Best slim update option for my 2013 MBP

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by KiterTodd, Feb 3, 2018.

  1. KiterTodd macrumors newbie

    KiterTodd

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    #1
    I have two Macbooks currently. A 2011 Air and a 2013 Pro. Both work fine, although as I use them mostly for FCPX editting, the Air is kind of slow with current 4K footage. It is my travel laptop, however, since it is small and easy to travel with.

    I have resisted updating the hardware because of the lack of ports on the new machines. I think the small ones only have two USB C ports and the large ones have 4. I typically need a minimum of 3 ports, sometimes 4. (power, external hard drive, SD card input, sometimes a 2nd hard drive + headphones). I'm throwing in the towel now and suspect I'll just have to travel with a bunch of dongles if I want to update machines.

    So, question is... what is the best slim MacBook to meet or exceed the performance of my current MBP?

    Currently I have a late-2103 15", 2.6 Ghz Intel Core i7, 16 GB 1600 MHz DDR3 with the NVIDIA GeForce GT 750M 2GB Intel Iris Pro 1536MB. That's a mouthful.

    Last time I was shopping, I came close to buying the latest gen 13" Airs that were still available via refurb. At least then I'd get the ports I wanted.

    Appreciate any tips and thank you!
     
  2. bcave098 macrumors 6502a

    bcave098

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    #2
    The 13” MacBook Pros come in two main configurations: non-TouchBar that features 2 TB3 ports and TouchBar that features 4 TB3 ports (though 2 of them don’t have full TB3 bandwidth, but that shouldn’t affect USB devices). All 15” ones come with 4 TB3 ports (at full bandwidth). All models also have a 3.5mm headphone jack.

    External hard drives only require new cables (typically USB-C to USB micro-B 3, depending on the drive). Or you could purchase a Thunderbolt 3 or USB-C dock that includes multiple ports. Thunderbolt 3 can be anything you want.

    In terms of performance, you can check out websites like notebookcheck.net for benchmarks and comparisons.
     
  3. KiterTodd thread starter macrumors newbie

    KiterTodd

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    #3
    Thanks, I appreciate the intel on slims wiht 4 ports. Didn't realize that was an option AND they still have headphone jacks. Cool.

    I'll poke around the benchmark website, I was hoping someone would say, "dooooood, an Apple watch has more horsepower than your 2013 MBP, buy any of 'em!" ;)
     
  4. Samuelsan2001 macrumors 604

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    #4
    Your 2013 is still a fine computer, if it meets your needs keep it for another year or two.

    The new 15 inch machines are much slimmer and lighter than previously so go check them out they are cooler quieter and have better dGPU's as well.
     
  5. KiterTodd thread starter macrumors newbie

    KiterTodd

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    #5
    Ahhh, now I'm caught up!
    What I looked at in the store and liked (to replace my 2011 Air) was the new "MacBook" which is very much like an Air. But that one only has only one USB-C port. Pretty much un-useable for me.

    So, I did take a closer look at the 13" and the 15" MBPs and have two questions;

    1) What the heck is Turbo-Boost? They all have this listed as a high end spec, do I have that that on my 2013?
    2) Why does the 13" top out with a 3.5GHz dual-core Intel Core i7, but the 15" offers 3.1GHz quad as the fastest processor? Is the quad core effectively used to make it quite a bit faster than the dual?

    Ahhhh, decisions, decisions.

    It's an odd mix of features in the new ones that doesn't make a lot of sense to me, but I'm sure there are reasons.
    My 2011 Air has a 1.6 GHz i5 and seems slow on FCPX tasks, but I can't even get that speed in the current Macbook line?
    My 2013, as someone pointed out, is still plenty fast 2.6 GHz i7, and it almost isn't worth upgrading unless I get the fastest processor offered.

    Perhaps it's that the newer machines are dual cores and in some cases quad cores.
    I'm not sure how much that translates to useable speed increases, but I'm guessing my 2011 and 2013 are single cores. (does not say in the "About This Mac" screen)
     
  6. New_Mac_Smell macrumors 68000

    New_Mac_Smell

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    #6
    All the Macs you mention are Dual core, and there's a lot more that goes into a CPU release than just an increase in base clock speed.

    A new CPU might have the same speed, but significantly faster architecture for instance.

    1) Turbo-boost is just the maximum speed the CPU can run at, like red-lining a car. It can go faster, but it cannot sustain it. This will eventually throttle down as temperatures increase to avoid damage to the computer.

    2) The i7 you mention is a dual core, these have less cores and generate less heat. So you can run them faster than a processor with more cores. The i5 quad-core has a slower base clock speed, but it has 4 of them. Theoretically, the i7 dual-core (Should note that this particular CPU is really not worth it, it's not a proper i7) can run at 7Ghz if each core is being fully utilised. Whereas the i5 quad-core can run at 12.4Ghz under the same circumstance. In practice, the application has to use each core, and often they don't use more than 2 cores anyway. However the benefit of a quad-core is that a lot of high end applications do make use, and they are noticeably faster under certain situations - i.e. using professional applications as opposed to using youtube.

    I'm amazed your Air runs FCPX at all with that CPU, the Air was designed to type novels on, not edit videos! The MBP you have would understandably do a far better job for this.

    If you want overkill (And you mention 4K so might be worth it) then the 15" model is going to be best. Otherwise, the 13" will be suitable albeit slower in processing/rendering times. The TB version would be better due to the higher wattage CPU and more ports, don't consider the nTB version - that's just an Air by another name.

    The 12" MacBook is not a professional device, and is again designed for extremely light usage. However it is surprisingly capable, and at a push could be used as a travel device but it would seriously struggle - maybe on par with an Air.

    In terms of performance, it's pretty clear but 15" > 13" > 13" nTB > rMB > Air. You're between the 15"/13" in terms of performance requirement, only question is do you pay more for slightly less portable but have the power you need, or sacrifice them for the opposite. Consider a 2015 15" refurb (or even the current 15" nTB version - in the 2015 style) as another option, it's bulkier and heavier but will be more powerful than a 13" for similar price.

    Ports wise I really wouldn't worry, you can buy new cables and you're in exactly the same place you were before - plugging it in. Or you can buy a single dock and plug everything into a single port, which you can't do with the older models.

    Don't get too bogged down with reviews, or contemplating various speed or performance or whatever. Just get a 15" and it'll be absolutely fine. Or get a 13" and it'll probably be fine. But if you get a rMB then you probably won't be fine.

    Good luck!
     
  7. bcave098 macrumors 6502a

    bcave098

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    #7
    Turbo-boost allows the processor to run at a higher frequency for a brief period when extra performance is needed. All 2013 MacBook Pros supported it. The base 13" model at 2.6 GHz had Turbo Boost up to 3.2 GHz.

    Every Mac has been dual-core or better since the switch to Intel except the first base model Mac mini after the switch, which had a Core Solo.
     
  8. Samuelsan2001 macrumors 604

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    Oct 24, 2013
    #8
    If you fancy the MacBook then the lack of ports is not the issue it was there are plenty of small usb c hubs that can give you all your functionality and charging on one cable.

    https://www.amazon.com/HooToo-Adapter-Delivery-MacBook-Windows/dp/B072268Q68

    All macbooks have had at least a dual core since 2006 and they have all been hyperthreaded since 2010.

    The MacBook turbo speeds are very fast for short bursts outperforming almost everything else, but they are passively cooled with no fan and throttle quickly when used intensely for a period of time (ie FCPX exporting).

    The turbo boost on the 15 inchers kicks in when you are using less cores or threads and gives you higher clock speed when needed on single or dual core equipped apps, the boost from multicores on multi-threaded apps trumps the clock speed when the software takes advantage of it, a 15 inch MacBook pro with dGPU's and 8 threads on a quad core CPU will be a lot faster than the dual core 13 inch for exporting video in FCPX for example.

    This is from 2015 but shows the differences in speed.
    https://www.bing.com/videos/search?...8E1366AF0974449D4DAA8E1366AF0974449&FORM=VIRE
     
  9. cookies! macrumors 6502

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    #9
    If you can wait for the 2018 updates, you can get a quad core 13" Macbook Pro with Coffee Lake. That'll save you a lot of money if the 15" screen isn't absolutely necessary.

    Can't stress enough how big of a leap in performance the 2018 13" laptops will bring for anyone who does processor-intensive work.
     
  10. Samuelsan2001 macrumors 604

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    #10
    There is no guarantee of this, firstly, the coffee lake quad cores have very vanilla igpu's and apple will not like that after providing at least IRIS graphics in all its pro machines for 5 years.

    Secondly while it can give a 30% increase in speed for heavily multithreaded apps it really isn't the form factor for serious video editing or 3d modelling etc small screen size being the main issue and these things need more GPU grunt as well.

    Thirdly Intel and AMD are doing a joint venture with AMD graphics built into intel chips, these will almost certainly be dual core to fit it all on the die size and I think is a far better fit for apples 13 inch machine myself and with apples history it seems more in line with their ethos.
     
  11. KiterTodd thread starter macrumors newbie

    KiterTodd

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    #11
    @Samuelsan2001 , thanks much for the reply, informative links and info.

    Appreciate the amazon link to the adapter. I think I was jaded because the last time I looked (when Apple first switched to the USB-C ports) all the hubs I saw on Amazon had crap reviews. Seems they have figured it out better now.

    Also nice comparison. Seems that I can either update my small MacBook or my large MacBook, but the bigger one is always going to be the workhorse by a large margin.
     
  12. Samuelsan2001 macrumors 604

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    #12
    Yeah slim light 13 inch laptops just make to many compromises to be a monster workhorse with current tech and thermal limits.

    We may get 6 core 15 inchers with dGPU's later this year though, now they may well be a beast.
     
  13. KiterTodd thread starter macrumors newbie

    KiterTodd

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    #13
    Yes, it does run FCPX slower, but it's not awful. The laptop is just so convenient for travel that it's what I usually bring with me. Knowing that (and that my MBP is chugging along fine at home), maybe I'll update the Air first to something that is quicker.

    I was on a flight recently and edited a 1080P video (from 2.7K GoPro footage) and it came out fine. I uploaded and all was good, but when I got back home I did a proper 2.7K render on the Pro.

    Now, in fairness, the edit on the Air took a lot longer as I had to wait a few seconds to peek into any footage I selected. But I was able to do a surprising amount, even though things have gotten slower on the Air since my source footage resolutions have increased.
     
  14. cookies! macrumors 6502

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    #14
    Thanks for breaking my heart.
     
  15. KiterTodd thread starter macrumors newbie

    KiterTodd

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    #15
    Even if it isn't as great as rumored... it's still a pickle!

    After reading the tips here, the links, and taking a closer look at what I have and what my needs are, I had decided to replace my 11' Air with a refurbed 13" MBP (which is surprisingly about the same size). However... we are 7 weeks from a hardware update based on the average cycle.
    Not sure if I want to pull the trigger on a $2K purchase if an update is right around the corner.
     
  16. Wags macrumors 65816

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    #16
    For everyday use probably won’t notice much difference with 4 cores on 13 MBP. With heavy computing, yes
     
  17. KiterTodd thread starter macrumors newbie

    KiterTodd

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    #17
    Yeah, it's FCPX mostly. So I think any speed increase is a bonus, but I'd also be fine with the current generation.

    But you know, if it's right around the corner....

    ...or not.
     
  18. Wags macrumors 65816

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    #18
    Not really worth buying top of line computer unless really are pushing its performance. Most would be fine at somewhat entry to mid level with smart configuration. Too easy to want all the power you can under the hood.
     
  19. New_Mac_Smell macrumors 68000

    New_Mac_Smell

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    #19
    7 weeks? I wouldn't expect new MBP's until the fall personally, given Intel and looking at Apple's past release cycles. Of course they could magically announce something any time, that's just the risk you take, but if you need something just get it and be happy using something you need. If you can wait then always wait, but those 7 weeks could go by and everyone will be talking about another WWDC release, then a fall release... and so on.
     
  20. KiterTodd thread starter macrumors newbie

    KiterTodd

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    #20
    The buying guide on this website lists purchases now at a "caution" as we're at day 249 of a typical 303 HW refresh cycle. Now, there are rumors further down stating that a full hardware redesign is unlikely. Anyway, that's what I'm seeing.

    Good intel either way. Thanks.
     
  21. KiterTodd, Feb 9, 2018
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2018

    KiterTodd thread starter macrumors newbie

    KiterTodd

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    #21
    Alright. ONE more question.

    Am I likely to notice any difference if I get an i7 today vs. the i7 that is in my 2013 MBP?

    Right now I'm deciding if I want to get the MOST capable 13", under $2K, that exceeds the performance of my 2013 15"

    OR

    Get the cheapest 16GB RAM 13" just as a replacement for my travel 11" Air, which struggles with FCPx. If I do that, for about $1K I can get a 2.3GHz i5 but its the version that only has two ports on the side. I know, I can dongle it, but...

    or do nothing.
    And see if the next hardware refresh is enticing. They have been on these i7 processors for quite a while.
     
  22. Wags macrumors 65816

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    #22
    No way can claim better battery life with i7 by itself. Nominal either one. Battery life depends on usage. Depends on how much used and how used. Just like having turned on vs lots of activity no stop.
     
  23. Falhófnir macrumors 68040

    Falhófnir

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    #23
    Aren’t the Intel-AMD chips those (pretty powerful) quad core ones that already launched? I wasn’t aware of any further SKUs in development with this. I can ultimately see the 13” pros being dropped (13” MacBooks would continue using the formfactor). The 15” is now very portable, and can offer a dGPU, the 13” is stuck with igpu and that is unlikely to change, or improve to the extent it rivals a dGPU. Ultimately it comes down to the fact a decent cpu and gpu will almost certainly continue to need a combined TDP of at least 40 Watts (15-28 CPU, 25-20 GPU) and that seems to exceed what can be cooled comfortably in the small chassis of a 13” machine. Apple would be better off focusing on being able to offer a 15” machine with slightly lower end components for ~$1,700 to replace the all but the bottom end of the 13” pro range.
     
  24. New_Mac_Smell macrumors 68000

    New_Mac_Smell

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    #24
    That's an aggregated average. It was May 2015 till November 2016 for instance, but then June 2017. They update when (Usually) the components are available, there's not an arbitrary number that Apple abide to.

    A re-design will occur likely in 2020, as the cost of retooling after 2 years would wipe out any profits, making it a dumb business move. That's why you generally get iterative hardware updates yearly as Intel release new CPU's, which used to occur in a tick/tock update, meaning every 2 years is the best. However after 4 years there's generally significant advances to warrant more technology and features in a computer.

    Also you do realise that the i7/i5/i3 is a brand that receive yearly updates right? A 2013 i7 is not the same as a 2014 and no where near as powerful as a 2018 version. Whether you'll notice a significant difference always comes down to your use, generally if the computer you're using isn't slowing down or anything then you won't notice a difference as you're not fully using the CPU as it is.

    As a rule of thumb though and again, the i7 dual core is just a branded i5 dual core, it is marginally better and horrible value for money. You pay a significant amount extra for extremely limited performance increase, it's only worth it IF you really don't care about the money. Otherwise you'd be hard pressed to tell a difference with the lower grade i5. And for that matter, the majority of people would barely notice a difference between the base CPU's available and the upgrades, again if you're only using 50% of the performance available, adding an extra 20% on top makes no difference, but it will cost you a small fortune for the privilege.
     
  25. KiterTodd thread starter macrumors newbie

    KiterTodd

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    #25
    I actually didn't know that. Or should I say, I saw some marketing stuff but didn't understand if an i7 today was any different than an i7 of the same speed from a few years ago. Thanks.
     

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28 February 3, 2018