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From my own research and asking on other Mac forums. The answer to my question seem to be split. People who prefer mobility chose 13 over 15 and people who like better screen resolution pick 15.

How about this? If you going to dual boot OS X/Win7 and do .Net development on Win7 and PHP/Ruby on OS X. Is Core2duo enough for it?

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For simple development a simple Pentium would suffice. For a laptop computer mobility is 10 times more important than anything else. –  AbiusX Mar 16 '11 at 1:29

3 Answers 3

It's a little tricky to see what your question is here so I'll give my views but my short answer is that 15 inch will be a better experience but not in the sense that a 13" MBP could not do what you need at all.

Dual-boot will be fine although I find OSX much more efficient in terms of resource needs. You'll have no problems doing web development using either of those two frameworks on either OS.

As for mobility, the weight and size difference seems negligible when carrying it around but once it is sat down in front of you, the extra screen space is useful.

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I am going to touch only the screen size aspect of this question. Having used a 13" white MacBook entirely for development and work (and everything else in between) for over two years, I have often found myself severely crippled by the amount of space available on my screen. Everything is fine when I am editing a single source file without needing to look at another piece of file, but when I have to reference another file or piece of documentation or a set of windows, I do feel frustrated. Often, when that happens, I feel slightly unproductive. When I do XCode development, I naturally want the XCode to maximize itself, what with the editor taking space on the right side and the project/file browser on the left. That may seem fine, and it is, but if you throw XCode developer documentation window in the mix, you start to feel a bit of frustration. And if you migrate to the world of Interface Builder development, oh dear, you will feel even more frustrated as Interface Builder is notorious for spewing countless windows all over the place (I may be exaggerating, but it indicates the level of agitation I feel at times). I am personally of the opinion that a 15" makes up for a good development machine in terms of screen real estate that it provides, at a very, very minor risk of hurting the mobility aspect of the laptop.

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I have a 15" MBP (last gen, not this gen). I topped it out with the faster CPU, faster HD, and upgraded the RAM to 8GB. I'm glad I did, because I run VMs all the time, and the RAM + CPU has made a big difference. I haven't checked out the new laptops yet, but last gen's couldn't be upgraded to the same capacity (at least in terms of CPU, IIRC), so I'm glad I went with what I did.

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