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Once again: 17" vs 15" MacBook Pro

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 
Alright, I know this topic has been brought up time and time again. But everything is scattered all over the place and my situation is slightly different. First off, I am a college student. I will be bringing this laptop around frequently and my major is tech oriented. I have decided on the MacBook Pro for sure because of the graphics boost. It preserves the notebook in the long run and I need this thing to last awhile once I finally make the purchase. So here's the problem: What size should I get? How much more portable is the 15" than the 17"? I am buying a Neoprene sleeve for whichever size I end up getting. Will the 17" be able to comfortably fit in this sleeve and then into a standard school backpack that I already have? Or is it simply too big? Please make suggestions! This is the only thing I am having a hard time deciding on.

Thanks in advance.
~jvb
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post #2 of 21
Have you been down to the Apple store and seen them side-by-side? The 17" looked really big to me, and the keyboard set a little too far back for my taste. I am a writer, so I need a keyboard that is comfortable to use for long periods of actual typing, not just the occasional command.

I don't lug my MBP around on a daily basis, but I went for the 15" because it seemed to strike the perfect balance between functionality and portability. Many people here are craving a 12" MB or MBP, but that is too small for my needs; 15" is perfect.

Another factor to consider is the weight. My 15" MBP feels quite heavy just moving it around from room to room in the house. I wouldn't want to carry the 17" around campus every day.

Btw, this is the sleeve I went for, and I am extremely happy with my choice:

http://www.mac-case.com/MacCase%20Sleeves.htm
post #3 of 21
I thought the 17" was too big to be practical to carry around. I carry my 15" around every class day and I can't complain about it. Of course, this is coming from a guy that had a 15" laptop that was about 10 lbs. before this. This thing is light as a feather compared to that thing... But think about the size of the bag that you're going to need to carry the computer. The 17" is going to need a huge backpack.
post #4 of 21
Thread Starter 
That is very interesting about the keyboard being set back further on the 17". I had never thought about that. I am sort of leaning towards the 15" as of right now because of the portability.

A few more questions about the slight improvements on the 17" model (or maybe not slight). First, is the 1440 x 900 resolution much different than the higher 1680 x 1050 on the 17"? Second, is the 6x Superdrive that much slower than the 8x Superdrive on the 17"?

Thanks for the reply Ste.
~jvb
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post #5 of 21
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by smax View Post

I thought the 17" was too big to be practical to carry around. I carry my 15" around every class day and I can't complain about it. Of course, this is coming from a guy that had a 15" laptop that was about 10 lbs. before this. This thing is light as a feather compared to that thing... But think about the size of the bag that you're going to need to carry the computer. The 17" is going to need a huge backpack.

Does the 15" fit in a standard backpack? Like I said above, I am going to buy a sleeve for it when I make the purchase (I'll probably go with the ones from MacCase that Ste suggested). But will I be able to then put the 15" in a regular bag?
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post #6 of 21
In terms of cost, size, and portability, I strongly suggest *against* the 17". The 15" MacBookPro will be just nice for you, and will very much more likely fit in your backpack. The 17" is HUGE. Really nice, but more for video and photo pros that shoot video and pictures on-location, and need it to see the stuff they have taken right there and then. Also the 17" is kind of "mobile desktop replacement".

15" is very nice. Go for the second model. For $500 more you get a lot of stuff. And the 256mb video RAM ATI X1600 means you have the best level of investment to last about 2.5-3 or 4 years.

US Apple Store Price shown:
* 2.33GHz Intel Core 2 Duo
* 1440 x 900 pixels
* 2GB memory
* 120GB hard drive
* 6x double-layer SuperDrive
* ATI Mobility Radeon X1600 graphics with 256MB SDRAM

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$2,499.00

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post #7 of 21
Thread Starter 
Thanks sunilraman. I have heard from quite a few people now including yourself that the 17" is just...gigantic. Any additional thoughts on bumping up to 3 gigs? The $500 price jump is pretty steep. Is there that large of a performance gain?

Thanks so much for the replies.
~jvb
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post #8 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by jvb View Post

A few more questions about the slight improvements on the 17" model (or maybe not slight). First, is the 1440 x 900 resolution much different than the higher 1680 x 1050 on the 17"? Second, is the 6x Superdrive that much slower than the 8x Superdrive on the 17"?

The difference in resolution is offset by the difference in screen size, so it's not really an issue, IMO. The bigger question might be whether to go with the matte or the glossy finish. This subject has been done to death, of course, and in the end it comes down to personal preference. I went with the matte because I didn't like the reflection and the reduced viewing angle associated with the glossy. I would strongly recommend you play around with both first before coming to an informed decision.

The 6x SuperDrive is a silly little annoyance, but it's not worth the extra expense and bulk to go with the 17"/8x model. I just burned my first DVD (backing up my iTunes library) last night, and I was pleasantly surprised by the speed of the 6x. Don't worry about it.
post #9 of 21
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ste View Post

The difference in resolution is offset by the difference in screen size, so it's not really an issue, IMO. The bigger question might be whether to go with the matte or the glossy finish. This subject has been done to death, of course, and in the end it comes down to personal preference. I went with the matte because I didn't like the reflection and the reduced viewing angle associated with the glossy. I would strongly recommend you play around with both first before coming to an informed decision.

The 6x SuperDrive is a silly little annoyance, but it's not worth the extra expense and bulk to go with the 17"/8x model. I just burned my first DVD (backing up my iTunes library) last night, and I was pleasantly surprised by the speed of the 6x. Don't worry about it.

Yeah, the 2x speed difference seemed marginal, but I wanted to be sure. On the subject of Matte vs Glossy, well, I think I am leaning towards the Matte finish right now. My logic is that since I am carrying this around to all sorts of different locations I'll be sure to be in situations where there is a glare. Can those who chose Glossy comment on whether or not the glare is even that bad? The "increased color contrast" sounds promising. Also, if you choose Glossy, it changes the shipping to 1-3 days instead of 24 hours . We all know how difficult playing the waiting game is. Comments welcome.
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post #10 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by jvb View Post

Any additional thoughts on bumping up to 3 gigs? The $500 price jump is pretty steep. Is there that large of a performance gain?

Unless you really need huge amounts of memory, that would be money out of the window. The step from 2 to 3GB is that expensive because 2GB modules are still that expensive; not because it makes such a big difference. 2GB is a very nice amount of memory today, and in a year or two, when 2GB modules have come down to reasonable prices, you can just swap one of your 1GB modules for one of those then, and save $400 that way.

As for the size; you may want to consider this: The 17" MBP does have a certain image, at least to me. If I see someone having a 17" portable Mac, and that someone isn't a graphics or video professional, then that comes across as showing off. Look at my expensive Mac.

In my opinion, unless you really need screen real estate, the 15" MBP is a great computer. If I was in your place, I would be much more worried about whether I should get it now, or wait another 3 months for Santa Rosa. Not only would you get a faster FSB and a memory limit of at least 4GB, but also Leopard for free.

Oh, and discount that SuperDrive difference. It's marginal. The only difference to consider, IMO, is the difference in screen real estate. Ask yourself this: Do you need a lot of portable screen real estate? If you don't, go for the 15". If you want a bigger screen at home, you can always get an external Display. May I suggest the ones made by Apple? They're really nice, or so I've heard.
post #11 of 21
Thread Starter 
I was already planning on waiting until Leopard, and I figured the Santa Rosa would be nice if it's around by then. Everyone is saying that Santa Rosa is in 3 months. Are we sure that they will be implemented in Macs at that time?

Looks like right now I'll go with the 15" by the way.
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post #12 of 21
I think it's certain that Apple will be one of the first to implement Santa Rosa. It is due in about that time, and the 6 months since the last MBP update will be over by then, too. So unless Santa Rosa gets delayed, which given Intel's recent tendency to release new products earlier than expected is highly unlikely; then yes, new Santa Rosa MBP's in April, if not before that.
post #13 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by jvb View Post

Yeah, the 2x speed difference seemed marginal, but I wanted to be sure. On the subject of Matte vs Glossy, well, I think I am leaning towards the Matte finish right now. My logic is that since I am carrying this around to all sorts of different locations I'll be sure to be in situations where there is a glare. Can those who chose Glossy comment on whether or not the glare is even that bad? The "increased color contrast" sounds promising. Also, if you choose Glossy, it changes the shipping to 1-3 days instead of 24 hours . We all know how difficult playing the waiting game is. Comments welcome.

8x is 8/6x faster than 6x = 1.3333 times faster only, not 2x faster
I agree, 6x burning is fine.

I think Matte screen is better.
post #14 of 21
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by sunilraman View Post

8x is 8/6x faster than 6x = 1.3333 times faster only, not 2x faster
I agree, 6x burning is fine.

I think Matte screen is better.

I'm getting Matte. Glossy seems to be an almost notebook only feature anyways, and I cannot stand glare.
~jvb
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post #15 of 21
As for the backpack, I'd say the 15" fits in most reasonably sized backpacks. Just be sure to look into laptop backpacks that offer a bit of protection.
post #16 of 21
Thread Starter 
I am already getting a sleeve at the very least for the MacBook Pro. Other than that, I think I'll wait to see if I need a computer backpack or if I can just stick with my regular one.
~jvb
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post #17 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by jvb View Post

I'm getting Matte. Glossy seems to be an almost notebook only feature anyways, and I cannot stand glare.

If you can't stand the glare it looks like you are getting a 17. The 15's Don't come in matte.

I've just moved down from an older 17 hi res display to a new 15" unibody version. I like the display on the 15 much better. The 17 inch Hi res, was too tight & the text too small to read huge amounts of text. I know you can enlarge most fonts - but not all. I thought I would hate the glare, but I use it in my office, at coffee shops & even out on the deck on sunny evenings and it's fine.

But as far as the weigh goes. I find that once they are in a back back I tend to not really notice the weight - either the 17" or the 15". I did have to shop around as a few of the cheaper backpacks would not fit my 17", but that was a few years ago.

So I'd recommend that you go to a store and compare the screens and comfort of the keybord position.
post #18 of 21
It used to be when people deciding what size laptop to purchase they always had to sacrifice functionality for portability. The bigger laptop was always more powerful while the smaller one was more portable and the decision was where on the line to go. Now a days the smaller laptops offer the same functionality as the larger ones, Bigger isnt better like what I used to believe. You can have a 15" thats just as powerful as the 17. So whats really the question here? its do you want 2 inches more of screen and the express card slot vs the portability and smaller form factor. I think thats an easier question to answer.. Get the 15 and if you ever want to use a larger screen, hook it up to an external display. When your on the go or just moving it from room to room you'll be glad you have the 15.
post #19 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by jvb View Post

Yeah, the 2x speed difference seemed marginal, but I wanted to be sure. On the subject of Matte vs Glossy, well, I think I am leaning towards the Matte finish right now. My logic is that since I am carrying this around to all sorts of different locations I'll be sure to be in situations where there is a glare. Can those who chose Glossy comment on whether or not the glare is even that bad? The "increased color contrast" sounds promising. Also, if you choose Glossy, it changes the shipping to 1-3 days instead of 24 hours . We all know how difficult playing the waiting game is. Comments welcome.

One thing that should be mentioned is that the glossy screen is WAY more durable than the matte screens, which get marred and scratched. I don't know anyone who has had a matte screen and uses it on a daily basis who doesn't have scratches after a year of use.
post #20 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by tonton View Post

One thing that should be mentioned is that the glossy screen is WAY more durable than the matte screens, which get marred and scratched. I don't know anyone who has had a matte screen and uses it on a daily basis who doesn't have scratches after a year of use.

this thread was started in 2007,
it received 1 reply in 2009,
& there's 3 replies (including mine) in 2011.

i've a feeling that we'll see 5 replies in 2013

where did all the even numbers go?
95% of your DNA is junk.... or is it?
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95% of your DNA is junk.... or is it?
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post #21 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by ajay View Post

this thread was started in 2007,
it received 1 reply in 2009,
& there's 3 replies (including mine) in 2011.

i've a feeling that we'll see 5 replies in 2013

where did all the even numbers go?

LOL! Just not buy a matte Macbook you will regret it, having worked for apple and seen many people buy matte and what has happened, get the glossy!\

"I just got lost in thought. It was unfamiliar territory." - proverb
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Apple - Specialist 1 1/2 Years
Best Years of my LIFE!

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"I just got lost in thought. It was unfamiliar territory." - proverb
RepairZoom.com Best Apple fix around!
Best Buy - Special Agent 5 Years
Apple - Specialist 1 1/2 Years
Best Years of my LIFE!

Reply
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