Macbook Pro Buying Advice

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by Buzz_1947, Nov 8, 2016.

  1. Buzz_1947 macrumors newbie


    Nov 8, 2016
    Sorry if this question comes up over and over again.
    I'm looking for some advice about where to spend my my money when it comes to buying a MacBook Pro. I won't bother complaining about the new prices, suffice to say that they have forced me to rethink my budget and look for possible compromises.
    A little background: I am a "creative type" but not a professional designer anymore. I need to be able to run Adobe CS (or perhaps Affinity) for personal use and the odd freelance project (mostly for family and friends); and I would like to be able to occasionally edit video in one form or another --mostly home movies. While a (low-end) 15" Macbook Pro is not completely out of reach, with a young family I can always use some extra cash for dance lessons, piano, basketball leagues, art lessons, swimming...etc., etc., etc ... rather than spending it on myself. Also, since I'm not a professional (anymore) I tend to hold on to my computers for a long time (maybe 4 to 6 years; actually my current laptop is about 7).

    With this in mind...

    • Where would I get the most bang for my buck: faster CPU, more ram (16 versus 18), better graphics card (dedicated versus integrated)
    • Is there a big difference between the older haswell/broadwell processors and the new skylake?
    • Would it better to look at an older refurbished machine with better specs. (see previous question) or a new one with seemingly lower specs but newer chipsets? (I would prefer to stick with the apple store here to so that I at least have the year's warranty; or perhaps buying off Kijiji is not so risky with a hardware diagnostic?)
    • At what point does an older top end unit start to become inferior to a new base level machine? (i.e. a 2013 i7 quad versus the 2016 i5 duo) Is and older quad core much faster than a new duo core?
    • Finally, with the low end Macbook Pro (which is actually last years model), if I upgrade the processor to the 2.9 or 3.1, would these be part of the broadwell line or are they skylake processors (I'm assuming the standard 2.7 i5 is broadwell)

    Or maybe, since I plan to hang on to this machine for a while, the new low end (and non-upgraded) 15" Macbook pro would end up being the best value long term?

    Sorry for the lengthy post. Thank-you for any advice you can give me.
  2. Parsec macrumors member

    Aug 24, 2007
    N53 E004
    Well, I just ordered the new 'Touch Bar' MBP myself. I went with a high-spec one. But after using my 17" MBP for 9 years I think an upgrade is justifiable.

    You may not have an SSD in your computer yet. If you don't, may I suggest that as an upgrade. My MBP was unbearably slow almost two years ago now and replacing the HD with an SSD did wonder! I'm not exaggerating... it did wonders! Boot-time went from 3 minutes to <20 seconds. Programs start like crazy (VLC player went from 2 minutes to several seconds). Just a thought.

    It sounds to me that you mostly do stuff that's easy for the computer to do, except for video editing. If you want to edit 4K video, then you probably need an upgrade. For the rest, I think you could go with just the SSD option. You could make a statement about the high prices and lack of cables/converters being part of the new MBP package. I wanted to make a statement myself, but couldn't cope with waiting another year to upgrade.

    If you really want to upgrade, I would go with a discrete graphics card, the cheapest MBP 15" would do for your purposes. I would forgo on the faster CPU, but go with more storage (512Gigs SSD) unless you think you can manage another 5-7 years with 256Gb.
  3. shaunp macrumors 68000

    Nov 5, 2010
    Get and older 15" MacBook Pro, but if your apps don't have to run on Mac have a look at the XPS 15 too.
  4. dollystereo macrumors 6502a


    Oct 6, 2004
    WOW, I can get a maxed out XPS15 cheaper than an entry level MBP
  5. shaunp macrumors 68000

    Nov 5, 2010
    Yep. The trackpad isn't as good, and windows still has some issues scaling on 4K with some apps, but overall it's a good laptop. If you buy one refurbed you can get a maxed out one for less than half the price of a maxed out rMBP.

    If you mainly run apps like photoshop, lightroom and office, they all run very well and scale properly.
  6. Samuelsan2001 macrumors 604

    Oct 24, 2013
    Your workload sounds incredibly light I'd imagine any modern Apple computer will do everything you want just fine buy whatever you like.

    Yes the older model 13 inch is on broadwell. But if you are buying a 13 inch MacBook Pro they are all dual core with hyperthreading the i7is just not worth the premium it makes little difference to most people.
  7. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    Agreed, Windows is a fast stable platform, but OS X, does a much better job at scaling.

    Given the designs, and build qualities of Apple's competitors, its hard to justify spending that much money on a MBP again, but who knows, when the time comes to get a laptop, I'll see what product is the best fit for my needs ;)
  8. henryseiden macrumors member


    Aug 24, 2009
    Does anybody know if the MBP13 i5 with integrated graphics will drive two external monitors (potentially full rez, Retina displays) via USB-C (Thunderbolt 3) connections?

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