I need MBP for school. 15 or 17?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by george.dye, Jan 11, 2009.

  1. george.dye macrumors member

    Dec 17, 2008
    I am an avid PC user, and I work for SDSU as a PC repair guy. I am a graphic design major and my second year is rapidly approaching. I plan to buy a MBP later this year, but I am torn between the 15" and the 17". I have read many articles on performance to price ratio betwixt the two models, but I am unable to reach a conclusion. This laptop will be used with adobe cs4 extensively, and as my daily machine.

    15- Has size and price on its side, and a decent deal of performance. This machine is within my budget, and would last my entire college years remaining. (three)

    17- Has neither price or size, but screen real estate and performance. However this is at the top of my budget.

    I like the 17" model for screen real estate and preformance, I havent read to many articles on real world portability, and spec wise it doesnt seem too much larger than the 15"

    I like the 15" model because it fits my budget better, but I am worried the screen and performance may not be optimum.

    Side-notes I have little preference for glossy/matte screen, and this laptop must last through college and hopefully then some. Any input is greatly appreciated.
  2. dukebound85 macrumors P6


    Jul 17, 2005
    5045 feet above sea level
    personally id get the 15

    esp if money is an issue as it seems to be kinda
  3. Andyee85 macrumors member

    Jan 10, 2009
    I am also in the graphic design major. I personally have a 15", and if i need more screen real estate I just plug it into an external monitor!
  4. raymondu999 macrumors 65816

    Feb 11, 2008
    If performance is an issue, you could get the 2.8GHz 15" MacBook Pro, for the same price for which you get the 2.66GHz 17" MacBook Pro.
  5. clancemasterj macrumors regular


    Jan 31, 2007
    Somewhere outside of time.
    Buy the 15. It has plenty of power and you'll have money left over for accessories. ie. External Hard drive, wireless mouse and keyboard...
  6. george.dye thread starter macrumors member

    Dec 17, 2008
    I have all of the peripherals and such, but the larger screen and battery are alluring options. Is it really as cumbersome as people make it out to be. I have seen the 15" first hand and a last gen 17" and the build quality of the unibody was incredible.
  7. Blaine macrumors 6502a


    Dec 3, 2007
    Abilene TX
    15" and a display (either now or after you've saved up a bit)

    maybe save for the new cinema display :)
  8. mikes70mustang macrumors 68000


    Nov 14, 2008
    15- i use mine at school- its perfect- a 17 would be much too big, not to mentioned the laptop backpacks that fit 17" are freaking expensive. 15 all the way-if your worried bout performance then just max out the specs and youll be fine.
  9. jbussiere macrumors member

    Dec 19, 2008
    I think you should definately go with the 15". I have a 15", and it's hard enough itself to lug that bad boy around everywhere, I couldn't imagine a 17". But then again, I'm really picky, and don't want any dents or dings on mine :D.
  10. BigHungry04 macrumors 6502

    Mar 14, 2008
    I have a 17inch, and I carry it with me every day at college. Its not heavy at all, and it fits perfectly in the backpack I bought for it. I don't understand everyone griping that it is too heavy to be lugged around. Its five pounds, that's nothing. I'd understand the griping if it was say 15 pounds.

    In the end, get whatever you need. If you think you need the 17 inch, go for it, if you don't get the 15 inch.
  11. raymondu999 macrumors 65816

    Feb 11, 2008
  12. RKpro macrumors 6502

    Oct 27, 2008
    I've got the 15 for school and it's great, resolution is fine for most tasks. and it's about the same weight as most 14" PC laptops. I don't know how it is at your school, but the little table that flips up from the seat in the lecture hall isn't bit enough for 17inch laptops.
  13. Queen of Spades macrumors 68030

    Queen of Spades

    May 9, 2008
    The Iron Throne
    The 17" is like 6.5 pounds, isn't it?

    It might not seem like much, but jumping up the extra size and weight does make a difference, especially if you plan to carry it around.

    I'd go for the 15" personally, and maybe buy a monitor for the dorm room. Good luck.
  14. bruinsrme macrumors 603


    Oct 26, 2008
    My son is a graphic media/animation major and all the programs he is running are PC based.

    You may want to check with the program director if a mac is preferred.

    I was all set to purchase a MBP for him then the director sent the email regarding hardware recommendations.
  15. x Zumas x macrumors newbie

    Jan 11, 2009
    I have MBP 17" 1st gen and I'm a college student and do alot of CS4, After effect n gaming...

    I luv the 17"....It's an investment in yourself so splurge......:p

    but if $$ is tight I wouldn't suggest buying the 15" either b/c buying 1k or better for a lappy says alot... If you get the 15 ur goin 2 b wishing you had the 17"

    "Is it jus me or when you walk in a room with ur :apple: ....ppl look @ you like you messed up and made a bad decision jus cuz of the price".....
  16. johata3 macrumors regular

    Jul 12, 2008
    If you are considering buying the 17", I would just invest on the 15" but getting a faster processor and bigger HD. I am a college student too and I am loving my 15" unibody MBP (mainly for short movie editing, photoshop/lightroom, and internet surfing). The 17" is a nice MBP too but I think it's just overpriced for a better battery life and just a bigger screen when you can get the same/related quality on the 15".

    I am not intending to argue about 17". This is just my opinion between the 15" and 17".
  17. trekster macrumors member

    Jan 10, 2009
    I'm also a student and I ended up jumping on the 17. One pound is not going to kill me. Yeah, it's an extra 2 inches. But, It's going to be my only computer at home. Since, we have the PC and Imac at my parent's office. Which only gave me the option of the Powermac G4 quicksilver. Which isn't fast enough and I decided to use it as a torrent machine. :D
  18. EmperorDarius macrumors 6502a

    Jan 2, 2009
    Get the 2.8 GHz 15 inch, with 4GB RAM and 320 GB HDD and you'll be ok. I use without problem a lot of CS4 programs as well as other 3d animation programs and video/audio video editing programs and have no problems. After some years, once the RAM prices go down, you can buy 2 x 4 GB sticks and achieve 8GB RAM, after that, I think you'll be ok for some years (you'll be with 4GB too, but even more with 8GB ;D). BTW: Macbooks don't run very good with more than 6 GB of RAM.
  19. BigHungry04 macrumors 6502

    Mar 14, 2008
    Ok it is, but it still isn't the behemoth that everyone makes it out to be. As long as you get a bag designed to fit it, it isn't heavy, I lug it around with all of my school books and everything I need for classes, and it isn't heavy at all.
  20. timestoby macrumors 6502

    Jun 10, 2007
    north devon,uk
    im sure the 15' will do you fine.the seventeen will have the bigger screen,but most people will have an external monitor. plus the 17' is way to big to lug around.
  21. george.dye thread starter macrumors member

    Dec 17, 2008
    I have heard many mixed reviews as to the portability of the 17", however the majority which seem credible or based in experience say it is not overly cumbersome. I am a young male in good shape so an extra pound and an extra inch won't kill me. I like the 8bg of ddr3, but I will buy some ram when it becomes more affordable. I may or may not have an external display so i am on the fence. I had some things free up this morning so the 17" is affordable now with great ease. Any more thoughts?
  22. B.A. macrumors regular

    Feb 18, 2007
    15" 15" 15". I can only reiterate what most others here have said. I had a 17" through most of school and I might as well have had a desktop. A 17" is fine if you're moving from room to room, but if you want to actually take it anywhere, you'll really appreciate the mobility of the 15" (as I did when I switched from 17 to 15 my last year of school).
  23. synth3tik macrumors 68040


    Oct 11, 2006
    Minneapolis, MN
    If you plan on carrying the thing with you around school and what not, you will be cursing yourself if you choose the 17".
  24. PeterQC macrumors 6502a


    Jun 30, 2008
    It's not the same thing, really. Graphic design and animation are two different programs in my school. Graphic Design is more toward graphics and creations (printed and web) and use Macs as workstations. While media/animation is web only and use PCs.

    I'm in the "same" course as you (In Quebec we have a different school system), and I'm using the 13'' 2.4GHz Unibody Macbooks without any problems. The baseline 2.4GHz or 2.8GHz 15'' will be enough. 4 GBs of Ram is recommended, I'm always at around 20MB left when I work seriously with 2GB. 8GB is overkill and way too expensive for what you need. Don't waste your money, as the 15'' and the 17'', apart from the screen, have roughly the same performances. The extra money would be better spend buying and external matte screen (you'll need to search for reviews on the web prior to buying as not every screens have a good enough good quality for the tasks) for colours accuracy, something important for your program.
  25. pkagel macrumors regular

    Aug 5, 2008
    SoCal ExPat
    Get the 15 and buy a 22" monitor off of dealnews.com for 160$ that way you don't have to lug around the 17 all day and you'll have the screen you need for all your editing. You could even pick up the wireless keyboard and mouse refurbed from Apple for cheap and have a pretty nice setup.

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