rMBP 13" or 15" (Processing Power Question)

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by dvm258, Oct 23, 2012.

  1. dvm258 macrumors newbie

    Oct 20, 2012
    So I was so psyched for the announcement today because I was interested in getting the 13" retina model, but now I'm a little unsure. The 13" only comes with a 2.5 GHz dual-core i5, while the 15" has a 2.3 GHz quad-core i7. That looks like a pretty big difference in processing power, not to mention the discrete graphics.

    I'm just a grad student who'll mostly be using the MacBook for word processing, web browsing, notes and such, but once in a while I also need to do some HD video editing in Final Cut Pro 7 or like to enjoy a game of Portal 2. (Fairly basic FCP editing though. I don't use Color and those other apps. I just prefer FCP's interface and flexibility to iMovie basically.)

    Would an i5 really be powerful enough for me? I'm coming from a 2010 MBP with a 2.66 GHz dual-core i7 which unfortunately got stolen, so I'm a little antsy about getting a "weaker" computer even though I may not have needed all the power of my original machine. The portability of a 13" is very attractive to me after lugging around a 15" for my past 4 years of collegiate MBP ownership. Maybe having a SSD would make up the difference and I don't need to worry?
  2. KylePowers macrumors 68000


    Mar 5, 2011
    2.66GHz i7 = 2048 in CPU Mark

    2.5Ghz i5 (assuming it's the 3210M) = 3995 in CPU Mark

    So you'll see (theoretically) double the computational performance in a 13in rMBP than your 2010 MBP.

    The 15in's gets 6738.

    IMO, you'd be fine with the 13in. And yes, SSDs make a world of difference, more so than the CPU in my experience (my 2011 13in dual-core MBA feels faster than 2011 quad-core iMac, for example).
  3. cperry2 macrumors regular

    Jul 23, 2011
    Sounds like 13" rmbp is going to be fine, if you're set on that screen size. The SSD makes a world of difference, especially the ones they ship now.
  4. Naimfan Suspended


    Jan 15, 2003
    The 15" rMBP is a MUCH better buy (even if it is, itself, overpriced). It adds quad core processing, a discrete graphics card, and the opportunity to buy it with 16 GB of RAM.

    The 13" rMBP is simply a rip-off. I'm typing this on one now, and it'll be going back at the end of the 14 days.
  5. cperry2 macrumors regular

    Jul 23, 2011

    The base 15 retina is the sweet spot for price:benefit for that class of machine imo. I'm typing on one with 16gb ram I got with an education discount. It's the best computer I've ever used, period.

    You will definitely be able to do that much more with a 15" with the graphics, processor, storage and possibly ram. I also think 15" is the comfortable spot for screen size, but that's a personal preference. I also find the 15 rmbp is just light and small enough to carry in a messenger bag with no trouble (but only if that's the only thing in it).

    It boils down to whether you can appreciate the extra space, and if you think you will end up making good use of the computing horsepower down the road.

    I really believe I'm going to be holding on to this for 4-5 years, and it should have some utility beyond that as secondary machine. I think it's that good.

    Pricey, yup. But I'd rather smile at than simply accept the screen I use every day for work.
  6. DeepIn2U macrumors 603


    May 30, 2002
    Toronto, Ontario, Canada
    Great advice above yet I honestly think for the thread starter to go into the store and try both out.

    13" Pros against 15"
    its smaller and almost a full LB lighter! I'm no weakling but this may make a huge benefit for someone else out there.
    resolution is very high for its screen real-estate and higher pixel density/inch.
    Same ports at full speed.

    15" Pros against 13"
    Dedicated Video Card (3 words for the WIN)!
    ^ did I mention that already along with 1GB of DDR5?!
    (when you upgrade to FCP10 you'll NEED this! Apple's main site speaks nothing of HD4000 with FCP/Arpeture for 13" MBP; still makes me wonder WHY they call it a "Pro"?!)
    Better Speakers!
    It really feels like a slightly larger 13" MBA this bad boy! Bulky feeling of the oldschool 15"MBP is GONE on this!
  7. Rick America macrumors member

    Sep 1, 2007
    I looked at both in the store and even tried them out in my briefcase for carrying. I have to be honest here: Even though there is a stated 1 lb. difference, they felt identical to me...certainly nowhere neat the difference I expected to feel.

    I am also starting to feel that the 15" is a much better buy especially when the difference is down to less than 10% in price (with corporate discounts).
  8. CASLondon macrumors 6502a

    Apr 18, 2011
    Granted, I'm coming from a 17", but the 15 rMBP seems awfully small and light enough, I can't see it being too heavy and large, and with quad cores plus screen size plus a discreet GPU that is what I'd do with zero hesitation

    Given what the OP stated, he won't often hit his CPU limits but still, the 13" does seem a rip off in comparison, I wonder how the resale values will compare a year down the road
  9. cecildk9999 macrumors regular


    Sep 10, 2006
    East Coast

    If you're a grad student, the $200 savings for the 15 inch vs. the $100 discount for the 13 is a much better cost/benefit ratio. Since the base 13 inch only comes with 128 GB SSD standard, the $300 upgrade to 256GB puts the 13 inch computer's cost at just $100 less than the 15 inch base model. I don't have a huge media library or many games, but 128GB is still on the small end today, and I don't like having to offload data onto a portable drive (excepting backups, of course). Also, I upgraded to the 15 inch retina model after 6 years on a Core Duo machine, and I don't feel like I'm 'lugging' it around when I toss it into my bag; it's light, portable, and powerful.
  10. noshjewman macrumors member

    Jan 16, 2008
    Like most on this thread, I think that the rMBP 15" is a vastly superior buy to the 13".

    HOWEVER, to answer the OPs actual question (would the 13 be 'good enough' for what he does) the answer is, almost certainly, yes.

    FCP 7 does very little with the graphics card, so it's the CPU that matters here, and it will be fine.
    Portal 2 would probably prefer a better graphics card, but will function on the 13".

    Everything else you're looking at will be no problem for the 13" (word processing, web surfing.)
  11. DeepIn2U macrumors 603


    May 30, 2002
    Toronto, Ontario, Canada
    Good choice! Even the low end 15" can get the 16GB RAM (something I think hi numbers of potential 13" rmbp buyers demand for Apple to offer), along with the 1GB DDR5 video memory. You're going to love it!!
  12. Yebubbleman macrumors 68030


    May 20, 2010
    Los Angeles, CA
    If Portal 2 and Final Cut Pro 7 are your most intensive apps, then you will be fine with the 13" rMBP. Your mileage will, of course, be better with a 15", and I'd imagine that the 15" rMBP will be cut off from software upgrades/updates later than the 13", but you are proportionately paying less, so there's a fairly even "how much money you put in" to "how long the machine lasts you before you begin to have a sensible incentive to upgrade" ratio.

    That being said, Final Cut Pro 7 will never be optimized for the retina display, and I have no idea what Valve's plan is for optimizing Portal 2 for it. It might be more sensible, given this, to go for a non-retina 13" given that SSD and screen aside, you're basically getting the same CPU/graphics/screen size for cheaper; and you can always upgrade your hard drive to an SSD later. Just a thought. Or, for roughly the same price as a 13" rMBP, you can get a baseline 15" cMBP which will have superior graphics. Again, not that you will likely need them, but FCP7 and Portal 2 will operate more nicely with them.

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