Need Advice on tMBP Specs… Still Undecided!

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by Ash9414, Nov 21, 2016.

  1. Ash9414 macrumors 6502

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    #1
    So I'm planning on buying a new 13" MBP w/ Touch Bar over the next few weeks to replace my mid 2010 model (see signature for details). The problem is, I'm still undecided on what specifications I should go for. Unfortunately, as I'm in the UK, I haven't yet been able to go and check them out in the Apple Store.

    I am having difficulty choosing between either 8GB or 16GB of RAM, and also whether to go for the 256GB or 512GB SSD. My current MacBook has a 250GB hard drive, that is now about 20GB away from being full after almost 6 years. I am a postgraduate researcher in the field of computational modelling, and as such, most of my work involves writing scripts, data analysis and typesetting scientific papers. I also like to code in my free time, mainly writing apps and website development, which will mostly involve using XCode and Visual Studio (now that it's coming to macOS). This will probably mean I will have to run VMs at some point. As well as this, I often use graphics and 3D modelling software such as the Adobe CC suite and Autodesk, browse with multiple tabs in Safari, listen to music through iTunes, make presentations in Keynote, and some casual gaming. Nothing else immediately comes to mind at the moment, but I am sure there are a few other things on top of what I have already listed.

    I'm hoping for it to last me at least 5 years, just like my current MBP, and remain snappy throughout that period as further updates are made to macOS. I'm not sure whether I intend to sell it on afterwards, if that's important to know. What specs would you recommend for me to be able to achieve everything mentioned above?

    Thanks in advance.
     
  2. cerberusss, Nov 21, 2016
    Last edited: Nov 23, 2016

    cerberusss macrumors 6502a

    cerberusss

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    #2
    If that 256 GB is almost full, definitely get the 512 GB SSD. Unless you want to work with external SSDs, in case you have to be very careful to include those in backups.

    As for the memory, I'd say take the 16 gigs if you can afford it. If not, stick to 8 gigs. Problem is that you won't be able to upgrade unless you buy a new machine and sell the old one in the future.
     
  3. paaj macrumors member

    paaj

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    Oct 27, 2016
    #3
    Depends on what is using all that storage, for €200 difference you can get 200GB iCloud for 5,5 years. I'd say memory first, that's a hard limit if you reach it, storage is easy to fix external.

    Also, the non-TB isn't much slower (turbospeeds are about the same) and probably the best power/money.
     
  4. maerz001 macrumors 6502a

    maerz001

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    #4
    If ur VM can work with 2GB than u don't have to upgrade RAM. I am running Win7 like this. But than the MBs 8GB are full in use when Safari, Mail and some smaller stuff is active...
     
  5. Ash9414 thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #5
    Thanks for the responses!

    If I go for both the RAM and SSD upgrade then I'm going to be about £500 above what I had expected to pay before the new models were announced. However, it's probably worth spending that extra few hundred pounds now to get a computer that will last longer.

    Also, what are people's opinions on the two CPU upgrade options? Do you think I would benefit from either of them with the tasks I will be doing? The upgrade to the i7 is quite a lot of extra money, and it will most likely negatively affect battery life.
     
  6. maerz001 macrumors 6502a

    maerz001

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    #6
    Now u are in the upgrade spiral:) the i7 is about 7% faster. For coding and day to day tasks not worth it.
    If u would handle 4K video than yes
     
  7. Ash9414 thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #7
    I may end up doing some casual video editing from time to time, but I doubt that will be in 4K (at least, probably not in the lifetime of this computer).

    So the consensus seems to be that I should choose both the RAM and SSD upgrades if I want the MacBook to last me another 5 or 6 years, just like my current machine? I'm hopefully going to be placing my order on Black Friday, just in case Apple decides to reduce the price a little or include some extras.
     
  8. cerberusss macrumors 6502a

    cerberusss

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    #8
    Yup. It's the reality of these machines with everything soldered down.
     
  9. Ma2k5 macrumors 6502a

    Ma2k5

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    #9
    If you plan to use it for 5 years, 512gb/1TB together with 16GB ram is a no brainer. The cost/year is so low, you may as well, particularly in your field of work. If you was telling me you was just someone who used it to browse and what not, I would have advised to just stick to 8GB ram.
     
  10. Aboo macrumors 6502a

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    #10
    Also, if you are doing research for any university or academic entity, you may be eligible for the education discount, which can be quite significant and help defray some of the costs of your upgrades. Good luck with the purchase!
     
  11. iizmoo macrumors 6502

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    #11
    Depending on your upgrade cycle, the 1TB upgrade might be in the running. I did 16/512, but I'm willing to upgrade after 3 years if necessary and only keeping this thing longer if it works well, and I've been able to live on 256 since 2012. If you're planning to keep it for 5+, not being able to upgrade the SSD for day to day usage is a big deal. The SSD is very very fast, and having a bigger SSD for some of the work you do might helps, esp when doing data analysis on thing that take up a lot of space. Sure you can get an external SSD, but nothing's going to be as fast as this SSD for a while, and you're burning a lot more power on an external SSD.
     
  12. Ash9414 thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #12
    Yep, I was already looking at the prices with the HE discount. It's still going to cost me around £2k, which is kinda insane considering I was expecting to pay £500 less than this before the announcement. But as somebody else put it, the cost per year isn't too bad if it's able to last me 5 years.

    You make some good points, but thankfully most of the data will be stored on local servers and not on the MacBook. However, it may be necessary to have some of that data available when I'm offline. The simulation runs I perform produce in excess of several terabytes currently, so I don't think it's plausible to be able to store that on the MacBook itself haha. If I need to have access to the full data output when I'm away from an Internet connection, then I will just ask to be provided with an external drive of some sort. Thanks for the input though. :)

    EDIT: I also forgot to mention that I don't have any large media libraries that I will be storing on the MacBook. I stream most content, and keep the rest on my iMac, so I think 512GB should be plenty of space.
     
  13. Ash9414 thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #13
    So one last question before I go ahead and place my order: is it worth the extra ~£85 to upgrade the CPU from the standard 2.9GHz i5 to the 3.1GHz chip? Is the faster CPU likely to have a negative impact on the battery life, or produce significantly more heat, when compared to the standard 2.9GHz chip? When the upgrade is such a small percentage of the overall cost, it kinda makes sense to just go for it. But I don't want the 3.1GHz i5 CPU to cause the machine to run at higher average temperatures or reduce the battery life.
     
  14. Ma2k5 macrumors 6502a

    Ma2k5

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    #14
    Not worth it. Save the cash and potential heat/battery drain as you say. It may do or may not, but why risk it for non-tangible real life benefits? And, at a cost too!
     
  15. cerberusss macrumors 6502a

    cerberusss

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    #15
    I don't have an opinion either way, but I just want to hook into what you're saying here. If you have space in your budget, think about adding a second time machine backup harddrive that you keep outside the house. Or perhaps even better, get an account at Backblaze.

    If you took care of those, then after that, sure get the cpu upgrade.
     
  16. Ash9414 thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #16
    I don't really have a fixed budget any more, since the cost is going to be way above the £1,500 I had expected to pay before the announcement. I'm just trying to find the machine that will suit me the most and last me the longest. Thinking about it, the cost of the CPU upgrade is almost equivalent to the price of the adapters that I'm going to need (Ethernet, VGA, USB), so I might just go for them instead.

    Anyone else have an opinion regarding the CPU upgrade before I actually place my order?
     
  17. Samuelsan2001 macrumors 604

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    Oct 24, 2013
    #17
    The i7 is not worth it on the 13 inch it's still a dual core with a Little's extra cache. To be honest if you need more performance the 15 inch is the way to go quadcore and dedicated graphics and 16gb standard and by the time you've specced up a 13 inch it will be much the same price.


    13 inch
    • Touch Bar and Touch ID
    • 3.3GHz dual-core Intel Core i7 processor, Turbo Boost up to 3.6GHz
    • 16GB 2133MHz memory
    • 512GB PCIe-based SSD
    • Intel Iris Graphics 550
    • Four Thunderbolt 3 ports
    • Backlit Keyboard (British) & User’s Guide (English)
    Cost £2399

    15 inch
    • Touch Bar and Touch ID
    • 2.6GHz quad-core Intel Core i7 processor, Turbo Boost up to 3.5GHz
    • 16GB 2133MHz memory
    • 512GB PCIe-based SSD
    • Radeon Pro 450 with 2GB memory
    • Four Thunderbolt 3 ports
    • Backlit Keyboard (British) & User’s Guide (English)
    Cost £2529

    That extra £130 starts to look a bargain at that point...
     
  18. TheRealAlex macrumors 65816

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    #18
    I'd get the 13" tbMBP but look it up 2 0f it's USBC ports are horrible at half the speed only
     
  19. Samuelsan2001 macrumors 604

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    #19
    They are still faster than any other port on the market and can run any current peripheral at top speed why would that be an issue.
     
  20. pshifrin macrumors 6502

    pshifrin

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    #20
    They are half speed of Thunderbolt 3, so 20gb instead of 40. They are still FULL speed for USB, hdmi, display port up to 4K, any usbc dongle, etc. So only in a very extreme case of plugging in more than 2 Thunderbolt 3 devices would anyone be affected by this "half speed" issue.
     
  21. Ash9414 thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #21
    Thanks for your reply.

    Sorry for the confusion, but I was considering upgrading from the 2.9GHz i5 to the 3.1 GHz i5 CPU, not the i7. What are your thoughts on this upgrade? Also, I much prefer the 13" form factor, especially since I will be carrying the machine to/from work most days.
     
  22. Samuelsan2001 macrumors 604

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    #22

    That upgrade is not worth it at all, a few percent performance increase when you are maxing out the CPU is rarely ever worth it.

    Yeah I love the 13 inch as well, but your use case would make good use of the quad-core and dGPU so I had to point out the closeness of price with 15 inch.
     
  23. Ash9414 thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #23
    Not even when it's only going to cost an additional £86? I don't want to be left with an otherwise upgraded machine that's bottlenecked by the CPU haha. Especially when I want it to last me at least 5 years. Do you think this could be an issue?
     
  24. maerz001 macrumors 6502a

    maerz001

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    #24
    When u ask long enough maybe u'll finde some dude on the internet who tells u it's worth it;)
     
  25. Ash9414 thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #25
    Haha, you make a very good point. :p I'll hopefully be ordering my new machine this evening. Now I just need to figure out which adapters I'll need!
     

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