15 vs 17 inch MBP, Can't Decide!

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by Joshdah1, Apr 1, 2008.

  1. Joshdah1 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2008
    #1
    So I've got the money in the bank to cover either, but my dilemma is whether to get the 15 or 17 inch MBP!

    Another curiousity is if I get the 17, should I get the higher res?

    Background:

    Engineering student needs lappy to run:
    MATLAB
    IDEAS NX
    UNIGRAPHICS
    SOLIDWORKS
    LabView
    etc (Processing/memory intensive apps)

    No gaming
    Casual Photo editing
    Plan on Heavy Mac usage, Windows only for engr programs when necessary


    The dilemma being that I don't necessarily need the one extra USB port or could highly benefit from the bigger screen/higher resolution, but I just kind of feel like I might as well just get the 17?

    What things should I consider when choosing between a 15 and 17?

    I'm just looking for input. I've been thinking about it for several months, and can't decide either way!

    PS. I dont need it immediately, but before mid june-ish. Should I wait until WWDC in case there are new things?

    Thanks
     
  2. heatmiser macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2007
    #2
    If you plan to take it everywhere, get a 15". If you plan to take it between your desk and your bed, get the 17". If you get the 17", get the high-res. If you need one now, buy it now. If you don't, don't.
     
  3. Abstract macrumors Penryn

    Abstract

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2002
    Location:
    Location Location Location
    #3
    15" and external LCD with higher resolution for when you really need it.
     
  4. tersono macrumors 68000

    tersono

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2005
    Location:
    UK
    #4
    17" high-res if you're after a desktop replacement - and contrary to others' views - it's very portable (no heavier than some of the 15" Windows laptops I've come across).

    I really don't find it appreciably less portable than the 15" Powerbook that it replaced, to tell the truth. I take it everywhere - it's the best computer I've ever owned.
     
  5. phuong macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2006
    #5
    i started to using a laptop about 2 years ago (i only used desktops with multiple large screens before that). i picked a mbp 15".

    recently, i often find myself wanting to have a hi-res 17". i think the size is not that much difference unless you are used to a 13", and especially when the 17" is still not bigger nor heavier than laptops from many other brands.

    so, i'd say 17" hi-res if you can afford it. if not, normal 17" would still be fine. you'll appreciate the screen real estate you get
     
  6. andydfrain macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2008
    #6
    Definitely 17 inch and definitely HD Screen

    Hey I own two MacBookPros,

    and have a apartment mate that has a 15 inch MBP as well. Well while he was initially quite smug that I would regret my decision to get the 17, after over a year of use, the opposite is in fact the case. do no get me wrong the 15s are great machines. But it was the consensus in my apartment (and both of us have extensive technical and creative uses on laptops) that the 17 was a clear winner. It seems to dissipate heat better having a bit more room to pack in all that tech, and as a matter of fact, the 17s have the lowest number of manufacturing defects as well.

    I mentioned I owned two macbook pros, well I decided to basically let my lady co-opt my first intel MBP 17 (a top of the line 2.33 MBP) so I could have an excuse to get a new top of the line 2.6 gighrtz, 200 gigabyte 7500 rpm, with 4 gigabytes of ram, and a high definition screen. I mention my new hot rod only because I have been shocked at how much I have enjoyed and found useful the highdef screen option of the new MPB. when using the same apps as my lady (both content creators) she has on occasion found it necessary to teasingly complain that she cannot fit the tool configuration that "I have" and therefore I need to buy yet another new computer (Not gonna happen). And that is even though we both have access to second screens to hook into. Why because in those many instances when you can and want to keep your focus on one LCD at a time, its really nice to be able to set it up as you would your typical 20 inch LCD display, which is the essential gained ability via the extra pixels on the screen. But lastly, and on a more frivolous note, this new screen seems just so much richer and nicer than I remember my other display ever being even when new. (Its not fair to compare the MBP screen that has had the heck used out of it for I guess 2 years, as there is a natural LCD screen fatigue). Also If you really want to do things up proud I recommend you get yourself a desktop only "archive" 2 terabyte drive, a 23 or a 30 inch display, a wireless keyboard and mouse, and lastly some rough and ready external drive that you take with you as a large and completely backed up 1 terabyte drive full of things you want to have that you do not want filling up your internal drive. Now all this assumes that you really have a need to use a MacbookPro and have some substantial funds. but my point here that even with an external display and some nice big hard drives, I am glad I went 17, the higher speed disk, and the HD drive. in particular the 17 and the HD screen. because even when I away from home, I can plug in my larger hard drive via 800 firewire, and turn on my lap top and boom, I have a powerful desktop on wheels. If you have the money to go all the way on the macbook pro and make a nice income and are truly worries about having a really portable machine, then I say, get the 17HD MBP and then cough up another 1,200.00 dollars for a regular macbook, then you have it all. I know a number of people who have done that that are doing very well and want to have a smaller lap top that for the basics. I mean you can get an air too if you want, but for my money, I would not pay that much more for a machine with to few I/O options and is of yet a very very new idea which could eventually be massively revised or eventually orphaned. but the MBAir is different matter entirely.

    My final thought on this way to long response is I am sure will be very happy with any of the Pro books, but if this is going to be your main machine, and you are into the digital lifestyle enough to call this laptop, your "centerpiece machine" then I can tell you both the 17 and the higher res screen are worthy upgrades that you will greatly enjoy. And will in fact make a measurable difference in your overall satisfaction. And before the MBP I have not been a huge laptop fan, as in the past I felt they were always over prices and under-delivered and often had gotchas of one sort of another, especially if it was going to made your main machine.

    Enjoy, and I would be interested to hear with what you decide and how you like it.

    andy
     
  7. Sogo macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2004
    #7
    I don't know if you have access to a computer with the same resolution of the 15" and the 17". I personally have always hated the resolution on the 15" laptops. The 17" was always nicer in my eye because it had a slightly higher resolution. And only just recently has the 17" laptop gotten to the resolution I find comfortable. on you current computer, do you like the resolution? Do you feel cramped moving windows around or is everything just fine? As for portability see if you fit the 17" in your backpack. Grab a weight and add it to your back pack and walk around and ask yourself is that comfortable? The 15" is not bad, but i have settled with it. (Personally)
     
  8. Akaal macrumors member

    Akaal

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2008
    #8
    hey,

    ive jus ordered my 15" mbp, coming 2moro i think, so cant wait, didnt know it wud b shipped from the other side of the earch, wud have gone 2 the store! ok, i use notebooks n desktops for photoshop, video editing, animation, digital compositing etc.

    to be honest, ive seen the 17" and its too big to carry around and slightly heavier, if i need a large workspace i can just hook up to another external display, so going for a 17" aint all that. u jus get an extra usb slot and better graphics card.
     
  9. eddx macrumors regular

    eddx

    Joined:
    May 12, 2005
    Location:
    Manchester, UK
    #9
    For me the 17 was always out of the question because it is too big for my lap in my opinion. I think laptops should be 15.4inch maximum, any bigger its just a foldable desktop.

    I went from a 19inch lcd to the 15inch Macbook Pro in June 06 - I said I will give it 3 - 6 months and then get a 23 or 30inch monitor for the desk. I never bothered. Why?

    Well for me it is about resolution and not physical size. My old 19inch monitor had the same 1400x900 res that the 15inch did.

    Go for the 15, I feel the 17 has its place, but that place is with professional video people and show offs with bad backs. Don't be that person :cool:
     
  10. Saliwa macrumors member

    Joined:
    Apr 7, 2008
    #10
    I would buy a 15"MB and with the money saved over the 17", purchase a 24" external screen for desktop use and buy some extra stuff for girlfriend/wife/mom (whatever applies) :D
     
  11. forafireescape macrumors 6502a

    forafireescape

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    Jan 16, 2008
    Location:
    NJ
  12. thejadedmonkey macrumors 604

    thejadedmonkey

    Joined:
    May 28, 2005
    Location:
    Pa
    #12
    the 15" seems like a jack of all trades, and a master of none.

    get a Macbook if you need portability. unless you're doing 3D rendering, it won't make a difference. If you need a good desktop replacement, get a 17". the 15" is just large enough to not be comfortably portable, and too small to be useful as a complete desktop replacement.
     
  13. Dan9794 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2008
    #13
    according to...

    According todays rumor the MB and MBP Are going to be updated in June meaning WWDC. If you can Wait I suggest you should. Because The new designs are expected to accompany the Montevina platform launch in June of this year. Montevina promises faster front-side bus speeds (1066MHz) over existing models (800MHz) and slightly faster Penryn processors (2.26-3.06GHz):apple:
     
  14. zainjetha macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2007
    #14
    17-inch.. large screen, absolutely beautiful... you feel like you are working on a desktop...

    also great for watching movies or TV shows when relaxing..
    does get a little bit hot but im willing to put up with that as its such a great machine.
     
  15. zainjetha macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2007
    #15
    I am sorry but that is just not funny.. WWDC is near and anybody would want to get the best bang for their buck...
     
  16. Westsider 4 Mac macrumors regular

    Westsider 4 Mac

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2007
    Location:
    On the West Side
    #16
    do ...

    the 17 inch if you can afford it. Using both the 15 inch and the 17 inch has sealed it for me; The more screen real estate and higher resolution, the better.:apple:
     
  17. Earendil macrumors 68000

    Earendil

    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2003
    Location:
    Washington
    #17
    I have a (now very old) POwerbook 15", and I'm a huge fan of the 15" and an external display. This allows for portability, enough scren to work on the road, and yet the flexibility of a Large Quality monitor when you are at your desk. An external display will be better than a laptop screen from the get-go, and over time the external will last longer.
    Currently my laptop is starting to fade, but my external 20" is as bright and clear as the day I bought it :)

    I can also say that, for my use (Uni Student) that I would take my laptop with my a lot less if it was any larger. Right now it's the size of or smaller than all my text books.

    ~Tyler
     
  18. techound1 macrumors 68000

    techound1

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2006
    #18
    Yeah, but.... It's always the case that bigger, faster, and better is just around the corner.

    And to address the OP's Q...
    (1) You'll want real estate. Any kind of CAD program has all the cute little menu boxes - which eat up a ton of screen space - and you can then barely make out the actual drawing you're working on.
    (2) If you'll be doing the CAD back-at-your-desk and not on the go, go with a 15" for portability and an ACD for extra home real estate. Need to do the work on the go? Ya gotta do the 17".
    Only way to save your sanity!
     
  19. mperkins37 macrumors 6502a

    mperkins37

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2007
    Location:
    Phoenix, AZ
    #19
    Go for the 15, I feel the 17 has its place, but that place is with professional video people and show offs with bad backs. Don't be that person .

    If you get lower back pain from a difference of a lb or two the Mac is not the problem.
    Go Work Out.
    My wife uses a PowerBook G4 17" that has to be heavier than that, and she totes it everywhere (she's a high school teacher) & she has no back pain or issues with it whatsoever, other than it's a little long in the tooth & slow by today's standards.

    The difference in weight is negligible and only the biggest of complainers would say that it "Ruined their back" too much soy milk & not enough spinach & meat.:D
     
  20. crazycat macrumors 65816

    crazycat

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2005
    #20
    I would recommend for you to get the 15" model, the 17" is just to big.
     
  21. nomar383 macrumors 65816

    nomar383

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2008
    Location:
    Rexburg, ID
    #21
    This sums it up, but after trading my 17" PowerBook for this 15" MBP I am kind of covetous of the extra space (even though I don't technically need it)
     

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