MBP 2017 for College

MacKeyboard

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jun 5, 2018
5
2
I've been in the market for laptops for a few weeks in preparation for college (leaving in late August). Since it will be used abroad, I'm looking for something that should last at least a few years.

I've had my eyes on the Macbook Pro 2017. Despite the potential keyboard issues, it seems like an overall solid choice (I was reading that they may have done a stealth update on recently manufactured Pros, but correct me if I'm wrong). I'll likely be getting the model with 256GB, and likely the base 8GB of RAM (not sure how needed 16 is based on what I'll be using it for).

Before clicking the order button or going to my local store, I have some questions.

1) How bad is the keyboard issue relative to the number of MBPs sold? As I mentioned, I was reading that there are slight variations in the keyboard that may have helped fix the keyboard issue. While I'll be using an external keyboard in the dorm, it'd be nice to have a keyboard that shouldn't break down, even with light use.

2) 8GB vs 16GB of RAM? I'm currently using a Windows 10 custom built gaming PC that has 8GB of RAM. I use it for light music production (quite a number of samples), but with no issues (running alongside Chrome with ~10-15 tabs, most of the time). For other specs, it has 120GB of storage (SSD), a secondary storage drive (HDD), and an i5-6500 (not great, but gets the job done with no slowdown). My question, then, is how the OS X utilizes 8GB of RAM, and if it's necessary to "future-proof" with 16GB.

3) eGPU support with the base specs. I may get an eGPU. I don't play many games as it is since I mainly use consoles, and I will likely only run Wine for some basic games that the iGPU won't have trouble with (2D titles, mainly), but having the option to game is a nice bonus. Should the base model specs perform well here using T3 (it's an AMD card, so it should work without issue). Then there's the question of heat. Does the MBP 2017 have heat issues when performing light or moderately heavy tasks? This pairs with the eGPU as well, since the CPU would be working more here. Again, I don't want to game much on a laptop to begin with since I'd rather focus on school, but it's something to keep in mind.

4) Multitasking. I'm coming from Windows 10, but I played around with the Macbooks at the Apple Store/Best Buy, and love what I have used of OS X. How is your experience with multitasking?

5) Lastly, the 2018 update. I would wait, but I'd need the laptop by the end of August the LATEST. I have to get everything set up, and I'd like at least a month or two of getting used to everything. I'm generally platform agnostic, so I don't care much for the operating system debates. I want something that functions well. Windows 10 gets the job done, but there's something about OS X that I like. Maybe it's the look and lack of potential driver/update issues.

And then there's the dongles. I'm fine with them, actually, and the lack of ports when they first announced them didn't bother me (I watch Apple events every year). I'll likely just get a USB-C to A adapter, but that's probably it.

Now, another reason in opting for a Macbook is support. I'm familiar with Apple customer service, and they're fantastic (I have some other Apple products). I'm aware of Applecare, but I don't believe it transfers to a different country. Based on where I'd be going for college, Apple has stores near where I'd be, so being able to take the laptop down to the Apple store would be a great help rather than shipping the product overseas back to the US. That's why I crossed off the Razer Blade Stealth (was my 2nd option, but I've read too many horror stories). The credit card I'll be using to purchase it has extended warranty coverage as well (+1 year).

Sorry about the length of this post. Just want to make sure of everything first!
 

cman-uk

macrumors regular
Oct 27, 2009
208
20
Despite the potential keyboard issues, it seems like an overall solid choice (I was reading that they may have done a stealth update on recently manufactured Pros, but correct me if I'm wrong)
As far as i'm aware, this is 100% unconfirmed, and has only been mentioned on forums by optimists.

If you do have confirmation of this however, please post a link, as it would convince me to pull the trigger on a MBP 2017 purchase...!
 

tubeexperience

macrumors 68040
Feb 17, 2016
3,192
3,892
I wouldn't buy this lemon.

Having to use an external keyboard because the built-in keyboard failed defeats the purpose of having a laptop.
 

duervo

macrumors 68020
Feb 5, 2011
2,319
1,042
If I were getting one with expectation to last several years, and I “had” to get it now, then I’d get 16GB RAM and 512GB storage. Then, I’d cross my fingers and probably start going to church in the hopes that the keyboard will be problem-free for my ownership period.
 
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EugW

macrumors G3
Jun 18, 2017
8,431
5,794
Wait for the back to school sale if you’re somewhere that has that sale. Or buy a refurb.

Check into AppleCare to get the real details about international coverage.
 

0002378

Suspended
May 28, 2017
675
668
16GB of RAM. For sure.
Yup, these things are soldered to the logic board, so if, 2 years from now, you want more RAM, too bad !

Don't make the mistake of sticking with 8GB just because it's enough for your needs now. Your needs could easily change over the next few years as you update the OS and/or begin to use different apps.

Definitely future-proof it to the extent you can. This one's a no-brainer in my opinion.

As far as storage goes, think about how much you want built in ... at least you have the option of plugging in an ext. drive, but no such thing for RAM.
 
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MacKeyboard

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jun 5, 2018
5
2
Wait for the back to school sale if you’re somewhere that has that sale. Or buy a refurb.

Check into AppleCare to get the real details about international coverage.
I'm actually able to get a sale price on a MacBook Pro this week (a few hundred off, though I'm not sure how that extends to models with more RAM). I was speaking with the support team, and AppleCare+ offers international coverage (for where I'd be).
Yup, these things are soldered to the logic board, so if, 2 years from now, you want more RAM, too bad !

Don't make the mistake of sticking with 8GB just because it's enough for your needs now. Your needs could easily change over the next few years as you update the OS and/or begin to use different apps.

Definitely future-proof it to the extent you can. This one's a no-brainer in my opinion.

As far as storage goes, think about how much you want built in ... at least you have the option of plugging in an ext. drive, but no such thing for RAM.
This seems like the best option, I agree. I'll likely opt for a model with 256GB of storage, and the 16GB of RAM. That was my initial pick for a laptop as well (in regards to storage space) since much of what I'd be saving will be stored on an external drive regardless. The RAM limitations on my current computer definitely concerns me, so spending a bit more to future proof it should be fine.
 
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Queen6

macrumors G3
Your education is paramount, "rolling the dice" on the keyboard makes no sense as this is now a well known issue. Depending where you go, will also dictate the level of Apple's support, from bricks & mortar store's to mailing in a defective product...

Look at the course requirements and stick to that, don't buy into the upsell unless you absolutely need it, only burning yourself. Want to game buy a console, or a Windows notebook with Nvidia Optimus and a decent GPU. If going abroad, consider the locality. Here we have Alienware, Apple, Asus, Huawei, Lenovo direct stores, other places can have nothing...

Q-6
 
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MacKeyboard

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jun 5, 2018
5
2
Your education is paramount, "rolling the dice" on the keyboard makes no sense as this is now a well known issue. Depending where you go, will also dictate the level of Apple's support, from bricks & mortar store's to mailing in a defective product...

Look at the course requirements and stick to that, don't buy into the upsell unless you absolutely need it, only burning yourself. Want to game buy a console, or a Windows notebook with Nvidia Optimus and a decent GPU. If going abroad, consider the locality. Here we have Alienware, Apple, Asus, Huawei, Lenovo direct stores, other places can have nothing...

Q-6
The keyboard is definitely something I'm concerned about. While I have read a countless number of both positive and negative reviews (the majority being positive on retail sites), the keyboard issue is definitely off-putting. If I understood you correctly regarding course requirements, it's a liberal arts field, and any laptop I use will likely be limited to dorm use. I estimate that 5-10% of its use will be on campus. I wouldn't say that makes a difference, however.

Regarding support, Apple has physical stores where I'll be studying, though thinking about potential repairs shouldn't be a concern.

Edit: I have considered Windows 10 laptops (namely the Surface Laptop line, or the Razer Blade Stealth), but figured that with the added bonus of support, and overall build quality (minus the keyboard issues), that a MacBook would be a great alternative.
 

meme1255

macrumors 6502a
Jul 15, 2012
719
560
Czechia
I would get higher capacity storage over 16GB of RAM. 8GB is fine for his current use IMHO.
Now yes. It won't be. I have 4 GB of RAM in my (primary, sadly, 2018 MBPs are not available yet), if I had 8 GBs, I would be fine for at least 1-2 additional years.
 

Queen6

macrumors G3
The keyboard is definitely something I'm concerned about. While I have read a countless number of both positive and negative reviews (the majority being positive on retail sites), the keyboard issue is definitely off-putting. If I understood you correctly regarding course requirements, it's a liberal arts field, and any laptop I use will likely be limited to dorm use. I estimate that 5-10% of its use will be on campus. I wouldn't say that makes a difference, however.

Regarding support, Apple has physical stores where I'll be studying, though thinking about potential repairs shouldn't be a concern.

Edit: I have considered Windows 10 laptops (namely the Surface Laptop line, or the Razer Blade Stealth), but figured that with the added bonus of support, and overall build quality (minus the keyboard issues), that a MacBook would be a great alternative.
Go with what works for you best, don't under or over buy, be mindful the MBP keyboard repair can take up to a week. Personally downtime exceeds the cost of the hardware...

Q-6
 
Last edited:

prospervic

macrumors 6502
Aug 2, 2007
417
299
NYC
As far as i'm aware, this is 100% unconfirmed, and has only been mentioned on forums by optimists.

If you do have confirmation of this however, please post a link, as it would convince me to pull the trigger on a MBP 2017 purchase...!
I concur with earlier posters on these forums that there is a noticeable difference in keyboard feel in recently manufactured MBPs. My 13” TB was made in April 2018, and the key travel feels “softer”.

The earlier manufactured ones feel harsher, flatter. I was typing on one such machine in the Apple store, and the H key was not working! Walked across the store to another table and tried the same model, this time the keys felt much nicer, and no H key problem. You can check the build date by reading the serial number of the box BEFORE you open it.

I feel pretty confident about the quality of this MBP. That said, I’m purchasing Apple care just in case, and would advise anyone else to do so.

EDIT: This late in the 2017 MBP’s model life, I strongly advise any prospective purchasers to wait for a sale from Best Buy, B&H, Adorama, etc. These seem to pop up every couple of weeks.
 
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