Pre-purchase 13" TB MBP questions

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by andy9l, Feb 7, 2017.

  1. andy9l macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2009
    Location:
    England, UK
    #1
    I've just moved from a top-end 2016 5K iMac to using my 12" MacBook as my main macOS machine alongside a custom gaming PC. These are both connected to a shared USB-C 4K monitor. I need to upgrade my macOS machine, and I'd like it to be a portable device - so that leaves me with the MacBook Pro.

    I can pick up a brand new 13" TB MBP for £1,200 which is quite tempting, but I can also pick up any other non-BTO model for a similar % discount so I'm not limited to that model.

    I'd really like to stick with a 13" model if at all feasible - for both looks and portability. I really don't like the size or goofy looks of the 15", personally.

    My typical usage is fairly typical of a hobbyist developer. Xcode, Atom, Apache, MySQL, Terminal, iTunes, Mail, Safari, Chrome, Photoshop and some basic video editing in iMovie.

    I have a couple of questions and concerns about my potential purchase:
    1. 8GB of RAM seems too low already
      My basic understanding of determining required RAM in macOS is that if your memory pressure bar in activity monitor is relatively high, you have high 'swap' values, or you have high "Pageouts" in terminal via vm_stat then you need more RAM. My MacBook has 8GB of RAM. With just Chrome and Xcode open, it already shows 'Swap Used' of over 250MB, the pressure bar is green but quite high, and "Pageouts" in vm_stat is 661915. This suggests 8GB is no longer enough to efficiently run macOS, so buying a product today with only 8GB would be ludicrous. Surely I'm missing something?
    2. Using a 4K display with Iris 550
      One of the main reasons I need to upgrade my MacBook is because it cannot smoothly drive a 4K screen. It really struggles and throttles very quickly when you do anything other than basic browsing. I need some kind of confidence that this isn't the same with the Iris 550. I noticed Intel define the maximum resolution for the processor to be just over typical "4K", so does that suggest the processor is going to be running at its limit just handling the display? Do I realistically need to go for a 15" for a smooth 4K experience? Bearing in mind I'll be running Xcode, too.
    I'd really appreciate any advice, experience or comments.

    Thanks in advance!
     
  2. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    May 3, 2009
    Location:
    Boston
    #2
    I run different apps as you, but my iMac has only 8GB and I don't come anywhere near over-extending my usage. There will always be a small swap file created and having a small 250MB file doesn't mean you're low on resources.
     
  3. Broke boi macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2017
  4. andy9l thread starter macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2009
    Location:
    England, UK
    #4
    Ok. It just concerned me that I have 800MB 'compressed' memory and 250MB swap, running just two apps. Yes, they're not small apps but nor are they huge.

    I'm worried this points to imminent issues with only 8GB, but you don't think it does?

    I've had 8GB since 2011, so it seems weird buying the same amount 6 years later.

    As I said in the original post, it cannot drive a 4K display with acceptable performance. It's also sluggish with Xcode.

    Absolutely understandable - it was never built for either of those tasks. It's been my favourite Mac ever, but unfortunately I now require more from my laptop.
     
  5. Broke boi macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2017
    #5
    I got the 13 inch no touchbar base model and I only use it for basic tasks. I wish I had the 12 inch Mac instead. its so light. I might wanna make use of 4k In the future though...
     
  6. andy9l thread starter macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2009
    Location:
    England, UK
    #6
    For basic usage, the 12" is the best Apple device available.

    There's no answers online for my questions, and the two Apple Store employees have just offered generic tips, including: "yes, it's 7x more powerful". Seems my only option is to intentionally exploit the Apple 14 day return window - I don't feel good about that though.

    Any other comments/advice?
     
  7. BeatCrazy macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2011
    #7
    The 12" MB (especially the 2016) can drive 4K at 60Hz just fine.
     
  8. andy9l thread starter macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2009
    Location:
    England, UK
    #8
    The 2015 model really struggles. I use it first-hand every evening. It's unacceptable performance.
     
  9. Broke boi macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2017
    #9
    really? awesome. next time I won't impulse buy the 13 inch base model then
     
  10. BeatCrazy macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2011
    #10
    Everyone's use case will be different. However your experience is understandable, given the 2015's weaker graphics.

    I have the 2016 MB, and my 2016 nTB base model arrives tomorrow. They each have their strengths.
     

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