Help decide between 15" and 13"

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by mrsands, May 7, 2010.

  1. mrsands macrumors newbie

    May 7, 2010
    I'm a uni student deciding on which laptop to get. At the moment, I have a 2 year old 15" laptop with 2.6ghz, 4gb ram (it has a slightly faulty lcd and battery only lasts 30 minutes now), 9500M GS vid card, a 10" netbook as well as a 26" LCD monitor that I connect my 15" to. Ive decided that the netbook is too slow for my needs. So I'm going to get a new laptop. I was torn between the i7 15" and the 2.4 13"... they're both on the other side of the spectrum, but I have differing priorities... from my experience a 15" is slightly too big to carry around, on the other hand I'm concerned that a 13" would be slow (its pretty much just slightly faster than my 2 year old laptop which i purchased for roughly the same price 2 years ago). I'm currently thinking of a compromise.

    The 15" i7 I want would cost around 2500 ( student price with high res screen). While the 13" would cost around 1400, if I buy a 13" I can basically get a pretty decent i7 Quadcore desktop for $1100, or I can even save up for a few more months and get an even beefier desktop, but while waiting for that I will have to run the 13" on my monitor when I'm home...

    or I could just get the high end i7 15" and not hassle about having 2 computers again. The 15" also has a newer processor which means it will be less likely to go obsolete (I intend to keep the laptop for 2.5-3 years). I can maybe sell my 26" monitor too, making the price of the 15" more affordable.

    Help me decide please?

    Other info: I'm a games development student so I use 3d apps like Maya, 3DS Max and UDK, however I don't play much PC games as I prefer consoles, perhaps the only game I will play will be SC2 and/or WoW (on and off player of that game). The only reason I'm getting a mac is to get into iphone/ipad development.

    (Prices are in AU Dollars)
  2. Mac.Virgin101 macrumors member

    Apr 18, 2010
    Personally I found the 13" screen just too small for my liking. However, I know lots and lots of people that enjoy it, find it much more portable and chose it over the 15".

    Since my bf is now planning to buy a 27" IMac I'm wondering if I should have spent less for the 13' and just used his big screen when I'd rather be reading/watching on a big screen.
  3. mikeo007 macrumors 65816

    Mar 18, 2010
    I think your solution is the best one. Buy the 13" for portability needs, and get a kicken desktop for your power usage needs. I think you'll find yourself restricted by using the 15" macbook for game design, even though it would be more convenient.
  4. kny3twalker macrumors 65816


    Oct 25, 2009
    Definitely get the 13" and upgrade your desktop.
    Its more of a compromise since you will have two systems and the MBP is using a 2 year old processor, but you get the best of both worlds: Portability away from home, and alot of power at home.
  5. mrsands thread starter macrumors newbie

    May 7, 2010
    Thanks for the opinions, I think I've really decided on getting a 13" + desktop and just needed some reenforcement as I am not very confident of my decission.

    I will be buying my mac next week :D
  6. skiltrip macrumors 68030

    May 6, 2010
    New York
    I too would get the 13" and a nice monitor.

    I have a 13" MBP, and when I want to, I have a 23" Acer monitor that I can hook it up to. Even so, I rarely hook it up to the monitor because I like the portability and ability to bring it around the house with me.
  7. DoNoHarm macrumors 65816


    Oct 8, 2008
    yeah, good call. with the price difference, it makes sense to go this route. Actually, if I may suggest, try getting the 13" and the monitor for your desktop first. Try it out. If you find that the 13" is really too slow, then go for the desktop. You might even want to purposefully delay the desktop purchase so that you can get an even better desktop for the same money a few months down the line.
  8. ano0oj macrumors 6502

    Apr 20, 2010
    get the 15"...its portable enough(really...people complain about carrying 5lb? you guys aren't 5 years old). and big enough for you to place on a desk and be completely comfortable with the screen size and overall size of the keyboard and extra space around
  9. Scottsdale macrumors 601


    Sep 19, 2008
    I would say since you already have an external display, buy the 13" MBP low end for $1199. The 2.4 GHz is a Penryn C2D. The Nvidia 320m is powerful enough unless you want to do advanced gaming stuff (you said you don't). It accepts up to 8 GB RAM (update in a year or two when the price drops to $100 and will give you an extra two years usage). It has SATA-II so you can always put an SSD in it later (in fact, I would use the money saved to buy a 160 GB Intel SSD which would make it feel 3X faster than your old computer). It has a beautiful backlit LED display. Will drive up to a 30" ACD.

    It fits extreme portability while on the go, yet it's plenty powerful while at the desk. Even a white MacBook is perfect for writing iPhone OS applications. You don't need power, you need one computer that will do it all so you always have your files handy. I love the 13" MBP. My kids both have them, and I think they're amazing little Macs for $1199. The upgrade for $300 isn't even worth it there. Use that same money for an Intel SSD, and you get a lot more bang for your buck.

    Save your money for an update down the road. You don't need a MBP and a desktop.

    Good luck.
  10. bella92108 macrumors 68000

    Mar 1, 2006
    I had 15"s for years and finally went to 13"... one trip in a coach seat on an airplane (or even first class trying to have a drink and a laptop on the table) makes a 13" the clear winner. You can always get a monitor and keyboard, but ultimately smaller is better. I don't game though, so if dedicated graphics to game is a requirement that'd be the one exception.
  11. elpmas macrumors 68000


    Sep 9, 2009
    Where the fresh snow don't go.
    13" :D
    I didn't notice how heavy mbps are lol. Kinda took me by surprise :D
    13" ftw, unless you need the i processors.

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