How is the 2015 Macbook holding up?

Discussion in 'MacBook' started by weezin, Nov 19, 2018.

  1. weezin macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2012
    #1
    I'm toying with the idea of getting a 2015 Macbook due to the falling prices and the fact that the size and shape is appealing to me as a second computer (I have a 27" iMac that I use for most things).

    So I'm curious, how is the original 12" model faring these days, especially in terms of performance? Will a base model continue to perform okay currently and for the shortish future? I know about the keyboard issues and potential for failure there.

    Thanks!

    EDIT: I should also add that I'm only really considering this as prices are somewhat cheap (I've seen a base go for around $500).
     
  2. craigmadge macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2015
    #2
    I’m looking at this too. Love the small size and weight plus my main usages are web browsing a few documents and iTunes. My 2014 MacBook Air just died and I still found it fine for what I used it for so hopefully the 2015 MacBook would do a job for me.
     
  3. Neodym macrumors 68000

    Neodym

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2002
    #3
    Depends on your use case(s). However, the entry model (m3 CPU) is infamous for being a bit underpowered, even for this ultra-mobile notebook class.

    I'm running a 2015 with the mid-tier m5 CPU and am still more or less satisfied with its performance for my use case: a bit of writing, browsing and reading. However, I _do_ note that PDF handling can be a bit laggy at times, especially when zooming in/out - rumors have it that the culprit is the mediocre PDF reader implementation (still running El Capitan on the little one).

    Besides that (and the keyboard issues), the only other potential pitfall could be the battery. Some people have reported quickly degrading batteries after relatively few cycles, going down as far as low 80's (%). However, that seems to stabilize, as others report. Mine is sitting around 93/94% with ~120 cycles and usually consumes ~15%/hour (/w WLan active and recurring short CPU load bursts for PDF handling).

    All in all I'm still pretty satisfied and also still very much like the design as well as small size and low weight during commuting.

    TL;DR: 2015 is still okay in 2018, but better go for m5 as minimum. Have an eye on battery (cycles, status, already replaced?). Similar recommendation for 2016. With 2017, m3 is sufficient and partly excels even the m7 from 2016. Search this forum for posts by EugW, who has made lots of helpful contributions regarding the 12"rMB!
     
  4. SteveJUAE macrumors 68030

    SteveJUAE

    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2015
    Location:
    Land of Smiles
    #4
    Our 2 x 2015 rMB are still chugging along surprisingly as my wife one look like she roles pastry on it. Perfectly fine for dailies.

    Still surprised you can get $500 for them
     
  5. EugW, Nov 20, 2018
    Last edited: Nov 20, 2018

    EugW macrumors 603

    EugW

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2017
    #5
    I found the 2015 MacBook Core M-5Y31 entry level slow even in 2015, so it would be even worse by 2018 standards. You should expect the Core M-5Y31 to score about 4650 in Geekbench 4, and about 98/211 in Cinebench R15. In contrast, the 2017 Core m3-7Y32 gets about 7000 (+50%!) in Geekbench 4, and about 120/265 (+25%) in Cinebench R15.

    The 2017 Core m3-7Y32 feels decently fast for OS navigation and surfing. The 2015 M-5Y31 feels sluggish in comparison.

    Furthermore, I personally really dislike the 2015 MB's keyboard. The 2017 MB's keyboard isn't exactly great, but it's a huge improvement.

    The 2017 MacBook also gets hardware 4K 10-bit HDR HEVC support, meaning such videos can be played back with low CPU usage. Those same 10-bit videos cannot be played back smoothly at all on the 2015 and 2016 models, although this may not be that important for some people.

    If you must get a pre-2017 model, my minimum recommendation would be a 2016 m5. The 2016 m5 still isn't as fast as the 2017 m3, but it's much closer, and the 2016 models have at least hardware 4K 8-bit HEVC support, which I think is important because it is one of the types of 4K video that the iPhone puts out, keeping CPU usage low and battery life long. The keyboard on the 2016 models is still poor though.

    tl;dr:

    I personally recommend the 2017 Core m3 because it's reasonably fast (at 25-50% faster than the 2015 entry level), has full hardware 4K 10-bit video decode support, and has a decent keyboard.

    Otherwise, if you can tolerate the older keyboard, I'd suggest a minimum of a 2016 Core m5 because it is also decent for speed, and has hardware 4K 8-bit HEVC video decode support so it can play all iPhone 4K video with low CPU usage and long battery life.
     
  6. craigmadge macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2015
    #6
    If I’m coming from a 2014 MacBook Air that I thought was personally fine won’t the 2015 mb still be an upgrade or at least an equal?
     
  7. EugW macrumors 603

    EugW

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2017
    #7
    Which 2014 MacBook Air? The 2015 entry level MacBook Core M-5Y31 will likely be slower than what you have right now. The 2016 m5 might be faster though.
     
  8. craigmadge macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2015
    #8
    13-inch MacBook Air
    [​IMG]
    With the following configuration:
    [​IMG]
    • 1.4GHz Dual-Core Intel Core i5, Turbo Boost up to 2.7GHz
    • 4GB 1600MHz LPDDR3 SDRAM
    • 256GB PCIe-based Flash Storage
     
  9. EugW macrumors 603

    EugW

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2017
    #9
    Geekbench ~5700
    Cinebench ~239

    So, your MacBook Air is faster than 2015 entry level MacBook M-5Y31
    Your MBA is slower than the 2016 MacBook Core m5.

    It seems your MacBook Air benches around the speed as the mid-tier 2015 Core M-5Y51 MacBook (but your MBA has a fan so it would be able to keep that performance level without throttling).
     
  10. weezin thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2012
    #10
    Super helpful, thank you!

    That is good to now. Are they the m3 models?

    Very helpful, thanks for chiming in.

    It is starting to sound like the base 2015 isn't that great of a choice, even at their low cost (which is really what I was wondering). I like the idea of a low cost, very portable, retina equipped machine, but perhaps that's not the way to go. It is tempting though. I have a 2011 13" base air and that is starting to feel quite sluggish and would hope that the base 2015 would be better (if only for the 8gb of ram).
     
  11. craigmadge macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2015
    #11
    Hmmm. Thanks for all your help. Need to evaluate financially.
     
  12. EugW macrumors 603

    EugW

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2017
    #12
    Yeah, it really depends on what you're used to, and what your budget allows.

    As fast as the 2017 m3-7Y32 feels compared to the 2015 models, there are still times it does lag a bit compared to my 2017 iMac Core i5-7600. For example, I've noticed this in Office 2016. Office 2016 doesn't usually use a lot of CPU, but nonetheless I occasionally notice a slowdown in it, particularly with PowerPoint 2016. This is with a 16 GB 2017 Core m3 MacBook (vs a 24 GB 2017 Core i5-7600 iMac) so memory isn't the issue. Yes, Office 2016 is quite bloated and inefficient so it deserves a lot of the blame, but nonetheless it's what I use, so that is my basis of assessment. OTOH, I also have Office 2011, and that felt quite speedy on both machines. Office 2011 seems to work fine even in High Sierra (although I haven't tried Mojave) but I don't use it because it is no longer supported by Microsoft, and is missing a couple of features that Office 2016 has.

    Overall though, the 2017 m3 feels pretty speedy and I'm happy with it. Not even considering the vastly inferior keyboard of the 2015, I would be irritated with the base model 2015 MacBook because of its overall performance.

    Note that I use even slower Macs, being my 2008 MacBook 2.0 GHz Core 2 Duo and my 2009 MacBook Pro 2.26 GHz Core 2 Duo, and while I can get by with those, the lag with those is very noticeable. However, they are not my primary laptops so slowdowns on those machines don't bother me as much. Still, I actually had Office 2016 on my 2008 MacBook (with High Sierra), but ended up deleting it and replacing it with Office 2011, partially for performance reasons.

    BTW, all my machines are in my signature, in case you're interested.
     
  13. Mw0103 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2014
    #13
    My 2015 base model still seems fast enough for my light usage consisting of MS Word, web (Safari and Chrome), iTunes, and Citrix. I’ve had it since new going on three years ago, and it’s a wonderful travel companion (both in my messenger on a daily basis and on economy airline tray tables). I hardly ever see the beach ball, and the aforementioned applications open as quickly as similar applications do on my work-provided office desktop (Windows). My battery still lasts through a cross-country flight or a six-hour deposition without worry. I am completely happy with it. Yes; even the keyboard. (I love this machine even more than my beloved 2013 MBA because of the screen and greater portability).
     
  14. SteveJUAE macrumors 68030

    SteveJUAE

    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2015
    Location:
    Land of Smiles
    #14
    My wifes is the original 1.1GHz version and my gifted one to my son is the 1.2GHz version

    The rMB were always about footprint and a reality check on how much of your dailies did not need raw power, of course once you push them hard you will soon bottom them out. If you need a higher usage more during your day and cant wait those few extra seconds then it's not the right choice.

    But pure convenience and that often you find you get more usage because of this they are nice but an expensive laptop
     
  15. EugW macrumors 603

    EugW

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2017
    #15
    Thats just it though. To a certain extent you can have your cake and eat it too with the 2017 models. The 2017 models are hugely faster than the 2015 models. As in 25-50% faster. It’s quite a noticeable difference, even just for surfing.
     
  16. SteveJUAE macrumors 68030

    SteveJUAE

    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2015
    Location:
    Land of Smiles
    #16
    Agreed but OP was looking at 2015 :)
     
  17. GlastoEls macrumors member

    GlastoEls

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2010
    Location:
    London
    #17
    Exactly my experience.
     
  18. JPH675 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2016
    #18
    I also have the same superb experience with a tad more app use. I am typing this on the very first generation rMB 1.1 8/256 base model, it has been flawless since day 1 of launch in early 2015. The gen 1 keyboard has been a non-issue, though I am careful to not to get crumbs near it. In the rMB, I too simply valued the display and portability more than what the MBA 13 offered at that time. Often I pair it at home in my office with the display Apple sells; LG 4K UltraFine and that too has been flawless since launch day. Highly recommended for light use.

    I am seriously looking at upgrading to the new, over-priced 2018 MBA, but that display is disappointing compared to my 1st gen rMB. Maybe a great Black Friday deal will pop up?

    I have come to accept the fact that we are forced to buy outdated, mediocre hardware from Apple to enjoy the benefits and use of MacOS X.
     
  19. Neodym macrumors 68000

    Neodym

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2002
    #19
    Just returned from a visit to the Apple Store. MBA is a heavy in direct comparison to the rMB 12". As others already posted: If you are willing to accept footprint & weight of the MBA over rMB, go directly for a 13" MBP. Available refurb for less, but offers so much more in comparison!

    I'm also looking out for a BlackFriday deal, but only for the 12" rMB. If none appears, I'll probably go for it refurbished ...
     
  20. JPH675 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2016
    #20
    Have a friend with a 2018 tbMBP quad-core, and it is capable and awesome for a Mac in every way, but man does it produce a lot of heat. It gets really warm in use sitting on someone's lap. I also noticed refurb tbMBPs are within $200 or less of a similar RAM/Storage config.
     
  21. EugW macrumors 603

    EugW

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2017
    #21
    Those are the quads. The non-TB duals should run much cooler, and also the refurbs cost less than the MacBook Airs.
     
  22. weezin thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2012
    #22
    Thanks for the replies everyone. Seems as if some people have had different experiences with regard to the performance. Could just be a matter of different usage.

    I remain intrigued with this machines as the price keeps getting lower, I may investigate myself at some point.
     
  23. PsychicRutabaga macrumors member

    PsychicRutabaga

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2015
    Location:
    Minnesota
    #23
    I'm still very happily using my original 2015 1.2Ghz version as my main personal computer. I just upgraded to MacOS Mojave and this computer is far smoother than any Windows computer I've ever used, including my work system. I typically have two mail clients, a browser with at least 10 tabs open, Sonos app, messages, a few utilities and often a Linux virtual machine under VirtualBox. This computer does everything I need. It remains best value computer purchase I've ever made, and that's having bought it full price at launch.
     
  24. radiologyman macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2011
    #24
    I use 2015 base and it got pretty smooth with recent updates. I would like someone to compare how much faster 2017 feels for basic tasks when running Mojave
     
  25. EugW macrumors 603

    EugW

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2017
    #25
    FWIW...

    The 2017 MacBook is noticeably faster than the 2015. To me, the 2015 feels a bit laggy at times even just surfing, but that lag is largely gone with the 2017. This was with Sierra though. I have not compared them in Mojave. That said, Mojave on the 2017 feels just as fast as Sierra on the 2017.

    But what I really, really dislike about the 2015 is the keyboard. The 2017’s keyboard is far better IMO.
     

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29 November 19, 2018