - the 15" got fairly hot even without major tasks - I have cleaned the fans in detail but that did not help too much. Clearly it had a lot more to do for the same tasks as the newer 13"
    - I nevertheless sometimes miss the nicer screen from the 15"

    So depending on what is more important for you based on the above you can make up your mind.

    You didn't mention the pieces but the 2009 should be as second hand at least 30% cheaper than the 2012 second hand (before factoring in an SSD for the 2009 model).
  3. T5BRICK macrumors G3


    Aug 3, 2006
    The 13" model all the way. It's got a better CPU, it'll take up to 16GB of RAM and if you need a bigger screen you can always use an external display.

    Does the 2012 model have warranty? Just so you know, Apple is still selling that model.
  4. Naimfan macrumors 601


    Jan 15, 2003
    Get the 13" one. For the reasons t5brick gives, and also note the 2012 has USB3 and better graphics (even though they're integrated, they're better than the discrete card in the 2009).
  5. alex0002 macrumors 6502

    Jun 19, 2013
    New Zealand
    If you are going to use an external monitor most of the time, then it's no contest, just get the 13 inch 2012. You can expect long term support in OS X as it's still a current model with Ivy Bridge CPU, USB3 and Thunderbolt.

    With SATA-3 in the 2012 model, you will get the most advantage from an SSD and regardless of which model you get, an SSD will make a big difference to performance.

    If you aren't going to use an external monitor, then you might want to spend a bit of time working with the non retina monitors in each size to determine how important the size advantage of the 15 inch is going to be.

    If in doubt, the newer machine is probably going to last longer so get that one.
  6. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    I usually recommend the 15" model, but that one is so old that the 13" MBP makes more imo. I'd recommend that over the 15" at this stage.
  7. MagicBoy macrumors 68040


    May 28, 2006
    Manchester, UK
    13" for the reasons already given, assuming you are happy with the screen.
  8. katherine98614 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 18, 2014

    Thank you everyone!!! So I was getting both of these from family friends, and I got the 13 inch, but then i also got offered the 15 inch for an absolutely ridiculously low price, so I took both? Haha. I'm using the 15 inch right now because Im not doing anything too heavy, and what I am doing involves media and the screen is a huge plus. My mom, who needed a computer, is using the 13 inch and if this one ever runs out of gas, then I absorb that one or maybe when I go off to college (because of all the reasons everyone mentioned) . So I got the best of both worlds!!! Thanks so much for your input!

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