15" MBP: Buy or wait?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by Prodo123, Apr 12, 2017.

?

Should I go for it?

  1. Buy now

    25 vote(s)
    35.7%
  2. Wait

    45 vote(s)
    64.3%
  1. Prodo123 macrumors 68020

    Prodo123

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2010
    #1
    My early 2011 15" is finally on its last legs. It's been modded beyond recognition, which helped it survive such an abuse for the past 6 years. As a photojournalist it goes wherever I go, but after such a long service life it's time to retire it (and turn it into a fancy NAS) and get a new laptop.

    Of course I've been expecting this laptop to fail for a long time, but it just wouldn't fail! I serviced the logic board 1 month before Apple ended the replacement program for the faulty GPUs. So if that's any indication, this laptop should work as it does for the next year or two.

    And so I've been eyeing new MBP models for the past 4 years. When Apple announced the Touch Bar MBP, I was disgusted. 4 USB-C ports? Only 3 of which can be used while charging without a splitter dongle? What was I to do about my card readers (I use primarily CF)? My hard drives? My mouse? It was bad enough that Apple removed the ethernet port with the rMBP, seeing the rest of the ports go was just painful.

    Even knowing this, I would have bought the Touch Bar MBP if it weren't for Apple's recent commitment to the professional market. It mainly pertained to the Mac Pro, but what stood out to me most was that complaints about the Touch Bar MBP was the driving factor in the announcement. With a redesign of the Mac Pro announced, I really am left wondering with whether the MacBook Pro will follow suit in the coming months.

    The specs of the new laptop will have to match the current machine, which means a 15" screen, internal 1 TB storage and at least 16 GB RAM. Herein lies a big if: the Touch Bar MBP is DDR3. Would waiting for DDR4 be worth it? Will Apple add a 32 GB option in the future?

    Connectivity would be an issue as well. Without an OWC DEC, I'd be knee deep in dongles with the current design. Is Apple's "commitment" enough to gamble on this?

    And how long do you think it'll be before the next iteration comes out? If it's WWDC in June I'd be willing to wait, but if it's all the way in September it's a tougher pill to swallow.

    I know it's all speculation, but I'd like the MR community to weigh in on this. Thanks.
     
  2. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

    Staff Member

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    #2
    The fall, Apple will not release a new iteration before then, otherwise that will feed the flames that the 2016 model is deficient in some fashion.

    I hope to see some options, such as a non-TB model for the 15" computer but I'm not holding my breath. I think overall, the next release will largely be a spec bump, i.e., going to Kaby Lake and maybe a larger battery. I've seen reports on the internet that seem to indicate that apple wanted a larger tiered battery in the 2016 model but couldn't overcome some issues so they opted for a smaller one instead. That being said, they've now had a year to work on it so I'm expecting (hoping) for a larger battery.

    Bottom line is that if you need one now, get it, if you can wait, you'll no doubt get a newer/faster model.
     
  3. Samuelsan2001 macrumors 604

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2013
    #3
    Unless you need 32GB of RAM DDR4 is currently no faster than DDR3 and absolutely destroys battery life (its why apple didn't use it) don't get me wrong DDR4 will be a big upgrade in the future but currently its not a big deal. so unless you need 32gb of RAM don't wait for that.

    As for now or later, its simple, you will be waiting 6 months as far as we can tell, is the increased productivity and having a better computer for 6 months more useful than the future minor spec update that may well make very little difference to you.

    In almost all cases if you use a computer professionally and your current machine isn't cutting it then waiting is a false economy of the worst sort.
     
  4. smallcoffee macrumors 6502a

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  5. fokmik macrumors 68000

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    Oct 28, 2016
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    #5
    I think the 2017 will adress these things to make a polished and how it should been from the start:
    -better battery with 9-10 hours light usage putting bigger battery and better kaby lake cpu that its more efficient ( they intended left some empty spaces inside,like they did with the first 12" macbook) so to have some battery improvements for the next gen
    -better implementation for the touchbar, they also did this in the past with the 3d touch in ios9 that was very limited and almost nobody used it, now in ios10 is more useful. I think touchbar is the way to interact with the app in full screen mode when you are using the mac without external monitor
    -price cut by 100-200$
     
  6. Sanpete macrumors 68020

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    Utah
    #6
    You have been misled (perhaps by Mac Rumors) in supposing complaints about the Touch Bar MBP were the driving factor in the announcement about the Mac Pro. That's an unsourced rumor that some careless people who want to believe it have reported as fact. As a journalist, I'm sure you appreciate the difference between unsourced rumor and established fact.

    So there's not much reason to expect a new version of the MBP based on that rumor. Indeed, what Apple actually said at the meeting the rumor is about is "Obviously, as you know, we just did a very major update to the MacBook Pro line. That’s going very well. Customers absolutely love it, we’ve had a lot of customers buying them. Big numbers, as I said, 20 percent growth year over year."

    It appears your peripherals are USB-A. You can either attach cheap and reliable tiny USB-C adapters to their cables (about $5 each), or you can get a hub with several USB-A ports and connect and disconnect them all at once.

    As @Samuelsan2001 explains, the only potential advantage of DDR4 would be a 32 GB option, at the cost of battery life. The new MBP may have a larger battery though. There's already room for one in the chassis.
     
  7. Prodo123 thread starter macrumors 68020

    Prodo123

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2010
    #7
    Apple will probably never admit to such a rumor, and I will apologize for making it sound like fact, as MR's article did.

    But the rumor's claims are substantiated. I've seen the claims firsthand, the same complaints reiterated so much that by now I sound like a broken record. Every press box I've been to, it's been a hot topic between us. Not a single person spent any less time bashing the USB-C ports on the new MBP. Of the hundreds of colleagues I've bumped into since October, about 6-8 have bought a refurbished rMBP instead. Only one has bought the new Touch Bar MBP.

    Going by Apple's marketing, +20% year-over-year for the new model sounds impressive, but Apple also has not released the year-over-year growth for refurbished products. If my sample size of several hundred is representative of the pro market, the refurbished year-over-year should sit comfortably above +300%, while new year-over-year is in the high negatives. There's a lot of guesswork involved here, though, so take what I say with a grain of salt.

    Point being, the fact that Apple has not revealed information on whether "orders for refurbished "old" MacBook Pros supposedly went through the roof" leaves me to base my opinions on my direct observations, not on its marketing or investors' calls or whatnot. And what I've been seeing in my admittedly skewed sample is much more in line with the rumors.

    Just wanted to clarify my reasons for believing in the rumor. Hopefully it clarifies a bit where I'm coming from and the situation that I'm under.

    (honestly though it's tiring to fact check everything and live impeccably, we like to believe in rumors and MR's the place to go for that)
     
  8. Sanpete macrumors 68020

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    #8
    It's not a rumor that there have been complaints, of course. That much we know. It's unsourced and unsubstantiated that the complaints about the MBP led Apple to reconsider, apologize, etc about the Mac Pro. Which on its face is a peculiar theory. And as you say we don't know the breakdown in sales.

    I should think that both the new MBP and the 2015, both new and refurbs, have seen impressive sales since the new MBP was announced. There was pent-up demand, and I'm sure a lot of those who don't like the changes stopped waiting and went for the older model while it was still available. But Apple has been clear that the new MBP is selling well, that people "love it." That fits the comments I've seen here and elsewhere, that many people do love it, more than hate it. The ratio may vary across different professions and contexts.
     
  9. rutrack macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2017
    #9
    How does DDR4 destroy battery life ? Can you support this claim with numbers ?
     
  10. Sanpete macrumors 68020

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    #10
    He's talking about desktop DDR4 vs LPDDR3. What numbers are you in doubt about? I've got some sources and numbers in the text below. I'd just give the link, but I've been advised I should just copy and paste it here instead (despite the rule that says the opposite!).

    According to the chart at this link, the kind of RAM used by the new MBPs, LPDDR3, uses 70% of the energy used by regular DDR3 when active, and 10% when on standby, i.e. when powered but not active. (The LP stands for low power. It's designed for mobile devices.) Put the other way, DDR3 uses 43% more power than LPDDR3 when active (100/70 = 1.43) and 10 times more on standby.

    https://blogs.synopsys.com/committedtomemory/2014/01/10/when-is-lpddr3-not-lpddr3-when-its-ddr3l/

    The Dell XPS comes with DDR4 2133 RAM. It's supposed to use less power than regular DDR3, but in practice people aren't seeing much difference.

    http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/asrock-fatal1ty-z170-gaming-k4-d3-ddr4-vs-ddr3,4431-2.html

    On the other hand, Table 4 on page 6 at the next link claims 4% power saving with an 18% increase in throughput, which would represent a 23% increase in efficiency (for not quite equivalent RAM):

    https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B-W2SEvdVPhtU2VXVnNfdFp5Rlk/view

    I'm more inclined to accept the results from practical use, which show little difference, but I'll suppose a 10% saving for DDR4. That means DDR3 uses 11% more energy than DDR4 when active.

    According to the above source (which is measuring eight 16 GB sticks), two 16 GB sticks of DDR4 2133, which is the standard RAM speed on both the Mac and the XPS, use 11 watts of energy when active (44/4).

    According to the next link, two 8 GB sticks of DDR4 2133 use about 6 watts.

    http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/intel-core-i7-5960x-haswell-e-cpu,3918-13.html

    So equivalent DDR3 would use 6.6 W.

    Using the 70% figure from above, that means the LPDDR3 used by the MBP uses about 4.6 watts when active. That's a difference of 6.4 watts between 32 GB RAM on the Dell and 16 on the Mac (11 - 4.6).

    More RAM energy use also causes proportionally more heat, which requires more fan use to get rid of it. The fans in laptops are typically 2-watt, and there are two of them, so they would max out at 4 watts. We're into the realm of guesswork here, but let's suppose as a worst case that extra use of the fans use up an extra 2 watts, plus the 6.4 = 8.4 watts more than what the Mac would use when active.

    There are various kinds of "standby" and "idle," so it isn't clear if the figures in Table 4 referred to above and those in the table at the first link refer to the same thing. Supposing they do, when idle the DDR3 RAM at Table 4 uses 14% of the energy it uses when active. If the ratio is similar to the 8 GB sticks, two 8 GB sticks would idle at .9 W. And by the 10% figure from the first link, the equivalent LPDDR would idle at .09 W. According to Table 4, 32 GB of DDR4 2133 idles at .6 W, a difference of about .5 W.

    So, the range of difference is .5 to 8.4 W between 32 GB DDR4 and 16 GB LPDDR3, depending on how much you use the RAM (and some guesswork).

    Two sticks of 8 GB DDR4 use about 6 W, 1.4 more than the 4.6 the Mac's LPDDR3 uses. That's about 1/5 the difference with 32 GB, so the extra fan usage would be maybe .4 W more, for a total of 1.8 W.

    By the figures at Table 4, the DDR4 idles at about 5.5% of active power. That would be .33 W for two 8 GB sticks. That's .24 more than the .09 W used by the Mac RAM when idling.

    So the range for 16 GB is .24 to 1.8 W extra for the DDR4 RAM.

    Over a period of 10 hours, 32 GB RAM DDR4 would use 5 to 84 more watt-hours.

    Over 10 hours, 16 GB DDR4 would use 2.4 to 18 more watt-hours.
     
  11. Queen6 macrumors 603

    Queen6

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    #11
    I vote wait, for the very reasons you have extrapolated. Similarly I and many colleagues have discounted the 2016 design for several reasons. Tend to agree next release will be Q3 onwards, what it offers only Apple knows...

    Q-6
     
  12. kart macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2011
    #12
    Depends on your needs. The 2016 15" would be a massive upgrade from your 2011. The screen alone will blow away your '11. I have the 2016 15" and love it. Can handle anything. I haven't had any dramas with it at all, you'll only ever read when people have dramas.
    It is an expensive machine, there is no doubt about that. This is the reason I have only recently bought one, as I refused to pay the RRP on this machine.
    All in all, way up your pro's and con's.
    But remember, there will always be something 'newer and better' coming out..
     
  13. N3ILA macrumors member

    N3ILA

    Joined:
    Sep 5, 2013
    Location:
    Pleasant Prairie, WI.
    #13
    Take from this what you will.

    Unibody to Retina
    2/24/11 | -(473 days 1y 3m 18d)- 6/11/12
    2/13/13 | 247 days 8m 2d
    10/22/13 | 251 days 8m 9d
    6/29/14 | 250 days 8m 7d
    3/9/15 | 253 days 8m 9d (13")
    5/19/15 | 324 days 10m 20d (15")

    Retina to Touch Bar
    10/27/16 | 13" (598 days 1y 7m 18d)
    10/27/16 | 15" (527 days 1y 5m 8d)
     
  14. TheOkeland macrumors member

    Joined:
    Apr 4, 2017
    Location:
    Aachen, Germany
    #14
    I am facing the same question at the moment.

    I mean, what are we waiting for? I would guess that only the CPU will change to a KabyLake one. If the GPU gets an update (AMD Radeon 500series), it will only be a minimal improvement I suppose. We won't get NVIDIA-Cards because of the power-limitation. Apple would have to bring back the MagSafe to exceed the TB3-Powerlimit.

    Everything else will likely be the same, maybe a little bit better battery.
    The question to buy with or without touchbar is difficult too (if there will be a 15"-model without touchbar). The Touchbar is not really a game changer at the moment, but the F-Keys are neither. Most of the time I use the F-Keys as media-control, brightness and volume. For this use-case the touchbar will be fine and the TouchID is a really nice extra. ;)

    The big question is the release-date. A release in September/October would result in nearly the same complaints as the last release, because CannonLake will be released a little bit later. So again the MBP would have the "old" CPUs.
    A release in June on the WWDC would be the better choice, AMD will release this month, so the GPUs would be ready too. A June update would also address the problems we know the 2016-MBP has (e.g. the new popping sound form the hinge, blown speakers (old Bootcamp drivers), or the bad battery life at the release).

    This makes it a difficult decision and I would love to see Apple making a statement. With this amount of complaints concerning the 2016-MBP, I would suppose that many people are now facing this questions. So why on earth, is Apple unable to face their mistakes and make a clear statement? With information about the planned release of the updated version, everyone could decide if he wants to wait (probably 6 month) or to buy the 2016-MBP.
    If you hope there will be a big performance-boost in the 2017-MBP, I would say no.
     
  15. leman macrumors 604

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2008
    #15
    If you are right and this is the case, than its dire news for the entire computer industry. USB-C is literally the most important thing that has happened to computer connectivity since, well, USB. If it fails, we are back to square one.
     
  16. The Mercurian macrumors 65816

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    #16
    Wouldn't be an issue if you had a choice of ports. USB-C will come - but you can't single-handedly enforce it all at once on a great many folks. You need to have an intermediate period where machines give you an option. That way folks buy the USB-C on their own time when each device needs replacing. Couple of years in - then you can justifiably dump the legacy ports. Doing it the way Apple have tried to do it with the 2016 MBP just annoys people.
     
  17. leman macrumors 604

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    Oct 14, 2008
    #17
    I am not sure that I agree. I'm afraid you might be underestimating the inertia in both the industry and the user's attitudes. Given the popular mindset of "this works well enough, why bother", implementing useful change is difficult. Take the outdated VGA ports. They are still among the most popular connectivity options for beamers, simply because people assume that they will always work. This is a case where the "give an option" strategy has basically failed.

    Now, there were a lot of issue with USB-C introduction — lack of proper chips for hub manufacturers etc., total confusion with cables and so on and so on. But as far as Apple's aggressive adoption of USB-C goes, personally I completely support them. It might be painful right now, but this is the right thing to do and I hope that they provide enough impulse to make things move quicker in the industry.
     
  18. Queen6, Apr 13, 2017
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2017

    Queen6 macrumors 603

    Queen6

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    #18
    Completely agree close to two years of professional use with the 12" Retina MackBook, visiting numerous engineering and manufacturing facilities, across multiple countries, I have yet to see a single peripheral that can natively connect to USB C. My own experience with USB C and dongle's (Apple's own) is that they are in the region of 85% reliable which is far from acceptable for a premium device employed in a professional role.

    Other companies are offering far more sensible options with USB C/TB-3 being an addition to the relevant ports that are and will remain in mainstream use for several years to come for professional users. To be totally frank if you can control your computing environment USB C/TB-3 is without any doubts offers a significant benefit, however if your on the go and using the hardware as intended USB C/TB-3 is very far from being a solid solution.

    Sorry 85% is simply not good enough, before people rush in to counter & defend I am simply expressing my user experience as a mobile professorial in the engineering realm, it is, what it is...

    Q-6
     
  19. leman macrumors 604

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2008
    #19
    What are you talking about? Any USB device with a detachable USB cable can natively connect to USB-C. There are two USB external drives and an USB mouse on my desk right now. Same for printers (if you don't want to use a wireless one) and anything else.
     
  20. Queen6, Apr 13, 2017
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2017

    Queen6 macrumors 603

    Queen6

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    #20
    Clueless - Stop assuming your usage mirrors others, nor is anyone forcing you to respond. Clearly my usage differs...

    Q-6
     
  21. leman macrumors 604

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2008
    #21
    Clearly it does. Maybe you then tell us what kind of peripherals you are talking about instead of making it sound like an absolute statement? If I understood it correctly, you seem to work with some sort of engineering equipment — if thats the case, then yes, bleeding edge is not a good choice. Pro-level specialised equipment is often generations behind for various reasons (we have some very expensive equipment for brain experiments and that stuff doesn't work with any USB-3 port — neither on PC or Mac). That is however neither the failure of USB-C nor a reason to skip technological advancement.
     
  22. aevan macrumors 68000

    aevan

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    Serbia
    #22
    Apple will never go back to USB-A. There are so many reasons for this and the Mac Pro announcement has absolutely nothing to do with MBP. Changing their mind on all-usb-c/tb3 is as likely as them deciding not to have a new iPhone this year.

    As for dongles, have you tried replacing cables instead of dongles?

    As for DDR4 - nope, not worth the wait. A lot of people expect the 2017. model to be vastly improved, however, it will be a slight upgrade. Battery life may be a bit better. If you need a new laptop, it's not worth the 7 month wait.
     
  23. The Mercurian macrumors 65816

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    Mar 17, 2012
    #23
    Well beamers are the proof of what I'm saying. If you invest in a beamer - its a couple thousand $$ or more for a decent one. People don't upgrade these in short timescales. Maybe 10 years. Thats why so many of them still have VGA. If you are talking about stuff like external HDs, printers etc - people update more quickly. In fact I bought an external HD around Christmas - I made sure it was USB-C compatible even though I don't have a compatible computer at the time being. (I got a LaCie that came with USB-C and Thunderbolt cables). I'm sure the beamer in our office will only be updated literally when it dies - so what 5, 10 more years ?
     
  24. Fishrrman macrumors G4

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2009
    #24
    OP:

    If you absolutely need to "buy now", then by all means get what you need. One has to do, what one has to do.

    If your budget is constrained, consider the 2015 production model. Still current in the Apple lineup and a fine MacBook at a good price.

    IF you can wait a while, don't expect to see new MBPro's until October at the earliest, more likely in November or December.
     
  25. Queen6, Apr 13, 2017
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2017

    Queen6 macrumors 603

    Queen6

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    #25
    Exactly, much of the equipment in offices & facilities is hardwired, so "just changing cable's" is not quite so simple as some would like to think. Adaptors in my experience are generally not an issue, however dongles with logic are the major culprits, especially when doubled up.

    Issues I have "personally" experienced are mostly related to display devices and ethernet. These guy's don't get as it simply doesn't affect them, therefore all is good with Apple. Nor am I willing to get into another futile "ping pong match" anymore over what is basically just personal experience and opinion. I can visualise that the 2016 MBP works for many, yet some are seemingly incapable of understanding why it just "may" not be such a great a proposition for others, nor is there any other realistic options from Apple. With any luck Karma will come into play and they may well find themselves in that position one day, only then will they understand exactly how frustrating it can be, and how unprofessional it comes across "when it just doesn't work"...

    Before anyone else chimes in with the suggestion of the wrong gear, my 13" & 15" rMBP's have never missed a beat, equally they have relevant ports for professional usage, lacking only the advancement of USB C/TB-3...

    Q-6
     

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