Resolved Boosted MacBook Pro 2015 or regular MacBook Pro 2016?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by pafell, Feb 25, 2017.


Which option would you choose in my situation?

  1. Option A

    9 vote(s)
  2. Option B

    8 vote(s)
  1. pafell, Feb 25, 2017
    Last edited: Feb 25, 2017

    pafell macrumors newbie


    Aug 26, 2010
    Hello everyone!

    I'll try to keep it short. Due to my current situation and budget, I can purchase one of the following laptops:

    Option A
    13-inch MacBook Pro 2015 (the silver one without Touch Bar and without USB-C ports)
    Intel Core i5 2,9 GHz, Turbo Boost to 3,3 GHz
    16 GB RAM 1866 MHz
    256 GB SSD

    Option B
    13-inch MacBook Pro 2016 (the one with Touch Bar and 4 USB-C ports)
    Intel Core i5 2,9 GHz, Turbo Boost to 3,3 GHz
    8 GB RAM 2133 MHz
    256 GB SSD

    Waiting for the next model is not an option as I need to make the purchase within 30 days (due to various circumstances).

    My work
    My daily work involves providing customer support and some basic QA for a multi-platform app. This means I sometimes need to compile the app from Xcode, launch iOS simulator, launch Android Studio to compile the Android app and run a simulator there as well as run Windows in VirtualBox where I'll launch Visual Studio and compile our app there too. Note that 90% of the time I would not be testing all 3 platforms at the same time so it's not a requirement that the laptop can handle it (but it'd be nice if I wouldn't kill it if I tested Android and Windows app at the same time for example).

    The application I'd be compiling is not very resource-hungry. I'm fine with USB-C ports and using a dongle for other stuff - I'm not plugging in that many cables anyway.

    My non-work
    Apart from working, I do some basic web-development, basic image editing in Pixelmator, smash some keys into Scrivener and watch movies on Netflix or from network drive.
    I'm not a big gamer but maybe I'd install Diablo III, WoW or Civ V to play for a bit. Gaming is not priority though.

    Question: which option to choose? Given my work requirements is the extra RAM worth going one generation back?

    The VM is my major concern in regards to RAM. My Virtual Machine usage will be relatively light (only 1 VM running) but it'd be nice if I could launch the VM use it a bit then minimise and keep in background instead of completely shutting it down when I don't need it at the time.
  2. No. 44 macrumors member

    Oct 29, 2016
    Long gone
    I would say either get the 2015 model or wait for the 2017 to come out.

    Now, let the bickering begin!!! :)
  3. pafell thread starter macrumors newbie


    Aug 26, 2010

    Thanks for your reply! I forgot to mention that due to the situation I have to purchase it in the next month or so - so I also can't wait for next model :(
  4. andy9l macrumors 68000

    Aug 31, 2009
    England, UK
    If you're working with numerous external USB devices (ie. phones/tablets) for testing, running virtual machines and using the machine for development - I'd recommend the 2015 model for the following reasons:

    1. The USB-A connections will help you with your specific line of work
    2. The 16GB RAM upgrade will allow you to leave VMs running without performance issues
    3. Our iOS developers have found the TouchBar to be a hindrance (numerous web devs have also commented on this)

    If this was a personal computer, I'd probably recommend the 2016 for future compatibility. But work-horse machines have to be right for TODAY, not the future.
  5. pafell thread starter macrumors newbie


    Aug 26, 2010
    Thanks! Good points here.

    I wanted to clarify though that I'll be running just one VM at a time, not multiple. Fortunately, I don't need to plug too many devices via USB. I've edited my original message to reflect this, thank you!

    I'm obviously tempted to get the 2016 machine as it's so much nicer design. I'm just curious if it can handle (with 8 GB RAM) a VM compiling an app from source code and perhaps keep the VM running in the background while I go back doing other stuff in macOS.
  6. andy9l macrumors 68000

    Aug 31, 2009
    England, UK
    Sounds like you've got your mind made up already.

    Why not buy the 2016, test it for a couple of weeks, then return it if it's not what you hoped for.
  7. pafell thread starter macrumors newbie


    Aug 26, 2010
    Hah, I guess you're right! I think that typing it all out made me realise that I badly want the 2016 one and basically the only thing I'm anxious about is running one VM on it. And indeed that's something I can test for myself - I'll see about that!
  8. jerryk macrumors 601

    Nov 3, 2011
    SF Bay Area
    I would opt for more memory. Your windows VM is going to use up a lot of memory. VS is a great IDE, but it is big. Also, you did not mention what IDE you use with Android, but many of those are large (I use IntelliJ, parent of Android Studio), and the Android Emulators can get kind of big.
  9. Sanpete macrumors 68020

    Nov 17, 2016
    Probably what you really want is the 2016 with $200 extra RAM. One way to do that would be to get an open box one from Best Buy, which has the same warranties as new. You can find them in stores and online, stock varies daily.

    The 13" model with the touch bar has less predictable battery life than the other models. Many complain it's only 6 hours or less for light use, while others get 8-9. I'd guess that running the software you mention you'd get 4-6.
  10. caramelpolice macrumors regular

    Oct 6, 2012
    Why not get the non-Touch Bar model with 16GB of RAM? The CPU performance gap isn't that large.
  11. ZapNZs macrumors 68020


    Jan 23, 2017
    Can you get a more favorable price on one versus the other?

    I find 16GB of RAM to be very beneficial with VMs, (but much more so with multiple, which wouldn't apply as much to your specific needs.)
  12. idark77 macrumors 6502


    Dec 2, 2014
    +1 Fully Agree
  13. CaptRB macrumors 6502a


    Oct 11, 2016
    LA, California
    Get the new machine and spend a bit more for 16 GB Touch Bar.

    Why dish out cash for old tech?

  14. pafell thread starter macrumors newbie


    Aug 26, 2010
    If getting a 2016 version with 16 GB of RAM was an option for me, this topic would not exist.

    I was able to spend an afternoon with the 2016 MacBook and even though it is truly beautiful, the keyboard is something I didn't enjoy using. Plus, the Touch Bar looks bit like a gimmick where the effect wears off after 30 minutes of excitement.

    Therefore, I've decided to go with the 2015 version with more RAM :) Thank you for all your replies!

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13 February 25, 2017