Sold my Macbook Pro 15 (Late 2011), What to buy? 13/15 rMBP? Or....

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by mixxy, May 21, 2014.

  1. mixxy, May 21, 2014
    Last edited: May 21, 2014

    mixxy macrumors newbie

    Dec 10, 2011
    Just sold my Macbook Pro 15 (Late 2011) i7/8gb/500gb/Radeon 6750

    I was getting annoyed of the low res display. 1440x900 on a 15 inch just wasnt doing it for me anymore. I want something thats sharper. Colors were never something to complain about on the MBP.

    I use Win 7 exclusively at work. I have a UX32VD, driving two external monitors at my desk. I do light web editing and design, word processing, email, excel, coding, linux command line and server support while Im at work. On this i7/6gb/24gbssd+500GB HDD I dont feel it slowing down too often. Most of the time it runs well.

    Personally, I use my MBP for browsing, web design, consumption of media, light video editing (occasional, nothing pro), android development (basic), word and excel processing. Thats pretty much it. I like having a larger 15 inch display.

    Ive gone through a few laptops, and returned them due to their quirks. Here they are and the reasons why:

    $1550 - Acer S7 392 - i7/8gb/256GB ssd/Intel 4400 - gets a little hot, weird keyboard layout, keyboard backlight has whine, small screen
    $1200 - Dell Inspiron 14 7000 Series - i7/8gb/32gbssd+500GB HDD/Intel 4400 - low brightness, crappy speakers
    $2200 - Dell XPS 15 (9530) - i7 4702QM/16GB/512GB SSD - runs a little hot, pricey, two finger scrolling SUCKS

    I'll be going back to school in september (grad degree!! YAY!). I'm not entirely sure what new things I'll need my comp for, but the usual word and excel processing, web design, coding is expected. I may have to run a VM or something but I wont know until later in the year.

    Can you help me figure out what to buy?

    I am on a tight budget. I would prefer spending as little as possible without giving up on quality. I WILL spend the money if i have to, but would prefer spending the money for what I will actually use. Apple macbooks do retain their value very well and also function very well for longer times in my personal experience.

    Should I consider the 13 inch rMBP? I do want long battery life since I'll be TAing and RAing when i start school. The portability would be great, but i find 13 inches small. Although that can also be attributed to the garbage scaling job that win 8 does.

    I do NOT game. RARELY will I ever play the occasional game of Age of Empires 3 (not graphics intensive in my opinion).

    Lets hear your opinions and suggestions guys =).

    Please be objective if possible. I know this is a mac forum, but a lot of us are pro windows users and understand the benefits of them.

    Thank you in advance.
  2. thundersteele macrumors 68030

    Oct 19, 2011
    I think the 13'' rMBP with 8 GB/256 GB is a good machine. With education discount maybe you can get it for $1400, or check the refurb store.

    Note that I have the same late 2011 15'' machine but with a high-res display as well as an SSD, and I recently bought the 13'' mentioned above. You have to realise that the 13'' is only a dual core, so it won't match the 2011 machine in computing power. Same for the GPU. The SSD is much faster however.
    What I really like is the lower weight and excellent battery life, and I also wanted a machine with a smaller form factor for travelling. Of course the screen is also excellent, to a point that every time I give a presentation I am disappointed of how crappy my slides look on the projector...
    Compared with the 15'', the fans are less noisy, and the machine overall is more quiet and colder. Of course there is still heat when you task it heavily for a while - but it also cools down faster once the job ends.

    Of course the 15'' rMBPs are also awesome, but more expensive. The 13'' should be strong enough for what you want to do. Whether you can be happy with the screen size I don't know - I enjoy that I have my 21'' iMac at work, and my 15'' MBP at home. The 13'' is a bit of a compromise for portability, and I probably wouldn't be so happy if I had to work on it 100%. Then there are also external screens.

    Finally, in the PC world, the only thing I would buy is probably a Lenovo Thinkpad. Their design is ugly unfortunately, but at least they have a good track record as far as build quality is concerned.
  3. mixxy thread starter macrumors newbie

    Dec 10, 2011
    Thanks for your feedback.

    I do like the Lenovo laptops (the yoga 2 pro, specifically) but they are overpriced in Canada. But the business class series do have horrible designs. And are quite heavy.

    I should mention that i am the head of IT at a small organization so I do have a very sound knowledge base. We mostly order HPs now (recently switched from dell).

    If this helps others to offer some insight, I have 2, 22-inch external monitors at home that i COULD leverage if I wanted to. In the past, with my 15 inch, i rarely needed to however.
  4. kyriostrife, May 21, 2014
    Last edited: May 21, 2014

    kyriostrife macrumors member

    Sep 19, 2010
    I'm in the same boat. Sold a 2011 15" recently and have been weighing my options. I can get a student discount so I'm looking at best buy open box.

    The 13" rmbp has my eye with 8gb/256 in mint condition. For $100 more I can get a 15" rmbp but still with integrated graphics only and it has scratches on the bottom apparently. The 15" is also missing a power cord so I'd have to add that to my price which basically makes it more than the $100 already required.

    I told myself I would never go back to anything below 15" (that was for normal resolution) but after playing around with the retina displays on both sizes I could see myself working with a 13". I'll plug either one in to an external monitor anyway when at home. I will do some mobile work but I was actually okay carrying around my 15" MacBook Pro so I know I can handle the 15" retina no problem and the 13" will definitely be easier.

    So the question is which one do I go for? Is obviously be saving more money with the 13" but even though my budget is tight, if I go for the extra $100 for the 15" will it be worth it for the future? If I ever decide to get a 4k monitor then obviously it's the necessary choice but I don't know yet. Also, with WWDC coming up I don't know if there will be a slight spec bump that will drop the prices of these older models.

    I should also add my uses: video editing (final cut and premiere with iMovie for simple videos), photoshop/aperture, Logic Pro, web development and Xcode.
  5. Cloudsurfer macrumors 65816


    Apr 12, 2007
    I see you've bought a Dell notebook for 2200$, which you returned. Why not put that 2200$ into a MBP 15" with 16GB RAM? You'll have only 256GB of SSD storage but you'll get much a better build quality, better battery life, proper two finger scrolling, a cooler machine and a machine that will still run like new 6-7 years from now. Not to mention one of the best hi-res screens on a notebook.
  6. mixxy thread starter macrumors newbie

    Dec 10, 2011
    Great observation. I put $2200 after taxes, into the Dell. You are right. And I would, without any hesitance, put the same in for the rMBP if it was the same 512ssd/16gb config. But alas, its not lol.

    Thats why Im asking for some input. But your suggestion makes a LOT of sense.

    One of the biggest reasons I returned the Dell XPS 15 was because of the price. I just couldnt justify it for that laptop. I feel like I can for the rMBP, but I dont want to buy a 15 if Id be just as happy with a 13; I mean this in terms of computing power and quickness.
  7. The Mercurian, May 21, 2014
    Last edited: May 21, 2014

    The Mercurian macrumors 68000

    Mar 17, 2012
    First thingy - you'll want to take advantage of educational discounts so don't buy until you are enrolled with email address/ student card/ whatever Apple require where you are to get the education pricing.

    Of course a refurb might work out cheaper.

    In terms of model to buy - I share your dilemmas having recently chopped and changed a bit - I do some heavier stuff than you but I use two machines - one at home for power (a 2011 15" MBP), one on the road (2013 rMBP 13").

    I think though you need to see this as a compromise situation - compromise between big or small, portable or non-portable. 8GB vs 16GB, 256GB vs 512GB So the question you'll want to answer really is - what is the best compromise.

    For my mind that would be rMBP 15" with or without the discrete GPU - whichever you can afford. Why do I say that ? Quad core. Sounds like there is a chance you might need to run Windows at some point - If you want to do that through VM you will have the power. Couple that with 8GB ram or more and that power should see you set for most things. 16GB if you can afford it. In a cost-choice between RAM vrs SSD - I would almost think go with the 16GB RAM - you can always plug in a SD card, a USB 3 or Thunderbolt drive - you can't plug in extra RAM! Of course if you NEED the 512GB then the only question is - do you need 16GB RAM or is 8 enough. Note - you can comfortably run a VM on 8GB.....but as always it depends what you do in the VM and what you do in OsX.

    I guess depends on your course. If you are doing bioinformatics or something you could need all the power you can get!
  8. VanneDC macrumors 6502a


    Jun 5, 2010
    Dubai, UAE
    Sounds like you enjoyed your 15 inch screen? Going back to smaller feels like having your arm amputated. Stick with the 15 inch unless you plugin when home/school.
  9. GhettoMrBob macrumors regular

    May 21, 2014
    The refurb store currently has the 15" (late 2013) with 512/16 for $2199. That's the model with discrete graphics as well.

    Jus sayin'. ;)
  10. exizeo macrumors regular

    Mar 23, 2014
  11. kyriostrife macrumors member

    Sep 19, 2010
    And if you do plug in?
  12. AppleGoat macrumors 6502a

    Oct 14, 2010
    If you're considering the 13" rMBP, go with the base 15" rMBP refurb for $1699
  13. s2mikey macrumors 68020


    Sep 23, 2013
    Upstate, NY
    Ya know,mi was scared of this but I've had my new rMBP 13" for a few days now and I came from 16" windows laptops. The screen size has NOT been a big deal thus far. I thought I'd miss it but I honestly have not yet. The rMBP is such a terrific machine....maybe that's why I don't miss the screen real estate? It's a seller for sure but isn't a bother at all. Just my two cents.

    To the OP, I went with the rMBP 13" with 8GB ram & 256 GB SSD. Love it.
  14. mixxy thread starter macrumors newbie

    Dec 10, 2011
    thanks guys.

    Im torn. The cheapest I can get a refurbished rMBP 15 (current model) is for $1799+recyclying fee + 13% taxes = $2035

    For 8GB RAM and a 256GB SSD, it just doesnt seem quite right. Ahh....I wish I could find one locally but so far I've had no luck. I may be coming down to the US soon, but with the Canadian dollar being so low I still end up paying another 10%. Decisions decisions.

    I will say that the 15inch is probably the option I'll choose if I do infact end up going with the rMBP.

    Can anyone tell me how the Dell XPS 13 compares to the rMBP 13?
  15. Cloudsurfer macrumors 65816


    Apr 12, 2007
    Don't forget you can use your student discount. Not sure if this applies to refurbs but it may get the 16GB/512GB config within your price range.

    Regarding the whole screen size debate, I went from 15" to 13" and I hated that decision ever since. I'm waiting for Broadwell to make the jump back to 15". It's a personal thing though, if you're not sure if 13" is for you then just try them out at the store. Going from 15" regular to 13" retina might not be as bad.
  16. mixxy thread starter macrumors newbie

    Dec 10, 2011
    bit it guys

    i bought a brand new 15 inch rMBP. Early 2013 with the dedicated Nvidia 650. Paid $1850 all in. I wanted the dedicated graphics, and this model, although slightly older, was a great price.

    Was sealed. Bought it from a reseller but verified that it had warranty through apple first.

    First impressions - amazingly light and solid. Its running quite hot right now but no fans are coming on, impressive. Not like the XPS 15 at ALL.

    Thanks for all your help with the decision. Now, to play =)

    Installing mavericks right now. It came with 10.8.3 and was dead out of the box. Charging it up and it has only 2 cycles on it. woohoo!
  17. Badrottie Suspended


    May 8, 2011
    Los Angeles
    OP, you don't like a MacBook Air "13 with super long battery life? It is good price than what you listed. :apple:
  18. nickdylan macrumors regular

    Mar 17, 2012
    Hot and Nvidia 650? That's the 2012 retina MacBook Pro rather than the early 2013 one.

    It's also got a display that was competitive in 2006 and is much weaker, and has a smaller screen which OP specifically didn't want.
  19. mixxy thread starter macrumors newbie

    Dec 10, 2011

    Definitely got the Feb 2013 version. It doesnt run hot. Just a little warm after the mavericks update. A quick search on google said that this is pretty common and an SMC reset fixes the issue so I'll try that when I get home.

    As for the macbook air - its a great system but as nickdylan said, its got a relatively low res display for todays day and age. The computing power that i will need is simply not there in the Air.

    If i could afford two laptops, I would definitely buy the air and the 15 inch pro. But alas, I am a broke to be grad student =)

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