why is 13" = low end, 17" = high end? imo opposite

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by iphoneZ, Feb 7, 2010.

  1. iphoneZ macrumors regular

    Jul 15, 2008
    over time as I've used a 15" MBP and a 13" MB I've come to realize that larger screens are actually a negative for laptops. who wants to lug around a 17" or 15" laptop when a 13" screen is equally functional but less heavy and bulky?

    now as I wait for the MBP refresh I know that Apple will stick the crap parts into the 13" and save the performance chips for the bigger laptops. isn't this opposite of everything that makes sense in the world? 17" laptops are basically niche products for wannabe nerds who want to nerd out with things like WoW or blu ray in their laptops. Apple should at least offer the high-end gear on the small-end screen.

    your thoughts?
  2. ARF900 macrumors 65816


    Oct 30, 2009
    Are you my long lost twin?

    Beware I am the only person on this forum who agrees with you. All the money you save just buy an external monitor.
  3. Azmordean macrumors 6502

    Mar 10, 2004
    Silicon Valley
    I agree with you. I think the logic is a 17" machine is a desktop replacement whereas the 13" is either (a) a secondary computer used only when traveling or (b) used by a "facebook and email" consumer.

    In the past this was largely true. Technical constraints guaranteed that an "ultraportable" 13" machine simply couldn't have any brawn. That is no longer the case though. Nonetheless, I think Apple is committed to keeping it's pricing structure intact. For that reason I expect the 13" to have either some form of integrated graphics or an inferior graphics chip. This keeps costs down and allows them to offer it as the "entry level MBP." Apple is just committed to this structure:

    13" - entry level, consumer oriented, budget machine.
    15" - mainstream professional / pro-sumer machine.
    17" - desktop replacement / workstation / high powered machine.

    If that stays true with the new MBPs I will be moving to the new Sony Z.
  4. Saturn1217 macrumors 6502a

    Apr 28, 2008
    I'm also with you. I HATE big laptops. What is the point?! (okay I realize there is a point for some people) I really wish apple would stop treating the 13 MBP like a second class citizen (no matte screen, no discrete graphics). Now that it is being call 'Pro' they should at least have options for really nice specs on the high end 13inch.
  5. IgnatiusTheKing macrumors 68040


    Nov 17, 2007
    das Fort
    Not all laptops are designed to be super-duper portable. Some people need the portability of a laptop (as opposed to the "importability" of a desktop) but still want a large display.

    For example, a person that does a lot of design work wants a large display, but needs to be able to haul a computer between work, home and the road. Normally, the smaller scale of a 13" would be idea for lugging around all the time, but in this case the size of the 17" monitor trumps the minor inconvenience of having a larger/heavier laptop to carry.
  6. Azmordean macrumors 6502

    Mar 10, 2004
    Silicon Valley
    I agree with you, it's a given that big laptops are very useful to a lot of people. I just think what we are talking about here is typical Apple "differentiation" in the line-up and too bad if you don't like it. They have decided 13" = budget, 15" = midrange, 17" = high end.

    Personally, if I were king, I'd offer a budget, mid-range, and high end in EACH size category. No one is saying that 17" shouldn't be offered or shouldn't have good parts. I AM saying that there is no reason the 13" should be a piece of crap performance wise just because it's 13".
  7. Gabriel GR macrumors 6502a

    Gabriel GR

    Jul 12, 2009
    Athens, Greece
    IMO the 12" powerbook was a cutting edge laptop. Apple should do the same with the 13".
  8. spinnerlys Guest


    Sep 7, 2008
    forlod bygningen
    So you also want the better graphics card and CPU to be put in the 13"?

    That might be possible but the space constraints on the 13" might prevent that, and the heat dissipation will get worse, as a second fan is needed for the GPU.

    Also the 13" has no space left for the ExpressCard slot.

    Look at the following photos of the logic boards.

    13" MBP

    15" MBP with GPU

    17" MBP close up of logic board


    If they loose the Superdrive though, things might look different.
  9. ttttttttttt9 macrumors member

    Jan 20, 2010
    Not to mention you can fit a lot more stuff inside a 17" laptop. It's not as if that extra space is empty. Extra fans/space for cooling faster (read: hotter) processors, extra graphics hardware, extra memory slots, extra controllers for various ports. Bigger is always going to accommodate more.

    Personally I go for portability as well so I wish they would offer more options in the 13" (especially options like matte screen where size shouldn't matter at all), but they still offer one of the best 13" laptops on the market, if not the best.

    Even with all this yammering about MBPs being overpriced and everybody else coming out with superior models, in the 13" realm I have yet to find a better machine for a comparable price.
  10. smc333 macrumors regular

    Jan 24, 2010
    Boston, MA
    While I mostly agree with you, I do disagree with those that thing large laptops are useless. I bought a 15" MBP. Most of the time, its here in the dorm, I take my netbook w/Ubuntu to class every day. The occasional time I need more power is when I'll take the MBP. I'd much rather have the larger screen for the 90% of the time I'm in the dorm than sacrifice resolution and 2" in the name of portability.

    Also, as far as hardware goes, I don't think Apple can put enough high end (9600GT/7200RPM) hardware in a 13" enclosure without giving up the aesthetics (heat) that they aim for.
  11. Azmordean macrumors 6502

    Mar 10, 2004
    Silicon Valley
    The price won't be comparable. The screen isn't what determines the price. To get a 13" with 15" innards, you'd have to pay as much as the 15" costs. I priced a Sony Z with the following stats:

    Core i5 540M
    4G RAM
    Geforce 330M GT
    196G SSD hard drive
    DVD Drive


    All in a 13" 3pound packgage. That said, as I mentioned before, I think Apple wants to keep the 13" MBP "Cheap" so they will resist the type of config described above and go with integrated graphics.
  12. ARF900 macrumors 65816


    Oct 30, 2009
    Very few users use Express Card anymore, and the 13" does much more than facebook and email, i was shocked at how powerful and capable it really is.
  13. Davidkoh macrumors 65816

    Aug 2, 2008

    Yeah, think of what they could do with the 13" if they lost the superdrive, who uses that? Except for the occasional reinstall of the OS or installing some software, give the option of a $100 external for those who need it :)
  14. seb-opp macrumors 6502

    Nov 16, 2008
    As has already been mentioned, its down to the size of the notebook which determines what can be put inside it. If the superdrive was removed then the 13" could probably have all the speed and features of the 17", however would people really want so much power in a 13"?

    I say this because users who need power will most likely be running apps like photoshop, logic pro, final cut etc. which all work best with high screen resolutions. Who would want to do this type of work on a low resolution screen?

    I think the 13" is designed to actually be used on the move, while the 17" isn't (i.e. you couldn't use it on a plane because its too big) so therefore the 13" only really needs to be powerful enough to do the kind of things you'd do while travelling, which could be email, word processing, spreadsheets, that kind of thing.
  15. ttttttttttt9 macrumors member

    Jan 20, 2010
    How did you price that out? I can't get sony's indecipherable website to even let me configure a machine, or give me any prices for their iX models.
  16. FnuGk macrumors regular

    Aug 6, 2009
    Please apple PLEASE do so!

    no one needs a build in optical drive anymore let it just be usb like on the air
  17. ttttttttttt9 macrumors member

    Jan 20, 2010
    Well I may not be the typical user, but as a researcher/programmer I could certainly still use all the power I can get and still be perfectly happy with a small screen if it meant portability.
  18. dal20402 macrumors 6502

    Apr 24, 2006
    The 12" PB had a graphics card that was obsolete the day it came out (and way worse relative to the competition than the 9400M is today), a very low memory capacity, slow CPUs, no FW800 port, and no expansion slot.

    It was at least as crippled compared to the 17" PBs of its day as the 13" MBP is compared to today's 17" MBP. At least the 13" MBP will take 8 GB of RAM and has a relatively fast CPU in the upper configuration.

    I have a 13" with lots of RAM and an Intel SSD and it does things only a Mac Pro could have done three years ago.
  19. Azmordean macrumors 6502

    Mar 10, 2004
    Silicon Valley
    Its tough to get to now because it hasn't been released yet. You can pre-order but it doesn't come out until March.

    Go here.
  20. JTStarkiller macrumors member


    Aug 30, 2006
    I've got a Power Mac G5 circa 2004, and am really excited about picking up a new Mac. Going on six years, this beast has served me well, but it's not even an Intel, so I'm definitely in need of something more current.

    I've been seriously considering getting a laptop instead of a new Mac Pro, and both the 15" and 17" look tempting. It would essentially replace my Power Mac, so the 17" (though a tad on the large side) seems like the way to go, due to the larger screen and express slot.

    I think it kind of depends on the work you do, and how often you take it around with you. Like people have mentioned before, if you do design work, a bigger screen is nice. Since this will most likely be my primary video editing machine (with FCP Studio), I think I'm leaning towards the 17". The portability is there, but I won't be taking it EVERYWHERE I go, so it shouldn't be too big.
  21. iMetalG5 macrumors 6502a

    Apr 13, 2005
    i always considered teh 2.26 13 an entry level machine. i too considered it to be for "Facebook" consumers. And that is very true if you ask any sales kid at the Apple Store. BUT my bro bought a 2.26, upped the RAM to 4 and installed a Seagate 500GB 7200 and the thing runs almost like mine. impressive
  22. cmanbrazil macrumors regular

    Feb 3, 2010
    I have an original 15 macbook pro, and i am tired of lugging it around. I am happy this thread was started because i was wondering the same thing. While I hope they give screen options, and maybe a few other practical ones, I understand the difference of what a bigger case can hold.

    I see people write they would buy a windows 7 alternative, which I wouldn't mind except that I would be stuck with windows 7. For me the operating system is of key importance. However, if I don't like the new model I would just skip the upgrade and fix my existing computer which needs a new bottom case, optical drive, and battery.
  23. kolax macrumors G3

    Mar 20, 2007
    If they removed the optical drive from the 13" MBP, they could quite easily stick discrete graphics in there.
  24. iphoneZ thread starter macrumors regular

    Jul 15, 2008
    yes me too. but even for casual use it makes sense to be able to select higher specs.

    i don't buy the "oh design work" argument, because who would be doing serious design/video/audio/graphic work on a laptop?

    they def should remove the superdrive as it is pure garbageware. last time I used the optical drive was like 2005.
  25. Mindinversion macrumors 6502


    Oct 9, 2008
    Personally, the extra real estate on the 17" is ideal in situations when I have to be out of town for a week or so on business. the 13" I have right now just isn't large enough for gaming.

    Until I have it hooked up to my 24".

    So if you think about it, there COULD be a market for 17" performance in a 13" form factor. All it takes is a spare screen ^^

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