Need help choosing which model.

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by tobygw, Apr 10, 2011.

  1. tobygw macrumors newbie

    Mar 5, 2011
    Ottawa, Ontario
    So I've changed my mind about a million times about which Macbook I've wanted about a million times so I'm coming to ask of your recommendations to what I should get. Here's some info on my situation.

    I'm going to university in about a year and a half, and between now and then and then I'll be using this as my main computer and probably bringing it back and forth to school occasionally. I will then probably use it in university as the computer I bring to class. So I'm looking at either a 13 or 15 inch model for portability.

    Price is flexible, but definitely the less expensive the better.

    The most cpu intensive things I'm going to be doing is some moderate video editing and livestreaming some stuff. I will be doing some slight gaming but nothing too heavy or new, just some simple stuff like TF2, Starcraft 2 and Minecraft.

    I've been considering the 13 inch air as an option, but I'm not sure if it would be able to handle the more intensive stuff. I would wait for the upcoming refresh, but that will also sadly add the crappier integrated graphics. Do you think that once the refresh comes that it could handle that stuff? I do really like the slimness of the air though.

    I've been considering the high end 13 inch pro, but some things have turned me off such as the integrated graphics and the low res screen. I enjoy the power and portability of this model.

    I've been looking at the lower end 15 inch. It's 300 dollars more but adds a quad core processor, a larger screen, and a better graphics card. All of these I would enjoy more.

    I don't think that I would need the added graphics power of the high end 15 inch.

    So basically what I'm asking is which of these do you think I should get? Do you think that the 13 inch air or pro could do what I want it to do? Do you think that I should get the 15 inch instead and spend more? Or do you think for what I need it wouldn't be worth it?

    Sorry for the longish post. Thanks for your help!
  2. alust2013 macrumors 601


    Feb 6, 2010
    On the fence
    I wouldn't get the air, at least not before a refresh, just due to the old processors. They are about 3 years old now, which isn't so good in such an expensive machine. The intel graphics are pretty comparable to the 320m, and often are even better in OS X, so no worries there. I'd say either the 13" Air after a refresh or the 15" base.
  3. kobyh15 macrumors 6502a

    Jan 29, 2011
    This is my first post on my high-end 2011 13". So you can probably guess which one I'm going to vote for..haha. But seriously, I was scared of the screen resolution as well but I have to say that it is just fine. I'm coming from a 15" 1900 x 1200 Dell Latitude so it's a big change. It's nice being able to read stuff comfortably for a change though. As far as the machine goes, I've been using it all day without any hiccups at all. Very responsive and it just feels nice to work on. I am a student so a good portability/power balance was needed. The integrated graphics have been ripped for no real reason I believe. I'm not a gamer, so I actually prefer the integrated graphics solution for better battery life. Animations are smooth and youtube video playback has been flawless. I think that if you are on the fence about the 13" MBP, you should definitely go for it. Very glad I did. It has really been a dream to use so far.
  4. euphoria47 macrumors member

    Feb 16, 2006
    I'd personally recommend the 15", whichever one you want. If you want to save money, the base model is fine. If you are going to be going to school in 18 months, remember, what you buy today will be old hat by then. If you REALLY believe that the next year and a half will not introduce some high processing need, I'd recommend waiting until you actually need your computer, then start to check out the refurb section on apple's website. You can get some slight discounts on current models, deals on "previous" models and you can get a steal on 2-refreshes-ago machines, though you don't always find those.
  5. Michael383 macrumors 6502a

    Mar 17, 2011
    Since your a year and a half out of university I'd go for the high end 13" MBP. It's got the power you can use now and would save you some money. Sell it and get a better one when you go to university.
  6. RockPortTech macrumors regular

    Mar 10, 2011
    South Texas
    I have a spanking new 13 inch macbook pro and I can tell you with all honesty this is the one to get.

    Like you I was on the fence as to the Air or the Pro, heck I even looked real hard at the white macbook, but the 13 inch's screen is fantastic. The pro has more ports than you can shake a stick at and furthermore it is fully upgradeable by the user, which the Air is not (apart from the expensive SSD).

    Go down to a store where they have them side by side and put your hands on them. After all, specs aren't everything, you will have to live with it on a day to day basis.

    Personally I really wanted the 11 inch Air, before I thought long and hard at what precisely I will be using my laptop for, and in the end, the Pro, with all it's connectivity ports, upgrade options as well as new i5 processors won my PowerUser's heart lock, stock & barrel.

    This is my first mac of any kind, and boy I can tell you that this thing screams in the power dept. I bought the base 13 inch model, i5 proc-4gigs ram-320gig hard drive.

    I have recently installed iWork '09, Aperture and MS Office, like yourself I do a little bit of everything, but if ANY of your activities involve a strong processor, then the Pro is right up your alley.

    Out the door at BestBuy, it was $1300 in Texas. Best of luck with your choice, regardless if it's a mac, then you DO get what you pay for.

  7. aznguyen316 macrumors 68020


    Oct 1, 2008
    Tampa, FL
    If you can afford at least the base 15" then go for it. Sounds like you would have regrets otherwise. If you cannot absolutely afford it, the i5/i7 13" will be fine. The HD3000 is suitable for SC2 and Minecraft. I've tested the i7 on SC2 and it runs great on mediums. The base 15" will only run it better.
    Think about how much the 15" screen @1440x900 means to you. It pretty much comes down to that as the 6490 is decent but I wouldn't pay $300 just to go from HD3000 to the 6490. And since you won't be using the quad core to it's fullest potential according to your listed uses so the i5/i7 should be enough.
  8. tobygw thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 5, 2011
    Ottawa, Ontario
    Unless the new air gets an increase to be able to hold 8GB, I don't think it would be good for me.
  9. NickZac macrumors 68000


    Dec 11, 2010
    Something I am finding that may have relevance....I stream music videos live all day and on my previous MBP it would use about 10-25% of the CPU continuously and get hot (200+). My new one only runs between 1-5% (usually 2%) for the exact same videos and stays a lot cooler because of this. I've been livestreaming HD vids for the last 2 hours, while using Word, Excel, SAS, iTunes, Mozilla, and email, and my CPU is about 145 degrees. When pushed the newer ones get hot but it seems to take much more intensive work to heat em up.
  10. FOX160 macrumors regular

    Mar 2, 2011
    If you dont need the secondary graphics card then do what I did
    buy the basic 13inch i5 keeping it portable and buy a 23 inch monitor
    to hook up upon your return.
  11. anonymouse99, Apr 11, 2011
    Last edited: Apr 11, 2011

    anonymouse99 macrumors regular

    Mar 29, 2011
    If I were in your shoes, I would focus on my academic needs before anything else.

    Are you studying stuff that would require extensive processing power or video/audio/photo/CAD/CAM? If the answer is yes, then I'd go for a 15" quad core base or higher.

    If your needing a laptop for word processing, checking email, internet (streaming, etc. etc) and homework, I'd suggest a $999 Macbook Pro from microcenter (2011 13" i5 - will take 8GB RAM). You get tremendous portability at 3lbs for which you'd be thankful :D ;)

    I personally would not do excessive gaming or play movies on my school computer - a $100 Sony portable DVD player would be great for movies, etc. Why overuse a computer for that - also consider getting a decent, cheap desktop for gaming.

    Of course, purely my opinion, my $0.02 :D
  12. smartalic34 macrumors 6502a


    May 16, 2006
    I vote for the 13" MacBook Pro. I currently have a 15" MBP from 2006, and after going through college with it, I wish I had a 13" machine. However, at the time, there was only the 13" plastic MacBook, so I went with the smallest Pro available (15"). Now, however, if I upgrade, it would be to a 13" Pro.

    As for your concerns, I believe they are unfounded. Yes, the resolution could be an issue, but it is outweighed by portability. You will NOT have an issue graphics-wise with the Intel integrated graphics. My 2006 MBP has an ATI Mobility Radeon X1600, and I have no issues playing TF2. The integrated graphics card of the 13" Pro is better than the X1600, so no worries. Plus, this Intel graphics card is leaps and bounds above and beyond what you might previously have thought of when you think "integrated graphics."

    The only thing you really lose out on by going 13" Pro is the screen size compared to the 15". However, you most likely won't be doing anything processor- or graphics-intensive enough to notice the better processor and graphics in the 15".

Share This Page