View Full Version : Macbook Pro Advice

2011-07-10, 22:43
Hey all,

So, I'm planning on buying a MBP soonish, primarily for college in the fall. I'm a little hung up as to whether to get the 13'' or 15.'' Basically, I'm not the type to buy a 'refresh' new computer every other year or so, so it would be advantageous for me to get something relatively future proof (to whatever extent possible) That being said, the 13'' seems to meet all of my current needs, although I'm a little in the dark as to what the trends will be in the future with switching over to more quad core threaded apps. Although I'm not particularly into gaming currently, I would still like to branch out and be able to handle some of the more graphically intensive games/applications (I know this isn't exactly what Macs are for, just doing what I can as a nicety) Also, the dedicated graphics seems to be a serious step up from the integrated in the benchmarks I've seen, and I don't really know how important that will be in the coming years regarding proficiently running applications. In short, the majority of things I do with my computer now could be done with a regular Macbook without difficulty, but I also like to spend some time in Photoshop/ a few games and who knows what else in the future.

Finally, I'm on the fence regarding size as well. I've seen both the 13" and 15" in person and gotten to handle them a little to try and get a feel for practicality, but I haven't had a chance to field test either to see whether it's more of a plus to have a little more screen real estate or if the portability is nicer. I would prefer not to have to buy another monitor to keep at home. I already have a 42" at home that I could feasibly hookup to, although when I imagine that scenario and see someone else walking in to catch me word processing on a home theatre sized tv, I get that it would be a little too 'what's the weirdo doing-esque' :) Awkward and overkill, I guess. It would certainly be nice to save myself some money by going for the 13", but I get it if the extra dollars would be better suited for my situation.

Anyway, hopefully I'm not beating a dead horse too much with this post (Sorry to be that guy if I am :\ ). I hadn't seen much regarding my specific situation, and I'm too on the fence/ in the dark between the two to make an educated decision myself so I thought I'd go for opinions. Additionally, if anyone could recommend a good case for me, that would be awesome, too. I've kind of been looking at this sleeve


I like the low profile and look of it, as I plan on mainly throwing it in my messenger bag for on the go stuff, but some extra scratch/ impact protection would be great. I'd love to have some shock protection for the inevitable drop when it happens, although I realize it's hard to get that without compromising the low profile design.

Sorry to drag this out here, but I appreciate whatever answers/ advice the community has for me. Thanks a lot!


2011-07-10, 23:11
Well, for college do you anticipate hauling the thing around a lot? The 13 wins in the category. Keep in mind that you MUST buy the applecare. Factor that into the cost. It is a no-brainer with the student discount but still costs some. Another thing I would consider is whether or not you want to dual-boot to windows. You may end up taking a class or two that requires the use of s/w only available on windows. And... if you want to do games... Same story. If you think this may be possible it might be a good idea to spend a little extra on bigger HD options so you have a lot of space on each side of the house.

Basically, if you don't mind hauling around a bigger/heavier (its like only a pound or somore and more bulky..) laptop and don't mind spending the extra money, I'd get the 15. Don't forget to configure each option (13 and 15) with the options you want when configuring. You get a bigger HD with the 15 and maybe some other stuf...


2011-07-11, 02:26
One thing to consider is that the 15" has the option for a high-res screen. Depending on what you are using the computer for, that could be a huge boon. Plus, all computers are going in that direction (which helps resale value).
If you want an example of how the high-res looks, compare an iPhone 3GS screen to an iPhone 4 screen.

Dorian Gray
2011-07-11, 11:15
Hello Drew. I would get the 13-inch model. (In fact, I did get the 13-inch MacBook Pro, but back in 2009. It's going strong two years later, and still does everything I ask of it. Effortlessly.)

Reasons in favour of the 13-inch model:

13" and 2 kg is the largest reasonably portable size (personal opinion)
much cheaper than the 15-inch model
even today, single-threaded performance is the most important metric for general computing (browsing, etc.), so the 15-incher's quad-core processor is only relevant for specialised tasks like video encoding
future-proofing computer purchases doesn't work, because huge increases in price today buy performance improvements that will be considered irrelevant in three to five years
furthermore, notebook computers in particular are far from guaranteed to last until they're too slow or otherwise inadequate in specs. They're often broken, stolen, drowned in coffee, etc., before they reach old age.
GPUs in notebooks over the last decade have a horrible track record for reliability. The 13-inch MacBook Pro, with its Intel-fabbed on-die GPU, eliminates one of the main risks of the notebook dying early.
For protection I use the Be.ez LA robe Allure Colour (http://www.amazon.com/Be-ez-100687-Allure-Sleeve-Macbook/dp/B001J1RUA2/ref=sr_1_5?ie=UTF8&qid=1310400232&sr=8-5). It's not the sleekest sleeve, because it has relatively thick memory foam and thick protection around the edges (likely to take the impact in a fall). However it's light. And colourful. :)

2011-07-12, 05:50
Another vote for 13". The portability of the thing is just pure win.

And another vote for not bothering too much with "future-proofing". Rather than spending a few hundred dollars trying to eek out an extra year or two you'd be much better off saving that money and using it to upgrade a little sooner. :)