macbook pro 13 or 15 for web development?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by tomster2300, Mar 5, 2011.

  1. tomster2300 macrumors member

    Apr 18, 2008
    Hey guys,

    I had a white macbook all through college and tinkered with web development and video editing, and everything worked great. The thing was honestly a workhorse. Jump two years into the future - I'm a professional web developer now, and unfortunately, my old macbook has seen better days. I no longer do much photography / video editing, but I do do a ton of multitasking; at any given time I'll have multiple spaces open with bbedit, chrome / firefox (tons of tabs), photoshop, cyberduck and tons of terminal windows open, all running simultaneously. I'd also like to start running Windows 7 with vmware for testing, so I'll need a machine that can do all of the above without missing a beat.

    I'm hoping to get away with the new 13-inch, but I'm worried that I'll need the dedicated graphic cards found in the 15-inch models. I don't plan on gaming with this machine (this is going to be for work and personal use only - I have a gaming desktop for that), but I am afraid that simple animations like expose and spaces will begin lagging under strain...this happens with my old macbook, but I'm afraid that may be due to an aging machine.

    What do you guys think? Thanks for any and all help!

    ps - I apologize if I posted this thread twice...everything froze when I clicked submit the first time.
  2. jeff_siler macrumors 6502

    May 4, 2005
    I think as long as you can deal with the lower resolution the 13" will be fine for you. The intel HD 3000 will handle expose, multiple windows, etc.
  3. tomster2300 thread starter macrumors member

    Apr 18, 2008
    Thanks! The macbook's resolution has been 1280x800, so I've never really known anything else (I use an external at home). Anybody else?
  4. thejadedmonkey macrumors 604


    May 28, 2005
    I have a 15" MBP (1440 x 900 screen resolution) and I can't see using anything less if you plan on doing coding on the go, as a job.

    I do website stuff as a hobby, I wouldn't mind so much a 13" screen, but if I was going to use my MBP as my breadwinner, I'd stick with a 15" or possibly even upgrade to a 15" High-res/17"... so much less alt+tabbing/desktop switching.
  5. iwnz macrumors newbie

    Mar 4, 2011
    Silly question but do you have an Apple store near you where you can have a play on each model to see what's right for you?

    I have a 2010 15" MBpro 8GB RAM from work and am currently using a 2010 13" MBpro 4GB RAM loaner whilst my standard gets some hardware issues fixed and I don't notice a huge difference until I try some graphic/memory intensive programs like Fusion, iMovie, etc. I haven't tried playing any games or video editing. Spaces, Expose, multiple windows are fine on the 13".
  6. chefwong macrumors 6502

    Jan 17, 2008
    I'd say 15"...

    I have a 15" already as my benchmark/comparison.

    New 13" MBP while smaller and preferred for on the go travel......the resolution is very unworkable for me from a productivity standpoint. Too much scrolling, etc...
  7. Whitelightning macrumors regular

    Apr 21, 2007
    Web development wise, high res is much preferred as all the screen estate allows you to view more code, have more things open bigger... high res is requirement. 15'' er.
  8. CosmicBlend macrumors newbie

    Feb 28, 2011
    I am a web developer and I was thinking of purchasing the 13 inch simply for it being more portable but the more I played with both models I decided on a 15 with the high resolution display. So far it has been amazing to work with after I popped 8GB of ram in it. I run all of my web dev stuff at once and have photoshop running as well it and runs like a champ.
  9. adnoh macrumors 6502a


    Nov 14, 2010
    I think you need a very strong CPU for whwt you are doing. go with the 13" i7
  10. tiwizard macrumors regular

    Jul 12, 2010
    Not really... If you have a ton of things open, RAM is more important.

    I have no problem with the 2.4 C2D model and 8GB of RAM. When I need more space I have a monitor to attach, but CPU power isn't that important unless you are constantly gaming (not that you could do that with the Intel GFX) or encoding videos, etc.

    As for Expose, I have 24 windows open right now (one of which is a VM) and the animation is fine to me, not that it actually matters.
  11. 7even macrumors 6502a

    Jan 11, 2008
    For any kind of development I'd get a 15" with a high res screen... 1280x800 really isn't much. I can't imagine being productive with anything less than the 1440x900 of my 15".
  12. tomster2300, Mar 12, 2011
    Last edited: Mar 12, 2011

    tomster2300 thread starter macrumors member

    Apr 18, 2008
    Hey guys, I just wanted to give an update and some closure to this thread.

    I went with the i5 13" Macbook Pro and am loving it! I played around with the ones from Best Buy and then sat down with my friend's 2010 13" Macbook Pro to get a hands-on feel. My buddy is a software developer and runs all his software / browsers / etc. plus a VM of Win 7 with absolutely no slowdown. After seeing his Core 2 Duo run like a champ (albeit it with 8 gigs of ram), and knowing what the Sandy Bridge ix line of processors can do (I have a first generation i7 920 quad core in my gaming rig), I was hooked.

    I've had this machine for about two days now and have loved every bit of it. The battery life is insane (remember, I was coming from a 2007 Macbook with its original battery)...I was even able to run my 23" external on battery for an afternoon and the battery still didn't die. That's just crazy.

    Could I have gone with the 15"? Yeah, and I probably will next time. But for right now I'm really digging the 13" screen. It honestly doesn't bother me at all. I worked at a cafe today for about three hours and didn't even think about the size.

    Thanks to everyone who posted and gave me their advice. I really appreciated it! :)
  13. Kyzelios macrumors 6502

    Mar 6, 2011
    Congratulations on your purchase! :)
  14. SPEEDwithJJ macrumors 65816


    Nov 2, 2008
    Yeah, congrats to the OP on his purchase. IMHO, as long as your choice suits you fine, that's all that really matters. :)

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