Most important thing to upgrade when buying 15" MacBook Pro

Aluminum213

macrumors 68040
Original poster
Mar 16, 2012
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I'm looking to buy 15" MBP in the next month or so, what's the most important thing to upgrade? It's already set at 16GB RAM. Also, is it worth just getting the model that starts at $2,499?
 

leman

macrumors G4
Oct 14, 2008
11,277
5,788
It depends on what you use it for. Do you want to play games? Are you routinely editing large photos and videos? For most users, the base 15" model will do more than fine. If you want to play games, you should think about the model with the dedicated GPU.
 

Dark Void

macrumors 68030
Jun 1, 2011
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I suppose to answer your question I would say the dGPU in the high-end model. The other differences are mostly just spec bumps and not adding hardware.
 

zettabyte

macrumors regular
Jun 6, 2015
105
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For sure the CPU and GPU. It's a good way of future proofing your Macbook Pro.
Everything else, unless otherwise noted, can be swapped out.

However, the single most important thing would be the GPU as "Dark Void" had mentioned.
 

Sully

macrumors regular
Oct 27, 2007
150
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For sure the CPU and GPU. It's a good way of future proofing your Macbook Pro.
Everything else, unless otherwise noted, can be swapped out.

However, the single most important thing would be the GPU as "Dark Void" had mentioned.

With respect to the dGPU, I've read here that it can cause a lot of issues so that there is some downside to adding one if you don't really have to have it.

My thought was to max out everything as a way of getting more longevity from a $2,500 purchase and the dGPU is only $100 more than the base model given the way I would spec the base model. After reading some of the posts here, I'm seriously considering not getting the dGPU because I think that the cons might outweigh the pros.

Also, I don't think you can "swap out" everything else. Apple says that the both the memory and SSD are fixed on these new machines so that what you buy at the outset is what you have for the life of the machine.
 

scaredpoet

macrumors 604
Apr 6, 2007
6,627
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If you can afford the $2499 model, then go for it. It's got all the upgrades I would think are good to have for a 15" MBPr.

If not: then with RAM already out of the way, since you've decided on 16GB, I'd prioritize the rest like this:

1. SSD
2. dGPU vs integrated GPU
3. CPU.

Storage is something you'll most wish you had more of, the longer you keep your Mac. 512GB is a good size of SSD to have, as it's unlikely you'll run out of space unless you're really hoarding data. 1TB isn't worth paying an extra $500 for... UNLESS you know for a fact that you're going to use all that storage space.

Having a discrete GPU is necessary if you're gaming with this laptop. If that's not a priority, and you're not doing TONS of video or photo editing, then it might not be as important.

CPU speed is something you'll benefit the least from in most cases. Certain CPU intensive tasks will see small performance boosts from a faster/better CPU, but not by a very wide margin. All of the CPUs offered on current rMBPs are pretty capable.
 

zettabyte

macrumors regular
Jun 6, 2015
105
19
With respect to the dGPU, I've read here that it can cause a lot of issues so that there is some downside to adding one if you don't really have to have it.

My thought was to max out everything as a way of getting more longevity from a $2,500 purchase and the dGPU is only $100 more than the base model given the way I would spec the base model. After reading some of the posts here, I'm seriously considering not getting the dGPU because I think that the cons might outweigh the pros.

Also, I don't think you can "swap out" everything else. Apple says that the both the memory and SSD are fixed on these new machines so that what you buy at the outset is what you have for the life of the machine.
This is precisely what I did back in 2012. Maxed out everything in a way to future proof my investment. Almost 4 years later it is still running strong as it did on the date of purchase.

The dGPU issue...well...that's completely up to you, but I wouldn't hold that issue as a deal breaker. At the end of the day, the choice is yours.

In terms of swapping things out, that's what they've said about some of the rMBP models back a few years ago...apparently it's not entirely true. We'll just have to wait and see...unless there are breakdowns already for viewing.
 

zettabyte

macrumors regular
Jun 6, 2015
105
19
If you can afford the $2499 model, then go for it. It's got all the upgrades I would think are good to have for a 15" MBPr.

If not: then with RAM already out of the way, since you've decided on 16GB, I'd prioritize the rest like this:

1. SSD
2. dGPU vs integrated GPU
3. CPU.

Storage is something you'll most wish you had more of, the longer you keep your Mac. 512GB is a good size of SSD to have, as it's unlikely you'll run out of space unless you're really hoarding data. 1TB isn't worth paying an extra $500 for... UNLESS you know for a fact that you're going to use all that storage space.

Having a discrete GPU is necessary if you're gaming with this laptop. If that's not a priority, and you're not doing TONS of video or photo editing, then it might not be as important.

CPU speed is something you'll benefit the least from in most cases. Certain CPU intensive tasks will see small performance boosts from a faster/better CPU, but not by a very wide margin. All of the CPUs offered on current rMBPs are pretty capable.
Well said. Two thumbs up on the CPU comment....any of the ones available will be more than adequate for all your tasks.
 

maflynn

Moderator
Staff member
May 3, 2009
66,940
33,924
Boston
what's the most important thing to upgrade? I
It really depends on your needs, some people want to the dGPU, others want the largest SSD they can fit in the machine, others like the faster CPU.

If it were me, I'd probably opt for the storage
 

snaky69

macrumors 603
Mar 14, 2008
5,904
484
I'm looking to buy 15" MBP in the next month or so, what's the most important thing to upgrade? It's already set at 16GB RAM. Also, is it worth just getting the model that starts at $2,499?
Since you did not bother telling us what you use a computer for, I'll take a wild guess and say you could make do with an iPad.
 

brtate2

macrumors newbie
Jun 30, 2015
10
3
I'm looking to buy 15" MBP in the next month or so, what's the most important thing to upgrade? It's already set at 16GB RAM. Also, is it worth just getting the model that starts at $2,499?
Other than selecting CPU, ssd and memory options there is not alot to upgrade when it comes to a Macbook Pro. If discreet GPU is an option, I'd get that if it is a reliable one (honestly I've not followed the dGPU options in current Macbook Pros).

Perhaps a nice external IPS or PLS display and connectors. Backup soluitions (external HDD). Stuff like that I'd say.
 

Aluminum213

macrumors 68040
Original poster
Mar 16, 2012
3,521
3,884
Since you did not bother telling us what you use a computer for, I'll take a wild guess and say you could make do with an iPad.
Video editing with Final Cut and music creation with Logic Pro
 

Dark Void

macrumors 68030
Jun 1, 2011
2,614
478
With respect to the dGPU, I've read here that it can cause a lot of issues so that there is some downside to adding one if you don't really have to have it.
There isn't really an issue with adding a dGPU. The graphics are not switchable in Windows which is the majority of what I would call an "issue," the rest is mostly paranoia due to heat generated from it.

I don't know of any other issues regarding a dedicated GPU other than temperature related complaints - which isn't an issue most of the time. I'm not saying it can't have genuine, unintended heat related issues but most of the time it is just worrying.
 

mcmul

macrumors 6502
Dec 14, 2009
341
12
I bought the 15" base model and couldn't be more impressed. I didn't expect the 13" to 15" jump to be so transformative. The SSD is insane and so far everything just flies. I'm doing a fair bit on it right now and it's barely over 50% RAM and the CPU is practically idol (see the dock attached).
 

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