MAC PRO 13 or 15?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by RoseBerryyy, Feb 18, 2012.

  1. RoseBerryyy, Feb 18, 2012
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2012

    RoseBerryyy macrumors newbie

    Feb 18, 2012
    I am a senior in high school. I have my laptop for about one year and half. It is a Dell 15R; it is getting really really slow. One day last week, it took over 3 mins to start Windows.....
    I am going to buy a mac pro this summer. But I don't know which one to choose, the high-end 13 inch or low-end 15 inch or high-end 15 inch.
    I am having a 15 inch laptop now. I like the screeen size; I can't imagine it being any smaller. But I do hope my new laptop to be a little lighter; my dell 15R is super heavy for me(I'm a short girl...), it was dropped once because I couldn't handle it while holding two another AP books... I am going to major in computer science and I have a part time job doing photoshop. I don't play games but I do watch movies and make videos. BTW, I don't have any desktop that I could use personally. This laptop is gonna be used 10+ hours every day.

    The high-end 15 inch mac pro is the highest of my budget. gotta save some money for college XP

    Please give me some advice!
  2. KylePowers, Feb 18, 2012
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2012

    KylePowers macrumors 68000


    Mar 5, 2011
    Presumably you mean Macbook Pro. The Mac Pro is a desktop :p

    It looks like a Dell 15R has a 1366x768 resolution. Comparatively, a 13in MBP has a 1280x800 resolution and the 15in MBP a 1440x900 resolution. The 15in is also available in a 1650x1050 resolution, which I've heard is pretty nice.

    Based on resolutions alone, you could probably get used to the 13in or 15in fairly easily. The 13in will be less in width by 86 pixels (43 on each side), but more in height by 32 pixels. The 15in bests your 15R by almost 74 pixels (37 on each side) and 132 pixels in width and height respectively.

    With a budget up to a high end 15in MBP ($2199), you definitely have a lot of options. One thing I'd keep in mind, however, is that if you're concerned about weight, a 15in MBP weighs almost as much as your 15R (5.6lb vs 5.7lb, respectively). So if you value weight over screen size, that leaves us to the 13in.

    When you watch movies, do you use a DVD or just stream/download? And what apps do you use to make movies?

    Have you considered just going with a 13in Macbook Air? It's still within your price range and has the same resolution as the 15in MBP (1440x900), thus higher than the 13in MBP. It also weighs considerably less than a 15in MBP and even a 13in MBP (2.96lb vs 5.6lb vs 4.5lb, respectively).

    If you don't need the extra ports or a DVD drive, I'd actually suggest an MBA. Though if you're doing Photoshop on the side, I've read the MBP's screen has a better color gamut, so that could be advantageous possibly. The solid state drive (SSD) of the MBA will run circles around a non-SSD MBP though (which will make a huge difference if you're concerned with operating systems booting up slowly).

    Granted, you could go 13in MBP and upgrade to an SSD and still be under your budget. So I'd say either go 13in MBP or 13in MBA. If I had to pick between the MBP and MBA, I'd choose the MBA, but I'm biased. haha

    EDIT- Forgot a basic question... what are your hard drive size requirements?
  3. malman89 macrumors 68000

    May 29, 2011
    The 15" MBP isn't going to be any lighter (.23 lbs) than your current laptop, so if that's truly a big concern, I say no to that. The 13" MBP is 1.23+lbs lighter.

    The only issue is the mediocre resolution on the 13". Honestly, a 13" MBP or MBA combined with an external display (not Apple) for Photoshop might be your best bet. Cheaper than a 15" and should have enough processing power for your needs. The MBA would only be viable with an external optical drive and hard drive, due to the SSD's small size. But if you go the MBP/A + External route, you can just make a docking station of sort with the monitor and external hardware.

    Either way, you should look into some basic steps to speed up your current laptop. Clearly you have a bunch of bloat on it or something is wrong. Fix it up and use it until the summer. Get your new laptop (and possible monitor) as a grad/college present after the Back to School deal starts and after the full line is upgraded with the new Ivy Bridge processors.
  4. RoseBerryyy thread starter macrumors newbie

    Feb 18, 2012
    Thanks so much for the advice!


    Thank you for the advice! I wonder how much would a MBP 13inch + SSD update cost? And which end should I go for? I might need a pretty big hard drive size: need a lot of space for my photos and photoshop materials. ​

    RE: malman89

    Thank you for the advice! I guess I am pretty bad at maintain a laptop... I don't know what I do, I never play rough with it, seldom drop it..
    that's another thing bothering me. If I am going to get a Macbook, I want it to last long, however, I do not know what I should do about it... So, do you have any basic advice to make my bulky laptop run faster?? ​
  5. rocknblogger macrumors 68020


    Apr 2, 2011
    New Jersey
    For your needs it sounds like the 16" MBP is the way to go. You can upgrade the SSD yourself (if you're at least somewhat tech savvy) and replace the SuperDrive (cd/DVD drive) with a kit that allows you to use that area for a second hard drive.

    Depending on how big of an SSD drive you would want it would cost you around $500 for a 240GB kit.

    So you would end up with about 740GB total in storage.

    The benefit of doing it this way is that you always have all your files with you.

    If you go with the 13" MBA you will have to use an external drive for all (most) of your files which means that when you go to school or library you'll have to bring the external drive with you. Is it worth it and is that convenient?

    Personally I would prefer the MacBook Pro even though it's heavier. To me the convenience of having all my files in one place at all times outweighs the difference in weight.

    Just my opinion.
  6. jpross123 macrumors member


    Feb 18, 2012
    If I were you I would get a refurbished mid 2010 MacBook. I have one and it is the perfect weight for school (I am a college student as well). It would not be as expensive and the only thing you will not have is the metal case
  7. KylePowers, Feb 18, 2012
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2012

    KylePowers macrumors 68000


    Mar 5, 2011
    Using the education discount
    At the low end for a 13in MBP:
    • $1279 with a 128GB SSD
    • $1639 with a 256GB SSD
    • $2170 with a 512GB SSD
    At the high end for a 13in MBP:
    • $1489 with a 128GB SSD
    • $1849 with a 256GB SSD
    • $2389 with a 512GB SSD

    To be honest though, the $400-$500 premium Apple charges for a 256GB SSD is a ripoff. You can buy 256GB SSDs easily below the $400 mark and install yourself to save some cash. But I guess if a customer values not having to do that, then perhaps it's worth the extra money.

    A lot of people will convert the disc drive bay into an additional hard drive bay (there're kits around). Basically they'll have their SSD (typically 128GB or less) as the main drive for the operating system and applications and then a bigger hard drive (500GB+) where the Superdrive used to be for other assorted media (pictures, movies, etc.) You kind of get the best of both worlds.

    Granted, the aforementioned option totally depends on how comfortable you or someone you know is with opening up an MBP (and optionally doing the Superdrive replacement modification). I don't believe it to be difficult at all, but that's from my perspective and background and your mileage may vary.

    Do you know how much file storage you're currently using? If it's less than 256GB, then I'd recommend a 13in MBA. Even if you have to use an external storage device, there are a plethora of options. You could use an SD card (32GB+) for storing miscellaneous files and you wouldn't even know it was in the slot. If an SD card wasn't large enough, there are fairly mobile external devices that are simply USB powered that would be unnoticeable in weight and space when thrown into your backpack.

    If that isn't appealing though, then I'd suggest a low-end 13in MBP with an SSD upgrade (but personally, I'd install it myself) and the 2nd HDD upgrade kit for extra storage.

    Tough decision though.

    EDIT: To speed up your current computer, try running MSConfig and nixing some of the startup apps. Also delete a lot of unused programs and defrag your hard drive. If that's not helping, maybe run a virus scan and also upgrade the RAM haha
  8. chrono1081 macrumors 604


    Jan 26, 2008
    Isla Nublar
    I just wanted to chime in and say you will LOVE the Macbook Pro for computer science.

    I would say for the best of both worlds, grab a 13 inch (for portability) and when you are back at your dorm/house hook it to an external display for some more screen real estate for Photoshop work or for coding (which you will do plenty of).

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