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13" 2017 vs. 15" 2017

  • 13" 2017

    Votes: 5 38.5%
  • 15" 2017

    Votes: 8 61.5%

  • Total voters


macrumors newbie
Original poster
Aug 2, 2017
Warsaw, Poland

First of all, I would like to say hello to the users of the forum, as I am a new one :)

Since one month I am thinking about getting rid of my 6 years old Samsung's Ultrabook (Series 5) and replacing it with MacBook Pro.

I am a Windows user since 18 years. I've never used Mac OS, aside from iOS, until a half a year ago, when I had to use MacBook Air for job-related topics. And to be honest, I've fell in love with this OS. Such a different experience when using it on a daily-basis. I would like to get one Apple's notebook for myself.

The thing is: I have no idea how Mac OS behaves on a day-to-day usage in terms of performance and reliability when it comes to having it for many years (like I've mentioned I own 6 years old Samsung which is still good to go after swapping out HDD for SDD, of course only for some basic stuff like web surfing, MS Office, super light or old games). I've read a TONS of topics and articles regarding the latest line of MacBooks Pro, but still not sure what to choose.

I am used to portable notebooks, my current laptop is 13.3", Toshiba at workplace is also 13.3" (although with two external displays), MacBook Air which I am using at work, also 13.3" :) I really love the look and feel of MBP 13" 2017, it looks so light, minimalistic and elegant. But of course, there are cons (at least in my opinion) - dual-core and no dGPU present.

I am no heavy gamer if it comes to PCs, I own a lot of consoles and preffer them over PCs. But, I also like to play some old games on my laptop (which handles them with crappy Intel HD4000 with ease).
Also currently I am not doing any video editing/rendering 3D stuff. But what will bring the future? I have no idea.
I saw videos that Iris Plus 650 is able to handle CS:GO or Overwatch with some medium setting, so it's more than enough for me.

But what about other stuff? Real world performance difference between iGPU/dGPU? I have no clue about it.

Another thing is when it comes to CPU. Currently I also own very old i5 1.6Ghz 3317U. It handles basic tasks very well, no hiccups. What it will be if it comes to real performance on Mac OS? I mean i5 which is dual core vs i7 which is quad core (a lot more futureproof, what I also have in mind). I don't want to waste a huge amount of money on the things that will be obsolete in 2 years from now on.
Differences between i7 2.9 and 3.1? Is there any REAL difference or is this only a technical sheet-related difference?(and money of course)

The most important thing for me is portability, when I've bought my 13.3" Samsung I loved it's compact size and weight. It is really comfortable to use on the lap, in bed, in a car.

BUT if I want to have quad core and dGPU (if it's essential for futureproofing) then I am afraid that those "portability" days will be gone. I mean, I saw both MBPs in stores, I've checked them many, many times, weighted them, compared side by side. But on the other hand I've red, that when you take your MBP15 to your place, or anywhere else from the store, the feeling changes drastically :) I am not saying that MBP15 is heavy, but the size is what bothers me.

If I would have a chance to spec up the 13" model with dGPU and quad core, I would not waste time on thinking, until now 13" was my ideal size, but with those cons (I am not sure if they are really cons as Ive never used Mac OS long enough, don't know how it behaves in the long run) it is really hard for me to choose.

So what do you guys think? Anyone came from 13" to 15" and feels great with it? :D I would love to have the same feeling, but I am not confident enough.
MBP15 is powerhouse, no doubt about it, futureproof and I can think about being creative more and more in the future, because hardware will not limit me, but the size scares me a little.

As for the things I am doing on my current laptop:
- Daily basic tasks, browsing, mail, youtube, spotify, netflix, all that media stuff which is common for everyone
- Different OS virtualization (currently on VirtualBox for Windows), two or three OS in the same time on VM
- Recording/editing audio
- Once per half a year playing some old stuff games/using emulators of old systems (PSX/SNES/PSP)

What I have in plan is to start developing code (no idea which exactly) so I would consider this also in futureproofing the Mac, but I guess even base MBP13 can handle this with ease.

Video editing? Maybe once a year when I come back from holidays :) No professional stuff in that case.
If you have any suggestions (I plan to max out either of them) regarding on where I could same some $$$, I will appreciate it :)

Thanks in advance for the replies !:)


Nov 5, 2010
go into an apple store and pick both of them up and decide which one feels best - laptops are a very tactile experience. For what you are doing you don't need a dGPU, but you might want the extra screen space.


macrumors member
Jun 24, 2010
Oceanside, CA
I have the previous-generation 15" rMBP, and I don't think it's limiting at all in terms of portability. On top of that, I'd go mad with a smaller screen. But then again, as shaunp noted, laptops are a subjective thing.


macrumors newbie
Original poster
Aug 2, 2017
Warsaw, Poland
You are both right. As of today I do not need extra size which 15" offers. But on the other hand, I have no idea what I will be doing in few years. Don't also want to cry about missing extra size in the future. If you state that the portability with 15" is not that much of an issue, as I am feeling it (no real experience) then it might be a hint to think about :)


macrumors newbie
Aug 1, 2017
New Hampshire
My 2 cents having tried both and if money is not an issue is go with the 15, especially if you are going to be watching Netflix. Also since you are doing virtualization you have the quad core processor and 16 gb which in my opinion is a must for that. As far as portability I think the 15 is very portable unless you plan on carrying it around on long trips or plan on using it if you fly a lot since it may not be as conducive to the tray tables as the 13" is.
As far as my recommendations of the 15 you would only need the power of entry level model unless you need more space than the 256gb hd.


macrumors 604
Feb 13, 2012
Perth, Western Australia
If you're coming from that ultra book both will perform much better.

Unless you're doing something hard core (lots of video/special effects rendering) - both will suffice. The 13" will do it, just a little slower as its only a dual core. Video editing as a casual user on my 13" is fine.

Pick screen size you want and go from there. Go play with them in store.

My usage model is similar to yours and the 13" handles it. Bump ram to 16 GB and it will handle VMs a lot better. You don't need a discrete GPU from the sound of it.

Other than VM stuff, most of your stuff could be done with an ipad. It may even be worth considering a smaller Macbook or even an iPad and just doing most of the VM stuff with a cheap PC box in the corner running a free version of ESXi or HyperV with the money saved. You can put 32-64 GB of RAM and a bunch of storage in a little box to live in the corner far, far cheaper than you can put such things into a macbook - you could build an entire Ryzen VM host for say 600-700 dollars (4-6 cores) and 600-700 doesn't go far on the macbook options list. And you could even use one of the VMs running on it as a backup location for your Macbook.

I guess what I'm saying is that as a VM host, either Macbook is an expensive and suboptimal way of doing it. You can re-target some of that money, get additional benefits and then get away with a smaller, lighter, cheaper macbook. Additionally, getting experience with HyperV or ESXi will be a bonus.
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macrumors newbie
May 17, 2016
I have an MBP 15. I got it because I need the extra real estate from the screen and I wanted a dGPU. I also own a MacBook air, which has the same weight and size as the MBP 13. I strongly prefer my 15" for general use. But when I travel (and I travel a lot), I loathe taking the 15" with me. The 13" is so much more portable. So in essence, even with weighing it at only 1 lb heavier than the 13", the size is bulky in a messenger bag and that weight is noticeable.

So unless you really need the screen real estate and a dGPU, the 13 inch is the way to go for you. Make sure to get 16GB of RAM and the SSD space you want. As for quad core vs dual core, unless you use vm software extensively or have software that utilizes multiple cores, the dual core will be just fine.
My wife and I were both using five year old 13-in Macbook Airs. My keyboard was wearing through and the battery run-time was low and last November I decided to replace mine with a Intel Core i5-based 13-in Macbook Pro with Touch Bar. Due to the tiny bezels the 13-in Pro system is quite a bit smaller than the 13-in Air.

Then my wife's Air failed. I decided to pass my 13-in Pro to her and purchase the top model Intel Core i7-based 15-in Pro with 1TB SSD storage.

The 15-in is obviously bigger than the 13-in Air but only by 25mm wider (1 inch) and 17mm deeper (less than 3/4 in). It's obviously heavier but I don't notice this. My main objective in getting the 15-in is more screen real estate. As standard it can run at 1920x1200 resolution which is perfectly readable, and using QuickRes I can go to much higher resolutions if I want.

I use Parallels Desktop to run Windows apps under MacOS but this works fine on any modern machine. I don't play games so don't know how they would perform.


macrumors 68000
Aug 15, 2010
Apple have been moving away from dGPU and towards smaller screens. It would be a cruel twist if their OS were to go in the opposite direction in future years. It looks like Apple are also making it possible to use an external GPU, so your light gaming needs ought to be served if your iGPU starts to choke. (This assumes you game at a desk, and can afford the extra outlay).

Heavy CPU tasks are moving towards GPU these days but it's actually pretty slow going despite all the buzz, and mobile GPUs don't seem to perform all that much better than a CPU.

For what it's worth, both laptops I ever owned burned out their dGPU after about three years, and they needed to be replaced. (HP Compaq and a Mac Book Pro). The CD/DVD drive was the first to fail on both devices, power/battery was the final straw. My point being, the dGPU is a vulnerability.

My 2008 MBP was still running up to a few weeks ago. GPU ability never became an issue - RAM capacity and HD speed crippled it way before anything else.


macrumors newbie
Jul 25, 2017
My 2cents. I just upgraded from a Late 2013 13" MacBook Pro to a 15" MacBook Pro. And my reason for going from 13" to 15" was because over the years, my needs would/have change/d, and at times my 13" would slow down when multi-tasking, for example running Safari, Chrome, and Parallels to run Windows 10, which would get annoying really fast. Getting a 15", I got a quad-core CPU, larger screeen, and better video card even though I don't do any video editing or anything like that-it'll just add better resale value if I decide to sell it to upgrade again in the future.

Hope this helps!


macrumors 604
Jan 26, 2008
Isla Nublar
Personally, I like the 15 inch. It isn't much larger than the 13 inch to carry and I do appreciate the extra screen real estate. I travel with mine frequently and it's never felt like a burden.

That being said, definitely go into the store and try both. It'll be worth the trip for something you'l likely use at least for the next 6 years.


macrumors newbie
Original poster
Aug 2, 2017
Warsaw, Poland
Thank you for all your replies, this is really helpful and let's me clarify the topic :)
I think I will think about 15" (either maxed out, or 2.9Ghz 500+ SSD, still no idea which CPU).


macrumors 65816
Dec 9, 2014
I've traveled with a 15 inch MBP for years now, going clear back to the TiBook (powerbook G4). My current one is a late 2013. I'm used to carrying it around, but I can't deny that it's just a wee bit too large for many of today's airplane seats / tray tables. I'll stick with the 15 inch because I like having that little bit extra space on both sides, and my eyes aren't getting any better.

Whether you go with 13 inch or 15, I think I'd suggest going with a base spec machine, 16 Gb memory (is that standard now?), and as much SSD as you need. My late 2013 2.0 Ghz laptop runs VM's just fine (with 16 Gb memory) so I don't think you'll need to pay for a tiny CPU speed increment over base level. Even the no-touch-bar 13 inch 2.3 Ghz i5 boosts up to 3.6 Ghz, so it's plenty fast enough except for longer CPU bound jobs like transcoding and such.


macrumors 604
Oct 24, 2013
Thank you for all your replies, this is really helpful and let's me clarify the topic :)
I think I will think about 15" (either maxed out, or 2.9Ghz 500+ SSD, still no idea which CPU).

Don’t worry about the cpu in the 15 inch it makes practically no difference they are all top of the range i7 quad cores with hyper threading.
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