Buying 2015 rMBP: 13" or 15"

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by newyorkcity, Jun 20, 2015.

  1. newyorkcity macrumors member

    Sep 19, 2012
    I'm buying either the 13" or 15" (with dedicated GPU) rMBP and I can't decide on which to get. The size of the 13" is perfect but I notice that something like having a lot of chrome tabs open slows things down a bit so if I connect a 4k Monitor to it I feel like even the new 2015 version will perform the same. I also love to take photographs, and my 24 Megapixels raw files are hard to work with in lightroom so when I upgrade my camera to 42MegaPixels I will have more issues I would think so I'm leaning towards the 15".. I just dont like the size of it so my questions are:

    1. Is a maxed out 15" with dedicated GPU that much more powerful than the maxed out 13"?
    2. In what way will the deidcated GPU help? Can this help free up RAM being used?
    3. How is traveling with a 15"? how is the fit on airplane trays?
    4. Any thoughtsfrom anyone that upgraded from a 13" MBP to a 15" MBP?
  2. ApoorvPrem macrumors regular


    Dec 25, 2011
    1- Even the base 15inch with Iris Pro is much MUCH better than the maxed out 13inch.
    2- With 16gb RAM you won't face any RAM deficiency although, that being said, the integrated GPU works off the RAM whereas the dedicated GPU has its own memory. So yeah a dGPU will free up some ram.
    3- Weight wise its lighter than the cMBP 13inch. Cant comment on the footprint.
    4- No Clue
  3. Traverse macrumors 604


    Mar 11, 2013
    If you google with "" you'll find many of these threads.

    The 15" is definitely more powerful, but unless you're doing intensive work, you won't notice. Will you transport it often? There's not much of a weight difference, but the 15" has a much larger, more cumbersome footprint.
  4. redheeler macrumors 603


    Oct 17, 2014
    The base model 15" will be fine. It's quite a step up from even the maxed-out 13" rMBP, and the better CPU will help with those large RAW files.

    Surely you mean MRoogle it? :)
  5. Dark Void macrumors 68030

    Dark Void

    Jun 1, 2011
    I second this to a degree. The SSD will primarily be held accountable for opening large files but as far as rendering and other actions - the quad CPU may be preferable. This isn't to say that the dual-core in the 13'' cannot handle such tasks.

    OP - GPU doesn't help as much as you think it would for photo editing. As far as color accuracy and the like - that's strictly going to be the display. It obviously has something to do with it as the GPU communicates with the display to show the image, but a dedicated GPU is not exactly necessary. It is more important to focus on read speeds of your HDD/SSD to open image files, as well as CPU speeds for processing and effects.

    In my opinion, I think the quad-core CPU would be a luxury unless you are doing very high-end work where it may be necessary. I am aware that a dual-core CPU could be a bottleneck in a situation such as this, but I am not so sure that is the likely case. I think for most image processing tasks you won't notice the difference given the presence of a SSD. Therefore, if you prefer the size and footprint of the 13'' I wouldn't write it off completely. I have a dual-core system and even with an older i5 and slow spinning drive it handles large res images well as far as reading and editing. I also have a Core 2 Duo notebook that handles similar files without any noticeable lag due to the fact that is has a SSD.

    I have been using photo editing software for a long time and feel that I have a decent understanding of how it works. I could be wrong or disagreed with but this has been my experience and I hope it helps.
  6. johngwheeler macrumors 6502

    Dec 30, 2010
    I come from a land down-under...
    1. If your software can take advantage of the 4 cores (8 hardware threads), then the 15" will be significantly faster. Check out Geekbench benchmarks. You'll also get some benefit from double the cores if you run multiple heavy-duty software packages concurrently.

    2. I'm not 100% sure if the dGPU does actually reduce memory footprint. I have a rMBP 15 and don't notice any change in available RAM when I enable / disable the dGPU (using gfxCardStatus). This has been discussed elsewhere on MacBook Pro threads.

    3. Travelling is "more challenging" with the 15". You will find it too big to comfortably use on most economy-class airline tray tables. It's possible, but not comfortable. That said, if the person in front reclines their seat, even a small laptop becomes awkward - then it's tablet time, or go to sleep....

    4. I upgraded from a MBA 13 to rMBP 15. The difference in weight and in particular physical size is "significant". I need to use a proper backpack rather than a messenger bag if I'm going to carry the machine for more than a hour or so. For me, the increase in RAM, CPU/GPU capability and having a large retina screen made the trade worthwhile, but there are definite compromises. If you are very mobile, the rMBP 15 may become a burden; if you carry it infrequently, or for short distances, it's fine.
  7. walangij macrumors 6502

    Mar 10, 2007
    I just upgraded from a maxed out mid-2015 13" rMBP to the dGPU 15" rMBP so I will answer #4.

    I primarily use my machine for work, and some photo editing. I write apps, and the extra screen size is worth the upgrade. Editing photos has been so much nicer on the larger screen that when I switch back to my 13" on occasion, it's a bit jarring. I also plan on getting a 4k screen soon for work and had concerns that the 13" wouldn't be able to push that many pixels without struggling. There are reports on the mid-2015 13" for not being as smooth as you'd expect, particularly with exposè and I would agree. The 2015 15" has never had any issues with the smoothness of the UI in my experience yet.

    Battery life of the 13" is excellent. I have full confidence that it can get me through most of a work day without needing to be plugged in if I'm out and about. The 15" already has me looking for power outlets anytime I try to get work done. It's not bad at all, but it's just not on the same level of the 13".

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