Macbook vs. Macbook Pro

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by ephemeralness, Sep 9, 2017.

  1. ephemeralness macrumors newbie

    Sep 9, 2017
    I've been using my husband's early 2009 era MacBook Pro model which has been having some problems. In the last few years he has upgraded this machine to a solid state drive, and increased the memory from 4gb to 8gb. It runs ok, but there are some motherboard related issues (some random shut downs), and I'm going to be working from home more, so I think it's time for a new machine.

    Aside from general word processing, and browsing needs, I need be be able to run Microsoft Remote Desktop to log-in to my work server and work remotely (accessing files, working with spreadsheets, doing some database work) through there for extended periods of time. Right now when I'm running it off the 2009 MacBook Pro, and I've found it to be slow, though I can't tell if that's the server or the computer.

    I want this to last for several years, so in either case, I'm looking to max out the memory since upgrading memory down the line isn't an option anymore. Which seems like a better plan, a 1.3 ghz processor, 512gb Macbook with 16 gb of memory (around $1800) or a 13 inch 2.3 ghz processor, 256 gb Macbook Pro with 16 gb memory (around $1700)?

  2. mg1984 macrumors newbie

    Sep 6, 2017
    Either system should meet the needs you've outlined therefore I would recommend the lower cost option barring any other preferences (i.e. size). RDP sessions are light weight and any performance issues would likely be on the RDP server or your network connection to it.
  3. kohlson macrumors 68000

    Apr 23, 2010
    The MBP weighs more, but has more compute capabilities and less storage. Plus more I/O ports. If you're not hauling it around, I would take the MBP. Be sure to try the keyboards before buying.
  4. ZapNZs macrumors 68020


    Jan 23, 2017
    Either model will work for your needs, in my opinion. Opting for the base models might be worth consideration.

    The rMB is an example of portability at the most extreme - and wired connectivity capability is quite limited as it only features legacy USB 3.1. The 2017 models are surprisingly powerful, and even the base m3/8gb/256ssd model is more than capable of meeting most computing needs. Some really like the totally silent operation. It does surprisingly well with battery life. It has nice speakers for such a tiny little thing. If you chose the rMB, I would encourage you to consider the base model if the storage is acceptable - the processor and RAM upgrades for your usage would probably not serve you much benefit, and these upgrades increase the computer's cost by over 1/3. Also, with the base model, you can often find them on sales that upgraded and BTO models are not offered at as frequently.

    The MBP retains good portability, but does have more processing/graphics power, and far more wired connectivity capability thanks to USB 3.1 gen 2 and Thunderbolt 3. It's screen is slightly better, and depending upon usage the battery life may be slightly better. It has really nice speakers. It has massively more capability when it comes to using with external monitors and televisions. It's also more expensive.

    The keyboards are a little different on each - both are called generation 2 butterfly mechanisms, but the implementation is different so the feel is too. I like the keyboard on my 2017 rMB more than I did on my 2016 MBP as it is more consistent. Regardless of which model you buy, I strongly encourage purchasing AppleCare+ (or another comparable plan) - this will not only cover accidental damage, battery replacement, but keyboard issues as well.
  5. elbowrm macrumors newbie


    Apr 29, 2016
    I also wanted to give another thumbs up for the 2017 rMB. I originally tried the 2015 rMB and returned it - the 2017 is night-and-day difference in terms of the performance, the keyboard, and a real 4k video-out option, provided you get "the right dongle."

    Yeah, I'm glad that the previous poster brought up the whole connectivity/video out thing - I hunted around on Amazon, and eventually settled on a $73 USB-C micro dock made by Sinstar (not to be confused w/ the 80's arcade game); search Amazon for B073VKGFBM. One thing that I really love about it is that I can finally do true 4k output from the rMBP (be sure to use "HDMI 2.0 rated" cables). So, I'm running a 4k 28" Samsung U28E590D at 3840x2160, and it's a treat to have a display that's pretty much equal to a 4k iMac. That monitor can be had for around $350 new, and even less used - search Amazon for B00YD3DBOC.

    (Keep in mind that there are also cheaper USB-C adapter options that are more focused/limited in purpose; I like the Sinstar b/c it also has micro and full size SD, and 3 USB ports, in addition to the 4k HDMI and USB-C in/out.)
  6. Mlrollin91 macrumors G5


    Nov 20, 2008
    Ventura County
    Both my GF and I were in the market for new laptops. We both have 2012 Base model 11" Airs. We loved the portability, but the machines were lacking a little bit. After 2 months of debating, we went with the rMB over the non-TB MBP. I am very, very happy with this machine. Its fast, light and the screen is fantastic. I bought a cheap $20 adapter that gives me 3USB ports and another USB-C for charging.

    Now with that being said, I have a 2017 iMac 21.5" 4K. So I have a backup machine for heavy duty tasks. But for day-to-day computing, the rMB is amazing.

    We both bought the M3/8GB rMB, so just base model. I was thinking about upgrading to the i5, but read its only a 10% bump for a couple hundred dollars. Not worth it in my opinion.
  7. smallcoffee macrumors 68000

    Oct 15, 2014
    North America
    It's probably slow because of the remote login coupled with the fact that the computer is older.

    With that being said, I've had both the MacBook and now a 15" MacBook Pro. I really liked the MacBook, but if you're going to be doing work on it, the larger screen (even just the one inch) and more horsepower make a pretty big difference. I wouldn't worry about the 512 SSD for either model, but the 16 gb of ram is a must. Consider the 15" as well if you can swing it since you'll be working on it.
  8. Fishrrman macrumors P6


    Feb 20, 2009
    MacBook Pro is almost always "the better choice"...
  9. shaunp macrumors 68000

    Nov 5, 2010
    I'd go for the MacBook pro out of the 2 also, but I'd consider spending a bit more and getting the 15" screen. If you are working on it for long periods of time then a bigger screen would be better.
  10. macintoshmac macrumors 68030


    May 13, 2010
    If and only if I did not need 2 ports, I would have bought the rMB, Touch Bar and Touch ID be damned.

    The only reason I went for MBP is because I often am connected to the power cable at my desk and an external disk, sometimes even two, on my old 2011 MBP, and now since having 4 ports on the MBP 2016, I have even connected 3 peripherals straight at a time, transferring data to and fro between them.

    It depends on your workflow and your projected workflow and use case over the years. Unless you absolutely need the lightest machine, err on the side of more power and flexibility of the MBP due to its ports.
  11. elbowrm macrumors newbie


    Apr 29, 2016
  12. techwarrior macrumors 65816


    Jul 30, 2009
    Refurb is a great way to get more for your money. Same warranty, but good savings. I have bought several Apple Refurb products, all look and act like new.

    If you are working at a desk, you can connect en external monitor to the Mac and get more screen size for task work, but still have the portability when needed. If you think this route makes sense, the smaller screen would not be so much of an issue for work, and would be more portable for air travel and other mobile uses. Both have a USB-C port (2 on the 13" MBP), this is for charging and connecting external devices. A small USB-C hub with HDMI\DVI\Mini Display Port will allow a monitor connection and charging at the same time. Many also have USB3 ports for external drives and other accessories. And, if you plan on using with an external monitor, an external keyboard and mouse will give you a more complete desktop experience.

    Your stated use cases are not very demanding, so either Mac will do the job. The newer models will likely be much faster due to a lot of internal improvements in performance, increased memory probably won't do much for you.
  13. Samuelsan2001 macrumors 604

    Oct 24, 2013
    If you don't need portability to work from home then an iMac will be a better bet for you to be honest.
  14. macintoshmac macrumors 68030


    May 13, 2010
    Both excellent and valid views.

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13 September 9, 2017