New MBP with or without TouchBar?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by Ankaa, Nov 18, 2016.

  1. Ankaa macrumors 6502a

    Jul 27, 2008

    so, I'm in the market for a new Apple laptop, have been so for months. Originally, I'm a dedicated MBA user and was very tempted to buy the 13'' with the bigger CPU, but I will not buy another Mac without retina. So, when Apple presented the new MBPs, and them being the same thickness/weight as the MBA, I was kinda sold. I even could imagine the new TouchBar to be useful, but I patiently waited for them to become available in store to actually try them out, first. Which I did yesterday.

    Soo...I'm not really impressed with the TouchBar, I don't see a real usage/improvement for me (not saying it might be for others). Now I'm considering to get the MBP w/o TouchBar instead and save a good $250 or use that money to upgrade either the CPU or the RAM on that one.

    I'm not completely sure what specs I need. This won't be my standalone Mac, I do have a powerful iMac at home. However, it should be able to get the job done while in the field/travelling. I use MatLab and to some extend ArcGIS with Parallels.

    Would the 2.0 GHz i5 be enough for occasional power-intensive work? Or should I go with the 2.9 of the MBP with TouchBar? What about 2.4 GHz i7 vs. 2.9 GHz i5?

    Or should I put 16 GB RAM in? I know, the more RAM the better, but do I REALLY need it in everyday life? That's saying, I'm coming from a 4 GB RAM 1.7 GHz MBA, that had slowed down somewhat, lately.

    Just trying to get the best price-power-value for me. I mean, I'd love to save those $250, if sensible.

    But I'm also a little concerned about is the 2 ports vs. 4 ports. However, the TouchBar is in NO way the selling argument for me.
  2. chscag macrumors 68030


    Feb 17, 2008
    Fort Worth, Texas
    Personally, I would go for more system memory (16GB) over the faster CPU. Ideally, if you can afford it, the i7 and 16GB of memory would be best. As for the TouchBar MacBook Pro models, they're completely non user upgradeable as everything is soldered in including the flash storage. In other words, a throw away machine. If you do decide on a TouchBar model, buying Apple Care is a must as anything that does go south on those machines is going to require a logic board swap out.
  3. merkinmuffley macrumors 6502a

    Dec 3, 2010
    I'd stay away from the magic of the Touchbar. Can't update the SSD in those systems, and that's a deal killer for me.
  4. Zazoh macrumors 6502a


    Jan 4, 2009
    San Antonio, Texas
    This is one of the classic Mac dilemmas, opt out and hope it is a fad, or double down and be the first to have the future.

    Because they didn't offer it on all the new lines, I'm thinking even Apple is skeptical of its longevity.
  5. theluggage macrumors 68040

    Jul 29, 2011
    Remember that the 13"-without-touchbar has a lower powered (15W) CPU than the touchbar model (28W, I think) - so the various i5/i7 xxGHz processor options aren't really like-for-like comparable.

    Also, even in a bright future where everything is USB-C or TB3, I don't think just two USB-C/TB3 ports - however fast they are potentially - are enough to replace 1xMagsafe, 2xUSB3, 2xThunderbolt, 1xHDMI and a SD-card slot. If you live in the cloud and only care about WiFi and Bluetooth, fine, but if you need connectivity, this laptop is always going to be dependent on some sort of dock/hub.

    Overall, you need to think of the 13" MacBook non-touchbar as the new "MacBook Air with Retina Display" rather than a replacement for the old 13" MacBook.

    The non-removable SSD in the touchbar models is a blow, however. In perspective: the prospects for ever upgrading the removable, but proprietary, SSD in the non-tb are not great, but at least there is the potential, plus the possibility of rescuing (or simply removing) your data if the laptop dies.
  6. Zazoh macrumors 6502a


    Jan 4, 2009
    San Antonio, Texas
    I like that thought, it makes perfect sense. I wonder why Apple didn't position it that way. What confuses me the most in all of this is why they dropped the 11 and kept the old Air around ... especially with what you said, the non-touchbar makes more sense as an Air replacement.
  7. Ankaa thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Jul 27, 2008
    And what does that mean in real-life? The "only" 2.0 GHz on the standard model w/o TouchBar was, after all, one of my concerns from the beginning. But, it might still be enough for what I use the computer. Might.

    Which really is all I ever wanted. However...the MBA came with more ports.

    I don't care about removable or non-removable SSDs. Never have, never will. I'm also not someone who has tons of periphery that needs to be connected all the time or even once every now and then.

    What I do have, especially when travelling/in the field would be CF card reader and external hard drive(s). I hardly use flash thumb drives for file exchange...I kinda do live in the cloud. Still...2, of which one is used for power, seems a little limiting.

    I hate the fact that I couldn't charge the Book from either of the features they really bragged about. But is this worth 250 extra bucks?

    Entry-level Mac. Give it another year or two and the MBP w/o will take it's place at the same price point.

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