Decisions, Decisions

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by AeonSamurai, Mar 19, 2011.

  1. AeonSamurai macrumors newbie

    Mar 19, 2011
    Hi all, this'll be my first post here. I'm currently a sophomore in college, computer science major, and I'm debating between a 13 inch MBP and a 15 inch MBP. Oh, it'll also be my first mac.

    I kinda want the 13 inch just for the weight because I carry my laptop almost all the time (at the moment, I have a frigging 6.7 pound laptop that I lug around everywhere), but I'd like the screen real-estate of the 15 inch + the power it has. I do a bit of gaming (StarCraft II; nothing heavier than that). I don't do video encoding/editing or photo editing, but since I'm in a graphics class, I might render a little (though even this laptop can handle it without a problem).

    So what do you all think? 13 inch vs 15 inch for this situation. Also, I'd like to know your first impressions with either machine if you'd like to share.
  2. sammjordan macrumors member

    Sep 23, 2009
    You can pick up a nice external monitor for the 13" for added screen space..can't do anything about the weight of a 15"

    Go 13 :D
  3. AeonSamurai thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 19, 2011
    Whoa, thanks for the quick response! If possible, I'd really like not to buy an external monitor, since I can't really carry it around. The 15 inch one is about 5.5 lbs right? It's pushing it...but it's lighter than my current one at 6.7. Can anyone comment on carrying it around?
  4. Hellhammer Moderator


    Staff Member

    Dec 10, 2008
    If gaming isn't important, then the Intel HD 3000 should be fine. It gives you around 50FPS in SC2 @1280x800 with medium graphics/textures. Otherwise the 13" should be more than plenty for your usage. Like suggested above, get an external monitor if you want more screen estate.

    Of course there is the option of 13" MBA which has 1440x900 screen and is even more portable but lacks some CPU power.
  5. Kyzelios macrumors 6502

    Mar 6, 2011
    I've had no issues carrying around my 15-inch MacBook Pro, although it's not something I do on a day to day basis.

    It's a tough decision, and it depends on how much portability and power you're looking for and if the price difference between the two would be worth it for you in the long run. Ideally, I'd recommend looking at this as an investment and try to plan on getting 3-4 years out of the computer.

    The dual-core Core i5 (or Core i7) processors in the 13-inch models run extremely well and offer exceptional performance, and would easily handle anything that you throw at it. They also offer 1280x800 as a screen resolution, which isn't necessarily bad considering most 15-inch Windows-based notebooks were shipping with the same resolution up until the big switchover to a 16:9 aspect ratio. You wouldn't necessarily want the text on your screen to be too small or it could cause eye strain, and increased resolution also means the graphics processor has to work harder when trying to play games at native resolution.

    The 13-inch model offers Intel HD 3000 Graphics, which from what I've seen in various benchmarks is almost equivalent to the NVIDIA GeForce 320M which was used in the 2010 models. It'll be sufficient for some light rendering and playing StarCraft 2 on upper low to medium settings at native resolution.

    That being said, the 15-inch offers quad-core Intel Core i7 processors and dedicated graphics processors. You'd be looking at 1440x900 as the standard screen resolution, and I can say from my personal experience that it's an excellent screen resolution for a 15-inch screen; the AMD Radeon HD 6490M would also offer great performance for both rendering and gaming - you could probably get away with playing StarCraft 2 on medium to high settings at native resolution, and rendering would be a bit quicker.

    As I said at the beginning of this post, it really boils down to your needs, expectations, and budget. Weigh out the pros and cons of both computers and see which model would best meet your needs for the next several years.

    Is there an Apple store or authorized reseller in your area? If so, I'd recommend getting some hands-on time with both the 13-inch and 15-inch models to see which one feels more comfortable to you.

    Best of luck and have a great day! :)
  6. AeonSamurai thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 19, 2011

    Thanks for all your replies! I made a visit to the Apple Store, and ended up getting the 13 inch i5. So far, it suits my needs, and it's light. :D

    The first time loading a SC2 game lagged a bit, but after that it was pretty much smooth (with a few hiccups here and there... could be a connection issue / it being on windowed mode), but otherwise it's fine. :]
  7. Kyzelios macrumors 6502

    Mar 6, 2011
    Congratulations on your purchase, I'm glad to hear that you're happy with it and I'm sure that you'll enjoy your new computer for years to come! :)
  8. sydenham macrumors regular

    Dec 23, 2010
    Wise choice. I would have suggested the 13 if you are carrying it around with you all of the time. I am sure you will love the machine.
  9. kobyh15 macrumors 6502a

    Jan 29, 2011
    Good call. Definitely would have went with the 13 if I were you.

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