rMBP 13" vs 15"

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by Mosconi, Aug 1, 2014.

  1. Mosconi macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2014
    #1
    Hello all, I am buying a new rMBP for university and as Apple just refreshed their line of Macbooks, I thought this would be a great time to buy.

    Originally, I intended to get the 13" with 256gb with upgraded RAM to 16gb. But now with the new refresh, the price gap between the 13" and the base 15" is fairly close.

    The two models are:

    13-inch
    2.6GHz Dual-core Intel Core i5, Turbo Boost up to 3.1GHz
    16GB 1600MHz DDR3L SDRAM
    256GB PCIe-based Flash Storage
    Intel Iris Graphics

    ~$1900 including tax

    or

    15-inch
    2.2GHz Quad-core Intel Core i7, Turbo Boost up to 3.4GHz
    16GB 1600MHz DDR3L SDRAM
    256GB PCIe-based Flash Storage
    Intel Iris Pro Graphics

    ~2260 including tax


    Since I am going to school, I think the 13" would be beneficial as it would be more portable. However, seeing that I will be spending $1900 already, is an extra $360 worth the extra 2" in screen real estate, Intel Iris to Intel Iris Pro, and the i5 dual core to i7 quad core upgrade?

    I intend to use this laptop for the next 4 years. And i'm fairly sure the 13" would be sufficient for the first year or two and possibly later on too. But will the burden of the extra 2" be noticeable especially in a school environment where space is limited such as the library? Or should I just go with the 13", and save a bit of money that I can spend elsewhere.

    I will be majoring in engineering, and will most likely dual-boot windows 7, or run it through a VM.

    Any suggestions are welcome :)

    Thanks
     
  2. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

    Staff Member

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    May 3, 2009
    Location:
    Boston
    #2
    I'm partial to the 15" rMBP. I do think the 2" make a huge difference.
    I had a 13" laptop and found using Lightroom and Photoshop too confining with it. The 15" laptop gives you more screen real estate, a quad core CPU and better GPU.
     
  3. mxidis88 macrumors member

    mxidis88

    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2013
    Location:
    SLC, UT
    #3
    I have been using...

    a 2013 13" rMBP mid-range(8GB RAM, 256GB SSD) for work and university for about a year now. It is a fantastic machine! It's the perfect match of portable and powerful. The retina display is great. That said, I am selling it this weekend to purchase a 15" rMBP. I've decided that I tend to use my laptop at a desk regardless of its size. I also enjoy playing a few different high-end graphics games on my computer and want the dedicated graphics chip. I'm not sure if I'll regret it, but I'll always be able to find someone who'll trade me their 13" for a 15" if I do...
     
  4. Meister Suspended

    Meister

    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2013
    #4
    you didn't tell what apps you will run.
    the rmbp in my signature can be had for as low as 1200$ from what I've heard.
    It never costs 1399$

    I might add that 1900$ for a dual core is quite hefty.
     
  5. Dilster3k macrumors 6502a

    Dilster3k

    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2014
    Location:
    Frankfurt, Germany
    #5
    Trust me I've been on both sides. I was lucky enough that my bag was capable of carrying a 15'' inch rMBP. I say go for the 15'' you'll appreciate the extra space given even if it is a bit bigger and slightly heavier to carry around.

    It just feels like a bigger more serious tool, or workstation. Makes more of an impact to yourself and to others.
     
  6. M5RahuL macrumors 68020

    M5RahuL

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2009
    Location:
    Colorado
    #6
    Unless you intend to run some very CPU and/or GPU intensive software... go with the 13".

    The 15 incher is awesome...but it seems more akin to a desktop compared to the 13. My 15" has been relegated to being my desktop now [ external monitor and always in clamshell mode now.. ] that I got the 13.

    Ultimately, it depends on what you will use the computer for today, and in the next 2-3 years..should you keep it that long.

    Just my opinion :)
     
  7. Mosconi, Aug 2, 2014
    Last edited: Aug 2, 2014

    Mosconi thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Aug 1, 2014
    #7
    I will be running autodesk inventor, python, matlab, and maple for school.

    Personally, I might also use final cut but very very rarely so it won't be an issue. Now i'm thinking spending $2300 is a lot of money and I could very well use it elsewhere :confused: .

    Others in the engineering field suggest a windows PC. I am quite familiar with computers and built my own desktop but would like to experience macs for my own. Ultrabooks in the $1500 range seem to have similar hardware compared to the 13" rMBP, albeit buying a mac will be counter-intuitive because I will be installing windows regardless. Installing windows will take away almost 100gb from the already limited 256gb ssd capacity which makes the decision even harder to get a mac. I'm very indecisive btw :p
     
  8. Meister Suspended

    Meister

    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2013
    #8
    15" base model. Think no further!
     
  9. Mosconi thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Aug 1, 2014
    #9
    for $2300 i can't help but to think of alternatives :S . I may also need external memory in the future as well, and the stupid accessories such as the thunderbolt cables :mad:
     
  10. CmdrLaForge macrumors 68040

    CmdrLaForge

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2003
    Location:
    around the world
    #10
    I have both the 15 and the 13 rMBP. I overall like the 13 better. Still I suggest going to an Apple Store an trying both yourself.
     
  11. Meister Suspended

    Meister

    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2013
    #11
    where do you get those prices from?

    The 15" base is 1800,-
     
  12. M5RahuL macrumors 68020

    M5RahuL

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2009
    Location:
    Colorado
    #12
    What config are you looking at ? Also, check the refurb section at Apple...[ good as new! ]
     
  13. Meister, Aug 2, 2014
    Last edited: Aug 2, 2014

    Meister Suspended

    Meister

    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2013
    #13
    he posted the configs in his first post, but his prices are all ridiculosly off.
     
  14. M5RahuL macrumors 68020

    M5RahuL

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    Colorado
    #14
    Ah.. :eek:
     
  15. Qaanol macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2010
    #15
    Honestly? Pick whichever screen size you prefer.

    The “specs” are emphatically not going to make a meaningful difference. Sure, if you’re running large Matlab simulations, the quad-core might complete them a bit quicker, but get real: you’re in school. You’re not earning money based on how fast your computer runs. None of your assignments are going to have such tight deadlines that the speed of your laptop would be the difference.

    So get the size you prefer to look at and carry around. They’ll both do the job just fine.

    Heck, with the way Mavericks handles memory nowadays, 8 GB is more than enough. You’re not running VMs after all. I mean, if you’ve got extra money that you *want* to spend, go right ahead, but I can think of about a million better things to do with several hundred dollars while in college.

    If you’re in the US, you can get the late-2013 models with 8/256 for $1,189 or $1,529 depending on screen size. That’s around $700 less than you’re talking about, and the performance is so similar you’d never notice a difference. You could even bump up the SSD to 512 for another $250 and still save half a grand or so.

    But it’s your money.
     
  16. Dick Whitman macrumors 6502

    Dick Whitman

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2012
    #16
    I think a rMBP 13" with a next-gen thunderbolt display (whenever it's released) would be my ideal set-up. rMBP 15" seems too big for travel.
     
  17. Traverse macrumors 603

    Traverse

    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2013
    Location:
    Here
    #17
    The 15" is what I've always used. I used a company 13" for an internship and found it too cramped. Plus, the 15" Retina is so thin and light for its size that it isn't a hassle to carry around. Much better than the old 15" and it even lighter than the old cMBP 13".

    It has much better graphics and more CPU power.
     
  18. Mosconi, Aug 2, 2014
    Last edited: Aug 2, 2014

    Mosconi thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2014
    #18
    my price calculations are including tax :)

    That's why it's a bit confusing, srry. I was just calculating how much is actually coming out of my pocket. the 15" model is the base model recent refresh.

    I'm in Canada and including education pricing the 15" base is $1999 before tax, the 13" (2.6 ghz i5, 256gb ssd, 16gb RAM) is ~$1650
     
  19. Mosconi thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Aug 1, 2014
    #19
    Since I may run windows in parallels , would 16gb be necessary? The only reason i wanted the 16gb RAM on either 13" or 15" models is because other posts suggest that I should max out the RAM for my purposes and it would definately future proof the machine.

    Is the 2014 iteration of the rMBP that similar to the late 2013 in terms of performance?

    the upgrade is merely a .2 ghz boost and im not sure how much a difference that makes. but then I would be buying 1 yr old tech if I go for the late 2013 model.

    and to add, the 15" now comes standard with 16gb so I saved a bit of money there as I would have paid for the RAM upgrade prior to the mid-2014 refresh.
     
  20. Qaanol macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2010
    #20
    It’s up to you if you want to max the RAM. I don’t use Parallels so I can’t say for sure, and yes it depends on your usage.

    Basically indistinguishable. The only change was the minor processor bump, plus the base models got more RAM.

    The speed difference is negligible. It’s the same processor generation. Only you can decide how much the model year designation is worth to you.

    That’s valid. The mid-2014 base 15.4″ rMBP is $1,899 withe student discount, plus the $100 gift card.

    If you were to get the same 16 GB RAM on last fall’s model refurbished, that would cost $1,779 with no gift card.

    So if you have decided on getting 16 GB of RAM on a 15.4″ rMBP, then yes the 2014 version is probably the way to go. You might even be able to get it cheaper from BestBuy or elsewhere with things like the mover’s coupon.

    Edit: Just saw you’re in Canada. I haven’t checked all the price options up there.
     
  21. Mosconi thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2014
    #21
    Still not completely sure whether I want the 13" or 15".

    If 8gb RAM is already sufficient for the years to come and to use when I run windows, then I would just go for the 13" whether it be the last year or current year model. This would save me quite a bit of money. However, if 16gb is worth the investment, then all of a sudden the 15" base model seems like the better option.

    If 8gb ram is more than enough, 2" screen size makes no difference, and the 2.4ghz i5 dual core vs 2.2 ghz i7 quad core upgrade is insignificant/unnecessary, I could be saving close to $1000.
    And where would I even get the 2013 model with the student pricing and $110 apple promotion? I'm in Canada :p
     
  22. Mosconi thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2014
    #22
    oh yes. do you guys think 8gb would be enough to handle to having 20+ tabs open, reading pdfs, having python , as well as running windows 7 in a vm and possibly running autodesk inventor? Because I tend to leave things open and will most likely do this on my mac too.
     
  23. yjchua95 macrumors 604

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    Apr 23, 2011
    Location:
    GVA, KUL, MEL (current), ZQN
    #23
    While 8GB would be fine, I recommend going to 16GB of RAM.

    Autodesk Inventor can take up a lot of RAM. Assuming that you assign 4GB of RAM to the Windows VM (I assign at least 4GB), and use up another 3-4GB more for Autodesk Inventor, that won't leave much RAM left, even with RAM compression.
     
  24. Mosconi thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Aug 1, 2014
    #24
    Student level work will use that much RAM? And does windows use up 3-4gb RAM even though I am not doing anything to it? I'm new to all this VM stuff and am not really sure.
     
  25. pragmatous macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    May 23, 2012
    #25
    If you buy a PC you'll keep it for 2 years and throw it out. For mac you'll want to keep it and use it for years.

    That's one of the differences between a mac and a PC.

    Yes a mac is a little bit more expensive but compare spec for spec on what you're getting. :apple:

     

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