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Advice On 2015 Macbook Pro!

Bazzy

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Jun 8, 2009
257
7
Hello All!

I am in the UK & currently have a 2011 17" MBP with 3TB storage. 16GB Ram & a dual USB 3.0 Card. I am thinking of getting a used Mid 2015 Macbook Pro with 16GB Ram. I know there are a few iterations of this model & would like to ask:

1) Which of the various iterations will likely have the longest support from Apple? I was thinking should I just go for the 2.8Ghz model with the AMD Graphics as that I believe was the top one at the time so it might be more likely to be supported?
  • Is there really much of a performance difference between the base 2.2Ghz model with integrated graphics & the 2.5/2.8Ghz versions with the AMD graphics?
2) The largest factory shipped storage was 1TB but is it now possible to swap out with a larger size - say 2TB? I understand that one has to get very specific drives - can anyone please kindly let me know the exact ones I need? What would a compatible 2TB drive cost?

3) I also understand that it is possible to use either an SD Card or Micro SD Card to expand storage so:
  • 3a) Exactly what type/spec of card would be best to get to achieve the most stable & fastest performance?
  • 3b) What is the largest capacity card that can be used in either the 13" or 15" versions?
  • 3c) If using an SD Card for extra storage, would accessing it offer the same experience as if using the internal drive?
  • 3d) Can it be removed when needed & put back in without issues when the SD Card slot needs to be used for other cards?
  • 3e) Can one use an SD Card to run Windows via Bootcamp?
4) Is there anything that the 2015 models cannot do or features that will not work/function with it on later MacOS versions like High Sierra or Mojave?

5) How many future MacOS upgrades will this machine likely be able to fully handle?

6) Anything else I need to consider?!!

Many Kind Thanks!
Bazzy!
 

Donnation

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From a support standpoint, it will more likely have to do with the model year, and not the specific iteration of the model. Whether its 2.2 or 2.8, integrated or dual graphics, won't really matter when it comes to support as Apple typically defines support by the year the model was released. I would say you are good for at least another 2 years of the 2015 model getting OS updates, probably longer though.

Getting integrated or dual graphics really depends on what you want to use the machine for.

Yes you can swap out the SSD. From a speed standpoint I don't know how the aftermarket drives perform. There are compatible 2TB models on Amazon for around $800. I think that's a bad purchase though and too expensive to add to an already dated machine but it can be done quite easily.

SD Card - Google is your friend

Right now the 2015 models can do everything the newer ones can, albeit a tad slower in my opinion.
 
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Audit13

macrumors 603
Apr 19, 2017
5,794
1,500
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
The 2015 MBPs work well with an adapter and nvme drives. The model of nvme drive will cause more battery drain but the savings from using an nvme drive vs an Apple SSD are significant when looking at 1 TB and 2 TB sizes.
 
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AlexJoda

macrumors 6502a
Apr 8, 2015
768
592
Hello All!

I am in the UK & currently have a 2011 17" MBP with 3TB storage. 16GB Ram & a dual USB 3.0 Card. I am thinking of getting a used Mid 2015 Macbook Pro with 16GB Ram. I know there are a few iterations of this model & would like to ask:

1) Which of the various iterations will likely have the longest support from Apple? I was thinking should I just go for the 2.8Ghz model with the AMD Graphics as that I believe was the top one at the time so it might be more likely to be supported?
  • Is there really much of a performance difference between the base 2.2Ghz model with integrated graphics & the 2.5/2.8Ghz versions with the AMD graphics?
2) The largest factory shipped storage was 1TB but is it now possible to swap out with a larger size - say 2TB? I understand that one has to get very specific drives - can anyone please kindly let me know the exact ones I need? What would a compatible 2TB drive cost?

3) I also understand that it is possible to use either an SD Card or Micro SD Card to expand storage so:
  • 3a) Exactly what type/spec of card would be best to get to achieve the most stable & fastest performance?
  • 3b) What is the largest capacity card that can be used in either the 13" or 15" versions?
  • 3c) If using an SD Card for extra storage, would accessing it offer the same experience as if using the internal drive?
  • 3d) Can it be removed when needed & put back in without issues when the SD Card slot needs to be used for other cards?
  • 3e) Can one use an SD Card to run Windows via Bootcamp?
4) Is there anything that the 2015 models cannot do or features that will not work/function with it on later MacOS versions like High Sierra or Mojave?

5) How many future MacOS upgrades will this machine likely be able to fully handle?

6) Anything else I need to consider?!!

Many Kind Thanks!
Bazzy!

The 2015 might be the best MBP Apple has recently build but it cannot hardware decode HEVC/H.265 because the CPU is older than 7th Gen. That might be the only thing that this MBP cannot do compared to the newer ones...
 
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pshufd

macrumors 68030
Oct 24, 2013
2,711
8,406
New Hampshire
I have a 2014 2.2 Ghz with Intel Integrated and a 2015 with 2.5 Ghz and AMD Graphics. There is a noticeable difference in performance though part of that may be due to the faster SSD in the 2015 over the 2014. Integrated graphics uses main memory so your processor is sharing memory bandwidth with the integrated graphics. The 2.8 Ghz processor will run more efficiently than the 2.2 Ghz processor and should provide better battery life for the equivalent amount of work.

That said, the 2.2 Ghz model does what I need it to and there's nothing wrong with it for what I do. It's just nice to feel that extra snap when doing things.
 
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organicCPU

macrumors 6502a
Aug 8, 2016
678
186
Better don't expect that great kind of SD card performance.

The MBP 2015 internal SDXC port is tied to the USB port and that is physically absolutely limited to 5 Gbit/s (around 625 MB/s). An UHS-III SD card declared as FD624 theoretically should be able to serve up to 624 MB/s and a UHS-II card up to 312 MB/s. Writing this, I realized, that I've just been using UHS-I cards with a maximum speed of 90 MB/s, that in practice is resulting in peaks of 60 MB/s write and 90 MB/s read.
As the MBP 2015 internal SD card slot is SDXC (SD 3.0), I guess you won't get the SD spec 6.0 maximum speed of 624 MB/s read in practice. Apple writes, that UHS‑II works with an iMac Pro only. IMO, that should mean that an UHS-I card, declared as UHS104, with a maximum speed of 104 MB/s would be the fastest SD card that the MBP 2015 can utilize, but I didn't test that on my 2015 15" 2,8 GHz MBP internal SDXC card reader. As the internal drive is much faster than 104 MB/s, I don't think, it would be the same experience.

Further, the SDXC standard defines sizes of up to 2 TB. AFAIK, right now Lexar (95MB/s read, 70MB/s write) and Sandisk (90 MB/s write and 170MB/s read) are the only companies offering an UHS-I SD card with a maximum size of 1 TB. The 170 MB/s read speed of the Sandisk model needs a compatible device and is likely getting trimmed at least to 104 MB/s on a MBP 2015 internal card reader.

SD cards can be swapped similar to USB Thumb Drives. Occasionally, the port won't recognize the SD card until the card is plugged for a second or a third time.

Installing Bootcamp an a SD isn't supported by Apple, but there might be ways to get this done. However, a real HDD or SSD drive connected on USB 3 or TB 2 would make more sense if you are seeking speed.

I think that SD cards are great to store additional data like music or images on a minimum size, but if it comes to speed, we need to wait for products with further improvements reaching the market. For a more permanent like storage on a SD card, maybe consider something like a Nifty Minidrive, that is elegantly letting-in a micro SD card in a MBP case.

https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT204384
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SD_card#SDXC
http://www.lexar.com/portfolio_page/professional-633x-sdhcsdxc-uhs-i-cards/
https://www.sandisk.com/home/memory-cards/microsd-cards/extremepro-microsd
https://www.ifixit.com/Teardown/Nifty+MiniDrive+and+TarDisk+MiniDrive+Teardown/30607
 
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smbu2000

macrumors 6502
Oct 19, 2014
360
161
From a support standpoint, it will more likely have to do with the model year, and not the specific iteration of the model. Whether its 2.2 or 2.8, integrated or dual graphics, won't really matter when it comes to support as Apple typically defines support by the year the model was released. I would say you are good for at least another 2 years of the 2015 model getting OS updates, probably longer though.
The 2015 models will be getting support for a loooong time. Apple was still selling them new (sans dGPU) alongside the 2017 models up until (mid?) 2018 when the 2018 models were released. That is when both the 2015 and the 2017 models were replaced discontinued (not including the nTB 13" MBP). The 2015 models should be supported by Apple as long as the 2017 models.

edit to add link:

https://www.macrumors.com/2018/07/12/apple-stops-selling-2015-macbook-pro/
 
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maflynn

Moderator
Staff member
May 3, 2009
67,156
34,278
Boston
6) Anything else I need to consider?!!
I don't want to sound like a Debbie Downer, but its 2019, we are talking about a 4 year old computer. This is just my personal opinion but unless you find a really good deal on eBay/swappa/where ever, I don't think its a good use of money.

There's a lot of good things associated with the 2015 model year, and I'm not knocking it, but I would be very hesitant to spend too much money on such an old computer
 
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turbineseaplane

macrumors 603
Mar 19, 2008
6,296
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I don't want to sound like a Debbie Downer, but its 2019, we are talking about a 4 year old computer. This is just my personal opinion but unless you find a really good deal on eBay/swappa/where ever, I don't think its a good use of money.

There's a lot of good things associated with the 2015 model year, and I'm not knocking it, but I would be very hesitant to spend too much money on such an old computer

It’s definitely a fair point.

What do you think is the most somebody should spend on a used base model 2015 15 inch?
(2.2, 16, 256 model - assume mostly mint condition).

$1k? Less/more?

I mention the base because I think it’s the best value if you can get a great deal and then go ahead and just slap in a new aftermarket NVMe drive
 
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pshufd

macrumors 68030
Oct 24, 2013
2,711
8,406
New Hampshire
It’s definitely a fair point.

What do you think is the most somebody should spend on a used base model 2015 15 inch?
(2.2, 16, 256 model - assume mostly mint condition).

$1k? Less/more?

I mention the base because I think it’s the best value if you can get a great deal and then go ahead and just slap in a new aftermarket NVMe drive

I'd go with under $1,000 or $1,000. Examples from my local area.

https://boston.craigslist.org/nos/sys/d/stoneham-2015-macbook-pro-15in-intel/6839034786.html
https://boston.craigslist.org/nwb/syd/d/lawrence-2015-macbook-pro-154-core-i7/6845368939.html
https://boston.craigslist.org/gbs/sys/d/framingham-2015-macbook-pro-15-22ghz/6833080648.html
https://nh.craigslist.org/syd/d/2015-macbook-pro-154-core-i7-22ghz-16gb/6845368911.html
 
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turbineseaplane

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Expobill

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I don't want to sound like a Debbie Downer, but its 2019, we are talking about a 4 year old computer.

Can i ask Why? Simply because Im debating buying a new macbook air 2017 or a 2015 macbook pro that is used and in great cont. both are the same price.Both have the same chip, screen and and drive. The same warrantee period and can run mojave smoothy

Is there some about 2015 worse than 2019 we do not know about, or just simply because newer is better?

You reply and input will be worshiped, my macrumor friend!
[doublepost=1553374301][/doublepost]
Thank you - that was my thought as well - $900 would be a great deal I think if possible..
Saw one locally to me last week like that (just in passing as I was perusing)
Some dude refurbs macs near NYC , has a MBP 2015 loaded with cs5, office and final cut fo $750. They seem to be hardheaded but that happens with dealing in the craigslist environment i guess.
 
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maflynn

Moderator
Staff member
May 3, 2009
67,156
34,278
Boston
Im debating buying a new macbook air 2017
Why would you want a non-retina screen in 2019?

AFAIK, they don't use the same processors either.
Just googling around, I found the MBA uses the
The Apple MacBook Air "Core i5" 1.8 13-Inch (2017/Broadwell) features a 14-nm "Broadwell ULT" 1.8 GHz Intel "Core i5" processor (5350U)

Where as the 2015 13" MBP uses
The MacBook Pro "Core i5" 2.7 13-Inch (Early 2015 Retina Display) features a 14 nm "Broadwell" 2.7 GHz Intel "Core i5" processor (5257U)

The MBA uses an ultra low voltage processor and its going to run slower then then MBPs.
 
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Expobill

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Why would you want a non-retina screen in 2019?
There is something fake about the images, even on the 4K TV screen they seem flat, not a s much depth as 1080 dpi .
i love my macbook air 2010 screen resolution, everything seems real even the fake photos i PS!

this not a challenge, but what other reasons why 5 years ago is too old for computers?
we need your wisdom!
 
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turbineseaplane

macrumors 603
Mar 19, 2008
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The screen resolution stuff is kind of interesting.
I am mostly a higher dpi/ retina evangelist…

That said, from time to time around the house, I do use a 24 inch 1920 x 1200 external monitor and something about it just “looks right”.

It’s also nice not to have the overhead of all the extra pixels bogging a computer down… Or worry about any scaling oddities that do sometime still come up, even in macOS, from time to time
 
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pshufd

macrumors 68030
Oct 24, 2013
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The screen resolution stuff is kind of interesting.
I am mostly a higher dpi/ retina evangelist…

That said, from time to time around the house, I do use a 24 inch 1920 x 1200 external monitor and something about it just “looks right”.

It’s also nice not to have the overhead of all the extra pixels bogging a computer down… Or worry about any scaling oddities that do sometime still come up, even in macOS, from time to time

I have a 24 inch 1920x1200 on my desk right now - the same resolution supported by macOS on the 15 inch MacBook Pros. It's quite nice though, for work, I prefer QHD. I have started using the native resolution on my MacBook Pro 2,880x1,800 for trading. I have a bunch of real-time charts and so I can see everything but it's hard to read. When I need to zoom in, I use the macOS zoom functionality.
 
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Bazzy

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Jun 8, 2009
257
7
Hi All,

My deepest apologies for not replying sooner & I am very grateful for all the kind & great replies/info!

I appreciate that in the US, items might be cheaper due to more options being available but in the (death by taxes) UK, the 2015 seems to still command some pretty premium prices! Apple UK is selling one on their refurbished shop for about £2300!!

Ebay & other online prices seem to vary but usually average out to between £1350 - £1650 which is still a huge amount & the newer models could be bought for the same! There are some on auction that are cheaper but they tend to go quickly.

I was asked why I wanted this model as it was still quite old & quite expensive! By nature, I prefer to but the most recent model I can afford but I watched quite a few videos on Youtube where much more serious users than I sold the newer models & got the 2015 model instead due to issues & repairs they faced.

The new ones which look stunning scared me due to everything being soldered on & very expensive to repair if one does not have Applecare or when it eventually runs out - In would have just loved to have a 2TB drive but it was the lack of upgradability, repairability & high Apple repair costs that really scared me big time. I could even live with having to deal with dongles etc but it was all these other things that just worried me too much. In my budget, I could most likely have only stretched to a 2016 model & all I seemed to read about it was to stay the hell away & go for a 2017/2018 model which was out of my budget sadly.

Just to let you all know, I yesterday got a Mid 2015 15" 2.8Ghz / 16GB Ram/ 1TB HD / AMD Radeon R9 M370X in pretty good shape for a pretty reasonable amount - I made sure to but the very top model possible from the 2015 range just to best safe-guard myself.

It will be interesting to see what new laptops Apple bring in future but if for example, they bring out something more consumer/user friendly than the current designs then hopefully I will still be able to sell mine for a reasonable price at the time & without having to worry about hardware issues whilst using it!

It came with Mojave & my 2011 17: MBP has High Sierra - now I have to figure out how to get all my stuff, data, apps etc on the new one without issues - this might sound easy for you guys but the process has NEVER ever gone smoothly or easily for me so I am very nervous as to how best to do this without introducing all sorts of errors/issues into the newer unit! All help/advice welcome!

You guys are awesome!

Bazzy!

https://www.apple.com/uk/shop/produ...7faa81d2845434f4d869e56bdeb8aa22ba6b947ed3fd9

Screen Shot 2019-03-28 at 15.56.42.png
 
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turbineseaplane

macrumors 603
Mar 19, 2008
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It will be interesting to see what new laptops Apple bring in future but if for example, they bring out something more consumer/user friendly than the current designs then hopefully I will still be able to sell mine for a reasonable price at the time & without having to worry about hardware issues whilst using it!

That's sort of the key with buying a 2015 right now.

Make sure to get a good price up front to protect yourself in case Apple really does fix the keyboard situation finally.

(not holding my breath on that)
 
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