Is the 2016 MacBook worth it?

Billburns

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on Best Buy it's 999.99 and 874.99 with coupon.

Now I did buy a 13" MacBook Air a few months ago and while I was pleased and the screen did suck I just sold it this morning, now I'm wondering if it's worth buying this at the current price?

No I don't use photoshop or any of that stuff basically surf the net, email, watch videos at times.
 

Pockett

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Oct 11, 2015
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As long as you don't mind the smaller screen, then it's not a bad choice given the things you would typically use it for. It's small and lightweight, and is pretty much a bare bone system – keep in mind it only has one USB-C port on it. If you're switching over from an older Apple laptop, the keyboard will take some getting used to as the design is quite different and the key travel is a lot shallower. However I'd recommend testing it out yourself at a nearby Apple store if possible.
 

Billburns

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Best Buy has it in sale for $999.99 and I have a student coupon for $125, I have an extra for sale if someone needs one
 

lowkey

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^My base model 2015 MB does everything I need it to. Even some decent sized In Design work. The 2016 will do all your day to day computing easily.
 

dmk1974

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Sep 16, 2008
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I was looking at some of their discounted 2016 MacBooks as well. Is it better to go with the 2017 version though due to the next gen keyboard on it? I'd be coming from a 2015 MacBook Pro.
 

lowkey

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Of course. If money is no consideration the 2017s are better than the 2016s which are better than the 2015s.
 

ZapNZs

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Jan 23, 2017
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I was looking at some of their discounted 2016 MacBooks as well. Is it better to go with the 2017 version though due to the next gen keyboard on it? I'd be coming from a 2015 MacBook Pro.
It's a personal preference. I really dislike the keyboard on the 2015/2016. However, I like the 2017's rMB's keyboard even more than my 2016 MBP for some reason - so much that I might go buy one tonight...
 

Billburns

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Just saw it in person today. It's really small. And I don't see a difference between 2016 and 2017? Best Buy doesn't say which is which?
 

dmk1974

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Sep 16, 2008
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Well, I ordered an open box MLHF2LL/A from Best Buy for $839.99 pre-tax. Should arrive by Tuesday. I figure if I really hate it (or the keyboard) I can return it. But seemed like a decent price for this model.
 

ZapNZs

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Jan 23, 2017
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Just saw it in person today. It's really small. And I don't see a difference between 2016 and 2017? Best Buy doesn't say which is which?
The option key, how it types, and About This Mac will show the m3 as 1.2 GHz and list the year as 2017.

(I just purchased one)
 
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mcpix

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May 13, 2005
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I've been debating this for the past month as well. Yesterday, Best Buy had the 2016 Silver MB for $899, $400 less than the 2017 model. Since I also had a $250 BB gift card, I jumped on this deal and should get my new MB later this week. I understand all the improvements made to the 2017 MB, but for my purposes the 2016 should work great.
 

James.K.Polk

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Aug 31, 2015
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Picked up my 2017 12" off Craigslist for $1050. OP had it listed as Silver (which I prefer) but it was actually Space Grey, so I got another $50 off his asking. To be, having used the 2016 12" for a few months, the keyboard makes the upgrade worth it - but I'll be honest and say nothing else seems different in my limited use cases.
 

Ffosse

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Nov 5, 2012
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I loved my MacBook Air except for the screen and bezels.

When the 2016 MacBook came down in price I got one (last Saturday in fact).

Still can't quite believe how small and compact it is and the screen is gorgeous.
[doublepost=1504603427][/doublepost]
^My base model 2015 MB does everything I need it to. Even some decent sized In Design work. The 2016 will do all your day to day computing easily.
Is there stuff it can't do? Obviously advanced photo/video editing, but what else?
 
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lowkey

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Is there stuff it can't do? Obviously advanced photo/video editing, but what else?
Anything that requires constant CPU power is going to cause the machine to throttle. Rather than a zippy 3.0GHz turbo boost, you would be running at 1.2GHz (or less).

Cubase or Logic Pro, which rely on sustained realtime CPU power for instruments and fx plugins would bring it to its knees. Garage band too. But it might do for very light audio work.
 
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Mike Boreham

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Aug 10, 2006
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Anything that requires constant CPU power is going to cause the machine to throttle. Rather than a zippy 3.0GHz turbo boost, you would be running at 1.2GHz (or less).
I sometimes use my 2016 M5 for Chess analysis and running at 350% cpu it will throttle back from 2.4 turbo boost to about 2.2 and pretty much stay there indefinitely.

Common Misconception about CPU throttling.
 
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ZapNZs

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Anything that requires constant CPU power is going to cause the machine to throttle. Rather than a zippy 3.0GHz turbo boost, you would be running at 1.2GHz (or less).

Cubase or Logic Pro, which rely on sustained realtime CPU power for instruments and fx plugins would bring it to its knees. Garage band too. But it might do for very light audio work.
I was pleasently surprised how well the KL m3 does with extended CPU usage
Screen Shot 2017-08-25 at 3.55.40 PM.png
 

lowkey

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As the graph below shows, continual use of the CPU causes massive fluctuations in performance. Every 15 minutes the machines performance drops until the CPU cools enough for the turbo boost to be activated again. Each time getting worse.

For many tasks this will be fine. Even exporting/rendering for periods of 15-30 minutes would be acceptable.

But for using Cubase or Logic, with multiple tracks of instruments and effects, the result would be a total overload for a few minutes, at least 4 times an hour. I routinely spend a solid 4 hours composing and mixing tracks. Theres no way I could do that with system spikes like that.




"As usual, we also let the current MacBook 12 run Cinebench in a loop in order to analyze the long-term behavior of the notebook. The first quick glance at the diagram reveals that the MacBook 12 behaves oddly. The notebook starts at a good level. Then the performance falls slowly by about -10% before it collapses for the first time. Apparently the threshold of the passively cooling system is exceeded at that point and the CPU throttles significantly. It takes about 15 minutes before this occurs, whereas the processor can rest for a few seconds after each run due to the design of the test.

After the CPU has throttled for a while, it increases its speed again, but remains 15 to 20% below the initial results. After another six runs, the clock rate collapses again, this time even more noticeably than the first time. In the following, the score almost reaches its initial value, but it falls notably faster during the following runs.

The behavior can be easily explained with the passive cooling solution of the MB 12, which reaches its limits under prolonged load. As a result, the CPU has to throttle. The longer this takes place, the more "reserves" are available for the next try. The time it takes until the first collapse (15 minutes) should be long enough for most demanding office tasks. Thus, a noticeable performance loss is not to be expected here."

https://www.notebookcheck.net/Apple-MacBook-12-2017-Laptop-Review.230656.0.html
 
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Mike Boreham

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Aug 10, 2006
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As the graph below shows, continual use of the CPU causes massive fluctuations in performance. Every 15 minutes the machines performance drops until the CPU cools enough for the turbo boost to be activated again. Each time getting worse.

For many tasks this will be fine. Even exporting/rendering for periods of 15-30 minutes would be acceptable.

But for using Cubase or Logic, with multiple tracks of instruments and effects, the result would be a total overload for a few minutes, at least 4 times an hour. I routinely spend a solid 4 hours composing and mixing tracks. Theres no way I could do that with system spikes like that.
That Notebookcheck test supports that drastic CPU throttle back does not occur after a few minutes of high usage, and it recovers quickly. This is very different from the perception many people have that the machine is useless for any sustained load.

Obviously for regular four hour sessions such as yours the MacBook is not the right machine, both because of the pauses and because it is a slower machine anyway, but the point is that for occasional such sessions it will get the job done.

It also depends what the usage is. As pointed out in the thread I linked, running continuous analysis chess at 350% CPU is not as demanding as usage with more graphics involved.
 

ZapNZs

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Jan 23, 2017
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As the graph below shows, continual use of the CPU causes massive fluctuations in performance. Every 15 minutes the machines performance drops until the CPU cools enough for the turbo boost to be activated again. Each time getting worse.

For many tasks this will be fine. Even exporting/rendering for periods of 15-30 minutes would be acceptable.

But for using Cubase or Logic, with multiple tracks of instruments and effects, the result would be a total overload for a few minutes, at least 4 times an hour. I routinely spend a solid 4 hours composing and mixing tracks. Theres no way I could do that with system spikes like that.




"As usual, we also let the current MacBook 12 run Cinebench in a loop in order to analyze the long-term behavior of the notebook. The first quick glance at the diagram reveals that the MacBook 12 behaves oddly. The notebook starts at a good level. Then the performance falls slowly by about -10% before it collapses for the first time. Apparently the threshold of the passively cooling system is exceeded at that point and the CPU throttles significantly. It takes about 15 minutes before this occurs, whereas the processor can rest for a few seconds after each run due to the design of the test.

After the CPU has throttled for a while, it increases its speed again, but remains 15 to 20% below the initial results. After another six runs, the clock rate collapses again, this time even more noticeably than the first time. In the following, the score almost reaches its initial value, but it falls notably faster during the following runs.

The behavior can be easily explained with the passive cooling solution of the MB 12, which reaches its limits under prolonged load. As a result, the CPU has to throttle. The longer this takes place, the more "reserves" are available for the next try. The time it takes until the first collapse (15 minutes) should be long enough for most demanding office tasks. Thus, a noticeable performance loss is not to be expected here."

https://www.notebookcheck.net/Apple-MacBook-12-2017-Laptop-Review.230656.0.html
Interesting read!

How well does Cinebench approximate usage with Logic? Does continual Logic use max out CPUs (or even CPUs/GPUs) for multiple hours? Or does this vary so greatly by user that not much can be said regarding averages?

I expected severe throttling with my VM usage based on my usage of prior passive m3 designs, but am happy to say that I am not getting it even though it results in sustained periods of running at much higher than base frequency. With that said, my VM usage on the rMB as referenced is 'extended' but not 'continual' - it see breaks in periods of more intense CPU activity, presumably giving the system some time to recover and for that aluminum case to suck away heat from the CPU.

On the other hand, with my Haswell 15-inch MBPr with two fans, my VM usage can make the machine throttle substantially, as my App usage on that machine is very different and that would be described as max CPU, sometimes for hours at a time, sometimes with higher dGPU usage as well, as it's driving dual externals and the built-in display. (I don't run those Apps on the rMB...I imagine this would reduce the rMB to near its base frequency, but I don't expect the rMB to be capable of such task given its not designed for such a purpose.)
 

jetlagged

macrumors 6502
Sep 6, 2012
395
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i have a 2012 mba 13" i5/8gb

i'm considering getting a macbook 2017 this holiday. i mainly use lightroom and iMovie. just how much faster is the macbook 2017 compared to my 2012 mba?
 

catportal

macrumors regular
Aug 11, 2016
126
329
I recently got the 2016 i3 256 Macbook for $775 + tax - $40 10 yr old laptop trade in at Bestbuy. I am now using it more than my Macbook pro. The computer isn't super fast or anything, but since I do most of my work via ssh to a more powerful machine anyways, it's great for me. I can use it all day long for browsing/video on lower screen dimness and it's very light and portable.
 

EugW

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Jun 18, 2017
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The 2017 m3 is 20-30% faster than the 2016 m3. The 2017 has a vastly improved keyboard. The 2017 has a faster SSD. The 2017 has hardware 10-bit HEVC decode, as opposed to the 2016 which is limited to 8-bit. The 2017 has a 16 GB option.

I went with the 2017 m3 with 16 GB RAM.
 
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Billburns

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To update this thread I ended up getting a 2017 MBP for 1055 brand new

The 12” was too small for my liking
 
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