Brand New 2015 13" MBP w/ Retina, or 2014 15" MBP w/ Retina?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by Agent 21, Apr 28, 2015.

  1. Agent 21 macrumors regular

    Jun 27, 2009
    So I've been a PC user for about 12yrs now. No particular reason other than I've always used em since I started with computers so windows is very familiar to me, and they've always fit my budget better. Now I'm ready to upgrade (been about 5yrs since my last laptop purchase, it definitely shows its age now) and I started looking at Macs. I've gotten back into digital photography and editing, as well as editing GOPRO action vids for myself and friends, and have also gotten into music creation/editing as of late. The editing side is something I've ALWAYS heard people raving about with Macs, as well as their general "ease of use", their reliability and maintenance compared to PCs (with things like viruses and stability), and them holding their value, as seen by me searching ebay and seeing 2-3yr old MBPs still going for $1,000+. It all has me leaning towards a Mac this time around.

    I tend to try and "Max out" the specs of a new machine, within my budget, in order to account for longevity. So that being said I've been browsing MBPs and am looking for opinions on the 2. On the Apple site I built a 13" with the 3.1GHz i7, 16GB RAM, and a 512GB flash drive. It came to $2,200 + about $450 in tax. That's a bit steep for me so I turned to eBay and found that exact custom configuration brand new factory sealed for $2,075 "or best offer". I offered $2,000 even and the seller seems like he's going to go for it. Is this a "too good to pass" deal? I mean it's $600+ off retail price, for the brand new 13" model with the new force touch pad (not a feature I really care about TBH, just stating it has it). Should I instead look for a 15"? How much of a performance difference is there? I'm by no means pro in my editing work or needs, Id call it "enthusiastic hobbyist", so I dont NEED a "beast", but like I said, if I'm spending the money I like to get the best specs I can for "future-proofing" the investment. My MAIN concern, as I doubt for what I'm gonna use it for Id even notice a difference between a dual- or quad-core i7, is screen size. I'm coming from a 17" laptop right now (with like 4gb RAM and a 2.1GHz AMD processor I believe, so WHATEVER I get next will be noticeably better performance) and I'm afraid 13" May seem tiny. However, the 17" is TOO big. I never bring it anywhere with me because it feels so cumbersome, and in fact it's to the point where it isn't even used much anymore cause it doesn't run Photoshop that great when you get into bigger or multiple projects, and I ise my iPhone for Internet browsing. Currently it just stays connected to my TV for watching movies/TV through it. So that's why I'm thinking the 13" would be perfect because it's much more portable, which means I'll ise it for much more than JUST editing. I'm just nervous that it may be too cramped for working in Photoshop or editing videos/music. But that ebay listing I found just keeps screaming at me, and there are 2 days left for me to jump of I'm going to. $2,000 seems too good to pass on for the brand new one, and that is like the very top end of my preferred budget so waiting for the new 15" won't be much help as they're gonna probabaly be pushing $3,000 depending on options and tax.

    Sorry for the long read, just trying to get as much detail out there to get as many opinions as I can.

    TL;DR: Is $2,000 for a brand new factory sealed 2015 13" MBP with Retina display, 3.1GHz i7, 16GB RAM, and a 512 flash drive a good deal, or would a 15" serve me better? I'm looking for portability and power. My current 17" windows laptop is much too big, but I'm a little nervous about a 13" screen for photo/video/music apps. I'm no professional in any of that though, just "serious hobbyist", so would a 13" screen still be too limiting?

    Thanks in advance,
  2. swerve147, Apr 28, 2015
    Last edited: Apr 28, 2015

    swerve147 macrumors 6502a

    Jan 12, 2013
    Strictly in terms of performance a 15" rMBP with any Haswell quad i7 severely outperforms any 13" rMBP, dual core i7, Broadwell or otherwise, maxed out even. Especially with music or video editing, you'll definitely want quad core i7 over dual core i7.

    The things you sacrifice with the 15" rMBP is weight, size and portability. The performance trade off you would get if you bought the 13" is not worth it in my opinion, but you can always head over to a BB or Apple Store to compare sizes for yourself.

    The other small, nagging thing though is being able to drive 4K monitors at 60 Hz single stream. a 13" Early 2015 rMBP can do it single stream, I believe the mid 2014 and later 15" rMBPs only can do it single stream. If this is important to you then make sure you get a mid 2014 or later 15".
  3. Agent 21 thread starter macrumors regular

    Jun 27, 2009
    When you say "severely outperformes" though, are you talking strictly benchmark-wise here that there is the large gap or do you mean it's such a difference that even the average user would notice a difference? Those benchmark tests don't mean much to me because I'm honestly not sure what most of those categories even are or what they mean. When I look at them (and I've looked at a BUNCH in different reviews over the last few days of researching these) they're just charts with lines and/or numbers that tell me which is the best, but I have no clue how any of those tests or numbers apply to my daily use of the computer and what they represent for real-world tasks.

    Also, in terms of my editing, a little more background: MAINLY a it will be photo editing like touch up, corrections, and then imagine manipulation and such. That is my main focus, the video and music editing are new things I'm just kind of dabbling in now over the past year or so. Video-wise it's just making simple edits for my friends of our snowboarding trips or surfing, skating, mountain biking, fishing, whatever little adventures/cool things we do. Cut some clips, add music, done. It is in no way near professional intentions, nor will it probabaly ever be, though I do like learning new stuff, the video is never going to be pursued more than a strinctly hobby level involving friends/family. I don't even know what you meant there by driving an external display at 60Hz, that is foreign to me, THATS my level of editing lol. 4K doesn't matter to me as I don't work with any 4K content and don't envision doing so in the future. I record with my GoPros at 1080p, sometimes 720 if I was the slower framerates. I've never gone above 1080p on em, or even my DSLRs. And with music,that is also strictly hobby level. It consists of mixing together bass and guitar parts I write, and maybe some percussion stuff on an MPC I have. Just for personal use or to track rough song ideas for jamming with friends. Never plan on getting studio-level with it, but like video-editing, I'm always interested in absorbing more knowledge. It will just never be put to use on a professional, "for pay" level, aside from maybe the photo stuff of that takes off.

    So going by THAT, basically wanting something portable, but still powerful, to surf the web, watch/listen to movies/music, and photoshopping/image editing on a regular, if not daily, basis while dabbling in editing videos and music for personal/friends use, would you still say the 15" would be a noticeably better option? Am I NOT going to be able to do that stuff on the 13 with the specs I listed? For example, I can't even edit GoPro footage on my current laptop because the video plays back choppy. My laptop doesn't have the recommended specs from GoPro. Id assume a brand new Mac does (it does, exceeds them actually in the 3.1ghz/16gb configuration), but would the 13" run into issues like that still?

    Again, sorry for the length. Just looking for additional opinion ions on top of all the "professional" reviews I've been reading. I'm headed to Best Buy to check em out in person right now. It's only 15mins away instead of 45 like the Apple Store (and the Apple Store always feels....I don't know, just not a fan of em haha)
  4. swerve147 macrumors 6502a

    Jan 12, 2013
    OK, thanks for clarifying. Yes, benchmarks are artificial and don't really reflect real life usage in many cases. You asked the question -- will a 13" rMBP be able to handle photo and video editing? Absolutely. Complex tasks won't be as fast on a 13" rMBP as opposed to a 15", but it will still get the job done.

    This is a good video from one of the members here, and pretty much what I thought about when I wrote my first post.

    Now he talks about complex video editing, but if your tasks are simpler than this, then the 13 can handle it fine. Furthermore I don't think you will see much of any difference between the 13 and 15 if your tasks are simpler, and as a matter of fact 15 might be overkill.

    Based on the activities you stated in your 2nd post, I would say yeah, the 13 is perfectly fine for your needs. It is a very capable machine, I didn't mean to represent it in a bad light in my first post. I mean heck I own a 13 and I love it. It will handle everything you stated perfectly fine, quickly and without any hiccups.
  5. Agent 21 thread starter macrumors regular

    Jun 27, 2009
    Awesome, much thanks. I was kinda confused after your first post haha. I was thinking "man, I've been researching the heck outta this and now this doesn't seem right for me at all" haha. But then I figured maybe you were thinking I was doing extensive/intensive video and music stuff. IF I ever started to do it seriously and made money that would just be an excuse to invest in a newer, more powerful one anyway haha.

    Now, do you think I should jump on this one for $2,000 free shipping on eBay? I'll link to it if links are OK, I haven't been on here in a year or 2, forgot the rules haha. But if not, the description is:

    Thanks for taking a look! This listing is for a BRAND NEW SEALED 13.3 inch Apple MacBook Pro Retina Display (EARLY 2015) with a custom configuration.

    Model: CUSTOM MF841LL/A

    3.1GHz dual-core Intel Core i7 processor (Turbo Boost up to 3.4GHz) ***UPGRADE***
    512GB PCIe-based flash storage
    16GB 1866MHz LPDDR3 onboard memory ***UPGRADE***
    13.3-inch Retina display, 2560x1600 pixel Resolution; LED-backlit with IPS technology
    Intel Iris Graphics 6100

    Retails for $2199 + tax = $2400 / ASKING $2075

    There are pics of the label showing those same specs/model # info, and of the box still with the clear wrapping on it, so it's definitely new. It says OBO and I asked about $2,000 via message and he said he can probabaly do that if I'm a serious buyer. Guy has 422 feedback 100% positive and history shows he sells a bunch of Mac stuff. I'm not worried about the seller/product though, just if its a "can't pass up" deal or not. I haven't seen one speced like that for anywhere near $2k flat, especially new.
  6. swerve147 macrumors 6502a

    Jan 12, 2013
    In general I prefer to stick to purchasing new at Apple Store or an authorized reseller like B&H Photo, or Portable One or Best Buy. As a matter of fact there was this killer deal people posted here from Best Buy that has expired, unfortunately, but was unreal (entry level Early 2015 13" for less than $1k).

    Point being, you can often find decent discounts going through the official channels. B&H and Portable One are reputable authorized resellers and don't charge tax out of state, for example.

    This one from B&H costs $100 more than the eBay item but sold by an authorized seller and offers free expedited shipping:

    Honestly I would lean towards this over the eBay Macbook.

    Personally I was able to apply a corporate discount to my 13 purchase (8%) which covered the cost of my sales tax. This was at a retail Apple Store, I walked out the door with my new Mac. They also have education discounts as well which I'm unfamiliar with.

    However, on the other hand, this eBay seller seems reputable, and is willing to work with you on a price. 400+ positive feedback tells me this guy is probably the real deal.

    Tough call, but I'd still rather deal with the official retail channels.
  7. Agent 21 thread starter macrumors regular

    Jun 27, 2009
    Only reason I'm thinking ebay is because I have a PayPal credit line, which is how Id prefer to pay for it, but if other retailers take PayPal then I'd be all set. I originally checked Amazon but I couldn't find the 13" with the maxed out processor and RAM configuration. EBay was the only place I saw it besides building it on the Apple Store site.

    And I went to Best Buy. The 13" didnt actually seem small like I was imagining haha. And the was sitting on a table right next to a 27" iMac inside a huge Best Buy, so if it didn't look too small there, it should be fine when I'm in my house haha. I DO like the 15" size, but JUST the screen size. The rest looked like too much open space to me, like around the keyboard and touch pad. And I closed them both and picked them up and I much prefer the 13" when imagining bringing either of them with me often. The size when closed, and the weight, is a noticeable difference. I thought it was funny they had them on opposite sides of the table instead of next to each other too, so I had to keep doing laps around the table to try out stuff on each one.
  8. T5BRICK macrumors G3


    Aug 3, 2006
    I just picked up the configuration you're looking at and I think it's great. :D

    Attached Files:

  9. Agent 21 thread starter macrumors regular

    Jun 27, 2009
    Well then, SOLD haha. Any weigh-in on the eBay route?
  10. CaptainChunk macrumors 68020


    Apr 16, 2008
    Phoenix, AZ
    I do light photo touchups and graphics in Photoshop all the time for work and the 13" rMBP works just fine for me. For heavy lifting (video rendering), I have a Mac Pro for that.

    B&H Photo Video carries many of the rMBP configurations (even "custom" ones) and they accept PayPal Credit. And if you live outside of NY, there's no sales tax. I've bought a few Macs from them, including my new 13" 2015 rMBP.
  11. T5BRICK macrumors G3


    Aug 3, 2006
    If the seller has good feedback, you'll probably be fine.
  12. cmhsam macrumors 6502

    Jul 14, 2008
    Not to hijack the thread but what about running a single instance of a windows 7 VM, with 8gb of allocated virtual memory, on the new 13" rMBP with 16gb of RAM?
  13. Agent 21 thread starter macrumors regular

    Jun 27, 2009
    So update on the eBay thing:

    The seller, in ever eBay message correspondence we had, kept trying to get me to text him to communicate. That was odd to me as I always communicate via eBay message. One, I don't really want a bunch of strangers having my cell number, and more importantly, I like to have a record within ebay of our conversation should anything go wrong with the transaction. Plus I'm not sure if dealing outside of eBay with no record of it aside from the actual purchase, is against ToS or voids any protection I have as a buyer. So I messaged back last night saying I only had wi-fi access and couldn't text, but that Id do the $2,000 and would complete the transaction as soon as he sent me the invoice. I also asked a few more questions because I noticed seemingly "tricky" wording in the auction where it's said BRAND NEW "SEALED", and I questioned why sealed was in quotes, and asked if the plastic was still on the box, because upon inspecting the pics, I couldn't actually tell if there was shrinkwrap on the box or if it was just a shiny box. I also asked if it had the 90 day phone/1yr repair warranty that is standard on these (because now seeing that suspicious wording made me think twice). Normally this seller had been responding within 15mins the past few days. It is now noon and Id heard nothing since writing him around 10pm. So I decide to go look at the listing again. It's gone and replaced by an eBay message saying the listing was removed. So THATS pretty sketchy! It had 2 days left and there were supposedly 3 of them available, and now suddenly after I question things (things someone SHOULD question of they're about to give you a few THOUSANDS dollars) the entire listing is gone? I doubt 3 of them sold over night when there was hardly any interest for the 4 days leading up to it, and it still had til Friday before ending. So it turns out that my gut instinct of "too good to be true" was correct, which is probabaly why I was hesitating to pull the trigger to begin with and kept asking other's opinions, cause I just had an "off" feeling about it all from the getgo. All of his current auctions (he has others up still) like this:

    All seem to have Multiples available of maxed out (or almost maxed) spec'ed MBPs, which from the begining made me wonder how this guy got so many custom order MBPs and was selling them so cheap. Doesn't seem like a wholeseller would have a bunch of machines that had to be customer orders from the factory. These aren't just the standard off the shelf models, every single one seems to have upgraded processor, RAM, and HD.

    So yeah, since I was just informed B&H takes PayPal Credit (thanks for that info BTW), then B&H it is. I'll pay $174 More than I planned in that eBay listing just for piece-of-mind that everything is legit and authorized!

    Thanks again for all the replies and advice.

    Off-topic, but does anyone have any experience with the Wacom Intuos pen & tablet? I want to invest in one for my editing. And digital art, mouse gets very annoying sometimes. The Wacom Intuos line seems to get a ton of praise. I'm looking specifically at the Professional model, in the medium size. If I'm gonna be investing in a new rig i might as well buy everything I want for it at once. By the time I add the "Magic Mouse", the SuperDrive (how can you even install software without a disc drive?! or is this "PC" mindset haha?), and the stylus/pad, I'm gonna be up to $2,600+ anyway, so basically avoiding tax just got me "free" accessories haha.

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