How much of a difference between 13" and 15" MBP?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by mike31mets, Jul 3, 2010.

  1. mike31mets macrumors member

    Dec 30, 2007
    My supervisor is looking to get me a MacBook Pro and he said to just spec it out and he'll get it. I work in IT doing client support for faculty, students, etc. I'm not working with videos, photos or audio or anything of that nature. However I will be using the MBP to run different OSes for testing and for troubleshooting on Macs. Hopefully that gives you an idea of what I'm going to be doing with the machine.

    Anyways, I'd like to make this machine last me at least 4 yrs. I'm looking strictly at the low-end MBP for 13/15" models. I know the 13" has C2D w/ 3MB L2 cache while the 15" has the i5 w/ 3MB L3 cache. Would the i5 be worth it for future purposes (longevity)?

    Also, I noticed the 15" has 2 built-in gpu. Is there a noticeable performance advantage to this? Would it make any difference/help if running a virtual machine? I'm thinking of running at least Windows 7, XP and possibly Server 2008 R2. Generally not at the same time mind you.

    Lastly, I know that the MacBook Pro comes with 4GB of RAM standard. Should I be looking at more memory here?

    I want to be able to justify the specs to my supervisor since there will be at least a $600 difference between the two models.
  2. miles01110 macrumors Core


    Jul 24, 2006
    The Ivory Tower (I'm not coming down)
    Could you explain this a little more? You'll be running multiple OSs, but will be troubleshooting them on Macs? Most non-OS X operating systems don't run great on Apple hardware even with extensive driver support.
  3. mike31mets thread starter macrumors member

    Dec 30, 2007
    Sorry if that didn't come out clear. The Mac will be used to troubleshoot predominantly Mac issues. If someone calls me asking me for advice on how to do something, I can at least guide them through it or test it out on the Mac first before I let them know how to proceed on their end. I can test out applications on Mac to make sure they work as well as their Windows equivalent. I might even be using the Mac to deploy images or for Target mode for data recovery. I mean the Mac will still be a Mac and I'm going to use it to troubleshoot Mac issues as they arise.

    As for the VM portion of it:
    I mean for the occasional software issue that someone might encounter in Windows. Generally I'd use my desktop PC, but if for example, I'm not in my office and I have my laptop with me, and someone has an issue with settings in Outlook or some other program, I can quickly crank up Windows to quickly guide them through it, perhaps take some screenshots, etc. Obviously I know some programs don't work 100% in VM but minor stuff I should be able to get done at the very least. I might also use the VM to test other applications as well.

    So just to be clear, for the most part, if I have to test out something related to Windows I will test it out on my Windows PC (assuming the situation permits for it). If I need to test something out on the Mac, I will use the Mac. The VMs will be just a backup option used for minor testing as needed.
  4. waloshin macrumors 68040

    Oct 9, 2008
  5. Penn Jennings macrumors 6502

    Apr 22, 2010
    The GPU will only really make a difference in gaming or some engineering type apps. As long as you get 8 GB of memory, the 13 will work out better for you if you need portability.
  6. DanMacApple macrumors 6502

    Jul 1, 2010
    13" MBP will be fine. I just purchased this system and it works great. This will be more portable and still a nice system!
  7. Cricketman macrumors regular

    Nov 30, 2008
    Get the 15". Money is literally a non issue in this case, I don't think you'll need the super portability of the 13", and I reckon you could use the extra firepower with multiple OS's.

    Get the 15. i7 if you can.
  8. gwsat macrumors 68000


    Apr 12, 2008
    I would say definitely get the 13 inch MBP. It's smaller and lighter than the 15 inch and has all the power you are likely to need for some time to come. The 13 inch would certainly be my choice, even if I were spending my employer's money.:)
  9. alust2013 macrumors 601


    Feb 6, 2010
    On the fence
    I would say the base 13" would be plenty for your needs. You won't need a lot of processing firepower, so any of the models could handle what you need them to do, especially if you have a desktop as well. The slightly better graphics chip in the 15 won't make a big difference (other than shortening battery life) unless you are gaming or using both the internal display and a hi-res external display pretty heavily, and even then, the 13" isn't bad for that. So if you want it to be as portable as possible, go with the 13. If you don't care about that and want bigger, go ahead and get the 15.
  10. bigjobby macrumors 65816

    Apr 7, 2010
    London, UK
    I reckon a 13" would do the job and get the RAM upgraded to 8GB as and when you'll need it.

    The reason for the 13" is mainly for that extra portability, say if you need to hook it up to the back of any rack mounted servers or just simply working away from your desk. One thing I would definitely consider though is getting a display adaptor to enable you to use an external monitor so that you can have that extra real estate for all your monitoring tools which you probably want visible at most times etc as well as your own stuff. The onboard graphics could easily manage remoting into servers or other machines.

    I would've said 15" because of the extra real estate but its not essential. IMO, the cost/benefits just wouldn't add up.

    And going off-topic (as I do), I'd get (if you haven't already) some decent remote desktop software for user support on your Windows VM. Windows RDP doesn't cut the mustard in my books and setup a VPN for when you're out of office. Lastly, image a fresh build of any OS's on your VMs. These will be your baseline for any apps testing. You'll probably know all this stuff anyway so I'll stop.
  11. kny3twalker macrumors 65816


    Oct 25, 2009
    This is not necessarily true. Windows run great on my MacBook pro, and the only reason there would or could be problems is from apples poor driver support and power management.
    To say that this specific hardware configuration would not run well with windows or Linux is nonsense. There are plenty of windows notebooks will the exact same hardware configurations. It's items that are unique to apple which could be an issue, like their trackpad and backlit keyboard.
  12. mrsir2009 macrumors 604


    Sep 17, 2009
    Melbourne, Australia
    About 2 inches and room to fit a better graphics card and processor. Oh, and a bigger price tag :cool:

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