The 13" MBP isn't really "pro?"

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by Panini, Aug 3, 2012.

  1. Panini, Aug 3, 2012
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2012

    Panini macrumors regular

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    #1
    Lately, I've been comparing the macbook lineups, and the 13" pro has always stuck out to me with its far inferior specs compared to the 15"

    -No dGPU
    -Dual Core
    -8GB Max RAM
    -1280x800 resolution

    This seems a lot more similar to the 13" macbook air than the macbook pro.

    -No dGPU
    -Dual Core
    -8GB Max RAM
    -1440x900 resolution

    Now the only two differences are processor clock speed and storage. The MBA can be configured with a 2.0Ghz processor which can boost to an incredible 3.2Ghz! That's enough (cpu-wise) for 99% of tasks even the 15" Pro has to handle.

    The 13" Pro, on the other hand, if configured with the same sized SSD, comes in at $1,699. This configuration has a max speed of 3.1Ghz. An Air configured with a processor upgrade has a max speed of 3.2Ghz and costs $1,599.

    Of course, for the above point, you could argue the 13" Pro is not maxed out since I selected the base model + upgrades, but I did that because it's what any reasonable person would do.

    The higher end 13" is only $200 away from the 15" with a dGPU, bigger screen and quad core processor. The only people who wouldn't put in that extra $200 premium are people who either:

    -Don't need the extra power
    -Want a lighter laptop

    Well, doesn't the air seem like a better choice, then?

    So it all comes down to storage. The difference is, the 13" pro is capable of having a HDD instead of an SSD. For the "reasonable" comparison listed above for the two models, the pro gets 244gb more memory at the cost of the incredible SSD performance (which, I'm sure many will agree, makes more of a difference in performance to the average user than CPU or GPU).

    So, what reason is there to even go for the 13" now? I have a feeling it will be discontinued unless it gets a real update since, IMHO, it's no competition to the air.

    tl;dr The 13" pro is more of a heavier, thicker air, than an actual macbook pro.


    EDIT: I just realised that some people are considering the possibility of a 13" retina model in the next year. I'm 100% sure this will not happen, here's why:

    -13" retina would be 2560x1600, very similar to the 2880x1800 and thus would demand similar hardware
    -The 13" doesn't have room for a dGPU, which is required to run almost any 3-D application on retina resolution. The dGPU sometimes activates for just for watching HD video on the current retina model. Without a dGPU, all you have is retina text.
    -The 13" Pro can't get a better processor/iGPU than it has now. The HD 4000 is pretty much as good as it gets for the time being. Now, suppose when Haswell comes out the iGPU becomes a lot better. Well, then the Air is also a good candidate for retina since it and the 13" pro have the same GPU.
     
  2. Minicube macrumors regular

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    #2
    The 13" MBP has a firewire 800 port (which some of us still use) and a CD drive (which almost nobody uses anymore) that can be swapped out with a second hard drive. Putting an SSD for the main drive and a 750 Gig hard drive in the CD space makes a killer machine with LOTS of storage, unlike the Air (which is still a fine Mac if you don't need the space).
     
  3. Panini thread starter macrumors regular

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    #3
    The air does have a thunderbolt port, so it, in a way, with proper adapters, can have an optical drive, ethernet, and firewire port.

    You are aware, though, that 99% of people purchasing Apple computers do not upgrade them on their own? The majority configure it on the website and order that. Swapping an ODD for storage is especially complicated and something the "average" user probably isn't willing to do.

    But still, even with your solution, it still only comes down to storage space - and by buying an SSD/HDD, you could just as well get a 15" for a few extra $.
     
  4. sweetbrat macrumors 65816

    sweetbrat

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    #4
    Most people wouldn't order a MBP with an SSD. They would either keep the HDD for the storage it provides, or order it with the HDD and swap it out themselves, saving about $250-300. But most people don't get computers with SSDs at all. There's other reasons, as well. Some people need more than 8GB of RAM, which isn't available in the Air. Some people still want to have an optical drive, Firewire port and Ethernet port. You can take out the HDD, put in your own SSD and put the HDD where the optical drive was, giving you speed and storage. That's something you don't get with the MBA.

    It's true, it does have some inferior specs compared to the 15" MBP (no high-res option, no discrete graphics, no quad-core). But for people who prefer a 13" laptop, there's still reasons to buy the MBP over the MBA. They may not be good reasons for you, but they're important for some people.
     
  5. T5BRICK macrumors 604

    T5BRICK

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    #5
  6. Queen6, Aug 3, 2012
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2012

    Queen6 macrumors 603

    Queen6

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    #6
    The 13" Pro offers, expandability in both RAM & HDD/SSD and a greater colour gamut, The Air offers greater resolution, default SSD and the best portability in the business.

    As for the 13" being a "Pro" the machine was initially marketed as the Aluminium MacBook and since 08 little has changed, for me the 13" is a base model, entry point system offering a level of flexibility for those that need it. Apple is targeting the consumer, make no "bones" about it so the "Pro" moniker these days what it is, a sales tactic nothing more, nothing less.
     
  7. Panini, Aug 3, 2012
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2012

    Panini thread starter macrumors regular

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    #7
    Your point about swapping out the HDD for an SSD is a good point, but like I mentioned before, the majority of people are not willing to do this, and it still comes down to storage.

    8GB ram is available on the Air, actually, and since it has a thunderbolt port all of the other things you mentioned are possible, too, and will probably only cost a total of ~$70 in adapters.

    Still, all it comes down to is storage, and if you're willing to buy your own SSD the price still goes up to nearly the same as the 15" pro.


    The Air and Pro both have an 8GB ram limit. Of course, the 13" pro can be upgraded to be 16gb, and get outfitted with a third-party SSD, but that already brings its price to that of a 15" base model.

    The increased colour gamut would've been a good reason to buy it a while back, but now, anybody that cares will go for the retina model. It's really hard for me to notice the difference in colour between the 13" Pro and Air, so anyone who is willing to go to that level of detail (most likely a professional photographer) will have no problem making the leap to a retina model.

    I agree with you that the 13" pro is only called the pro since they can't really call it the Air. I know a few people who actually cared that the 13" pro was called the pro.
     
  8. Rocketpaul macrumors regular

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    Aug 3, 2012
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    London
    #8
    Is the air really that powerful? I was thinking of getting one maxed out but still not sure, there something about its ultra slim profile that make me feel that it cant be all that powerful(silly i know). The other major draw back is the 256gb ssd seems so little, I debating weather to by the 2.9ghz 13" Pro and put in a 256gb ssd myself and replace the ODD with the 750gb HDD.
     
  9. vladster macrumors member

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    Jul 25, 2011
    #9
    I was cross-shopping both, and eventually bought "13 pro...

    A while back, my old MacBook white 2GB seemed almost unusable for my purposes, but 4GB upgrade brought it back to life. So, after realizing they made the new Air even less upgrade-able than the old one, I went Pro path.

    Size wise - they are +\- identical. What I miss though - light weight Air body.
     
  10. marcoVU macrumors newbie

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    May 4, 2010
    #10
    Someone already mentioned it, but the air is maxed out at 8GB of memory. MBP 13" can take 16GB. So, you can have an SSD and 16GB RAM for a little over $300 extra on a MBP. It will be superior performance to the air.
     
  11. Queen6 macrumors 603

    Queen6

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    #11
    In general I use 15" MBP`s and on the occasion that portability is premium a 13" Air. For the 13" MBP I guess it all comes down to portability versus expandability, if I had to make the call; the 13" is not a Pro machine.
     
  12. Zarkizon macrumors member

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    Sep 10, 2011
    #12
    I am actually very pleased with the performance of my 13-inch Mid-2012 Macbook Pro. I am doing some heavy photo editing, 1080p video editing, and occasionally some huge digital paintings in Photoshop.

    I replaced the HDD with a third party SSD, as well as put in 16 GB of RAM. It is faster than the MBA.
     
  13. DcoalStrat macrumors member

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    Aug 2, 2012
    #13
    What is the definition of a pro machine these days anyways? Is it for work machine or for pro consumer. What software do you need to run on it? that other Mac can't. Everything that macbook pro 15 inch run a 13 inch and the Air can too. Leo Laporte said that his MAcbook pro retina nowadays is more powerful than his MAc Pro 2010. So what is a Pro machine definition nowadays?
     
  14. sweetbrat macrumors 65816

    sweetbrat

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    #14
    Yes, 8GB of RAM is available in the Air, which is what I said. More than 8GB is not. But you can put more than 8GB in the MBP, and for people running intensive apps or a lot of apps at one, that's important. And you're right, most people don't upgrade their HDD to an SSD. SSDs aren't all that mainstream yet; HDDs are still much more common. But for people that actually know what an SSD is and want one, it's reasonably likely that they're techie enough to swap it themselves.

    Also, you said earlier that if people get an upgraded 13" MBP they could get a 15" for not much more. That's true. But there's a lot of people that think a 15" computer is too large. They want a 13", but they want some of the features that the MBA doesn't have.

    ----------

    You can buy the higher version of the 13" MBP for $1499. Add a 256GB SSD for $200 and 16GB of RAM for $200, and that puts you at $1899. True, that's $100 more than the base 15" MBP, but the 15" doesn't have the SSD or the 16GB of RAM. That's not really a valid comparison.

    As for what qualifies as Pro and what doesn't, that's completely open to interpretation. There is no steadfast answer to that question. It's a product name, not a determination of what you're allowed to do with it.
     
  15. ivoruest, Aug 3, 2012
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2012

    ivoruest macrumors 6502

    ivoruest

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    #15
    But this is not because Apple wanted it. Its because it has come with it since it was called Macbook (aluminum unibody). I think is unfair to call this machine a Macbook Pro. It definitely falls way beyond a Pro laptop. But as someone else before expresses, it is a good "tactical" marketing decision. For me is kind of a cheat but some people do appreciate.
     
  16. Minicube macrumors regular

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    Jun 5, 2011
    #16
    "But still, even with your solution, it still only comes down to storage space - and by buying an SSD/HDD, you could just as well get a 15" for a few extra $."

    What? In order to get the same performance/space one would have to make the same upgrades to a 15". Same price difference as before. And not everyone wants to lug around the extra weight of a 15".

    I forgot about the ethernet port the 13" has and the Air doesn't. I don't use it a lot, but recently I had to do a huge Apple software update. Using Airport it was over an hour, using ethernet it was 7 minutes. I'll be using that again...

    You're right, most people don't upgrade their Macs, but for those of us who do, we save a bundle.

    The Air is perfect for some; but not for me.

    ----------

    How so? I'm a "pro" and I can do absolutely anything I need to on a 13". I agree with the poster above; the "Pro" tag is just marketing these days.
     
  17. Dangerous Theory macrumors 68000

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    UK
    #17
    MBP 13 vs MBA 13:

    FOR MBP:
    -ODD
    -Upgradeable RAM
    -Upgradeable Hard drive/SSD
    -Extra ports
    -Faster processor
    -Cheaper

    FOR Air:
    -Slim & Light
    -Higher resolution
    -SSD Built in

    Tell me if I've missed anything, but I think that sums up the two.

    There are plenty of people who just want a Macbook, and the 13" Pro is all that they could ask for. It's the cheapest option (disregarding 11" MBA) and puts up a good fight. Plus there are probably people who prefer it's form factor.
     
  18. ivoruest macrumors 6502

    ivoruest

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    #18
    The air is a nice computer, although is not that is very powerful, its the MBP 13" who's underpowered in my opinion.
     
  19. themumu macrumors 6502a

    themumu

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    #19
    A friend of mine has a 2009 13" MBP and back than they actually put nvidia graphics card into it. It's a shame they got rid of that in current models.
     
  20. ivoruest macrumors 6502

    ivoruest

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    #20
    So we both agree the "Pro" tag is not necessary. I'm not trying to diminish in anyway the 13". For me is a very good machine. But still it doesn't deserve the Pro tag due to these reasons: (my opinion)
    - No descrete GPU (helps in 3D rendering, gaming, other OpenGL intensive apps)
    - Screen size (understand a larger display can be connected, but performance, specially for 3D apps, decreases noticeably for a Pro use)
    - Audio input (sometimes useful to some)
    - Dual Core (I know speeds compensate but try encoding videos, its quite slower than 15")
    - And the Air is just to close, it makes me feel the Air should be "Pro Air" then.

    ** Not trying to start a fight, just expressing my point.
     
  21. T5BRICK macrumors 604

    T5BRICK

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    #21
    I've got a 2009 13" MacBook Pro. It has a Geforce 9400M, and I have to say it is very underpowered. It may have been a good graphics chip compared to what intel was offering then, but the HD4000 available now just blows it away.
     
  22. DcoalStrat macrumors member

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    #22

    Even the 15 inch pro version with Dedicated GT9600 is underpower compare to HD4000
     
  23. omgitscro macrumors 6502a

    omgitscro

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    #23
    16GB of 1600MHz RAM, the kind that the 2012 MBPs take, is only $80 online. So, that's $120 off of sweetbrat's total.

    The MacBook Airs use ULV processors which run slower than the ones used in the 13" MBP. The 11" uses an even slower version than the 13", or at least they used to back in 2010/2011, I'm not sure if the 2012 versions are any different.
     
  24. nangariel macrumors member

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    #24
    I don't think this matters so much to a pro.
    First, there is an audio input, you just can't use it at the same time as the output. Moreover, a pro would probably use an external DAC or even an external sound card to get a better quality sound anyways.

    (And also - what about the rMBP then?)
     
  25. Slivortal macrumors 6502

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    Jun 14, 2012
    #25
    This thinking that devices marketed with a "Pro" moniker are ACTUALLY necessarily professional grade needs to stop.

    They CAN be, but it doesn't mean that they are.

    Next you're going to be telling me that the Beats Pro is a headphone for "professionals." :p
     

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