2016 TB MBP 13 base vs 15 base ( Begginer )

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by AJR1212, Nov 20, 2016.

  1. AJR1212 macrumors newbie

    Nov 20, 2016
    Hi Everyone,

    Long story short for years I have been dreaming of updating a laptop. Still using the 2008 Blackbook LOL. Something always came up where I financially had to place hobbies and interest to help or place priority.

    So for the first time in 5 years I can begin playing with Photography, and buying a Go Pro. Last time I tried this I had to return all brand new macbook and gopro because dog got cancer and we did chemo instead.

    Things is I need a computer, and I'm not sure if I should save 600 and begin my hobby with the base 13 MBP TB 1799 vs 15 MBP TB 2399. I am very green and so not sure I need the top of the line however perhaps I do if I will be playing with a Go PRO and SLR camera.

    One thing to note, I will be getting a 15% discount so perhaps maybe that would make the 15 more reasonable.

    Anyway, I sincerely thank everyone for their time in advance.
  2. BasicGreatGuy Contributor


    Sep 21, 2012
    In the middle of several books.
    Make a computer buying list.

    1. What is my budget?
    2. What kind of programs will I be using for business and pleasure?
    3. Can the base 13" and base 15" models easily handle my professional and business needs (processor speed, memory, and storage) etc.? If the answer to the question is yes, will doing a 'build to order' purchase make a noticeable user experience difference in your day to day use, that warrants an upgrade?
    4. Consider the port differences between the two models, as that can affect your work flow and personal user experience in a negative way, depending on your needs and preferences.
    5. While bench test and specs can be fun to post at times, said tests don't wholly reflect the overall power and user experience using the computer with various programs etc. Consider the bench scores a small part of the whole.
    6. If possible, go to the Apple Store and get some hands on time with both machines. Experiencing them in person will help with making a decision, versus blind buying.
  3. AJR1212 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Nov 20, 2016

    Thank you for the list BasicGreatGuy! I completely understand the breakdown, my experience is just limited so I am more wondering if those versed think I can get away with light video editing and photo editing of my backcountry trips and rock climbing trips with pup and friends alongside the 13 inch for 1799. I would be happier saving money and applying it to other areas, however I don't want to buy the wrong macbook and not be able to jump start this hobby.
  4. iizmoo macrumors 6502

    Jan 8, 2014
    I'll add one more, do you even need a laptop? Does not sound like you're in the business world, tech world, or professional A/V world where having a MBP is a part of our toolkit and necessary for work. You'd have to wait for refreshes to the iMac and Mac Mini, but if mobility isn't a necessity, those approach needs from a different perspective and different price point. TouchBar or not, this generation of MBP is the most expensive in the last few years. Sound like you have some budgetary constrains there, so this general release overall isn't really a good spend unless you have the cash to spare, and the MBP is really something that's needed, rather than wanted.

    For basic video editing, you can do a lot of that on any of the MBP, even the 12" Macbook. 4K Videos might be questionable, lower videos resolution shouldn't be an issue. The bigger impact is encoding the output, there the 13" has 2 cores, and the 15" has 4 and a discrete GPU, so editing and rendering will be much faster in the 15". But see, that's all relative, if you can edit it, and it's not your job where you have deadlines to meeting, spending 2.5 hours instead of 1 hour encoding something might not necessarily be that big a deal. Annoying, certainly, but it might be that saving $ is more important, and you can handle just having it encode overnight or something.
  5. Appleaker macrumors 68020

    Jun 13, 2016
    If you spec the 13" TB model to the same as the entry level 15", there is only a $100 difference. Even then, the 15" is almost twice as fast in CPU and had a dedicated GPU.

    Considering the $100 difference...
    While both are very capable, the 15" is the best option, however there is the compromise of size and weight.
  6. AJR1212 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Nov 20, 2016

    Hi Iizmo,

    Thank you for the thoughts! In regards to needing a laptop, as Healthcare consultant they give us an HP Elitebook but in the last few years they blocked us from being able to sync applications and devices or now even flashplayers... but you're correct I am not in the creative sector so Apple is for personal use and my attempt to having some creativity and fun with technology.

    I do like the idea of portability as I do like to move around and the idea of dragging an IMAC seems stressful. My budget constraints are the fact that I don't want to blow an absurd amount and not tap into the computer's power. Like you said, cash to spare and I have had money set aside for a computer for quite some time but I am the frugal time that likes to have a nest egg for emergencies and constantly diversifying my portfolio outside my 401k... never justified the need until now.

    This is the exact advice i was looking for: "But see, that's all relative, if you can edit it, and it's not your job where you have deadlines to meeting, spending 2.5 hours instead of 1 hour encoding something might not necessarily be that big a deal. Annoying, certainly, but it might be that saving $ is more important, and you can handle just having it encode overnight or something"

    Sounds to me like the base 13 $1799 would allow me to do what i always wanted to do and spare money for a Go PRO or SLR...
    --- Post Merged, Nov 20, 2016 ---

    Thank you for the note, I realize the quad core is more powerful my concern was I would never really tap into it's power being that this will be the first time I attempt creative endeavors with photos and video. I do love the idea of a bigger screen though!
  7. iizmoo macrumors 6502

    Jan 8, 2014
    I have a 2013 MB Air with 8GB RAM, sightly less processing and graphics, but very similar to the 2016 MBP (non touchbar), it's about 15% faster than my current one. On mine, I've edited up to 720p in FCPX without an issue, but I haven't done up to 4K. The original GoPro is up to 1080p 30FPS or 720p60, the 13" should be fine with that.

    I'm also getting the new 13" for editing some old converted VHS family tapes. I went a little differently, got the base 13", with upgraded RAM & SSD. The RAM & SSD size was slightly more important than Touch Bar for me as a $$$ tradeoff. If you're gonna go for the $1800 one, do consider the extra for upgraded RAM. You can FCPX with 8, but 16 GB RAM I think will help a bit, esp if you plan to keep your computer with a at least 4 or 5 years.

    Since you're new to Mac, also keep in mind that Apple has a very generous return policy if you don't like it within 2 weeks. So if editing videos is your heaviest workload, maybe try to do the editing early when you get your computer and see how it goes?

    If you're apprehensive, I get my base 13" Tuesday, would be happy to go through FCPX on some 2K and 4K videos and report how it does in editing from a non A/V pro point of view.
  8. Appleaker macrumors 68020

    Jun 13, 2016
    That's understandable, but I guess you could consider it as future proofing. It depends on how long you want to keep it however.
  9. Clint_Barton macrumors 6502

    Oct 23, 2016
    To be honest I would recommend going with the 2015 15in refurbished. It will have plenty of power for what you need it for and will be cheaper (I think)
  10. iKrl macrumors regular

    Jun 2, 2009
    I have been debating between the 13" and 15" and it seems that if you are not going to use professional creative software constantly then it may be an overkill. I love the bigger screen but $600 is a lot of money just for a two inch difference (considering you would not really tap into the tech specs of the 15").
  11. bobosing316 macrumors newbie


    Nov 9, 2016
    I am in exactly same situation as you. Just started photography and have some save up for the new/first macbook pro.
    At this moment, I am more towards the 13 NTB base model. Even we have the 15% discount, I believe the 1k difference can be better utilised if we get a better lens or use it to go overseas and take good photos.

    I know it is tough to decide which model to go as both models have something that we want - 13 (size and weight), 15 (bigger screen, max ram, 4 cores)

    Bottom line is if you feel ok to spend the extra 1k, just go ahead, get the 15inch and you will be satisfied. For my case, I will wait for more reviews for 13 NTB base and 15 base before making purchase anytime before 31/12 (you know why right)

  12. AJR1212 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Nov 20, 2016

    Iizmoo, that would be great! Thanks for the thoughtful feedback! Very cool.
    --- Post Merged, Nov 21, 2016 ---
    Especially at BandH 200 off and so 1799 and no tax which is another 10.25% off. Good call.
    --- Post Merged, Nov 21, 2016 ---
    Why before 12/31? Special deals or a new announcements already LOL ?
    --- Post Merged, Nov 21, 2016 ---

    Exactly, if a screen matters you can always get a monitor as they can drive 4k pretty well. Not sure about the 13 on 5k but those are all semantics.
  13. bobosing316 macrumors newbie


    Nov 9, 2016
    I just went down to the apple store and try out both the 13 and 15 side by side. The 15 inch screen is definitely more attractive than the 13. However, once I lift up the 15, it feel like a brick (quite a high density). thus, if you are planning to use this MBP on a go (e.g on the bus), the 13 will be more easier to be brought around or to be used on your laps.

    The 2nd thing that I have tried out is the touch bar; Yes the touch bar make my web browsing a little faster as it shows the favourite or most visited websites. Just one touch and it bring you to that website. Browsing through photos is also smoother, I do not need to click the track pad to go to another photo. Just one slide to get the work done
    Overall, the touch bar is 'fun' to have but not a must to have.

    Given these price point for all 3 models models. I believe the NTB model is the best for value for a photo enthusiast.

    If you are willing to spend the extra money to get the 15, its performance will not let you down and you will enjoy that bigger screen
  14. iizmoo macrumors 6502

    Jan 8, 2014
    Ok, I got the new MBP 13" Base with upgrades (see signature for configuration).

    Used the 4K video from here for testing https://www.dpreview.com/news/2455259702/video-sony-rx100-v-sample-reel. It's 2.4GB. I actually had a hard time finding a sample source of 4K video, they're just still not that ubiquitous, and if you're using a Go Pro with the intention of Youtubing it, you wouldn't go over 1080p anytime soon, uploading long videos on high resolution is a pain.

    So the first thing to notice is FCPX copy import is fast, it literally copied that entire thing into the library without so much as saying processing. In this case, it was SSD to SSD internal copy and making use of that 2GB transfer, but I didn't expect it to even be that fast. But a note that for large projects or transfers, having an external SSD that can do USB 3.1gen2 at 10Gbps is going to make a huge difference compared to 5Gbps.

    As expected, the only lag time I had was when FCPX was doing background rendering of creating temp media for visual aid. I don't know how smooth that would be even on the 15" with the 460 dGPU, but a little slow down here, no big deal. Once the temp/optimal media or whatever background rendering FCPX is done and over with, editing in 25% aspect ratio preview is smooth. Definitely a lot smoother than I remembered on my 13" MBA, so it looked like the improved graphic and SSD helped here quite a bit.

    I think you're going to be fine with any of the 13" models. For me personally, when I have long multi-hours home videos that I output, I do ProRes422 to an SSD, then I have my big PC (gaming rig) with a real quad core and 32GB RAM does the encoding down to H.264 or H.265. So I kinda have a very balanced workflow where I care about editing in FCPX more, but I don't need my mac to do the final encoding. Encoding on a 2 core is kinda a pain, but that's relative to how long a video you do. If it's mostly 5 minutes GoPro vids, not gonna matter. 2 hours family videos and you'll be encoding for a while.

    Even coming from a 2013 MBA with 800MB write speed and 1100MB read, this new SSD really moved in a human noticeable speed, and that's impressive.
  15. AJR1212 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Nov 20, 2016

    Iizmoo, awesome write up! Perfect. With all that being tested I think for now, I will grab the 13 and start messing around with a go pro on trails runs, and few climbs etc... With that said, I think once I get a rhythm going I will tackle an updated Imac to have more power if I get to the realm of long videos. If this evolves to bigger project then I will justify a bigger spend.

    Thank you so much for sharing your experience. I may just dive into a 13inch without a touchbar. Anyway, Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!

  16. AJR1212 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Nov 20, 2016
    Hey Bobosing316,

    Just saw your comments, thank you for adding your thoughts and scenario at play. Much appreciated!

  17. littlepud macrumors regular

    Sep 16, 2012
    I had both high-end nearly maxed out 13" (3.3/16/512) and 15" (2.9/460/1TB). I kept the 13" and returned the 15".

    1. Portability. The 15" is only half a point heavier and maybe an inch wider/deeper, but the combination makes it trickier to pick up and move without closing the lid.
    2. Potential dGPU issues. The 460 is an amazing card. It's fast for the 35W power envelope and runs very cool and quiet compared to a lot of other dGPUs. I'a not sold on the reliability, however. This is especially true given Apple's track record here.
    3. Price. The fully-loaded 15 was almost $1500 CAD more expensive than the 13, after AppleCare and taxes.
    Things I miss from the 13":
    1. Quad-core CPU. I do quite a bit in Windows VMs. Being able to allocate 2 virtual cores to a VM without significantly impacting system performance is nice.
    2. Screen real estate. 1440x900 is usable and looks great, but does end up feeling a little cramped. 1680x1050 is too small on a 13" screen.
    I ended up pulling the trigger on a pair of LG 4K Ultrafine USB-C monitors when I realized that the 13 with 2 monitors pretty much cost the same price as the 15 on its own.

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