rMBP 13" vs 15" (Quad vs Dual Core)

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by abisen, Jan 29, 2014.

  1. abisen macrumors newbie

    Nov 25, 2008
    Hi i am in a dilemma on wether to buy a 13" (Dual Core i7/16GB) or 15" (Quad Core i7/16GB). I really like the form factor of 13".

    But with my job i need to have a Windows VM running all the time for VPN and few apps. My concern is that the Windows VM would hog all of the CPU it's assigned to and will leave little for Mac.

    Question to the experts here is that would the VM use CPU even if I am not actively running apps on the Windows VM. Does anybody has any experience with this kind of workflow?

    15" would give me those extra cores but with considerable weight and size that I don't want.

  2. Groovemaster17 macrumors member

    Aug 7, 2012
    I can definitely understand your concerns as I recently made the same decision myself.

    I'm a pretty heavy Parallels user with Win 7 and for the most part it's a RAM hog. Depending on usage, CPU will matter but my 2012 MBA handled things fairly well with it's 8GB RAM and dual core CPU.

    I ended up with the 15" rMBP (16GB/512SSD/Nvidia card) mainly because I don't want to replace this machine for at least 3 years. As my needs grow to more than one virtual machine, having the quad core and extra RAM puts me at ease.

    As for the form factor, the 15" is not as cumbersome as you may think. It's weight is spread out quite evenly and I don't feel a huge difference in my bag since upgrading from a MBA 13".

    Hope my ranting helps. Good luck!
  3. durkkin macrumors regular

    Sep 23, 2013
    The VM shares resources with the main OS. It's not like certain resources are relegated to one OS or the other (for the most part). So in this case, when the Windows VM is not running anything and is sitting idle, the entire CPU will be open to OSX. Furthermore, even when the VM is using resources OSX threads will still be executed on the same core at the same time. You can think of a VM just like any other application, it just happens to be more resource intensive. Just like OSX will manage CPU/RAM being used by say Photoshop or Final Cut, it will do the same for VMWare/Parallels/etc. You will most likely also find yourself hard pressed to use all of the available CPU cycles. The biggest thing to worry about is RAM, but with the 16GB you plan on ordering you have it covered. Even relegating 4GB to the VM still leaves you 12GB for OSX.
  4. yjchua95 macrumors 604

    Apr 23, 2011
    GVA, KUL, MEL (current), ZQN
    The quad core is going to be useful.

    For my usage in VMware (Windows 8.1, 2 cores/4 threads and 4GB RAM assigned to it), the CPU usage is not too high when idle. When idling, only one thread is fully active (seen through activity monitor). That translates to only 12.5% of the entire processor.

    On a dual core, you might see some performance hits though if you plan to use VMware and Photoshop in OS X side by side.
  5. mentaluproar macrumors 68000


    May 25, 2010
    Ohio, USA
    Think of the resale value. Because either will do what you need, would you want a higher resale or a smaller computer?
  6. accountforit macrumors 6502a

    Jan 22, 2014
    If you spend more now so you can sell it for more in the future, where is the advantage?

    Actually, when considering the time value of money, there is a disadvantage in paying more now.
  7. abisen thread starter macrumors newbie

    Nov 25, 2008
    Resale vale is not a concern. I need to get the smallest device (physically) possible where I don't have to compromise on performance for the work i need to typically do.

    On windows I will have usual office apps (Outlook, VPN, Firefox and Powerpoint).

    On Mac some cloud background apps (Dropbox et. al) some Chat apps (Skype, Colloquy) and lots of Browser windows, text editor, Python et. al.

    I think 13" should be good.. Will buy one post my experience. And if i see contention will return the sucker and get 15" instead.
  8. abisen thread starter macrumors newbie

    Nov 25, 2008
    Btw.. What are the chances that in 2 months Apple will release a new rMBP?? The avg for rMBP is 166 days and this one is out for 99 days already.

    It's unbelievable how fast these devices are getting refreshed.
  9. simonsi, Jan 29, 2014
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2014

    simonsi macrumors 601


    Jan 3, 2014
    I think you have already answered your own question :)
  10. linkgx1 macrumors 65832

    Oct 12, 2011
    Crap, please just stop it. I'm taking a managerial accounting and finance course now, I can't take it anymore ! :D


    I was looking at the same exact thing and I'm wondering if I should wait.
  11. leman macrumors G3

    Oct 14, 2008
    You will be fine running VMs on a dual core, as long as you don't do anything crazy (like simultaneously running Photoshop on host the host OS and the VM).

    There might be a slight refresh, but nothing substantial. Next 'big' upgrade will be when the new Intel CPUs are released, which won't happen until the summer.
  12. mentaluproar macrumors 68000


    May 25, 2010
    Ohio, USA
    Don't worry about a refresh. 2 weeks after I got my refurbed rMBPs, the Haswells came out. PCIe SSD would have been very nice, but the only feature I really wanted that this mac doesn't have was wireless AC, which isn't really a showstopper.

    I'm happy with my refurb. :)
  13. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    Go for the quad core, since you're running VMs, the CPUs will definitely help you in this case. As for a refresh, it occurred last fall, I don't expect anything until the summer at the earliest but it may be in the fall again, so either way get what you need now

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