What's the difference between the MPB 13" and MPB 15" Graphics Card?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by s2smooth4u, Jul 9, 2012.

  1. s2smooth4u macrumors regular

    Aug 6, 2008
    Hi all! The title pretty much states the question, but I'm looking to buy a MBP (non retina). I will be using the computer to do grad school urban design work/ architecture. I wanted to know if I bought the high end 13" MBP would the graphics card be able to handle the work. I know the 15" MBP would handle it but off course money is tight. (please save the you "shouldn't buy it if money is tight" comments) I need a new computer regardless...this s*** dell is on its death bed and I refuse to deal with a PC again. I also plan to upgrade the memory to 16GB and hard drive.

    Thanking you in advance for the input!
  2. Dangerous Theory macrumors 68000

    Jul 28, 2011
    The difference is the 13 has no graphics carthe while the 15 does. You haven't exactly detailed your work much, but if it isn't intensive 3D effects then the 13 should be fine.
  3. s2smooth4u thread starter macrumors regular

    Aug 6, 2008
    I will be using photoshop, running parallels, sketchup, autoCAD, and GIS.
  4. Furifo macrumors 6502

    Jun 1, 2010
    15" hands down. The discrete graphics card in the 15" will really help with the apps you mentioned.

    Spend a little extra now on the 15" and you won't regret it.
  5. s2smooth4u thread starter macrumors regular

    Aug 6, 2008
    With that in Mind is there a major difference in the 15" low end vs the high end with the graphics card. Will I notice a major difference between 512mb vs 1gb?
  6. NewbieCanada macrumors 68030

    Oct 9, 2007
    And in case you don't know, save money by upgrading the memory (and potentially hard drive) yourself.
  7. stevelam, Jul 9, 2012
    Last edited: Jul 9, 2012

    stevelam macrumors 65816

    Nov 4, 2010
    The 13" is completely fine for your usage. I highly doubt you'll actually notice the difference in performance between the 13" and 15". You'll notice more speed by upgrading the ram rather than the discrete card.
  8. user418 macrumors 6502a


    Aug 22, 2010
    With the type work you'll be doing in grad school and the programs you'll be running I'd go with the 15" for the extra screen real estate as well as the better graphics card as stated by other posters.
  9. NMF macrumors 6502a


    Oct 27, 2011
    You definitely need the 15". The 512mb model will be fine. You only need the 1gb card if you plan on docking to a monitor and running 2560x1440 or higher resolution, and even then you'd probably be just dandy with the 512mb in all but the most extreme workloads.

    Do not by the 13" though under any circumstance. The difference between the 13" and the 15" graphics cards is that the 15" has one, the 13" doesn't. :p IMO there's really no reason for anyone to buy the 13" MBP... if you need a 13" machine then the MBA is the best choice.
  10. stevelam macrumors 65816

    Nov 4, 2010
    Except the discrete card barely comes into play for the apps he's using. The hd4000 is more than enough for photoshop etc etc.
    Besides, you're better off getting an external monitor rather than upgrading to the 15" which is still pretty damn small for design work.

    Sorry but people telling you that you "definitely need" the 15" because of the discrete card have absolutely no idea what they're talking about.
  11. s2smooth4u thread starter macrumors regular

    Aug 6, 2008
    Thanks for the input. I'm thinking of going with the base level 15" and then upgrading. I am a little concerned though because I will want to work from an external monitor later on. So just to clarify the NVIDIA GeForce GT 650M with 512MB of GDDR5 memory will or will not work with an external monitor.

  12. leman macrumors G3

    Oct 14, 2008
    Uhm, AutoCAD? Sure, HD 4000 is not a slouch, but for 3D modells of reasonable complexity a dedicated card and more real screen estate are both very useful.


    It should be sufficient for your usage.
  13. s2smooth4u thread starter macrumors regular

    Aug 6, 2008
  14. dona83 macrumors 6502

    Nov 26, 2004
    Kelowna, BC
    I don't get why people are so afraid of the HD4000 graphics card. Play COD4 on my wife's 2011 Air with the slower HD3000 is a much better experience than playing on my old 2006 iMac with its discrete ATI Mobility X1600. I can play at full HD resolution on my wife's Air and even turn up a few settings whereas the iMac can only play it at 800x600.

    Just to note, the HD3000 in the 2011 models is only 5% slower than the NVidia 320Ms from the 2010 model. The HD4000 is about 40% faster. It should be able to reasonably play the latest games like Diablo III. Of course the NVidia 650m will run circles around the HD4000 but only if the 15" form factor works for you.

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