Anybody Switched From 15" cMBP to 13" rMBP?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by cambookpro, Jan 20, 2015.

  1. cambookpro macrumors 603


    Feb 3, 2010
    United Kingdom

    I was just wondering whether anyone had gone from a 15" cMBP to a 13" rMBP and the experiences relating to speed, screen size etc?

    Currently I have a 15" early 2011 MBP with a 2.2GHz quad-core Core i7, 8GB RAM, 1TB hybrid drive (8GB SSD cache) and AMD Radeon 6750M. The computer I'm looking at (or the Broadwell or perhaps Skylake equivalent) would be a 13" rMBP with 16GB RAM and 512GB SSD - not sure about the processor and GPU, would depend on when the next refresh is/what it brings.

    The main reason I'd want to downsize is that my MBP used to be essentially a desktop computer that I'd take somewhere, leave for a week at a time and use sat at a desk. Portability didn't matter a great deal. However, now I'm regularly taking it with me and making notes with it. Carrying my laptop, three to four textbooks, a pad of paper, a couple of exercise books or folders, a pencil case plus the MagSafe charger (my MBP gets 2-3 hours of battery life, another plus of the rMBP) can get pretty heavy pretty quickly and can't be great for my back.

    I'm not in a massive rush to upgrade - my MBP still works fine and hasn't (yet) succumbed to Radeongate. However, playing with a rMBP at an Apple Store definitely makes me yearn for a thinner and lighter laptop.

    When trying one out, I set the display resolution to both one above best for Retina and the furthest-right 'More space' setting (I believe they are, respectively, equivalent to a normal 15" cMBP screen and a hi-res one) and it seemed pretty great. It could be that theoretically I wouldn't have to give up any screen real estate if I set it to 'More space', and so would still be able to edit photos, videos etc quite easily, even if they were physically a bit smaller on the display.

    Generally, I use my laptop for note taking, Safari, Photoshop, Xcode, FCP 7, Illustrator, Motion and maybe a couple of games, but nothing serious. Football Manager is probably the most taxing game I play. Obviously I'd probably be giving up a quad core processor which would impact the raw power of the laptop when doing things like rendering video, but I'm hoping the jump from a hybrid drive to a SSD would make it actually feel faster in day to day usage. I loaded up a Motion file which my current MBP struggles to play (many, many layers) and it coped better, albeit still dropped a few frames. That's about the limit of what I'd do though, and was pretty impressive for an iGPU (the Intel HD 3000 is nowhere near as good).

    Sorry for the long post, I'm just looking for some opinions or experiences from people who've switched. The 15" rMBP isn't completely out of the question, though I'm not sure I'd actually need the power or extra screen space it provides enough to spend that much more.


    TL;DR: 15" cMBP -> 13" rMBP in near future?
  2. PennCentralFan macrumors regular


    Jan 6, 2009
    Twin Cities
    I haven't made the switch. I have a 13" MBP, but from what you are saying then I think switching to the 13" will be no issue at all for what you use it for.

    I used to have 15" PCs and I noticed no change at all going down to the 13" MBP
  3. thejadedmonkey macrumors 604


    May 28, 2005
    I had a 15" MacBook Pro (late 2006) and my better half currently uses a 13" rMBP (late 2014). Personally, I think the larger screen is nicer, but given the price difference, I don't think it's that much nicer.


    PennCentralFan, I didn't realize the PennCentral had any fans :p
  4. Traverse macrumors 604


    Mar 11, 2013
    Um, well I guess my perspective is inline with the topic.

    I've always used 15" notebooks (I have a 15" rMBP now), but during my internship I used a 13" PC day in and day out. I was surprised how usable it was, but I wan't doing a lot of multitasking. I find 13" displays too small so I went with a 15" for my personal Mac.

    However, I didn't regularly use an external display. Now, I usually have my MBP hooked up to a 24" external monitor in clamshell mode (and occasional dual display mode). Now I'm mulling over the idea of a 13" MacBook Pro next purchase since I use my system as a desktop and the 13" will be easier to transport and use in public for the few times that I need to.

    One of the big issues for me is the power of the 15" doesn't come in a 13" form factor. Quad core i7 and Iris Pro graphics aren't an option on the 13" and the 13" can't drive a 4K display at 60 Hz. Still, I hear that broad well and specifically sky lake is supposed to bring notable graphic improvements. We'll see how the landscape changes over the next few years as I won't get a new system until I finish grad school at the end of 2016 and get ready for my PhD.
  5. Xeridionix macrumors regular

    Jan 6, 2015
    I can't speak in regards to the Retina display, but I've gone from using a 15" MBP a few years ago along with a Windows PC of the same size to my current 13" MBP and haven't had any issues adjusting to the resolution or screen size.

    In fact it may not seem like much but the weight difference alone makes it easier to handle the computer when travelling.
  6. technosix macrumors 6502a

    Jan 13, 2015
    West Coast USA
    I've enjoyed 15" MBP's for years, then last year I bought a 13" to use concurrently with my 15". Mainly just for fun and to carry daily as I had been doing with my 15". Frankly I could hardly notice the difference.

    But it should be noted that even though I have over a mile walk from the parking garage in S.F. to my office, I'm a competitive cyclist and triathlete so the size and weight difference means nothing to me.

    Not being price sensitive, I do greatly prefer the spacious 15". Therefore I passed the new 13" on to my girlfriend for her work usage.

    They're both stellar, it's simply a matter of personal taste. :)
  7. FrozenDarkness macrumors 65816

    Mar 21, 2009
    I use both. My work provides me a 15" rmbp, and I have a personal 13" rmbp. The size difference is really quite phenomenal, in both good and bad.

    For some reason, one lb difference feels a whole lot when you're transporting it around the city or just from couch to bed. I think it's because of surface area. I don't hug my laptop, I usually just hold one corner, so there's more weight being dragged.

    However, the screen real estate is significantly smaller. I'm praying Apple comes out with a rmbp 15" in a mba size and try to shave off a lb.
  8. Natzoo macrumors 65816


    Sep 16, 2014
    Not sure where i am
    I made the switch from my 13" MacBook Pro to the 15" retina mac, and overtime i go on my 13" it just feels so tiny.
  9. redheeler macrumors 604


    Oct 17, 2014
    I recently switched from a 2012 15" rMBP to a 2013 13" rMBP. I actually like the 13" more as a laptop, mainly for reasons of portability and a faster SSD. It is also plenty powerful enough to handle day-to-day tasks.

    If I didn't have the iMac I wouldn't have made the switch because the loss of the bigger screen and more powerful hardware would have been too much.
  10. cambookpro thread starter macrumors 603


    Feb 3, 2010
    United Kingdom
    Thanks for the responses everyone, obviously some people prefer the 15" but I'm glad that nobody's has yet said categorically it would be awful :p

    I do have a Thunderbolt Display at home which I probably forgot to mention, so screen size isn't a massive issue there, just when I'm out and about.

    I don't walk that much every day, it's about 2.5-3 miles (~40-45 mins) each way plus walking about in the day, but it's just about long enough to notice a heavy laptop bag.

    The 13" definitely seems like a viable option, I just wonder whether I'd miss a quad-core processor when doing tasks that use it. Not too bothered about the Iris GPU, I don't really game much. The only time I'd probably notice the extra dGPU in the 15" rMBP is in Da Vinci Resolve, but I guess a 13" laptop isn't really made for grading video.
  11. Xeridionix macrumors regular

    Jan 6, 2015
    I think the only thing that you're really going to notice a tangible difference in performance between a dual-core and quad-core processor is if you do a lot of video rendering, outside of that I would expect the difference for most every day tasks to be minimal.
  12. cambookpro thread starter macrumors 603


    Feb 3, 2010
    United Kingdom
    I occasionally make short films with friends, but it's just a hobby. Having said that, I know people who make a living out of editing video with a dual-core MBP, so I don't think I would really have cause for complaint.

    Anyway, once the video is transcoded properly you shouldn't need to render it on the fly until the final export (which I'd just leave it to do), so it's much of a muchness really.

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