Which Mac Book Pro Retina 13 vs 15

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by jkundi, Mar 31, 2014.

  1. jkundi macrumors member

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2014
    #1
    Hi everyone, I've been saving up for a Mac Book Pro for a few months and feel I'm ready to make the move to a Mac. Ultimately it comes to which size I require, the 13" or 15". I went to my local Apple store today and had a good feel on both machines. As portable the 13" looks I'm not sure it would suffice in carrying out daily tasks.

    What will I be using the Mac Book Pro for?
    Primarily I'll be using it for general web surfing, Dreamweaver/Photoshop for Web Development/Design (quite allot), Lightroom for editing pictures (quite allot), Final Cut Pro for video editing (not so much). I'd like it to last 2/3 years before upgrading.

    Now I'm capable of purchasing maxed out versions of both but really would like to refrain from spending for a spec I wont fully use. Do I really need all that computing power, will the 16GB RAM be over kill? What processor would be ideal?

    If I am to go for the 13" which seems portable and lighter, will it handle applications stated above without issues. I know I'd may have to buy an external monitor to work on when editing pictures or designing.

    The 15" does seem quite large but I'm thinking it would be ok to edit and design without having the need of an external monitor?

    I'm not looking for an iMac due to not wanting to be at a desk (having being stuck behind a desk all day at work) would much prefer to sit on a sofa lol.

    What are your views? What specs would you recommend?

    p.s. Yes I'm new to the forum but have been visiting for years, hopefully I can contribute in future, now that I willing to make the move.

    - Jas
     
  2. yjchua95 macrumors 604

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2011
    Location:
    GVA, KUL, MEL (current), ZQN
    #2
    Most people say that the sweet spot for the 13" is 2.4GHz, 256GB SSD and 8GB of RAM.

    However, since the RAM is soldered, you can't upgrade it post purchase, so if you can go for 16GB (even if you don't need it), go for it. Software requirements will rise over time, so you'll need 16GB a few years down the road.

    On the SSD, 256GB drives are plenty fast, but you'll be playing the SanDisk/Samsung lottery. If you get the Samsung one, well and good. If you get the SanDisk one, it'll be slower by 150MB/s in writes. Most people won't notice this if they're not doing operations that are I/O intensive. If you get the 256GB variant, just make sure that you won't run out of storage and that you don't mind carrying an external drive everywhere with you if you do run out of storage.

    For the apps you listed above, the 13" will do you fine. I'm not so sure about video editing on FCP X though, but since you don't use it often, I suppose the 13" will be fine.
     
  3. DribbleCastle macrumors regular

    DribbleCastle

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2009
    Location:
    Seattle, WA
    #3
    Depends on portability

    Depends primarly on two things.

    1. Portability
    2. Dedicated graphics card.

    Each has its distinct advantage. I just got the 13" rMBP two days ago and love it so far. This is coming from a 13" MBA from 2012. Little heavier but the screen is so worth it. You can definitly feel the extra weight in a bag. But good news is I rarely take it on the road. More of a around the house computer these days.

    I think you'll love either version, best way to test them out is the Apple Store. You'll know by just picking them up etc.

    Def get at least 256GB HD and def 16GB of RAM if you want to keep for three years for the type of work your looking to do.
     
  4. kathyricks macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Nov 26, 2012
    #4
    I was having to make the same decision 2 months ago. I went with the base model 15" (part number ME293LLA) thinking it might be a little too big than what I really needed (photo & video editing). Wrong. I found out the 15" screen is just barely big enough for video editing. So I'm glad I got the 15". I also like the top mounted speakers of the 15" and the fact that its noticably more peppy than the 13" for photo/video tasks. If you get the dedicated graphics card version of the 15" (part number ME294LLA) it positively screams at photo and video editing as this video demonstrates: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h8ocU5Y2q_0 If you can afford the ME294LLA I would go with it - it also comes with 16GB RAM and 512 GB storage. Costs $2199 at the Apple refurb store.

    Now on the other hand if you travel frequently and portability and weight is important, the 13" is definately more compact and 1 pound lighter.
     
  5. No-Me macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2011
    Location:
    Rotterdam
    #5
    As said above, if portability is most important, go for the 13" with an external monitor. I have a 15", love the screen although for real design work I always use an external monitor. Sometimes I wished I went for the 13" as the 15" sometimes is too heavy to carry around all day.
     
  6. jkundi thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2014
    #6
    Thanks for the tips guys, I believe may settle for the 15" as the screen size does allow for greater use without investing in a external monitor. But I will be visiting the Apple store to get a hands feel on both before I decide. I'm currently using a 15" Sony Vaio laptop and it feels huge on the lap while sitting on the sofa, but the Apple Mac Book Pro are thinner and lighter so the experience would be different. Hopefully I can order one before the end of the week.
     
  7. caribiner23 macrumors regular

    caribiner23

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2005
    Location:
    Chicago
    #7
    I carried a 15" MBP for many years and when I upgraded I decided on the 13" for two reasons: portability and cost.

    The 13" rMBP is lighter and easier to handle plus I simply could not justify the cost for the marginally extra real estate. I have a 22" DVI monitor that I use when I need the extra screen space, and that monitor set me back $150, which is less than the (minimum) upgrade cost of $200 for the 15".

    Good luck!
     
  8. Naimfan macrumors 68040

    Naimfan

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2003
    #8
    I'd go for a refurbished 15" for $1699 USD. Quad core vs dual, better graphic support with Iris Pro vs Iris, and there's no substitute for screen real estate.

    If the weight difference matters that much, join a gym. ;)
     
  9. AbyssImpact macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Aug 6, 2010
    #9
    Then the op will need to add in gym costs to the total cost... Going with the 13 and not having to waste time going to the gym is a smarter deal. Time = money.
     
  10. Naimfan macrumors 68040

    Naimfan

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2003
    #10
    An interesting theory. I hope you didn't hurt yourself coming up with that one . . . ;)

    Besides, if the weight difference is that big a deal, going to a gym, or any type of fitness activity, will extend life and thus the time available . . .

    But never mind - clearly you missed the point.
     
  11. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    May 3, 2009
    Location:
    Boston
    #11
    Personally, I'd go with the 15" rMBP because of the screen real estate. My recommendation is to look at both in person and which one you prefer.
     
  12. snaky69 macrumors 603

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2008
    #12
    2 more cores for your photo editing definitely won't hurt.
     
  13. moxxey macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2011
    #13
    I'm lucky enough to own a 2011 15" rMBP and a 2013 13" rMBP. Both have their advantages and disadvantages, which is why I have both models!

    The 13" is superb for taking to meetings. The battery can last a day on a full charge, it's relatively light and great for work. Best of all, it will fit most messenger bags.

    The 15" is superb as a desktop replacement. No way could I realistically use the 13" each day as the screen is a tad too small, I find it harder to type on the more compact keyboard and I utilise the quad-core CPU for running OS X and Windows, simultaneously.
     
  14. joeytp macrumors member

    Joined:
    Mar 6, 2014
    Location:
    Quebec, Canada
    #14
    Hello,
    I'm new here too...

    I had the same choise few month ago, I had been using a 13'' MBP for the last two years and I love the portability of it. As I started university (mechanical engeenering) I had to upgrade. I wanted to stay with the 13'' but needed a batter display for CAD drawing. I finally bought the 15'' with the dedicated graphic card.
    I'll give you my opinion, the thing is the ram is weld so it can not be upgrade so 16GB is realy woth it, the quad-core will be faster then the dual-core in the 13", the maxed version of the 15" comes with 512 ssd who is in my thought pretty nice... Finaly, I expected the 15" to be little too big (portability) but finally I have it in my bag all week long :)! Btw it was realy not a requirement for me but the speacker make ma music clearer than my old 13"

    P.S: By curiousity get me notice on what you've bougth ? Bought are realy good machine!

    Sorry for my poor english (Quebec Frechy speecking)

    Thank's
     
  15. Merode macrumors 6502

    Merode

    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2013
    Location:
    Warszawa, Poland
    #15
    I've been asking the same question myself not long ago. I've come from Windows/PC world and I was afraid that 13" is not going to grant me enough screen real estate.

    After trying it at Apple Reseller's I've come to conclusion 13" is enough for all the things I do thanks to Mission Control, Virtual Desktops etc. It's really great compared to 14" Windows notebook I use for work (ugh, multitasking is terrible on it).

    Although recently I found out that such a small screen has some downsides. I've tried playing Diablo III on my rMBP and everything was so small that it made the game much more difficult. :p Fortunately I don't play games very often nowadays. :)

    PS.: Yes, I could have plugged it to a monitor. ;-)
     
  16. MartinAppleGuy macrumors 68020

    MartinAppleGuy

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2013
    #16
    I +1 this comment. That and a better GPU.
     
  17. tigress666 macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2010
    Location:
    Washington State
    #17
    Ok, I got a question, which sizes are you not playing the lottery with?

    (not that it matters, already got mine coming with a 512 GB size but just curious if i even need to worry about it).
     
  18. jkundi thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2014
    #18
    Hi guys just came back from the Apple store and I've decided to go for the 15".

    The specs I have in mind are:

    2.3GHz Quad-core Intel Core i7
    16GB RAM
    256GB Flash Drive

    What do you guys think on the specs, any recommendations? Looking to order it asap via the Apple UK website.
     
  19. leman macrumors 604

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2008
    #19
    I'd say save the $199 and get the 8GB version. If you want to upgrade after 3 years anyway and don't do RAM-intensive workflows, I see not much point in spending the money.
     
  20. yjchua95 macrumors 604

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2011
    Location:
    GVA, KUL, MEL (current), ZQN
    #20
    128 and 256GB are the ones that'll involve the lottery.

    512 and 1TB are Samsung only.

    I was lucky my iMac 21.5" with 256GB was a Samsung.
     
  21. tigress666 macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2010
    Location:
    Washington State
    #21
    Ah, ok thanks :).
     
  22. joeytp macrumors member

    Joined:
    Mar 6, 2014
    Location:
    Quebec, Canada
    #22
    Hello,

    I do not have the same opinion... I think if you have the money go for the 16 gb !!! The RAM can not be upgrade because it is weld... I have 16 GB and i think it realy woth it (i would not have the same opinion if it has possible to upgrade it)

    Thank's
     
  23. leman macrumors 604

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2008
    #23
    Upgradeability is of no concern here because OP clearly states that they would update in 3 years at latest. For the kind of tasks OP does, there will be no to very little performance difference between 8GB and 16GB. I don't see why one should pay for something they probably won't use.

    P.S. I have 16GB but its only because I word with very large data sets and multiple virtual machines. That said, I could have probably be just as satisfied with 8GB.
     
  24. joeytp, Apr 3, 2014
    Last edited: Apr 3, 2014

    joeytp macrumors member

    Joined:
    Mar 6, 2014
    Location:
    Quebec, Canada
    #24
    I'll give that one! if he don't wanna long term computer your right ! haha...

    EDIT: I jost sold a mid 2010 13" MBP and the fack that I had 8 GB RAM helped my case sold it a 950$ in 48 hrs... It is just my tought!
     
  25. M5RahuL macrumors 68020

    M5RahuL

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2009
    Location:
    Colorado
    #25

    Great choice, except spring for the 512 SSD if possible!
     

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