MacBook Pro retina 13" or 15"

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by Bdudney665, Aug 7, 2013.

  1. Bdudney665, Aug 7, 2013
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2013

    Bdudney665 macrumors newbie

    Aug 7, 2013
    I'm trying to decide when and what MacBook Pro with retina display I should buy. Should I wait for the haswell chips? Should I go for the 15 in because of the speakers and the Nividia graphics or go for portable? I'm very indesisive and I need some second opinions.
  2. bhayes444 macrumors 6502a

    Jul 13, 2013
    Well, if portability is your end goal then you should wait for the Haswell update and grab the 13" rMBP as it will be soooooo much better than it's current iteration. The physical footprint of the 13" rMBP is also smaller than the footprint of the 13" Air impressively enough.

    The power that the 15" rMBP provides, however, simply overwhelms the 13" when compared side by side. It is bigger, but has a quad core CPU and, currently, a discrete graphics chip. In terms of pure performance, this trounces the 13". The 15" also, quite obviously, has more screen real estate and makes working with the scaled resolutions a lot easier; if you want to fit more on your screen.

    Ultimately the choice lies with you, but the simplest I can make it is something people on here have been preaching for the longest time: portability = wait for Haswell 13", power = any 15"
  3. 07dodge macrumors member

    May 31, 2012
    Go with the 15". I was sold on the 13", for "portability" and had convinced myself that I could sacrifice the real estate in the hopes for a more portable unit. Luckily, I read some responses on here pushing for the 15", both for screen size and especially the discrete graphics, and was on the fence (again, I was SOLD on the 13") when I walked into the store. I also was hesitant about the Retina screen, I was thinking an Air would be perfect. Took one look at the 13" Retina side-by-side with the 13" Air, and knew 100% non-Retina was no longer an option.

    Had them bust out the 15" Retina and I said "that's the one!"

    I spent all last semester (got it January 4) packing this thing around in my bag, and there is absolutely no reason, in my opinion, to give up the screen real estate and the power the 15" has in favor of a minimally more portable 13". Coming from my previous 15" Vaio, this thing is an absolute lightweight. It's faster, runs cooler, is dead silent, more durable (I dropped it about 4 feet when it was 2 days old and works flawless. My Vaio would have been dead), and the screen...well what can you say about the Retina? It's FANTASTIC!!

    My vote goes to the 15" Retina. I still have at least 2 years of school left, and plan to carry this thing with me the whole way.
  4. KUguardgrl13 macrumors 68020


    May 16, 2013
    Kansas, USA
    As I understand it, the 15" rMBPs are comparable in weight to the 13" cMBP. I have a 2009 cMBP and can vouch for portability, although the 13" retinas are even more so.

    It really depends on your intended uses. Are you a student or traveler where portability is important, or do you need the higher specs and screen real estate? Can you afford to wait for Haswell in the MBP line?
  5. borgqueens macrumors member


    Aug 10, 2013
    I am personaly waiting for the Haswell 15 inch rMBP. I corrently own a 13 inch MBP and I don´t like the small screen. My first notebooks was 17 inch and later got down to 15 inch and was ok with that but to me the 13 inch is just too small. It is my first Mac (and MAcBook) ever and at the time the 15 inch was too pricy for me.
    I am starting soon on the university and don´t need a more portable mac. I need a bigger screen for more window and papers space.

    However if the Nvidia GeForce is importent to you please note that we still do not know if there will be or not be one in the Haswell 15 inch rMBP. For me if they drop the GeForce and only get the Iris for 15 inch rMBP I personally rather prefere the longer battery life vs the slightly better gaming graphics that the current rMBP might offer.
  6. Macman45 macrumors G5


    Jul 29, 2011
    Somewhere Back In The Long Ago
    I have the current rMBP 13" with the 3GHZ CPU. I was totally convinced that it wouldn't be big enough for my needs, but it really is....I came from a 17" cMBP so you can see the kind of real estate I was used to, but the retina display and the option to switch if you do need more space have made me very happy with the Mac.

    Waiting obviously makes sense, but don't ignore that 13" it's a great little Mac...I'd get to a store and check them out.
  7. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    My thoughts - if you can wait then do so. You'll be rewarded for your patience with the Haswell chipset. As for 13" vs. 15". It depends on your needs and expectations.
    The 13" is smaller, lighter a less expensive, but it lacks the screen real estate the 15" and the discrete GPU. I personally went with the 15" rMBP over the 13" because of those factors.
  8. Breitling65, Aug 11, 2013
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2013

    Breitling65 macrumors 6502

    Mar 3, 2011
    I just got 13 inch with retina, I would never buy 15 inch notebook since I need to be light on travel and fit my macbook into camera bag and walk a lot. Anything over 14 inch defeats laptop purpose as for my vision, get desktop if you need big screen and if I need larger size I am using desktop computer with 2 large monitors.
    It is pretty quick and perfect on battery, I don't like to wait on Hasswell, it will not add any speed just battery life. I would suggest no less then 256gb hd, especially if you will use Windows applications on it as I am.
  9. hotrod351 macrumors 6502


    Mar 3, 2007
    Mohave Valley Arizona
  10. R3fr3sh macrumors member

    Aug 3, 2013
    I'd say wait for the new 13 rMBP (i couldnt wait). I decided to get the 13 because i do not game on PC/MAC and a measly 1G DDR5 is not enough for the $$$$

    So buy a 13" and save $ then buy a Xbox ONE or PS4. Thats my plan
  11. MathBunny123 macrumors regular

    Oct 19, 2012
    Toronto, Canada | Sibiu, Romania
    Keep in mind that the 13.3'' will become outdated faster, and the 15.4'' will be able to sustain more complex applications over a larger time. Also, the power cannot be compared, for the quad core CPUs and the discrete graphics simply take over the 13.3''. In addition, take note that the weight of the 15.4'' is NOT that much, in fact it is fairly light and as noted before it was comparable to the normal 13.3'' laptop.
  12. B... macrumors 68000


    Mar 7, 2013
    I like the 13" best, because I have no real use for a dGPU or quad core, and the portability is improved (yes it is, how much is debatable) over the 15". That's important for me.
  13. Breitling65 macrumors 6502

    Mar 3, 2011
    Exactly, also I am comparing to my former Sony VIAO T which is i7/8G ram and my new macbookpro is faster even running Win8 on parallels. Tons of speed, and no complains on slowness. Hasswell per all reports is only good with battery and not going to be faster. Applications? Name me something very new and needed lots of power besides kids games?

    People who need power and huge screens should look into desktops!
  14. B... macrumors 68000


    Mar 7, 2013
    It is faster, just 3-5% for the most part. More for quad core systems with lower graphics (4600) because the CPU is able to use much of the wattage for performance. Ones with Iris Pro perform slightly worse than similarly clocked ones with 4600 or 4400.
  15. PDFierro macrumors 68040

    Sep 8, 2009
    The weight of the 15-inch isn't a problem. It's the size. Way too big for me, where as it seems the body of the 13-inch is just right.
  16. Breitling65 macrumors 6502

    Mar 3, 2011
    I wouldn't call ultrabook anything larger than 14 inch, it is desktop replacement. I am photographer, I have enough cra. in my bag besides laptop to walk around, any pound of extra weight is very noticeable after 3-4 hours on my shoulders. 13-inch is perfect!


    I will survive without extra 3-4% of speed :) simple antivirus could slowdown any fast computer with much higher numbers.
  17. Badrottie Suspended


    May 8, 2011
    Los Angeles
    I love my 15" rMBP but the weight is bit heavy it does not stop me I have to get used to it. I think 13" rMBP is good for you. :apple:
  18. redkamel macrumors 6502

    Aug 29, 2006
    -Wait for haswell if you can
    -Get the 15 inch if you do graphics work, need to view 2 documents at once or just want the luxury of a big screen
    -Get the 13 for everything else
  19. traumuhhtize macrumors member

    Jul 6, 2012
    If you want something powerful then get the 15" but if you can wait then wait.
  20. CausticPuppy macrumors 65816

    May 1, 2012
    In the end it comes down to personal preference... the 15" is a very stout machine, and the dGPU makes it somewhat decent for gaming.

    The 15" is very portable, but the 13" is even notably more so. It's light enough to pick up with 3 fingers.
    My main machine is a quad-core Mini, but there's no difference in day to day use, and my dual core i5 runs Logic and Aperture just as well as my quad-core i7.

    The only two limitations of the 13" are GPU (integrated only, but it makes a difference in fewer apps than you might think), and the RAM which maxes out at 8GB. If you plan on running some VM's then you'll want the quad-core 15" with 16GB ram.

    If you're just running apps, then 8GB and dual core will be fine for a few years.

    Screen real estate is a non-issue, because the 13" can run in the same scaled resolutions that the 15" can, if you use a 3rd party app like QuickRes. I normally leave in "best for retina" setting (1280x800) for email and web, and toggle up to a higher resolution for Logic or really large spreadsheets.

    I have a base model 13" rMBP now but will likely trade up to a Haswell model with a larger SSD when they're released. I thought the 128GB SSD would be fine but then Logic X came out with its 30 gigs of downloadable content. :)
  21. robvas macrumors 68030

    Mar 29, 2009
    If you need the 15" screen, more powerful 3D graphics, quad-core, or the 16GB option, get the 15"

    The 13" is pretty powerful and you can use it at 1680x1050 or 1920x1200 if you need to. I will switch over to those modes while I am remoting into a bunch of servers for work. Not the most comfortable resolution but it's nice to be able to do it for a little while. Then back to 1280x800 or 1440x900.
  22. sparkie7 macrumors 68020


    Oct 17, 2008
    Imagine if  brought out a 13" rMBP with Haswell, quad-core, + 16GB RAM. Would be killer. Totally crack pot awesome. :D

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