MacBook Pro 13" vs 15"

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by Neemo, Jun 9, 2009.

  1. Neemo macrumors newbie

    Jun 9, 2009
    I'm going into engineering next year (mechanical) and am going to get one of the newly update MacBook Pros but I cannot decide on the high-end 13" or low-end 15". My question is which one will suit me the best, in your opinion?

    Now, I probably am going to need design software like CAD, which will be windows only, and I am willing to install windows, so thats not a problem. But is the 13" screen big enough (res: 1280 x 800)? I like the portability factor, and am planning on taking a spare monitor to hook up in my dorm. I have a limited budget and the low end 15" is as high as I will go, I just can't decide.

    EDIT: Looks like I'm not the only one going into Mechanical Engineering on the board :)
  2. Ricanlegend macrumors 6502a

    Apr 21, 2009
    They are both the same , if you planing to buy and use this computer for the next 5 years i recommend the 15in in the long run it will be more worth it
  3. Hellhammer Moderator


    Staff Member

    Dec 10, 2008
    15" definitely. Or if you want to save money, the low end 13" MBP will be fine for ya
  4. Neemo thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 9, 2009
    hmmm I was leaning towards the 13" (the $1,499 one (US)), any specific reasons for recommending the 15" or is it just prefered?
  5. kolax macrumors G3

    Mar 20, 2007
    As said, they are the same thing. One is a 13" MacBook and the other is a 15" MacBook.

    Only difference is the screen size and resolution. I'd go for the 13" since it is more portable..
  6. cube macrumors G5

    May 10, 2004
    I doubt you'll need the extended color gamut of the new laptops, even for FEA and so on.

    Get the previous generation 15" MBP which is on closeout.
  7. Neemo thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 9, 2009
    Yeah thats exactly what I was thinking, I knew they were the exact same laptop except for the screen, I was just curious if people thought that the resolution/size difference would affect anything. I like the idea of portability (and its cheaper lol).

    Res on 13": 1280 x 800
    Res on 15": 1440 x 900

    The resolution isn't that much better.
  8. xhambonex macrumors 6502a

    Apr 17, 2008
    yeah do what he says. They previous gen notebooks are always the better deal compared to whatever Apple has been releasing lately.

    Not to mention you'll get more power at the same price. :)
  9. QCassidy352 macrumors G4


    Mar 20, 2003
    Bay Area
    i know they advertised new screens on the 13" MBP, but is it up to the quality of the screen on the 15" MBP?
  10. brendel95 macrumors regular

    May 23, 2005
    I also recommend 15 inch previous Macbook pro. Whatever you do with your engineering program (writing an article, programming, CAD......), bigger screen (high resolution) suits better. And 15 inch is portable, too ^^
  11. Hellhammer Moderator


    Staff Member

    Dec 10, 2008
    This is really offtopic but I just counted that I've writen over 100 posts in two days and 90% of them were in "which MBP?" threads. lol
  12. Neemo thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 9, 2009
    Sorry lol, it's a big investment, I just wanted some opinions before I purchased :)
  13. dangerfish macrumors 6502

    Aug 28, 2007
    The only thing to remember if considering a prev gen 15" pro vs a new 15" is the better battery life. Two extra hours is significant. And if you are a student, get the student deal and sell your free iPod Touch and the price ends up being about the same as buying a prev gen model.
  14. bmstrong macrumors 6502a

    May 30, 2007
    I can't find any of the previous 15 instock for a resonable price. Most of the online dealers still want MORE than the newest release. That's just nuts...
  15. yoyomaster macrumors regular

    Apr 5, 2009
    If you're going to be using an external monitor, I don't see the need to get the low-end 15-inch, the screen is not too small on my 13-inch macbook. I think you could probably spend the extra 200 saved on a bigger hard-drive, applecare or some other program/accessory
  16. plinden macrumors 68040


    Apr 8, 2004
    Don't forget to go for the educational discount ... you'll save $100 on that 13" one. Also check your college's student store. My wife works for UCBerkeley and they often have extra discounts there, like AppleCare included.

    As for screen size ... the 15" is 33% bigger and has 26% more pixels. You'll notice the difference. But if I were in your position, I'd go for the high end 13" and use the $200 to buy a decent external monitor.
  17. Neemo thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 9, 2009
    This is my stance right now as well :)
  18. macjay macrumors 6502

    Oct 3, 2003
  19. cube macrumors G5

    May 10, 2004
    There will sure be engineering programs taking advantage of OpenCL, given the keynote remark about mathematical precision.

    Get the discrete graphics.
  20. manwich macrumors newbie

    Jun 8, 2009
    Is the in store discount the same as the online discount?
  21. slpdLoad macrumors 6502a


    Jun 10, 2009
    Yes, you just need to present an ID showing that you are affiliated with a school.
  22. benlangdon macrumors 65832


    Jan 13, 2008
    you know im an engineering major to, and i see a lot of thread asking exactly what your asking, and to be honest im pretty sure you could get your degree without even owning a computer.

    if you end up using cad and things similar i bet they have a computer lab with computer that are way faster and have way more ram and that can handle those applications better than a mbp.

    now im not 100% sure. but i think every school has a computer lab (for general computing) and most will have specialty computing lab. im at a community collage, they have both. even computer science has there own computer lab.

    anway, two of my friends have 13in mb and working on them from my 15 is a joke. get the 15.
    and since your an engineering major, the weight in your back pack shouldn't be two different. i mean i carry two binders my calc and physics book and my back pack already weighs in at 30 lb. not joking either.
  23. nefan65 macrumors 65816


    Apr 15, 2009
    I'd go 13 MBP [the new ones], with Student Discount. Then save the $$$, and get an external monitor ONLY if you need one. Don't get it right off the bat. Wait and see what your needs are...
  24. gordonyz macrumors member

    Nov 25, 2009
    Get 15

    Go for the 15' if you want to do some text editing. The 13' is not serious enough to work, so to speak, more like a toy. 15' is 2x better if you work on two A4 size documents the same time on screen. 1280x800 just not enough for dual window editing. Even 1366x768 is not enough.
  25. sjinsjca macrumors 68020


    Oct 30, 2008

    26% more pixels can be a significant difference in terms of on-screen real-estate. On the other hand, OS X's Spaces capability mitigates a lot of that if the issue is multiple windows rather than the size of windows. If you run lots of apps with normal-sized windows, the 13" would be fine in that respect. But for CAD modeling and other applications where screen real-estate is intensively used, you need pixels.

    The 13" is very nice for portability. Personally, I use every square mm of my 15"'s desktop space, and the 15" is plenty portable. 15" would be my choice, and in fact it will be when I upgrade when the quad-core units come out next year (I'm a virtual machine freak).

    The current 15" models are available with more processor speed and more RAM than the current 13"s. Again, depending on your usage, that might be important. Or not. (More RAM is always good.)

    Of course, the same logic might apply to the 17" vs. the 15", and you gain battery life as well, in the current models. But the 17" is just too damn big for me. Sure is nice though... there's small but non-zero odds that that's what I'll end up with. IMHO the 15" is the best compromise.

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