To choose between high-end macbook pro 15'' RAM 4GB vs high-end 13'' 8GB

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by inquirer, May 14, 2010.

  1. inquirer macrumors newbie

    May 14, 2010
    I'm about to purchase a macbook pro- my first ever apple purchase (besides an ipod). I would like it to last four to five years.

    Compact/size wise- 13'' is better (obviously) but 15'' with only 0.5 kg (1.1lbs) extra is not a deal-breaker.

    high-end 15'' 4GB RAM vs high-end 13'' 8GB

    The high-end macbook pro 15'' RAM 4GB has the i5 core

    while the high-end 13'' 8GB has Core2duo

    the 13'' is still cheaper even with the RAM upgrade
    the 15'' has anti-glare screen.

    Which option should I pursue - double the RAM or the the CPU upgrade (C2D to i5)

    Thanks a lot
  2. Ardoptres macrumors regular

    Dec 12, 2009
    They don't have a 8GB option. You'll have to do it yourself.
  3. wisty macrumors regular

    Feb 18, 2009
    You can get a third party RAM update for less. And 8GB may be overkill. Also, the cores are similar speeds. I'd be much more excited about the graphics cards - the 15" destroys the 13" in terms of graphics power.

    The 15" is a better computer - slightly better CPU, much better GPU, but worse battery life.

    I think the 13" is a better laptop - more battery and easy to tote. Also, it's cheaper.

    Up to you, really. I'd get low-end, and spend on peripherals or save for another update down the line.

    If you need good graphics though, the 15" is a no-brainer.
  4. Scottsdale macrumors 601


    Sep 19, 2008
    Since you want it to last four or five years, I think you need to get a 15" MBP with HD display option and the dedicated graphics card and 512 MB VRAM.

    The CPU on either of the MBPs will be fine for four or five years. The real bottleneck in computers lies with the drive and drive controller. However, you can upgrade that later when SSD prices drop. The next important feature will be the graphics. The problem with the 13" is it has an acceptable graphics card for now, but for the long haul you really need a dedicated graphics card with at least 512 MB of VRAM. The last thing you should worry about is the RAM. You will get 4 GB of RAM now which will be plenty for the next two years. In two years you will be able to upgrade it to 8 GB of RAM for probably $150. So buy the high-end 15" MBP now. In two years, upgrade the drive to an SSD and to 8 GB of RAM.

    Computer CPUs today are plenty fast enough. The real limitations come with the drive and drive controller, graphics cards, RAM, and most importantly software. With the 15" MBP, it should get faster over time with apps written to take advantage of h.264 for the graphics, OpenCL will allow the GPU to be well used, and Grand Central Dispatch will take advantage of the CPU cores.

    If you only needed the computer for two to three years, I would say get whichever you think you would like better. Since you're making this a long-term investment, allow yourself to spend the money now to get the best overall system you can. Then in the future, when an SSD costs $150 and 8 GB of RAM costs $150, you can upgrade them. You're probably not going to use up 4 GB of system RAM right now, but apps will require more and more resources over time. With this strategy, in two years when you're upgrading the RAM and SSD it will feel like you bought a brand new MBP.

    One last time... get the best MBP you can afford. Get the HD display for $100. Ensure that you get the 15" with high-end 330 GT with 512 MB VRAM. With that computer, you will have the ultimate experience throughout the whole ownership period of the computer. Also consider buying yourself a 24" LED ACD in the future. I have bought three of them for $599 refurbished, as they turn the Mac notebooks into instant "desktops."

    Good luck with it... enjoy it whichever way you go.
  5. Alvi macrumors 65816


    Oct 31, 2008
    RAM is Upgradeable, you are basically sacrificing Screen Size, Antiglare, and processing power for a big amount of ram that will get cheaper in a matter of months get the 15" one and stay with 4GB which is pretty much enough for the average user and get 8GBs next year or just get one 4GB chip to have a 2GB + 4GB Configuration and when ram gets cheaper throw the 2GB one out and buy another 4GB one
  6. leftarmtan macrumors newbie

    May 14, 2010
    Thank you for the details

    Scottsdale, thanks for taking the time to detail your rationale behind your advice. I too am wavering between the 13 and 15 MBP. I love the portability of the 13 and have been leaning toward that unit until reading your post. I am excitedly moving toward a 15 now, especially considering that it is only half a pound heavier than my old macbook i am using now and have been using for 3 years.
  7. danistyping macrumors regular

    Dec 8, 2009
    Boston, MA
    In this particular case, I'd suggest the 15. The high end 13 is a ripoff - if you're going 13, get the low end model (the extra 260mhz is nothing). Also, I agree with the previous poster that 8gb ram for 99% of users is overkill.

    The 15 will be futureproofed and will be money better spent.

    If you insist on portability, get the low end 13 and put an SSD in it - this will provide a speed increase far superior to the i5 15". The high end 13" shouldn't be considered in my opinion.
  8. ldobson macrumors regular

    Jun 19, 2009
    My advice would be go for the base 13" unless you plan to exclusively use it in an office at your desk. The porttability and battery life are worth it in my opinion, and you can always connect it to a 24" LCD or ACD to get the full desktop experience. 8GB is way over-spec'd for today's usage but down the road you have the option of doing so, along with an SSD when prices fall to today's SATA prices.

    The only reason to consider the 15" or 17" is if your going to be running heavy productivty applications which are graphical/cpu heavy like PhotoShop, Illustrator, Lightroom or final cut.
  9. inquirer thread starter macrumors newbie

    May 14, 2010
    Thank you

    Thanks for the responses! (some very elaborate as well)! I'm still wavering-
    I spend a huge amount of my time on my laptop, yet i'm never in the office- i'm always on the move- (also traveling extensively till the end of the year) - not doing any photoshop or graphic intensive work -not this year anyway -

    Having said this 13'' sounds more logical- now running into another dilemma:

    Danistyping mentioned getting SSD drive (+750$) for the 256GB SSD
    And saving ($300) for a 2.4 as opposed to 2.63 (an unnoticeable difference?)

    The extra $400 would really make a difference in speed. - I'm willing to go for that.

    I have some sort of mild ADD, I have a million applications and a million tabs on each browser, perpetually- I work like that all the time. I detest lagging.

    Upgrading 4GB RAM to 8GB RAM -Overkill? I won't need the 8GB? That means I will not notice any difference in performance (lagging with too many applications running?)

    I bought my present laptop 3.5 years ago - custom made- and it has 4GB. (a vaio though)

    Anyway, enough rambling, even the 15" is still on the radar.

    Thanks a lot guys for everything... i'll let you guys know what I get when I get it.
  10. ozreth macrumors 65816


    Nov 5, 2009
    Actually the high end 15" would be the one with the i7 and the 512mb gpu and I think you should spring for that. Much better computer in the long run, well worth the money if you plan to keep it. In a year or two when SSD prices drop throw one in and that will be a much better upgrade than the 8gb of RAM in the 13" that you probably wouldn't notice unless doing some pretty extensive things.

    Also, there is nowhere that the 13" can fit that the 15" cant, except for a select few bags ha.

Share This Page