Does MBP 2017 15" have 4 Thunderbolt 3 ports each at 40Gbps? Why not in Winodws laptops?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by hajime, Jun 3, 2018.

  1. hajime macrumors 601

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    #1
    Am I correct that the MBP 2017 15" has 4 Thunderbolt 3 ports each at 40Gbps? Why Windows laptops have only 1-2 such high speed T3 ports?
     
  2. leman, Jun 3, 2018
    Last edited: Jun 3, 2018

    leman macrumors G3

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    #2
    Because other manufacturers are saving costs by using cheaper thunderbolt controllers and less complicated mainboard logic. People like to complain about Macs are more expensive, but they often fail to take into account that Macs are built to higher standards. For example, compare the Dell XPS 15" mainboard: https://www.vrassets.us/dell-xps-15...-7700hq-4gb-nvidia-la-e331p-yh90j-0yh90j.html

    And an MBP 15" mainboard: https://d3nevzfk7ii3be.cloudfront.net/igi/CSVuDEmvqgaDMqSn.huge (front) https://d3nevzfk7ii3be.cloudfront.net/igi/Wkp5fNBb1SdZTgjX.huge (back)

    Notice something?
     
  3. hajime thread starter macrumors 601

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    #3
    So if Apple is not going to release a MBP with improved keyboard, the only reason for me to buy the 2017 15" version is the extra Thunderbolt 3 40 Gbps ports to drive 4K TV@60Hz, TS3 Plus dock and eGPU?

    As for the differences, the MBP 15" mainboard has colored outlines?
     
  4. leman macrumors G3

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    #4
    The difference is that the MBP mainboard has much more stuff on it. Especially when you look at the smaller components, which I guess relate to power regulation. Also, look at the back — Apple's mainboard is cramped with microchips and other circuitry where Dell's is mostly empty.

    I guess this is why Apple's laptops are so power efficient in the end — it looks like their power regulating circuitry is much more intricate. They also offer proper surge protection on USB ports (a very rare thing to see on the market), and probably many other things we have no idea about.
    --- Post Merged, Jun 3, 2018 ---
    As for your reasons to buy a 2017 MBP, its only for you to know :) I wouldn't, it just doesn't make much sense to buy Kaby Lake when Coffee Lake is available.
     
  5. jerryk, Jun 3, 2018
    Last edited: Jun 3, 2018

    jerryk macrumors 601

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    #5
    One reason the Apple board has more stuff on it is the memory and SSD are soldered on the board. Personally I like Dell board better where there are memory sockets and SSD sockets. Hearkens back to the 2012 13" MacBook Pro, last of the user-upgradable MBPs
     
  6. treekram macrumors 68000

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    #6
    There is a difference in Thunderbolt bandwidth between the different sides (left vs. right) in the 2016 MBP.
    https://www.macrumors.com/2016/10/28/macbook-pro-tb3-reduced-pci-express-bandwidth/

    Does this apply to the 2017 model? Some people are saying yes because the fundamentals which limited the bandwidth in the first place hasn't changed. If it's important, one should do more research or just call/visit Apple and ask.

    I don't know if anybody but Intel makes Thunderbolt controllers meant for computer logic boards. They have all been under $10 list price for dual-port models. Granted, $10 can be a significant amount in a business where margins are thin. Adding a $10 part in an auto can be enough to send cost accountants bonkers.
     
  7. duervo macrumors 68020

    duervo

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    #7
    Cheaper Thunderbolt controllers? Intel makes them all. So, I’m not sure what you mean by that statement at all. Taking into account that they all come from Intel, the cost of them differs only by release date and number of ports (single vs dual). Newest dual port one (JHL7540,) for example, has no difference from last ones aside from an upgrade of DisplayPort support from 1.2 to 1.4, and a slightly higher TDP (2.2W vs 2.4W.) The cost diff (based on MSCP) for example, between the one that the current Gen MacBook Pro’s use (JHL6540,) and the latest one released in Q1-18, is merely $0.55. (https://ark.intel.com/products/series/87742/Thunderbolt-3-Controllers).

    ‘Higher standard” is very arguable these days.
     
  8. leman, Jun 3, 2018
    Last edited: Jun 3, 2018

    leman macrumors G3

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    #8
    I am not talking about them. The soldered-on LPDDR3 RAM on the MBP are the four large modules under the GPU (orange frame) and the three large chips to on the left side (below the blue-framed thunderbolt controller). They don't really add that much to the board complexity (and they certainly take less space than Dell's slots). What is more interesting here are the small components (power regulation and I don't know what else) and the additional microchips. The MBP has a ridiculous amount of them — its overall a much more dense, complex and thus inherently more expensive design then the other machine. I am not an electrical engineer and I have no clue what these components do (I can only guess that a lot of them are about power regulation), but I am sure that they are not there just for show.
    --- Post Merged, Jun 3, 2018 ---
    What I mean that Apple uses two highest-tier Thunderbolt controllers (one per side) while Dell uses a single lower-tier (or something like that). There was a discussion on reddit where someone explained all this, with components listing etc, I can't find the link right now. As to the price: price of the chip itself is only one part of the equation. You need supporting circuitry, additional lanes etc. to pull it off.

    Correction: I googled a bit, and it seems that Dell only connects 2x PCI-E lanes to its thunderbolt controller, again, most likely in order to save costs/reduce the mainboard complexity.

    --- Post Merged, Jun 3, 2018 ---
    This only applies to the 13" non-touchbar version, and the reasons are explained here: https://www.reddit.com/r/apple/comments/6kwj1p/right_side_tb3_ports_have_reduced_speed_what_does/
     
  9. hajime thread starter macrumors 601

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    #9
    If I buy it, I fall into Apple's dirty trap.

    Do you think Apple has so many MBP 2017 and IPP in stock that until they run out, Apple is not going to release new generation products? A local bakery does similar practice. In the past they had freshly baked breads in the morning but recently, they do not make freshly baked breads. Instead, they want customers to buy the ones made the day before. At least they are good enough to offer 20% off discounts. Apple just continue to sell old products at high prices.
     
  10. treekram macrumors 68000

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    #10
  11. Regime2008 Suspended

    Regime2008

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    #11
    I also prefer the Dell over Apple, by a land side. Why would I limit myself and pay more money for the limitations?!
     
  12. redheeler macrumors 604

    redheeler

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    #12
    Apple does have a clearance section for selling off old stock (https://www.apple.com/shop/browse/home/specialdeals/clearance).
     
  13. leman macrumors G3

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    #13
    I do not understand this comment. Dell cost less, and also comes with a less sophisticated hardware design that introduces certain limitations while cutting costs (e.g. slower WiFi, less bandwidth to thunderbolt ports, subpar thermal management). At the same time it comes with a faster GPU and industry standard pluggable RAM/SSD sockets. The MBP on the other hard uses more intricate hardware design and more costly components, but does not offer any upgradeability and is much more more expensive. Both computers have their advantages and disadvantages.

    Up to now, main reasons for me not to get the Dell XPS 15" was a) lack of CPU options (this has changed with 2018) and b) slower WiFi module (matters to me since I use fast routers with gigabit internet connection). It is still a very good laptop. The XPS team with Frank Azor had to make some compromises in order to reduce the laptop cost and be able to fit fast hardware into a compact chassis, but I don't think that many users will run into practical problem here, which makes XPS an excellent choice for them.
     
  14. hajime thread starter macrumors 601

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    #14
    Are all those four 40Gbps Thunderbolt 3 ports functional if we install Ubuntu Linux and Windows 10 natively on the MBP 15"?
     
  15. Regime2008 Suspended

    Regime2008

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    #15
    I get that you like Apple but reasons such as upgradability of ram, ssd, etc, plus having a better gpu will be more beneficial than faster WiFi for most cases. You can still get the upgraded 2018 xps model cheaper than the Apple i would imagine. I'm not sure about thermals though, as both have smaller chassis. But then again Apple has always suffered from thermals, not to mention, lack of upgrades.
     
  16. plexfit macrumors newbie

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    #16
    Why are you here then ? I used to believe in the PC is choice, PC is cheaper BS until I have a few Windows Laptops dying suddenly on me without reasons (hardware failures). I have completely switched to Mac and have not looked back.
     
  17. hajime thread starter macrumors 601

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    #17
    Which models suffer from thermals?
     
  18. gngan macrumors 68000

    gngan

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    #18
    FYI, PC stands for personal computer. Mac is also a PC. Linux is also a PC.
     
  19. Regime2008 Suspended

    Regime2008

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    #19
    My question is, why are you quoting me then? I don't recall having a conversation with you... But I am here for the same reason as you are. I'll give you a little hint, because I CAN. ;)
    --- Post Merged, Jun 3, 2018 ---
    Mbp 15" 2017 and several others. Just Google mbp thermal, and you will see a ton of complaints. This is why I choose pc, because they go with function over form. What does it matter if a computer looks nice, if it throttles and has loss of performance, and could potentially limit it's life span?
     
  20. /V\acpower macrumors 6502a

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    #20
  21. tubeexperience macrumors 68040

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    #21
    ...buy why would computers "built to higher standards" have keyboards that keep failing?
     
  22. jerryk, Jun 3, 2018
    Last edited: Jun 3, 2018

    jerryk macrumors 601

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    #22
    I am not an EE either, but I have create a lot of circuits for robots and such. One of the things I was always taught was to minimize component count. More components, more things to fail or go wrong. Sort of like in software where more often than not, fewer lines of well structured and thought out code is better.

    The other thing is we don't know if there are component on the underside of those boards in the pictures. Might be a lot more components out of sight. With surface mounted components they put stuff all over the boards.
     
  23. leman, Jun 3, 2018
    Last edited: Jun 3, 2018

    leman macrumors G3

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    #23
    Because **** happens. Its a new keyboard mechanism, it has higher risks. And yeah, Apple has messed up here. And yet their keyboard design has no bearing on the fact that they — as an only manufacturer up to date AGAIK — decided to support a full symmetrical TB3 implementation and use fast 3x3 WiFi modules. Your post seems to imply that if they messed up the keyboard, they have also messed up everything else. Which doesn't make much sense.

    What does it have to do with stuff that I like or don't like? I am not passing judgement here. I am simply pointing out that when designing a laptop, tradeoffs have to be made and that different manufacturers decide to make different tradeoffs. I took the XPS 15 as a comparison since its a popular laptop in the same performance category and is widely regarded as a MBP's 15" competitor, so I think its interesting to look at the technical differences between the two. The XPS team made a number of decisions, such as slower WiFi chips, less PCI-e lanes to TB3 ports, simplified thermal management etc. — as this helps them make the laptop simpler and drive the costs down. Some of these decisions make perfect sense for a customer laptop, some are questionable. Apple makes other tradeoffs and their electrical designs are more complex and therefore more expensive. It it you as a customer, who has to decide how much money you want to spend and what you are looking for in a laptop. As I wrote previously, most of the customers won't notice the shortcomings of the XPS design, since it is not the things they need or would pay attention to.

    The 2016/2017 MBP has excellent thermal management and independent tests confirm that it can maintain high CPU performance under sustained loads (I'm posting links below, check out processor section) This is in contrast to most other thin laptop that are only designed to take an initial burst after which they start throttling. The "omg, I think my laptop is running hot" or "halp, my CPU temp is 100" are not valid complains, its people not understanding how modern electronics work.

    https://www.notebookcheck.net/Apple-MacBook-Pro-15-2017-2-8-GHz-555-Laptop-Review.230096.0.html
    https://www.notebookcheck.net/Dell-XPS-15-9560-i7-7700HQ-UHD-Laptop-Review.200648.0.html

    And yes, a special-purpose gaming laptop of a reputable brand will probably have better thermals. Thats what the laptops are designed to do. Other than that, I would argue that your claim that PCs "go with function over form" is not accurate. Most of them is still cost saving before everything else.

    Link I have in my initial post also show the underside for both laptops.

    Good point, but since we don't know what these components do, I don't know if we can judge if the design is optimal or not. Apple's engineers are highly regarded in the industry, so I would guess that their design would make sense.

    For example, a common criticism about the XPS 15 is that its voltage regulators overheat, leading to performance drops. When I look at the MBP board, I count more chokes on the front side and many more components I have no idea about on the underside in that general area. Maybe Apple uses more components here to spread the load over a higher area and so prevent the overheating? This could be a reason why the MBP doesn't throttle under load while the XPS does. Or maybe its just about air flow, I have no idea. Would be very interesting to hear an analysis from someone with expertise.

    You are right, my mistake.
     
  24. Regime2008 Suspended

    Regime2008

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    #24
    First result that pops up for me.
    http://forum.notebookreview.com/threads/macbook-pro-15-mid-2017-thermal-throttling.811260/
    They most definitely throttle. Just going through the search results clearly show that they have throttling issues. Luis Rossman has plenty of videos which prove not only throttling, but plenty of other issues with several of the mbp from different models and generations.

    But it just seems that everyone else happens to have less throttling, while having a more powerful processor/gpu, while costing less. I'd imagine that TB3 is going to be used less on a pc's than Apple products, because of subpar gpu's that Apple uses. So having less bandwidth won't affect many people. But having a faster processor and a much better gpu, with upgradability sounds like a better deal. Especially at a cheaper price. But this can be different depending on a users needs.

    But i wouldn't say apples electrical designs are more complex. If that were the case, then why sacrifice the temps for less fan noise? We all know what high temps do to electronics. Especially ones that users cannot replace components in, or ones that cost a fortune to fix.
     
  25. Samuelsan2001 macrumors 604

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    #25
    And that is fine everyone uses what suits them best. I feel exactly the opposite Apples products give me far more flexibility. I can run any OS and therefore any software on my mac, although I far prefer OSX and rarely boot into windows and I abandoned Linux years ago. I consider apples designs the best compromise for a laptop thin and light and more than powerful enough for my work flow with a good battery life, great integration with other apple products and the current line up has brilliant I/O flexibility and amazing screens, why would I buy anything else?!!
     

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