Base 13 vs Touchbar 13 - which should I get?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by LGIR627, Nov 5, 2016.

  1. LGIR627 macrumors member

    Sep 9, 2016
    I'm strongly considering getting a 2016 13" MBP to replace 2 MacBooks and get the best of both worlds (my 15" MBP is too big/heavy to lug around and my 12" RMB is underpowered).

    Other than the obvious (touch bar, which really makes no difference to me), the base 13 differs from the TB 13 in the following:

    CPU - 2.0 ghz vs 2.9 ghz - Are these both the same generation processor?

    Memory - 1866 mhm vs 2133 mhz

    Graphics - Iris 540 vs Iris 550 - The only gaming I MIGHT do is an occasional Diablo 3 / Starcraft 2.

    Thunderbolt ports - 2 vs 4 - The only thing I have connected to both of my exiting MacBooks are bluetooth mice. To give you an idea, I've had a 12" RMB for several months now and it having only a single USB-C port has never impacted me.

    I'm having a tough time justifying $300 more for these differences. In your opinion (especially considering having/not having the touch bar makes no difference to me), are the cpu/ram/gpu differences worth this $330-ish with tax price difference? I usually keep my laptops for 2-3 years or so. 99% of my time is spent browsing/reading twitter. For work, I use Outlook/Excel/Word. As mentioned above, very rarely do I get into any gaming, and if it is, it would be Diablo 3 / SC2, both of which even run on my 12" RMB, so I do not believe the 13 MBP hardware will have any problems running it.

    Thanks in advance for any comments.
  2. T5BRICK macrumors G3


    Aug 3, 2006
    Both Skylake processors. The 2.0GHz will clock up to 3.1GHz, the 2.9GHz will clock up to 3.3GHz. You probably won't notice a difference.

    This is a ~14% increase increase in clock speed. Depending on what you do, it may or may not make a difference.

    Sounds like you've pointed out a few good reasons you don't need the touch bar version here.

    I'd go with the base model.
  3. LGIR627 thread starter macrumors member

    Sep 9, 2016
  4. maka344 macrumors 65816


    Nov 4, 2009
    London, UK
  5. hiker- macrumors newbie

    Nov 6, 2016
    Even if you don't need 4 ports, having the option to plug in power and devices on the other side of the laptop is convenient.
    Also the TB version has two fans, so I'd expect it to be quieter at the same load.

    Personally I ordered the base model with i5/16GB/1TB. But because of these reasons and the lack of touch ID I might still cancel it.
  6. leman macrumors G3

    Oct 14, 2008
    The TB model uses a higher-tier CPU and GPU, so it will be faster. Other than that, we don't know much. If you need a bit more power, the TB model is a better choice. For your described use, I don't think that it will make a difference.
  7. UnluckyXIII macrumors 6502

    Feb 20, 2014
    Neither, you state that your 12" rMB is underpowered yet it meets all of your stipulated requirements (browsing, reading twitter, outlook, excel & word, it even plays the two games you've listed).
  8. LGIR627 thread starter macrumors member

    Sep 9, 2016
    Its true, I don't "need" a new one, however, I do like the idea of replacing 2 laptops with 1. I could sell both of those and end up with a new 13 MBP + a few hundred bucks.
  9. protoxx macrumors 6502a


    Oct 10, 2013
    You could always wait to see the benchmarks of the new systems to see what you get for your money. Nothing like being an informed buyer.
  10. supajam macrumors newbie

    Oct 31, 2016
    I was thinking the same (OP you even mention it can handle the games you play!).

    If the 13" screen is your main priority then I would save the $$$ and buy the non TB. If you buying for something truly "new" and don't mind paying extra then get the baseline TB model.
  11. protoxx macrumors 6502a


    Oct 10, 2013
    I don't doubt a $1500 base MacBook Pro is worth more 20% more than a MacBook. I'm not so sure it's worth 50% more than a MacBook Air.
  12. jnachbar macrumors member

    Nov 30, 2010
    Just wondering if there were any more thoughts regarding this topic. Not about the benefits of touchbar vs non-touchbar and potential battery life, but about the difference between the CPU/GPU/RAM Speed between these two models. Any real world difference between these combinations: 2.0 ghz/Iris 540/1866 vs. 2.9 ghz/Iris 550/2133?
  13. xraydoc macrumors demi-god


    Oct 9, 2005
    All depends on what you do with the computer.

    If you're pushing the limit on Photoshop filters, then the 10% processor/RAM speed boost may make a significant difference for you. If you run Mac apps and Windows app simultaneously in multiple VMs, then the processor boost may help (though the bottle neck here will be the amount of RAM, which can be configured the same way on each machine).

    If you're like me and just do office-style tasks on it (web, Word, PowerPoint, Pages, Keynote, email, etc.), then the faster processor will do almost nothing for you. The faster SSD in the new machines will make the biggest difference in this case.

    I have the base 2.0GHz model and the UI in Sierra and all my apps thus far is silky smooth and a massive upgrade from my 2011 11" MacBook Air, and a moderate but noticeable boost from my 2013 13" retina MacBook Pro. I don't play games, so the Iris 540 graphics in my machine is plenty to run the UI in a smooth way.

    Both machines will boost the CPU frequency to nearly the same level (3.1GHz on the 2.0GHz part and 3.3GHz on the 2.9GHz). Both machines can maintain top frequency for extended periods of time before throttling back (30+ minutes). The 2.9GHz CPU will, however, be able to maintain turbo speeds with more load on the GPU as compared to the 2.0GHz part. But again, it depends on your apps as to whether this will happen. Final Cut Pro X being one example.

    Besides, the battery in the "base" model rocks.
  14. terminator-jq macrumors regular

    Nov 25, 2012
    The base MacBook Pro is an all around good laptop and since the TB3 ports are so expandable, you can easily have more than enough ports with the right dongle. I was in your shoes a few days ago and I ended up just going for the 13" with Touch bar.

    While the Touchbar may not have many ground breaking uses right now, by this time next year, the touchbar may be a totally different beast. We'll see more developer support, we'll see more uses in the next version of Mac OS and we'll see more products with it. So your getting something a little more future proof. The effectiveness of it will go up even more if Apple allows more customization.

    So for $300, you get the touchbar, a better graphics chip, faster ram and a better CPU. The spec upgrades are not a big jump but for $300 extra, your getting a pretty good upgrade.
  15. jnachbar macrumors member

    Nov 30, 2010
    Thanks, very helpful thoughts...I see B&H Photo has the 13 base "escape" version marked down $ now the differential is $400. Makes the decision to spend more $$ for upgraded components I won't really notice, given my usage...really more about the value of the touchbar to me, with the bonus of slightly upgraded components.hmmm...leaning toward the base 13 non-touchbar at this point.

    I currently have a 2012 11" MBA and a 2011 Mac Mini so I'm not feeling particularly high on apple's priority list!
  16. AnatomyProf macrumors newbie


    Oct 22, 2016
    Southern California
    That's my thought too, though I am also temped by the touch bar. I will definitely do 16GB RAM and may consider increasing the drive to the 512, though maybe I'm better off spending that on a 1TB external.

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