Decision time: $15" MBP w/ 2.4 GHz and 3 year Apple Care vs. 17" 1080p screen 2.5 GHz

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by snahrl, Jun 26, 2008.

  1. snahrl macrumors member

    Jul 1, 2007
    Option A:

    15" MBP, 2.4 GHZ (3 MB L2 Cache), INCLUDES 3 year Apple Care Warranty

    Price: $2000

    Option B:

    17" MBP (1080p screen), 2.5 GHz (6 MB L2 Cache), NO apple care warranty

    Price: $2700

    Add in the apple care, and it's about $3000.


    Mainly for word processing, web browsing, etc, but also want to have the ability to watch high def movies on the internet (not Blu-Ray, I've got a player for that, just HD content on websites -- trailers, etc). Is there a substantial difference in speed between the 3 MB of L2 Cache size and 6 MB? Will I be able to tell a difference?

    I value screen real estate quite a bit, so the extra resolution is appealing to me...though not necessarily a deal breaker. Portability is nice, but again, I think I could manage just fine with a 17".

    Option A just seems like such a better deal that it would make me feel foolish for getting the 17".

    Are there any other deals from retailers outside of Apple that are better for the 17" MBP with more resolution?

    Thanks in advance.
  2. AmpCoder macrumors 6502

    Mar 27, 2007
    Option B. Due to the better processor, better graphics card, larger screen size, and the option to purchase AppleCare and more RAM in the future.
  3. snahrl thread starter macrumors member

    Jul 1, 2007
    I do not care about having a superior graphics card as I will not be using my laptop for gaming purposes.

    The processor is better; it has twice the L2 cache and a minor speed bump, I'm just curious as to how much of a difference I will notice in everyday tasks that I will be using it for (web browsing, email, watching videos and trailers online, occassional photoshop editing).

    It's really hard for me to justify an extra $700-1000 for features that won't necessarily make a huge difference.

    The larger screen size IS appealing, though I do have a 1080p external LCD I can hook up to my MBP should I want to use it as a desktop replacement at home.
  4. winninganthem macrumors 6502a


    Jun 10, 2008
    "A" sounds like a better deal.

    Since you already have an external monitor I don't see the point of investing in the 17"; all you're going to do is watch movies and not edit them on the go.

    $2k for all of that sounds awesome. Care to share where you're getting the deal from? :p
  5. snahrl thread starter macrumors member

    Jul 1, 2007

    packaged educational discount deal (not just the normal educational discount). I suppose it depends on the school.
  6. jjahshik32 macrumors 603

    Sep 4, 2006
    Definetly option B, with the 17" hi res mbp at 2.5Ghz.

    I've owned them all and the 17" whether its 2.5 or 2.6 for some reason runs osx smoother and faster (I think its due to the bigger logic board with faster and more efficient heat sink).

    Also the 17" mbp does not have the left speaker hissing/sizzling noise while the magsafe is connected (been through 8 15" and they all do it and checked a total of 25 mbp from 2 apple stores as well).

    Also not to mention the hi res screen is absolutely gorgeous and the 17" should last you a much longer time. Also the speakers are awesome and the headphone jack via external speakers dont have the hissing problems that all my 15" mbp had.
  7. bamf macrumors 6502

    Feb 14, 2008
    I've got the 15" 2.4, and it runs great. I've had 17" laptops before (albeit Dells), and (for me at least) the 15" is the perfect balance of size and functionality.

    Based on your usage patterns that you listed above, I'd say save the extra money and buy yourself something nice. Maybe an AppleTV... :)
  8. aiterum macrumors 6502


    Nov 17, 2007
    United States
    17 does not have a better graphics card it just has more VRAM. This will not improve gaming performance in any way.
  9. NRose8989 macrumors 6502a

    Feb 6, 2008
    Option B all the way.

    Have you seen both in a apple store or reseller? My school has a Hi-Def 17in. MBP and that thing is awesome. I actually hate going to my school store because every time i see it, i get jealous.

    Having as much screen real estate as a 24in. monitor would be really nice over my 1440 x 900 screen. I wouldn't let applecare decide your purchase though. I still havn't bought mine but i will when september comes before my year of warranty it up.
  10. jjahshik32 macrumors 603

    Sep 4, 2006
    You can also add apple care later in the year like a month before it expires, that's what I'm going to do and picking up the apple care from ebay for $100 less.
  11. snahrl thread starter macrumors member

    Jul 1, 2007
    Is it even worth getting Apple care?

    I generally take good care of my computers...I figure if it's going to fail, it'll likely fail within the first year or so.

    And if it does break down, I wonder how expensive it is just to get it fixed...probably about the same (maybe a little more) than the cost of Apple care.
  12. jjahshik32 macrumors 603

    Sep 4, 2006
    I dont know the extra vram did help out alot running my external monitors, actually made it much more fluid experience as well.

    Also the 2.4Ghz version of the mbp (owned this as well) with the 3mb of cache especially felt like it ran clunky and closer to the macbook's specs even with the 256vram gpu in it.

    I multitask alot and with the 2.4Ghz mbp model I saw alot of the color wheel spinning and not as fluid and felt more of a broken experience.

    Especially connected to an external monitor it was even slower.
  13. snahrl thread starter macrumors member

    Jul 1, 2007
    Also, I know this is probably posted somewhere else on the board, but where is the best place to get memory? I'm going to upgrade to 4 GB...anyone got any links to newegg on what type I should buy?
  14. snahrl thread starter macrumors member

    Jul 1, 2007
    Thanks for the input.

    I think I'm going to just have to mess around with both versions in the store to see what I like.

    I'm leaning somewhat towards the 17"...that won't be too big for the classroom, will it? dimensionally, it didn't seem too much bigger than the 15", and it was only slightly heavier.
  15. RSC10 macrumors member


    Apr 1, 2008
    I've had both and I'm never going back to the 15". If you can spring for the hi res screen on the 17 won't be disappointed. It's stunning. Be sure to go to your local store to check both out though. Also be aware that the hi res screen on the 17" does make text smaller (a problem for some).
  16. jjahshik32 macrumors 603

    Sep 4, 2006
    Yea, just something about the 17" mbp which isnt that much heavier than the 15" and just a bit wider but once on your lap the screen is huge and gorgeous and you can multitask more since more screen space.

    I just love the speakers on the thing too and I'm just warning you the 15" mbp when I had it exchanged 8 times last month because all of the had this left speaker issue.. when a sound is played it made this sizzling/electric noise or even after a sound has played it makes the noise where the magsafe is connected.

    And all of the 15" for some reason the magsafe's led light (green) wont even lit up or charge at times.

    I've been through 2 17" 2.5Ghz model 4 months ago and bought the 17" 2.6Ghz model just last month because I couldnt take the 15" issues, and both never gave me any magsafe, hissing headphone jack problems, left speaker sizzling noise or any other problems either.

    And not just my opinion, I've been through the 15" 2.4Ghz penryn and merom mbp, 15" 2.5Ghz mbp (6 of them), 15" 2.6Ghz mbp, 17" 2.5 hi res mbp, 17" 2.6Ghz hi res mbp (got it now) and everything is smooth sailing and great to even carry around the house or taking it to my friends. Such a light notebook especially from a 17".
  17. aiterum macrumors 6502


    Nov 17, 2007
    United States
    multi-tasking ability is dependant on processor speed and ram
    increased processor speed will increase the multi-tasking ability of your multiple displays as well

    increased v ram will do things like let you bump up the textures higher in games and things like that but increased vram does nothing to the GPUs clock speed
  18. Chromako macrumors member

    Apr 8, 2007
    The Wired
    How about 2 DDR2 667 SODIMMs at 2GB each, I'd recommend if you can, getting Crucial, Mushkin, or if not those, Corsair. I find that often, paying for a good brand of memory is worth it.
  19. nayxn2nayxn macrumors member

    Jun 12, 2008
    wow i have the same dilemma as you! i was wondering what of those 2 options if i mainly use Maya (3d animation program), photoshop, after effects, and final cut pro. I do digital paintings on hundreds of photoshop files at once, composite lots of files in after effects for hand drawn animation, and editing and producing from final cut pro. so what exactly does Vram do? Will it be a huge factor when i'm running these programs? thanks!
  20. ChrisN macrumors 65816


    Aug 27, 2007
    Demarest, NJ
    I would get a refurb 17 inch MBP because if you are watching movies at home you will probably be plugged in be get one with a led screen.

  21. jjahshik32 macrumors 603

    Sep 4, 2006
    Just telling you my first hand experience and I've owned the 2.4 penryn model with 3mb cache for a good 1.5 weeks before exchanging it... compared to the 2.5Ghz 15" mbp it felt like it lagged more and had alot of hiccups (both 15" I put in the hitachi travelstar 7k200 hdd's and 4gb of ram).

    but the 17" mbp with the 2.5Ghz model just seems so much faster overall experience under OSX. And I know what the speed differences felt like in real life.. I came from a mac pro that's on my sig that was smooth as butter.
  22. alphaod macrumors Core


    Feb 9, 2008
    It's not about being a better deal or anything; it can simply be said, you do not need a 17" MBP. The 15" does everything the 17" can do, at a smaller footprint and more portability.

    And since your deciding AppleCare or Not as well in the equation, then definitely go with the 15" MBP.
  23. shmutheprophet macrumors regular

    Jun 12, 2008
    Yeah it depends on the school for the specialized discount packages.
    For example my school, University of Maryland, gave me this when I bought my MBP:

    2.4ghz base model 15"
    4 Year AppleCare (Yes, 4 year, to cover my entire stay up until my undergraduate)

    If my memory serves me, it was $2,079.

    P.S. some people will argue this point but:

    In computers it never matters what anything feels like. The only way to tell if something is faster at certain tasks, and by how much, is in benchmarks.
  24. jjahshik32 macrumors 603

    Sep 4, 2006
    Well I do agree to a certain degree.. but sometimes benchmarks are not accurate at all compared to real world usage, similar to battery life type of deal I guess.

    But to the OP if you need portability for everyday class needs the 15" will be less hectic.

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