help on selecting MBP 13" vs 15" for running VMs

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by thelostgeek, Apr 11, 2011.

  1. thelostgeek macrumors newbie

    Apr 10, 2011
    Hi Experts,

    Before i begin, i just want to say, I understand that you guys get these type of questions quite frequently but i felt my usage is little different from others ( Not much of Gamings, No Video Editing , No Photoshop etc.,) so , starting this new thread to get your suggestions on my new MBP selection. TIA & i highly appreciate your help.

    Am a power user of Linux/Windows but planning to try out the new MBP. I have dilema in selecting the MBP 13" vs 15" models. Here is my usage list to give an idea.

    1. Would be running Windows/Linux VMs through parallels or VMware Fusion all the times for the following reasons
    a. Some of my softwares i use for work needs IE 7/8 (Am not sure there is a way to overcome this without running VMs - any suggestions would help)
    b. I have few windows mobiles and other gadgets which i feel would have compatibility issues in MAC
    c. Some of other softwares which i use does not have MAC versions yet.

    2. Would be using extensively for Presentations, word processing , excels and web surfing (atleast two browsers with 20-30 tabs)

    3. Would listen/watch music/movies extensively (Might consider having a external Blu-ray writer later). Will connect to external TV (probably 40") while working @ home.

    4. Would use it for gaming - just to relax, might not use it for high end gamings.

    5. Would NOT use photoshop or other image editing softwares apart from once in a while usage of Gimp for some basic img editing.

    6. Would NOT use Video editing sw but use sw like handbrake for Video conversion / ripping quite a bit (Probably once or twice a week )

    7. I would be traveling a lot , so portability is a key factor but considering other power factors i can compromise on this.

    8. Budget for 13" or 15" should be fine with me considering i would not be replacing this box for atleast 2-3yrs.

    Here is my concerns as well.

    13" - I feel itz good for portability but not sure if it can withstand running the VMs all the times along with MAC OS X.

    15" - I feel the power is good but my primary concern is because of the heating , freeze, external monitor issues which am reading on different forums. Am not sure this is the same case with 13" but havent seen many. - Pl. correct me if am wrong on these assumptions.

    Pl. throw in your suggestion to select my new MBP.

    Thanks & Regards,
    The Lost Geek
  2. kuwisdelu macrumors 65816

    Jan 13, 2008
    You mention not much gaming, but it's #4 on your list. No VM is going to play games well. If you meant on the OS X side or using Bootcamp, then most games will be fine on the 13" with lower settings, as long as you're not interested in the latest and greatest.

    Unless you mean to run the games in the VM (which would be a bad idea no matter what model you get), none of what you listed is very CPU or GPU intensive. A 13" with enough RAM will be completely fine for VM's.

    The crashing under load issue was addressed with a software update, and the heat isn't as much as an issue as many think. Every time a new MBP comes out, people complain about heat. Some of them are just overly sensitive and should be ignored, others have legitimate problems, but they will always be a small percentage.

    All-in-all, though, all of your needs can be addressed with the 13". The VM's (for your use) will be fine with enough RAM, which is equally upgradeable on both machines. Handbrake will take longer on the 13" but if you run it overnight or something, that's not much of an issue. Games won't perform as well on the 13" but if you're fine with lower settings, that's not much of an issue either.
  3. thelostgeek thread starter macrumors newbie

    Apr 10, 2011
    Thanks kuwisdelu for the quick response.

    For Point#4 , I meant to run some games on MAC OS X not on windows VM. My games would be as simple as Sudoku, bejeweled, some flash games or similar .Am not a avid gamer.

    4. Would use it for gaming - just to relax, might not use it for high end gamings

    So , according to your suggestions , the 13" version with i5 processor (2.3Ghz ) with 8GB Ram should be fine for me ? I got the doubts because i do find my VMs running little slow on my current lenovo X201 , i5 2.4Ghz with 4GB Ram machine. I understand , running a VM on a OS X might be little different from the windows one. your comments ?
  4. dusk007 macrumors 68040


    Dec 5, 2009
    If I were you I would think about getting a Dell Latitude E6520. With Full HD screen and Q2720 it will probably run longer on battery than a MBP with 2 VMs. Linux drivers are much better with Dell too afaik. The GPU is 330M level.
    The E6420 is unfortunately not available with a decent display (bad contrast ..).
  5. AlanFord macrumors regular

    Feb 26, 2011
    I am not an expert, but since you have some worries about the 15 inch I will wright something.
    If you have doubts for 13 or 15 size, I would recommend base 15.Specially since you sad that you wont be doing much video editing, high gaming so you really dont need a high end gpu.And the lower gpu on base 15 will do just fine for your needs.15 have a better resolution, so video watching would be nicer (you can even upgrade to high res).If you wont to use both mac os and win bigger screen will give you much more space.You sad that you browse a lot, many tabs opened, so you will benefit here as well.Portability shoudnt be a problem cause it is still a nice portable laptop.Its not that much bigger than the 13 inch.And it will last for 3 years.
    Got a base 15 inch, and dont have any problems.Yes temperatures are few C bigger sometimes, but its a quad core, and that is normal.Nothing to worry about.No freeze, no external monitor issues, everything running fine.
    I am using it for pretty much same things you need and I am happy.
    Only thing I would recommend for 13 and 15 model, go on 8 gb of ram.Since you will be doing a lot with VM.
  6. DustinT macrumors 68000


    Feb 26, 2011
    The VMs you plan on running will really benefit from the extra CPU cores on the 15". The GPU in the 15" is faster so your games will play better on it than a 13". The Handbrake encodes will take advantage of the extra CPU cores in the 15". Also, the videos you plan on watching or the presentations you plan to make will benefit from the largest screen and higher resolution on the 15".

    I see a lot of people post in here on the 13" vs. 15" topic but yours is a pretty clear case for the 15". You have double the CPU cores in it, faster graphics and a larger screen. Those are all huge advantages for someone really pushing the hardware with multiple VMs and the other things you mentioned.

    You could try a 13" but I think you'd be happiest with the 15". But, no matter which one you get, make sure you upgrade to 8g ram and a SSD as soon as you can.
  7. dusk007 macrumors 68040


    Dec 5, 2009
    I really like OSX and its multitasking, the touchpad and so on. I wouldn't trade it for a Latitude but while I run VMs it is usually only one and I rarely ever use it.
    I tried VMWare and Parallels which are supposedly good but the VMWare VM I run in Win 7 on my not any faster (DC) Desktop works flawless and quick. In OSX the mousepointer and slow downs are much more of a problem.
    General Performance in windows is better too. If you do not intend to most of time work in OSX you will be happier with a Latitude in Windows. It is of course heavier and a bit thicker but it has better stability bigger and switchable batteries, better drivers and well less OS.
    Windows 7 has the better Scheduler imo and suffers less from slowdowns than OSX. It also doesn't loose battery life as quickly with medium load and you would require less. A Test of E6420 shows that Windows 7 with decent drivers is equal in battery life to OSX. The test is only availbale in German as of now but you don't need to understand German to read the numbers and the graphs.

    Ergo if you do not switch for OSX and the touchpad stick with a Latitude. It is cheaper and still sports business level quality.
  8. thelostgeek thread starter macrumors newbie

    Apr 10, 2011
    Thanks kuwisdelu, Alanford, DustinT and dusk007.Apologize for the delayed reply (Was out on a official trip). All your Inputs have given me more insights on selecting the right laptop. But unfortunately, am currently putiing the laptop purchase on hold for a month due to some personal reasons.

    Thanks once again. Much appreciate your help Guys !
  9. kobyh15 macrumors 6502a

    Jan 29, 2011
    Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; U; CPU iPhone OS 4_3_2 like Mac OS X; en-us) AppleWebKit/533.17.9 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/5.0.2 Mobile/8H7 Safari/6533.18.5)

    I don't understand why you would buy a MBP if you were going to run a VM 100% of the time. If you consider yourself a power Windows user I would get a nice ThinkPad or something with better specs and a cheaper pricetag. Just a suggestion though.

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