software developer choosing between 13 or 15 inch mbp

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by hseikaly, Jun 3, 2010.

  1. hseikaly macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2008
    #1
    Hi, I'm a developer and I'm looking at a new macbook pro for general use and doing development work. I typically use text editors, xcode, and sometimes eclipse.

    I was looking at either a new low end 13 inch with possibly SSD or a new low end 15 i5 with a high res screen. Now I like the portability of the 13 inch model and I can see myself carrying it around or travelling with it.

    However, I do want the power of the i5 in the 15 inch, along with the increased real estate of the high res screen for development purposes.

    Now of course I can always get a huge screen for the 13 inch, but I might not be in a place or have space for such a thing.

    Anyways, I guess I'm asking what experiences other full time developers have with a 13 inch vs a 15 inch as potentially their main development machine. I understand that the 13 inch has a smaller, lower res screen, but do people find that a total hinderance to their work or have they found the screen to be fine using stuff like spaces to enhance it? Or is the extra weight of the 15 worth it for development?

    Yes, I do want a laptop as I'm going to be moving around a lot and don't plan to have a real desk for a desktop or anything.

    Thanks!
     
  2. zmttoxics macrumors 65816

    zmttoxics

    Joined:
    May 20, 2008
    #2
    I have logged almost 3 years of engineering on a 13" White Macbook (would have been 3 in october, but it died and I got a 15" out of an applecare agreement for $500 :D).

    I enjoyed lugging the 13" around, not enjoying the 15" as much. I never found the small resolution to be too restrictive. I am more stationary these days so I went for the 15 for the better video (Steam on Mac :D). If I was buying another one at full price, I would do 13" again.
     
  3. psingh01 macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2004
    #3
    What do you develop? Will you be running the software you create on your Mac? On a server? Will you need specialized hardware (i.e. discrete GPU)?
     
  4. Tex-Twil macrumors 68020

    Tex-Twil

    Joined:
    May 28, 2008
    Location:
    Berlin
    #4
    Running Eclipse or XCode on a 13" will be painful.
     
  5. Pentad macrumors 6502a

    Pentad

    Joined:
    Nov 26, 2003
    Location:
    Indiana
    #5
    I'm on a 15" MBP and I do development work in Visual Studio 2008 (via VirtualBox), NetBeans, and Eclipse. I can't imagine working on a smaller screen for this type of work. I was on a 17" PC notebook(1920 x 1200) for a long while using Visual Studio 2005. I loved the screen space for the environment but the size, weight, and portability was just tough.

    I think the 15" is a not bad but I wouldn't want to go any smaller.

    JMHO,
    -P
     
  6. zmttoxics macrumors 65816

    zmttoxics

    Joined:
    May 20, 2008
    #6
    You guys have been living the highlife for too long.

    VStudio, NetBeans, Eclipse, or any other IDE work just fine on 13". You have to do a little more scrolling sure, but its NOT the end of the world.
     
  7. 1=1? macrumors regular

    1=1?

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2010
    #7
    I don't think any difference between two computers could be the end of the world.
     
  8. simplymuzik3 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2009
    #8
    I use a 13" to develop. I think you would be better off going with 13" + external monitor. The SSD also helps out a lot if you work with many screens (I load interface builder with hundreds of different screens). It used to take forever to load everything, but now everything is so fast! (I have X25-M G2).
     
  9. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    May 3, 2009
    Location:
    Boston
    #9
    Personally, I hate spending > 1000 bucks for a C2D based laptop (Core2Duo technology is too old to spending that much money). I think for the best bang for your buck, the 15" i5 MBP is a better use of your money.
     
  10. Damers macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2010
    #10
    I have a 2+ year old mb that runs xcode perfectly fine.
     
  11. psingh01 macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2004
    #11
    Imagine a computer somewhere that controls the launch sequence of the US nuclear arsenal. Imagine that computer running windows :D
     
  12. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    May 3, 2009
    Location:
    Boston
    #12
    I wouldn't be too concerned, its running windows 95, oh did I also mentioned it it uses Microsoft Bob as well :eek:
     
  13. hseikaly thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2008
    #13
    I setup a lot of the environment locally, so generally when I do dev, it will be on my local machine first for deployment somewhere else when its ready. I also do a lot of work in XCode for iPhone/iPad stuff.

    Thanks for the feedback so far, although I'm not sure if I'm any clearer figuring it out :confused: While I agree that I might be able to live with a 13 inch in tradeoff for portability, a part of me thinks maybe the 15 inch would be worth having, although it would be a little more of a pain to carry around.

    Any more feedback from those devs that use a 13 vs 15 inch would still be appreciated!
     
  14. whateverandever macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2006
    Location:
    Baltimore
    #14
    I've used a standard res 15", hi-res 15", and hi-res 17" and my wife's 13" Macbook Pro, all for developing.

    Of all of them, I liked the 17" best -- the resolution is very nice. However, after working on my desktop at work that has two 1920x1200 monitors and a 1680x1050 monitor, I'm pretty much too spoiled at work to appreciate the higher resolution at home anymore.

    I'd say the 1280x800 is too low for me to be able to deal with. 1440x900 is livable, 1680x1050 is nice, and 1920x1200 is the sweet spot.

    If portability matters to you and you don't need a gaming machine / render farm, I'd go with a Macbook Air. If portability isn't so much an issue, go with the hi-res 15".

    I feel like the 13" Macbook Pro is a good "value" computer price wise, but it's neither on the high end of portability nor performance.
     
  15. kny3twalker macrumors 65816

    kny3twalker

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2009
    #15
    Senior in computer science and my MacBook pro is really only used at school and doing group projects away from home. Otherwise I have an old desktop with a big new monitor. I can program all day away from home on the MacBook pro but after four hours, I really start not liking the small display. I do not think I could do it everyday. Sometimes I start even regretting getting a 13", but then the next time I use it, I love it again unless it three hours or more programming. Meaning the 13" is great for casual use, taking notes, following along with slides, and programming for a couple hours at most. And it's very portable. But if it's your only computer meant for development get a bigger display. Personally the 15" and 17" seem small too. So I am pretty bias towards my ultrasharp 24" though.
     
  16. Tex-Twil macrumors 68020

    Tex-Twil

    Joined:
    May 28, 2008
    Location:
    Berlin
    #16
    I was talking about the screen size, not about the performance of course.
     

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