Another Annoying Base Model Vs. 1.2 question

Discussion in 'MacBook' started by ChristopherFitch, Mar 8, 2016.

  1. ChristopherFitch macrumors newbie

    Sep 10, 2015
    Hey everyone,
    I almost pulled the trigger on a rMB last year but backed out, and now looking at these Best Buy sale prices I'm tempted again. I think I just need someone to give me a push, but here is my hand wringing if anyone has the time to indulge me.

    CURRENT: I have an early 2011 15" MBP that I'm planning to upgrade in June/whenever when the new Skylake models come out.

    NEEDS: the rMB will be a secondary work/travel machine. For work I need to be able to very quickly open and peruse .pdf's, some very large ones. For travel, I just need it to be a writing (office/final draft)/internet machine. I'm hopeful that the experience will be identical to if not better than my current 2011 MBP for those limited uses.

    QUESTIONS: Since I'm on not wealthy and this will be a secondary device, I really don't want to spend a lot of money and I'm hoping the base model will suit my needs. I've done all the benchmark comparisons, but I have no idea what they mean in terms of real world use. I just want to make sure it doesn't feel like it's slow or it's laboring doing basic tasks, and that I can rely on it if I need to do some Garageband work in a pinch. I've banged around on it in the store, and it seems fine, but I don't know what happens when you have Safari or iTunes open and you're getting iMessages and trying to finagle cut-and-pastes from a Word doc to a Final Draft page.

    HAND WRINGING: I do not want to pay 1299 for a soon-to-be outdated 1.2 and I don't really need the hard drive space. BUT, I don't want to spend 1000 on what will soon to be the lowest powered computer in the Apple Store if waiting and getting Skylake (with its additional battery life, etc) will be hugely different. From my limited knowledge, it seems like Skylake's improvements won't really affect me - I don't game, so graphics aren't an issue, and I think my uses aren't CPU heavy. I'd rather pay more to get more current tech (i.e.: I would think about paying 1199-1299 for Skylake) but I'd also rather not have to buy the best/brightest for this device since I'll be sinking a huge amount of money into a rMB this summer. Again, this is really pushing my finances so part of my fear is that I'm sinking cash into something that will be useless in a few years.

    SORRY: to everyone for posting a similar question as I did last year and one that's been talked about before. I'm just freaking out a bit because I'd like to get this and be done with it.

    THANK YOU: Everyone who reads this post and especially anyone who can help. Thank you!
  2. T'hain Esh Kelch macrumors 601

    T'hain Esh Kelch

    Aug 5, 2001
    What is your question?

    If it is another "buy now or wait for Skylake" question, then I suggest you look in all the other threads with the same question.
  3. kvyoung macrumors member

    Aug 27, 2015
    Sherwood Park, Alberta, Canada
    Bestbuy has open box 1.2 models for around $1,150. There are also 1.3 models with 256 GB SSD available refurbished in the Apple Store for around $1,300.
  4. ChristopherFitch thread starter macrumors newbie

    Sep 10, 2015
    I'm asking if, for my needs, the base model is sufficient. I've read every thread I can on the subject and most of them deal with benchmark numbers that mean nothing to me - I want to know if in real life experience I can type, surf the internet, deal with iMessage and listen to iTunes all at the same time and not have any problems. Clearly, I'm struggling to make this decision because it's a lot of money and I just want someone to tell me they have a base model and share a similar use profile and that they're pleased.

    Thanks KV, I guess I'm hoping the base model is enough since this is just a back up machine.
  5. MacRazySwe macrumors 6502a

    Aug 7, 2007
    You said it yourself. You don't want to spend $1000 on a machine which will soon be the slowest one in the Apple Store. You've waited this long, why not wait for the Skylake model? Only time will tell how much of an upgrade it will really be, then you have the choice of...

    - Buying the new Skylake version
    - Or buying the old version even cheaper. (I'm sure there will be even better deals on the older one)

    No point in NOT waiting. If you really needed the computer you would have bought it already.
  6. zhenya macrumors 603


    Jan 6, 2005
    Yes, the base model will be more than adequate for your needs. Choose based primarily on how much SSD space you need; don't worry about the processor.

    That said, it's somewhat likely that a refreshed version will be announced soon - perhaps as early as this month. That should only push down prices on the existing model further so it may be prudent to wait a bit and see what happens - or buy now from somewhere with a reasonable return window.
  7. Queen6 macrumors 604


    Dec 11, 2008
    Flying over the rainforest at dawn - Priceless
    Buy the 1.2 only if you need the additional storage, as the performance deferential will be negligible. I own the 1.2 and it deals with a lot more load than you are describing, nor do I believe the base model would struggle too much more with up to 15 Spaces across multiple applications; MS Word, Excel, PowerPoint, One Note, Apple Mail, Safari, Calendar, Numbers, Text Edit, Opera, and the list goes on...

    That said CPU intensive loads such as transcoding video will bring the rMB to a crawl in short time, as long as the Core M CPU says below 80C -85C all is good, beyond this point, throttling back becomes a fact of life.

  8. keviig, Mar 9, 2016
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2016

    keviig macrumors 6502

    Jun 7, 2012
    The Skylake versions of the Core M is said to have improved a lot in terms of throttling. Windows Core m3 laptops (like the UX305CA which is basically as thin as the Macbook) will stay at max turbo speed and never go above 70c, and i doubt they have designed a better cooling solution than Apple.

    I've had both in the same room at the same ambient temp.

    I'd say wait to see what Skylake brings. It's only a few days away (hopefully).
  9. ARK macrumors 6502

    Jul 20, 2008
    Indianapolis, IN
    Just buy it now. The new Skylake version won't be $300 off.
  10. JamesGoodman macrumors member

    Dec 3, 2015
    I tormented myself with the same dilemma until New Years and bought one, the base model. My needs are just like yours,maybe even a little heavier. The base model is more than suitable. Regardless of what the numbers say, the base models is zippier than my MacBook Air, 13. The screen is much better. The keyboard is different, no better no worse. It is a matter always of taste. The portability is amazing. The iPad pro with virtually any keyboard weights the same. Probably a lot of iPad Airs with keyboard cases weigh nearly the same. The single port is great for people who don't have multi-port needs daily.

    We -- me too, me too -- want the latest and do not want to feel as if we were ripped off. If there is an update in two weeks, it is likely just to be a processor upgrade. A major upgrade we would certainly have heard something by now.

    but who knows. How about this idea. Today is March 9 where I live. Buy want you want today from Apple or Best Buy (if you can get a deal) and if on March 21 the machine of your dreams gets announced, you will still have several days to return it. If not, you will be all set.
  11. ChristopherFitch thread starter macrumors newbie

    Sep 10, 2015
    thank you all very very much. Q6, I've read a lot of your posts and I know your usage is heavy-duty, so if you think the base model is okay for me, I'm going to trust that.

    JamesGoodman, if I could give your post a zillion thumbs-up I would. As you suggested, I'm going to pick one up today and sit on it until the 21st, and assuming there's no miraculous wonder-machine, I'll use it with confidence. Again, I'm putting my "newest/best" eggs in the 15rMBP in June (hopefully!), so I really just want this to be a great secondary machine (hence my desire to buy it for $300 less) and one that doesn't make me feel stupid for having a crappy underpowered machine that can't open .pdf's or whatever. I was definitely polluted by the early rumors about how bad the Core M was, so it's nice to hear that someone with similar use needs as mine is having no problems.

    Thank you all very very much, I know it's kind of annoying when people whinge and hand-wring about issues that have been often discussed in these forums, but I just needed a little bit of a sales-push and I really appreciate it. I'll report back once I open it and use it. THANK YOU ALL!
  12. JamesGoodman macrumors member

    Dec 3, 2015

    Good luck. If you like or are okay with this "different" keyboard feel, you will like this machine. It is a marvel of miniaturization and simplification. And for $999 it is a steal. If you keep it, I would recommend getting Applecare sometime in the first year. The keyboard is new and delicate. If it goes, and you have applecare, you basically get 1/3 of the computer brand new.
  13. IowaLynn macrumors 65816


    Feb 22, 2015
    I am pleased as well with little caboose that thought it could. Last laptop was PB140. Hung on to Mac Pro 2006 that needed to be replaced, heavily upgraded. And custom built i7 PCs. With what I spent on upgrades, I could buy rMB every 18 months. I don't feel I gave up anything but 50+ lbs and floor space, along with the 300W. And of course first totally silent computer.

    There was always something that kept me back from buying MacBook Pro before - all the issues and growing pains that the MBP line suffered. SATA III, Wi-fi, BT, battery, something.
  14. wingennis macrumors newbie

    Mar 9, 2016
    Northern Arizona
    I realize you already made your choice but I can add some validation for your choice if it still interests you. I learned to avoid forums with criticisms posted by people that did not own a rMB unless I was just curious and read actual user reviews instead. I bought my base model in August and have not regretted it since. When my iMac had to go in for repair, the rMB became my only computer for a while and it really performed well. I was able to open very large pdf and excel files with an iTunes movie playing and dozens of tabs open in Safari and never experienced high temperatures or throttling. I edited some photos and video and played a lot of games. I only ever experienced trouble when I tried to play a game with a very large game file with dozens of expansions-I expected it though. The idea of it being underpowered is confusing to me...I think a lot of computers are actually overpowered for the casual user. We love our numbers:)

    Maybe I will see you in line when I get my 2016 MBP 15" this year. I have been waiting since the minor refresh last year to get one!
  15. lovetheduns macrumors regular

    Jul 12, 2008
    To be fair I have not had my rMB very long (48 hours only). I purchased it after seeing a coworker with one. We both work in consulting and travel a lot. Previous to this one I have been toting around the Retina MB pro. At home I use an iMac that I have had for years. My issue for wanting to replace the Retina Pro was honestly the weight. I was so tired of lugging around a city a laptop that heavy (plus with my other crap). I loved my old Macbook Air but it always felt... lethargic. So far this machine does everything that i need to do. I tend to record a lot of audio from certain meetings, use all the standard office crap, various big spreadsheets, big powerpoints, big PDFs, lots of evernote, surfing, research, logging into various SaaS applications.

    For me the weight was the biggest factor as well as the nice retina display.
  16. jerwin macrumors 68020

    Jun 13, 2015
  17. Aros888 macrumors newbie

    Mar 30, 2012
    Chicago, IL
    You said a few times you plan on dealing with (sometimes large) PDFs. A little bit of input: If you're used to a 2011 MBP, you might not realize how bad PDF scrolling in Preview is on retina machines (honestly, it's pretty horrible on non-retina machines as well). Preview's PDF rendering engine is so bad that scrolling and zooming in and out causes incredible amounts of choppiness, not just on the new MacBook, but on 13" pros and to a lesser extent even 15" pros.

    To compound the issue, pretty much all other PDF applications for Mac use the Preview PDF engine -- for a long time, there was no escaping it. This bothered me tremendously, and I started just using my iPad for PDFs as much as I could. However, as of a few months ago, Readdle released PDF Expert for Mac, with a much much much (I can not overstate this enough) much improved PDF rendering engine. Use it on your new MacBook if poor PDF performance bothers you at all - it will make it buttery smooth, even for very large PDFs on your very little machine. It's well worth the $20 asking price (and there's a free trial). Even disregarding the performance improvements the app is quite solid.
  18. jerwin macrumors 68020

    Jun 13, 2015
    Testing on my 5K imac, using the same 125 MB pdf, Readdle PDF Expert uses about half the CPU (130% vs 325%) and a third of the memory (400 Megabyte vs 1.3 GB). It appears to achieve these results by only fully rendering a few pages a time, and using low resolution previews, which makes idly flipping through documents less than ideal. But as the macbook is limited to 8GB, and the dual core cpu is somewhat underpowered, those small compromises may be worth it.

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