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Advice on buying MBP 13'' 2020

OldschoolMBP

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Aug 14, 2020
3
0
Hey guys!

I currently own a MBP 13'' mid 2012 which, sadly enough, is breaking up with me day by day. Thus I am on the verge of buying the latest released MBP 13''. However, I can not make up my mind for which version I should stick to as there is a price difference between them, which for me as a student, is quite hefty (but still affordable).

I do not edit any videos, photos or such, but sometimes run games (via bootcamp), and usually keep a lot of internet tabs open at the same time due to studies, and Spotify running simultaneously.

So I turn to you: is 8 GB RAM going to be enough or shall i pay the extra 400 USD to get the 16 GB RAM (incl. faster processor)? or is the Air model a side choice?

I will most likely keep the new computer for some 7-8 years as I have done with my current one.

Thank you for helping me out. :)
 

James_C

macrumors 68020
Sep 13, 2002
2,155
633
Bristol, UK
One point that you should be aware of (in case you did not know) is that Apple is transitioning to Apple Silicon from Intel Chips. The practical point is that at some point in time you are unlikely to be able to get new versions of Mac OS on Intel (the CPU in the current generation of machines) You will be able to continue to run that last version of Mac OS for Intel of course. Apple has said that it will continue to support Intel for a number of years, but not how long. You should be ok for 4 to 5 years, but if you are expecting to keep the machine for 7-8 years it is likely that you will not be on the latest version of Mac OS by the end. This may or may not be an issue to you.

Waiting for an Apple Silicon Mac is probably not an option for you as it is unlikely to support Bootcamp as this needs an Intel CPU.

A MacBook Air would be a good choice, except for the fact that you want to run games. The issue here is there are a number of people that have found the Air can get hot and generates fan noise. Games are likely to push the CPU and GPU and may cause the Air to run the fans audibly to keep it cool. For that reason the MacBook Pro may be a better choice. As you can't upgrade the memory after purchase, the 16GB may be a useful investment, but for your use cases I don't think it will make much difference, and probably not worth an extra $400.
 
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nothingtoseehere

macrumors regular
Jun 3, 2020
167
138
Yeah, I fully agree with both my previous speakers. Some more details:
  • MBP 13" base model sounds right for you.
  • I am not sure about USD 400. When I go to apple.com in the US, you can upgrade RAM from 8 to 16 for USD 200 without upgrading also the processor.
  • You know best your storage needs. Extra 256 GB SSD are also USD 200, maybe of more use as the processor? Up to you.
  • One could argue that USB 400 extra are only USD 50 a year if calculated for the life span of 8 years. But of course one has to put the money on the table now (unless you are prone to a low interest consumer credit).
  • To the issue of long-time support with Intel CPUs:
    if you are expecting to keep the machine for 7-8 years it is likely that you will not be on the latest version of Mac OS by the end.
    This is of course correct but I would highlight that you can be still on a supported version of MacOS as the versions linger around for three years usually.
  • Looking out for deals, or for refurbished devices, could be useful to save money.
 
Comment

ccollinsradio

macrumors newbie
May 12, 2014
6
9
The upgrades should be cheaper with your student discount.

If you can't handle a 16 (really good value for the money and a good bootcamp gamer), the 13 inch 10th Gen base model gives you 16 Gig and 512 on the SSD.

Don't buy less than 10th Gen, 16 Gig, 512 SSD if you want that kind of life out of it. I'd really think about if you can handle a 16 inch. Good deals in the refurb store.
 
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OldschoolMBP

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Aug 14, 2020
3
0
First and foremost, thank you all very much for the elaborate answers. Very helpful.

Yeah, I fully agree with both my previous speakers. Some more details:

  • I am not sure about USD 400. When I go to apple.com in the US, you can upgrade RAM from 8 to 16 for USD 200 without upgrading also the processor.
  • You know best your storage needs. Extra 256 GB SSD are also USD 200, maybe of more use as the processor? Up to you.
I am based in Sweden and the price difference is more or less equivalent to USD 400 between the 13'' 8 GB RAM + 512 GB SSD and the 13'' 16 GB RAM + 512 SSD. Hence my presumtion.

Of course, the SSD could be 256 instead but since the price difference only is about USD 200 I may as well pay the extra money to get the extra storage and not having to use an external SSD for that case I need it.

If you can't handle a 16 (really good value for the money and a good bootcamp gamer), the 13 inch 10th Gen base model gives you 16 Gig and 512 on the SSD.

Don't buy less than 10th Gen, 16 Gig, 512 SSD if you want that kind of life out of it. I'd really think about if you can handle a 16 inch. Good deals in the refurb store.

I appreciate the tip, however the 16'' just feels too big for me as I like the mobility of the 13''.

If for one you would leave the gaming part out (I only play occasionally), is the base model with 8 GB RAM + 512 GB SSD enough or is that not a wise buy? The more I think of it, maybe the more I realize I won't play that much, but I am still having a hard time deciding. :p
 
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OldschoolMBP

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Aug 14, 2020
3
0
Or, perhaps I should also ask:

  1. What is 8 GB RAM good for? (in terms of number of running applications, computer speed)
  2. Is the 8th gen 1,4 GHz Intel Core i5-processor enough to handle games via bootcamp or should I go for the 2.0 Ghz one?
 
Comment

Yebubbleman

macrumors 68040
May 20, 2010
3,625
789
Los Angeles, CA
Hey guys!

I currently own a MBP 13'' mid 2012 which, sadly enough, is breaking up with me day by day. Thus I am on the verge of buying the latest released MBP 13''. However, I can not make up my mind for which version I should stick to as there is a price difference between them, which for me as a student, is quite hefty (but still affordable).

I do not edit any videos, photos or such, but sometimes run games (via bootcamp), and usually keep a lot of internet tabs open at the same time due to studies, and Spotify running simultaneously.

So I turn to you: is 8 GB RAM going to be enough or shall i pay the extra 400 USD to get the 16 GB RAM (incl. faster processor)? or is the Air model a side choice?

I will most likely keep the new computer for some 7-8 years as I have done with my current one.

Thank you for helping me out. :)

I would strongly suggest going for the 4-port model (starting with the 2.0GHz 10th Gen Quad-Core i5 and upgradable to the 2.3GHz 10th Gen Quad-Core i7). The base model 2-port would be fine for Microsoft Office and basic GarageBand/iMovie/iWork, but not really for gaming (unless your gaming needs are REALLY low). Even if your gaming needs are low, I'd still suggest getting 16GB of RAM minimum. Browser tabs eat up RAM like it's nobody's business (because each tab is its own instance of whichever browser you're using). One thing to bear in mind is that if you go with 16GB of RAM and 2TB of storage (which may be a lot for you; or maybe you have a large digital media collection), getting a 2-port and getting a 4-port model costs the exact same. This is significant because the processors in the 4-port model are 10th generation Intel, whereas the 2-port version uses the same 8th generation processors that were used in the 2019 version of that model.

All in all the 2-port machine isn't great unless you're not upgrading it much or unless you're buying the models available from the Apple Certified Refurbished Macs section of the Apple Online Store (which, I'd highly recommend checking out). Otherwise, as many reviews and review sites will suggest, this year's Intel 4-port model is a much better value.

One thing I'll point out is that the 13" MacBook Pro (and likely the MacBook Air as well) is looking like it will be the first Mac to make the jump to Apple Silicon. Take inventory of the games that you want to play. If what you'd want to play in Boot Camp also exists in a version that is currently compatible with macOS Catalina, then you may want to just wait for Apple Silicon Macs. That also being said, as others have said, you may get lucky on clearance models on Intel 13" MacBook Pro models. However, you will almost certainly forego any ability to get a model that is upgraded from the stock models.
 
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