MacBookPro · Which Extras? · In What Order?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by Vjosullivan, May 26, 2019.

  1. Vjosullivan macrumors 6502a

    Vjosullivan

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2013
    #1
    I'm in the market for a new MacBook Pro (though I may wait a couple of months to see if a 16" model materialises). My budget is yet to be decided but will exceed the entry price of the current 15" model.

    So, given a starting point of current base 15" MacBook Pro:
    • Processor: 2.6GHz 6-core 9th-generation Intel Core i7 processor
    • Graphics: Radeon Pro 555X with 4GB of GDDR5 memory
    • Memory: 16GB 2400MHz DDR4 memory
    • Storage: 256GB SSD storage
    When purchasing the machine: In what order would you upgrade the components to most improve its general performance and usefulness?
     
  2. frou, May 26, 2019
    Last edited: May 26, 2019

    frou macrumors 6502

    frou

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2009
    #2
    All Apple's options are about gouging you with huge margins, but in practice the only one that is essential is Storage, because it's a major pain to have external drives hanging off a laptop. Thus:

    Storage > Memory > GPU > CPU

    Memory only if you runs lots of virtual machines, or have specific applications that are known to need tons of it.

    Laptops are not the right environment for extreme CPUs.
     
  3. Stephen.R macrumors 65816

    Stephen.R

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    Nov 2, 2018
    Location:
    Thailand
    #3
    It will depend a little on what you personally intend to use it for, but for me (mostly writing code in a memory-heavy IDE, running anywhere from 1-8 VMs at a time, plus of course maybe up to 20 tabs at a time in Safari) I'd prioritise as following:
    1. Memory to 32GB (the only option)
    2. SSD to 512 GB (beyond the space increase, there is a performance increase with the larger sizes, but the increase tapers off after 512GB. If you need more space than this, I'd use an external TB3 or USB-C SSD)
    3. CPU
    4. GPU
    For most people if you have "spare" money after the first two items, I'd probably suggest spending the extra on e.g. a decent backup drive or a dock or whatever before the CPU and GPU upgrade, unless you have a specifically CPU or GPU intensive task in mind.
    --- Post Merged, May 26, 2019 ---
    This is a weird take to me - if you want to be actually mobile with it, storage is the only one you can even have externally.
     
  4. frou macrumors 6502

    frou

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2009
    #4
    Being actually mobile, as in carrying the laptop from room to room, is your external drive going to be Velcroed to the lid?
     
  5. Stephen.R macrumors 65816

    Stephen.R

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    Thailand
    #5
    I've literally carried laptops with portable drives (as in spinning rust 2.5" drives) on top of the closed lid since they were USB2 drives, so yes.

    But what I meant was, if you are at a desk, you can e.g. 'upgrade' the GPU with an eGPU, but there are very few portable solutions for that - storage is the only thing that could be upgraded that has lots of very portable external options available.

    If you can afford multiple things, sure upgrade the SSD a bit. But forgoing a memory upgrade, which you literally cannot upgrade at all afterwards, so you don't need an external drive, which could be as small as a stick of gum (i.e. an M2 SSD) is a very odd decision to make IMO.
     
  6. frou macrumors 6502

    frou

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2009
    #6
    Well it's just a difference of opinion, but if I seek out an awesome sleek laptop, I don't want to then be constantly minding an extraneous thing hanging off it with a string.

    I agree that eGPUs are great and GPU upgrade here is a low priority. Paying to go from Radeon 555X to 560X is just going from middling to middling+.
     
  7. buran-energia macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2017
    #7
    Storage (at least 512). The rest depends on usage.

    Taxing games, software or video editing that makes use of dGPU (and you don't plan to use eGPU setup)? - Vega 20 GPU.

    Software development (compiling), Virtual Machines, Advanced video editing? - an upgrade from 6 to 8 cores would be nice, so would 32 GB, ideally 1 TB and Vega 20 (for video editing software that makes use of it). But usually, you can perfectly do all this on the base machine, except it might be a tight fit for 256 GB, especially if you intend to Bootcamp.

    Though some of these upgrades like the Vega 20 GPU require a higher priced model to begin with...
     
  8. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

    Staff Member

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    Location:
    Boston
    #8
    What's the intended use for the laptop. Its hard to say if you under/over spec'd your computer?

    Its silly to recommend 32GB without even knowing his usage and by far the majority of people will never need 32GB for the entire life of the laptop. macOS has excellent memory management and just maxing out the ram for "future proof" is a huge waste of money imo.
     
  9. Stephen.R macrumors 65816

    Stephen.R

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    Location:
    Thailand
    #9
    Which is why I said it will depend on what the intended use is, and why I explained my own use before specifying my preferences re:upgrades.

    :rolleyes:
     
  10. Vjosullivan thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Vjosullivan

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2013
    #10
    Good point. In order of priority, I run:
    - XCode to produce iOS (and some macOS) apps.
    - Photoshop and Lightroom for quite heavy stills photography post processing
    - Warcraft. Nice to have but not essential.

    On my current machine, the fans kick on within seconds of starting up XCode; Photoshop has become glacially slow and Warcraft no longer runs at all.
     
  11. Stephen.R macrumors 65816

    Stephen.R

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    #11
    Which is what spec?
     
  12. mikzn macrumors 65816

    mikzn

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    Sep 2, 2013
    Location:
    Vancouver
    #12
    My priorities would be . . .

    1) Storage, Storage, Storage - can't have too much and 1Tb would be nice - great for mobile, great for back up (only one needed?) less complicated than using external drives for different media like photos, movies, other docs etc.

    2) Processor and processor speed - more and better processor means jobs get processed faster and hopefully CPU gets some downtime to cool, SSD is used as virtual mem as needed by processor

    3) Mem 16g min - memory is pretty much 16g minimum these days - having 32g probably not as important as 1 and 2 unless you wish to add for future consideration?

    4) GPU
     
  13. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

    Staff Member

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    May 3, 2009
    Location:
    Boston
    #13
    16GB should be more then enough for you, the higher end GPU may be a nice addition for your game playing and I thought I heard it may run a tad cooler then the other GPUs Don't quote me on that, as I've not researched that first hand. The downside, is you have to select the higher priced model, starting at 2,600 and configure with the Vega 16 or Vega 20. That's pushing you over the $3,000 price point (after tax).


    I can gaurentee that the fans will go on for you on the 2019 model. For one thing, you'll have more cores and those CPUs run a lot hotter then prior models. The fan noise is not obtrusive, but it can be noticeable.
     
  14. Queen6 macrumors 604

    Queen6

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    Flying over the rainforest at dawn - Priceless
    #14
    AppleCare, better to have and not need, than need and not have, as these notebooks are ridiculously expensive to repair...

    Q-6
     

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13 May 26, 2019