Need advice: Switching to rMBP after 15 years of PC

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by dillytheturtle, Sep 11, 2016.


Which Macbook Pro should I buy: 13" or 15"

  1. 13"

  2. 15"

  1. dillytheturtle macrumors newbie

    Sep 11, 2016

    So I have been religiously searching and reading a plethora of reddit subforums for the last two+ months. There is much conflicting, but also confirming information which has made my choice even harder. I have been a windows/PC user for my entire life. After 15 years, I have become fed up with the constant glitches, crashes, and random updating of the system or drivers, that many times regress the user experience. The battery life is usually non-existent after 2 years, the eventual slowdown of the system, and the hardware destruction further adds to the limitation of these computers. I have mainly used HP laptops (Intel Gen 5 processors/6 Gb RAM minimum) and have played around with a Dell and a Lenovo laptop. Each company has their ups and downs; but I try to take care of these expensive devices like they're my baby regardless of my loyalty to the company. Currently, I am waiting for the new Macbook Pro to be released that I will be buying that; I have been using iphones since 3gs and the IOS software simplicity is inspiring. I wish to carry that over to the Macbook Pro. However, I need some advice regarding a few things and I thought the best way was to ask the people who use these products regularly.

    1. I know a quad core is more powerful in overall multi-tasking and handling heavy loads of usage. But many reddit users have been fine with a dual core. I am simply going to be using the rMBP for browsing the internet, downloading/watching movies and songs, lots of Youtube, social media, and mainly graduate school (biological sciences/taking and annotating notes/powerpoint, NOT programming/gaming/anything computer science/coding related). I may occasionally make mixes using Audacity or Acid Pro. This brings me to the question that's been on reddit but with varying answers (please, do not state it is up to me as I came on reddit in order to ask for advice. In the end yes, the decision will be up to me): Should I go with a 15" rMBP with a quad core or a 13" with a dual core? I would definitely like the 15" bigger screen but I believe the extra 8gb of RAM would be a waste of extra $500 for the tasks I require. The 13" does have a slightly more portable advantage but this would not make much of a difference to me in terms of weight. Also, for note taking notes, does 13" vs 15" really make much of a difference in terms of ease of usage or taking of physical space? To make matters even more complex, I plan on keeping the Macbook Pro for the next 4-5 years. If I get the 13" with a 8gb, would the RAM seem outdated in a few years since we can no longer upgrade Macbooks? Technology always advances!

    2. Would someone be able to explain the difference between a higher CPU speed in a dual core (13") vs the lower CPU speed in a quad core (15") as it pertains to the Macbook Pros? In your opinion, is it better to have a higher clock speed with lower cores or a lower clockspeed with higher cores?

    3. Any other advice you guys recommend for switching to a Mac from a PC after 15 years?

  2. grahamperrin macrumors 601


    Jun 8, 2007
    Given your belief that 8 GB will be enough for current tasks, I believe that it will be enough five years from now.

    If you anticipate becoming a power user (many more heavyweight tasks) then consider the greater amount of memory, but don't rush to that decision. If you choose an SSD for storage then that will probably provide more than acceptable performance for swap.

    Also FYI (as you have done your homework, you're probably aware of that).
  3. Superspeed500 macrumors regular


    Jul 25, 2013
    I have a 2010 MacBook Pro with a 15" screen and that worked perefectly fine for me (I used a 8.9" netbook before that 0_o). Having the extra screen space helps when you are comparing two documents for example. The only drawbacks of a 15" screen is the price and the fact that it takes up more space on your desk. 8 GB is fine for most day to day stuff, but having 8 GB more is very useful if you plan to do many heavy tasks at the same time. Also having a harddrive as large as your wallet allows may be beneficial if you have a lot of data.
  4. wegster macrumors 6502

    Nov 1, 2006
    1. How is your eyesight?
    2. Once you're graduated, do you expect your needs to change?
    3. Do you do any photography (DSLR/RAW images, not jpegs from phones) or video, or expect to?
    4. Do you plan on traveling much, e.g. needing to use the laptop on a plane, train, .. ?

    I was a developer for 15+ years and now work in product, but often have multiple VMs running, do photography, and still code occasionally. Having said that, the 13" rMBP is a pretty sweet package, and you can alter it to be more high resolution/more text/space on screen if it's needed. For the tasks you've listed, the 13" dual-core (don't worry about i5 vs i7 - you can get a 13" with a (dual-core) i7, but the performance gain is relatively minimal for a chunk of $) is more than sufficient.

    The performance difference between dual-core and quad-core, regardless of i5 vs more. Note the 'lower' speeds aren't really direct comparisons, as both can 'turbo boost' higher (see below), and CPU cache and other things also impact performance more than simply the GHz rating. You can compare them directly here:

    For your described usage, the differences are likely meaningless. When quad-core benefits come in is in many open apps or those doing heavy computations.

    You can always add an external display to either model, but should consider how much vertical space you need (e.g. lots of text or diagrams) for the difference in the 13" vs 15" screens, or if 'scaling' the 13" screen to be e.g. 1680x1050 or 1440x900 vs the retina (doubled) effective resolution of 1280x800 is required for your expected use, and if so, if your (corrected or not) eyesight will work. Might be worth a trip to an Apple store to check out the 'scaled' resolutions in person if you think this may be an issue for you.

    Now, on the RAM...5 a while. Applications resource requirements and file sizes grow over time, sometimes significantly. There should be options over time to replace the SSD/storage with larger if need be, but if really trying for ~5 years, I might consider going with 16GB out of the box.
  5. Bending Pixels macrumors 65816

    Jul 22, 2010
    Welcome to the Dark Side.... ;)

    There are some that complain about the weight of a 15" vs. 13". Keep in mind that a 15" is only 1 pound more than the 13".
  6. jerryk macrumors 601

    Nov 3, 2011
    SF Bay Area
    I faced a similar decision when getting my rMBP this summer. Because I wanted to do development and lightroom I went with the 15" and am happy I did. Having the i7 quad core make the unit faster than my i5 dual core mbp. Also, I like having 16 GB of memory because I still run Windows 10 in Parallels. I got the dGPU model that came with 512 GB SSD.
  7. dillytheturtle thread starter macrumors newbie

    Sep 11, 2016

    Thank you for the reply!
    1. My eyesight is decent. I do have contacts and the prescription is -1.5 and -1.75 so not too bad
    2. Well I hope to attend medical school next year so the next four to five years will be spent mostly for notes, medical documents/pdfs/powerpoints, educational videos, and comparing/opening side by side. Yeah, I would be reading a lot of text/diagrams.
    3. I am not a heavy gamer, not video/photo editor. I do however (occasionally) make mixes online as I am a dancer and captain of various dance teams. Also, down the road I may plan on partitioning my drive to run Windows!
    4. The weight of the laptop does not matter to me as I've been carrying HP laptops that have bulging batteries popping out of their chassis to school for the past couple of years.

    I will definitely check out the scale resolution next time I visit Best Buy or Apple Store.
    --- Post Merged, Sep 11, 2016 ---
    I don't anticipate being a heavy power user; however, I may want to partition the drive to run Windows in a few years. Ever since I began college, I never owned a tv and probably will not own one until I graduate professional school (hopefully medical school/4 years to go) so much of the sports viewing/Netflix/HBO/YouTube will be done on the laptop. I am leaning toward the 15" esp for the reason described above as well as side to side comparison of diagrams, notes and powerpoints.
  8. unagimiyagi macrumors 6502a

    Jun 9, 2009
    I would take the time and read an article on how to switch, meaning windows control == apple's command key, etc. Then I would take the time to master say, 10 shortcut keys. Basically, take a tutorial and take it to heart.

    This will make you a mac user for at least another 15 years. It's really hard to go back.
  9. Samuelsan2001 macrumors 604

    Oct 24, 2013
    If it's going to be your only screen I'd go with the 15 inch as well. However a 13 inch is much more portable easier to use in class, while commuting, on a plane even in a coffee shop. It seems like performance wise it's going to make no difference to you, so choose on portability and screen size.
  10. fatalogic macrumors regular


    Aug 16, 2016
    To be honest it doesn't really sound like you need the performance of a MBP but I'd get the lowest spec 15 just for a larger screen for reading. When it comes to switching again you probably won't notice much of a difference. I switch back and forth between the two as I have a gaming PC and a MBP for software development. If you're just reading documents, watching videos and web browsing just remember the window controls are on the top left and not the top right. Both OS are great IMO but they both have their own quirks.
  11. GZR macrumors regular

    Dec 17, 2011
    I was pondering the same question, couldn't decide and ordered both 13 and 15 rMBPs last week. The 15 arrived a couple of days earlier than the 13 and I got used to it really quickly, when the 13 arrived and I tried it I found that it feels very lacking for reading/productivity compared to the 15 so I will return the 13 for a refund. Although the difference in diagonal screen size is only 2.1" the 15" actually has a 34% bigger screen area, this is very significant.The extra size makes viewing documents side by side comfortable unlike the 13". A floating video can be played at a decent size while having plenty of space for work too. Honestly the two machines are night and day in terms of experience.

    The advantages of the 13" are the weight/size/portabiity and the much longer battery life. Although the difference is stated as 9hrs vs 10hrs according to apple I find it to be closer to 7hrs for the 15" and the 13" makes the quoted 10hrs. As for the size issue, I will need to buy a larger backpack but it is a small price to pay.

    I'm throwing my vote in for the 15".
  12. TechZeke macrumors 68020


    Jul 29, 2012
    Rialto, CA
    I bought my 15" over the 13" simply because of the larger screen.
  13. Davefevs macrumors regular


    Dec 14, 2015
    Bristol, UK
    Hi. I'm also a Windows PC user, never had a Mac, but have found myself drifting towards a MacBook Pro. Just set up my own business so the business will be buying it, and therefore can spend a bit more than if coming out of my own pocket. Hence why I'm even entertaining Apple!

    I have been a fairly long term Iphone and Ipad user (current 5s, and iPad Pro), and seem sucked into the collaboration, but also my old desktop and laptop have become so sluggish.

    When I bought my iPad Pro, I thought I'd buy a Surface Pro 4, but upon having a play in local PC World, hated it. Bought the Pro instead and I love it. The only thing missing is keyboard and mouse (trackpad). I know I can get a keyboard but the lack of mouse on iOS is my reason for wanting something else. Had another play this weekend trying to choose between SP4 and rMBP 13" and still hated it. The rMBP is £1199 (less 10% cash back).

    My other option is IMac 21.5 (with fusion drive - £1279 less 6% cash back).

    I'm mixed between portability of rMBP and lovely screen / additional storage of IMac.

    Anyone been through a similar dilemma? I'm not really a game player, Football Manager and Links Golf historically. Do a fair bit of stuff in Excel, and the usual email, web browsing, video watching. I store stuff in both iCloud and One Drive (1TB Home User), mainly photos.

    Might sound like an extravagant purchase, so all thoughts welcome.

    Apologies for hijacking OP!
  14. grahamperrin macrumors 601


    Jun 8, 2007
    Portability wins. YMMV.

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