Macbook 12" - m3 vs m5

Discussion in 'MacBook' started by redryder, Feb 12, 2018.

  1. redryder macrumors member

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2010
    #1
    Hi,

    I'm looking to get a refurbished Macbook 12" (2017 model). The Apple online store has the m5 model with 512GB HDD at about $120 USD more expensive than the m3 model.

    Is it a no-brainer to get the m5 model or am I really only paying for the extra harddisk space? My usage is mostly office work, watching videos, and occasional video editing (very rare). No gaming.
     
  2. SpitUK macrumors 6502

    SpitUK

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    #3
    For that money get the M5, it will hold its value with the 512Gb.
     
  3. Glmnet1 macrumors 6502a

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    Oct 21, 2017
    #4
    I think the M5 is only in the 2016 model. The 2017 is M3->i5->i7.
    --- Post Merged, Feb 13, 2018 ---
    And the 2016 M5 is considerably slower than the 2017 M3 based on benchmarks.
     
  4. Mike Boreham macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2006
    Location:
    UK
    #5
    I have a 2016 M5 and have been considering upgrading to a 2017 M3 based on similar comments to yours.

    But my Geekbench is 6386 and Cinebench is 250, which I am not convinced are "considerably slower" than the 2017 M3
     
  5. Glmnet1 macrumors 6502a

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    Oct 21, 2017
    #6
    I'm looking at https://browser.geekbench.com/mac-benchmarks and the m3 has a score of 3525 while the m5 has a score of 3061.

    I know benchmarks don't represent perfectly the CPUs but it gives a general idea. So if you don't need the additional storage and are paying more for an m5 instead of the m3 you're making a mistake.
     
  6. mtneer macrumors 68030

    mtneer

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    Sep 15, 2012
    #7
    If all the OP is doing is light office work and watching videos, then Geekbench should not matter. Even a SandyBridge or a Core2Duo should be able to handle those light workloads with no problems.
     
  7. Glmnet1 macrumors 6502a

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    Oct 21, 2017
    #8
    You're right, but OP shouldn't be paying more for a slower CPU. He even said:
    He seems he think the m5 is superior to the m3 when it's the other way around.

    OP would also be paying more for a computer that is a year older so will have one less year of support and macOS udpates. They also improved the SSDs in the 2017 version.

    I see no reason for him to be getting the m5 and a lot of reason to get the 2017 m3
     
  8. bill-p macrumors 68000

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    Jul 23, 2011
    #9
    Uh... no.

    When I bought the i5 MacBook (2017), I still had the m5 MacBook (2016) to compare to, and both are just about equal in processing performance. Geekbench scores seem to be affected by short performance burst, which I know all 2017 CPU models have higher of, but that doesn't matter at all when they can't sustain that high level of performance.

    Mac OS updates have not abandoned machines made within the last half decade, so what makes you think they'll abandon a machine that's only 1 year old?

    Also, if the OP thinks he needs 512GB of storage, which you can see I also need (plus 16GB of RAM, but that's a different issue), then I think that's all the more reason he should opt for the m5 model.

    Now, to be fair, the i5 Macbook I have now does excel in some things that puts it above the m5:

    1. Decoding HEVC 10-bit is now done in hardware, and it works like a dream with >2.5K contents. 2.5K is about the max the m5 is capable of before things start falling apart.

    2. Due to the 615 graphics, 4K external display is now an almost lag-free experience, and it's pretty much on par with my work rMBP 15" 2016, except for when extra scaling is applied. m3 will be similar in this regard.

    3. Keyboard does feel a bit more springy/clicky while requiring less force to tap. That's pretty important if one uses the keyboard a lot. My m5 had a lot of sticky keys.

    But seriously, in practical use, I don't think I noticed much of a difference between i5 and m5 unless it had to do with something graphical. Both are still slow and not gonna break any world record. For machine learning and similarly intensive big data tasks, I just use the 15" rMBP or offload to my DigitalOcean.
     
  9. Glmnet1 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2017
    #10
    Actually short performance bursts do matter for a lot of what OP wants to do. If the processing performance is about the same on long operations it's probably because of the fan less design of the MacBook.

    I never said they'll abandon it after a year... They support the devices for approximately 5 years after they are discontinued and 7 years of OS updates. If you buy a device that is already discontinued you get less support than if you buy one that has just been released. It's a fact. It might not bother OP if he's not planning to keep it that long but it might affect resale value.

    He specifically asked if buying the m5 would mean only paying for additional storage which suggests he doesn't need the additional storage. Please take the time to read the posts.

    I agree that it won't make a big difference but still, I'd rather pay less for a better device overall than pay more for a worse device with more storage if I don't need it.
     
  10. Mike Boreham macrumors 65816

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    UK
    #11
    I must have got a good one then....my M5 single-core score is 3320 :)

    Seriously I do wonder about variability of benchmarks between nominally identical machines.
     
  11. EugW macrumors 601

    EugW

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2017
    #12
    Sort of yes, but not really.

    I have a few Core 2 Duo Macs in my house, two with 8 GB, and for the most part they are fine for surfing, but on some pages they will bog down. These are typically media heavy pages or pages with more ads. My usual Core 2 Duo machine is a 2.26 GHz P8400, which has a Geekbench 4 multicore score of 2700.

    Similarly, my Athlon II X3 435 triple-core PC was bogging down on some sites, and with some interface actions in Windows 10 with some software. Its Geekbench 4 multicore score was about 4140. It did feel faster than the 2.26 GHz Core 2 Duo MacBook Pro though.

    I now have a Core m3-7Y32 MacBook, with a Geekbench 4 multicore score of over 7000, and it does not bog down on the same sites.

    Similarly, I removed my triple-core Athlon II X3 435 CPU, and installed a 6-core Phenom II X6 1055T, without changing anything else on that machine at all. The only update on this 8 GB, SSD-endowed machine is the CPU. It no longer has those interface lags or slow website. Its Geekbench 4 multicore score is over 7600.

    So, it seems to me that unless your needs are really light and you're on a tight budget, I wouldn't get anything with a Geekbench 4 multicore score of less than 5000, but perhaps preferably over 6000 or even 7000. The 2016 m5 meets this criterion, and indeed, the 2016 m5 seems OK speed-wise, but the problem with the 2016 m5 MacBook is the keyboard is noticeably worse (and the machine doesn't support hardware 10-bit HEVC decode, if that matters to you).

    The Mac benchmarks on their site reflect averages, not the top scorers. Their scores are considerably lower than what most people with clean installs can achieve.

    Also, I find that single-core scores don't reflect real-world usage. My Phenom II X6 CPU only has a single-core speed of around 21xx, but it feels quite speedy, obviously because it has 6 cores, with a multicore Geekbench 4 score of over 7600.
     
  12. bill-p, Feb 13, 2018
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2018

    bill-p macrumors 68000

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    Jul 23, 2011
    #13
    If that's how you feel about it...

    It is the same on long operations. This is not based on benchmarks. This is my personal experience. YMMV, I guess, but realistically, I don't feel like I'm gaining anything from going to the i5, processing-performance-wise, that is.

    Also, case in point: I actually had a m7/256GB machine earlier as well, until I found I needed more than 256GB of storage. The m7 machine actually ran slower than the m5 over the long term, although benchmark-wise, it would probably beat the m5 after a cold boot. In regular use, the m5 was faster.

    Edit: someone else also documented something similar, which is interesting.

    I don't see where that 5 years or 7 years is coming in. Please do note that Apple still supports installing 10.13 on machines from 2009 - 2010. Those have been around 8-9 years.

    I was responding more to your post that m5 2016 is a worse processor than m3 2017 because you think single-core score benchmark in Geekbench means something. I'm simply stating that it doesn't. Judging from the post above, I don't think I'm alone there.

    Now, as for what the OP needs/doesn't need, I don't think we can judge for them. That's up to them to decide. What's more, if we are going to try and judge for them, then I'd say 512GB is a necessity anyway because they plan on doing video editing.

    That takes up storage space pretty fast. In fact, ask any hobbyist videographer you know and you'll receive exactly one answer: the most expensive thing they spend on in a computer is always more and faster storage.

    The m5 certainly does not have faster storage for sure, but it still has more. Considering you cannot upgrade the storage in these machines and that we are talking about longevity (because you brought up OS support within 7 years for a machine that's only a bit over 1 year old), it's safe to assume that the more storage the device has, the longer it'll last.

    Seriously, don't ask me. Ask anyone who has used a Mac for long enough and you'll know what happens eventually after that initial "I think I should be fine with 128GB/256GB of storage" statement..

    Better device overall? I'd say debatable. Honestly, the things I mentioned that the i5 does better are so little and so niche (video decoding, 4K external, slightly better keyboard) that I could have lived without the m5 had I not wanted the 16GB of RAM that the newer model provides. The problem is that I couldn't just simply upgrade the RAM in the m5. I had to purchase a new machine. This was what Apple forced me to do.

    And again, that non-upgradeable factor is a very strong one. You'd say you only need 256GB of storage now until the time when you need more, and then you realize you can't get more without buying a whole new machine. Just like my RAM situation above.
     
  13. Glmnet1, Feb 13, 2018
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2018

    Glmnet1 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2017
    #14
    I'm not sure if you're trolling but I don't have time to argue with you.

    OP, before you make your decision based on these posts please read the following thread: https://forums.macrumors.com/threads/2017-m3-macbook-vs-2016-m5-macbook.2054922/
     
  14. EugW, Feb 13, 2018
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2018

    EugW macrumors 601

    EugW

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2017
    #15
    Here are our comparative speeds for the 2017 m3, i5, and i7:

    https://forums.macrumors.com/thread...uns-of-cinebench.2073415/page-2#post-25271927

    MacBook2017-CinebenchR15-m3-wood.png

    What we did there was run Cinebench R15 repeatedly and recorded each of the scores over time. As you can see, the scores decreased over time, as the CPU heated up. But what surprised some of us is that unlike the Notebookcheck tests, they didn't actually lose that much performance, and also unlike the Notebookcheck tests for the m7, the i7 consistently scored higher, albeit not much higher. You'll also see that the 2017 m3 beats all of the 2016 models.

    Also, I ran my m3 on a granite counter vs a wood table. Since wood is a much better insulator, and granite would be more of a conductor, it's not surprising that the m3 ran better on granite.

    Out of all of the above, the i5 was the least impressive IMO, which means the main reason to buy the i5 is for more storage. I personally never use that much storage on my laptops, so I was fine with 256 GB. (I have 1 TB SSD storage on my iMac though. Actually 2 TB if you include the external Samsung T5.) I did go for 16 GB RAM though, which is not available as an option for the 2016 models. Memory needs tend to go up with time, and I keep my laptops for a very long time. My old pre-2010 Core 2 Duo models are running 8 GB, which is a noticeable improvement over 4 GB for real world usage with 10.13 IMO even just for business type usage. I note those are machines I purchased with 2 GB. I figure in 5 years 8 GB is going to be more of a limiting factor, so if you plan on keeping your laptops that long, then 16 GB memory is a nice feature to have.
     
  15. bill-p macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2011
    #16
    I'm not. And I don't think it's in good form that you'd resort to calling me a troll when you can't make your own arguments.

    Yeah, I did note that long-term performance of the i5 did not seem to give me any extra leg up on the m5. So that graph seems just about right with regards to how performance degrades over time. It's not as simple as cold-booting the machine and seeing a score.

    But I think you're making quite a few assumptions there: you noted in that thread that notebookcheck had weird results for their 2017 m3 review, but then you proceeded to compare your own m3 run versus notebookcheck's 2016 run, which I'd say is kind of comparing apples to oranges. If you'd look closely, it would look like notebookcheck's own results show that the 2017 m3 is kind of about the same as the 2016 m5, in their own test environment. And I think that's more in line with what I'm experiencing with regards to 2017 i5 vs 2016 m5.

    For 2017, I think... value-wise, the m3 is indeed the best one. If only there was an option to go with 512GB of storage with m3. I don't think I'll ever notice the difference if someone swapped the 2017 m3 with the i5. Apple just likes to make people pay for more. When I moved from 2016 m7 back to 2016 m5, that was very apparent.
     
  16. T'hain Esh Kelch macrumors 601

    T'hain Esh Kelch

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    Denmark
    #17
    What does that graph even show? Label your axis people, and set the axis to start at zero unless there's a reason not to! As it is, that graph is useless and just showing an agenda.
     
  17. EugW, Feb 14, 2018
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2018

    EugW macrumors 601

    EugW

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    Jun 18, 2017
    #18
    We heard you the first time you made this post in the other thread. I understand your point but then again, if you had actually read that thread, you'd understand as it is explained there and it also references a series of tests from a website that also explains it. I even posted one version of the graph starting at zero in that thread, but like I said, it seems like you didn't bother reading that thread or you would have known that already.
     
  18. T'hain Esh Kelch macrumors 601

    T'hain Esh Kelch

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    Denmark
    #19
    I haven't read the other thread, as you may assume. I assume no one quoted my previous post and answered.
     
  19. Brian Y macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2012
    #20
    IMO - the best reason to go with the 2017 is the keyboard - the second generation butterfly is much much nicer.

    In terms of processing performance (raw) - you're looking at a 5% increase (roughly) between models - so a roughly 10% jump between the m3 and the i7 - pretty negligible for anyone buying these machines (nobody buys a MacBook for performance).

    So I'd buy on 2 factors - keyboard (go for the 2017, no brainer) and storage - how much do you need? Yes, it's true the 512 will hold it's value better, but it depends how long you're going to keep it. If you're planning on having it 5 years, spending an extra £300 on a solid state drive you're not going to use to recoup an extra £100 in 5 years time is pointless.

    In my experience, in terms of % return when selling, base models always get better results. Make of that what you will.
     
  20. EugW, Feb 14, 2018
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2018

    EugW macrumors 601

    EugW

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    Jun 18, 2017
    #21
    Here are the factors I would list that are the advantages and potential advantages of the 2017 MacBooks:

    1) The keyboard is way, way better.
    2) There is the option of 16 GB.
    3) They have full hardware 10-bit HEVC h.265 decode support. The 2017 MacBooks can decode videos cleanly with 25% CPU usage that the 2015 iMac Core i7-6700K can't with 100% CPU usage. With these same videos, the 2015 and 2016 MacBooks are completely useless.
    4) The 2017 MacBooks have the hardware DRM support needed to support 4K streaming. However, macOS does not yet allow this. This could change though, and if it does, there is a strong possibility (say with macOS 10.14) that the 2017 MacBooks would get this. The 2016 would never get this because they don't have the hardware support. (The same applies to the 2017 iMacs vs. the 2015 iMacs.)
    5) The m3 in 2017 is noticeably faster than the m3 of previous years, and at a level where the CPU becomes a non-issue for most average business type use. In contrast, the 2015 Core M-5Y31 is slow enough to sometimes be annoying. Not a deal killer, but annoying. The 2016 Core m3-6Y30 is faster than the 2015, but not by much. The Core m3-7Y32 in 2017 is a large jump forward. (There is a 2017 m3-7Y30 but Apple chose not to use this slower chip, and instead went with the much faster m3-7Y32, fortunately.)
    6) The 2017 has better battery life, at least according to some reviews. (Note though the test below compares a 2017 m3 vs a 2016 m5, but then again, that's a fair comparison since I wouldn't recommend the low performance 2016 m3.)

    [​IMG]

    Here are the factors I would list that are the advantages of the pre-2017 MacBooks in 2017:

    1) Cost.

    For me, it was a no-brainer to get the 2017 m3. The part I struggled with a bit though was whether or not to get the 16 GB, but eventually decided to get the 16 GB for reasons mentioned earlier. If had needed more storage, I would have gotten the 2017 i5 16 GB.
     
  21. jgbr macrumors 6502

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    #22
    So m3 with 16GB seems the way to go?

     
  22. EugW macrumors 601

    EugW

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    #23
    For me.

    Don’t know about you. Your needs could be quite different.
     
  23. Dave245 macrumors 603

    Dave245

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    Sep 15, 2013
    #24
    But does 16GB on the MacBook actually make a difference? It’s a genuine question as I haven’t used one and I’m still yet to decide between the MacBook or the MacBook Pro with Touch Bar.
    I’m waiting until they update the Mac’s this year and even see if the rumours of a 13” MacBook are true.
     
  24. EugW macrumors 601

    EugW

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2017
    #25
    In 2018 with most of my usage, usually no.

    Very occasionally if I load up all my Office apps and load up some big files and have Chrome and Mail and some other stuff in the background, 16 GB may help, but I don't do that very often.

    Put it this way:

    16 GB is mandatory on my iMac, since I sometimes do the above plus Photos on top of that. Thus, my choice to get 24 GB on the iMac makes a lot of sense, even in 2018. However, with the MacBook, I rarely do that, since I usually use my iMac to do the heavy lifting, so 8 GB is sufficient.

    That said, that is in 2018 with my current usage. However, I also may be using this laptop more in a different setting if I change jobs. I have started working elsewhere and would consider using this laptop with an LG 27UD88 4K monitor which would allow me the real estate to better make use of multiple apps, thereby eating up more memory. Also, I plan on keeping this laptop a very long time.

    Why does keeping the laptop for a long time matter? Cuz I find that even with my normal usage, my memory use doubles maybe every 5 years.

    So:

    2008: 2 GB
    2013: 4 GB
    2018: 8 GB
    2023: 16 GB

    There is some support for this, for example here:

    https://techtalk.pcpitstop.com/research-charts-memory/

    rc_mem_avgmem_region.png

    According to that graph, here is the average RAM use in Canada (where I live):

    2008: 2 GB
    2012: 4 GB
    2018: 8 GB

    It seems installed memory increases are consistent, but there is perhaps a tendency for the rate of increase to be slowing down a bit. So perhaps my RAM usage won't double by 2023. However, that doesn't matter, since if my memory requirements only increase by say 50% by say 2022, that's still 12 GB, which you can't buy today. So 16 GB it is.
     

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