Why no quad core 13"?

Do you want a quad-core 13" rMBP?

  • Yes

  • No

  • Quad, what?


Results are only viewable after voting.

Cayden

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Jul 10, 2014
793
386
Utah
I've always liked the 13" MacBook Pro more than the 15". It's far more portable and it just seems to fit my needs in size, and whenever I need a bigger screen I can just dock it with an external monitor. My only issue is that I'd like the quad core i7 and updated graphics cards. Why is Apple not allowing for a more powerful 13" just due to the size preference?
 
  • Like
Reactions: AleXXXa

snaky69

macrumors 603
Mar 14, 2008
5,904
484
I've always liked the 13" MacBook Pro more than the 15". It's far more portable and it just seems to fit my needs in size, and whenever I need a bigger screen I can just dock it with an external monitor. My only issue is that I'd like the quad core i7 and updated graphics cards. Why is Apple not allowing for a more powerful 13" just due to the size preference?
Thermal design.

The chassis and cooling system cannot accommodate a processor that has a higher TDP than what's already in there. I believe the 13" has a 28W TDP dual core. AFAIK, intel does not manufacture a quad core processor with such low heat output.

So no, it's not just because of size. It's because it's just not possible in that particular chassis and cooling system setup. The machine would constantly overheat and become unusable at that point.
 
  • Like
Reactions: throAU

T5BRICK

macrumors G3
Aug 3, 2006
8,103
2,098
Oregon
Why is Apple not allowing for a more powerful 13" just due to the size preference?
As snaky69 said, it's because Intel doesn't make a quad core chip with a low enough TDP that will allow Apple to increase the power without sacrificing battery life or chassis design.
 

stevemiller

macrumors 68000
Oct 27, 2008
1,742
1,170
I'm sure the reasoning provided so far is correct, but it does kind of suck that in the almost 5 years since they crammed quad core into the 15", and all the miniaturization and efficiency improvements driven by the mobile space, they still haven't cracked this one.
 
  • Like
Reactions: AleXXXa

fisherking

macrumors 604
Jul 16, 2010
7,182
2,133
ny somewhere
never say never. i remember lots of instances on forums (like this one) where users bemoaned something missing in an apple macbook/powerbook...and then, a version or 2 later...we got it. :cool:
 

zhenya

macrumors 604
Jan 6, 2005
6,685
3,289
This is not something that is likely to change. Intel is already running into significant limitations in reducing power consumption further in their chips so it's not like some big breakthrough is on the horizon. Further, few people really need a laptop, especially an extremely portable laptop, with a quad core, 45w chip. The few people who do can step up to the 15" MBP and it's not like it's a huge difference in size and weight to do so if you really have the need for that kind of power.

Keep in mind that the VAST majority of laptop computers sold in the past 5 years or so use 15w U-series chips like those in the Macbook Air. The 13" MBP is already somewhat abnormally overpowered for its size and weight compared to the competition.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Samuelsan2001

Spudlicious

macrumors 6502a
Nov 21, 2015
560
356
Bedfordshire, England
It's not only Apple who are up against the limits. The highly-rated and expensive Dell XPS 13 with i7 is dual-core. We are on a plateau of mobile processor power, and I wouldn't want constant intrusive fan noise for the sake of CPU grunt I don't need.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Samuelsan2001

fisherking

macrumors 604
Jul 16, 2010
7,182
2,133
ny somewhere
zhenya, you're probably right. but i remember, my first 13" macbook didn't have firewire, and the mac community raised an uproar. a lot of people believed it could never happen, there just was no way such a port would fit. next iteration: a firewire port.

am not expecting to see a quad core 13" macbook pro, but am not ruling anything out. apple, if nothing else, makes things happen that surprise/annoy/confound us, all the time...
 

lowendlinux

macrumors 603
Sep 24, 2014
5,256
6,507
Germany
I have a 14" that has a quad and discrete graphics but it's probably 3 times as thick as the 13" rMBP. You have to take the good with the bad if you want thin and light then you have to give on processor.
 

ajay96

macrumors 6502
Jul 29, 2013
481
62
I was debating if I should have gone with the 15" for just the quad core, but stuck with a 13" Retina Macbook pro. I like the size and portability of it.
 

fisherking

macrumors 604
Jul 16, 2010
7,182
2,133
ny somewhere
i loved my previous 13" macbook pro (late 2011), the 2015 one is much better. thinner, lighter, faster. brighter. it's an amazing machine. and i can do my work (logic X) on it without the stalls & hiccups my previous mbp experienced.
 
  • Like
Reactions: ajay96

MadDane

macrumors 6502a
Apr 5, 2015
600
226
I genuinely prefer the 13" size for carrying in my backpack everyday, and when i bought my MBP 2 years ago I debated the same thing. Should I sacrifice portability for power? I tried a 15" MBP back in 2008 and I sold it after less than 6 months. It is simply too big for me to lug around everyday (I usually bike 20+ km everyday with this thing). So I decided to like with the compromise of the lower power for portability. And I am glad I did. If they would offer a quad core 13" MBP I would probably upgrade. If not (which it seems like is the case) I will stick with my current one :)
 

ajay96

macrumors 6502
Jul 29, 2013
481
62
i loved my previous 13" macbook pro (late 2011), the 2015 one is much better. thinner, lighter, faster. brighter. it's an amazing machine. and i can do my work (logic X) on it without the stalls & hiccups my previous mbp experienced.
Yup agreed. I have the base model 13 inch 2015 macbook pro and it's done everything I could have asked for with ease so far.
 

maflynn

Moderator
Staff member
May 3, 2009
66,771
33,717
Boston
Mostly because they don't want too, I'm sure if it was important to their strategy, they would have done so. I think overall, the low end machines, like the 13" MBP and Mac Mini will always be dual core at this point.
 
  • Like
Reactions: AleXXXa

Cayden

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Jul 10, 2014
793
386
Utah
These points make sense, especially the heat issue. I still wish I could get a machine running a quad core in the 13" form factor. I use my MacBook for audio editing and recording using Logic Pro X, and just wished I could have a machine that would bounce the exports faster. I have gone to the Apple Store and bouncing a 4 minute song takes seconds while my MacBook takes a minute or two. The other issue is having multiple audio fx open at the same time, lagging definitely occurs. It is likely it'll never happen due to Intel, but I'd still love that kind of machine
 

fisherking

macrumors 604
Jul 16, 2010
7,182
2,133
ny somewhere
These points make sense, especially the heat issue. I still wish I could get a machine running a quad core in the 13" form factor. I use my MacBook for audio editing and recording using Logic Pro X, and just wished I could have a machine that would bounce the exports faster. I have gone to the Apple Store and bouncing a 4 minute song takes seconds while my MacBook takes a minute or two. The other issue is having multiple audio fx open at the same time, lagging definitely occurs. It is likely it'll never happen due to Intel, but I'd still love that kind of machine
i gotta say, on my new 2015 13" (i7), am having none of the problems i had on my 2011 macbook pro. and bounces are pretty fast. but seriously, if they take a minute or two...that sounds pretty reasonable. and as for the audio fx...

one trick that helped me enormously on my previous mbp: turn off wifi. reboot. open ONLY logic X, and go back to work. see if that helps... are you on LX 10.2? and what OS version??
 

leman

macrumors G4
Oct 14, 2008
10,931
5,413
It is certainly possible to have a quad core CPU in a 13" chassis, but it would mean significantly reducing the battery size to accommodate for the cooling system. it wouldn't make for a good portable.

BTW, the main reason why Intel does not offer quad core CPUs at low TDP is because at those power levels they do not offer any substantial performance improvements over dual core CPUs. Remember that multi-core CPU is essentially cheating. We only make them because we hit diminishing returns with singe-core designs. Multi-core helps avoid these diminishing returns but does so at a cost if severely increased complexity and overhead. When the thermal output us constrained, the need for cheating becomes less important.
 

chipchen

macrumors 6502a
Oct 30, 2002
547
165
It's sad... but I believe the reason is pure economics. People who want the Quad are forced to go up to the higher priced 15". For some reason, they always price their models to rarely overlap performance-wise in order to push the users to the pricier models.

Another example of this is the Mac mini, which no longer sells a quad-core configuration. Or the iMac 21.5" that doesn't offer certain features, like RAM upgradeability only exists in the 27".
 
Register on MacRumors! This sidebar will go away, and you'll see fewer ads.