Help me with choice please - MBP 13 vs 15 (high-end specs)

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by KensaiMage, May 25, 2017.

  1. KensaiMage macrumors regular


    May 25, 2017

    I am going to buy my first macbook soon after WWDC. Please help me - which MBP with touch bar will fit my needs? I am planning to take the highest specs possible and 256 or 512 SSD. (yeah I want the touch bar - I believe apple will do something awesome with it sooner or later).

    So MPB 13 Touch bar vs MBP 15 Touch bar?

    Here is what I will use it for:
    1. I am a teacher so I will carry it with myself.
    2. I will use photoshop to do some very ligh graphic design for websites, business cards etc.
    3. I will want to develop my first iOS app so I will code in Swift 3 and xcode (my plan is to learn both).
    4. I am writing a book when I have some free time so I will continue doing so.
    5. I will take care of my forum and my blog with updates/changes etc.
    6. I will play old-school games like Heroes 3, Baldur's Gate I&II EE, Diablo 2 (including a possible upcoming remastered version).
    7. I do not have other computer at the moment, I just sold my 8-year old vaio.
    8. I will want to use the macbook I buy for 6 to 8 years and then sell it for still quite some amount of money - I am looking for the best resale value.

    Both - Screen size and portability are important to me. However - I contacted XD-Desing cause I have their Bobby Compact backpack for 14-inch laptops and they said that the macbook pro 15-inch will still fit the pocket cause its size is not bigger than most common 14-inch laptops. However, I realise I will change my backpack sooner or later.

    Please give me some advice.
  2. keysofanxiety macrumors G3


    Nov 23, 2011
    Either will be fine for your needs. 6-8 year longevity is difficult because based on that, the impulse recommendation is to go for the 15" due to having considerably more hardware grunt. However failure rates on dGPUs have historically been quite high and in 6 years' time when the system is deemed to be vintage, you might be out of luck.

    Personally I'd go for the 13" as it can easily handle everything you'll need it to do. The main thing is that either machine will be fine for your needs, so it's up to you whichever form factor you prefer.
  3. KensaiMage thread starter macrumors regular


    May 25, 2017
    So you say that 13-inch will last longer due to better durability?
  4. muharremoglu macrumors newbie

    Jan 19, 2017
    Both models would be fine but I guess the 15inch is a better choice in long term. It's easier on a bigger screen to code and the compile time of Xcode Projekts is much better on a quad core processor. My advice is the 15inch base modell.
  5. KensaiMage, May 25, 2017
    Last edited: May 25, 2017

    KensaiMage thread starter macrumors regular


    May 25, 2017
    I am looking for more opinions, so if you're reading this topic, please feel free to help me with your personal view :)

    Also, @keysofanxiety made me think about the durability of radeon dGPU - will it last 6-8 years with my use?

    For comparison my Vaio lasted me 8 years and its dGPU was totally fine, I had no problems with the laptop at all AND I was gaming a lot in the past.
  6. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    I prefer the 15" model, given that you get a quad core processor and a dGPU, as for its durability, its impossible to project out 6 years. I will say Apple's track record with dGPUs is not stellar, they had significant problems with them from 2008 - 2011. My 2012 is still going strong, so those issues may be behind them.
  7. keysofanxiety macrumors G3


    Nov 23, 2011
    Nobody can say with any great certainty whether or not hardware will last. Heck you could buy a calculator and it could die in 5 years' time.

    Don't worry too much about it, didn't mean to scare you. Was musing out loud rather than in my head. 15" is a much better choice due to hardware performance if you're looking for longevity. :)
  8. ZapNZs macrumors 68020


    Jan 23, 2017
    If you are looking for a 6-8 year service life, I think there are two potentially contrasting options:
    1. The 13-inch lacks a dGPU - this dGPU has historically been a point of failure for many MacBook Pro generations, and, many of the 13-inch versions of MBPs (along with 15-inch versions that lacked a dGPU - which is no longer available) have had better longevity than the 15-inch counters with dGPU - if the dGPU in an Apple laptop fails, with the way macOS currently works, the laptop may be rendered useless despite still having an iGPU because macOS boots with the dGPU and not the iGPU -- with the lower heat generation of the new generation, the dGPU may have superior longevity than before since heat=enemy in electronics
    2. The 15-inch has a quad-core CPU and a dGPU - both of these help run more intensive Apps, and as software becomes more complicated, or as you run increasingly resource-intensive programs, these will work better than the 13-inch dual core without dGPU - while this will probably be a moot point for 4-5 years, by 6-8 years quad core CPUs may be standard and even standard use software may run dramatically better on a quad core

    It is hard to say which system is best for your needs. It sounds like you are a very mobile user, and the smaller form factor of the 13-inch is something you may enjoy for many years. By the 8 year mark, I would not expect the system to have much value (maybe several hundred dollars), even if in cosmetically pristine condition.
  9. leman macrumors G3

    Oct 14, 2008
    I don't think its possible to give an fully informed recommendation, but here are some things to consider:

    - Both 13" and 15" will be more then sufficient for the use you describe
    - The chance that any laptop will last 6-8 years is at best 1/3
    - I don't think that there is any evidence to claim that 13" or 15" are likely to last longer. The 15" has more points of failure, that is true.
    - Resale value after 6-8 years will be very low in any case. You'd be lucky if you are able to sell it for 20% of the original price.

    My advice: plan to buy for 3 years max. Adjust price expectation and features appropriately. Any year you get beyond it is a bonus.
  10. kipwheeler macrumors regular


    Nov 1, 2016
    For me, it would depend on whether or not you are plugging the laptop into a larger, external display monitor. If you have a big display monitor at work and at home, and will cart your laptop back and forth, go for the 13".

    If you don't have a big display monitor in those locations but will rely only on the laptop screen, go for the 15". I always need a little extra screen real estate when I have multiple applications open and I'm cutting and pasting materials back and forth. (For instance, opening student papers to grade on one side of a screen, and having a web-browser open in another window on a different screen, so I can compare or move things around, etc.)
  11. KensaiMage thread starter macrumors regular


    May 25, 2017
    Well, won't the 13" screen be too small for watching movies, writing, coding, gaming (old-school games I mentioned)? I mean, I am used to 15" laptops.

    If there was such choice, I would choose 15" with no dGPU and with 16/32 GB DDR (32gb maybe possible in next mbp refresh) + top Processor. As for the future, let's say in like 3-4 years - If I needed more graphics power I could buy external gpu and connect it for more gpu intensive tasks.

    But there is no choice like that, all the 15" have dGPU...
    And 13" is way smaller which could take the pleasure away (I never use external monitors and I won't) + all the processors are dual core only.

    I am afraid that 15" could break down faster, but I never changed laptops for a new one faster than after 6 years of usage. I would like it to work till that time. All my laptops costed like 700$-1000$ and they always lasted me 6-8 years and I still was able to sell these. The macbooks are way more expensive so it would be a loss if the machine I am going to buy would last me for a shorter period of time than the cheap laptops I had in the past... What to do?
  12. CmdrLaForge macrumors 601


    Feb 26, 2003
    around the world
    I currently have both the 13" and 15". The 15" is better for having two apps side by side. E.g. if you want to write a paper and you need to look up information in a browser....Of course the 13" is lighter and easier to carry around. Both are great machines.

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