quadcore 15 vs dual core 13

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by neroq89, Feb 14, 2015.

  1. neroq89 macrumors newbie

    Feb 14, 2015
    Hello my friends,
    This might be a not so new questions..but I ve some considerations that couldnt find anywhere else.
    In a few months I ll graduate as a master computer engineer. I already have a macbook (late 2008) which did his work really good in those years studying.
    I am thinking about buying a new computer which I would like to use both for my personal life and my working life. (bring your own device looks like very popular)
    I love macbooks.. and I love OS X, especially because is unix based. I would never do any development (which is not FOR windows) on windows.
    Here is my question:
    For developing software, which might be data analysis with R and some SQL or MVC based app using Spring for java or other IT related jobs do you think the 2.8Ghz i5 on the 2014 macbook pro 13" is enough?
    I really want to buy a laptop that will serve me well for at least 5 years, so budget is not really the main problem.
    The 13" version will be upgraded with 2.8Ghz i5 dual core and 16gb of ram while the entry version of the 15" macbook will already be 16gb of ram and 4 core at 2.2 ghz.
    Price would be, including my university discount 1.4k Euros for MBP13 vs 1.7k Euros MBP15.
    I dont care about graphics and video editing and stuff like that.
    I am not a gamer.
    Software running would be all related to software development.

    Thank you very much
    Please argument your answers ;)
  2. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    Generally speaking it sounds like you can get by with a dual core 13" MBP.

    I'd ask if you'll be happy with the smaller screen size.

    I personally prefer the larger 15" display, as its easier on my old eyes. Additionally, you do get the quad core processor and a better GPU. I think the Iris Pro is better at pushing the rMBP display so there will be less lagginess.

    Try both at your local apple store and see which one feels the best for you.
  3. neroq89 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Feb 14, 2015
    The screen is actually really interesting, but i would use an external monitor in an office environment.
    My biggest concern is the CPU.
    As I said, I dont want to buy another laptop in 3 years because 2 cores are just cloggin the system.
    On the other hand programming is not that much CPU intensive.
    I really dont know what to do.
  4. snaky69 macrumors 603

    Mar 14, 2008
    I don't see many situations where software development and IT need much CPU power, unless the only thing you do in life is compiling a sh-- ton of code. I'd tend to think you're just throwing money out the window by upgrading it on the 13" for what is essentially a minute difference in performance.

    I've still got an older core 2 duo machine which I'm typing on and I'm quite confident it'd be fine to code on for quite a few years still. That machine is over 6 years old.

    TL;DR: pick a baseline model (upgrade the RAM if you like to leave everything open) in the screen size you prefer. I strongly doubt the processor will make a difference for you in the foreseeable future.
  5. neroq89 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Feb 14, 2015
    Thank you for you answer.
    Do you think it would be kinda the same using virtual machines too? (vmware with linux-distro)
  6. snaky69 macrumors 603

    Mar 14, 2008
    Generally speaking (it depends on what's running in the VM, obviously), virtual machines like RAM, gobs of it, but don't really require all that much CPU power.
  7. yjchua95 macrumors 604

    Apr 23, 2011
    GVA, KUL, MEL (current), ZQN
    If you run only a single VM with one physical core (2 virtual cores as seen by hypervisors), a dual core would do.

    If you're running multiple VMs, you're most probably going to need a quad core i7.
  8. Woochoo macrumors 6502

    Oct 12, 2014
    Well, it also depends the usage of that virtual machines. I ran 4 debian's VM at same time in Virtual Box, to create nets between them to work with their net interfaces, implement firewalls, etc. just for accademic purposes, and my C2D could handle them without any problem. I don't see anybody running various VM's at once with high CPU demand (for computation like implementing a Hadoop master-slave between the VM's, which would be just for academic purposes because it doesn't make any sense to compute through VM's). Only in that case I'd go for the quad-core, otherwise a dual core i5/i7 will handle them without any problem.
  9. leman macrumors G3

    Oct 14, 2008
    Of course its enough. The biggest performance hog is R, because its such a poorly implemented language — but that depends on what you do. Don't forget that R is a single-threaded application unless you explicitly use the parallel package, so it does not matter that much how many cores you have. Running a few VMs is also not an issue, as long as they are mostly idle (e.g. a development database server would work like a charm in a VM). As other have said, the display size is the biggest concern here.
  10. afhstingray macrumors newbie

    Feb 9, 2015
    screen size and ram. CPU dosent matter for that kind of usage. I went for the 13" because i have an external monitor. BEfore this i only ever used 15" notebooks, but i dont miss the 15" screen because i can see so much info on the dense retina screen

    we have a development studio with about 30 devs, a couple of them use thinkpad x201's with ubuntu, pretty much all the rest use macbook airs, only one guy has a macbook pro. so im pretty sure even the 13" would last you plenty long, although im not sure about where you live, but here where i am the resale value is so good, it makes more sense to sell it halfway through the 3 year applecare period and upgrade.
  11. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    If you're worried about peace of mind that the machine needs last several years, I'd opt for the 15" MBP, otherwise if you're content with the answers and feel the 13" MBP can handle everything then get that.

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10 February 14, 2015