Advice on rMBP 13" vs rMBP 15"

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by aaddn, Nov 5, 2014.

  1. aaddn macrumors newbie

    Nov 5, 2014
    Hi guys,
    yes, another thread about 13" and 15" rMBP Mid 2014. :rolleyes:

    I'm a designer and a programmer who mainly makes iOS apps and web apps (full stack), from the concept to realization.

    Sketch, Photoshop, Illustrator, Sublime Text, Xcode are the most used apps and I recently learned to use a bit of After Effects.

    Of course I can define myself a pro-user and that's why I always loved my MBP so far (early 2008 and late 2011).

    I've always used 15" MBP and I've almost always stayed and worked from home. In the next months I will be probably traveling around the world staying and working in different places (coffee shops, hotels, etc).

    That what leads to the big dilemma of 13" or 15" rMBP.

    I already spent hours in an Apple Store but it didn't seems to help.

    Currently I'm working on my 15" MBP with the hi-res configuration, 1680x1050.

    The 13" rMBP has the same resolution (in scaled mode of course).

    I know that the 13" is incredibly portable and so comfortable to bring around with you but I'm so afraid that the same resolution of my current MBP with a smaller display would be uncomfortable for me, especially for design and stuff related.

    My current MBP weighs around 2.5kg, the 13" rMBP is around 1.5kg and the 15" rMBP is around 2kg.

    Whatever I'll choose it will be between this configurations:

    - 13" rMBP i7 3.0 Ghz - 16GB RAM
    - 15" rMBP i7 2.8 Ghz - 16GB RAM

    Important question: does the 15" 2.8 Ghz will consumes more battery than the "base" 2.5 Ghz? The battery is really important for me.

    What would you recommend? You think that for my use case the 13" will be fine? Or should I buy the 15" (getting even more space).

    Thanks a lot guys!
  2. gugy macrumors 68030


    Jan 31, 2005
    La Jolla, CA
    If this is your main computer and you will not have a external display attached most of the time, I would go for the 15". Heck even the 17" if they still had that available.
  3. Freyqq macrumors 601

    Dec 13, 2004
    If you are use to the 15", and it will be your only computer while traveling, I'd go for the larger screen.
  4. aaddn thread starter macrumors newbie

    Nov 5, 2014
    @gugy: Yes it will my main computer of course, since I will be traveling.

    @Freyqq: I'm used to the 15" but the 13" has the same resolution of the current 15" I'm using.
  5. Bending Pixels macrumors 65816

    Jul 22, 2010
    The 15" rMBP weighs a bit less than your current MBP. The main difference from the 13" rMBP is that, not only is the screen a bit bigger, but it's easier on the eyes - i.e. less eye strain. Also, the 15" come standard wit 16gigs of RAM (that's an option on the 13").

    Battery wise, you're not gonna see a whole bunch of difference between the 2.8ghz and 2.5ghz processors. Also...speed wise, you won't see any noticble difference on a 15" rMBP between the base 2.5ghz and 2.8ghz. i.e. that's $200 in Apple's pocket for no real noticeable processing difference. Me personally, I'd get the "stock" 15" with the 2.5ghz processor (which is what I did earlier this year).

    Your eyes will thank you for getting the 15" screen.
  6. aaddn thread starter macrumors newbie

    Nov 5, 2014
    Because the 1680x1050 on the 13" will be smaller than the 1680x1050 I'm using now, right? What do you think about the scaled mode of the 15"? I usually like to have more space. The same thing is still valid for the 15" with the scaled mode, that it could hurts my eyes or is fine?

    Anyway I have a question to ask you: why battery-wise the 2.5 Ghz will be the same as the 2.8 Ghz? Since the processor is more powerful and the battery is the same on the two configurations, the process won't take more resources to run?

    And thanks for the advice about the 2.5 Ghz. It's that now I'm using a 2.4 Ghz i7 (15" Late 2011 MBP) and buying a 2.5 Ghz after 3 years I feel it's almost the same but I'm probably wrong.

    You're very kind guys.
  7. cjmillsnun macrumors 68020

    Aug 28, 2009
    The power consumption of the 2.8 isn't much different to the 2.5 at all, the main power drain when you push it is from the GPU, and that's the same on both. I also would agree that the 2.5 would be fine. I only have the 2.8 because I had a top spec 2012 rMBP that was replaced under AppleCare. Had it been my £££ buying it, I would've got the 2.5.
  8. aaddn thread starter macrumors newbie

    Nov 5, 2014
    OT: Why they replaced your 2012 mbp with a new one?

    You mean that when the MBP is at the top of the performance is the GPU that is boosting the processor? Sorry if I misunderstood.

    Is it true that I can disable the discrete graphics card and use only the integrated one when I need more battery (using gfxcardstatus)? Is that good for the MBP or can cause some issues? I never did it.
  9. Matthew9559 macrumors 6502a


    Apr 7, 2007
    Cleveland, OH
    Given your needs I think you would be happier with on a 15" screen. I have a 13" rMBP which serves me great but if I was working remotely for a majority of my time I would have gone with a 15".
  10. AttilaTheHun macrumors 65816


    Feb 18, 2010
    I mis my 17"
  11. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    I'd opt for the 15", you get a better iGPU, quad core CPU and a larger display. A winning combination imo.
  12. aaddn thread starter macrumors newbie

    Nov 5, 2014
    Great, thanks guys. I think I'm bending towards the 15".

    @Matthew: you use an external monitor? Why would you choose a 15" if you were working remotely? Well the 13" is more lightweight and more portable for that.

    @maflynn: yep, I hope that the battery won't be much different from the 13".

    @all: I have a question - if I'd buy the 2.8 Ghz instead of 2.5 Ghz, the moment when I open the apps would be a moment with more battery-use than the 2.5 Ghz?
  13. neteng101 macrumors 65816

    Jan 7, 2009
    Its a bit of an eye strain if you're planning to run 1680x1050 on the 13". It can be done, but 1440x900 scaled is the sweet spot.
  14. Jmausmuc macrumors 6502a


    Oct 13, 2014
    You think? I have never used mine in scaled mode but I will try now.

    @OP: Def get the 15 inch, 13 inch is way to small to do serious work in Photoshop. You definitely need the extra space.
    What you could do is get an external monitor for your home and get the 13 inch but since you said that you frequently work out of your house, this might not be an option.

    As others have said, the 2,8 version is not worth it, you won’t notice a difference, especially not in photoshop.

    BTW: Do you use a wacom tablet?
  15. andyp350 macrumors 6502a

    Aug 14, 2011
    For your usage and what you seem to be used to using I think you would regret going for the 13". The battery life if marginally better on the 13" the 15" still has a really decent battery life.
  16. Freyqq macrumors 601

    Dec 13, 2004
    While it has the same resolution, the text may be unpleasant to read at that size. You'll still be able to comfortably fit more things on the screen with the 15 at the same resolution. You also get the option to move up to 1920x1200 hidpi resolution.
  17. cjmillsnun macrumors 68020

    Aug 28, 2009
    You can disable the discrete graphics card, but TBH just leave it dynamic switching, I do and it is on the Iris pro most of the time.

    They switched my rMBP because they couldn't repair it. They replaced just about every component but it still failed test. They gave up.
  18. aaddn thread starter macrumors newbie

    Nov 5, 2014
    Yes but if I will be using Photoshop and related apps I think that the discrete graphics card will be used and will be using much more battery. Will I be able to use Photoshop and related even if I switch to the Iris Pro or not?

    That's an important point because sometimes, when I will be running with the battery, I would like that my batter lasts more.

    @Jmausmuc: No I don't use the wacom tablet, why?
  19. ohbrilliance macrumors 6502a


    May 15, 2007
    Melbourne, Australia
    I made a similar decision a year ago. I'm also a developer, using XCode, Netbeans and Textmate, various servers and tools. I replaced my 2007 15" MBP with a 13" rMBP.

    I've been running it at 1680x1050 for the last year, which is an increase in screen real-estate over my old 15" MBP. At first I found the resolution to be small, but I'm now completely used to it. I seldom find myself peering at the screen to try to read something. Web pages can readily be zoomed for reading articles if needed.

    Portability is great. I take this with me on the train most days. It's not a burden to carry and isn't too large to use on public transport or elsewhere outdoors such as cafes. I seldom found it convenient taking the 15" around with me.

    Battery life is great. Depending on the task, I can get up to 12 hours on a single charge. Active use of Netbeans halves that though, as the IDE taxes the processor during scrolling and navigation of files.
  20. blooperz, Nov 6, 2014
    Last edited: Nov 6, 2014

    blooperz macrumors 6502

    Dec 10, 2013
    the only time the 15" can be considered not portable is if your carrying it around in your hand without a bag...even the smallest bags can usually comfortably accommodate the 15 "'s remarkably light and small for something of that power
  21. aaddn, Nov 6, 2014
    Last edited: Nov 6, 2014

    aaddn thread starter macrumors newbie

    Nov 5, 2014
    @ohbrilliance: Thanks for your answer. The difference is that I'm actually using a 15" MBP with Hi-Res 1680x1050 and that I design too, not only coding.

    @all: A big doubt came to my mind. If I set the scaled mode of the 15" rMBP to 1980x1200, the battery will be more used? Is it true that when you use scaled modes the rMBP will use the discrete graphics card (therefore consuming more battery)?

  22. neteng101 macrumors 65816

    Jan 7, 2009
    Non-scaled mode is just silly bad - everything is too big. You get terrible real estate to work with. I have no idea why Apple chose the defaults except for the perfect 1/2 scaling of the retina, but it serves no useful purpose. The scaled mode works just as well, you don't notice much of the scaling differences.

    As a side note for the OP - I just remembered, maximum resolution ie. 1680x1050 can feel a bit laggy on the 13" rMBP too. Having to do the scaling and rendering more pixels does tax the GPU. Its much better with the Iris Pro but it does have its limits.
  23. Freyqq macrumors 601

    Dec 13, 2004
    That's not how the dgpu works. It only activates based on if you are using a program that is asking for the dGPU (ex. games).

    That being said, I doubt any of the programs you are running would ask for the dGPU or would even benefit from it, so I'd recommend getting a base model without it.
  24. aaddn thread starter macrumors newbie

    Nov 5, 2014
    Oh, that's an important point man, if the 13" rMBP is laggy when used in scaled mode, well, I don't want that! I would use the 15" in the scaled mode 1900x1200, how does it goes? Is it laggy too? I hope not.

    @Freyqq: great, so even if I use the scaled mode the dGPU is not always used, glad to hear that. I thought it would use the dGPU because neteng101 said that the scaled mode tax the GPU for the rendering of more pixels.
  25. jmoore5196 macrumors 6502a


    May 19, 2009
    Midwest US
    The 13" rMBP certainly is laggy in scaled mode; it's also a little laggy with certain CC apps. I had an "ultimate" 2.8GHz i7 (late 2013) and finally sold it to buy a 15" rMBP.

    If you're on the road most of the time, the 13" still makes sense. If you are tied to a desk, like I am, there are just too many tradeoffs to save a little size and weight.

    Both are great machines. The real difference lies in dual-core versus quad-core ... pumping to all those pixels with graphics-intensive apps is a challenge for the 13". The 15" can handle it without strain.

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