Resolved Looking for advice on Mid-2015 15" MacBook Pro Replacement

LinkRS

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Oct 16, 2014
28
15
Texas, USA
Howdy folks,

I have had the Mid-2015 MacBook Pro since late 2015. I got the mid-model with the Core i-7, 16 GB RAM, Discrete Radeon GPU, and 512 GB SSD. This mac has been my workhorse for development since I purchased it, and I used to run Parallels with a Windows 10 VM on it, but switched to BootCamp late last year for Unreal Engine development. I tried using the Unreal Engine under MacOS, but it just didn't perform very well. Under BootCamp (Windows 10) it runs much better. I purposely skipped the whole butterfly-key mess, and now that Apple has brought back a real keyboard, the Mid-2015 MBP is on the verge of going to the vintage Mac list (end of MacOS upgrades), and the AMD GPU can't even run Diablo 3 (a game from 2012) very well, it is finally time for an upgrade.

I am looking at both the just released 2020 13" MacBook Pro and the 2019 16" MacBook Pro, and plan on using BootCamp to install Windows 10 on it. I need MacOS for iOS and Mac development, and am only using Windows, as it seems to employ the GPU better, for graphical programs like the Unreal Engine (and Diablo 3). I am leaning towards the 16", as it seems to be the natural move from the 15", but the new 13" is using more up-to-date parts. I also like the higher screen resolution of the 16", as I have found that the resolution on my current MBP to be confining sometimes. Any thoughts or suggestions will be welcome :)

Rich S.
 

PBG4 Dude

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No dGPU in the 13” MBP. Unless you’re planning to buy an external GPU, you probably won’t be gaming, and you’ll probably see a decrease in Unreal responsiveness.
 
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casperes1996

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Jan 26, 2014
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Even with a 5700 XT eGPU you’ll often have lower performance than a 5500M connected to the internal PCIe.

But really, you want the 16”. It doesn’t matter that the 13” have newer parts, all the components in the 16” are still better.
The integrated graphics in the 13” would probably not even be an improvement over your 2015; I actually wager it’d be a downgrade
 
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profcutter

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Mar 28, 2019
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It’s a good question, actually. Is an integrated GPU in a 2020 MacBook Pro competitive with a 2015 discrete? I honestly have no idea, wish someone would test it.
 

NauticalDan

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Jul 19, 2010
178
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If you're not married to Mac OS, the new Dell XPS 17 is worth considering. There's some differences between it and Macbook Pro 2020 16", but depending on how you weight the score - either would come out on top.
 

LinkRS

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Oct 16, 2014
28
15
Texas, USA
Howdy NauticalDan,

I actually thought about moving to a Windows laptop. Thinking I could get more performance for less money. The problem is that almost every 15" (I don't want a 17", too big and I already have a full-sized desktop for gaming) seems to be limited to a 1080P display. When I find ones that have higher (I would want a minimum of 1440P) they don't have dGPUs, and I don't want to have to rely on an eGPU. Plus, without MacOS, I wouldn't be able to work on my iOS apps :-( I appreciate the advice!

Rich S.
 

Ocnetgeek

macrumors member
Sep 1, 2018
55
17
Oak Creek, WI
Howdy NauticalDan,

I actually thought about moving to a Windows laptop. Thinking I could get more performance for less money. The problem is that almost every 15" (I don't want a 17", too big and I already have a full-sized desktop for gaming) seems to be limited to a 1080P display. When I find ones that have higher (I would want a minimum of 1440P) they don't have dGPUs, and I don't want to have to rely on an eGPU. Plus, without MacOS, I wouldn't be able to work on my iOS apps :-( I appreciate the advice!

Rich S.
There are currently some nice deals in the Apple Refurb store. I am replacing my 2015 2.8 GHz 15” with a 2019 2.6 GHz 16”. If you are ok with 512 Gb ofStorage you can get one for right around $2000
 
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LinkRS

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Oct 16, 2014
28
15
Texas, USA
Howdy Everyone,

Thanks for the thoughtful replies and suggestions. I am using my veteran discount, and am looking at a 2019 16" MacBook Pro with the i7 (6 Core), 16GB of RAM, 1 TB SSD, and the upgraded 8 GB AMD card for $2519US. I am waffling over scrapping the video upgrade and instead go for 32GBs of RAM. But $360US for the extra RAM seems very steep, and I would notice the upgraded video every day I used, and the RAM only under really heavy workloads. I don't plan on running VMs. Thoughts or suggestions? Thanks!

Rich S.
 
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Ocnetgeek

macrumors member
Sep 1, 2018
55
17
Oak Creek, WI
Howdy Everyone,

Thanks for the thoughtful replies and suggestions. I am using my veteran discount, and am looking at a 2019 16" MacBook Pro with the i7 (6 Core), 16GB of RAM, 1 TB SSD, and the upgraded 8 GB AMD card for $2519US. I am waffling over scrapping the video upgrade and instead go for 32GBs of RAM. But $360US for the extra RAM seems very steep, and I would notice the upgraded video every day I used, and the RAM only under really heavy workloads. I don't plan on running VMs. Thoughts or suggestions? Thanks!

Rich S.
I just ordered something very similar from the refurb store for $2289. 2019 i7 (6 Core) 16 Gb Ram 1 Tb SSD but only got the Mid video upgrade that is the 5500m with 4 Gb Ram instead of 8. Looks like that one is out of refurb stock but if youhave time you can usually find decent deals there
 

profcutter

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Mar 28, 2019
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Sounds to me like a solid decision, upgrading the GPU would probably be quite beneficial for you, it’s not for everyone. If I was buying today, I’d go for the 32gigs or maybe 64, love those ram previews, but for your usage, 16 seems fine.
 
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pshufd

macrumors 68000
Oct 24, 2013
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I have a 2014 15, 2015 15 (specs the same as yours), 2015 13. The 2015 models are used purely for work (13 is work issue). The 2014 is personal stuff. I had been using both on my desk hooked up to 4K monitors but pulled out an old Dell desktop from 2008 and run my personal trading stuff on that now. I upgraded to 40 GB of RAM (soon to be 48) and the GPU and it has a Core i7 and performance has been surprisingly great.

If you need Windows, you could go the route of getting a used desktop and adding RAM, PSU and GPU and get far better bang for the buck on horsepower than you could get on a Mac laptop. And you could continue to use your 2015 MacBook Pro 15 or upgrade to the 13 as your GPU work would be on the Windows desktop.

My next Mac upgrade will be to the 16 unless they come out with a 17. I like power, RAM and screen space. I have no idea when that will be but my 2014 and 2015 models will not last forever nor will they be supported forever. If my 2015 died, I would just use the 2014 for work until I could acquire a 16. So I have two backup work systems at the moment. I think that at least one backup system is a must in the current Work-From-Home environment. I've run into people where their laptop has died and they don't know how to get another one to do their work. Having a spare personal means I can just hook it up to my Time Machine disk and I have a work machine.

I'm a big fan of multiple machines for multiple purposes. It is a headache if you need both at the same time and you travel a lot.
 
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LinkRS

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Oct 16, 2014
28
15
Texas, USA
I have a 2014 15, 2015 15 (specs the same as yours), 2015 13. The 2015 models are used purely for work (13 is work issue). The 2014 is personal stuff. I had been using both on my desk hooked up to 4K monitors but pulled out an old Dell desktop from 2008 and run my personal trading stuff on that now. I upgraded to 40 GB of RAM (soon to be 48) and the GPU and it has a Core i7 and performance has been surprisingly great.

If you need Windows, you could go the route of getting a used desktop and adding RAM, PSU and GPU and get far better bang for the buck on horsepower than you could get on a Mac laptop. And you could continue to use your 2015 MacBook Pro 15 or upgrade to the 13 as your GPU work would be on the Windows desktop.

My next Mac upgrade will be to the 16 unless they come out with a 17. I like power, RAM and screen space. I have no idea when that will be but my 2014 and 2015 models will not last forever nor will they be supported forever. If my 2015 died, I would just use the 2014 for work until I could acquire a 16. So I have two backup work systems at the moment. I think that at least one backup system is a must in the current Work-From-Home environment. I've run into people where their laptop has died and they don't know how to get another one to do their work. Having a spare personal means I can just hook it up to my Time Machine disk and I have a work machine.

I'm a big fan of multiple machines for multiple purposes. It is a headache if you need both at the same time and you travel a lot.
Hi pshufd,

Thanks for your suggestions and thoughts. I do have a desktop computer (Alienware) that is used for gaming and VR, but I do all of my programming on my MacBook Pro. I don't want to have all the debugging software and other things running on my gaming machine. I am playing around with Xamarin and the Unreal Engine for doing cross-platform development, which is really easy on a Mac. Plus, I need the Mac to be able to compile and potentially publish apps for iOS. I did initially look at some HP, Lenovo, Dell, and Alienware laptops, but they all (15" size) only support 1080P. One of my favorite things about the MacBook Pro is the incredible display. The closest I have found on the Windows side (at resolutions beyond 1080P) have been with the Microsoft Surface series. If I didn't want (need?) MacOS, I probably would be looking at those. I also hadn't thought about it before today, but maybe Razer has something?

FWIW, Apple products typically have 3 phases to their "life." You have the Active phase, where typically it remains fully supported and guaranteed MacOS upgrades, you then have the "Vintage" phase, which tends to start from 5 to 7 years from original release. In that phase, support is not guaranteed, and that is when they tend to start phasing out support for new versions of MacOS. Then the last phase which is typically after 7 years, they become "Obsolete" and have no support. These timelines seem to be fuzzy, as Apple just recently moved the 2012 Retina MBPs (the first ones) to the "Vintage" list. If you are curious, you can see that here: https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT201624. The 2015 MBPs are not on it yet, but I would not be surprised to see them added this year. Particularly because they phased out that awful butterfly keyboard. Thanks again!

Rich S.
 
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magbarn

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Oct 25, 2008
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Hi pshufd,

Thanks for your suggestions and thoughts. I do have a desktop computer (Alienware) that is used for gaming and VR, but I do all of my programming on my MacBook Pro. I don't want to have all the debugging software and other things running on my gaming machine. I am playing around with Xamarin and the Unreal Engine for doing cross-platform development, which is really easy on a Mac. Plus, I need the Mac to be able to compile and potentially publish apps for iOS. I did initially look at some HP, Lenovo, Dell, and Alienware laptops, but they all (15" size) only support 1080P. One of my favorite things about the MacBook Pro is the incredible display. The closest I have found on the Windows side (at resolutions beyond 1080P) have been with the Microsoft Surface series. If I didn't want (need?) MacOS, I probably would be looking at those. I also hadn't thought about it before today, but maybe Razer has something?

FWIW, Apple products typically have 3 phases to their "life." You have the Active phase, where typically it remains fully supported and guaranteed MacOS upgrades, you then have the "Vintage" phase, which tends to start from 5 to 7 years from original release. In that phase, support is not guaranteed, and that is when they tend to start phasing out support for new versions of MacOS. Then the last phase which is typically after 7 years, they become "Obsolete" and have no support. These timelines seem to be fuzzy, as Apple just recently moved the 2012 Retina MBPs (the first ones) to the "Vintage" list. If you are curious, you can see that here: https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT201624. The 2015 MBPs are not on it yet, but I would not be surprised to see them added this year. Particularly because they phased out that awful butterfly keyboard. Thanks again!

Rich S.
Why aren't you looking at the new Dell XPS 15? It has an awesome 4K 500 nit screen with 16:10 ratio just like the MacBooks. It also has a better GPU than the MBP 16 and "10th gen" CPU (yes, it's a frequency bump really, not really 10th gen.) No thick bezels, and Wifi6.
 
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LinkRS

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Oct 16, 2014
28
15
Texas, USA
Why aren't you looking at the new Dell XPS 15? It has an awesome 4K 500 nit screen with 16:10 ratio just like the MacBooks. It also has a better GPU than the MBP 16 and "10th gen" CPU (yes, it's a frequency bump really, not really 10th gen.) No thick bezels, and Wifi6.
I'll need to go look again, but if memory serves.. the options were 1080P or 4K, and I need something in-between. I had a 17" Alienware computer a few years ago, with a 4K screen, and I hated it. Everything was too small, and I had to use the magnifier. I was miserable :-(. I don' typically plug external monitors into my laptops, as I use my desktop for stuff like that. Thanks for the heads up, I'll go check it out.

UPDATE: Just checked, the new XPS 15 has an option of 1080P or 4K, nothing else :-( Thanks again!
 
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lobo1978

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Sep 22, 2011
372
248
Buying Apple laptop to run Windows in Bootcamp almost all the time is a waste of money. You need Windows laptop. If you are used to quality stick with good manufacturer. I cannot recommend Dell but Thinkpad or Razer are descent options. I cannot help more with selection - revert to other forums for opinions.
 
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profcutter

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Mar 28, 2019
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Sounds like they have a solid use case for mac os, they never say they're only going to use mac os once in a while.
 
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LinkRS

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Original poster
Oct 16, 2014
28
15
Texas, USA
Buying Apple laptop to run Windows in Bootcamp almost all the time is a waste of money.....
Howdy lobo1978,

I agree 100%, but I won't be in Windows most of the time. I spend the majority of my time in MacOS (Xamarin) and only boot into Windows for Unreal Engine. The only reason I do this, is because the Mac port of UE is terrible. Not sure why Epic games hasn't made it work better with the Mac. My occasional need for Windows is why I used to just run a Parallels (then VMware) Virtual Machine, which works fine for mobile development, but UE runs terribly in a VM. Oh, and I recently started running Diablo 3 in Windows, as performance was much better than in MacOS. I am hopeful that a more recent Mac will do better with Diablo 3 in MacOS. My experience with Macs, is that they run Windows just fine, but they seem to run cooler and more efficiently under their native OS. Which is why I spend the majority of my time there. Thanks for the advice :)

Rich S.
 
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lobo1978

macrumors 6502
Sep 22, 2011
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Hey Rich!

😀

I agree 100%, but I won't be in Windows most of the time. I spend the majority of my time in MacOS (Xamarin) and only boot into Windows for Unreal Engine.
Well... then welcome back to Macrumors 😉

I will pull the trigger on 16" you will not regret it. Depending on your budget - I would go with i9 + 5500M 8GB + 32 GB.

Please let us know what was your final decision!

Relaxing weekend! I love looking for new gadgets!

Cheerio!
 

magbarn

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Oct 25, 2008
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I'll need to go look again, but if memory serves.. the options were 1080P or 4K, and I need something in-between. I had a 17" Alienware computer a few years ago, with a 4K screen, and I hated it. Everything was too small, and I had to use the magnifier. I was miserable :-(. I don' typically plug external monitors into my laptops, as I use my desktop for stuff like that. Thanks for the heads up, I'll go check it out.

UPDATE: Just checked, the new XPS 15 has an option of 1080P or 4K, nothing else :-( Thanks again!
I assume you were using Windows 10? The scaling on Win 10 to me is better than macOS at this point... I have an Alienware 15 with 4K and I got the scaling where my middle aged eyes can see clearly.

I have the MBP 16 i9 with bootcamp installed and it runs much warmer with shorter battery life. The trackpad feels "wrong" and Touch Bar is even worse in functionality. I also have to crank up the scaling in order to see it. At least it's able to run a few modern titles with all the eye candy turned off and running at low res in Win10
 
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pshufd

macrumors 68000
Oct 24, 2013
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2,186
New Hampshire
Hi pshufd,

Thanks for your suggestions and thoughts. I do have a desktop computer (Alienware) that is used for gaming and VR, but I do all of my programming on my MacBook Pro. I don't want to have all the debugging software and other things running on my gaming machine. I am playing around with Xamarin and the Unreal Engine for doing cross-platform development, which is really easy on a Mac. Plus, I need the Mac to be able to compile and potentially publish apps for iOS. I did initially look at some HP, Lenovo, Dell, and Alienware laptops, but they all (15" size) only support 1080P. One of my favorite things about the MacBook Pro is the incredible display. The closest I have found on the Windows side (at resolutions beyond 1080P) have been with the Microsoft Surface series. If I didn't want (need?) MacOS, I probably would be looking at those. I also hadn't thought about it before today, but maybe Razer has something?

FWIW, Apple products typically have 3 phases to their "life." You have the Active phase, where typically it remains fully supported and guaranteed MacOS upgrades, you then have the "Vintage" phase, which tends to start from 5 to 7 years from original release. In that phase, support is not guaranteed, and that is when they tend to start phasing out support for new versions of MacOS. Then the last phase which is typically after 7 years, they become "Obsolete" and have no support. These timelines seem to be fuzzy, as Apple just recently moved the 2012 Retina MBPs (the first ones) to the "Vintage" list. If you are curious, you can see that here: https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT201624. The 2015 MBPs are not on it yet, but I would not be surprised to see them added this year. Particularly because they phased out that awful butterfly keyboard. Thanks again!

Rich S.
The new Dell XPS 17 and the Dell Precision 7740 both have 4K options. They are both expandable too. Configuration capabilities, either new, or aftermarket, are considerable. I would get one of these if I were looking at something for Windows today - I use computers more for professional work (I don't do any gaming).

You could still get another desktop for your non-gaming Windows work. I've seen people fishing the desktop that I'm using right now out of the trash. My computer is a 2008 Dell Studio XPS with a GT 1030 and 40 GB of RAM - works great with Windows 10. There are lots of these things around for very little money. They typically need PSU, GPU, RAM, SSD. You could set it up as a server and use Screen Sharing from your Mac to run your programs on it.

I'm using Windows and macOS on my desk right now. I would prefer it to be all macOS but I'd probably have to buy a Mac Pro to get the options that I want today and have it be expandable.
 
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LinkRS

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Oct 16, 2014
28
15
Texas, USA
I assume you were using Windows 10? The scaling on Win 10 to me is better than macOS at this point... I have an Alienware 15 with 4K and I got the scaling where my middle aged eyes can see clearly.

I have the MBP 16 i9 with bootcamp installed and it runs much warmer with shorter battery life. The trackpad feels "wrong" and Touch Bar is even worse in functionality. I also have to crank up the scaling in order to see it. At least it's able to run a few modern titles with all the eye candy turned off and running at low res in Win10
Howdy magbarn,

Yes, it was Windows 10. The default magnification was 300%, but still to hard for me to read for apps that did not properly support the scaling. Many of the programs/apps that I used were broken when the scaler was on at 300%. I was much happier when I replaced that with a desktop, and got a 1080P monitor. Since then (however), I have gotten new glasses (Progressive Lenses), maybe it wouldn't be as bad now?

Having to run modern titles with the eye candy turned off, and running low-res concerns me. I have a desktop which is my primary gaming machine, so running games on the Mac would not be a priority, but I have that issue right now with a 2015 MBP. My current machine can't run Diablo 3 at "1080P" under MacOS with decent framerate. I have to limit the detail settings to get ~50 fps. Mac hardware just seems to run hotter when using bootcamp (another reason to limit it).

Thanks!
 

pshufd

macrumors 68000
Oct 24, 2013
1,769
2,186
New Hampshire
I'll need to go look again, but if memory serves.. the options were 1080P or 4K, and I need something in-between. I had a 17" Alienware computer a few years ago, with a 4K screen, and I hated it. Everything was too small, and I had to use the magnifier. I was miserable :-(. I don' typically plug external monitors into my laptops, as I use my desktop for stuff like that. Thanks for the heads up, I'll go check it out.

UPDATE: Just checked, the new XPS 15 has an option of 1080P or 4K, nothing else :-( Thanks again!
You can use scaled resolution or change the sizes of things on the screen. Windows has gotten somewhat better with scaled resolutions. I'm running 4K natively on a 28 inch monitor on Windows. Scaled on a 4K 28 inch using macOS.
 

magbarn

macrumors 68020
Oct 25, 2008
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Howdy magbarn,

Yes, it was Windows 10. The default magnification was 300%, but still to hard for me to read for apps that did not properly support the scaling. Many of the programs/apps that I used were broken when the scaler was on at 300%. I was much happier when I replaced that with a desktop, and got a 1080P monitor. Since then (however), I have gotten new glasses (Progressive Lenses), maybe it wouldn't be as bad now?

Having to run modern titles with the eye candy turned off, and running low-res concerns me. I have a desktop which is my primary gaming machine, so running games on the Mac would not be a priority, but I have that issue right now with a 2015 MBP. My current machine can't run Diablo 3 at "1080P" under MacOS with decent framerate. I have to limit the detail settings to get ~50 fps. Mac hardware just seems to run hotter when using bootcamp (another reason to limit it).

Thanks!
Diablo 3 would run great as WoW classic runs great in bootcamp on the MBP 16. Modern titles for me is Jedi Knight Fallen Order. It struggles with that and Witcher 3 when eye candy is turned up.
 
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profcutter

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Mar 28, 2019
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Problem is, if you need a computer now, the Dell XPS 17 is vapor ware. Looks like a great machine though.
 
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