15-inch MBP 2016 - questions before buying!

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by pubmsu, Jan 18, 2017.

  1. pubmsu, Jan 18, 2017
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2017

    pubmsu macrumors regular

    Dec 9, 2014
    Sydney, Australia

    Background: I am a development manager and software architect. Typically deal with multiple projects simultaneously, hence need around 50 Chrome tabs open all the time, one single VM, MS Office apps, Skype. Some days when at client site, I ideally need at least 9 hrs battery life on such workload, at 50% brightness.

    I have a few questions:

    1. Did you so far hit the 16GB RAM limit in terms of performance degradation due to swapping? What type of heavy workload can it take until performance starts to affect negatively?

    2. Does the keyboard area and/or underside get uncomfortably hot under heavy workload?

    3. If you have used entry level model of 27-inch iMac Retina first gen, how would you compare the day to day performance (like zippyness) of MBP 2016 with that of the iMac Retina?

    4. Does the bigger trackpad cause unintended movement of cursor while typing?

    5. How has been the battery life *after* 10.12.3 beta 4?

    6. If you have used it with LG 27UD88 4K monitor, have you experienced any issue?

    7. If you're coming from a 12/13 inch rMB/P, do you find 15-inch's weight or size inconvenient?

    Many thanks to the responders!
    --- Post Merged, Jan 18, 2017 ---
    If anyone has more questions specific to 15-inch models, feel free to add to this thread.
  2. keviig macrumors 6502

    Jun 7, 2012
    1. Not personally. I could probably get along with 8GB.

    2. It does get warm when connected to an external 4k monitor (450 Pro dGPU active). But cool otherwise.

    3. Have not, sorry. It is however quite a bit more zippy than the 2016 13" tbMBP I had for a week.

    4. I've had it move 3-4 times over the two weeks I've had it. Not a problem IMO.

    5. I have not tried the beta, but during light use (Safari, freecodecamp course) I got 8-9 hours with 40% brightness.

    6. I have not. I use it with a Samsung U24E850R with a Tb3-->Dp1.2 adapter and get 4k@60Hz no issues.

    7. It is bigger than the 13", so it takes a little getting used to. The size doesn't really bother me however and the weight is not an issue unless you travel a lot. The extra screen size and power more than makes up for it.
  3. zarathu macrumors regular


    May 14, 2003
    No one can answer some of your questions unless you tell us the software you use, the kinds of jobs you do with the machine, and the amount time you have to be away from an outlet.
  4. pubmsu thread starter macrumors regular

    Dec 9, 2014
    Sydney, Australia
    Added that info. Thanks!
  5. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    I have a 27" iMac with 8GB and a 2012 rMBP with 16GB of ram. I'm finding no issues with either machine, I use Photoshop (lightly, I'm not a power PS user), Lightroom Vmware, and VirtualBox among other apps. I've not run into any performance degredation with 8GB, never mind the 16GB MBP.

    While I don't own a 2016 MBP, I've seen enough threads and people complaining about palm rejection to say that Apple needs to improve on this.
    My 2012 rBMP is heavier then the current model, and I don't find that too unwieldy though I have opted for a smaller laptop due to my travel needs.
  6. leman macrumors G3

    Oct 14, 2008
    1. Yes, if I mess up my code and it grabs hundreds of GB from the OS... shouldn't happen with the usage you describe.

    2. No

    3. Can't answer

    4. No

    5. Very good before and after the 10.12.3 beta 4

    6. Can't answer

    7. Can't answer.
  7. symphara macrumors 6502a

    Nov 21, 2013
    1. Not yet. The worst I did was 9-thread compilations, the UI remains fluid.

    2. Yes, definitely. You cannot keep it in your lap without a lot of "local warming" (you can amuse yourself with https://www.ted.com/talks/yossi_vardi_fights_local_warming)

    4. No but I find it quite unreliable for gestures and DnD. Had no such problems on my 13" Air. Often it just won't do what I need it to do. No idea why or how to fix it.

    7. I'm coming from a 13" Air and the size increase hasn't been that bad. My biggest complaint is that, unlike the Air which is tapered, the Pro cuts into my wrists badly when used in my lap.

    PS: I very much doubt you'll get at least 9 hours of battery life with the workload and brightness you specify. I'd say closer to 5?
  8. matram macrumors member

    Sep 18, 2011
    1. No, I have been OK with two VM running in Fusion, one for VS studio development and one Win 7 test VM
    2. No very cool
    4. No for the touchpad, inadvertently touching the ESC key happened a couple of times
    5. Have not noticed a huge difference, 8 - 10 hours I guess, however this is sensitive to brightness and activation of dGPU
    7. Big step up on the screen resolution, weight nothing I think about, footprint a bit bigger, needs more space on the desk but well worth it
  9. zarathu macrumors regular


    May 14, 2003
    I have a mid 2011 iMac with only 12 gb. I often run iMovie, virtual box and multiple programs at the same time. I rarely get above 8 gb. You can dl Onyx and use it to clear unused memory if you need to.


    I had a first generation MBP, a large Dell, a Mac Walstreet, a mac Powerbook 800. I never had a problem with being too big. Besides many of us carry
    other stuff with us.
  10. mcomp112 macrumors regular

    Jan 1, 2017
    1. More than enough for me so far. I have all of those programs open (only about 20-30 tabs in Chrome though) and it's still running very well

    2. It does get a little warm when under heavy load like every other laptop but nothing uncomfortable in my opinion.

    3. N/A.

    4. No.

    5. N/A.

    6. None whatsoever so far. It is very smooth and snappy. I had a 13 inch touch bar before this that stuttered when connected to the 27ud88 and with a VM open. My new 2.7/455/512 just blazes through everything though. Very happy to have upgraded.

    7. Having just returned the touch bar 13 inch, yes you do notice the difference. The 13 inch tb is incredibly portable and I loved it for that reason but the new 15 inch form factor is pretty portable as well. Quite light and compact imo (at 4 lbs, it's almost the same weight as a 13-inch Surface Book). It's a slight trade-off but in my case the extra power was absolutely worth it.
  11. kartcrg macrumors member


    Dec 7, 2016
    Los Angeles
    SAME for all.

    It's like we're the same person except replace "VM" with "CAD."
  12. aevan macrumors 68030


    Feb 5, 2015

    1. No. 16Gb is more than you need for 90% workflows, unless you are doing specific tasks. Running multiple VMs, storing video files in RAM, certain rendering jobs, etc. There is almost a myth that you can fill 16Gb RAM while using browsers with multiple tabs or running a lot of apps, because people see memory usage in Activity Monitor and think that because the system is using most of it, they are at the limit. This is, of course, not true and 16Gb RAM will be more than enough for 50 Chrome tabs, VM, Office apps, Skype and more.

    2. It gets warm, but less than previous MBPs and most laptops I've used. Underside always gets warm, on any laptop.

    3. I have the mid 27" iMac Retina first gen (M290X and i5) and the performance is similar. The GPU is a bit faster on the iMac, that is to be expected, and for everything else I do - Photoshop, Zbrush, Clip Studio Paint, they work the same. The difference is that the iMac has a larger fan that doesn't spin as fast and you'll hear it less in general. In terms of UI and lag and stuff like that, both are near-perfect to me.

    4. Not for me. There have been complaints, but I love it. If you turn off tap to click then there are no problems, and if it's on, then it depends how good palm reject reacts to your hands. Works almost perfect for me.

    5. My battery life is almost identical to the one on my Retina MBP 2013. I'd say a bit better for low intensity tasks. But keep in mind that the 2013. model is rated at 8 hours. Anyway, it's not bad.

    6. Didn't use that monitor.

    7. Tough to answer. The new 15" is smaller and lighter than the previous one, but it's still quite bigger than the 13". And is huge compared to a 12". Still, as far as 15" laptops go, this one is very small, light and portable. I have no issues carrying it around in my bag everywhere I go, but if you're used to 13, it may seem big.
  13. pubmsu thread starter macrumors regular

    Dec 9, 2014
    Sydney, Australia
    Hi aevan, which of the 15-inch models do you have? I had the exact iMac Retina but it felt like few hundred milliseconds worth of lag was there when under heavy multitasking and two external monitors. I just hope new 15-inch will allow me to use one 4K and one 5K monitor under heavy multitasking without any noticeable lag at all.
  14. aevan macrumors 68030


    Feb 5, 2015
    I have the 2.7/455/512 MBP and the 3.5 i5/M290X/1Tb Fusion Drive iMac 5K - both stock configurations. As for lag: when you say lag with haevy multitasking - I can presume you mean Mission Control. Because I doubt you see lag in apps themselves - but correct me if I'm wrong.

    Here's the thing, when you activate Mission Control, macOS pulls data and does some other stuff and it's a very demanding process. When you have a lot of apps open, the first time you do Mission Control it can stutter. Like, really noticeably. This happens more on my iMac 5K then on my MBP, but then again, I don't have external monitors attached to my MBP. On the other hand, the MBP has faster RAM and SSD, so maybe that helps, I don't know.

    The thing is, people attribute this to the GPU because it's a very distinct animation, but from what I've learned, it has little to do with GPU or CPU performance. Apple almost got rid of this lag with early versions of El Capitan, now it's back, altough better than what it was on Yosemite (Yosemite was full of lag).

    Other than that, I have no lag elsewhere - both on my iMac and on my MBP.

    So, in my opinion - you shouldn't have problems with lag during everyday work, but some stutter here and there while Mission Control is caching or whatever is possible (when you activate it again right after the first time, there is never any lag). Mission Control is the only place where any lag, everything else, from scrolling to moving UI elemenst to using the apps themselves (which is the most important thing) has no lag - both on my MBP and on my iMac.
  15. pubmsu thread starter macrumors regular

    Dec 9, 2014
    Sydney, Australia
    Yes the lags were mainly in Mission Control and desktop switching. Sometimes also when RAM was under pressure.

    Thanks for your detailed advices!

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