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Mac Book Pro 13" or 15"??? Is 13 big enough?

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  #1  
Old 06-15-2015, 05:39 AM
skoobey skoobey is offline
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Red face Mac Book Pro 13" or 15"??? Is 13 big enough?

So, the old non retina 13" was useless to anyone serious about graphic work. Resolution was way too small and the screen had a strong blue tint.

I've been to Apple store today to do a comparison, and 13" just seems so much smaller and far more portable. Colors look great on both 13" and 15"(over saturated, but bearable).

So, I need a home away from home, and I need a laptop that I can work on, but also the one that I can just put in a bag and not plan for every time I pack my laptop(don't want special cases or bags in order to carry it bla bla). 13" seems almost like a tablet in size.

BUT, IS 13 big enough? I do find that when you up the resolution that the letters get really tiny. They are also tiny on the 15, but just not as tiny, and if you put the same resolution on both, fonts are definitely bigger on the 15.

I don't care about fonts, I zoom in and out on my big desktop monitor all the time rather then pinpointing with a mouse if I wanna check a form etc(ctrl+scroll wheel on a mac).

Do you find real estate of the 15" to be necessary, so much so that you can forget about it being huge(talking about the actual work window(one with the image) surface, don't care about the menus and tools I can always hide them by pressing the tab key)? I can see myself carrying 13 to a coffee shop to do mail and even retouch with small tablet, I really do, can't imagine the same with 15...

Puzzled.

Last edited by skoobey; 06-15-2015 at 01:47 PM.
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  #2  
Old 06-16-2015, 06:57 AM
insmac insmac is offline
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Re: Mac Book Pro 13" or 15"??? Is 13 big enough?

It is too small for me. I was using the 13 for a year or so and switched back to the 15-incher because I would not see the fine details well (even though I have no eyesight problems at all). Yes the bigger one is wider but very thin and resasonably light and hence I don't have problems carrying it with myself.

Also, the internals differ. The problem with Retina is that the integrated GPU is too weak for this machine and because the 13s always had a lower range of Iris chips they tend to run slower. Yeah you can do quite all right with the default stack of apps but with C1 and Photshop you'll need more power. 16GB of RAM and the i7 cpu do good.

Regarding screen - calibrate it. My colorimeter matched it quite well and it pretty much resembles what I get on my ColorEdge except for a slight contrast boost (again, slight) because it has this AR coating.
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Old 06-16-2015, 12:01 PM
skoobey skoobey is offline
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Re: Mac Book Pro 13" or 15"??? Is 13 big enough?

Tnx. I dunno, I tried working on some pretty big files, 13 bared quite well, actually I noticed no differences between them. To me it's about not carrying a laptop bag, and that's where 13 wins hands down.

What do you mean about fine details? Just the way image was rendered on the screen, or? I did zoom in and out, it looked fine, but you worked on it for a year?
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Old 06-17-2015, 12:34 PM
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flowbox flowbox is offline
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Re: Mac Book Pro 13" or 15"??? Is 13 big enough?

Quote:
Originally Posted by skoobey View Post
To me it's about not carrying a laptop bag, and that's where 13 wins hands down.

BUT..... if the 13 is big enough for you and you like it (as I see clearly) ... then buy that

No reason to ask an advice and then defending your position
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Old 06-17-2015, 03:21 PM
skoobey skoobey is offline
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Re: Mac Book Pro 13" or 15"??? Is 13 big enough?

I just hate laptops so much with keyboard being stuck so close to the display and everything being so fiddly.
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Old 06-17-2015, 04:48 PM
insmac insmac is offline
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Re: Mac Book Pro 13" or 15"??? Is 13 big enough?

Quote:
Originally Posted by skoobey View Post
Tnx. I dunno, I tried working on some pretty big files, 13 bared quite well, actually I noticed no differences between them. To me it's about not carrying a laptop bag, and that's where 13 wins hands down.

What do you mean about fine details? Just the way image was rendered on the screen, or? I did zoom in and out, it looked fine, but you worked on it for a year?
Well it's really hard to benchmark these machines properly because they run exceptionally well within first weeks, but then you open more Capture One sessions, more Photoshop files and the RAM gets clogged, CPU struggles to keep up and so on. There are three main drawbacks: first, being an 8 gigs of RAM which you cannot expand (and this gets clogged quite easily), dual core CPU only and the integrated GPU. Now, remember with each iteration, both OS and major software use more and more of it.

I can tell you this: I have an entry-level Macbook Pro Retina 15" with a 2.0 ghz core i7 CPU, 8 gigs of ram, 256 GB PCI-E SSD drive and an integrated Iris Pro 5200 GPU. This machine is 1.5 year old (almost). I've bought it for Photoshop work because the biggest files I work with max out at around 40 mpix. After a year and a half, I can say a thing or two about this machine - let's just keep this in points since I'd like it to be clear:

- It's very quiet. In fact, the cooling system kicks in once a day, or two if I browse a very demanding website. The notebook stays quiet in both Photoshop and Capture One, it gets a bit noisy during an initial preview rendering, but then again it's a CPU drain.

- The battery life and lifespan are both great. After an year and a half of hard use, 275 full load cycles I still have about 96% of a design capacity. Yes you cannot replace it but you'll get a newer machine sooner than your bult-in battery dies I guess.

- It doesn't get hot. This was traditionally a flagship feature of any aluminium Apple notebook and I can say a lot about it since I've used them since the Powerbook. In fact, my Macbook Pro 17" Core2Duo (early 2008 model) was getting so hot it needed a cooling pad and working on it on a lap was downward impossible. I guess Haswell and the next Intel CPU series made a big change and it just stays cool, I mean it's still an aluminium unibody and it will get warm a bit, but that's about it.

- It's not powerful enought for a Retina Display. Especially considering the fact the Yosemite OS is way slower in system animations and performance than the Mavericks. You can instantly see the massive performance increase switching to a traditional external display (Eizo CS230 in my case) and switching off the internal screen. Switching between spaces (desktops), launching mission control / expose, all these sweet OSX features I've been using for years are not nearly smooth enough now. A friend of mine has the newer model with an integrated Iris Pro 6200 GPU which is faster but then again he doesn't use a lot of memory-hogging apps and this is what usually slows it down. Now there is no discrete GPU for the 13 incher and it's clear why, but the resolution is a bit lower so take that into account - it might run faster. Now, the way the external screen works using a higher end Retina models (those with the discrete GPU) is that a built in display is powered by the integrated chip whereas the better performer kicks in for an external display. It might then work well.

Now I also had a pre-Retina Macbook Pro 13" which had 1280x800 px display (yeah...) and an entry-level second-generation i5 CPU. But I've torn it apart (this was the last generation you could actually do that), replaced the stock 5400 rpm drive with the then-top of the line Samsung 830 SSD, maxed out the RAM at 16 gig and the whole thing was flying at it still is today. It works noticeably faster in terms of UI responsiveness than my 15" Retina when running on an external screen.

Also - my Late 2013 model suffers from a specific kind of stains on the screen - actually it's the antiglare layer (AG coating) going off under the touch, it's a known design flaw (google staingate) but it's not under warranty anymore and Apple rarely if all recognizes it's as their fault. A brand new topcase (because you need to replace the whole topcase in this thing) costs around 600-700 USD which is more than I've spent on my Eizo so I've decided to leave it be.

Last edited by insmac; 06-17-2015 at 04:54 PM.
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Old 06-17-2015, 05:01 PM
skoobey skoobey is offline
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Re: Mac Book Pro 13" or 15"??? Is 13 big enough?

I never update If it works, it works, I still use Snow Leopard and CS6 hahaha, and I'm on Mac Pro.

Good to hear that it runs cool, my last one actually burned the surface of my desk!

So get an older model year? Because on older models I can at least reinstall Mavericks(might be semi-legal but at least it'll get things under control performance vise). I was definitely thinking of 16gb RAM no matter the model.

I didn't use any of the Yosemete features, I had it installed and it run fine, but is pointless to adjust to something that gives nothing in return. Bunch of new icons and pointless animations that strain RAM and GPU.

Do you close Capture one when working in Photoshop? As I work currently, either it's only C1, or only PS that is running, but not both at the same time, wonder if that is the performance issue?
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Old 06-17-2015, 05:13 PM
insmac insmac is offline
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Re: Mac Book Pro 13" or 15"??? Is 13 big enough?

Quote:
Originally Posted by skoobey View Post
I never update If it works, it works, I still use Snow Leopard and CS6 hahaha, and I'm on Mac Pro.

Good to hear that it runs cool, my last one actually burned the surface of my desk!

So get an older model year? Because on older models I can at least reinstall Mavericks(might be semi-legal but at least it'll get things under control performance vise). I was definitely thinking of 16gb RAM no matter the model.

I didn't use any of the Yosemete features, I had it installed and it run fine, but is pointless to adjust to something that gives nothing in return. Bunch of new icons and pointless animations that strain RAM and GPU.

Do you close Capture one when working in Photoshop? As I work currently, either it's only C1, or only PS that is running, but not both at the same time, wonder if that is the performance issue?
Capture One 8 works flawlessly. In fact, I've seen a massive performance boost upgrading from 7 to 8, don't know why, I guess they haven't been paying attention to optimizing their software for years because most of the time C1 was running on high-end desktop workstations and an average studio digital technician needed only to go through files and, you know, nothing above that. But since they've introduced a monthly plan it's all good.

I use both C1 and Photoshop at all times. I work on either ~21 mpix raw files or 40-50 mpix medium-format TIFF scans and it all runs fine. An average PSD weighs about 500 meg whereas the biggest ones max out at 2-3 gigabytes. I also have a lot of apps open simultaneously: Chrome, Slack, Skype, Evernote, Spotify, Eizo ColorNavigator, Logitech mouse software, Wacom software, Preview, Mail, Calendar, Notes and Photos. That's a daily stack but it gets bigger than that. It's fine

I mean it's really just poking around, it's a wonderful machine, very personal so to speak, I don't know but it's just a super cool stuff to be able to sit on the couch and adjust raw files and then plug in an external screen and work on the images in Photoshop.

Also, I've used extensively a current top-of-the-line Dell Precision which is a carbon-fiber or magnesium alloy - don't remember - beast with a 4K touch display. And I still prefer my Macbook, in fact my sister who owns the Dell (she's a genetic reasearcher and runs a lot of simulations on it) worked on both on the same tasks and loved the Retina more, too.

The one thing I don't like in all unibody Macbook computers since 2009 it's the keyboard. The previous generation (all silver, non unibody) had a super nice, soft keyboard which was great to use, this is too hard for me, and also, because the keys have matte finish they wear out after some time and there is absolutely no way to prevent that other than using an external keyboard only. But then again after a half year use the Dell Precision's touchpad looks like a mess, it's also matte and it has a big glossy hole in the middle.
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Old 06-17-2015, 05:25 PM
insmac insmac is offline
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Re: Mac Book Pro 13" or 15"??? Is 13 big enough?

Also regarding which one to get - depends on your budget. Put it this way: if it's the 13 you're after, get the latest model possible. In case with 15, I'd go with the one with a maxed out previous iteration with GF 750 - the current one has ATI on board and it's very expensive. Funny thing though - 256 GB and 512 GB SSDs are slower than the maxed out 1TB. It's just a benchmark, but it peaks out at around 1 GB per second in both ways!

I know a lot of people bash the Apple for making the internals sealed out but let's face it it's all hapenning in high performance yet portable notebooks within all brands. It's the cost of making them really thin and light. Of course if you plan to put it on the desk it's not an issue, you might get a bulky 4 kilo DELL and enjoy your hammer But for the rest of use, both weight and being slim is a plus.
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Old 06-17-2015, 05:26 PM
skoobey skoobey is offline
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Re: Mac Book Pro 13" or 15"??? Is 13 big enough?

Quote:
Originally Posted by insmac View Post
I use both C1 and Photoshop at all times. I work on either ~21 mpix raw files or 40-50 mpix medium-format TIFF scans and it all runs fine. An average PSD weighs about 500 meg whereas the biggest ones max out at 2-3 gigabytes. I also have a lot of apps open simultaneously: Chrome, Slack, Skype, Evernote, Spotify, Eizo ColorNavigator, Logitech mouse software, Wacom software, Preview, Mail, Calendar, Notes and Photos. That's a daily stack but it gets bigger than that. It's fine
Well there's your problem. I use Chrome, Preview, Skype and PS. That's it, maybe music player, but I've ripped my headsets enough times, so now I just use my ipod and keep it on me I've worked on some large files that really large files that traumatized me(I was literarily praying not to run out of ram while working because every save took minutes) and now I'm RAM obsessed.

I LOVE the keyboard as it is almost the same as my desktop one, so no adjusting needed(except for the arrows, and lack of the numeric keypad).

So, basically, it's all good whatever I do, but 15 is definitely better because of the dedicated GPU.
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