cMBP 13 or 15 - which would be better value?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by Hamersfx2, Aug 7, 2013.

  1. Hamersfx2 macrumors newbie

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    Aug 4, 2013
    #1
    Hey guys,
    For the past few days ive been choosing a macbook to purchase and so far ive decided that the cmbp would be perfect as upgradeability and expansion ports are very important (and the fact that retina doesn't bother me at all and i cant wait till the Haswells).

    My choices are both from the Refurb range, which seems great value as my budget is $1700.
    The first is a 13" i7 which is going for $1399, which i plan to drop a 256gb Samsung 840 into, so it comes to around $1650.

    Second choice is the base 15" which is $1639 on its own (with a 500gb 5400rpm and 4gb RAM), so i would want to upgrade the memory ASAP to at least 8 gb and eventually an SSD, which ofcourse ultimately brings the total to 1850+.

    Do you think the quad core is worth the extra spend (i do a lot of music production)?
    :confused:
    Thanks
     
  2. leman macrumors 604

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    Oct 14, 2008
    #2
    Uhm, both are horrible value? The retina 15" costs $1,599.00 as refurb - this is already with 256Gb SSD and 8GB RAM. Why would you pay $200 more for a heavier, less expandable machine with a inferior display? If you need a DVD burner, get one for $50...
     
  3. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

    Staff Member

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    Boston
    #3
    I think you need to determine which form factor works best for you first.
    Do you like the small size of the 13" laptop or prefer the more expansive 15" laptop?

    The performance between the two is probably secondary depending on what you do. An additional note, though is the 15" has a discrete GPU as opposed to the integrated only GPU in the 13" MBP.

    Speaking for myself I prefer the 15" MBP with the integrated GPU, but my usage is such that the smaller screen was too inhibiting.
     
  4. Hamersfx2 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Aug 4, 2013
    #4
    I considered that, but unfortunately here in Australia everything always costs more and the cheapest retina 15" is 1900 which is out of my price range. The extra ports especially firewire is a massive plus as i will be using a display through the thunderbolt at the same time. I would also like the option for 16gb memory in the future as who knows what i'll be doing in 1 year's time in regards to my software needs.
     
  5. sonicrobby macrumors 68020

    sonicrobby

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    New Orleans
    #5
    Because of this and a dedicated graphics card, I would say the 15" is probably a better value. While I dont think you will NEED this much power, it doesnt hurt to have for the future. But I have owned both a 13" cMBP and a 15" rMBP, and I much prefer the quad-core speed, I do notice a significant difference between the two (I used to get the pinwheel a lot on the 13" with what I did)
     
  6. leman macrumors 604

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    Oct 14, 2008
    #6
    Aaah, Australian, I see :) Well, the biggest limitation of the 13" model is the lacklustre display resolution. But if you are using an external display, it does not matter much. CPU-wise, it depends on what software you use and whether it can utilise multi-core CPUs effectively. As a personal preference, I would always choose the MBA over the 13" MBP, but you made it clear that your needs are a bit different. I think that getting the 15" model is a good investment, if the cost difference is indeed just within 10%...
     
  7. Hamersfx2 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Aug 4, 2013
    #7
    Haha, yep, we pay extra for just about everything! You guys seem to get 16gb ram for about $90, whereas the cheapest here is 175 (that i've found).

    Well the resolution i'm not too bothered about with either machine as the 15" would be 1440x900 which is pretty much the same PPI as the 13". Still a touch more real estate which i'm sure will be helpful (previous laptop was 1280x800). I use Reason and will rewire into Logic with a fair amount of various VSTs, so that's why i was thinking the 15" would be a bit more future proof perhaps. I hear they benchmark pretty damn close to the comparable base retinas anyways:)
     
  8. mslide macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2007
    #8
    Quad core, discrete graphics and footprint/weight. Only you can determine if those are important to you. If they are, then 15" else 13". I went with a 13" cMBP because I didn't need discrete graphics or a quad core plus footprint is important for me. I also wasn't willing to pay even $1 extra for a retina display since I really couldn't care less about it. Plus the 8GB RAM limit of the 13" is a deal breaker.

    I've been using 13" MB(P)s for a long time now so I'm sort of used to the resolution. Full screen apps help when I need the extra real estate.

    If you choose the 13", I wouldn't go for the i7 version. I'd save the money and go for the base model and then upgrade the RAM and put in an SSD. Few people will ever notice a difference between the i5 and i7 and it won't make your computer last any longer. Plus, no sense paying extra for a larger HD when you're just going to replace it with an SSD.
     
  9. Hamersfx2 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Aug 4, 2013
    #9
    I've used quite a few friends' 13" pros (retina and non-retina), and to be honest the cmbp low res never bothered me that much and i actually think the panel is pretty nice for what it is - i think it's pretty vivid and bright, more so than the Air which i was also considered.

    Is the screen on the 15" the same LED type as the 13? Is it any nicer other than just resolution?

    Thanks guys, great advice so far! :D
     
  10. jahall05 macrumors regular

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    Jul 30, 2013
    #10
    How is the cMBP a less "expandable" model than the rMBP? RAM is soldered into the logic board...the battery is glued in place from my understanding...the cMBP is much easier to upgrade HDD, RAM, and replace the battery.
     
  11. Count Blah macrumors 68030

    Count Blah

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    #11
    Please explain
     
  12. B... macrumors 68000

    B...

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    #12
    Maybe because of the 2 TB ports it is more externally expandable?
     
  13. Count Blah macrumors 68030

    Count Blah

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    #13
    Which means you have to bring your DVD read/writer or external storage along with you = less mobility.
     
  14. B... macrumors 68000

    B...

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    #14
    I'm just trying to understand leman's quote, not saying I agree at all.
     
  15. DaCurmudgen macrumors regular

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    Aug 5, 2012
    #15
    Go for the extra screen real estate

    I too do music production and ended up getting a 15" cMBP i7 with Hi-Res anti-glare, 16 gb RAM, and 750 gb 7200 RPM drive last year. After more than a year of use, here's what I learned, which confirms some of the posts on here already:

    > i5 or i7 probably doesn't matter; quad vs dual does. I have yet to choke my computer using Logic Pro or ProTools with oodles of plug-ins. But I also have 16GB RAM, so my guess is that quad-core and at least 8 GB RAM gives you all the power you will need for audio production over the next few years.

    > larger HD doesn't really matter -- an SSD replacement is the upgrade you want to make. I didn't want to have space constraints on my HD at the time, nor did I want to pay Apple's premium for SSDs. After loading up everything I use on my 750 GB HD, I still have nearly 500 GB free. I do use an external drive for my recordings and iTunes library, but I am thinking about replacing my HD with an SSD to boost performance even more. In the end the 750 GB 7200 RPM HD wasn't worth the dough or even necessary. Either get the smallest HD and replace with an SSD or decide how much space you need for apps + 30% and order the equivalent SSD with the computer.

    > If you're going to use another monitor, then you have to determine how much screen real estate is important on the laptop. I added an old 17" monitor that I already owned to my set up, and with the Hi-Res screen, I have more than enough real estate to have all my tracks up on my Mac screen, and all the plug-in controllers, mixing windows, and synths on my second monitor. If I had a high-res 2nd monitor (MBP can support up to 2560 x 1600), then I'm not sure I would have needed a Hi-Res or even Retina display, but I probably still would want 15" to ensure that I had the maximum space I could use, especially when I wasn't connected to a monitor.

    > I wanted the built-in SuperDrive to burn mixes for clients (without needing an external drive) or archive material. Haven't used it as much as I expected with things like Dropbox and Soundcloud. You don't need a SuperDrive, so you can always add an external one if you really need it.

    > I wish I had considered a lighter machine for the times when I want to do recording and songwriting on the road. My MBP is fine, and I can have my whole studio with me no matter where I am. But an rMBP -- or even an Air -- might make that effort just a little bit lighter, which is important when you're also packing an audio interface, small USB keyboard, microphone, mic stand, and cables.

    Good luck with your decision.
     
  16. leman macrumors 604

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    Oct 14, 2008
    #16
    B.. got it right, because of 2 TB ports. You can connect much more peripheral devices to the rMBP than to a cMBP. Of course, its just a theoretical possibility and does not mean much on practice. But some people definitely can benefit from multiple external displays.

    ----------

    You are talking about 'upgradeability' which is completely different topic. Expandability = connecting external peripherals.
     
  17. Hamersfx2 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Aug 4, 2013
    #17
    Totally see what you mean with dual screens mate, i just don't think i'd ever end up using two (or at least not for a long while due to a severe lack of space). The original + external sould keep me going for a while. When affordable thunderbolt audio interfaces are around (if i see the need to upgrade from my current setup) i will probably jump on the bandwagon and let go of the firewire :)

    ----------


    Thank you so much mate, amazing and helpful advice right there! It's great to hear from someone in a similar situation. I think i agree with the screen size as not only will it be more useful on it's own due to the extra space, it was also be more useful when hooked up to an external simply due to the extra size.
     
  18. fenjen macrumors 6502

    fenjen

    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2012
    #18
    For music production, yes I would recommend the quad core. You probably wouldn't get to the limits of a dual core i7 right now, but programs aren't gonna get any lighter in the future, so you're gonna be a lot more future proof.
     
  19. surroundfan macrumors 6502

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    Nov 22, 2005
    Location:
    Melbourne, Australia
    #19
    I've just gone rMBP and don't think I could go back to non-retina now. So easy on the eyes! :)

    A couple of other cheap Aussie options for MBPs:

    Megabuy new rMBP for $1949: http://www.megabuy.com.au/apple-bun...ina-154-23ghz-i7-8gb-256gb-flash-p405576.html

    (NOTE: Megabuy has a poor rep for shipping stuff quickly unless it's in stock, so check they have stock first. Their stock listed on their site is unreliable).

    Dick Smith has 10% off ATM: http://www.dicksmith.com.au/computers/apple-computers/macbook-pro
     
  20. Hamersfx2 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Aug 4, 2013
    #20
    Thanks Surroundfan, if only i could stretch to the $1949 right now :D. It's part of the reason why i would like the cMBP as it's the best i can afford right now - but with the potential to make it even better in the future as i save up some more spare cash. If i could have my ideal lappy right now i'd probably go for a 2.7ghz 16gb 512 rMBP as i can be pretty certain that'll last me for a few years to come, but alas, maybe in a couple of years :) Should probably start saving as soon as i get this one in a week or so haha
     
  21. Hamersfx2 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Aug 4, 2013
    #21
    Also, do you guys know what the temperatures would be like under load on the 13 and the 15'? i know the 15 has dual fans, but also a quad core cpu to cool, so i'm not too sure. What'd you think?
     
  22. jahall05 macrumors regular

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    Jul 30, 2013
    #22
    I understand what you mean now. I guess this would all depend on how the OP plans to use the computer daily then.
     
  23. Hamersfx2 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Aug 4, 2013
    #23
    Thank you all for your help and advice guys, i have ended up ordering the refurb 15". Can't wait for it to get here on monday! One's first Mac is a special thing haha. Will report back when i've got it :D

    Thanks again!
     
  24. B... macrumors 68000

    B...

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    #24
    Congratulations! Good choice.
     
  25. DaCurmudgen macrumors regular

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    Aug 5, 2012
    #25
    Congrats

    Believe you me, you won't be disappointed -- no matter which Mac, the experience is truly enjoyable and makes music production, as well as 8 zillion other things, a breeze. Every time I turn on my Mac, I still have that new-computer-giddy feeling.
     

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