Relative power of the 13" vs. the 15" (and older MacBooks)?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by cuttooth, Jun 22, 2010.

  1. cuttooth macrumors newbie

    Jun 21, 2010
    I tried making a thread in the buying advice forum which only garnered one response, so I figured this forum would be of more help since it appears more frequented and the visitors would be more specific in their knowledge. I can also be a bit more precise in terms of questions.

    I have a 13" MacBook from late 2006, which I believe was the very first line they came out with. It's running a 2.0Ghz Core 2 Duo with 2GB of RAM (personally upgraded; that's also a lot of twos). It's been a good machine and I've had it for three and a half years now; AppleCare has run out and it's already starting to show wear from when I had the casing replaced for a second time (that wristpad plastic still cracks no matter what Apple does to fix it) as well as the fans and logic board when it was showing issues. The machine is old, though, and going on four years doesn't have as much processing power as I'd like.

    I'm not a real power user any more. I gave up trying to learn about all those things like Linux and programming in my mid-teens and now I'm just in my early 20s and more of a writer and casual gamer sort. I don't play anything more graphically intensive than WoW, or perhaps StarCraft 2 when it goes retail. I own a perhaps three year old desktop now that belonged to my friend, but was given to me when he replaced it not long ago. It runs most of these games pretty well, so I do have the option of using that machine if I need to.

    My question is if the power of the new machines -- the 13" in particular -- is enough to do what I want them to do while still making me feel like I've made a substantial upgrade for what I've paid. I know the base MBP is running a C2D. It's faster than what I have, but I don't know how much faster, and I imagine that the i5 in the 15" is likely far superior. I also can't really get a definite opinion on the power of the 320M which is also in the baseline MacBook.

    Either way, if I upgraded, it would be to the MBP solely because of the ligher, higher quality aluminum enclosure. I just don't know if I should shell out $500 more for the 15", for the reasons above. Thank you in advance for any opinions you might have.
  2. stefan1975 macrumors 6502a

    Apr 15, 2010
    many here are going to tell you that the MBP13 is perfectly suitable for the needs you mentioned here or to search for the other kazillion threads about the vailidity of the C2D MBP13 for light home use.

    so yes the MBP13 is more then sufficient for what you say you need to do with it. the MBP15 i5 will run circles around it though and the 330 is a dedicated GPU whereas the 320M a shared DDR3 card, so the 15" will be much faster for games. also the 15" comes with the highres and matte options, which *to me* are essential, i could not get used to the glossy (at the store ... didnt buy yet).

    i personally think the 15 is worth the extra cash, i think it is more value for money then the C2D MBP13. it is less mobile though. and for the extra $$ you can get an iPad to compliment your MBP13.

    i think in the 15" range the MBP is king of the crop. in the 13" slim-n-light there is MUCH more to get in pc-land and is is somewhere in the middle.
  3. robotmonkey macrumors 6502

    Apr 24, 2010

    It can't "run circles" around a c2d, that's suggesting that a c2d is no where fast enough. What have many people been successfully using for the past couple of years? It'll handle it just fine, but the 15 inch will be better. But if gaming is the most important thing to you about computers, I would suggest getting a pc because for some reasons os x just can't compete. Since you made it seem like you just do light gaming, you should be fine with a 13 inch. Is the slightly better performance for light gaming really worth that extra money, larger size, and lesser battery life?
  4. cuttooth thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 21, 2010
    Well, I understand that I could do a search, but the particular reason why I asked is because the question was specifically related to the machine I have now, which I imagine isn't asked so often; most people just ask if X is good. I don't want to get a 13" MBP and have it barely run WoW (assuming I play it again at some point) at the same 8-20 frames on lowest settings that I get now. I want to spend the $1100 (discounted) and feel like I have a great new machine, and not a slight upgrade. If the only way to get that is the 15" machine, then that would be good to know.

    My concerns were portability and power for just above the typical, casual use.

    Edit: @robotmonkey, that's pretty much what I meant in my questions, was if the performance is really enough, or if I'd need the 15" to be satisfied.
  5. stefan1975 macrumors 6502a

    Apr 15, 2010
    well the 2.4 C2D won't be *that* much faster then the 2.0 C2D, with the 2.4 P8600 being a 2008 CPU. the difference between the two is smaller then the 2.4 C2D and the 2.4 i5 imho.

    It would be a significant upgrade in the graphics department though and 2gb extra ram is a great improvement for snow leopard as well. so it will most likely feel lots faster.

    it doesnt have HT and TB like the arrandale does, so CPU wise it'll be roughly 30-40% slower then the MBP15.

    so it's all about your budget, preferable size and if you want 8 or 10 hours of battery.
  6. chocobanana macrumors newbie


    Jun 19, 2010
    If you appreciate the mobility a 13" affords, I would keep going on the laptop you currently have and wait for Sandy Bridge MBPs which should come out early next year.

    The difference between the current model and yours is too small to make it a worthwhile upgrade at this time.

    As for the 15" i5... well, I think waiting for Sandy Bridge is still a valid advice. You have a C2D Mac, so it should easily work fine until next year.
  7. cuttooth thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 21, 2010
    That's a whole eight to twelve months away, though, and then just playing the waiting game seems silly to me.

    I will go over and look. I do like the portability so I'll just have to see.

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