15" or 17" MBP?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by Ropedartman, Jul 9, 2008.

  1. Ropedartman macrumors member

    Oct 28, 2007
    Denver, CO
    Weight or screen real-estate, that is the question! Just curious what everyone thinks about my situation. I currently have a MB and it's great, but as my projects grow it size, it tends to bog down. So I have decided to get a MBP (if the Montevina update strikes my fancy). At home I plug in desk-top-style with a 24" monitor, keyboard, mouse, and a couple of HDDs. I carry it with me to school several days a week, so I was looking at the 15", but at school I'm running 3D CAD and Rendering programs, as well as CS3 programs, and am starting to like the idea of a bigger, hi-res screen. Weight with the 17" is my main concern, lugging it around. With a 17" screen, at home I could leave it up when plugged into my ext., and have a dual-display setup (not ideal, but better than just the one screen, or my 24" and a 13"!). Obviously not in any hurry, but does anyone here have a 17" that they carry frequently or any input? Thanks....:D

    Sorry if this has been posted several times already.
  2. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere


    May 16, 2008
    The good news is that this subject has been discussed repeatedly in dozens of threads in the forums, so you can get a much faster response if, before starting a new repetitive thread, you'll first use this link to search the forums to see what has already been discussed. MacRumors Guides are also a great resource. If you don't find your answer there, let us know and we'll be happy to help! :)

    Also, you'll find better response in the Buying Tips, Advice and Discussion thread.
  3. Standard macrumors regular

    Jul 8, 2008
    I use all those programs you speak of and honestly, do not go with the 17" MBP. You sound like this is your 'desktop' when at home, so go with the 15". The performance is not really noticeably from the 15"-17", and to be honest with you..working with 3ds Max and AutoCad (ie, 3d views [pre-render]) will be sluggish on the 17". The GPU is only 128bit thus you are not able to take advantage of the extra 256mb memory in the GPU. So, with the 17" your GPU will have more work to do in terms of outputting your workload to fit the resolution.

    In my opinion because I do similar work to yours, go with the 15". It's a good size for a portable, and will perform better than the 17".
  4. Ropedartman thread starter macrumors member

    Oct 28, 2007
    Denver, CO
    Tried that, thanks.

    Thank you for your cheerful response to an apparently "over-asked" question. I have tried those options and am still posting this question. ;)

    Interesting about the 17" actually producing images slower than the 15", hadn't thought about that. Anyone else had that experience? Thanks.
  5. kingcrowing macrumors 6502a


    May 24, 2004
    Burlington, VT
    I personally don't like the 17", its too big and if you wear a watch it will scratch against the palmrest... for me it was very annoying.
  6. alphaod macrumors Core


    Feb 9, 2008
    I don't know where you got from, but I have never experienced that before.

    Well wouldn't the wristwatch scratch any computer's palmrest? If you're worried about scratches, get a Moshi Palmguard and you will have no more worries about that.


    Apart from that, yes the 17" feel physically bigger than the 15" model when you just carry it around with you in your hand, but when you have it in a backpack of sorts, you will notice that the 17" is in fact quite manageable and light compared to many other computers. I carry mine to class and I have no issues; true, it won't fit in a lot of places, but I love this computer.
  7. kalimba macrumors regular

    Jun 10, 2008
    Is it possible that because the 17" screen can achieve higher display resolutions, it should technically take more time to update an entire screenfull of pixels? Even so, wouldn't the difference be negligible?
  8. jjahshik32 macrumors 603

    Sep 4, 2006
    I have to say for the love of GOD 17" will do you good! That's how great it is~!

    Plus no left speaker/magsafe sizzling noises and headphone jack hissing noise problems either. (or a chance to get the vertical led stripe issues and yellow tint at the bottom of the mbp issues as well).

    The 17" hi res mbp melts your eyes from the eye candy goodness with no problems as well. :apple::apple::apple::p:p:p
  9. Ropedartman thread starter macrumors member

    Oct 28, 2007
    Denver, CO
  10. jjahshik32 macrumors 603

    Sep 4, 2006
    I've been through 12x 15" 2.4ghz mbp from last years model "merom" and 8x 15" 2.4, 2.5, 2.6ghz model of the "penryn" this year and all of them had the left speaker sizzling noise issue when the magsafe is connected with after a sound has played, magsafe green light not coming on sometimes, 1 had vertical led light issue, all of them had some sort of yellowish/beige tint at the bottom, and the 15" mbp generally felt more clunkier in performance and not as fast as the 17" mbp (maybe because the 17" mbp has a much bigger and more efficient heatsink), and finally the headphone jack via external speakers or headphones made hissing noises.

    I've been through 2 17" mbp earlier this year just when the hi res led 17" mbp was released I bought the 2.5ghz model and compared to all the 15" mbp it ran overall much faster and I know what to compare it to as I had the mac pro desktop that ran as buttery smooth.

    I ended up selling the 2.5ghz model 17" hi res mbp because I wanted a mba (since I already had a mac pro desktop) and once I got the mba, it was just too slow for the $$ so this is where my quest for the perfect 15" mbp and since then I returned up to 8 and finally ended up buying the 2.6ghz 17" mbp and sold the mac pro and do not regret it at all.

    Anyway especially connected to my 23" and 30" acd the 17" mbp felt and was much closer to the buttery smooth osx that I was used to on my mac pro. The 15" felt like it hiccuped using expose and multitasking where this wasnt a problem with the 17" (felt more like a desktop speed).

    Everything loads much faster and I've never had any image load slow on the 17", actually it loads alot faster. Also I had all the same specs on all of the 15" mbp that I had, I have a hitachi travelstar 7k200 that I installed on each of them with the 4gb of ram as well.

    One interesting thing is that after 3 months and using my 17" hi res mbp, it feels like a 15" mbp again. I completely forgot the footprint of the 15" mbp and whenever I look at the 17" or pick it up, it feels small and I keep thinking its a 15" mbp with a higher resolution and bigger, clearer, louder speakers.
  11. Screwball macrumors regular

    Dec 18, 2006
    jjahshik32, no offense, but how many more times are MacRumors community going to watch you scribble down " The journey to the faster-than-the-rest MBP 17'' " tale?:)
  12. Consultant macrumors G5


    Jun 27, 2007
    17" MBP weights the same as most 15" or some 14" PC laptops.

    Kalimba, Video card in 17" is clocked faster, so actually it performs better.
  13. noodle654 macrumors 68020


    Jun 2, 2005
    Never Ender
    If I had a lot of money...I would totally buy both a 15" and 17". A 15" for travel and a 17" for desktop because that hi res 17" is nuts...I would love one. But, since I dont have this money and you want screen real-estate, buy an external screen.
  14. jjahshik32 macrumors 603

    Sep 4, 2006
    None taken :), I'm just trying to give people advice from my experience. Also from all those exchanges and owning pretty much everything (except the imac/mac mini) I strongly believe there are 1-2 issues with the 15" mbp automatically.
  15. thechidz macrumors 68000


    Jul 25, 2007
    New York City
    if you can also keep your macbook, get the 17 and use it primarily as a deskyop
  16. Screwball macrumors regular

    Dec 18, 2006
    Which may even be true, and i also accept your opinion on the 17" being quicker than the 15", but opinions are not facts! I for one am running a Penryn 15", but also have tried loads of other MBPs, 15inchers and 17inchers alike, and those with the same specs were equally quick! Roughly! And by roughly i mean sometimes one was faster than the other and vice versa, but not once was there a night and day difference! Alright, everyone knows the GPU is higher clocked in the 17inchers, but that will not give you a smoother OSX experience! Same specs warrant same speed, although this could vary from machine to machine, you are lucky now with your 17", and i'm seriously glad to hear that, but these were facts! :)
  17. jjahshik32 macrumors 603

    Sep 4, 2006
    Well, I worded it wrong and it should be facts instead of opinions.

    I mean in the past year I've been through literally 20 15" mbp ranging from 2.4ghz-2.6ghz. So I know very well how they ran (owned each for about a week and using it with external displays as well).

    I owned 3 17" from 2.4ghz model last years and 2.5ghz and 2.6ghz from this years, I have so many dvi to vga adapters and about 16 white apple stickers and the about 8 black soft cloth lol.

    Anyway all I can tell you guys are that every single 15" mbp that I owned had at least 1 issue with it. Speed difference between the 15" and 17" was easily seen in the performance under osx with all having same hdd and 4gb of ram as well.

    Its a fact, especially that many exchanges. I have 2 apple stores near my house within 10-15 minutes and I know the managers and geniuses very well now and surprisingly I've paid the restocking fee just 1 time when I moved up to the 17" mbp from the 15".

    yellow tint issue from last year got me 12 exchanges between 2 different apple stores 6 at one and 6 at the other one and the 8 times from the 15" penryn model 2.4-2.6ghz model 4 at one and 4 at the other apple store and all the ones out on the demos had the left speaker sizzling noise when the magsafe is connected and after a sound has played, and all of them had the headphone jack making hissing noises and popping on some of them as well, 1 had vertical led problem (reminds me of the powerbook days with the vertical band issue on the display and white spots as well), and pretty much they all had various degree of yellowish tint at the bottom of the display and all of them the magsafe green led wouldnt come on at times as well.

    the 3 17" mbp that I been through had none of these issues.

    One thing that I also can tell you guys as a fact is the 2.4ghz mbp felt very clunky with hiccups and slower overall than the 2.5ghz model.

    I had the 2.4ghz white macbook as well but had the sound popping issue so exchanged it for the 15" 2.4ghz model and to me the macbook 2.4ghz model ran on par as to the 2.4ghz of the mbp but just a little bit slower when connected to the external display. But when I jumped to the 2.5ghz 15" mbp it felt alot faster especially no more color wheels on multitasking.
  18. Screwball macrumors regular

    Dec 18, 2006
    What you're saying still remains your opinion! I'm one to be picky when it comes to performance, and i can tell you having been through various portable Macs, whether it be Macbook or MBP, same specs ( among Macbooks and MBPs respectively ) warrant same responsiveness, period. You do realize, the 2.6 15" and the 2.6 17" share the very same motherboard ( granted, the one on the 17" is of course bigger ), CPU, Memory, GPU, right? In an ideal case, you should notice no REAL difference. There can be of course differences, but that is not specs related! ;)
  19. jjahshik32 macrumors 603

    Sep 4, 2006
    Just try using a 2.6ghz 15" mbp and a 17" 2.5ghz model, the way it multitask, expose just feels alot more buttery smooth with less hiccups and especially connected to an external monitor shows its power difference as well.

    I believe not only the gpu could be clocked higher and the logic board being bigger on the 17" might have helped too.
  20. Screwball macrumors regular

    Dec 18, 2006
    Need i repeat, that i've been through several portable macs thus far?:)
    You're kidding, right, when you say a bigger logic board results in better performance?:eek: Several severly demanding applications barely show any difference as far as GPU clocks are concerned ( let alone the tiny difference there is between the 15" and the 17" ), yet you fool yourself into thinking, that this margin will yield a night and day difference in multitasking ( :confused: ) and expose ( which, by the way uses approx. 0,5% of the processing power of a Geforce 8600M GT ). I'm not saying what you're experiencing is not true, what i say is, that what you're experiencing is something that shouldn't occur in an ideal world:)
  21. jjahshik32 macrumors 603

    Sep 4, 2006
    I was skeptic just like you once about the difference in speed of the 15" vs. 17" but once you really try it out and owning each for a good 2 weeks for every day purposes and heavy multitasking, the machine that came closer to the mac pro on my sig was the 17" one.

    Of course bigger logic board= better performance especially with everything bigger. This is why a mac pro can have so much power because its bigger.

    And I know the mac pro is totally different machine and also you say you've been through several portable macs but have you actually used the 15" penryn and the 17" penryn and not say a 15" penryn and a 17" core duo machine??

    I'm not saying the difference is like a mbp to a mac pro but when using it in "real" world you do notice a difference.

    I've used the 15" penryn exchanged 8 times just in the few months and changed to a 17" mbp for a couple months and I can clearly see the differences.
  22. Screwball macrumors regular

    Dec 18, 2006
    I would love to hear the reason why you think a bigger logic board = better performance!!! I'm starting to think you've never been into a computer ever! The reason why a Mac Pro is quicker than a MBP is because it's a bloody monster with 8 cores of Xeon and desktop or workstation HDD and quicker, bigger memory! If what you say were true, and the bigger logic board the better the performance, we'd place computers on footy pitches! The 15" and the 17" share the CPU, Memory Controller, GPU chipset OF THE SAME SIZE! Performance has absolutely nothing to do with the size of the parts installed! Take your 5-6 years old CPU's for instance...They're twice the size of today's Core 2 Duo Microprocessors! Which one will beat the living crap out of the other?

    And yes, I've tried, owned Penryn, Merom MBP's MB's, i know just exactly what i'm talking about! ;)
  23. Screwball macrumors regular

    Dec 18, 2006
    You do realize, that i'm not saying you're not experiencing differences, right? What i'm saying is that you shouldn't!
  24. passingXstorm macrumors regular

    Jun 5, 2008
    while I do not have a 17" MBP, i have a 17" sony laptop that has similar specs. I carry it around in a bag quite a bit, and i doesn't bother me at all. Just find a good enough bag. It might take a little getting used to though, but the extra screen space is a a major plus!
  25. jjahshik32 macrumors 603

    Sep 4, 2006
    Well for one thing bigger=faster is true because the logic board is bigger so it has more heat for it to dissipate better which the cpu can clock higher. If anything the 17" mbp fullfills a true notebook's speed because its able to withstand more heat with the bigger heatsinks and more heat to dissipate.

    Just try it out for yourself do the usual things you do on a 15" and a 17" you will notice a difference, not only in gaming but everyday usages as well.

    Im just telling you guys exactly what I witnessed and experienced first hand and not biased on any side as I wanted to keep the 15" because it was more mobile/cheaper than the 17" and after extensively testing the same model 2.6ghz against the 2.6ghz and even the 2.6ghz 15" against a 2.5ghz 17" mbps on everyday usages with the same hdd, same ghz, same 4gb of ram and a good 3 months on each machine. At first I thought the two would feel exactly the same but the 17" does feel faster overall.

    One test that I've done was using a 15" 2.6ghz model with the 512mb vram against the 17" 2.5ghz model with the 512mb vram in dual monitor mode with my 23" acd ran a 1080p mkv movie on one of the display 20 safari tabs, 10 firefox tabs, unison d/ling 95gb of hd movies, ichat, colloquy, mail, itunes, azureus d/ling and uploading 40gb, parallels open on one of the displays with vista home premium.

    I've ran this test from the 17" mbp and 15" mbp both with hitachi travelstar 7k200 drives and 4gb and the 17" mbp ran overall with almost no color wheels while the 15" had the occasional hiccuping and waiting for the color wheel and expose skipping while the 17" ran buttery smooth.

    I just cant explain it they both had 10.5.2 installed at the time as well and the only thing I could think of is that the 17" mbp draws or clocks up higher in power for more demanding situations.

    I'm not saying all of this or making this up just because I own the 17" mbp, the 15" mbp is a very powerful laptop on its own and believe me I've owned the 15" for a good 3 months all 8 of them and 2 17" this year of the 2.5ghz model at first and now the 2.6ghz model and I've tested them side by side comparison to see if they are equal in power/performance due to me selling my mac pro which just blew the mbp's out of the water.

    And the 17' mbp overall was closer in the performance of the mac pro that is on my sig.

    also those are assuming the same things, pretty much telling me in a passive agressive way that there are no differences in performance/speed/power but in reality and the real world testings there really are.

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