Help me choose a MBP

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by jwalters103, Jul 19, 2017.

  1. jwalters103, Jul 19, 2017
    Last edited: Jul 19, 2017

    jwalters103 macrumors newbie

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    Jul 19, 2017
    #1
    Like the title says, I'm having trouble deciding. I am coming from a 13" MBP 2011 and I have never had a problem with the size. It will mostly be used for boring old email and web surfing along with watching the occasional video and some work on excel and word. I do usually work with multiple windows open. Also some music storage/playback and photo storage and possible light photo editing (that will mostly be done on the iMac). Either way I go, I plan on 512GB SSD and 16GB RAM. I am really looking for portability and battery life.

    As I said, I am looking for portability which had me leaning toward the 13", but the other day when I was messing with a new 13" in the store I noticed it felt awkward having my hands so close together---like it put my arms at an unnatural angle. Does anyone else have this issue?

    Does the lack of dedicated video RAM in the 13" really make a difference for someone who won't be doing anything graphic intensive?

    If I am seeing things right it looks like the 15" has slower processors than the 13". Is this right and if so why?

    Battery life is one of my bigger concerns. Which gets the best? The 15" has a bigger screen and separate video RAM to power, but the 13" has a faster processor. What eats the most power? Does an i5 use that much less than an i7?

    Anything else I should consider?

    Also right now I am thinking I am going to use parallels on my iMac with windows 10 just so I can use the windows version of Office. Is it reasonable to do this with the MBP too or should I stick with the OS version of Office
     
  2. New_Mac_Smell macrumors 68000

    New_Mac_Smell

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    #2
    13" has dual core, 15" has quad core. A quad core is much more powerful than a dual core...

    Battery is larger in the 15" than the 13", as it needs to power more things. So they are equal in life.

    No, you wouldn't notice the difference of a GPU if you aren't going to use the GPU.

    No idea why your arms are at an unnatural angle, they should be straight out in-front of the machine like any other laptop. Are you deliberately trying to avoid the trackpad for some reason?

    VM for office is a bit overkill, MacOS version is just as capable. VM will always physically limit performance, best to bootcamp if you must and can.

    Either way, 13" is more than capable for you, 15" will be a much more powerful machine if you wanted it.
     
  3. jwalters103 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Jul 19, 2017
    #3
    The issue with the keyboard was more that I felt like putting my hands that close together made me force my arms across my chest (I'm not a small guy) and put my wrists at a weird angle. I really wish Mac stores would have the displays up higher or have a chair in front of them so you could mess with them in a normal position.

    With the processors----the 15" can have a slower processor because it has more cores and will still outperform the faster processor with less cores--is that right? Is it better to have more power and underdrive it than to have a less powerful processor and constantly drive it hard?

    With office, it looks like there are more features for the windows version, although honestly none of them are features I currently use, I just am thinking future proof. The reason I was thinking VM was to use windows office side by side with MacOS (definitely not a fan of the last couple of iterations of windows), but Mac office may be the better option.

    I am not against the extra power, but I pretty much went all out with my desktop expecting it to be the workhorse, although every now and then I do ask a lot from my laptop---I just don't know if it is enough to justify upping the size and specs.

    The 15" feels a lot heavier than the 13 even though the increase in weight is pretty modest, not sure if anyone has any input on that.
     
  4. New_Mac_Smell macrumors 68000

    New_Mac_Smell

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    #4
    The 2016+ 15" is the same weight as your 2011 13" by the way. So you shouldn't feel is as 'significantly heavier'. The keyboard layout is also exactly the same, only the keys are physically larger. The width of the new 13" shell is less than your 2011 however, but the keyboards are exactly the same.

    Power wise, it's easier to make a single processor operate at a higher frequency, the more cores you put on a single chipset, the slower each core becomes. However they operate together, and you shouldn't be looking at 3Ghz dual core being faster than 2.5Ghz quad core. A dual core is not a faster processor than a quad core. If you need a quad core then get the quad core, if you don't know if you need it then you probably don't need it. A dual core is more than ample for most tasks, and a lot of software isn't even optimised to run on quad cores. So don't be worrying about speed or anything, all Mac processors are amongst the best in class.

    Basically, the 13" is the portable option, it's perfectly fine for most people if you want a portable computer. As you had a desktop it's probably the option for you. The 15" is the powerful option, usually aimed at people who need the quad core (CAD/Design/Developing/Editing/Other serious computer work) as opposed to average (Browsing/Word processing/Blogging). They can both perform these tasks, but the 15" will do it better and with a larger screen. Which is great for people who use it as a sole computer or who need that power for specific tasks.

    Essentially, the 13" is fine for you, don't worry about processor, you just need the base. The i7 is just a glammed up i5 in dual core form. So get the base, you only need 8gb RAM but get 16gb if you want, but the SSD size is more important, take what you use today and double it. The no-TouchBar version will have a slightly better battery life if that is a serious concern (1-2 hours), and still be more than capable for your needs. You said you were basically doing browsing and desktop publishing, playing videos/music. You can do all that on a Kindle, so the base model is way more power than you actually need.
     
  5. Stefan johansson macrumors 65816

    Stefan johansson

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    #5
    The awkward feeling can easily be solved with an adjustable laptop stand,or a different table height.
     
  6. ZapNZs macrumors 68020

    ZapNZs

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    Jan 23, 2017
    #6
    It sounds as if any MacBook Pro, from the base model nTB to the 15-inch BTO, will meet your needs.

    If you plan to keep the computer as long as you did with your 2011, I agree that 16 GB of RAM is probably a worthwhile investment. The 2.3 nTB with 16 RAM and a 512 SSD would suit you very well. The integrated graphics on it are outstanding and will be more than capable of meeting your needs for many years to come. If you need to use something like pivot tables in Excel, Access, or Visio, this model is very capable when running a single VM.

    Coming from using mainly 15s to a new 13, it felt a little awkward for me at first. After a few days I adapted. The palm rest is not as comfortable as the 15 inch, but it still works well once you adapt. With the 14-day return policy, if you buy it and hate it you can always return it no questions asked.
     
  7. jwalters103 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Jul 19, 2017
    #7
    When I said that the 15" felt significantly heavier than the 13" I was referring to the 2017 13".

    The keyboard alone on my 2011 is 10 3/4" whereas the entire shell of the 2017 is only 8.36", so they are definitely not the same size. Not sure if the keys are smaller or the spaces between the keys are reduced, but either way I feel like I am angling my wrists inward too much when using it. Again, this is just messing around with it in the store while standing, not in the usual sitting position I will be in while using it. I may just have to plan to make use of the 14 day trial.

    With processors I guess I should be good with any of them.

    I don't necessarily need the power, but I like knowing that its there if I do need it. Probably not justification for the increased cost though.

    I do like the idea of the bigger screen. I am perfectly content with he size of my old 13", but I went with the 27" iMac and as soon as it was delivered I thought for sure I would be returning it. A week later I didn't know how I ever used a smaller monitor.

    I definitely plan on keeping it for a while (I scratch my head overtime I see someone on here saying they how committed they are to their new machine because they plan on keeping it for 3 or 4 years. I assume these are people that need the newest technology for work or HAVE to have it just for personal satisfaction) so I do want to be somewhat future proof.

    The nTB was the way I was originally planning on going but I slowly convinced myself to go up from there. Was actually originally planning on getting the older one right before they discontinued it bc I didn't want to give up my USB-2 and my card reader, but Im over it now.

    Either way I plan on going 16GB RAM and 512GB hard drive so I guess at this point it comes down to size.
     
  8. New_Mac_Smell macrumors 68000

    New_Mac_Smell

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    #8
    ?

    The width of the 2011 (13") is 12.78", the 2016 is 11.97". Have you mixed up the width and depth? I'm fairly certain the keyboards are exactly the same width on the devices (Or near enough), but they don't list that on the website. Measuring mine it's ~10.8" in width, what's your 2011? I don't have one to hand.

    Just focus on costs, the weight difference between the 13" and 15" is negligible in actual use. If you absolutely must have portability (You use it >50% of the time just walking around) then the 13" is better, if you don't then the 15" is better (Ignoring costs). The 15" is a much more powerful machine and will last longer. So if money isn't a question then the 15" for sure, if however you want to save a few dollars then the 13" is going to be just as capable for you. Also if you want future proof then USB-C is the way to go, it works with majority of legacy ports as well as majority going forward, so you can have whatever ports you need. You won't be stuck with USB-A or an HDMI port when everything goes DP or USB-C (Just an example).
     
  9. jwalters103 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Jul 19, 2017
    #9
    You're right, I did mix up length and width.

    USB-C is frustrating with needing adapters for everything, but like I said, Im over it.

    Still debating though, I keep going back and forth. I think I need to just pick one and order. That way I can use the 14 days to decide what I feel about it and wit obsessing over it in the meantime.
     
  10. New_Mac_Smell macrumors 68000

    New_Mac_Smell

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    #10
    There's always been a need for adapter though, when was the last time you used USB-A to USB-A on anything?

    Precisely, if you can afford the 15" just get it, if you're stretching your budget then get the upgraded 13".
     
  11. jwalters103, Jul 23, 2017
    Last edited: Jul 23, 2017

    jwalters103 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Jul 19, 2017
    #11
    well, I went with the low end 15" with the touch bar in silver. So far, my thoughts on the most commonly commented things are:

    -the touch bar is gimmicky as I thought---I would rather have the standard F keys, but I love having the fingerprint scanner

    -I don't see how having a physical escape key would make any difference. for some reason everyone seems to say they wold rather have the physical key.

    -the keyboard is not necessarily that much louder than that of an older model, its just a different sound, unless you pound on the keyboard.

    -I'm already frustrated with not being able to plug my phone straight into the laptop

    -I am already second guessing having the 15" as far as portability goes

    -I figured out the reason my hands felt awkwardly placed on the 13" inch--I was unconsciously trying to avoid resting my hands on the larger trackpad which had me holding them, and my arms, at a weird angle relative to the keyboard. I think this is the one thing that makes me think the 15" is the right one for me

    -I have found that I drag my fingers across the row of F keys while typing numbers--its never been an issue before, but now I keep activating Siri on the touch bar while typing

    -I haven't figured out how yet, but somehow when I am typing a web address, I open maps and find I am typing the web address into the search bar on the map

    -I am already questioning getting the 256GB hard drive--I need to reevaluate my storage needs. I was thinking I could get away with minimal storage on the laptop and just transfer everything to my desktop, but now I am questioning that logic--I want to transfer info at my leisure and not because I HAVE to--I think I should have gone with the 512GB like I originally had planned

    -I really dislike the fact that the cord for the charging cable sticks out perpendicular to the computer itself. 99% of the time I am using it, the power outlet is either directly in front of or behind me. This causes the cord to be stressed by bending right past the part the sticks into the computer. This stress point is either going to cause a short to develop over time or cause the sheath of the cord to crack like on all of my iPhone cords

    -I can't believe nobody has mentioned the charger itself. I think the thing is filled with lead. its heavier than the laptop itself. I was questioning the weight as I was carrying the thing out of the store and found out as soon as I opened the package that all of the weight was from the charger.

    -I haven't come to any conclusions yet regarding the battery life

    I plan on using this daily for the next couple of weeks and see what I think. at this point, I am thinking I am going to be trading up for a bigger hard drive and am debating whether to stick with the 15 or go down to the 13. the 13 is going to be better in terms of portability but now I am concerned about the palm rest.

    is there a power button on this thing???
     
  12. kindaichi81 macrumors member

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    Nov 3, 2015
    #12
    Obviously u should go for MacBook Pro 13-inch instead and definitely 512gb is going to be future proof and likely going to meet all your needs.

    I am hesitate to go for anything below 512gb for my macbook as I planned to get an iphone 8 with 256gb storage, if the storage of my macbook is too small, I could not even backup my iphone fully using iTunes.
     
  13. jwalters103, Jul 23, 2017
    Last edited: Jul 23, 2017

    jwalters103 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #13
    another thing I noticed---the edges of this thing are sharp. not to the point I feel like I will cut myself, but its not exactly comfortable to carry. especially the hinge part

    also, it can be tough to open. not the hinge, but I guess there is a magnetic bit that holds it closed, and it is a bit too strong. I did notice that seemed worse on the 13", but it could just be in my head.

    good point about having a 256 phone that needs backed up, but I plan on doing that on the desktop--still something to consider

    does anyone know if they treat the screen with some kind of coating? I ask because when I look at the screen from an angle (when the computer is off) it looks like there is some sort of a red sheen to the screen
     
  14. kindaichi81 macrumors member

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    Nov 3, 2015
    #14
    One thing I like the design of the new MacBook Pro is actually it is more boxy look than the rounded one for 2015.

    I will be using Moshi case with it, so I am not worrying about the sharp edges.

    There is certainly coating on the screen, anti-reflective coating.
     
  15. jwalters103 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Jul 19, 2017
    #15
    I've figured out why the 15" felt heavy while trying it out at the store. It's not that the thing is heavy, its that the weight is not evenly distributed. The left side is significantly heavier than the right. This means that when you close your laptop and carry it, holding it with your hand in the middle (the way you normally carry a laptop) it wants to tilt forward (or backward if you're left handed). This means that you are working to balance it as well as supporting the weight.

    Now most computers are probably not balanced, but when you strip the weight down to as little as these things weigh, it is very noticeable.

    At this point I am leaning towards returning the 15" and getting the 13" (not for this reason, but for better portability in general). But who knows, I may still decide to keep this one.
     
  16. New_Mac_Smell macrumors 68000

    New_Mac_Smell

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    #16
    It should be evenly distributed, there's no technical reason why the weight should be significantly more on the left side than the right. The battery is the main culprit to weight which is centralised. Not quite sure how you got these findings other than subjective 'feel', did you try it in your other hand or the other way around? Also how often are people carrying it like that, I carry it from bedroom-studio-sofa like this, but in a backpack otherwise. So my journey is approximately 30 seconds - 1 minute as you described.

    The 13" is a more portable laptop, but they are both highly portable. For your use you should consider the 12" if weight is a primary concern, as even that's more than powerful enough for your needs. No point being burdened with a seemingly 'heavy' computer/powerbrick as you've put it for reading emails.
     
  17. jwalters103 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Jul 19, 2017
    #17
    I used a very scientific method to get my findings.

    I pointed the index finger on both hands and placed one under the center of the front and the other under the center of the back. It tips one direction and one direction only each and every time. I then stood next to the sofa (to catch the laptop if it fell) and held it in one had at my side---the way laptops were originally envisioned to be transported. When you loosen your grip you feel it tilt one direction. The same direction each and every time. So, if one is tired or distracted I could see this thing easily tipping right out of your hand and onto the floor. And if considering ergonomics, the added strain on the muscles from having to balance it will be felt over time--how many people have to have carpal tunnel surgery just from pushing a key on a keyboard?

    The only way a computer would be perfectly balanced would be if it were designed and built with balance being monitored and controlled---I doubt that they are. I am sure it is kept in mind, but I don't think they will kill off a design or use a different component if one side ends up a couple of grams heavier. It makes no difference what the the main culprit of the weight is, what matters is if one side has more weight than the other, or if the bulk of the weight on one side is further from the central axis than the bulk of the weight on the other side. I just googled the internals of the MBP and while it does look like the larger internals are laid out symmetrically, the internals are not completely symmetrical, and I have no idea whats behind the monitor--I assume it isn't just blank space.

    Something you have to keep in mind is that just because you only have to carry yours for 30 seconds, other people may have to do it more often. I probably have 20 different times per day every work day that I have to close mine up and run from one lab to the next, from one office to the next, sometimes from one building to the next. I carry it closed, in one hand, at my side every single time----as does every person I pass in the building(s).

    I don't think the regular MacBook will work for me because while I don't typically use it for demanding tasks, I do multitask and am very impatient. I just checked, and right now while just casually browsing I have 19 open tabs in safari, I am using iMessage, checking emails, have iBooks open, have a book open, and shortly I will probably fire up Netflix or sling tv and have it running in one corner of the screen or start playing some music. So while I don't typically do intense work on my computer, I do ask a bit from it.

    Like I said, I am leaning towards going with the 13" because of portability and being able to keep up with what I ask of it, but this one is growing on me so I will have to keep debating for a bit longer as I do like the bigger screen and plenty of power, although I am still thinking I should have gone with the 512.
     
  18. kindaichi81 macrumors member

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    #18
    Yes, comparing to 13-inch, while holding the 15-inch with one hand, you can feel uncomfortable pressure.

    This is why I choose 13-inch instead. Laptop is meant to be portable and easy to move around. If I need a powerful machine, I may opt to buy a iMac and use it at home while keeping the laptop I have as portable as possible to even use during travels, on public transport, public etc.

    Of course, if u really need the power of 15-inch and it is ur sole machine, by all means, u should go for it. It is undeniable that the extra 2-inch, extra power of cpu and graphic will give a better experience. So it is to be used for desktop replacement. It is actually perfect.
    --- Post Merged, Jul 29, 2017 ---

    512gb version should be what you are getting if you plan to keep the machine longer. 256gb is quite limited. Imagine you want to backup an iphone of size 256gb u cannot even do it.
     
  19. joefoong79 macrumors regular

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    Jun 23, 2017
    #19
    Get a flash drive 256gb only cost you $60 and fast.
     
  20. kindaichi81 macrumors member

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    Nov 3, 2015
    #20
    The experience is totally difference, and u should also be aware that internal and external storage does have big difference in performance.

    Apple PCIe ssd is just insanely fast, and it is not any portable hard iso or flash drive or even external ssd that can compare.
     
  21. joefoong79 macrumors regular

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    Jun 23, 2017
    #21
    Save $500 I will kept that experience. Lol. Plus flash drive is not that slow which only keeping files not app running.
     
  22. kindaichi81 macrumors member

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    #22
    The extra space purchased for ssd certainly are not for storage, but 'working' storage that is meant for working on files, thus the superb Apple ssd speed of more than 2GB/s of write speed and almost 3GB/s of read speed will make a big difference for the entire system. No matter for what tasks.

    https://arstechnica.com/gadgets/201...f-high-end-imac-performance-from-2012-to-now/

    If it is just for storage, even a portable HDD can do the job too.
     
  23. joefoong79 macrumors regular

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    Jun 23, 2017
    #23
    Working or non working files? :oops: I will just rated it as file which important then in my ssd. But not so important will in my flash drive. If I need everything in my ssd then I need 2tb. 256gb ssd can store a lot of app and important files my friend. Then I will happy to save my $500 for that :) for my next MacBook Pro after 5 years.
    --- Post Merged, Jul 29, 2017 ---
    Btw hdd too big to carry around. Flash drive more handy. I can transfer 150gb files between mac to flash in 20 minutes. I will said not too bad for $60 buck :)
     
  24. jwalters103 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Jul 19, 2017
  25. joefoong79 macrumors regular

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    Jun 23, 2017
    #25
    This is perfect. But the price is not what I'm willing to pay :D. I bought this because I don't need 5 minutes transfer time of 150gb. 20 minutes is ok for me as price wise. But somehow this corsair flash drive is still better option to save $500 agree with me?
    https://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B00Y...disk+256gb&dpPl=1&dpID=31deSaSaAzL&ref=plSrch
     

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