New MBP: 13" 2.7 GHz or 15" 2.0 GHz?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by glasserp, Jun 8, 2011.

  1. glasserp macrumors regular

    Apr 4, 2008
    Detroit, MI
    I currently have a 2006 13" 2 GHz Core Duo BlackBook with 100 GB HDD. I bought this baby back in '06 and she'll be 5 years old at the end of this month. I've graduated now and starting grad school in August. It's definitely time to upgrade. After all, I would like to use Lion and other technologies such as 802.11n, etc.

    I don't edit video, record music, etc., so I don't think I'll need a computer with a GPU, but I guess it could be handy at times and with the new Safari 5.1 taking advantage of it.

    That being said I'm trying to decide between the 13" 2.7 GHz or the 15" 2.0 GHz MacBook Pro. If I got the 13" I think I might upgrade the RAM to 8 GB (only +$180).

    If I went all out and got the 15" 2.0 GHz I think I might upgrade the screen to the hi-res anti-glare. Is the hi-res anti-glare worth it?

    With either model I would like to upgrade to an SSD, probably the Vertex 3 if this is still recommended.

    Anyone have any suggestions?
  2. Resist macrumors 68030

    Jan 15, 2008
    I like the 13" form factor. Not a fan of the anti-glare because the screen is plastic and you can scratch it more easily than the glossy glass covered screen. Also, because the boarder is silver it detracts from the screen image. A black boarder is so much easier on the eyes.
  3. wtzouris macrumors newbie

    Feb 7, 2008
    If this is your only computer and you keep them about 4-5 years, definitely go for the 15" with antiglare screen, you won't regret that purchase. Glossy screens are pretty much horrible except for the fact that they clean pretty easily and are durable. Make sure you get at least an i5 processor and consider upgrading the ram yourself using a third party vendor like RamJet. A 15" MBP with an i7 processor and an SSD hard drive (you can get one from Other World Computing -- 240 GB for $459, plus you can keep the original hard drive as a backup.

    Good luck
  4. wtzouris macrumors newbie

    Feb 7, 2008
    Just saw what you were talking about 2.0 GHz QUAD core on the 15" vs. 2.7 GHz dual core on the 13", both are 1333 MHz buss and i7 processors so really the machines will feel about the same, forget the "Processor" speed. However if you use software that is optimized to utilize the quad cores the 15" MBP will blow the 13" MBP out of the water. Not sure how many people use that kind of software i.e. , Final Cut Pro, Photoshop, etc.
  5. glasserp thread starter macrumors regular

    Apr 4, 2008
    Detroit, MI
    Yes that's correct. Both are i7s, but the 13" is dual-core while the 15" is quad-core. I won't be using any of editing software, so I don't think it will be worth getting the 15". Really I guess it would be nice if I could get a higher res, anti-glare screen on the 13" model, but I guess that's where they get ya.

    It will be my only computer for at least the next 3-4 years, so I definitely want to get something that I want. That SSD you linked to looks like something I would get.
  6. 42streetsdown macrumors 6502a


    Feb 12, 2011
    Gallifrey, 5124
    the dedicated graphics is nice if you want to play some games. also the ATI card supports OpenCL which is nice. but you don't seem to be much of a power user, so i think unless you want the bigger screen the 13 inch would be cheeper.
  7. glasserp thread starter macrumors regular

    Apr 4, 2008
    Detroit, MI
    Haha, yeah I guess I'm not much of a power user, but I've been using Macs since Panther so I definitely know the ins and outs of OS X. I guess at this point I am leaning towards the 13". Is the whole swapping out of the optical drive for an SSD/HDD combo relatively easy or even possible with a 13"?
  8. SPBMacintosh macrumors newbie

    Jun 7, 2011
    seeing as your not doing much that would need the quad, go with the 13 and, as you're plannning, boost the ram in it and then if the time ever comes where you want a bigger screen, just buy an external monitor and minidisplayport-dvi or vga adapter to use it as a desktop. [​IMG] Everyone seems to prefer the antiglare screen apart from me?! haha i like the glossy. As for swapping the hard drives, it's literally plug and play, just search youtube and you'll find a guide in minutes
  9. MythicFrost macrumors 68040


    Mar 11, 2009
    I'd go with the 15". Keep in mind the 15"'s CPU will also turbo boost higher than 2GHz when all cores aren't in use. Up to 3.3 or 3.4GHz, IIRC. It also has better graphics, I recommend getting the 6750 if possible if you plan on doing any gaming. It's more future proof, I'd say, is the 13" enough for you for the next few years?
  10. fblack macrumors 6502a


    May 16, 2006
    I recently bought a 15 inch MBP 2.2 w/glossy screen. I wanted the 15 inch mainly because of screen real estate. The 13 inches are too small and feel too cramped for my tastes.

    I mainly use it indoors and don't have too much of an issue with the glossy screen, outdoors might be a different issue.

    The thing that really stood out was the weight. Its a little on the heavy side. Pair the weight with the smooth surface of the outer shell and it could slip out of your hand if held in one hand. My sister has the 13 inch 2010 and that's easier to grab 1 handed and put away in a bag than the 15 inch. All I can say is I'm glad I didn't go with the 17 inch lol.

    As far as CPUs etc, it comes down to what programs you will be using. I do use photoshop and illustrator and I occasionally game. I also like to have the option of using the better hardware at a later date. On top of that I hold onto hardware for a long time so I prefer having more robust machines.

    Hope that helps.:)
  11. ZeroCoolZ macrumors newbie

    May 27, 2011
    Just make sure to play with both before you purchase... I thought I wanted the 13" but after playing with it for 5 minutes in the Apple Store I immediately changed my mind, the screen resolution is horrible. My Dell laptop bought 5 years ago have a better resolution... I don't understand why in 2011 they can put the high res screen on the MBA 13" but not on the MBP 13"
  12. gmans46 macrumors regular

    Feb 24, 2011
    popping in and out the hdd and even getting a optibay set up is very easy.
  13. glasserp thread starter macrumors regular

    Apr 4, 2008
    Detroit, MI
    Wow, thanks all for the tips. I'm pretty certain that I'm going to go with the 13" 2.7 GHz BTO.

    After I get it I'm going to upgrade from 4 to 8 GBs of RAM (about $75 I saw from Newegg) and then sell the 2 x 2 GB. Then swap the disk drive out for a 32 GB SSD for Lion and then I'll use the 500 GB HDD for music, photos, etc.

    Is it possible to partition the SSD for Lion and then bootcamp for Windows 7?

    At this point the main reason I'm not going with the 15" is portability. I'll be biking around a lot the next two years and smaller will be easier.

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