Buying Help: 2016 MBP Upgrade from 2012 MBP

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by ashleyman, Mar 30, 2017.


Should I buy a new 2016 MBP?

  1. Yes, you'll see a difference

    5 vote(s)
  2. No, what you have is fine

    2 vote(s)
  1. ashleyman macrumors member

    Mar 30, 2017
    I've got a 2012 15" MacBook Pro (Non-Retina) and I'm wondering if it's worth upgrading to the new 2016 models.

    I'm a commercial photographer and often have to shoot tethered to show clients what's going on, I find tethered shooting painful and often suffer slow imports to Lightroom & Capture One. The camera often disconnects or Lightroom will crash, or it'll all freeze whilst I wait for files to transfer over. Often I'll have to pause a shoot to reset the camera connection and get everything working again, it's a waste of time and a little embarrassing. I mostly shoot Canon Full Frame but also Phase One every now and again when the client demands it!

    My current MacBook Pro specs are as follows:
    MacBook Pro (15-inch, Mid 2012 NON-Retina), 2.3GHz Intel Core i7, 16 GB 1600 MHz DDR3, Intel HD Graphics 4000 1536 MB,
    512GB Crucial CT512MX SSD / 2TB 7200 RPM SATA instead of a DVD drive.

    I was looking at the £2699 model with the 2.7 i7, 16GB 2133MHz, 512GB SSD, Radeon Pro 455 with 2GB memory and was wondering if I would see a significant performance increase between the 2 laptops. This machine would be a mobile machine only and mostly only used on photoshoots as my daily workhorse in my office is a 5K Retina iMac with secondary displays that's as fast as they come!

    I've managed to find lots of direct comparisons between 2015 and 2016 models but nothing that goes as far back as 2012 vs 2016. I understand the 2012 model is one of the best as it's upgradeable but I just find it so slow. At one point I thought it was on USB 2.0 only to find it was in fact USB 3.0 just slow.

    Any help or advice is appreciated. I'm not too bothered by the Touch Bar, dongles isn't an issue as I have so much plugged in and carry so many cables that adding 2 or 3 dongles to my bag is literally no big deal. (I have already bought some whilst they're still cheap). I love the designs of the new Macs and have had a play in the store with one but for me it has to be performance over style. Also looked at the Surface range and just can't get comfortable with it, plus my rental suppliers won't support Windows or Surface setups, only MAC.
  2. smallcoffee macrumors 68000

    Oct 15, 2014
    North America
    2016 will be a gigantic performance increase.
  3. Sanpete macrumors 68020

    Nov 17, 2016
    I'll let those who use your software comment more definitely on the performance differences. I believe those programs depend almost entirely on the CPU. The new 2.7 you're looking at is about 25% faster than your 2012. (The Geekbench 4 benchmarks are 3184 vs 4079 single core, 10056 vs 12887 multi-core.) The SSD is lot faster now, but how much that will matter in the field I don't know.

    What I can say more definitely is that you'll have a much nicer screen to show clients their photos on with a retina display, especially the new one that has about 50% more brightness and contrast than the previous retinas. If you use Adobe RGB you'll also see better color. (The new displays are P3, which covers all of sRGB, and they cover a lot more of the Adobe RGB color space than the old retinas.)
  4. medulla macrumors regular

    Jun 15, 2012
    or you could get this:

    Which has a better CPU and a better Graphic Card than what you have now, for about the same price as what you're about to pay.
    BHPhoto offer international shipping.
    Look into it.
    Performance will even be better.
  5. ZapNZs, Mar 30, 2017
    Last edited: Mar 30, 2017

    ZapNZs macrumors 68020


    Jan 23, 2017
    It sounds like your current system might have some sort of hardware or compatibility issue.

    I think you will see BIG performance differences in several key areas, and I think you will find many of these to be very dramatic and functionally valuable. I like both the 2015 and 2016, and, from what you have described, it sounds like the 2016 is definitely the platform to best meet your needs. Further, it sounds like the 2012 is not meeting your needs all that well, and I personally see that as a sign to upgrade. I think that over the 14-day return policy period that you will ultimately come to the conclusion that the 2016 is meeting your needs better than the 2012 (but, if it shouldn't, you've got options! :))

    The SSD in the 2016 is around 6-8 times the speed of your current SSD - duplicating/exporting large files will be insanely faster, and the 2016 opens up the ability to fully utilize high-speed PCIe-based external flash storage over ThunderBolt 3, for those needing very fast speeds (for example, the Samsung 950 PRO, which writes data at something insane like over 2 GBs a second.)

    The dGPU in the 2016 is also stupidly faster than the dGPU in the 2.6/2.7 GHz 2012s - even the iGPU in the 2016 runs circles around the 650M dGPU in the two higher tier 2012s!!! So going from your current integrated to any of the 2016 GPU options will be a big improvement (of course, exactly how much of a real-world difference would depend on how heavily you tax graphics resources :) )

    You can see more on the 2016, and I think this would be as useful to Clients when shooting tethered as it would be to someone doing the editing. Further, if you shoot outside, I find that 2016 has a HUGE benefit of being easier to see during brighter daylight hours. Put a 2016 next to a Uni outside or in a bright room and the difference in visibility is so big it is comical. The 2016 also does a good job at reducing the glare that the glossy Unis always had.

    What port options do the cameras you use offer for when shooting tethered/importing? (I'm 99.95% you already know this, but, even though the 2016 MBP supports USB 3.1 gen2, which goes to 10 Gbps, if the camera only supports USB 3.1 gen1 [formally known as USB 3.0 Super Speed], then the transfer speeds will be capped at the 5 Gbps limit, which is the same as your current system provided your current system is functioning properly.)

    Also, have you considered the 2.6 GHz and the 460 GPU? (I ask because it sounds like you keep your computers for a long time, and the weakest point of older quad core 15-inch MBPs is not the CPU or RAM, but rather the graphics, and this configuration would be a similar price to what you are considering, but provide you with a GPU that perhaps could be ideal for a longer anticipated service life?)
  6. ashleyman thread starter macrumors member

    Mar 30, 2017
    I've done a little more research and found that although Canon rate the USB port in the 5D MKIII as 'Hi Speed' it is in fact only USB 2.0. So unless I buy a 5D4 or 5DSR then I'm stuck with slow tethering. Ideally I need both a new DSLR and MBP just to be current but funds don't allow that yet so it's either camera or laptop. Considering my next few jobs are on Phase One I was going MBP as the Phase files are just ridiculous. Then getting a new body afterwards when I revert back to DSLR shooting.

    I haven't really considered anything except off the shelf models from the Apple Store as it's already an expense beyond what I want to pay - I'm happy with my 2012 UNTIL I start working on it on a shoot and it starts to fail.
  7. ZapNZs macrumors 68020


    Jan 23, 2017

    Yeah, the new 2016 would not solve the tethering issues, sadly, since 480 Mbps would still be the absolute theoretical maximum :(

    The USB-IF named USB 2.0 as "high speed" and 3.0 (now 3.1 gen1) as "super speed." When released, USB 2.0 really was high speed...but now a days, it's closer to frustrating speed than it is high speed.
  8. ashleyman thread starter macrumors member

    Mar 30, 2017
    I managed to swing a 2016 MBP on test for the weekend. I've done a few tests and with my 5D3 camera there's minimal difference.

    Tethering to EOS Utility 3 & the latest Lightroom CC. Canon 5D MKIII + 24-70 F2.8 Lens. Shooting RAW + S JPG to a 120MB/s card. Pointing the camera into 3 set places so all of the photos are roughly the same with the same data.

    For the first test I'm shooting RAW but telling EOS Utility to only move over the JPG to the computer. Got Auto-Import on the go in Lightroom so I can apply a preset/metadata on Import. Do this with most shoots just to clean up the exposure, contrast and add tags as I shoot - helps clients to visualise things.

    Time from pressing shutter to preview showing in EOS Utility. (Lightroom is shut)

    iMac: 2.35 seconds
    Old MBP: 1.65 seconds
    New MBP: 2.27 seconds

    Timed from pressing shutter to preview showing in Lightroom.

    iMac: 8.56 seconds
    Old MBP: 5.38 seconds
    New MBP: 5.50 seconds

    For the second test I'm shooting RAW but telling EOS Utility to only move over the RAW to the computer. Got Auto-Import on the go in Lightroom so I can apply a preset/metadata on Import. Do this with most shoots just to clean up the exposure, contrast and add tags as I shoot - helps clients to visualise things.

    Preview showing in EOS Utility. (Lightroom is shut)

    iMac: 2.99 seconds
    Old MBP: 3.4 seconds
    New MBP: 2.5 seconds

    Preview showing in Lightroom

    iMac: 12.10 seconds
    Old MBP: 9.9 seconds
    New MBP: 9.5 seconds

    The third test was to copy 300 RAW files from a CF card into Lightroom, Convert to DNG and build previews.

    New MBP: 10 minutes, 9 seconds
    Old MBP: 19 minutes, 40 seconds

    The length of the USB cable doesn't really make much difference. The old MBP seems to be the best at processing the JPGs but the new MBP seems to be the best at processing the RAW images faster than my iMac or old MBP.

    The difference in performance is not that great when used with my current 5D3 but I'm unsure if I'll see any performance benefits when shooting Phase One or if I upgrade my camera at a later date.

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7 March 30, 2017