2016 MacBook Pro 15 vs 2017 MacBook Pro 13

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by mista_psn, Aug 3, 2017.

  1. mista_psn, Aug 3, 2017
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2017

    mista_psn macrumors newbie

    Aug 2, 2017

    I'm currently deciding between the following two models, which are available at the same price:

    -2017 MacBook Pro 13, i5, 512 GB SSD, 16 GB RAM
    -2016 MacBook Pro 14, i7, 512 GB SSF, 16 GB RAM, Radeon Pro 455

    I don't really need the power of the 15, though sometimes it could be useful, since the current 2013 MacBook 13 (my gierlfriend's) I use, sometimes stutters when I do many things and crashes after 3 games of Hearthstone. Also I like the bigger screen. Plus I write for a living and typing on the 15 seems more comfortable with my big hands. Things I do: office stuff, Lightroom, browsing, occasional gaming, streaming NBA and NFL games via league pass, probably Photoshop in the future.

    I also have some concerns about the 15 however: It only has 2 GB of VRAM. I know it will be sufficient for my needs right now, but spending that much money, the machine should be future proof for the next 3-4 years. The 2016 model with Radeon Pro 460 costs 350 € more. And at that point I could get the 2017 model with radeon pro 560 for 150 € more. Also I read a lot about the 2016 model being buggy.

    I'm torn between the 13 and 15 anyway. The main reason I would lean to the 2016 15 model is i feel I get more value for my money.
  2. New_Mac_Smell macrumors 68000


    Oct 17, 2016
    The 13" is adequate for you if that's what you want. Size with the 15" has the larger screen but keyboard etc. are the same.

    Don't worry about specs as you're never going to hit the ceiling on that one. Future proofing is a misnomer, the base model would be fine for you for the next 5 years unless your needs dramatically change. Anything that works for you today will still work for you in 5 years time you see.

    2016 isn't buggy at all, no more so than the 2017. They're basically the same machine just an updated chipset.

    2GB VRAM is not the way to look at it, look at the performance. The 460 is better than the 450, but the 450 is more than adequate for your needs (Gaming really, very light use in PS/LR).

    If you're torn between the two. The 15" is a quad-core powerful portable machine, the 13" is a dual-core powerful portable machine. The 15" is more powerful, and the 13" is more power than you need.

    So basically if you like the 15" it's a better machine, and maxing out the 13" comes very close to the price, which is why it seems like a better deal, but they are aimed slightly at different users. Again both powerful/portable. But the 13" is the portable computer for the person on the go, who has an iMac back at the office and uses the MBP on site etc. The 15" is the desktop replacement, for those that have only 1 computer. You can mix those up any which way you want, but all you need is the 13", the 15" is a bonus if you can stretch to it.
  3. mista_psn, Aug 3, 2017
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2017

    mista_psn thread starter macrumors newbie

    Aug 2, 2017
    Yeah, like I said, I'm pretty sure the 13 is powerful enough for me. But it is actually 50 € more expensive than the 2016 15 inch model with same amount of RAM and SSD. I'm not talking about a fully maxed out 13". It's the 13" TB-model, with 512 GB SSD (a must for me) and the smallest i5. Only upgrade is 16 GB of RAM (maybe not necessary, but who knows what the future brings).

    Portability is not that big of an issue for me. I'll be taking it on the train maybe once or twice a month for about a 6 hour ride. Other than that it'll stay at home. I have an external monitor though, which I could use with the 13.

    About the GPU: Don't you think there might be stuff in the future that would benefit from 4GB of RAM besides from heavy video editing, which I'm not doing? It's somehow bugging me that it only has 2 GB RAM, but paying an extra 350 € for the Radeon 460 seems like a bad deal to me. Also I would like to play other games on it, on my 2013 13 inch I just don't because I can't even play Hearthstone with high settings and it crashes after every 3 games (15 doesn't btw). It's just not top priority for me.

    Also I originally thought the performance improvements in the 2017 models weren't too big compared to 2016 models. But I saw a couple of videos which claim they are. So even though the 15 model will be more powerful than the 13, it has a somewhat outdated feel to it (Skylake + 2GB GPU vs Kaby Lake+4 GB GPU)

    About the bugs: So the GPU crashes on the 15 model have been fixed by now? Also I read the keyboard might have some issues.
  4. New_Mac_Smell macrumors 68000


    Oct 17, 2016
    Not heard of the GPU crashes? There aren't really any widespread bugs, sure you'll find isolated examples of issues but you'll find that with anything. Keyboard is the same deal, many many more people experiencing no issues. Clean it regularly seems to be the key, a lot of people convince themselves they have an issue and take it to Apple, who just clean it and it works fine. So no need to trouble yourself with that one if you just take the time to take care of it rather than relying on the notion it'll be absolutely perfect all by itself within the environment.

    GPU again, nobody can say. All I'd suggest is that if 2GB works for you today no questions asked, then 4GB is not going to make much of a difference in 3-4 years time. There are other aspects of the computer to consider apart from the GPU, if in 4 years time something new comes out that you want to do, having an extra 2GB isn't going to cut it. You'll want a better CPU/RAM too, so it's always better to buy a new computer then.

    The difference between 2016/2017 in the real use case is largely a H.265 decoding chain built into the CPU. They are slightly faster in the top end, but you're never going to reach that and so never make use of it.

    It's the same with 8GB/16GB RAM, people seem to think they 'need' as much RAM as they can get, but this simply isn't true and not how RAM works. You would likely not notice a difference between having 8GB or having 16GB. 8GB is ample for the majority of users, and will be for many more years to come given OS optimisations and improvements. Sure you can think it's better to 'future proof' your machine and get the max one you can in order to have it a long time, however...

    Financially it doesn't make sense. Plan A) If you can buy a computer today for $2000 that fits your needs (512GB SSD, 8GB RAM, 1Tflop GPU, 15" display etc.) and you're perfectly happy with it. You're not going to even think about hitting the performance ceiling for many years and everything's great. You get your work done and never notice any issues.

    Option B) You decide you may need performance at some point in the future and so buy a $4000 machine that massively overdoes your needs (512GB SSD, 16GB RAM, 1.8Tflop GPU, 15" display etc.). The same scenario happens, you're happily doing your work and never notice any perceivable slowdown.

    However, in 2 years time suddenly your needs change and you're glad you brought that $4000 computer as it can cope 'better' than the other one. At the same time, Apple release a new updated MBP with a base of (512GB SSD, 16GB RAM, 2Tflop GPU, 15" display etc.) for $2000. This model has updated CPU and performance of 30% increase over previous generations.

    Now you're stuck with a $4000 machine that's outdated and you perceive as 'slow', when you could have been happily using the cheaper one and simply brought a new one when it came out and when you actually needed it.

    That's a long post but that's basically why I say, get what you need right now, not what you think you may or may not need down the road. Financially it's better to not waste money on something you may never use, and save that money for when you need it. If Apple come out with a brand new spanking 2020 MBP, you'll probably want it after all, and if you've got a 2017 that you spent $4000 on, you're going to have a hard time justifying that upgrade.

    So again, get either that you want but try get what you actually need. You'll be far better off down the road. Computers don't work by going "Oh your CPU isn't fast enough, you cannot do this task", they'll all do the same thing, just a little (Seconds/minutes) slower. At the top end you're paying for high grade professional equipment, where a few minutes each hour can save time, which saves money in the long run. For the average user, you're probably happy waiting a few minutes longer and saving the money.
  5. mista_psn, Aug 3, 2017
    Last edited: Aug 4, 2017

    mista_psn thread starter macrumors newbie

    Aug 2, 2017
    Does that concern concern only the 15" 2017 model oder 13" 2017 as well? I'm asking because the latter has no dedicated GPU. I'm mainly interested about the effect on video playback/streaming.

    Good points. However I'm not thinking about spending $4000. My options are:

    The 2017 13 inch 512 GB SSD, 16 GB RAM for 2.449 €
    The 2016 15 inch, 512 GB SSD, 16 GB RAM, Radeon Pro 455 for 2.399 €
    The 2016 15 inch, 512 GB SSD, 16 GB RAM, Radeon Pro 460 for 2.749 €

    and just FYI:
    The 2017 15 inch, 512 GB SSD, 16 GB RAM, Radeon Pro 560 would cost 2.989 €
    but I'm not considering it.

    So which one would you choose (I guess value wise) , considering they are the same price.
    I don't have a desktop computer, but an external monitor. It will mostly stay at home.
  6. New_Mac_Smell macrumors 68000


    Oct 17, 2016
    H.265 decoding chip is on the CPU. So either 13"/15". It also only makes any noticeable difference to real-time decoding of 4K 60Hz content. The display on the computer cannot output that though, so you'd be hooking it up to a TV to use it. A $100 blu-ray player can do the same thing and far better...

    $4k is an example. Given your needs it's between the 2016 13" or the 2016 15", both will do, honestly just get whichever screen size you like. I'd get the 15" personally, but if you want ultra-portable over portable, the 13".
  7. surajmanik, Sep 24, 2017
    Last edited: Sep 24, 2017

    surajmanik macrumors newbie


    Sep 24, 2017

    I am exactly in the same situation as the original poster. Did you manage to decide between the two models ? which one did you go for ?

    I am confused between the 2017 13", vs the 2016 15" given that they are available at the same price point. I do have a main computer (hackintosh) for my work, but I need this machine only for when I travel or when I want to work from outside my home, which is something I want to do more now.

    I'm leaning towards the new 13", but it just seems like a stupid decision considering I can get better processing, graphics and screen size at the same price. Portability isn't so much of a problem as both seem to be light enough.

    Please help me decide....
  8. Naimfan Suspended


    Jan 15, 2003
    Just get the 15" . . .

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