15 inch vs 17 inch

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by zip120, Apr 14, 2010.

  1. zip120 Guest

    Joined:
    Sep 5, 2009
    #1
    I'll be a college freshman next year at cornell and I'm trying to decide between the 15 inch and 17 inch MacBook pro, so i was wondering if you guys could give some advice
    I would definitely go with the 15 inch for portability/ desk size reasons, but I have an ipad so i could use it with the keyboard dock when i need small/portable, so I'm feeling sort of mixed now
    I'll be an information science major and ill probably double major in computer science and business, so i will need to do some demanding tasks, though i assume either computer can get the job done, but the bigger screen on the 17 might be better for multitasking... Though i have a 24 inch monitor for when im in my dorm
    So it comes down to - is the extra pound in my backpack worth it for some extra screen real estate in the library/computer science classes/etc?
    Note that money isn't too much of an issue
    Let me know what you think, plus any extra tips you might have since this is my first MacBook
    Thanks!
     
  2. thegoldenmackid macrumors 604

    thegoldenmackid

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2006
    Location:
    dallas, texas
    #2
    I've had a 17" and never found portability to be a problem, but I know that I'm in the minority.

    I don't think you will have "demanding" tasks will challenge either. It's a tough call, but I'd go and look at both. Pick up the 17" and realize the weight, then pick-up the 15" and realize it's not that much lighter.

    I doubt I could ever decrease in screen real estate though.
     
  3. techound1 macrumors 68000

    techound1

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2006
    #3
    The 15" will do you just fine, especially with the 24" external back at the ranch. Bear in mind that the 17" doesn't fit in most laptop bags too.
     
  4. Gidiyup macrumors member

    Gidiyup

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    Feb 8, 2010
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    Texas
    #4
    Your a lucky college student. You have an iPad and a 24inch display and now you're getting a new MBP.. Nice!
     
  5. thegoldenmackid macrumors 604

    thegoldenmackid

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    #5
    There are plenty. My current favorite.
     
  6. rcappo macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2010
    #6
    I just bought the 17" MBP. I like the 1920x1200 resolution, and the Expresscard slot (need CF reader). I bought the anti-glare screen option, and need to view large pictures outside sometimes. It is hard to notice the 1.1" width increase & +.7" depth or 1 lbs heavier difference I think. Both weight less than my 5 year old laptop, and are thinner. If I am going to bother carrying around a laptop at all, the difference in size from 13" to 17" isn't that big of a deal to me.

    But, ask me after I try taking it on an airplane...
     
  7. Apple-Man23 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2007
    Location:
    USA
    #7
    15" for sure. Unless you absolutly need the extra screen real estate that the 17" provides the 15" is much more portable. It might not be lighter but it is more convenient when you consider things like use on airplanes, use on desks in class. My 15" mbp just barely fits. For me 15" is plenty of screen real estate for all college tasks.
     
  8. tuna macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2010
    #8
    Probably the 15". Don't forget that:

    1: The base model new 17" MBP only comes with the Core i5, and the Core i7 proc is a MAJOR improvement (we're talking 40%+ on CPU intensive tasks). Upgrading to the i7 at education pricing is another $180.

    2: The 15" model now has the option to upgrade screen resolution to better than it used to be. Well worth the $90 imo.

    I would do the 15", especially since you have the 24" monitor for when you need it. And unless you're an art, design, or cs major, I really doubt that you'll find yourself needing it much.

    My conclusion: I would rather spend money on the Core i7 and screen resolution upgrade than the 17" model.
     
  9. hellfire88 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2008
    #9
    I personally prefer the 15" if it was my only computer at I had to tote it around daily. You already have the 24" apple monitor for dorm use. But as others have said I would go to my local Apple store and take a look at both side-by-side. The Apple store by me has the Macbook pros tethered with some security cable with a little bit of slack, so maybe bring the backpack/bag you will be using at school filled with some typical notebook/textbooks and slide the Macbook pro in for a sec (tell the Apple store sales rep what you are doing else they may call security lol) and see how it feels on your back. It may be just 1lb but coupled with some text books it may be just enough to teeter it over the edge of comfort for daily toting around campus.
     
  10. gan6660 macrumors 65816

    gan6660

    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2008
    #10
    I currently have a 13" MBP and will be upgrading before I go to college in fall 2011. I plan to buy the 15" MBP because I feel that the 17" is just to big to be using on the small desks in class. Even though I could just use my iPad like you I just think you would be much happier with the 15".

    P.S. Now that the top of the line 15" is $2000 with the education discount I think its a great deal and by the time I buy my new one (1-2 refreshes from now) I hope that they are even better. Also go with the HR screen.
     
  11. zip120 thread starter Guest

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    Sep 5, 2009
  12. Proph3T macrumors member

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    Apr 15, 2010
    #12
    hey zip
    I'm in a very similar situation as you minus the iPad. I got a 27in monitor in my dorm room and I've been trying to decide between the 17in and the 15in. I'm a computer science major as well and will probably double major in either business or virtual design. So i got a few questions for you. Did you go with the hi res 15in screen? How well can you have multiple windows open on your 15in like say word and safari open side by side? Have you played any video games or watched any movies and how'd they look on the 15in?
    Thanks
     
  13. MCIowaRulz macrumors 6502

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    Feb 20, 2009
    #13
    I'm in the same boat. I probably going with the 15 inch i7 as well with the H-Res upgraded screen for Final Cut Pro. Is the only difference the 2 inches of Screen and a extra USB and ExpressCard/34 for the 17 inch?
     
  14. Proph3T macrumors member

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    Apr 15, 2010
    #14
    if you are going to be using final cut pro make sure you get the anti glare one. it will produce better more realistic colors for you. those are the main differences yeah. you can get the same internal specs for both of the models. i really wish the 15in was big enough to watch a 1080p movie. I'm obsessed with 1080p movies and the 17in could fit a 1080p movie just with black bars at the top and bottom
     
  15. zip120 thread starter Guest

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    Sep 5, 2009
    #15
    I ordered it online so I haven't gotten yet yet
    I know I said that money wasn't too much of an issue, but my dad pushed me to get the base 15.. I'm having some buyer's remorse but I still think i'll be 1000x better than my old crappy dell - the 1440x900 pixels will be much better than the 1280x800 on my dell
    On my 24 inch monitor (1920x1080) 2 side by side word docs only take up about 2/3 of the screen, so I think multitasking should be ok
     
  16. techound1 macrumors 68000

    techound1

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    Mar 3, 2006
    #16
    You can always up the RAM and the HD yourself.
     
  17. acurafan macrumors 6502a

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    Sep 16, 2008
    #17
    +1 just add 8gb RAM and SSD onto the base 15" with the $$ you saved from the i7 and still come out ahead.

    as a freshman in Ithaca what can you be possibly taking that put such strenuous workload you need a $2,500+ laptop w/a i7 chip? advanced numerical analysis? mechanics? theoretical physics?

    i think your dad made the right choice...i've been there, done that. plus, cornell is a awesome school - my bro graduated there.
     
  18. zip120 thread starter Guest

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    Sep 5, 2009
    #18
    Thanks acura I'm really excited
    You're right i definitely don't need better specs.. at least not for a few years
    The biggest thing that was bothering me was not going for more pixels (engadget says it's a no brainer for $100) but I'm sure I'll be more than satisfied with 1440x900
     
  19. manhattanboy macrumors 6502a

    manhattanboy

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    #19
    God I hope you major in something that will make you a lot of money because spending like that when you have to pay the bills is gonna be tough.
     
  20. tuna macrumors 6502

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    Apr 11, 2010
    #20
    Well they were right it is a no brainer for $100 (or $90 with your educational discount).

    I would call back and try to change it, honestly. You'll probably be looking at that screen for 4 years. For $90 thats a bargain on top of your $1700 computer.
     
  21. PsyD4Me macrumors 6502a

    PsyD4Me

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    #21
    went to the store looked and both and picked up the 15".

    oh FWIW, i didn't like the HD screen, because with more pixels everything looks way small for average eyes.
     
  22. thecheda macrumors 6502

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    Apr 9, 2006
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    #22
    Programmer

    I would go with the 15, and use an external monitor.
     
  23. csnplt macrumors 6502

    csnplt

    Joined:
    Aug 29, 2008
    Location:
    Chicago Area
    #23
    I'm wondering about the same thing. I have an iPad and an iMac 27'', but I need a serious computer for when I'm away from the iMac for several weeks at a time.

    I'm used to a high resolution with the iMac, and now that I'm used to it, a smaller screen feels inefficient. I'm stuck between getting the base 15'' model with the 1680x1050 screen and the base 17'' model (both antiglare).

    Even with my education discount, the 17'' is $2150 with the anti-glare screen vs. $1850 for the high resolution antiglare 15''. An SSD might be a better investment.

    Portability isn't much of a concern for me, though, and I have enough money to comfortably spend on either, so at the moment, I'm leaning towards the 17''. What do you guys think?
     
  24. tuna macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2010
    #24
    I think that Core i7 is a much better choice than everyone here is estimating. Go look up performance comparisons between Core i5 and Core i7. For same Ghz, Core i5 is a standard generational improvement over Core 2... like 3% to 7% faster. Core i7 is the all new technology, 30%+ improvement for the same clock speed.

    I wouldn't get either the 15" or the 17" without a Core i7. Apple price discriminates those models too much to buy them without the real CPU power. To go from the base 13" MBP to the base 15" MBP, you pay $600 basically for only the nicer screen and discrete graphics. But then you also lose battery life because of the discrete graphics. CPU boost is negligible. HDD boost is also negligible since you probably don't want a 320GB hdd either. However, for another $300 you get an actual major CPU performance increase, a major GPU performance increase, and a hard drive that you can actually be content to use.

    IMO 15" and 17" not worth it at all without Core i7, which is a relatively fairly priced upgrade.

    I also wouldn't buy the 15" without upgrading the screen resolution.

    I'm just saying... if you can't afford the 15" with the Core i7 and high res screen, you probably shouldnt waste your money and you should just get the 13". Its 90% of the computer of the base 15" for 65% of the price.
     
  25. csnplt macrumors 6502

    csnplt

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    Aug 29, 2008
    Location:
    Chicago Area
    #25
    This is simply not true. The only difference between the Core i5 and Core i7 is that the Core i7 has 4 MB of cache while the Core i5 has 3 MB of cache (other than the slightly faster clock speed). For me at least, $200 (or $180 with student discount) is not worth the very slight speed increase from the i5 2.53 GHz to the Core i7 2.66 GHz. A much better upgrade, for the same price, would be an Intel SSD.

    Most users would never notice the performance increase going from the i5 2.53 GHz to the 2.66 GHz i7. The i5 and i7 are the same family of technology (Arrandale), and both are much better than the Core 2 Duo in the 13''.

    Anandtech just did a review of the 15'' MBP i5 version, and found that the 2.4 GHz model was faster than the older 2.8 GHz version, in some cases by quite a wide margin. http://anandtech.com/show/3659/apples-15inch-core-i5-macbook-pro-the-one-to-get
     

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