Help me decide between the new base model 15" or the 17"

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by rev.b, Oct 27, 2011.

  1. rev.b macrumors regular

    rev.b

    Joined:
    May 1, 2009
    Location:
    Portugal
    #1
    I know this may seem a strange doubt, but here's the deal:

    I currently have a dual-core i5 MBP 15" '10 and I'm upgrading to the new refreshed models. I love the power/portability ratio of the 15" model, but I'm tempted to go with the 17" one.

    I do need the quadcore cpu power, but I need a good graphic card too. I don't game that much, but I often work at home with my Dell U2711, and noticeably the 330M 256Mb struggles to drive 2560x1440 on the Dell plus 1440x900 on the MBP. Just maximizing Google Earth on the main screen makes everything extremely choppy, for instance.

    Going again with the base 15" would be a cost saving decision IF 512Mb is enough to drive both screens. I don't think the high end 15" justifies the added cost for just more 0.2 Ghz and a overclocked 6750 (yes here it has 1 Gb VRAM).

    If 512Mb on the lower model wouldn't cut it, I prefer paying the premium for the 17", but I'm worried with losing portability and mainly with the 17" LCD small dot pitch, which is even smaller than the already small U2711 dot pitch (132 PPI vs 109 PPI) that I find very near of the edge of eye strain. I normally use the MBP on a Rain design mstand next to the U2711.

    Of course when working on another place, a 1920x1200 screen res would be a bliss.

    Please help me decide... :(
     
  2. pbarclay macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2011
    #2
    I have just bought the 17" anti-glare 2.5 GHz MBP and am delighted with it. Whilst the extra dpi appears to be a slight disadvantage, most applications have a zoom in feature that helps. However, I have found that the near-Retina display makes it incredibly comfortable to read PDF articles - virtually as good as printing them with a laser printer plus all the advantages of being able to copy and paste into Word to make notes.

    The 17" is a big beast which is lighter than the Sony VAIO 16.4" it replaced although denser as it is hewn from solid aluminium and is far slimmer. Bizarrely, it feels heavier in my backpack than the VAIO did. The 15" machine is only 450g lighter so for me the benefits of an immersive high resolution viewing outweigh the 20% increase in weight.

    There is always the Apple 14 day money back guarantee to fall back on but I am happy that I have made the correct decision to suit my personal requirements.

    Back to work!
     
  3. randomrazr macrumors 65816

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  4. Prodo123 macrumors 68020

    Prodo123

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    Nov 18, 2010
    #4
    His CPU isn't, but his VRAM is.
    Get an early 2011 high-end 15". Mostly same specs as the new base 15", but with 1GB VRAM.
    Check Apple's refurb stores.
     
  5. rev.b thread starter macrumors regular

    rev.b

    Joined:
    May 1, 2009
    Location:
    Portugal
    #5
    I'm not on the US, and they don't sell refurbs on apple online store here, or have the 14 day return policy.

    Anyway, I will not buy directly from apple, because I have nearly 800€ on gift cards that I can spend on a known retail shop here in europe.

    That, plus the money I'm getting from the sale of my '10 MBP, makes a 15" base model for free.

    Of course my '10 model isn't that old (and a fine machine with 8 Gb of ram and 128 gb Crucial m4 SSD it is), but if I can get the latest one for free (or close to that), why not?

    So, I guess 1 Gb VRAM is a must, right?...
     
  6. Meever macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2009
    #6
    Not really. In gaming the gpu speed would be the bottleneck before the VRAM. I foresee running multiple displays being a problem with 512mb. And of course for rendering you would see tangible benefits. Otherwise....
     
  7. randomrazr macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2011
    #7
    hahaha
     
  8. GuitarG20 macrumors 65816

    GuitarG20

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    Jun 3, 2011
    #8
    I would stick with something that has a whole gig of vRam. I absolutely adore me 17" and I carry it with me just about everywhere.
     
  9. swedefish macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2008
    #9
    Get the base 15" and use the remaining balance to upgrade to the high res anti-glare display AND Apple Care.
     
  10. rev.b thread starter macrumors regular

    rev.b

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    Portugal
    #10
    That's the point. My main concern is running multiple displays.
     
  11. szolr macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2011
    Location:
    London, UK
    #11
    Sorry if this seems a silly suggestion. I don't know whether it's possible to upgrade GDDR5 RAM like it is with DDR 3 RAM. Is it?

    If so, why not buy the base end 15 inch model and upgrade the GDDR5 RAM yourself or customise it in the Apple Store.

    If it's not possible, then my above suggestion is obsolete. :p
     
  12. Erasmus macrumors 68030

    Erasmus

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2006
    Location:
    Hiding from Omnius in Australia
    #12
    I love my 17" antiglare.

    If you don't mind the extra 500 grams, and extra half grand of monies, you'll never be able to go back to a smaller screen again.

    Glossy vs Antiglare is just a case of personal preference, and consideration of where you'll mostly use your computer. I compared the computers side by side in the Apple Store, and I liked antiglare more than glossy.

    ----------

    It's not possible. VRAM is soldered directly on the GPU, even for desktop cards. Only practical way of increasing your VRAM is to buy a new GPU. Which, of course, is also soldered into your MBP :p So, only practical way of upgrading your GPU is to buy a new MBP. Which will contain a new GPU. Which will contain more VRAM :D
     
  13. szolr macrumors 6502

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    Jul 27, 2011
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    #13
    Ah, OK. That's my learning something new for the day. ;)
     
  14. GuitarG20 macrumors 65816

    GuitarG20

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2011
    #14
    yeah, vRam is soldered directly onto the GPU... can't replace it or swap i out. That's why I said to buy something that includes the vRam already.
     
  15. rev.b thread starter macrumors regular

    rev.b

    Joined:
    May 1, 2009
    Location:
    Portugal
    #15
    Sorry, another important question I forgot:

    The early 2011 17" had terrible issues with 6 Gbp SSD's - I remember those photos insulating the sata cable with aluminum sheet. :eek:

    I will use my Crucial m4 SSD with the new MBP, so I am worried.

    Anyone know if this is already fixed?

    Thanks.
     
  16. Mojo1 macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2011
    #16
    Two Thumbs Down For 17" MBP...

    1. It's too freakin' BIG.

    2. It's too freakin' EXPENSIVE.

    Save money and have more options by getting a 13" or 15" and combine it with a good external display.

    Here is a reasonably-priced NEC display that has garnered excellent reviews: http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produ...0WUXi2_BK_24_Widescreen.html#pr-header-629071. Add it to the cart to see its actual price of $635.

    The NEC is a lot better than any MBP display...
     
  17. Erasmus macrumors 68030

    Erasmus

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    #17
    It is apparently fixed.
     
  18. rev.b thread starter macrumors regular

    rev.b

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    #18
    As I said, I already have an external display, a Dell U2711.
    my main concern about video memory is because of it.
     
  19. Mojo1 macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2011
    #19
    If you up the RAM in a 13" MBP to 8GB or higher the shared VRAM is automatically increased to 512MB. I didn't know this until I stumbled upon the info in another thread. I checked my MBP and what do you know: 512MB vs. the default 384MB when using 4GB.
     
  20. GuitarG20 macrumors 65816

    GuitarG20

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2011
    #20
    yes-this is true. my HD3000 uses 512MB of shared DDR3 for vRam. However, I still think the OP should get one that has a video card with 1 Gig dedicated DDR5 vRam.
     
  21. Prodo123 macrumors 68020

    Prodo123

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2010
    #21
    Confirmed and seconded on 15" Early 2011 MBP
     
  22. Annerz macrumors regular

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    Feb 15, 2011
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    New Jersey
  23. spagthorpe macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2011
    #23
    I truly love the screen on the 17". That said, I don't think I would carry it around with me as much. The 15" is already at my limit of portability. I'd prefer the 13" if they put a better anti-glare screen on it.

    If you're wanting something to take around, but use as a home machine, getting the 15", and then pony up for a Thunderbolt display for your home. Then you have something way nicer than the 17" for your home time, and something still damn nice and useful when out.

    I actually would have gone this way with an 13" Air model, except that the 4GB ram limitation put a damper on it.
     
  24. rev.b thread starter macrumors regular

    rev.b

    Joined:
    May 1, 2009
    Location:
    Portugal
    #24
    I went with a 17", but a early 2011 model! Got it 200€ cheaper than the new model, and to be honest, I don't think it would justify a 9% faster CPU and a 14% faster video card. Got 1 Gb if VRAM, after all. ;)

    So far, so good. It's not that bigger and heavier than the 15" I've got!
    The screen is gorgeous, fonts are indeed a bit tiny, but so crisp they're easily readable.

    I moved the SDD and optibay to my new baby, and in 15 minutes I got my old system on a 1920x1200 screen and a i7 quadcore.

    Just waiting for the crucial 8 Gb I ordered to arrive to complete the package ;)
     
  25. Erasmus macrumors 68030

    Erasmus

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2006
    Location:
    Hiding from Omnius in Australia
    #25
    Double thumbs up, dude!!!

    Now I'm just jealous because I want an SSD :(
     

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