macbook pro with i5 or i7, and with or without touchbar

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by dino_bergomi, Mar 6, 2017.

  1. dino_bergomi macrumors newbie

    Mar 6, 2017
    Hello everybody,

    I have a macbook pro from 2012 that I still love. At the time I upgraded the ram to 8gb, processor to i7 and hard drive for ssd. It was expensive but it was partly sponsored by a project. Since it was not so hard on the pocket, it was not so difficult to just choose all the top specs.
    I love the fact that after 5 years it still runs much better than my 1 year old i7 pc I use at my company.

    Now my wife needs a new computer, and we are thinking about the options.

    We would like to have a computer that is good for the next 5 years and counting (like my current mac), but trying to save some money wherever we can.

    Since we don't see a strong case for the touch bar or touch ID, we are wondering if the macbook pro without the touchbar is a good option. The base price is $1499, which is attractive. We are thinking of getting 512 Gb storage which is $200 more... Do you think it would be worth adding also more ram up to 16 Gb ($200 more)? How about upgrading the processor to i7 2.4 GHz? Adding all of this comes to about $2199 which is quite expensive already. If it is really worth it, we would consider it, otherwise, we would be happy saving the extra dollars.

    Again, we would like to have a computer for the next 5 years and counting. We don't make an extreme use, but we do use matlab and run some numerical simulations occasionally. We don't do graphic design though.

    Can you please comment on each of these upgrades? What would be the most important?

    To add to the confusion, despite the fact that we don't think we need touchbar, I can see that the specs of the touchbar version are a little different. Better processor and ram? and 4 thunderbolt ports?

    A touchbar 13" would cost the same $2199 as the model before (512 Gb of storage, 16 Gb ram, but with an i5 2.0 GHz instead of the i7). Would you recommend this one instead?
    If we would go crazy, we could splash $300 more and get an i7 processor... Would this be much better than the "without touchbar" upgraded model I described above?

    It starts to be quite expensive $2499 already... We would like to have a nice machine for the years, but money is also hard to earn... I'm leaning to the model without touchbar. I just want to make sure I don't regret.

    Comments are welcome.

    Thank you in advance,
  2. ZapNZs macrumors 68020


    Jan 23, 2017
    How soon are you looking to buy? I ask because, 1) Best Buy recently had a $200 discount on the non-touchbar version, 2) several well known analysts are predicting a price decrease on the non-touchbar version (because Apple is killing the MacBook Air, which had always been the economical option, and they likely want to try to fill that role to a certain extent,) and 3) refurbished 2016 models may begin appearing very, very soon.

    The base 2.0 i5 in the non-touchbar version is a very capable CPU. For general usage, it is quite capable. In my personal opinion, upgrading to 16GB of RAM is a much more justifiable expense over upgrading the nTB from the i5 to the i7. As you plan to keep this computer for 5 years, I think it is possible that future operating systems or standard applications may benefit more from 16GB than they do today (as 5 years ago, 4GB was very much substantial for most things, and now 8 has become somewhat of a standard.)

    I think a lot of personal preferences are what determines if the slightly faster CPU, slightly faster RAM speed, 2 extra (and IIRC faster) TB3 ports, and the touchbar itself found on the touchbar models is financially justifiable. For me, it was not, because a refurbished (and more capable) 15-inch with a quad core i7, 16GB RAM, a discrete GPU, and 512 GB SSD was significantly less money than the 13-inch, and so I chose non-touchbar. But some people absolutely love the touchbar, hence the personal preferences aspect. Personally, a mechanical keyboard provides me a better improvement in the user experience than any touch screen or touch bar could ever dream of! So YMMV
  3. xb2003 macrumors 6502


    Jan 18, 2016
    The non touch has a weaker i5 and weaker graphics.

    I'd consider a 2015 if I were in your shoes. That model was basically unchanged for 4 years and has proven reliable. They are pretty similar in power to the 2016s, but less money. Beings it's for the wife, I would have her try out the keyboards (and honestly the touch pad too, it's SO big) and see if she likes one or the other better. That's pretty valuable to some people.

    Kind of like mentioned above, I wouldn't go too crazy with CPU upgrades. 16 GB vs 8 GB ram is kind of a crap shoot, but beings it's not upgradable you'd probably be best to just go with 16 GB. And as I always say in my posts, I would only buy as much storage as you really need, because you can buy a darn nice external solution for what Apple charges for the larger SSDs.
  4. capathy21 macrumors 65816


    Jun 16, 2014
    Houston, Texas
    This is good advise. Being that you are using a 5 year old computer, you really don't seem to need the latest and greatest as soon as it comes out. My brother recently picket up a 2015 13 inch retina MacBook Pro with 2.7/8/512ssd for $850 from Swappa.

    If you do want a 2016, the base model is your best value. However, don't pay full retail. That's absolutely silly when Best Buy basically keeps the non touch bar model on sale. Also check e-Bay and Swappa as people sometimes sell them brand new in the box for several hundred under retail.
  5. dino_bergomi thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 6, 2017
    Thank you for all the advice guys!
    Unfortunately we are in Europe at the moment and have no Best Buy, and we do need it now... I'm still used to check the american website. Sorry, I should have explained better.

    From what I got, you all agree that the base model is the best value for the money. Perhaps going for 16Gb of ram is the most important upgrade if any?

    I'm sure this computer will be fast and great. My only worry is if it starts complaining in 5 years from now... :) We do give it some usage when running matlab and numerical simulations, but in what comes to graphics, we don't need better.

    She also tested a new model to get a feeling for the keyboard, and she enjoyed it. (good advice, thanks)
  6. SteveJUAE macrumors 68030


    Aug 14, 2015
    Land of Smiles
    Out of interest why did you discount the rMB ?

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5 March 6, 2017