Macbook Pro 13, 15 or 15?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by supermac1, Jun 22, 2009.

  1. supermac1 macrumors regular

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    Jun 22, 2009
    #1
    Hi. Here’s some background info on my situation. I'm about to be a high school senior, I have a 15 inch macbook pro non unibody, and a decent pc with a horrible graphics card. I don't have a whole lot of money. I use my mac for video editing, and deciding which to use for gaming. I want a new macbook pro. I will either get a 13 inch or low end 15 inch and upgrade the pc graphics card or the 15 middle and use it as my only computer. I like the 13 because it's portable, but after using a 15 the screen size might bother me. I do have the external display from the pc I could use. If I upgrade to 15 i get the better screen, and speakers. If I do the 15 middle i could use it for everything, but it's a bit expensive for me. I could do it, it would just take longer to get, and I don't have a lot of patience. I would also like to catch the club mac 150 rebate which ends this month. What do you guys think?

    EDIT- Another problem with my current macbook pro is that the hour only lasts like an hour and a half. stats: 17 months old, 2539 mah out of 5600, so 45%, 401 load cycles, so the new battery is a big deal for me as i am unplugged a lot.

    EDIT 2- Ok, so I'm thinking I'll get the 13 inch, and upgrade my pc graphics card. I'll use the 13 for web browsing and occasional video editing, if i need more screen space I'll plug it into my pc monitor. My pc has like 2ghz processor and 2gb of ram, what video card do you suggest to play crysis around high settings?
     
  2. Tomorrow macrumors 604

    Tomorrow

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    #2
    You have two computers now - are neither of them doing the job for you anymore?

    If you're going into this for gaming, your money will go farther toward a PC.

    You say the 13 is portable - so are the 15 and the 17. How often do you plan to carry it around? My choice would be the 15 or preferably the 17, primarily for the screen size.
     
  3. supermac1 thread starter macrumors regular

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    #3
    The 17 is too big and expensive for me. My pc i only use for gaming, because i hate windows for anything else, and this pc can only play games like starcraft because the graphics card is that bad. Gaming is 2nd to video editing, and i prefer the mac os so a windows computer is out of the question.
     
  4. Tomorrow macrumors 604

    Tomorrow

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    #4
    Have you tried gaming under Boot Camp on your MBP?

    You say you don't have a whole lot of money - it sounds like your MBP isn't all that old. You might be able to game with it for a year or two while you save up some more money. It'll cost a lot less than buying another Mac.
     
  5. supermac1 thread starter macrumors regular

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    Jun 22, 2009
    #5
    I only have like 10gb free on my hard drive (not enough for windows) and I'd rather not upgrade it when I want a new computer.

    EDIT- another problem with my current macbook pro is that the hour only lasts like an hour and a half. stats: 17 months old, 2539 mah out of 5600, so 45%, 401 load cycles, so the new battery is a big deal for me as i am unplugged a lot.
     
  6. qacjared macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2008
    #6
    Let's see

    New 15in MacBook Pro Battery: $110
    500 Gb 2.5" SATA HD for your macbook pro: $100
    Microsoft Windows Vista Home Premium: $250 (Amazon has it for 165)
    3 or 4 gb of ram: Less than $80

    Total: No more than $540

    Base Macbook Pro: $1199
    Minus Club Mac 150 = 1049

    Is the extra $509(much more if a 15" or 17") worth it for a new computer?

    Also the 9400m you would be getting in a less than $2000 MBP wouldn't be better than the 8600M in your current MBP.
     
  7. miles01110 macrumors Core

    miles01110

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    #7
    It's not like you do video editing away from an outlet. There's hardly any point to doing things like that off AC as any battery is going to be drained 3-4+ times faster than if you were just web browsing.
     
  8. clyde2801 macrumors 601

    clyde2801

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    #8
    Agree with the previous poster about buying a new/spare battery and a hard drive over buying a new mbp.

    The 9600 is currently the fastest mobile graphics chip that apple has. Scour craigslist, ebay and crucial or owc for the ram, windows os, larger/faster hard drive and new battery.

    If the mobile quads, couple with 10.6, makes the difference in six to twelve months that I've read about, you'll be glad you waited.
     
  9. nufanec macrumors regular

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    Sep 10, 2005
    #9
    I know the new MacBook Pro's are tempting as they are incredibly nice to use and the new batteries are great, but I too would go for the upgrade option. Don't know about the US prices, but in the UK you could upgrade that machine pretty damn cheaply - £40.24 for RAM from crucial, £64.98 for a 500Gb Western Digital Blue hard drive (or about £120 if you want the new Seagate 500Gb 7200 RPM drive), and £97 for a new battery from Apple. In the short term you could get use of the Release Candidate of Windows 7 then purchase the full version once out for playing Windows games.

    If I were you, this would be my preferred option as it would give your MacBook Pro a new lease of life. Getting the RC of Windows saves you money in the short term and allows you to save for the full version once it is released in October. Your MBP is no slouch still, and the 8600 card is definitely more powerful than the 9400M in the 13" or base 15" uMBP. If you want to check out what you need to do to upgrade your hard drive and RAM, check out ifixit. It's a fairly straightforward upgrade procedure, but make sure you're happy with a screwdriver and use appropriate ESD prevention before going ahead.
     
  10. supermac1 thread starter macrumors regular

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    Jun 22, 2009
    #10

    Thanks for the replies. One of my problems with upgrading my mac is that I still won't be able to play crysis well. I dunno. I just love new hardware and my mind is pretty set on getting the new macbook pro. I'm also not comfortable opening up my $1500 machine and running the risk of messing it u or shocking it.
     
  11. mrj205 macrumors regular

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    Mar 25, 2009
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    Virginia
    #11
    Not necessarily. The screen and sound quality on the 13" MBP and 15" MBP are essentially the same. The 13" isn't the uMB screen. The primary difference between the base 13" and 15" is screen real estate unless you go for the mid or high end 15", in which you get a better graphics card.

    The 9400m will struggle with Crysis. The 9600MGT won't be the best either. If you are already set on having new hardware and getting a MBP, why are you asking our opinions? Your best bet is to give your current MBP a spec bump via bigger HDD and RAM...save your cash for college...
     
  12. supermac1 thread starter macrumors regular

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    Jun 22, 2009
    #12
    I've seen people play with the 9600gt on high on a macbook pro. I made this thread for opinions on which model I should get, not if I should get it at all.
     
  13. mrj205 macrumors regular

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    #13
    Well in that case, I always say get the best you can afford. I have the 13" MBP and love its portability and size. I don't do any serious gaming, but would imagine gaming being difficult on the 13" screen. So if you are determined to buy something, and are going to use this as your gaming machine, then go 15" w/9600GT. If you feel you can stick it out, upgrade your current machine.
     
  14. eXan macrumors 601

    eXan

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    #14
    The performance of 9600 is essentially the same as 8600. 9400 is bad compared to either of them and if you want proof, the newly released benchmarks from Barefeats is what you need to see.8600 vs 9400

    Just upgrade your current MBP and be happy :)
     
  15. supermac1 thread starter macrumors regular

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    Jun 22, 2009
    #15
    That just means I need the middle 15 incher. And I will never be happy upgrading because I have my hopes up so high for the new macbook pro. The build of the computer is so nice.
    EDIT- oh and btw my current video card is 128mb vram, and the new one has 256
     
  16. Shiner macrumors 6502

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    Oct 1, 2007
    #16
    Crysis will be horrible on any MBP. The 9600M GT is a horrible card for gaming.

    First off when you start the thread simply state that you want a new MBP no matter what. That way the smart posters will skip trying to help you out. Do not mention the other computers you have because they do not matter in the context of your question.

    The smart thing for you to do:
    1)Upgrade your current MBP with a better HD and more memory. It will play crysis on all low settings just like the new MBP will play them. You will not be able to play it on any other settings. The MBP is not a gaming laptop.

    2)Buy a graphics card with the money you save for your PC. Play crysis on high settings.

    What you will do:

    Buy $1999 laptop to game on and be upset with how horrible crysis looks.
     
  17. Shiner macrumors 6502

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    Oct 1, 2007
    #17
    Ummm are you sure you saw them play on a MBP? I have crysis and it is unplayable on high settings on my MBP with the stupid 9600 GT 512. It is playable with half settings on low and medium.

    You are set on buying a "gaming" MBP. Well then buy the MBP 15" and upgrade the card to the 512 one. As long as you are blowing money can I have some?
     
  18. gavin83209 macrumors regular

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    May 24, 2009
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    Yuuzhan'tar
    #18
    If you are afraid of messing with it, think of it this way: a high end 13" MacBook Pro is $1500 minus the rebate is about $1350. If you mess up your current MBP with an upgrade, then you can buy one of those plus the ~$100 you would have spent on a hard drive and the ~$50-70 that you spent on RAM would make you come out essentially even.

    The difference between the 8600 and the 9400 is that the 8600 is dedicated. That means that there will be a slight degradation is performance because the 9400M uses shared system memory. It also means the OS X's graphics will take up at least 256 MB of system RAM. If you need the extra 128 MB, you can take it, but upgrading your computer would definitely be best.

    I'm guessing that you have a Core 2 Duo model MBP as opposed to a Core Duo. You can grab 4 GB of RAM from Other World Computing for $59. If you are looking to save money, you can get a 7200 RPM 320 GB hard drive for $83 or the Seagate Momentus (7200 RPM/500 GB; the best on the market right now) for $149, and the Win7 beta now plus XP/Vista/Win7 cost later all depends. For now, though, you can get everything you need for $141 dollars plus shipping to wherever it is you are, or $208 if you like the Momentus. I would normally recommend a system upgrade, but the prices will probably drop between revisions, and your hardware doesn't sound that dated. As always, the iFixit guides for the MBP should be helpful. I believe that as long as you don't break anything, which is hard to do if you follow the guide, your warranty is OK if applicable.

    Edit: I didn't even think about the graphics card upgrade, but it is an excellent idea if you have the extra money (which you obviously do). If you wanted me to recommend a new system, the 17" 3.06 GHz MBP would be my top choice with the 15" 3.06 GHz MBP coming in at a close second.
     
  19. Shiner macrumors 6502

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    Oct 1, 2007
    #19
    +1

    But he will not listen. Apple snagged him with their updated design.
     
  20. supermac1 thread starter macrumors regular

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    Jun 22, 2009
    #20
    Ok, so I'm thinking I'll get the 13 inch, and upgrade my pc graphics card. I'll use the 13 for web browsing and occasional video editing, if i need more screen space I'll plug it into my pc monitor. My pc has like 2ghz processor and 2gb of ram, what video card do you suggest to play crysis around high settings?
     
  21. Shiner macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Oct 1, 2007
    #21
    I run two 8800 gt's in my PC rig. They are paired up with an intel wolfdale at 3.0 Ghz and 8Gb of ram. Sometimes my FPS drop to 21 when everything is set to high.

    Crysis will eat your hardware for breakfast.

    http://www.gamespot.com/features/6182806/p-5.html

    Good read on graphics cards for crysis.
     
  22. QCassidy352 macrumors G3

    QCassidy352

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2003
    Location:
    Bay Area
    #23
    But you're not factoring in selling the old MBP, and I'm thinking it sells for considerably more than $500. So getting the new one is cheaper.

    What 2 ghz processor does your PC have? If it's like a pentium 4 at 2 ghz you can stick any graphics card in the world in there and it's not going to matter - it won't play crysis at high settings.

    If you don't know what the processor family is, then tell me when you got the PC?
     
  23. supermac1 thread starter macrumors regular

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    Jun 22, 2009
    #24
    AMD Athalon 64 X2 Dual Core Processor 4200+
     
  24. Shiner macrumors 6502

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    Oct 1, 2007
    #25
    Please only buy at best buy if they have a sale.

    Go to newegg and get the best card you can afford.

    My friend just bought this card and he loves it.

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814150359

    But there are many others as well. I am a Nvidia man but ATI/AMD makes some great cards.

    The memory does not matter as much as the actual card processors.

    The 8800 GTX is a faster card than the 9500 no matter the VRAM size.
     

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