Resolved 2015 MacBook Pro 13" or 2017 nTB MacBook Pro 13"

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by Populus, Jun 12, 2017.

  1. Populus macrumors 6502

    Populus

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2012
    Location:
    Valencia, Spain.
    #1
    Hello, thank you in advance for reading my post.

    As you probably know, Apple has finally axed the 13" 2015 MacBook Pro from their stores. I've never liked the lack of ports -only two- and the keyboard from the 2016 model, so this announcement made me go to an Apple Store and buy one of the last units of the 2015 model. So, now I have the 2015 13" MacBook Pro still boxed, I haven't opened it yet, because I'm doubting about the new 2017 MacBook Pros...

    This days I've been trying the keyboard from the 2016 model, and after a few hours, I'm kinda liking it. So the new butterfly mechanism keyboard it is no longer a trouble for me... But still, there are two major issues with the new MacBook Pro:

    First, only two ports. I don't see myself using dongles, and I don't find it pretty useful. Is there a small and reliable dongle with USB A, SD Card reader, Mini Display Port (thunderbolt) and a USB-C for charging? I doubt so

    Second, the battery is way smaller, and although Apple claims 10 hours of battery life because the CPU has a lower power consumption, I still have the impression that the new MacBook Pro has a more limited battery life when used on a daily basis. I've got the feeling that maybe the 2015 model will last me more years untill the battery goes under 5 hours, and the newer model with a smaller battery will be hitting that spot earlier, what do you think?

    And there is one more thing: I purchased the 128GB model (1200 €), and due to the high price of the new MacBook Pro 2017 without touch bar with 256GB (1750€) I would still buy the 128GB model (1500€) because is cheaper. But then, with the 2015 one, I will purchase a JetDrive SD card, to double the amount of storage via SD, and manage torrents from and to the SD card in order to preserve the integrity and lifespan of the SSD. And I cannot connect a JetDrive SD to the new MacBook Pro, only an SD to a SD reader on a dongle, wich is a bit inconvenient.

    So, what would you do? Would you keep this 2015 unit and enjoy it? Or would you return it and pick one of the new 2017 MacBook Pros without TouchBar?

    PS: Anyone knows if Metal 2 (Graphics API for High Sierra) will be compatible with the 2015 model, with its Iris HD 6100? Or it will only compatible with 2016 units and forwards?
     
  2. HiRez macrumors 603

    HiRez

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2004
    Location:
    Western US
    #2
    I just ordered the 2.3 GHz (16 GB RAM, 512 GB SSD). I can even afford the touch bar models but I'm not sold on the touch bar just yet (except I'll miss Touch ID), in fact I can see it being annoying. I like having physical function keys (especially Esc). The 2.3 GHz Kaby Lake chip has been posting very impressive benchmarks so far, considering it's the "low end" machine in the lineup. While I would prefer 4 ports, I've been using my MacBook Air every day since 2011 and I can't recall every needing to plug more than 1 thing at a time into, so I decided it was a non-issue (you can get adapters that will give you more ports along with being able to power at the same time on 1 port if you really need it). Now, if they had a quad-core 13" with discrete GPU option, it would be a much tougher choice for me, but they don't.

    I am curious why you have the "impression" that the battery life is worse on the 2017. The battery is smaller, yes, however the Kaby Lake chip is considerably more efficient than the 2015's Broadwell CPU.
     
  3. windows4ever macrumors member

    windows4ever

    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2011
    #3
    If you bought it from the Apple store, don't they let you return within 14 days for any reason? Go ahead and open it up and try it. I think you made the right decision to go with the 2015 version given all the points you made.

    I am quite experienced in making do with 128GB of internal storage. The SD slot as well as the USB ports make external storage solutions simple without requiring dongles or adapters. (I own a late 2013 13" model which is very similar to the 2015 model.)

    When you're at a desk, you can hook up to an external USB hard drive and when on the go you can use a flush mount SD card for extra storage. Plus you have 2 Thunderbolt ports for even more flexibility with peripherals and displays. Plus an HDMI port. Driving 2 displays is easy to do with the 2015 model.

    I think Metal 2 requires a dedicated GPU. As far as future tech like HEVC decoding, you lose out on that with the 2015 model. You should never buy a model based on the promise of being able to run future tech because by the time that tech becomes mainstream, you'll want to run it on a newer and faster machine anyway.
     
  4. justinf77 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    May 18, 2003
    #4
    The battery concern is a total nonissue. Check out the reviews from NotebookCheck of both the 2015 13" and the 2016 13" nTB. The latter version beats the 2015 in every single battery test:

    https://www.notebookcheck.net/Apple...without-Touch-Bar-Laptop-Review.182374.0.html

    https://www.notebookcheck.net/Apple-MacBook-Pro-Retina-13-Early-2015-Notebook-Review.139621.0.html

    The battery on the nTB is fantastic, no need to worry about that.

    Your storage concern is a valid one, though, and here's what I would do if I were you: get a 2016 refurb of the nTB. It's cheaper than the base model of the 2017 nTB and has similar performance. Yes, it's a bit slower than the Kaby Lake version, but not by much and if you don't do processor-intense tasks on your MBP then it won't even matter.

    Oh, and here's a hub that would work for you:

    https://www.amazon.com/HooToo-Adapt...UTF8&qid=1497322181&sr=1-3&keywords=usb+c+hub

    It doesn't have DisplayPort, but you can just use the second port on your computer to connect to your monitor with a USB-C to DisplayPort cable. It has USB-A, SD Card reader, and a USB-C port for charging the computer. So with this setup 2 ports is all you will need.
     
  5. Populus thread starter macrumors 6502

    Populus

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2012
    Location:
    Valencia, Spain.
    #5
    Thanks to all of you, really, thank you for your responses.

    I'm still doubting, because I was planning to wait a bit more to purchase a MacBook Pro. I never thought they would kill this 2015 model so soon, because what happened to the non retina 2012 MacBook Pro. So right now I don't know wether to keep this 2015, or keep waiting to the next MacBook Pro (with the risk of my current 2010 MBP to definitely stop working).

    The new MacBook Pros have 15W TDP CPU, whereas the 2015 MacBook Pro has a 28W TDP CPU. Thus, the 2015 larger battery will shine only with very light usage. On a daily use, the new MacBook pro could have better battery life. But there are not reviews for the new Kaby Lake 2.3 GHz model, yet.

    By the way, thanks for the dongle suggestion. That would fit my needs, but still, it is much more convenient to have the integrated ports on the 2015 model.

    Please, excuse me if I seem a bit confused. I like the size, portability and power of the new MacBook Pros, but I prefer the versatility, silence and price point of the 2015 model (being able to expand the 128GB storage via SD card with the Jetdrive lite 330)
     
  6. addictzz macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2012
    #6
    I am in the same boat. Contemplating between a refurb 2015 13" MBP with 128GB SSD or the new 2017 nTB MBP with 128GB SSD. Looks, thinness, and lightness wise, I prefer the new one. Loving the hinge, keyboard, and the space grey color. On the other hand, 128GB is a d!ck move from Apple and I cannot simply make a workaround for the size issue using built-in SD card. Where I came from, the refurb 2015 13" MBP is cheaper for about 360USD.

    My usage will mostly for web development, graphic design, data analytics, programming, audio creation/recording on top of the usual browsing/movie watching/office apps.

    Need to get suggestion which one to purchase. Kindly let me know..
     
  7. Populus thread starter macrumors 6502

    Populus

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2012
    Location:
    Valencia, Spain.
    #7
    If battery life is not important for you -at least, you don't mind having roughly 4-6 hours only- go for the Kaby Lake one. Audio creation and graphic design, I assume, requires great CPU capabilities and fast RAM and the memory on the new ones is up to 2100MHz.

    As for me, Im afraid of purchasing the new 2.3GHz MacBook Pro, because this rise in the clock speed involves, most probably, a decrease in the battery life of the base model, wich was pretty good with a 2.0 GHz. I'm still searching for a good deep review of the new Kaby Lake MacBook Pros...
     
  8. 2457248 Suspended

    Joined:
    Apr 4, 2016
    #8
    imo the two factors to consider buying the 2015 version instead of the 2017 are:
    - if you don't want to spend that much on a laptop.
    - if you necessarily need ports. for example, if you travel a lot, and need to connect and work with multiple hardwares in different places/environments.

    about this second point: i understand when many that say "get a multiport adapter". this is a good solution if you use the laptop in few "regular" places (like at home and office).
    it's not so practical if you move around a lot between offices or have to connect to many hardwares where you might need on-the-fly USB-A, sd cards, displays, and carrying a huge multipurpose adaptor is a hassle.
     
  9. jrasero macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2011
    Location:
    NYC
    #9

    Can you describe you usage a bit more?

    I just got a 2017 MBP 13" Non Touch Bar i7 16GB 128GB. Power wise it is more than enough for me since at most I have 10-15 Chrome tabs and I am streaming a bunch of HD video. I hope to have this laptop for at least 5 years. As per the 128GB yeah it's small especially when you consider about 30GB goes to OSX and programs but I don't store anything and I used to have a MBA 11" w/ 64GB and was fine with that.

    It seems like you will need more space than me if your talking about using the SD slot for more space. You are right the battery life is a bit of a downgrade from the older MBP all in the name of a thinner platform. With my configuration and usage as explained I have been getting 9-10 hours of use. Now I have only had my laptop for a very short period of time and I have heard heavier use especially stuff that kicks on multi-core processor use will drain the battery much faster (video/photo editing).

    Honestly unless you are on a strict budget and don't have an extra couple hundred to play w/ I still would go w/ a 2017 base but upgrade to 256GB at $1499 or I would look at a refurbished 2016 MBP 13" Base w/o TB at $1189, or if you want slightly more power do a refurbished 2016 base MBP 13" w/ TB for $1439.

    I will say testers are finding that Kaby Lake indeed has some pretty nice performance benchmark bumps. The base MBP 13" w/o TB (i5) has like a 20% increase in single core and a 30% increase for multi-core over the 2016 base model for GeekBench4. Plus a lot of reviews are finding Kaby Lake has increased battery up to an hour depending on model.
    --- Post Merged, Jun 14, 2017 ---

    Besides having the higher wattage processor (more power) and having a base 256GB HD I am not a huge fan of the Touch Bar models for the 13". Now if your looking at a 15" without a doubt go for the higher wattage chip w/ discrete graphics but that is a whole other ball game. Touch ID is really the only useful part of TB right now, I find the placement up top to be distracting, the TB itself could be bigger, it takes up more battery and the batteries supplied are less in size than the non TB versions.

    I am excited as well to see that Kaby Lake has some really nice double digit GB4 performance bumps. I am interested to see how my 2.5Ghz i7 compares to the 2016 or the 2016 variant.

    I agree more ports the better but after examining my use I barely used my MBA legacy ports anymore. The oen true port I will miss is the magsafe and the fact that able does not provide an extension cord anymore.

    Initial reviews of the base MBP 13" non TB are showing up to a hour more over teh 2016 version, but again this will vary person to person.
     
  10. Populus, Jun 14, 2017
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2017

    Populus thread starter macrumors 6502

    Populus

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2012
    Location:
    Valencia, Spain.
    #10
    Ok, I'm testing it, and I think this is the model I want. But... it's 8 GB of RAM start compressing when I change resolution of the screen and a few tabs on Safari. This never happened to me with my 2010 MBP, wich has 8GB of RAM too. I'm suspecting that those 1,5GB of VRAM taken from the 8GB of RAM is somehow leaving less room in the new model.

    Aside from the RAM compressing issue, I see it doesn't move as smooth as I expected with a Iris 6100 graphics. In the latest Sierra 10.12.5, control centre movements are a bit sluggish? choppy? jus a little bit, but come on! this is a good integrated graphics, plus Metal, come on, this should be butter smooth.

    And finally, there are two issues with my unit: first, the earpods controls don't work, they don't activate iTunes and don't modify the volume level. And second, there are two light shadows on the screen, only visible when you move the screen horizontally, like when changing full screen apps. The kind of issue that Apple employees surely say "I see it right", but i will see those two shadows for the rest of the lifetime of this gorgeous MacBook Pro. Any ideas?

    I'm kinda f***ed, because I just realised this 2015 model is the one that I want, but with 16GB of RAM (I'm still not sure if the 8GB will keep compressing over time, with the slowdowns it makes), and without the aforementioned issues,
     
  11. Populus, Jul 3, 2017
    Last edited: Jul 3, 2017

    Populus thread starter macrumors 6502

    Populus

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2012
    Location:
    Valencia, Spain.
    #11
    Ok, so two weeks later, I've made a decision: I chose to buy and keep the 2015 13" MacBook Pro.
    And, like Gwendolyn Gay would say, here's why.

    NOTE: This post is not intended to piss off or flame against all the people who absolutely love the new MacBook Pros, its lack of ports, it's thinness and the controversial TouchBar. If you love your MacBook, I'm glad. I prefer the 2015 model, and, as I said, I'm going to explain why:

    · The Keyboard: This has been the Key element when it comes to take the decision of buying the 2015 model. The most important factor to buy the old model. In this two weeks I've been trying the new MacBook Pros, the 2016 and 2017 in several shops, like the Apple Store, FNAC, Media Markt -some sort of BestBuy here in Europe- etc... I've spent hours typing on them. The conclusion: I can adapt myself to type in the new keyboard, even without making mistakes or typos, but my fingers end up tired and it is a bit stressing. I don't know, I just can't stand typing more than 20 minutes without feeling annoyed. And I write A LOT (as you can see). Coming back to the 2015 keyboard is like, oh man this feels good, this is so comfortable I could be typing for hours. Also, it is much quieter, and it has not the sticky keys issue.

    · A mature machine: Like I said, 2015 13" MacBook Pro is a well ironed machine. Is probably the last design by Steve Jobs, and it has been perfected since 2012. Although it is not free of failure, the new MacBook Pro model doesn't have 1 year yet, and there is room to improve. Especially, with the Keyboard. Other issue is the WiFi signal weakened by USB-C connected devices, or its lower speed compared to the Touch Bar model.

    · Ports, ports, ports: Honestly, although all my connectors are USB-A or Thunderbolt 2, this was a trade off I was willing to assume, but in top of other things, the new machines only have two ports (I'd never buy a TouchBar MacBook Pro, but that belongs to another post). While I was ready to purchase several USB-C cables and adapters, the MacBook Pro still has two ports, so I have to buy adapters and dongles. Why not just put 4 USB-C Ports and the MagSafe connector, plus an SD card reader on the other side? Come on Apple! With the 2015 model I have all the ports I need, or could need in other circumstances.

    · MagSafe: One of the best inventions of Apple computers, is the MagSafe connector. It just keep your laptop safe by unplugging itself, it also gives you information about the charging state at a glance. And it is pretty easy to attach and detach. And It is cool.

    · CPU, Battery Life and thermals: Probably the new 15W Skylake CPUs are as powerful as this Broadwell CPU with less power demand. But this machine have a 75W/h battery, compared to the 55W/h battery on the nTB MBP. and at the end of the day, I'm getting an awesome battery life with a 28W CPU. And that means a lot. Also, the cooling system is capable of cooling a 28W CPU, and while in the nTB MBP the fan kicks pretty easily, and is pretty noticeable, the fan on this 2015 is inaudible. The lowest rpms I get are 1200... no, wait! Right now at 32ºC, the fan is still!!! Zero RPMs!!! The fan stops after reaching 36ºC, quite amazing. Well, at its minimum, 1200 rpm, it is totally quiet too.

    · Trackpad: Loving the old style trackpad. This is the perfect size, and I'm used to it. Palm rejection may do its job with the new MacBook Pros, but I don't feel comfortable writing with my palms over the trackpad. But there's one more thing: The silent clicking -which I love- is only present in this 2015 MacBook Pro, and 2015 MacBook. The new MacBook Pros are lacking of this soft and silent click, and this is one of those Apple refinements I ended up loving.

    · Price: Why not? The new 2016 nTB MBP 256GB started at 1500€ with the discounts, and 2017 nTB 256GB started at 1700€. This unit, a new -not refurbished- 2015 13" MacBook Pro has a price tag of 1249€. Yes, it only has 128GB of storage, but it has an SD card slot, and I plan to add a Transcend JetDrive card in order to expand it to almost 400GB of storage. If I could, I'd have bought the 16GB of RAM version, but sadly, I lost that opportunity.


    Yes, CPU and GPU wise, probably the Kaby Lake, Cannonlake, and Ice Lake will outperform this machine, and eventually the new MacBook Pro will be more power efficient. It is also highly probable that Ive's team will then put a smaller battery in order to slim down even more the machine, so don't expect 15 hours of battery life with 2020 MacBook Pro.

    This machine offers me more than enough horse power (I come from a 2010 Core2Duo MacBook Pro, which still rocks by the way), and Sierra and High Sierra are good macOS releases to stay for a long, long time.

    Thanks for reading...

    TL;DR: I bought and keep the 2015 13" MacBook Pro after testing both models, just because I like much more this machine. I expect it to last me at least 7-8 years, with a battery replacement in 2021. Hopefully.
     
  12. Sodaken macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2017
    Location:
    Munich/BKK
  13. Populus thread starter macrumors 6502

    Populus

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2012
    Location:
    Valencia, Spain.
    #13
    Yes, It came on-line a few days ago. I read it in German earlier, and it seems like the same machine as the 2016 nTB, but with a speed bump...

    Maybe I'll grab one machine from the Apple Store and will compare it with my newly purchased 2015, and keep the one that satisfies me the most. But it is highly probable that I will keep the 2015 model...

    I'd like to purchase a 4 core nTB Ice Lake MacBook Pro, but I'm afraid that's impossible as of now xD
     
  14. Sodaken macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2017
    Location:
    Munich/BKK
    #14
    Interesting - I was eagerly waiting for this review after the slight disappointment with the new TB with Kaby Lake NOT having longer battery time but actually less.... As I have written elsewhere, I like the look of the TB, but do not think it is essential (and the Siri pop ups whenever I missed the "delete"-key was annoying in a way).

    Now, to me the nTB is a true alternative. The RAM is faster now than in the old model and the CPU now (after the significant speed bump compared to the 2016 model) seems not too far behind or almost at par the TB model (I do not think it is faster in general use as the turbo boost holds only for a few seconds) - in any case the differences should be quite small- all this with up to 3 hrs more juice on the go (light usage) and a swappable SSD if things go belly up.

    This would be a clear winner in my books, only the different cooling architecture kept me from ordering. I will visit my local shop tomorrow and check out whether the fan in the nTB actually is annoying under pressure or not. If not, then I would probably use Macs Fan Control to set the fan speed a little higher than usual to keep temperatures on the lower side and go with the nTB one knowing that it has enough power for my music software but also lasts long enough while doing easy tasks (or just watching a movie) on a long train ride.....
     
  15. Populus thread starter macrumors 6502

    Populus

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2012
    Location:
    Valencia, Spain.
    #15
    How much RAM will you get with it? You said music software, and I've read some software like Cubase or FL Studio require at least 16GB of RAM... But for a more light, not so intensive use of music software, 8GB would be enough? I'm not sure, with one huge PDF book, several tabs on safari and little more, I'm already swapping memory to the SSD... But memory pressure keeps low.
     
  16. Sodaken macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2017
    Location:
    Munich/BKK
    #16
    16 GB. That is a no brainer to me (at least for my use case, everyone is different), especially since you cannot upgrade later down the road. SSD will be 512 GB (in the past, I had 256 GB plus 200 GB in the SD slot)...
     
  17. shrewd money macrumors newbie

    shrewd money

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2017
    #17
    I was literally in the same boat a couple of days ago. First I bought the 2017 128gb model. Wasn't enough storage as I use it for music production. Went and found a 2016 256gb open box. My processor took a hit but I had higher storage. Then....I needed to connect my gear......I had to buy a 70$ dongle just to get one usb port. Not to mention I need to connect multiple devices. And I need to interface with other studios. SO I went and found the best laptop ever. the 2015 MBP 13. Here are MY reasons why

    • ability to upgrade SSD in the future if the need arises
    • ability to use micro SD for expandable memory
    • multiple ports mean connectivity issues cease to exist.
    • the mag safe charger is more practicable than usb c for trip safety
    • built in HDMI port which means if I ever forget my (dongle) I can still work on the go
    • ability to connect three screens vs 2
    • has the same resolution as 2017 MBP
    • same battery life as 2017 MBP
    • Same wifi speeds as 2017 MBP
    Here are some things that I noticed the 2015 13 inch does better

    • the screen hinge is less wobbly and over all more sturdy
    • seems to cool more efficiently. The keyboard doesn't get hot under stressed loads like the 2017-2016 model
    I do miss the look and feel of the 2017 model. I also miss having the "latest and greatest" but for real world use. This laptop serves me better. I also went to an iPhone SE last night from a 7. The apple rep laughed at me and said "you just downgrading everything huh". Sometimes the older tech is more practical.
     

Share This Page