MacBook Pro 17" or 15"?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by Drunkmunky33, Nov 3, 2013.

  1. Drunkmunky33 macrumors newbie

    Nov 3, 2013
    Hi guys,

    Im studying a Music Technology course at college and need (would benefit from) a MacBook. I don't want to beat around the bush so here it is.

    Do i get..

    a 2011 17" with 750GB hdd + SWAP optical drive for 256GB SSD, i7 2.3ghz 2820QM, upgrade to 16GB ram, with the 6770M


    a 2012 15" with basically the same spec but obviously has a newer CPU and may be slightly cheaper

    I'm going to be using it at college A LOT for creating and remixing tracks etc so i thought the more screen real estate would be great for me. However, I don't know whether sacrificing a newer CPU is worth 2 inches. I'll be using this machine for about 5/6 years from when I get it (hopefully around December time) and need to know what everyone else thinks about my upgrade "plan" and the whole plan overall.

    I'm looking to spend about £1000 to £1200 max. It cannot be 13", cannot be a retina model as I need two storage drives, must have at least 8GB ram although I'll upgrade to 16GB if it comes with 4GB, and must have at least the 6750M. These "guidlines" are just what I want to keep it within. I understand the budget is kinda tight and I understand you may think I'm an idiot wasting my time. I understand a fair amount about technology (mainly PC's) for a 17 year old so you can go into some degree of depth when talking about components etc.

    Important - this will be my first Apple computer.
  2. Darthmnkyrpm macrumors member

    Sep 4, 2012
    IMO you should get the 15". That's what I have and it works wonders. It's lasted me for years and has the possibility of lasting for years to come. The new CPU will benefit you as the computer gets older. Also, I don't think having the extra screen size will help too much. I'm mean sure it'd be nice, but it's just so big and so bulky. I do video editing, and although I'd rather edit on a 32", the 15" does everything I need without being a hassle.
  3. Drunkmunky33 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Nov 3, 2013
  4. Darthmnkyrpm macrumors member

    Sep 4, 2012
    That is a very good deal. I'm very impressed with that. Despite how old it is, if you really want that extra screen size, this would be the computer to get. The hard drive is especially nice for that one. I'm jealous :p
  5. Drunkmunky33 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Nov 3, 2013
    Bingo! Great, thank you again. IF this were to fall through, (sorry for taking up your Sunday evening), would this and a 16GB RAM and 256GB SSD upgrade be "impressive"? The upgrade overall would be around £260/$420

    A total of £1100/$1750 including postage to me - UK
  6. Badrottie Suspended


    May 8, 2011
    Los Angeles
    Sweet deal but I am wondering how long do you plan to keep 2011 MBP? And I also wonder about future OS X for 2011 MBP? :apple:
  7. Freyqq macrumors 601

    Dec 13, 2004
    USB 3 is really important for expandability later, so I'd go for the 15".
  8. johnnylarue macrumors 6502a

    Aug 20, 2013
    I've just moved on from a 17" to a retina, myself.

    The extra sharpness of the retina display makes it surprisingly useable at 1920x1200 for Logic. Text/app buttons are smaller, but the sharpness actually makes it a bit easier on the eyes than my 17"--provided your eyesight is good enough to handle the ~10% decrease in size. (Hard not to appreciate the significant bump in portability, too.)

    Bottom line for me: I'd be hesitant to drop close to $1800 on a 2-year-old laptop, no matter how much you pimp it out. Common sense says it will begin to show its age sooner than more recent versions, even if there is not a huge difference in processor specs. Its age will make it a bit harder to sell, too, should you ever want/need to.
  9. Drunkmunky33 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Nov 3, 2013

    Freyqq: The 17" has ExpressCard 34 which can take a USB 3.0 card right?

    johnnylarue: What do you think I should do then? You know how big Logic is and how fast an SSD makes a system. But, my budget is £1400/$2200 ABSOLUTE MAX. So, I don't see a feasible option other than the ones I've shown. I'd be more than happy to listen to anyone's alternative by all means, but I am a bit under the tunnel vision spell at the moment. Outside advice and past experience is what I need!

    Thanks guys
  10. sabbyp macrumors regular

    Oct 26, 2013
    whatever you do, get an ssd. loading logic projects/samples from hdd is a joke now i've become accustomed to ssd. hdd's are only acceptable for backup drives now imho.
  11. Freyqq macrumors 601

    Dec 13, 2004
    possible, but expresscards max out at 2.5 gb/s instead of 5 gb/s
  12. leman macrumors G3

    Oct 14, 2008
    You are ready to pay $2200 for an old 2011 machine without warranty when a lighter and faster 2012 rMBP with 512Gb SSD costs $1899 directly from App with warranty? Sorry, but this is just insane.
  13. johnnylarue macrumors 6502a

    Aug 20, 2013
    Get thee to the refurb store, munky! I'm not sure what prices look like in your neck of the woods, but a maxed out 2012 reburb 15" retina (16GB RAM/512GB SSD) is about $2100 in North America. The same model with 8GB RAM is about $200 less.

    I'd definitely go with one o' those if the prices are equivalent where you live. In tech years, they're about as close in performance to Haswells as we've ever seen for two generations of MacBook Pros. You're really just saving a lot of money relative to the performance you're giving up.

    Notice how I haven't even mentioned the 17" this time? Those are great, great machines, but I really feel like, for the money you're about to spend, better to look at something more 'contemporary'.
  14. vpro macrumors 65816


    Jun 8, 2012
    Easy decision..

    Go with the 17"MBP please. All the BEST ! ^_^
  15. AnthonyJ macrumors newbie

    Jun 2, 2010
    Queensland, Australia
    I just bought a 2011 17" MBP - 2.2ghz i7 with Anti-Glare screen

    Came with a 128gb intel factory ssd and 8gb ram. These went into my girlfriends 13" 2012 MacBook Pro.

    I put 16GB ram and a 120gb Samsung Evo SSD with a 500gb drive in the optical bay. I'm going to get a 256gb Evo SSD as the 120gb isn't quite enough for me.

    I love it, I sold my 2011 27" iMac to get it and i'm glad I did. I'll get a USB 3.0 express card adapter and should be set for a few years! This thing boots in 15 seconds or something ridiculous. The battery life is great, only 156 cycles on this battery - 86% with 6 hours 11 minutes remaining.

    Hopefully this will help your decision in what you should get :) you may even find one with apple care on it too.

    Good luck
  16. Manda macrumors regular


    Jan 16, 2008
    Basingstoke, UK
    I think the 15" is more then adequate as i have had 17" in the past and come down to a 15" screen is not too bad difference size wise. I would recommend an SSD which ever you choose to go with. The early or late 2011 are good macs with the i7 cpu or the 6750/6770 AMD GPU. I got the maxed out late 2012 macbook pro for £1195.00 second hand from Cex which you get one years warrenty. Mine happended to also have three years apple care.
  17. adildacoolset macrumors 65816

    Sep 5, 2011
    Lusaka, Zambia(If you know where it is)
    I think you're underestimating the changes that the 650M will bring for graphics.
  18. Doward macrumors 6502a

    Feb 21, 2013
    Yes, the 650m is significantly more power than the 6750/6770.

    That said, I have no issues driving my 17" screen + 27" thunderbolt display (when docked at home) off my 2.5Ghz Late 2011 17" MBP.

    I have USB 3.0, a screaming quad core (2.5Ghz), 1.25TB of SSD. This is a mobile powerhouse!

    That said, I will have it for about one more year. This time next year we'll see what is on the market. Maybe I'll end up with a 17" Razer Blade Pro, maybe an XPS 17" (if Dell makes one) - ideally, I'll have a 17" rMBP - MAKE IT APPLE DARN YOU! ;)

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