Macbook Pro 13 2017 TB vs nTB

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by vizuppo, Jan 11, 2018.

  1. vizuppo, Jan 11, 2018
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2018

    vizuppo macrumors newbie

    Jan 10, 2018
    I am currently changing my employer and he is offering me to chose my Notebook and right now I am between the 2017 nTB (i7 2.5GHz) and the 2017 TB (i5 3.3GHz) with both 256GB disk space and 16GB of RAM.

    I know the question was asked many times before, but I didn't find any satisfying answers here or on reddit. Although I am not a fan of the touch bar itself, it is not an issue for me, because i am using an external keyboard 95% of the time.

    Currently I am leaning more towards the TB version, because of the better (?) CPU and cooling system. And here is my main question: Is the CPU in the TB version really better? Benchmarks are showing sometimes that the CPU of the nTB is faster, but is this true in real life?

    I am a software dev, so my main task are mostly medium sized java web development (Intellij IDEA) with some docker containers running (databases, etc.). Therefore I would like to choose the more powerful machine.

    At my current employer I am using a Macbook Pro 15 Mid 2015. Would there be a considerable performance drop from Quad Core to Dual Core, or are kaby lake processors more efficient?

    Thanks for your advice!
  2. ZapNZs macrumors 68020


    Jan 23, 2017
    I am going to guess you need this computer immediately given your circumstances - the reason I am verifying this is because it seems extremely likely that the next MacBook Pro refresh will see a quad-core CPU stuffed inside the 13-inch form factor (when this happens is anyone's best guess!)

    The nTB is, IMO, in quite a few ways, the spiritual successor to the MBA (with favorability given towards battery life), even though the MBA is still in production, and Apple also happens to have the rMB. It just so happens to also be a very fast computer and the Kaby Lake CPUs currently being used happen to give it exceptional processing power for such a low-powered piece of silicon.

    However, the TB's greater IO, CPU, and thermal cooling give it some capabilities that can make it more suitable for sustained loads. One example could be driving higher resolution displays, where the TB's temperatures will be lower, and fans will be quieter. If you want the more powerful machine, the TB is the way to go (alternatively, if you want absolute battery life above all, the entry nTB's CPU is arguably the go-to.)

    Even if you have the base model 2.2 GHz 2015 15-inch, it is a substantial performance downgrade in regards to multithreaded performance (although a considerable gain in single threaded performance with that model.) If you have the flagship 2015 15-inch's CPU, the difference in single threaded performance is far less, and the difference in multithreaded far more.

    The performance difference between the 3.1 GHz i5 and 3.3 GHz i5 is almost negligible IMO. Instead of that upgrade which costs $100, going for the base 3.1 GHz i5 + a 512 SSD might benefit your workload more?
  3. vizuppo thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 10, 2018
    Thanks for the reply.

    Yes, the employer has to order the Macbook within the next two months, otherwise I won't have a working machine ;-). So this would be bad timing for the new macbook pros. The new one looks like the perfect notebooks for my need.

    I do not need the best battery life, since i am using the notebook plugged in most of the time. So this argument for the nTB is a non factor for me :).

    I do have the 2.5 GHz 2015 15-inch, so it looks like the single core performance will be better than on my current device, while multithreaded performance will be a little bit less.

    I've chosen the 3.3 GHz i5, as this is the best configuration, i could get with the budget provided. The 512GB SSD would be a bit above the budget, but I do not need that much of storage space anyway.

    So currently the 13-inch TB is my favourite on the MacOS site.

    The employer is also offering a Thinkpad 470p (with quad core CPUs), but then I would have to use Ubuntu, as I would like to have a Unix system on my working machine. Additionally some of the future colleagues said that the MBP13 is somehow performing better than the Thinkpad. Maybe because of the single core performance?
  4. Wags macrumors 65816

    Mar 5, 2006
    Nebraska, USA
    Geekbench scores show ntb 2.3 outperforms tb3.1
  5. Fravin macrumors regular


    Mar 8, 2017
    Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
    yes it really does.

    But keep in mind that is related with CPU only, not the GPU.

    GPU on Tb model is 20% faster than nTb.

    If you gonna work with graphical material, it's worth to think about iGPU performance besides CPU.

    Another point of discussion is the proprietary chip that handles TouchBar, that frees the iGPU to run only the display work.

    And the country that OP lives is also important here. The nTb model has only one fan, and it's known to overheat and throttle the CPU very soon.

    In hot countries the Tb one has more efficient thermal envelope.

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4 January 11, 2018