Dear Macrumors, give me advice on mbp choice.

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by aigoya, May 19, 2010.

  1. aigoya macrumors member

    May 18, 2010
    Hello macrumors! First post here.

    I'm returning my 2010 refreshed mbp 13" due to 'defective manufacturing'. It came with some scratches that came in a form of a clamp being pressed down on my mac.

    Now I have the choice of exchanging for another 13" or pulling the trigger on a 15".

    I love the size, compactness, portability of the 13". It seems to be the ideal size laptop for me.
    I take it to work, I cuddle with it, I play rough with it, throw it in my bag. My wish is my mbp's command. I dont give it a second thought when I want to take it to a coffee shop to finish up some work.

    On the other hand, it's a bit slower than I expected/wanted. I'm a light/casual gamer, playing mostly SC2. Even on low settings I get some lag in huge battles. I also use this mac for work related things and run VMware. It isn't exactly 'smooth' and tends to freeze or get choppy (this is where i expose out and play with on osx and go back to vmware after 10 seconds or so).

    Although I can honestly say im using vmware 20% of the time and gaming 10% of the time, it does bother me a bit.
    Now, will these problems go away with the 15"?

    I played on my co workers macbook, and even though its 1lb heavier, it feels like more than that.Im trying to justify the exchange of portability for power. I cant really imagine laying in bed with a 15" on top of my lap typing this, and would probably think twice before I want to finish up work at a coffee shop.

    If apple was able to put everything from the 15" i5 base model into the 13", I'd purchase it in a heartbeat. But this is not the case, and I can't predict the future. So for now I have to decide between them. I also assume the 15" will last much longer than the 13" based just on hardware configurations.

    Has anyone had a similar situation and can tell me what they went for?
    Or can anyone offer some good logic so I can stop having sleepless nights over thinking about this?
    How about other solutions such as pop in a SSD, stop running VMware and use bootcamp, and deal with the lag on sc2?

  2. Hellhammer Moderator


    Staff Member

    Dec 10, 2008
    Do you want portability or performance? 13" is pretty powerful but as you said, you get some lag in big battles (btw is it online game?).
  3. seong macrumors 65816


    Feb 11, 2010
    Checklists!!!!! They are important.

    Much better gaming experience VS Casual gaming experience

    Higher Resolution VS 1280x800 resolution

    Glossy or Matte VS Glossy

    Better Processor VS Normal Processor

    Heavy VS Light'er'


    If you see yourself taking the right side, rather than the left ones, then choose MBP 13".
  4. burp macrumors newbie

    May 12, 2010
    i found myself in a similar situation.
    dead macbook 13'', in need of a new laptop.

    i've seriously considered the mbp 15''. it basically has all i want except for size and weight.

    i'm not tied to OS X software for work (though i like it a lot), so decided to go with another brand.

    if for any reason i couldn't manage without OS X, i would have taken the 15'' and sacrifice the portability for the performance.

    edit: i highly recommend SSD in any case
  5. aigoya thread starter macrumors member

    May 18, 2010
    Yes it is an online game. Starcraft 2 beta~~

    Although I'm not tied to osx as well, I love the mac for many other reasons (specially the functionality/feel of the trackpad).
    And the SSD would be a bit too much out of my budget if i head for the 15", more applicable if i got another 13".

    I can't think straight anymore. Currently in my head im trying to create some weird logic:

    How often i use portability: 25% of the time
    How often do i need performance: 30% of the time

    Spend an extra 600 dollars to get that "30% of the time" performance boost while sacrificing a bit of portability?
    I must be tired to try and think like this.

    Also if my dream 13" was to be released in the future and I own the current 13" or 15"... which would give me the better resale value? (I know this is a stupid question... 'dont buy a laptop while planning to sell it'.. but i just had to =X)
  6. mikeo007 macrumors 65816

    Mar 18, 2010
    You more than likely will not notice much of a speed difference in games with the 15". Obviously things will be a *bit* smoother, but realistically, it won't be that dramatic. Think of it this way: the GPU in the 15" scores roughly 40% higher (in 3dmark06) than the GPU in the 13". So baseline performance is plus 40% better BUT the 15" screen also has 20% more pixels (at native res) on the base model, placing your performance increase more in the realm of ~25%.

    So if you're getting ~20 fps in SC2 on your 13", you may get ~25 fps on the 15". None of these numbers are super accurate, but they give you the general idea that even with a significantly beefier GPU, the 15" isn't going to leap ahead of the 13"

    As for the VM, the i5/i7 will make a difference, but again, it won't be night and day. You will still have stuttering and the like, just not as much.
  7. burp macrumors newbie

    May 12, 2010
    this, at least for me, is a good reason for a change.
    (it's easier to choose another game than to find another job)

    but you should first check if having more RAM and or/ SSD eliminate the freezing and choppiness.
    if i remember well, vmware lets you choose between optimizing responsiveness in the host or guest operating system. have you tried that?
  8. entatlrg macrumors 68040


    Mar 2, 2009
    Waterloo & Georgian Bay, Canada
    I feel for you aigoya, I've been back and forth with the same decision for too long ... finally I made my decision and it's been a few weeks now, I couldn't be happier.

    Some of the points you mentioned were the same as my concerns ... the 13" is so much more portable, easy to grab and go and you don't think twice about taking it with you ... everywhere you use it, coffee shop, couch/lap, train, plane etc it just fits perfect.

    The 15" not so much, it is heavier, bulkier and not as fun to use therefore you won't likely 'grab it and go' as often ... to me that's a big fail. Everywhere you feel the extra bulk of the 15", couch, bed, in your bag etc.

    For that reason, keep your 13" enjoy it! Upgrade to ssd/ram as you can afford it ... need more screen space, then get a real 24" monitor.

    Until the 15" is thinner/lighter more like the size of MacBook Air it's pretty much a desktop computer in my books.

    Hope that helps.
  9. aigoya thread starter macrumors member

    May 18, 2010
    Wow, the improvement is a lot smaller than i expected. Thank you for your lovely example, it makes a lot of sense to me.

    Definitely will try that out once i exchange my mbp!

    Yesss, someone like me =). I already have an external 22" monitor that i use at home. Only crappy part is I don't know how to make it so when I'm playing games on lower resolution to include the black bars on both sides of the screen. I'd rather see a smaller screen with the black bars rather than it being stretched all over 22".

    Seems like I'm leaning to the 13" and picking up an ssd...

    I can answer: "which would you rather be, blind or deaf"
    1000000000X faster than i can answer:
    "mbp 13 or 15"
  10. LedCop macrumors regular


    Apr 7, 2008
    I know according to your calculations 5 extra fps is a 25% increase, but I honestly doubt the difference is only 5 frames per second despite the higher resolution.
  11. kny3twalker macrumors 65816


    Oct 25, 2009
    This is called 1:1 pixel mapping, and it would have to be a feature included in the monitor. It could also be done in software, but the game and the video card driver would have to support it.

    I know my 24" UltraSharp has three different display modes: 1:1, aspect, and fill.
  12. aigoya thread starter macrumors member

    May 18, 2010
    Could you provide some scenarios or examples to show this? Pretty curious.

    Hm, I will have to check this out =) Thanks for the heads up.
  13. LedCop macrumors regular


    Apr 7, 2008
    This is the best I could find.

    Look for the post by user seong:

    So at the start, with all medium for both, the 15" has roughly 50% more fps.

    Some things to note:
    1)This is, as seong mentioned, a Windows 7 result so I don't know how that will translate to Mac OS X if that's what you'll be running your games on.
    2)I don't know which model 15" he tested so it could have the 2.66 i7 or the 2.4 i5, and it could have 512MB of VRAM or 256MB.
    3)I don't know which model 13" was tested.
    4)I don't know if the 15" had the hi-res display.
    5)This is at the start; I don't know how differently the performance will drop as more units enter the game.

    Btw, I think mikeo007 forgot to consider the processor. The slowest i5 in the base 15" is faster than even the fastest Core 2 Duo that was ever put in a MacBook Pro. The 13" is slower the fastest Core 2 Duo MacBook Pro ever so...
  14. newbiemacguy128 macrumors regular

    Jul 8, 2009
    2.66 i7 HR AG MBP

    I've been playing SC2 on Mac OSX with settings on high and native resolution for awhile...I don't experience any slowdowns unless all 4 players on the map max out on void rays or something. Thats happened to me once...but thats a bit of an extreme condition.
  15. iamrawr macrumors 6502


    Apr 16, 2010
    New Jersey
    The 2.4 15" would give you a good performance increase. If you want to have decent casual gaming go with the 15" line. It's not as big as the 17 but it's more powerful than the 13 of course.
  16. Penn Jennings macrumors 6502

    Apr 22, 2010

    Are you sure that the lag is not WAN or server side. I play WOW and know that many people experience lag because their connection doesn't handle all of the extra data being transferred. There will lag and still have a 40+ frame rate.

    When you lag, if you mean that your frame rate drops, memory could also be a problem. If I go into a crowded area in WOW with too many other apps running, my frame rate drops badly.

    Just some other ideas to think about. I've seen people go out and spend $2,000 on a new system only to discover that the problem was the Internet connection.. or that they only needed to add more memory.
  17. dsprimal macrumors 6502a


    Mar 27, 2010
  18. TxMacAddict macrumors 6502

    Feb 4, 2008
    The main reason I don't like the 13 now is the low resolution. It's really disappointing to look at after using the HR 15. You don't notice it as much until you have spent some time using the new HR and may be the #1 reason I would choose a 15 now if I was doing it all over again.
  19. aigoya thread starter macrumors member

    May 18, 2010
    100% positive. Never had issues on my PC laptop.

    I have an external 22" monitor that i use it. Outside of that, the resolution never bothered me with the 13". I abuse expose.

    Just shipped back my 13" today. Will be macless for a week or two D:

    Still on the fence. I have about another week to get my money back and have to decide by then... anyone else have more opinions?
  20. daydreamer1983 macrumors newbie

    May 20, 2010
    I debated for a few weeks over the 13" vs. 15" and in the end I decided to bite the bullet and get the 15" because I find the screen size more to my liking. I did consider portability and thought the 15" would be too big or awkward to carry around, but I've been using it on my lap all day and it's great.

    I plan on keeping this computer for quite some time and thought that I would benefit from the larger screen in the future when I'm finished school and not taking it to class everyday.

    Good luck with your decision!
  21. aigoya thread starter macrumors member

    May 18, 2010
    Thank all of you guys for your input!

    After a few sleepless nights, i pulled the trigger on the base 15".
    My RMA 13" should arrive at their factory on wednesday.
    My brand new shiny 15" should arrive at my doorstep on wednesday as well!

    Going to make sure i get my full refund before i open my 15" up.

    Thanks again!!

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