Does size matter for performance?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by aubiefan, Aug 30, 2009.

  1. aubiefan macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2009
    Location:
    NC
    #1
    I am about to become a first-time Mac owner, and am debating between the 13" and 15" MacBook Pro. I know that, in general, 13" wins for portability, and 15" for utility with juggling multiple windows (I am a mega-multitasker).

    What I am unsure of is performance differences. I can configure both sizes to have 320 GB storage and 4 GB RAM. Same on paper, but will performance be different between the two models? Will either get significantly hotter with a given processor, will it drain the battery on the 13" faster to have more RAM?

    Advice?
     
  2. Abstract macrumors Penryn

    Abstract

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2002
    Location:
    Location Location Location
    #2
    Too.
    Many.
    Penii.
    Jokes!



    To answer your question, it shouldn't affect performance whatsoever if the hardware is the same. There will naturally be a difference in heat distribution and dissipation, but I really don't think it's a factor you should worry about.
     
  3. aubiefan thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2009
    Location:
    NC
    #3
    I wanted a title that would get people's attention!

    Joking aside, I thought of an additional question:
    Is the performance difference between a 2.26 GHz and 2.53 GHz in the 13" really that noticeable, and more importantly is it worth the extra $300?
     
  4. Abstract macrumors Penryn

    Abstract

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2002
    Location:
    Location Location Location
    #4
    Personally, I would never get the highest spec'd model for the CPU, not unless there were a difference in the graphics card as well. There's definitely a difference, but the difference isn't significant unless you make your computer process data for ages and ages. Then it may save you a few minutes for each hour of processing.
    For things that may take your computer 6 seconds to process, I doubt you'd ever notice the difference. ;)


    Also, it doesn't make your computer more future-proof. You'd be better off saving the $300, investing it, and using the money to buy a better computer in 2.5 years rather than 3 years (for example).
     
  5. Erendiox macrumors 6502a

    Erendiox

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2004
    Location:
    Brooklyn NY
    #5
    In a word, no. The difference in actual real-world performance between those two clock speeds is pretty negligible for most tasks. You'd be much better off saving $300 or using that money to buy some cool accessories, like an external monitor or a pair of nice desktop speakers. In your situation, you should be paying less attention to the clock speed and more attention to whether or not you will appreciate the 13in form factor or the 15inch form factor. That's the important difference. The performance difference is very small.
     
  6. macrumorsMaster macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    May 20, 2008
    #6
    The difference would be negligible and definitely not worth $300. If you're going to spend more, get the one with the discrete graphics, IF You need that(Motion, 3d animation, etc). Otherwise, save your money.
     
  7. aubiefan thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2009
    Location:
    NC
    #7
    Thanks for the advice. I'm a biology grad student, so I do a lot of writing and have a huge PDF library, but I don't do high-graphics games. I occasionally watch TV shows in iTunes, but that's about the extent of my demand for graphics.

    Also, I just checked the specs on the laptop I'm currently using, a 2.5 year old Toshiba, and apparently it only has 1.67 GHz, so even the "lowest" option on the MBP will be an upgrade.

    Still wondering, though, regarding performance, does anyone know of appreciable differences in battery life or heating in the 13 and 15" models? I worry that a smaller unit will overheat faster because the surface to volume ratio is lower. Or am I just being too much of a scientist?
     
  8. Designer Dale macrumors 68040

    Designer Dale

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2009
    Location:
    Folding space
    #8
    One of the main things effecting the performance of a computer is the speed of the hard drive. It can create a bottleneck on even a really high speed processor if it is reading/writing to a 5400 rpm HD. A 7200 rpm drive will improve performance on any computer. I won't go into 10K or SSD here.

    Dale
     
  9. macrumorsMaster macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    May 20, 2008
    #9
    Have you thought about the white macbook then?
    It's cheaper and plenty powerful enough for what you're doing :D
     
  10. blackhand1001 macrumors 68030

    blackhand1001

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2009
    #10
    The screen sucks on it though. Not because of led but because they finally got a tn+film on the aluminum now. I think that any laptop that cost more than 800 should have a tn+film and not justa crappy tn which has the silvery blacks and even worse view angles than tn+film.
     
  11. macrumorsMaster macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    May 20, 2008
    #11
    True, but she isn't do video editing or anything that requires such an accurate color gamut.
     
  12. ortuno2k macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2005
    Location:
    Hollywood, FL
    #12
    You should worry more about portability vs the speed of the CPU's. The difference between both won't be much noticeable, like most have said.
    If you don't mind carrying around a 15", then I'd say to get the lower end 15". You get a larger screen, but give up slightly on portability.
     
  13. Burnsey macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2007
    Location:
    Canada
    #13
    I've got an older 15 inch, it has the exact same display resolution as the current one. My sister has a UMB 13 inch. Performance wise, even though my computer is now 3 years old, I do not notice any difference in day-day tasks, and even demanding tasks like running multiple applications like Photoshop.

    the 13" is much better for portability though, which I admire sometimes, but I much prefer the larger and higher res display of my MBP. If I were to be purchasing again though I would go with the 13 inch version and get a nice big external monitor. This way you have the best of both worlds.
     
  14. amoda macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2006
    #14
    Honestly, considering the price difference I wouldn't go for the MB over the bottom 13" MBP.


    The MBP has:

    - Better screen
    - Better build, lighter and thinner.
    - Better ram (DDR3 vs DDR2), improving both system and graphic performance.
    - Better battery life
    - Illuminated keyboard (moot for me but thought I'd throw it out there)
    - Better trackpad
    - SD card slot and FW800, vs no SD slot and FW400.

    For $200 difference in the student store.
     

Share This Page