15" vs 17" for a graphic designer

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by dmorgan, Mar 24, 2009.

  1. dmorgan macrumors member

    Mar 24, 2009
    In the next couple of days I'm going to buy a new unibody MBP. I will mostly be using it for personal use and design work, and for some gaming.

    The 17" is advertised as having 60% greater colour gamut. Is there actually any noticeable difference when looking at the 15" and 17" side by side? I don't want the 17" at all, only the 15". Will the 15" display be good enough to use for design work?

    This will be my first Mac.
  2. Markov macrumors 6502


    May 18, 2007
    The 15" will be fine so long as you have an external display to hook in to get a better look at it. And no, it doesn't have to be an apple display. Paying an arm, kidney and leg for displays is not fun. lol

    The 15" will be fast enough for what you're doing, the 17" is for slightly faster speeds, better display and size.
  3. raymondu999 macrumors 65816

    Feb 11, 2008
    You could always go the path that many others here (myself included) go to. We buy a 15" and an external.:)
  4. dmorgan thread starter macrumors member

    Mar 24, 2009
    Is the 15" display that bad that I'll need an external monitor? The thing is I want the notebook for portability :\
  5. Fuchal macrumors 68020

    Sep 30, 2003
    The 15" display is very good. The main issue is its resolution, but if you are fine doing work in 1440x900 then by all means it is fantastic for you. :)
  6. AkiraJub macrumors newbie

    Mar 24, 2009
    Las Vegas, NV
    I'm a graphic designer as well and I like the 17 for resolution. I do a lot of jobs in many different places, so portability and resolution was my main concern. With a real estate of 1920x1200, its helpful with After Effects, PS, and AI.
  7. dmorgan thread starter macrumors member

    Mar 24, 2009
    I think 17 would be a little big, but 15 would be perfect. At the moment I'm using a 15" laptop with 1280x800 res so it should be fine.

    All I'm worried about is the picture quality isn't as good as the 17. Thanks for the reassurance though Fuchal, I'll probably go and purchase it :)
  8. HarleyMan macrumors member


    Feb 2, 2009
    I'm a Graphic Designer and I have a 15" MBP and it works great. I mainly use it at my desk, but do occasionally take it in the field to clients.

    The 15" screen is great, but I would have bought the 17" as bigger is better, but I just couldn't swing the money.

    The increased size thing that I hear a lot of people talking about of the 17" over the 15' would not have been a problem for me.

    I can drive a 22" HP HDMI Monitor at my desk when I do want the larger/best image.

    But the 15" does real well for most run of the mill ad creation and photo touchup.

    And I'm a fan of the glossy screen over the matte screen.....looks much better to me, and great color and contrast.
  9. pacificmac macrumors newbie

    Mar 18, 2009
    Los Angeles
    why don't you spend on previous generation high res. 17"MBP? They run under $2,000 and you can get matte if you don't like glossy. It will hold you up from buying second monitor in the mean time. I do graphic design work and if I had to chose a "17 I would've chosen the previous gen..but then again I decided to sacrifice screen size for portability issues so I ordered the entry level 15" MBP.
  10. Abstract macrumors Penryn


    Dec 27, 2002
    Location Location Location
    That's funny, because the 17" MBP is the same or better than the 15" MBP for a designer EXCEPT in terms of portability. ;) I'm sure you already knew that though.

    The 17" MBP is noticeably bigger than the 15" MBP when you compare them side-by-side, but it's really just an inch longer than a bit deeper. Same thickness (unless you're in marketing where b.s. matters....then one is 0.03" thicker, I think). It's the footprint of the machine that's big, and ultimately, the amount of bag space it'll take up. You'll probably have to get a bag that's bigger than you want in order to carry it, but if that's something you're willing to do, and if you're taller than 5'10" and wouldn't look ridiculous with a slightly larger bag, then go for it.
  11. BG-Mac macrumors 6502

    Jul 31, 2007
    17" all the way.. :D

    I just got mine today after an 11 day wait. Couldn't be happier and would definitely recommend it for graphic design. The display is beautiful. Glossy by the way.
  12. dmorgan thread starter macrumors member

    Mar 24, 2009
    Thanks for the replies :) I suppose I could get an ACD to have at home a wee way down the track...

    I'm trying to find a balanced machine though, and I thought the 15" would be better than the 17" for gaming because the computer doesn't need to render as much (lower resolution, less pixels to render)? So it would hopefully handle games slightly better without turning the res down.

    Also definitely looking at the new unibody model. The glassy display is gorgeous and after using my brother's Macbook it isn't a problem even in a brightly lit room if you turn the brightness up. I've read also that the unibody is slightly cooler than the previous model.
  13. michael.lauden macrumors 68020


    Dec 25, 2008
    a lot of my friends work at or for StudioAKT and prefer smaller over larger. they have monitors in their office (as any true graphic designer should) but for on the go most of them actually have the same laptop i have (if not they have the 15.4 Alu' MBP 2.2GHz Intel C2D)

    the smaller the better :) i guess it's just preference but i wouldn't want to lug around something any bigger than what i have either.
  14. ViciousShadow21 macrumors 68020


    Mar 11, 2009
    To your left or right
    if you dont need the mobility i would get the 15" and the 24" ACD. i know that sounds odd but it makes sense because i consider the 17" to be fine for mobility and the money you save buying the 15" you can put towards the ACD. also i my dad just bought the 17" Uni MBP and i cant see much a difference in the screens.
  15. Jurwin macrumors regular


    Please explain to me how the 17" is slightly faster. If I'm not mistaken the 15" mbp comes with the same 2,66Ghz and 2,93Ghz cpu as the 17". Only the 2,4Ghz mbp would be slower.
  16. dlhuss macrumors member

    Mar 16, 2009
    said it before, i'll say it again... 1.1 lb more, 78% more pixels.

    if you've got the cash...get the 17"
  17. aleni macrumors 68020

    Jun 2, 2006
    17! i had 15 for 1 month and decided to sell it and get the 17. now i'm a happy designer with this amazing 1900x1200 res.
  18. odowd80 macrumors newbie

    Mar 26, 2009
    But what about color gamut...?

    I, too am struggling with the decision between the two. So, back to the original question: is the difference in color gamut between the two displays noticeable? All of the replies here are focused on resolution. I am having a hard time finding any comparison between the unibody 15 and 17-inch Macbook Pro's displays in terms of color quality and accuracy.
  19. kx7 macrumors newbie

    Mar 22, 2009
    15" vs. 17"

    Freelance graphic designer here and use my macbook pro as my main computer. Had an 17" (Santa Rosa) for a couple years, loved it but always thought it was sooooo heavy... Well my logicboard died last year and I replaced it with a 15".

    As far as bulk, it feels just as heavy as the 17 inch, portability is no better, and working on the low res screen has been blah. The 15 inch would be fine if the resolution was bumped up but working with CS4 with palettes open is a pain (constant hide/unhiding the tools).

    Have my new Unibody 17 inch delivered tomorrow. After working with the 15" I'm definitely gonna appreciate my 17" this time around.

    Regarding the screen accuracy, my previous 17 and my current 15 are both matte / anti-glare. I decided to go glassy this time around, after seeing glassy everywhere, I just noticed how dull my screen and colors were. I always went with matte thinking its better for accuracy, however I am experienced enough to realize I never send anything to print based on the screen colors. (Pantone spot/process color books are your friend.) And I would say 50% of my work is web so most people will be seeing my work on a glossy screen.
  20. livlif macrumors member

    Mar 26, 2009
    Go with the 17". The resolution is key. Especially when working in CS4.
  21. galstaph macrumors 6502a


    Jul 24, 2002
    The Great White North Eh
    +1 for the 17
    mine is so beautiful to work on
    not really that much heavier or larger either
    I know a guy with this 20" HP behemoth laptop:eek: that sucker is large and has a lower resolution than the 17" high res:p
  22. aleni macrumors 68020

    Jun 2, 2006

    working with illustrator cs4 has never been this fun before.

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