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13" vs 15" macbook pro

Postby Adamski123 » Mon Feb 04, 2013 10:11 pm

Hi, this is a kind of thinking out loud topic. But I'm also looking for advice

As the title says I'm considering buying a macbook pro, but struggling with 13" vs. 15", here's what I'll be using it for:

- Recording/mixing on Logic at home (Projects won't be huge 24 tracks at the most)
- Travelling around London recording podcasts/interviews
- And it will be my daily user as well, web browsing, emails, word processing etc

Here are my questions:

- I've got a firewire interface, that can go into thunderbolt right?
- Is it worth having the built in CD drive?
- The SSD is too small, so I should stick to the HDD right?
- Is it worth the extra just so I can get Retina Display, will I be missing out on anything but just a fantastic screen?
- And a practical one, does the 15" fit in your standard rucksack/bag?

That's all I can think of right now, and your answers/views will be very helpful!


Thanks.
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Re: 13" vs 15" macbook pro

Postby chris... » Mon Feb 04, 2013 10:32 pm

Adamski123 wrote:- Travelling around London recording podcasts/interviews
How often ?

Don't suppose you're able to use a pocket stereo flash recorder for this ?
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Re: 13" vs 15" macbook pro

Postby Adamski123 » Mon Feb 04, 2013 10:54 pm

chris... wrote:
Adamski123 wrote:- Travelling around London recording podcasts/interviews
How often ?

Don't suppose you're able to use a pocket stereo flash recorder for this ?

At the moment it's once maybe twice a month, but it could become more depends on the success of my podcast show! I'm using my iphone at the moment just with voice memos, maybe I'm a bit of a perfectionist and wanting to use my condenser mic...
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Re: 13" vs 15" macbook pro

Postby desmond » Mon Feb 04, 2013 11:18 pm

Adamski123 wrote:- I've got a firewire interface, that can go into thunderbolt right?


Yep, with an adaptor.

Adamski123 wrote:- Is it worth having the built in CD drive?


Depends whether you need to read/burn CD's/DVD's or back up to them. I do occasionally, but far less these days than I used to, it's slow and tedious and I've had a long history with Apple DVD writers...

Adamski123 wrote:- The SSD is too small, so I should stick to the HDD right?


Sure.

Adamski123 wrote:- Is it worth the extra just so I can get Retina Display, will I be missing out on anything but just a fantastic screen?


It's nice, but not that many apps support a Retina display at the moment, though it's growing. So it's good for the future, but no really essential imo. So it depends if you want it, really...

Adamski123 wrote:- And a practical one, does the 15" fit in your standard rucksack/bag?


Yep, no problems. The 15 is the ideal workhorse size for me, and I take mine everywhere. I would find the 13 too small - ok for bits and pieces out on the road, but not as my main machine. You could always get an external monitor for the home though.
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Re: 13" vs 15" macbook pro

Postby chris... » Mon Feb 04, 2013 11:52 pm

Adamski123 wrote: I'm using my iphone at the moment just with voice memos, maybe I'm a bit of a perfectionist and wanting to use my condenser mic...

The flash recorders on the market have built-in mics way way better than an iPhone mic. Also, many will let you plug in your external mic, if preferred. Could get one e.g off eBay for £not-a-lot. Then less need to lug the laptop about.

Oh, and there are now interfaces to connect external mics to an iPhone...

As you may have guessed, I like to travel light
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Re: 13" vs 15" macbook pro

Postby xFasterMikeyH » Tue Feb 05, 2013 9:30 am

Adamski123 wrote:And a practical one, does the 15" fit in your standard rucksack/bag?
I have to carry my laptop with me every day for work and am very glad that I went with a 13" model. I'm sure a 15" would fit in a normal rucksack, but it's amazing how annoyingly heavy they start to feel on your 3rd week of lugging them around.

That said, it does sound as though your requirements for a computer could be separated from your requirements for location recording, which might mean that you can dispense with worrying about such things.
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Re: 13" vs 15" macbook pro

Postby danielhuw » Tue Feb 05, 2013 10:03 am

Adamski123 wrote:The SSD is too small, so I should stick to the HDD right?
I've got the 15" MBP with 256gb ssd. I record directly onto a SDXC card plugged into the side. Just make sure it's formatted in the Mac OS format. I haven't tested it by recording lots of tracks at once, but for stereo recording it works really well for me. You can get 64gb for just over £35 from Amazon.

The thunderbolt to firewire 800 adapter works well, but my MOTU UltraLite can't receive bus power when using it.

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Re: 13" vs 15" macbook pro

Postby electrotimba » Tue Feb 05, 2013 10:36 am

Switched to 15 from 13` wanting more power, past June and hate everyday, every moment of using it. As soon as next release comes will sell it and get 13`. It is not just too heavy and bulky to carry outside , even in studio or at home it is pain to use (compared to 13`). I`d choose FW and upgrade flexibility over retina
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Re: 13" vs 15" macbook pro

Postby Guido3 » Tue Feb 05, 2013 2:05 pm

I have a 15" MBP which I use live and in the studio. For me, a 13" just wouldn't be big enough. I use Logic.

I hardly ever use the DVD drive and am considering removing it and replacing with a HDD. I intend to mount the DVD drive in an external USB enclosure so I can still use it if required. I have a 256Gb SSD as my main drive and it is fantastic. When playing live, it's never let me down.

I wouldn't pay extra for the Retina display.
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Re: 13" vs 15" macbook pro

Postby Dave Rowles » Tue Feb 05, 2013 3:45 pm

15" if you want the screen size. If you're not bothered then 13". I have a 15" because I need the space on screen. I've carried it around touring all over the world and never been bothered by the weight of it.
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Re: 13" vs 15" macbook pro

Postby Richie Royale » Tue Feb 05, 2013 3:55 pm

I've seen HD mounting kits which come with a DVD enclosure for the removed drive. Having looked at the procedure on the net though, I decided against it for the moment!
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Re: 13" vs 15" macbook pro

Postby johnny h » Tue Feb 05, 2013 4:50 pm

Richie Royale wrote:I've seen HD mounting kits which come with a DVD enclosure for the removed drive. Having looked at the procedure on the net though, I decided against it for the moment!

I've recently done it. I was rather brave and started the whole process without even working out how to do it, just following the youtube video, but with a bit of patience it came together perfectly. Now I have a 256 SSD and 1TG Hard drive in here (17" MBP). Even though I got a 5400rpm model it still destroys the perfect silence which I suppose is inevitable, but overall well worth the upgrade.
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Re: 13" vs 15" macbook pro

Postby Frog » Tue Feb 05, 2013 6:27 pm

I have been puzzling the same question recently, I think the non retina 13 is a good buy, the one with faster processor and 8 gig ram. I can get it for just over £1k with educational discount, add another £150 for logic and you are done. It's small enough to be portable and for home use a second monitor would work really well. I am not convinced with ssd's yet and although the retina screen is nice(I have one on the ipad) it's not a deal breaker.
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Re: 13" vs 15" macbook pro

Postby Chevytraveller » Tue Feb 05, 2013 7:46 pm

johnny h wrote:
I've recently done it. I was rather brave and started the whole process without even working out how to do it, just following the youtube video, but with a bit of patience it came together perfectly. Now I have a 256 SSD and 1TG Hard drive in here (17" MBP). Even though I got a 5400rpm model it still destroys the perfect silence which I suppose is inevitable, but overall well worth the upgrade.


Ditto with mine.. great upgrade!

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Re: 13" vs 15" macbook pro

Postby Adamski123 » Tue Feb 05, 2013 10:20 pm

Thanks to everyone for their views, but I think I'll go for the 13" top spec one. I don't need the CD/DVD drive or the extra screen space.

But to also anyone that's buying or planning to buy a mac pro it's not a good idea right now according to mac rumours http://buyersguide.macrumors.com/#MacBook_Pro
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Re: 13" vs 15" macbook pro

Postby G-Doubleyou » Wed Feb 06, 2013 9:56 pm

Nobody's mentioned that the 15 inch models are quad cores vs dual core 13 inch.

Power-wise always go for the quad, if it's in your budget.

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Re: 13" vs 15" macbook pro

Postby Chevytraveller » Wed Feb 06, 2013 10:41 pm

yeah.. get the quad core and steer well clear of the retina displays.. Bad manufacturing processes


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Re: 13" vs 15" macbook pro

Postby johnny h » Wed Feb 06, 2013 10:43 pm

G-Doubleyou wrote:Nobody's mentioned that the 15 inch models are quad cores vs dual core 13 inch.

Power-wise always go for the quad, if it's in your budget.

Also the retina is lighter than the 13 inch standard ... with a much better screen and much better performance (quad core, i7, discrete graphics, ssd). Comes at a cost, but its an outstanding machine if you can afford it.
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Re: 13" vs 15" macbook pro

Postby Skerrick » Thu Feb 07, 2013 12:58 am

wait for the touchscreen model
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Re: 13" vs 15" macbook pro

Postby Skerrick » Thu Feb 07, 2013 1:00 am

johnny h wrote:
G-Doubleyou wrote:Nobody's mentioned that the 15 inch models are quad cores vs dual core 13 inch.

Power-wise always go for the quad, if it's in your budget.

Also the retina is lighter than the 13 inch standard ... with a much better screen and much better performance (quad core, i7, discrete graphics, ssd). Comes at a cost, but its an outstanding machine if you can afford it.

ive actually heard that a dual core is better if you can get a really decent one, something to do with the information signal being split in two directions (when being processed) rather than four, making it faster to allocate and re-evaluate information as it runs in and out of the cpu..
ergo, some dual core systems are better than some quad core systems and vice versa.
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Re: 13" vs 15" macbook pro

Postby desmond » Thu Feb 07, 2013 3:00 am

Skerrick wrote:ive actually heard that a dual core is better if you can get a really decent one, something to do with the information signal being split in two directions (when being processed) rather than four, making it faster to allocate and re-evaluate information as it runs in and out of the cpu.. ergo, some dual core systems are better than some quad core systems and vice versa.


You should talk to better informed people, really.
That's complete rubbish, based on zero understanding of what's actually happening, technically...

Sorry...
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Re: 13" vs 15" macbook pro

Postby johnny h » Thu Feb 07, 2013 9:16 am

desmond wrote:
Skerrick wrote:ive actually heard that a dual core is better if you can get a really decent one, something to do with the information signal being split in two directions (when being processed) rather than four, making it faster to allocate and re-evaluate information as it runs in and out of the cpu.. ergo, some dual core systems are better than some quad core systems and vice versa.

You should talk to better informed people, really.
That's complete rubbish, based on zero understanding of what's actually happening, technically...

Sorry...

Yep, complete madness.
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Re: 13" vs 15" macbook pro

Postby chris... » Thu Feb 07, 2013 11:11 am

We have to get our entertainment someplace.
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Re: 13" vs 15" macbook pro

Postby electrotimba » Thu Feb 07, 2013 11:32 am

I guess, the confusion "someone said,read somewhere" could be about Turbo Mode - top specs 13` - 3.6 vs. lowest 15` 3.2 (if I remember right), so it can be faster though in not so many situations.
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Re: 13" vs 15" macbook pro

Postby chris... » Thu Feb 07, 2013 11:38 am

Given say a dual 3.0GHz and quad 2.5GHz, then a specific task that's CPU-bound but cannot spread over multiple cores may run a little faster on the 3.0GHz machine, which happens to be dual.

But in the real world, many things do use multiple cores. A blanket statement of "dual is faster than quad" is b0ll0x.
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Re: 13" vs 15" macbook pro

Postby G-Doubleyou » Thu Feb 07, 2013 5:20 pm

chris... wrote:Given say a dual 3.0GHz and quad 2.5GHz, then a specific task that's CPU-bound but cannot spread over multiple cores may run a little faster on the 3.0GHz machine, which happens to be dual.

But in the real world, many things do use multiple cores. A blanket statement of "dual is faster than quad" is b0ll0x.

Yep!
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Re: 13" vs 15" macbook pro

Postby Adamski123 » Thu Feb 07, 2013 6:30 pm

What are the suspected improvements to the new mac book pro coming out? I've read improved processer but is that it? I wouldn't mind waiting for just that, also mac rumours tends to suggest they will all be retina display (IIRC).
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Re: 13" vs 15" macbook pro

Postby electrotimba » Thu Feb 07, 2013 7:53 pm

Adamski123 wrote:What are the suspected improvements to the new mac book pro coming out? I've read improved processer but is that it? I wouldn't mind waiting for just that, also mac rumours tends to suggest they will all be retina display (IIRC).
I hope they wont, have zero interests in retina- no FW, no upgrades (RAM; HDD instead of DVD) and the Intel graphics cannot power it properly- thanks but no thanks. I hope for new top spec 13`CPU to at least match power of my late 2011 15`, have screen resolution updated for 2013 and not 2001 (1280x800) or 2016 (that retina is). If not will get 2012 refurb. or keep 15`in the studio and get Air for mobile use.
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Re: 13" vs 15" macbook pro

Postby Skerrick » Fri Feb 08, 2013 1:18 am

johnny h wrote:
desmond wrote:
Skerrick wrote:ive actually heard that a dual core is better if you can get a really decent one, something to do with the information signal being split in two directions (when being processed) rather than four, making it faster to allocate and re-evaluate information as it runs in and out of the cpu.. ergo, some dual core systems are better than some quad core systems and vice versa.


You should talk to better informed people, really.
That's complete rubbish, based on zero understanding of what's actually happening, technically...

Sorry...


Yep, complete madness.


okay... well i recall reading it in a 2008 edition of futuremusic magazine im pretty sure...
i did a quick google search as well...

"More Cores or Faster Clock Speed?
On the whole, a system with a faster dual-core will feel faster in day-to-day work, but the quad core will reward you when you multitask or the more esoteric/scientific your work. This is of course, a generality, but it generally fits. For example: The 3.1GHz Intel Core i3-2100 (dual-core) in the Gateway ZX6961-UB20P got a very good 2,639 point score at PCMark7 (a test of day-to-day use), but only a 2.99 point score at CineBench R11.5 (a 3D rendering test). Around the same time we tested a "slower" Intel Core 2.7GHz Core i5-2500S (quad-core) in a HP Compaq 8200 Elite USDT which got a much lower 2,190 score on PCMark7, but a much higher 4.45 point score on CineBench. The extra cache and cores in the i5-2500S helped the HP get a much higher score on the CineBench R11.5 test, where such enhancements benefit performance. In day-to-day tasks, both will seem similar, or at worse the HP will seem slower than the Gateway at an earlier stage in its useful life. We could present you a large table of comparison scores going back several years, but that would add even more variables to the mix and bore most of you to tears."

http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2406293,00.asp

but thats just one instance of what ive read and it obviously doesnt apply to all cpus.. i guess its technically correct, it just relates to different tasks and loads being put on the cpu and which is better at handling what...
plus yeah its an old piece of information so i had a bit of a hazy memory about it hah but yeah... theres the info i was referring to.
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Re: 13" vs 15" macbook pro

Postby Chevytraveller » Fri Feb 08, 2013 1:42 am

Skerrick wrote:
okay... well i recall reading it in a 2008 edition of futuremusic magazine im pretty sure...

Hmmmm... that wonderful tome of reliable information
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