Need help choosing MacBook Pro for College

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by darkrum, Jul 21, 2015.

  1. darkrum macrumors newbie

    Jul 21, 2015
    I've had my Macbook Pro (15 inch, 2.66 GHz, Intel Core i7, 500 GB SATA Disk) for 5 years now and thinking about buying an updated version before school starts in the fall. I am looking at two models:

    13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display
    3.1GHz Dual-core Intel Core i7, Turbo Boost up to 3.4GHz (updated +200)
    8GB 1866MHz LPDDR3 SDRAM
    512GB PCIe-based Flash Storage


    15-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display
    2.2GHz Quad-core Intel Core i7, Turbo Boost up to 3.4GHz
    16GB 1600MHz DDR3L SDRAM
    256GB PCIe-based Flash Storage

    (Both models are the same price)

    I'd be using this computer for school, so I'd like the fastest MP Pro out of these two models. I'm not familiar with what GHz are or any of that stuff (cause I'm a girl) so if anyone can help me understand the true differences between these computers, i'll love you.

  2. tparfitt, Jul 21, 2015
    Last edited: Jul 21, 2015

    tparfitt macrumors newbie

    Dec 7, 2014
    Ultimately depends on what you are using your MBP for day to day. With the 15 you loose some portability but gain screen real estate. Also you have the added power of quad core. But obviously if you don't need the that power, the 13 may be better suited. I really don't think there is any point upgrading the CPU of the 13, might as well get a 15.
  3. efib macrumors member

    Apr 8, 2012
    Depends on the use but I think that you will find the 16gb ram more useful and it's a quad core sv a dual core plus the bigger screen but the latter isn't really a pro nor con since it's really subjective. Anyway since these have the same price, I would choose the 15" !
  4. T5BRICK macrumors G3


    Aug 3, 2006
    The 13" model is more portable, the 15" model is faster. Which is more important to you?

    If you do go with the 13" model, don't waste your money on the CPU upgrade. The 10% increase in price for the i7 gives you a 3-4% increase in performance.
  5. Queen6 macrumors 603


    Dec 11, 2008
    Putting out the fire with gasoline...
    13" drop the i7 CPU, as it`s unlikely to bring any real world value

  6. snaky69 macrumors 603

    Mar 14, 2008
    If you do go the 13" route don't bother upgrading the CPU, it's a waste of money for very little gain.

    GHz means clock speed, as in, the number of operation each core is able to perform in 1 second. 3.1 GHz means the CPU is able to perform 3 100 000 000 operations per second, per core.

    The 15" uses a quad-core, meaning it has 4 processor cores running at 2.2GHz, while the 13" has a dual core, which means it only has 2 cores running at 3.1GHz (in the example you provided).

    What do you use a computer for? On paper the 15" will run circles around the 13" because it has twice as many cores, but in real world use, depending on what you do, you may or may not notice a difference.
  7. Joe Rossignol Editor

    Joe Rossignol

    Staff Member

    May 12, 2012
    As someone who used a 15" Retina MBP throughout college, I wish I had the portability of a 13" Retina MBP.

    I say get the 13. Both my parents have that notebook and it's absolutely great.
  8. Falcon9 macrumors regular


    Jun 17, 2015
    Eastern Canada
    I'd say go with the 13". Not only is it more portable but you gain an extra hour of battery life. IMO upgrading the CPU on the 13" is not worth the cost increase.
  9. Cuniac macrumors 6502a

    Jan 23, 2013
    If you are looking for the fastest of those two model the 15in will be the winner. Its processor will be twice as fast as the 13in and it will even have slightly faster graphics. To try to put some number behind this your current MBP has a processor score of 4579. That 13in you listed has a score of 7366, and lastly that 15in you posted has a score of 12977. The graphics on 13in would be 213% faster and the 15in would be about 234% faster.

    The only concern is that you will be going from a 500GB to 256GB with the 15in. So if you have less than 220GB on your current laptop that might be a problem. Don't forget Apple and some other places offer a student discount, so you may be able to save some money to bump it up to 512GB model for the 15in, This would give you as faster processor, faster graphics and more hard drive space. for that 15in It would be $300 more just to bump it to 512GB, and $500 more to get the 512gb with faster processor and faster graphics model.

    If you cant afford that as it is a lot of money at least check how much free space you have left, if its below 220GB free 256GB may not be enough space. That 13in would still be a faster computer than your current one, its just the 15in is even faster.
  10. MushroomMan macrumors member


    May 31, 2015
    Go with the 15 if you want:
    • Speed & performance (4 cores)
    • Screen real-estate
    • A laptop that will be last longer (performance wise)

    Go with the 13 if you want:
    • a 15" but want a lighter weight to carry.
    Otherwise, I would very strongly suggest getting a spec'd up 13" Air. If the extra screen size of the 15" isn't of value, but you want great portability then you can't beat the Air. The quality of the screen is the only thing that lets the Air down - but that is part of the "portability".
  11. Rusty33 macrumors 6502


    Jul 8, 2011
    Why exactly are you looking to buy a new computer? Is your old MBP no longer up to the task? Do you find that the screen is too big? Is it too heavy?

    What exactly has drawn you to these two computers? You should let this guide your decision...
  12. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    Unless I missed it, I don't think the OP stated the usage, other then its for school.

    What apps will you be running, will you be running windows as well?

    The 13" brings you more portability, the 15" brings you better performance and increased screen real estate.
  13. Mr. Retrofire macrumors 601

    Mr. Retrofire

    Mar 2, 2010
    No, that is wrong. Many instructions ("operations") need only 0.3 cycles, which means the 3.1 GHz processor can execute
    3.33 x instructions per second and core. It is usually much less, because the RAM and CPU caches (L3, L2) are much slower than the CPU. Modern processors support SIMD which can increase the performance up to 16x (SSE2 and higher, AVX and higher). The GHz mean nothing, if you use modern applications, operating systems and multithreaded software.

    Sites like show the real performance of the CPU. For example:[]=2399&cmp[]=2502
  14. JHUFrank macrumors 6502a


    Apr 16, 2010
    I am totally baffled why you just don't go try them out at a retailer that is close by. I went and literally spent hours trying out both models, plus the newer model MBA. For 99% of my work (I am an IT guy), I dont even notice the difference in processor speeds. Really the only time I notice processor speed is when I am ripping/encoding movies.
    However, something I did notice coming from an 2010 MBA was how heavy and large the 15 was. For me, the 13 was a great compromise. Good battery life, incredible display, easy to haul up and down ladders, and can run multiple VMs without issue.

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