MBP 13" or 15/17" dilemma

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by YoeriS, Oct 18, 2009.

  1. YoeriS macrumors member

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    Belgium
    #1
    I would like some advice in this matter, because I can't really come to a decision and the local forums are not as active in this matter, so I hope that the mac enthusiasts over here can help me :)

    First I would like to state that money is not the most important lever (that's why the choice could be the basis 13" or top-end 17"). I just (5mo ago) bought a Dell Studio XPS 16 high-end (16" HD RGB LED, SSD, 512MB mobile card) as a replacement of my ex-MBP 15" 2007 model, this was, after time, a wrong decision and is going to cost me a lot more money than making now a right decision between a 13" or 17" model.

    I use the laptop for work and recreatively, it's my main instrument, so it's very important that it doesn't annoy me or it leaves as quicky as my current Dell ;)

    I also just bought a ACD LED 24" display (current without purpose because I need a displayport :p), the MBP in this matter will be connected to this screen for professional use.

    Besides recreational use (surfing, viewing HD content, ...) the laptop will also be used for architectural purposes (plan editing), photo editing and I also would like to start with 3D rendering of building and interiors.

    I'm also thinking of replacing the HDD after purchase with an aftermarket SSD Intel X25-M 160GB and if needed (in case of MBP 13" basic model) a 4GB or 6GB RAM upgrade.

    As stated before, if it's not needed to spend 2500€ I'm not going to (the SSD is already a 380€ upgrade) so I hope that a realistic advice is possible rather than if you have the money go for the 17" model :p

    Thanks in advance for the greatly appreciated advice and sorry if grammatical mistakes were made as it's not my native language :)
     
  2. thegoldenmackid macrumors 604

    thegoldenmackid

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  3. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

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    #3
    I would get high-end 15" or 17". It's really up to you. 17" has same resolution as 24" so you would have 2 x 1920x1200
     
  4. YoeriS thread starter macrumors member

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    #4
    Ofcourse this is the most obvious reply.
    But I would like to know what I really need to comfortably work without any hickups or frustrations (now and the next 2 years), rather than "how big is my wallet" because that's something that I can figure myself out :)
     
  5. balamw Moderator

    balamw

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    #5
    Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; U; CPU iPhone OS 3_1 like Mac OS X; en-us) AppleWebKit/528.18 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/4.0 Mobile/7C144 Safari/528.16)

    I have the mid range unibody MacBook 13" and the current high end 15" MBP and for many occasions the sheer portability of the 13 makes it a nicer box to reach for.



    Don't get me wrong. The top end 15 is a great box and it is more portable than most 15" value windows notebooks but the 13 is just a really nice form factor.



    AFAIK the current 13" can drive the 24" just fine but not the 30" is that correct?



    B
     
  6. YoeriS thread starter macrumors member

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    #6
    So for occasional use and surfing you'd rather use the 13", the resolution is not a problem in this matter?

    Do you also use the 13" for more professional use (on an external display), as this is also my main concern because of the 9400M (and in case of the base model the CPU)
     
  7. akm3 macrumors 68020

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    #7
    If only the 13" and 15" had decent resolution... I think the 17" is the best, but would prefer the portability of the 13. I'm willing to give up the 9600, although I like it.

    In the end I compromised with the 15 and 9600. Power, portability...but the resolution just irks me every day.
     
  8. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

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    #8


    It can drive 30" without problems
     
  9. pukifloyd macrumors 6502a

    pukifloyd

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    #9
    17 inch...its an awesome machine...and you can buy ram and ssd later as its very expensive if you buy from apple
     
  10. tofagerl macrumors 6502a

    tofagerl

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    #10
    Question: Given that the screen resolution between the 13" and the 17" is so huge, and you already have an external screen with the same resolution as the 17" - will you need the big resolution when you're out and about, or just when you're home and might as well use the external screen?

    IMHO this is the only question you need to answer. Everything else (except the CPU) can be upgraded.
     
  11. YoeriS thread starter macrumors member

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    #11
    This is also a concern, but don't forget that I have a ACD 24" when greater resolutions are needed. I think the 13" resolution suffice for common use (surfing, text editing, movies).

    But do I need the 9600M for professional use or is the 9400M enough for my need (see 1st post). Because I like the portability of the 13", but I also like the independency of the 17" :p

    It's a difficult decision...
     
  12. yoak macrumors 65816

    yoak

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    #12
    If you travel the 17" is a beast to drag around. I fly alot and was thinking of getting the 17", but after going t the store comparing them I bought a 15".
    I personally would get the 13", but I need the express card slot. Hence I bought the previuos 15"
     
  13. tofagerl macrumors 6502a

    tofagerl

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    #13
    Get a 13".
     
  14. YoeriS thread starter macrumors member

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    #14
    Well no, if the 13" resolution suffice for common use. But I think it's very much on the limit.

    But ofcourse there is much more to it than screensize, what about the CPU or graphical processor?
     
  15. Maserati7200 macrumors 6502a

    Maserati7200

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    #15
    Here is my $0.02


    If you are going to be doing a lot of work, get a bigger screen. I have a 13" plastic MacBook from September 2007. Still works beautifully, but I am a heavy computer user and do a lot of work and recreational tasks and wish I had a bigger screen. Sometimes I need to have two or three word documents in front of me at the same time, and it's annoying to have to resize them just to for the screen. In 2-3 years when I get my next computer for college, I'll most likely get a 15" model. The work you describe would definitely be helped with a bigger screen. Studies have shown that with bigger screen productivity increases by 18-23%. I understand you already have an external display, but if you have to do work away from your office, you'll be thankful for the extra space. If all your work is going to be done on the office, get the 13". But if you are doing 3D rendering, I suggest getting a 15" with the 9600GT.
     
  16. YoeriS thread starter macrumors member

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    #16
    Is the 9600GT a surplus for 3D rendering, if so, in which way?
     
  17. Maserati7200 macrumors 6502a

    Maserati7200

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    #17
    The 9600GT could handle 3D rendering a lot better than the 9400M.
     
  18. Andy348 macrumors 6502

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    Montreal
    #18
    Okay, right off the bat, disregard the 13". If $$ isn't the problem, you need something future proof and don't mind lugging around a 15" or 17", don't even bother with the 13".

    Now the 15". For future proofing, I'd atleast start with the 2.66GHz and the 9600 card. That's your starting point. Now decide if you really want to put up the extra cash for the 2.8 or the 17". You need to decide between a 15" and a 17", because I don't think the 2.66 -> 2.8 will be a huge difference, yet an extra 2" of screen might be a deal maker or breaker.

    Personally, I'd go for the 17" because they're damn sexy.
     
  19. YoeriS thread starter macrumors member

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    #19
    We're going from one extreme to another :D
    When I talk about the future, in laptop language, it's at most 2 years away.
    So the 2,26Ghz for that matter is insufficient you think, same for the 9400M?

    The most important feature is the replacement to SSD I think.
     
  20. Andy348 macrumors 6502

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    #20
    Oh okay, then I'll factor that in :)
    I think you could do the 2.26GHz with 4GB DDR3 and SSD and be very happy, but I'd rather go for something a bit higher speced if money isn't the biggest concern. If I was trying to do it on the cheap, the 2.26GHz would be the best option but with some wiggle room in price, go for the refurb 15". You'll appreciate the extra processing power and graphics, I'm sure.
     
  21. YoeriS thread starter macrumors member

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    #21
    Refurb is not available in my country I'm afraid.
    And when you say 15" do you also think that the 9600M is a real surplus?

    Because the difference is 200€ (300$) (15" 9400 OR 9600).

    I'm also awaiting a proposal of a retail store on discount, because the total amount of purchase exceeds 3800 EUR (5600$). In the proposal I've put a 17" MBP so if the price is at the same height of a 15" than I won't have to think twice. I think atleast, because holding a 17" on your lap is not always pleasant if you don't need the space at that time atleast...

    If I didn't had the 24" ACD then it would be a no-brainer, but if a 15" (or a 13" for that matter) can extend my workspace without any hickups to the 24" then I really dont see any purpose for a 17" (except for bragging rights lol)

    Talking about it doesn't make it easier so it seems :p
     
  22. mattyb240 macrumors 6502a

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    May 11, 2008
    #22
    Simple. 3D rendering = dedicated graphics card.

    So 15" or 17", being as you have an external display resolution wont be a massive factor unless you plan on maximising dual screen capabilities.

    Size, what are you comfortable carrying/using? Will space be an issue? I think the high end 15" would be the best compromise.
     
  23. Andy348 macrumors 6502

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    #23
    Hooking it up to a 24" will eat some of that 256MB right off the bat, then more when you start getting up into GPU-intensive things. If you've got two 256MB chips (which I believe the 15" 2.66 does have), it'll make things easier. But don''t take my word for it, I'd ask someone on this forum that owns one to see.

    And I'd forget about the 17" if you want portability.

    It never does :)
     
  24. YoeriS thread starter macrumors member

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    Belgium
    #24
    Carrying isn't really an issue, this is limited from house to car, car to office, ...
    A 17" might be too big (we're narrowing it down :D) for lap use, because I felt more comfortable with my previous 15"MBP than my current Dell 16" (it might be just the Dell too :D).

    So you're recommending the 2.8GHz 15" MBP being 2149 Euro (+ aftermarket SSD 2500 Euro) because of the extra processing power and GPU instead of the middle-end?

    Do you guys also think that the (decent aftermarket) SSD is a must-do upgrade and that OSX can benefits from it?

    Also kudos to everyone that replied in this topic, it's a great help.

    The 2.66 has 256MB dedicated, do you mean 512MB in total (dedicated and a piece of RAM reserved?).
     
  25. Andy348 macrumors 6502

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    #25
    I don't have any first hand experiences with an SSD drive but I know they speed up boot times quite significantly and improve your overall performance greatly.

    And don't worry, you're looking to spend 2K euros on a Mac... its a good problem to have! :)

    :apple:
     

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