Unique situation - 13" mbp + ssd vs 15" mbp

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by Morley7, Jun 4, 2010.

  1. Morley7 macrumors member

    Mar 3, 2010

    Heres my situation; I am going to college this fall. I plan to go for networking/software development. I will have about $2500-3000 to spend on a laptop and whatever else I may need.

    Originally I wanted to get a 15" Macbook Pro with a bunch of upgrades that would cost me all of that or slightly more. Since then I realized that is pretty unreasonable. So I have decide to get something cheaper. I narrowed it down to 2 options.

    1. 15" mbp baseline with high res anti-glare screen. ~$1900
    2. 13" mbp baseline with OWC 120GB ssd and an optibay. ~$1700

    Things I will be doing are:
    -Browsing (5-15 tabs)
    -Everything for school. Word processing, programming, ect.
    -A lot of music
    -light gaming (emulators and old games)

    I was wondering if the 13" will outperform the 15" in any tasks due to the ssd. I'm not too worried about the processor because I will not be doing anything that is cpu intensive. No to little editing.

    One concern is the screen size. as I will not be able to afford an external monitor. At least not one that I would be happy with. would the 13" be okay for programming? I have not gone into this too much on my own yet. (To busy surfing MacRumors :p)

    My main concern however is the durability of the hard drive. I go everywhere on a bike. I live about 2 miles from any decent paved roads, so it is pretty rough until I get into town. It seems like the ssd would be much more reliable in this aspect. Also I plan on taking the mbp with me basically everywhere. So the weight is another factor. However 1 pound isn't that much of a deal to me.

    I do realize that with the optibay I would still have the hdd in there but I will have it backed up and I would like to replace the stock one anyways and it would be a good excuse to if it failed.

    Is there anyone here that commutes on a bike? If so, have you ever had any problems? Anything else I may be missing?

    Thank You:)
  2. jdechko macrumors 68040

    Jul 1, 2004
    Unless your MBP is powered on and accessing the hard drive while you're riding the bike, the shock from the ride isn't going to kill the drive. So you could save the money on going with an SSD if that's your only consideration. If you're worried about drive failure, and as a college student, your data is going to be more valuable than the computer, get an external drive to keep at home or in your dorm (wherever you'll be staying).

    Everything else will be handled flawlessly by the 13" baseline. Then you've got some cash left over for an external monitor. Spend anywhere between $200 and $300 and you can get a pretty decent Dell monitor.

    Don't forget any software you'll need. Check out your campus bookstore for Office as they may have some deals.

    You'll also get a student discount from Apple too, and if you do the BTS program, you can get a $200 rebate on an iPod Touch and a $100 rebate on a printer. Don't forget about Apple Care either.

    So to recap, approx $1700 for 13"MBP, 20-22" Monitor, iPod Touch, Printer, external drive, Office and AppleCare seems like it's a better way to spend your money than simply a (faster) computer.
  3. uller6 macrumors regular


    May 14, 2010
    Go 13" + SSD

    I've been a bike commuter for years. I previously had a 15" Powerbook that came with me everywhere. It crapped out after 4 years. Then I moved on to a 13" Macbook Pro (last generation), with an Intel x25 SSD, which has been working beautifully for the past year. I biked anywhere from 1-10 miles a day with them in my backpack, and neither one had major issues as a result of biking. Apple makes these things pretty sturdy. Plus, when in sleep (or powered down) the hard drive won't be spinning so it should be able to take the punishment just fine. I do appreciate the weight reduction I got by moving down to the 13 inch - it really is noticeable.

    As far as the speed goes, WOW. The SSD is insanely fast - it's the best upgrade you can purchase for your computer. You'll (almost) never get another beachball of death again.

    With that, I would recommend going the 13" + SSD route. You won't be disappointed.
  4. Morley7 thread starter macrumors member

    Mar 3, 2010
    Thanks, both of you. As for software and the student discount, that's already figured in. Also an external monitor isn't too important as I am only home about 30% of the time I'm awake.

    I figured the durability wouldn't be too much of an issue. Glad to know it isn't.

    I am pretty sure I will end up with the 13". It's just the screen and resolution that bothers me.
  5. Fuchal macrumors 68020

    Sep 30, 2003
    I have a 2.26ghz 13" MBP with Optibay - 500GB Hitachi 7200RPM in the drive slot + 128GB OCZ Vertex in the Optibay - and the thing FLIES. Highly recommended.
  6. Raje macrumors member

    Mar 2, 2010
    The 13" should be fine, but wait before you buy the SSD. There are rumors that have some pretty good backing that suggests that Intel will release new SSDs at the end of this year or the beginning of next year that will have twice the storage space, faster speeds and should cost about the same. Like the others have said just make sure your HDD isn't spinning while it is in the laptop and you will be good.

    EDIT: You may want to consider an MBA once it is updated as money does not seem to be an issue. It would be lighter (which may help when biking) and I personally think it is one of the sexiest laptops available.
  7. Morley7 thread starter macrumors member

    Mar 3, 2010
    That's what I hear. Thanks.

    Well money is definitely an issue. Otherwise the decision would be really easy. The money is actually going to be a student loan. The only thing that I really need it for though is a computer. Whatever I don't spend will be put away for a new bike. Anyways the way I'm justifying spending so much is that I will be using it for such a huge amount of time I might as well get what I want. Even if I could get by with much less.

    Also I have heard about the new SSDs. I won't even be getting the computer until August. So by then I figured I might as well wait and see what's available.
  8. EasyJW macrumors member

    Apr 22, 2010
    definately a 13" with an SSD, it will fly [​IMG] especially for the tasks you want it for
  9. linux2mac macrumors 65816


    Aug 29, 2009
    "City of Lakes", MN
    I just picked up a 13" 2.4 GHz MBP. My boot time with default hard drive is approximately 32 seconds. For those that put a SSD into the 2.4 GHz 13" MBP, what is the boot time with the SSD? Thanks.

  10. zmttoxics macrumors 65816


    May 20, 2008
    For what you want, the white 13" MacBook with a RAM / HD upgrade is enough. I went through Computer engineering with one, worked wonders! :D

    PS: If your program is anything like mine was, you will want something like VMWare so you can quickly get to a linux or windows dev environment.
  11. peapody macrumors 68040


    Oct 7, 2007
    San Francisco, CA
    This is the set up I have. Except I have an 80gb Intel X25. LOVE it.

    My hitachi sits quietly until I access it. Just the way I like it.
  12. cluthz macrumors 68040


    Jun 15, 2004
    I've been biking a few miles every day with my MBP, even in the winter, unless the roads are closed. I even take shortcuts down stairs on my way :p
    Neither my PowerBook G4s, or my two MBPs have had any HD failures, so I guess you're safe! I'm pretty sure I've biked a few thousand miles with my laptops :)

    I don't even turn them off before biking (tbh I never turn my computers off, just close them and it goes to sleep).

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