15" or 17" MacBook Pro?

I am sort of torn right now. After selling my MacBook 13.3″ I’m looking to upgrade to the MacBook Pro. I’ve always had the iBook/MacBook (non-Pro) series of Apple laptops and loved them, but they get scratched easily.

I got $1300 for my MacBook and $450 for my monitor, for a total of $1750. The 15.4″ MacBook Pro 2.16Ghz Core 2 Duo model is $1799 (all prices in student pricing). It wouldn’t be very much to simply purchase that model.

The problem lies in the fact that I’ve always wanted the 17″ laptop from Apple. I can get a 17″ Core 1 Duo with 2.16Ghz for $2299, or the 2.33Ghz Core 2 duo for $2599.

So the question is it worth it to downgrade the processor and upgrade the monitor size for $500 on the Core 2 Duo, and/or is it worth it to upgrade the processor and monitor size for $800?

It seems like quite a bit extra for an extra 1.6 inches. I’m sure I will be happy with the 15.4″ model…I’ve just always had my eye on buying a 17″. This will be my primary computer.
Any thoughts?


8 thoughts on “15" or 17" MacBook Pro?

  1. I’d love to get a 17″ Macbook Pro myself, but I’ve been using a 15″ TiBook for over 5 years and I take it everywhere. I wonder if I’d lose some of that easy portability with such a large machine. I expect to make my purchase in January after iLife ’07 is released. I don’t want to pay for the latest iLife within a month of buying a new machine. Plus, the 17″ is currently backordered.

    One other thing – my wife has a year-old 1.67GHz Powerbook and I love its screen resolution compared to my old Powerbook, but I think I would love the increased screen space on the 17″ Macbook Pro even more…

  2. I’ve had the original 17″ Powerbook 1ghz for close to four years now and now, have ordered a new 17″ MacBook Pro. That extra elbow room is WONDERFUL for applications that have a lot of pallette windows.

    If you do any graphics or web work, the extra room will pay for itself…


  3. I pulled the trigger on the refurb 2.16 GHz Core 1 for $1,599 and added the 2nd gig of memory for ~$100. Same GPU and screen. Most data seems to indicate the biggest increase in speed is with the Rosetta improvements in 10.4.8 vs. core 2 duo…

  4. I’ve used both the 15″ and the 17″. The 17″ is a great workhorse and I’d recommend it as a transportable computer. That means that you can take it from point A to point B. It doesn’t necessarily mean you can conveniently use it between points A & B.

    I used the 17″ at home and at work. Transporting it between the two meant placing it in the trunk of my car, so the weight was not a problem. It wasn’t a big deal to carry it down the hall for meetings and the like. I travelled with it once, though, and found it cumbersome to use while waiting for a plane and heavy while schlepping it around for the day through airports.

    I have used the 15″ on trips and have had no problems.

    I love the 17″. It is truly a desktop replacement. But if it’s going to be carried a long period of time, like in a backpack or something, you’ll wish you had the 15″.

  5. I went through the same dilemma. But I bit the bullet and went for the 17inch. Best decision I ever made. It’s totally portable once you actually have it and get used it. I, personally, can never go back to a 15 or smaller laptop screen. If I need bigger real estate, I simply hook up my 17inch to my 23inch cinema display.

    Go for the 17inch 2.33 Core2Duo if you can.

  6. I purchased the 17″ MBP Core Duo in June. It is truly a great machine, but it turned out it wasn’t for me. Here is what I found:

    – It is big and definitely cannot be used as a “lap” top with any ease, too difficult to balance on your legs. It is definitely a desktop replacement.

    – The keyboard was too far back from the front of the computer to allow for ergonomic typing, the hands / wrists are placed “wrong”.

    – With the keyboard being placed so far back, the hands / wrist need to rest on the computer and “feel the heat” when the machine is working hard and gets hot.

    – It is a big / heavy machine and cumbersome to move around.

    – The resolution on the 17″ screen means that text is rather small for “tired old eyes” like mine, though you can remedy this somewhat by turning up default font sizes, though that can sometimes affect web pages and the like. (Note: This will get better when “resolution independence” comes along in future OS revisions).

    So, I sold mine off and have now ordered a 15″ C2D machine. Having said all the above, the 17″ was definitely a great machine, rock solid and had some great features (the speaker quality was superb!). I’m not saying you won’t enjoy yours, just that I wish I had realised the above things before purchasing mine.

  7. Foolishness …

    I use Archicad, Maya, and Rhino on a Daily Basis as well as the whole adobe CS2 suite. Only a budget graphic designer would call a 17″ laptop LCD their primary display. You buy the 15″ C2D because it’s a better deal and much more portable and you hook it up to your 23-30″ cinema display any time you are working. I don’t care what resolution apple squeezes into the 17″, it’s always going to be 17″. Go for the sleeker and more portable and buy an LCD. Dual display parallels is a necessity anyway.

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