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I'm completely new to Mac (OS X) and I want to buy a 13" Macbook Pro 2011. I'm not sure if the "2,7 GHz Dual-Core Intel Core i7" is worth the +300€. I want to order one of the two with a 128GB SSD for fast boots. I'm a developer (mainly web) so I need the book for programming and for the university later this year. I'm not going to install Windows or Linux on the machine. I need Mac OS X.

My questions:

  1. Is there any advantage of a SSD in the Mac as long I don't plan gaming? Or do they boot up fast from some kind of sleep mode? I need a Notebook which starts really quick and does not loose battery when off (sleep mode etc.).
  2. Is the i7 much better than the i5? I mean the only difference between the two books is only CPU and HDD.
  3. Is 13" enough? I can't visit an Apple store since there aren't any in my region. My current notebook is a 15" one running Ubuntu and I think it shouldn't be much smaller. But the 15" Macbooks are too expensive for me and a 13" might be more portable. I'll connect the book to a larger screen @ home anyway.
  4. Thanks.
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2 Answers 2

up vote 4 down vote accepted

I've ordered the cheapest 13" as my first mac. I already have a 80 GB SSD which I will put in it immediately when it arrives. An SSD is beneficial to about everything you can do on your mac because the hard disk is usually the performance bottleneck.

Don't worry about the screen size and resolution if you'll hook it up to an external monitor anyway. I've played around with a 13" a lot this week and the screen size and resolution are fine for normal pc usage.

I would not pay extra for the upgraded CPU. Remember that the cheapest 13" has about the same cpu speed as the previous generation's 17" flagship! (see benchmarks posted below)

So either way I would go with the cheapest version. If you are unable/unwilling to open up your mac yourself I would take the SSD option. You can always get a nice little external HD with 1TB disk space for not much money, if you run out of SSD space.

Here are CPU benchmarks: enter image description here

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I can only really answer question #3:

As a developer/photographer I think 13" is a good size for a laptop, as long as you are connecting it to an external monitor back at base. The 13" laptops are a lot more portable than the 15" ones, ideal for taking to uni!

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I decided to take the cheapest 13". Going to buy it today or tomorrow. :) –  user4072 Mar 2 '11 at 12:52
    
I did the same thing and got the cheapest as my first mac and upgraded the ram to 8Gb. It's actually faster than my Windows 7 desktop with an overclocked quad core. –  Chris_O Mar 3 '11 at 22:15

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