Mid-2015 15" Macbook Pro Impressions

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by smsmart, Jul 13, 2016.

  1. smsmart macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 23, 2016
    #1
    I’m sure there have been countless threads like this before, so my apologies. Just wanted to share some impressions I've had of my new machine. About a month ago I purchased a new mid-2015 15" rMBP, topped out with the 2.8Ghz i7 CPU, dGPU and 1TB storage. I got a pretty decent deal on it (for me anyways), so I figured why not since I didn't feel the need to wait for the rumored 2016 MBP refresh and I was coming from a base late-2011 15" cMBP (also with dGPU).

    Aside from the significant increase in resolution of the retina screen, and being thinner and lighter, I haven't been too "wow-ed" by the overall package, and I think it really comes down to the experience of El Capitan more than the machine itself. Aside from compute heavy tasks such as rendering audio and video that I sometimes do, the day-to-day tasks of using the machine don't seem much faster or fluid than my 2011 cMBP that's currently running Mavericks.

    In fact, I feel as though El Capitan is a bit laggy and stutters when doing things like switching windows, moving between desktop spaces, opening tabs and whatnot within Safari or Office applications. I'm a bit surprised by this because I figured that these sorts of things would fly on the top spec'd machine I got. And it's a brand new machine that still doesn't have too many of my applications on it yet. I also feel as though this might be attributed to El Capitan because aside from my cMBP that has Mavericks, I also have another Mac machine with comparable hardware and 16GB RAM with Mountain Lion that is smooth as butter...literally no lag and stutter whatsoever.

    Also I don't know if it's just me or my tired eyes, but sometimes the screen on the new rMBP feels washed out. Maybe it's just the new visual theme of El Capitan/Yosemite compared to Mavericks? Or maybe how El Cap now handles brightness? I read in a couple of places that El Capitan changed the way the auto brightness works and that it now also adjusts the gamma when adjusting how bright the screen is.

    And also the keyboard...I realize that they key travel will be different compared to my cMBP because of the thinner form factor, but I've noticed that some keys are mushier than others, particularly the top rows. Not a huge deal, but I liked the consistency better on my older cMBP.

    Have others had similar experiences with their rMBP's?
     
  2. jerryk macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2011
    Location:
    SF Bay Area
    #2
    I am not experience any lags with my 2015 rMBP with dGPU and 512 GB. Strange. It feel a bit snapper than my 2011 cMBP, but that unit was a 13 inch with dual code i5 with ssd and 16GB running Yosemite. I hate pictures on my desktop so I just put one of the boring patterns as my background. I don't use Safari, so cannot comment on it's performance.

    But when I run my machine learning code it really is much quicker. In some steps 3 times faster.

    I also like the Force trackpad.

    Overall I am happy with my purchase.
     
  3. smsmart thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 23, 2016
    #3
    Yeah I don't know why it feels so stuttery, mostly noticeable when I switch desktop spaces (which I do a lot since I often run multiple applications at the same time and like to separate them out onto two or three spaces). It's not consistent, sometimes the switching is smooth, and sometimes the framerate when animating the switch drop significantly. And this happens regardless of how many applications I run, even when I just run safari it acts like this.

    I do enjoy the ForceTouch trackpad! At first I was skeptical going in, but so far using it has been great. It's nice to be able to click anywhere on it and some of the other gestures. And the simulated click has a nice feel to it.

    I've also noticed that it feels warmer when using it on my lap. Especially now that it's summer and warm in the house, having it on my lap for too long causes me to feel hot, which is not something I experience with my cMBP. I'm guessing it's because the rMBP is thinner than the cMBP that the heat is dissipated less before it gets to the outer body shell.
     
  4. jerryk macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2011
    Location:
    SF Bay Area
    #4
    I don't do much animation, except for small, 5 sec image movements. But I imagine more extensive work would be pretty taxing. And with silence being a key goal, Apple has set these system up to get pretty hot before the fans really kick in. This can lead to the system throttle back the CPU to stay within thermal limits. You can trade a slightly noisier system for one that may throttle later by using one of the fan speed apps to set the initial fan speeds higher. This thread discusses doing that and other cooling strategies.

    http://forums.macrumors.com/threads/macbook-pro-sounding-like-a-jet-engine.1982833/
     
  5. simonmet, Jul 16, 2016
    Last edited: Jul 17, 2016

    simonmet macrumors 65816

    simonmet

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2012
    Location:
    Sydney, New South Wales
    #5
    I have this laptop and it's awesome. Surprised you sound so underwhelmed.

    Coming from the cMBP the SSD should seem ridiculously fast. I came from a previous rMBP and could tell the difference even from an SSD. As for stuttering, you might like to test turning the iGPU off in Energy Saver preferences (forcing dGPU). I do this usually when connected to power just because I like maximum performance! The iGPU is good compared to previous versions but the dGPU is definitely smoother.

    As for a washed out screen, that shouldn't be the case either. Apple's calibrations are quite good now. I got mine hardware calibrated and it was very close to Apple's. But I like to use f.Lux software to manually change the white balance at night and this greatly reduces that blue, washed out look. It seems to really improve warmth and richness of colours also. You might be used to the warmer tone of previous TFT displays which also tend to warm as they age.
     
  6. ArmCortexA8 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2010
    Location:
    Terra Australis
    #6
    Odd impressions as the current model Macbook Pro Retina's have an updated GPU, and faster SSD drivers and EC runs ultra smooth on mine - 512GB SSD / i7 / 16GB RAM - NOTE: Only 512GB or larger SSD's have the faster speed. I have no lagginess and don't use any 3rd party "management" applications which can cause issues as they alter systems settings and load files into memory on boot by default which can conflict with the system. I'd recommend creating a new user account without any 3rd party management apps and then see how it goes. The only 3rd party programme I use is MacClean by iMobie (free) and Malwarebytes for Mac (free) but would avoid the rest like the plague.
     
  7. smsmart thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 23, 2016
    #7
    Well that's the thing, this new rMBP is pretty much bone stock, so there really shouldn't be any background applications slowing any of it down. The only things I have loaded onto it since I got it are Office 2016 and Ableton Live 9. That and one El Capitan update. Which is why this leads me to believe more of an issue with El Capitan than anything else.

    Regarding the screen, I think I have it sort of figured out. I read a couple of online forum threads mentioning that El Capitan introduced gamma adjustment with the automatic brightness adjustment feature. The suggestion was to turn it off in order to prevent the washed out look. I did so and it does seem to have helped, colors look to be deeper now than before. I also ran the display calibration tool built into OS X and that seems to have helped as well, with colors looking a bit more vivid and deeper blacks than before. I think the main issue has been that my older late 2011 cMBP has a cooler looking display by default than the new rMBP. I'm guessing the white point might be a bit different on it, because on the cMBP the whites look cooler/more blue, whereas on the new rMBP I have they are warmer/more yellow.

    Also with the SSD I might not be noticing as much of a difference because I had already replaced the hard drive on my cMBP with a Samsung 840EVO SSD over two years ago. So going from that to this 1TB SSD on the rMBP isn't as stark of a difference as it would have been had I still had the old mechanical drive on my cMBP.
     
  8. HBOC macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2008
    Location:
    SLC
    #8
    i feel you on the washed out colors - although i haven't calibrated my laptop yet. but i came from a base 2011 iMac and the speed differences are night and day. super nice that all the programs open within 2-3 icon bounces :)
     
  9. smsmart thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 23, 2016
    #9
    Just an update: I've had the maxed out MacBook Pro 15-inch mid-2015 for 6-months now and unfortunately still suffer from the stuttering :/ At one point it looked like I had it fixed/mostly improved when I updated my El Capitan install to 10.11.15...moving between desktop spaces and windows seemed more fluid and less stuttery. But now I'm on 10.11.16 and the stutter seems to have come back. Even with one Safari window open, moving side-to-side between desktop spaces often lags, as well as when I trigger launchpad or mission control. Pretty disappointing to be honest, because I figured that this thing would fly given the maxed out processor and discrete graphics. My late-2011 15" MacBook Pro does better in these day-to-day tasks (although it doesn't have a retina display to power).

    After experimenting with different settings and whatnot, I think it's either macOS that's the problem or the fact that the Retina display is just too much for the integrated graphics to handle smoothly. Actually, maybe a combo of both, since even when I set the AMD discrete graphics to run all the time it still exhibits the same, albeit a little improved, stutter and lag when it comes to the animations.
     
  10. xraydoc macrumors demi-god

    xraydoc

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2005
    Location:
    192.168.1.1
    #10
    What screen resolution are you running? The higher resolution (scaled) settings (above effective 1440x900) require more GPU resources to render, and I believe unless you've got an app open that's activating the dGPU, the UI effects are rendered on the iGPU.
     
  11. malikkamran macrumors 6502

    malikkamran

    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2016
    Location:
    Pakistan
  12. smsmart thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 23, 2016
    #12
    I haven't changed the resolution beyond the default 1440x900 scaling. And yeah the iGPU is what's running most of the time when fast graphic switching is enabled, so it what's powering the animations and such most of the time. However even when I fire up Ableton Live, which triggers the AMD dGPU to run, the stutter is still there when switching between desktop spaces and launching mission control :/

    Battery life seems to be good, I haven't officially timed how long a charge lasts, but it's no worse than my older 2011 15" MacBook Pro and seems to last as long as Apple claims it should.
     
  13. xraydoc macrumors demi-god

    xraydoc

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2005
    Location:
    192.168.1.1
    #13
    The default on the new machines is actually 1650x1080.
     
  14. smsmart thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 23, 2016
    #14
    Really? When I go to the display settings and flip on the "scaled" setting, it shows the default setting as "looks like 1440x900", and I think that's true because comparing to my 2011 macbook pro which has an actual 1440x900 screen it looks like I have the same amount of room on the desktop. Maybe you're talking about the new 15" Macbook Pro? I have the 2015.
     
  15. xraydoc macrumors demi-god

    xraydoc

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2005
    Location:
    192.168.1.1
    #15
    Yes, sorry. New machines as in 2016.
    2015 machines and before default to 1440x900.
     

Share This Page