2015 MBP 15" + dGPU: My experience

Zakzilla

macrumors member
Original poster
May 11, 2015
80
52
Los Angeles
For all of the negativity the new 2015 15" MBP gets on here, I've gotta say I'm thoroughly impressed. I've been using this new machine for 2 weeks now, and it absolutely flies. I upgraded from a 2010 so the leap is significant. I edit video for a living (and occasional vector work), and this is quite honestly one of the most capable machines I've ever used.

A couple thoughts:
+ The dGPU (AMD R9 370x) is impressive. I can run my games smoothly on medium to high at 40-60fps (Cities Skylines, Counter Strike: GO). Video editing is faster than my desktop. With 16GB of RAM, After Effects is snappy, and Final Cut Pro X feels incredible (thanks OpenCL). When the dGPU is active, the OS X Yosemite UI is buttery smooth with it. Mission Control, Spaces, etc are beautiful, even with 6-8 fullscreen apps.

+ The sound is amazing, and far better than my 2010. I've actually been impressed with how powerful the sound is. I use my computer as a stereo around the house now. I also checked out Boom 2, a neat system-wide equalizer (they have a free trial too) and was impressed with that.

+ This screen. Such beauty. Much wow. And no retention issues whatsoever. "Impressive" sums it up for me. I changed my scaling to the 1680x1050 option and have a nice combo of workspace and near-retina DPI. It's a great combo if you like to see more on the screen

+ Force Touch trackpad is excellent, it was a bit different from traditional, but I was using both my 2010 and this 2015 side-by-side to transfer files, and by the end of the day I strongly preferred the Force Touch. It just feels faster and more refined. You can also change the setting to 'firm' to make it feel more like the traditional trackpad.

+ Unfortunately, you cannot boot camp install Windows 7, and I refuse to install what Microsoft calls "Windows 8" -- I'm planning on waiting until Windows 10 is released before doing that. Hoping that is supported.

Tips:
+ If you bought the dGPU model (I highly recommend it, it's a significant difference between the Iris Pro and the 370x), grab gfxCardStatus to allow you to manually activate the dGPU.

+ I was drinking water at my desk and spilled it onto my keyboard (yeah, that happened in first two weeks) and cleaned it up faster than I could say "****". Turned out to be fine, but if you're clumsy like me, I recommend getting a keyboard cover and a case to store this thing in. It's too beautiful, don't be like me and almost ruin it with a cup of water.


Overall I highly recommend this thing. I couldn't be happier with my purchase so far, it should last me quite a while.
 
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Sym0

macrumors 6502
Jun 6, 2013
394
44
You wouldn't be saying that if you had a 2012 rMBP - there's about a 5% performance difference and other changes. Still a class leading laptop, but basically the same for 3 years now. That is why no one is impressed on here.
 

bds120

macrumors member
Nov 26, 2013
77
0
I booted used VMWare Fusion to set up Windows 8. Not like I am planning to use it but overall it was super simple and ran in basically minutes.
 

puelocesar

macrumors member
Mar 11, 2013
68
28
That's nice to hear. I have a late 2009 macbook white, and after all those years, it's getting slow, even with the ssd and memory upgrades I did on it. Seems that it finally arrived the moment to retire my old pal.
 

Xgm541

macrumors 65816
May 3, 2011
1,090
810
You wouldn't be saying that if you had a 2012 rMBP - there's about a 5% performance difference and other changes. Still a class leading laptop, but basically the same for 3 years now. That is why no one is impressed on here.
I upgraded from the 2012 rMBP and the performance difference is better than 5%. The graphics alone are significantly better. The SSD is something like 5 times faster, and yes, you can notice in day-to-day tasks like loading a VM, installing software, or opening large apps.

Don't underplay the performance gains from the 2012.
 
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Sully

macrumors regular
Oct 27, 2007
150
108
That's nice to hear. I have a late 2009 macbook white, and after all those years, it's getting slow, even with the ssd and memory upgrades I did on it. Seems that it finally arrived the moment to retire my old pal.

Look around the site before you make this decision. Some of us in your situation have decided to wait and see what happens with the new Broadwell chip. This same configuration will be available in six months. If updates aren't forthcoming, you can buy it then.
 

prospervic

macrumors 6502
Aug 2, 2007
415
298
NYC
I upgraded from the 2012 rMBP and the performance difference is better than 5%. The graphics alone are significantly better. The SSD is something like 5 times faster, and yes, you can notice in day-to-day tasks like loading a VM, installing software, or opening large apps.

Don't underplay the performance gains from the 2012.
I second this. I also upgraded from the 2012 rMBP, and it's a joy to step up from the Intel HD4000 graphics and the slower SSD (not to mention shorter battery life, and slower Thunderbolt 1 and Wireless-N). Using this machine like going from "just getting by" to "luxury cruising!"

Not sure why some people are so hostile to this 2015 model. It's not like I'm locked into some bad real estate deal and can never get my money back. If the supposed Skylake upgrade does come out sooner, then I can simply sell this one for a good price and buy the new one (I have a feeling there will be those who will reject the new body style and port changes, just like there are 17" MBP diehards). It helps that I keep my Macs in pristine condition, and save the boxes and packing materials.
 

puelocesar

macrumors member
Mar 11, 2013
68
28
Look around the site before you make this decision. Some of us in your situation have decided to wait and see what happens with the new Broadwell chip. This same configuration will be available in six months. If updates aren't forthcoming, you can buy it then.
You guys are being too optimistic about this broadwell update, if it comes. Apple values looks and battery over performance, so there's a chance they will only release another update with skylake, in june 2016, with a complete redesign, thinner, using that new keyboard that isn't very good for typing, and with another disappointing gpu upgrade..
 

Zakzilla

macrumors member
Original poster
May 11, 2015
80
52
Los Angeles
I second this. I also upgraded from the 2012 rMBP, and it's a joy to step up from the Intel HD4000 graphics and the slower SSD (not to mention shorter battery life, and slower Thunderbolt 1 and Wireless-N). Using this machine like going from "just getting by" to "luxury cruising!"

Not sure why some people are so hostile to this 2015 model. It's not like I'm locked into some bad real estate deal and can never get my money back. If the supposed Skylake upgrade does come out sooner, then I can simply sell this one for a good price and buy the new one (I have a feeling there will be those who will reject the new body style and port changes, just like there are 17" MBP diehards). It helps that I keep my Macs in pristine condition, and save the boxes and packing materials.
Yeah +1, I've used the 2012 rMBP for work (a lender) and it was fast, but the 2015 is more than 5% faster. The SSD like you're saying is probably the biggest difference, but I've noticed Iris Pro really holds its own for most tasks, whereas the HD4000 didn't seem quite ready for retina IMO.
 

inhalexhale1

macrumors 65816
Jul 17, 2011
1,037
685
PA
You wouldn't be saying that if you had a 2012 rMBP - there's about a 5% performance difference and other changes. Still a class leading laptop, but basically the same for 3 years now. That is why no one is impressed on here.
And you missed the entire point of his post. It's a fantastic choice if you're coming from an older machine. If you have a recent model, you're a fool to expect crazy improvements anyway. That's with or without broadwell.
 

superlawyer15

macrumors regular
Sep 15, 2014
227
177
You guys are being too optimistic about this broadwell update, if it comes. Apple values looks and battery over performance, so there's a chance they will only release another update with skylake, in june 2016, with a complete redesign, thinner, using that new keyboard that isn't very good for typing, and with another disappointing gpu upgrade..
This!!

A lot of people here who think Apple will drop broadwell in silently in a few months or release a skylake rMBP towards the end of the year will be super disappointed when nothing gets released until around this time next year.
 

cookies!

macrumors 6502
Jul 3, 2011
456
131
Don't get me wrong, I'm sure that the 2015 is a huge upgrade over your 2010, but you probably could have spent $1,000 less and gotten a refurbished or used 2013 model, which would have about 90% of the performance of the 2015.

And this is coming from someone who was arguing FOR the 2015 until I used it and was unimpressed.
 

cookies!

macrumors 6502
Jul 3, 2011
456
131
It's also thoroughly depressing that you would need a M370X to run Yosemite's UI smoothly. An Intel HD 3000 should be able to run it smoothly— it has the power to do it. It's just terrible software integration between Apple and Intel.
 
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inhalexhale1

macrumors 65816
Jul 17, 2011
1,037
685
PA
This!!

A lot of people here who think Apple will drop broadwell in silently in a few months or release a skylake rMBP towards the end of the year will be super disappointed when nothing gets released until around this time next year.
It's very unlikely the rMBP will not get an update until June 2016. I'd say Broadwell late 2015, and then Skylake next year.
 

TheKevinFang

macrumors member
May 10, 2015
94
20
For all of the negativity the new 2015 15" MBP gets on here, I've gotta say I'm thoroughly impressed. I've been using this new machine for 2 weeks now, and it absolutely flies. I upgraded from a 2010 so the leap is significant. I edit video for a living (and occasional vector work), and this is quite honestly one of the most capable machines I've ever used.

A couple thoughts:
+ The dGPU (AMD R9 370x) is impressive. I can run my games smoothly on medium to high at 40-60fps (Cities Skylines, Counter Strike: GO). Video editing is faster than my desktop. With 16GB of RAM, After Effects is snappy, and Final Cut Pro X feels incredible (thanks OpenCL). When the dGPU is active, the OS X Yosemite UI is buttery smooth with it. Mission Control, Spaces, etc are beautiful, even with 6-8 fullscreen apps.

+ The sound is amazing, and far better than my 2010. I've actually been impressed with how powerful the sound is. I use my computer as a stereo around the house now. I also checked out Boom 2, a neat system-wide equalizer (they have a free trial too) and was impressed with that.

+ This screen. Such beauty. Much wow. And no retention issues whatsoever. "Impressive" sums it up for me. I changed my scaling to the 1680x1050 option and have a nice combo of workspace and near-retina DPI. It's a great combo if you like to see more on the screen

+ Force Touch trackpad is excellent, it was a bit different from traditional, but I was using both my 2010 and this 2015 side-by-side to transfer files, and by the end of the day I strongly preferred the Force Touch. It just feels faster and more refined. You can also change the setting to 'firm' to make it feel more like the traditional trackpad.

+ Unfortunately, you cannot boot camp install Windows 7, and I refuse to install what Microsoft calls "Windows 8" -- I'm planning on waiting until Windows 10 is released before doing that. Hoping that is supported.

Tips:
+ If you bought the dGPU model (I highly recommend it, it's a significant difference between the Iris Pro and the 370x), grab gfxCardStatus to allow you to manually activate the dGPU.

+ I was drinking water at my desk and spilled it onto my keyboard (yeah, that happened in first two weeks) and cleaned it up faster than I could say "****". Turned out to be fine, but if you're clumsy like me, I recommend getting a keyboard cover and a case to store this thing in. It's too beautiful, don't be like me and almost ruin it with a cup of water.


Overall I highly recommend this thing. I couldn't be happier with my purchase so far, it should last me quite a while.
Do you think the upgrade from the 2014 to 2015 Macbook Pro without the R370X is not significant, and the main upgrade is the dGPU? Thanks.
 

dingdong

macrumors regular
Apr 10, 2007
161
66
Did you get the 2.5GHz or 2.8Ghz? I'm torn into which is better value for money.. Was thinking the 2.8Ghz but now thinking 2.5Ghz will suffice even for pro editor lol
 

Kal-037

macrumors 68000
Why can't people who don't like the update just not buy the computer and let it be? Seriously it's getting old... WE GET IT you are waiting for Broadwell or Skylake. Sorry this isn't that. Apple had to update to stay in the race, I think the upgrade is good, do I wish it had a newer CPU (yes) but overall Broadwell wouldn't have knocked my socks off. Skylake on the other hand will improve stuff, but IMO not so much as to make me all giddy and have a heart attack. Buy or don't buy but let it go...

;)



Kal.
 

Sully

macrumors regular
Oct 27, 2007
150
108
You guys are being too optimistic about this broadwell update, if it comes. Apple values looks and battery over performance, so there's a chance they will only release another update with skylake, in june 2016, with a complete redesign, thinner, using that new keyboard that isn't very good for typing, and with another disappointing gpu upgrade..

Agreed. But, but for me waiting ensures that I don't miss an interim update if it happens. This version will be always available and I can just repurchase it. I loved the one that I bought. For me it was a huge upgrade. But, if Broadwell is going to be an interim update, I figure why not be patient for a few more months until the dust settles.
 
Last edited:

Fthree

macrumors 6502a
Mar 14, 2014
997
306
Agreed. But, but for me waiting ensures that I don't miss an interim update if it happens. This version will be always available and I can just repurchase it. I loved the one that I bought. For me it was a huge upgrade. But, if Broadwell is going to be an interim update, I figure why not be patient for a few more months until the dust settles.
I like to think this way also BUT when looking at a perfect screen and knowing there is a chance to take a spin on the apple screen replacement train i think ill just stick with this one (2015 15"). I think the updates that will come will be great but not significantly. I also am so glad that this one has the force touch which is IMO a game changer.
 

Kal-037

macrumors 68000
Those are Geekbench 3 scores which change depending on if the system is using other resources, or sometimes they just record the results differently each time. BUT the 2015 2.5GHz is the same model as the 2014 they are barely different in that test. Run it again and the results would most likely change a little.


Kal.
 

nStyle

macrumors 65816
Dec 6, 2009
1,147
279
Ultimately, who cares? Pro's - which is the OP and who these laptops are made for are not discerning between Haswell, Broadwell, and Skylake. Sure, it's in the back of their head, but they mainly buy for need. OP is coming from a 5 year old machine and makes money with his/her computer, so why is anyone suggesting a refurb was the best route? If nothing else, the faster SSD and much faster GPU counts for something. It's at least a 60% performance increase on the GPU side of things compared to the last model. Good luck with a refurb o_O

Seriously...I know these things are pricey and sometimes omissions seem purposeful for planned obsolescence, I get it, but referring to what could be compared to what IS, is just stupid. No one should be buying these things yearly, so ultimately it's not going to make a huge difference if you're buying for your needs, as you should be.
 
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