MBP 13" vs MBP 15" for a programmer

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by RandomMacBob, Sep 28, 2010.

  1. RandomMacBob macrumors newbie

    Sep 28, 2010
    First let me explain my situation. I currently have a 2.5 year old desktop and a 10” netbook

    (Q6600, 2Gb RAM, 250 GB HDD, 8800 GTS) + 22” monitor.

    (Atom 1.6, 2 GB Ram, 160 GB HDD)

    I have been really happy with my desktop pc. Always felt that it was quick and still think so. However the situation is that I study Computer Science and I am growing very tired of having two computers. I never attend exercises because I feel like I have to complete them at the set. If I don’t I have to go through the cumbersome procedure of having to zip things and then send to mail or use USB stick. This is not ideal for me. I am too lazy for that.
    I would call myself a “Superuser”. I spend all my time in front of my computer running demanding applications like visual studio 2010 while my browser is opened with lots of youtube tabs.

    My first thought was too get the best MacBook Pro there was. 15” i7 core model with antiglare screen. But this model really costs a lot of money. Not too sure I want to spend that much money when I can get a PC laptop for third a price with same specs. So instead I looked at the cheap 13” 2.4 Gzh model. Its price level is more realistic for me. I would upgrade it to a 500 GB 7200 RPM HD.

    However I am not unsure if I am setting my standards too low. My logic says that since I use so much time in front of a computer I should invest in the expensive one but my stomach feeling says I should get the cheap model as it is almost half price compared to the 15” model. If it gets too slow after some years I can just buy a new one.

    What is your input on this?
    Will a MacBook Pro 13” be fine for me or what or should I really get the 15” model? My concern is primarily performance but also the screen size when I am using it outside my home.
    I already have a 22” monitor so I can connect it to that when I am home.

    It is really hard to know how fast it is when you can’t compare it to your own setup. I have generally seen PC laptops with super specs which still performed slow compared to my desktop pc that’s why I am a bit hesitant getting the cheap MBP.
  2. mulo macrumors 68020


    Aug 22, 2010
    Behind you
    have you checked if the apps you need to use are available for mac?
  3. RandomMacBob thread starter macrumors newbie

    Sep 28, 2010
    I know that I can't run VS2010 in OSX. I will probably have another partition to Win7 just for that.
    But otherwise I think there are alternative applications to Mac that are probably better than what you find on Windows.
  4. dscuber9000 macrumors 6502a

    Sep 16, 2007
    Indiana, US
    I know that when I am working in Xcode and especially Interface Builder, I wish I had a little more screen space since there are so many different windows I need open at once. I'm not sure how Visual Studio 2010 is, but if it is similar, then I would definitely try to go for the 15" MBP.
  5. Rodimus Prime macrumors G4

    Rodimus Prime

    Oct 9, 2006
    And in doing so you will have largely the same issues you are having now having to move files between each OS. Windows 7 has to be on an NTFS partition.

    As for software best idea to use what the school uses so that is windows for software like VS. In your other classes you will want to use the same IDE as the other students as it makes it easier to work with others. That again means windows.

    As for coding I will I am in CS right now and I will say make sure you have a 2nd monitor to hook up to what ever laptop you have for when you are home. It makes life a lot easier.
  6. stefan1975 macrumors 6502a

    Apr 15, 2010
    the 15" is so much better for programming, webdesign, photoediting, etc. not only does it have an i5 with HT, it also has an option for the awesome AG screen. the extra 2" are fine, but what makes it great is the 1680x1050 resolution over the tiny 1200x800 of the 13. that with the mirror screen and the c2d make it a joke for any kind of professional in my opinion.
  7. milbournosphere macrumors 6502a


    Mar 3, 2009
    San Diego, CA
    Two words: screen real estate. I would recommend the 15"i5 with the antiglare screen if you can afford it. That screen is beautiful. One of my friends does web development and the extra pixels come in handy for him, just as it does for me when i code on my 17" beast.
  8. ryannazaretian macrumors 6502a


    Sep 21, 2008

    (Assuming you're planning to run Bootcamp.)

    At first, you'll miss the Delete key and you'll hate the trackpad, but later on, the Delete key won't be much of an issue, Fn+"delete" performs the delete function.

    The trackpad... well after 2 years, I still hate to use it in Windows. Carry a mouse.
  9. Eddyisgreat macrumors 601

    Oct 24, 2007
    A joke for who? "Graphic Designers" (I use that term loosely because everyone I know these days is a graphic designer or photographer lol). I know many students as well as professional devs in the industry who use the macbook pro (13, 15 and 17) on gloss.
  10. stefan1975 macrumors 6502a

    Apr 15, 2010
    i didnt mean *just* the gloss, i meant the combo of 13", 1200x800, c2d, glossy screen isn't sufficient for professional work, other then being portable.
  11. Blu101 macrumors 6502a


    Sep 10, 2010
    How many words? :confused:

  12. AdamRock macrumors 6502a


    Aug 30, 2010
    im also a dev (mainly use the my mac for iphone dev app)

    and i use the 17" i7, frsnkley i only got this model because i WANTED (not needed) the space to have a few windows open to code and such,

    the 15" i5/i7 could suffice and i recommend it, but if you really want to get a good powerful spaced comp get the 17" i5

    also get a refurb and save like 500$
  13. RandomMacBob thread starter macrumors newbie

    Sep 28, 2010
    Thanks for all the replies!

    I plan on connecting it to my 22" 1600*1050 monitor everytime I get home. Therefor I am alot more concerned with the performance of MBP13 vs MBP15(i5 or i7). I THINK that 13" is okay aslong as it will only be on my school that I dont have it connected to my monitor.
  14. willieva macrumors 6502

    Mar 12, 2010
    I develop software for a living, and the 13" is fast enough to be a development box. The screen is way too small, however. My 13" is connected to a 24" monitor and that is fine, but trying to get anything done on just the laptop is frustrating to say the least. You'll be fine connecting it to a 22" screen. Using the laptop as a supplemental screen will definitely give you enough real estate.
  15. chrono1081 macrumors 604


    Jan 26, 2008
    Isla Nublar
    I would say if portability is important, go with the 13 inch, its a great size but I would recommend doing most of the work on the monitor.

    When I have to program with DirectX I boot into windows but that is only for school. Normally I just use XCode or Netbeans in Mac.

    Not to mention, if you ever get into iPhone programming you will have all the tools you need in the box.
  16. C64 macrumors 65816


    Sep 3, 2008
    I've been programming daily on a 13" MacBook for 4 years, and I love it.
  17. 73CortinaV8 macrumors 6502

    Sep 4, 2006
    Palo Alto, CA
    I tried the IntelliJ IDE on the 13" mbp, the 15" default display and the 15" hi-res display.

    The 15" hi-res was great, the 13" was unacceptable. Little point in getting the the 15" default display.
  18. milbournosphere macrumors 6502a


    Mar 3, 2009
    San Diego, CA
    Sorry, long day :(
  19. aratio macrumors member

    Feb 26, 2009
    I have a MacBook white 13.3" core 2 duo, 4Gb RAM and right now it is running three virtual machines: one with visual studio 2008; the other one with a test domain controller and the other one with my app test machine.... everything is running flawless and I am happy with it.

    To work at home I use it as is and at work I connect it to an external 22" monitor; so I would not say that it is a joke for me.

    To the OP: I'd go for the MacBook Pro 13.3"... it is smaller (that's very good to carry it wherever you go), has a better battery life and the higher performance of i5 and i7 is not worth it to the far higher price.

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