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kartnite

macrumors member
Original poster
Jul 2, 2013
44
2
Toronto, London, Chennai
My mantra when it comes to computers has always been to "get a beast". In other words, beefed up processor and RAM (not too bothered about the storage space). Not sure I'm right in thinking that way, but happy to hear everyone's take.

There was a time when I was keen on gaming, but not so much now (much as I am tempted to steal those Steam deals). And not really taken in by Mac gaming anyway - even though I have Windows on Boot Camp. I'm in to communications and some sport, so my work is more writing/editing and all things digital (from WordPress and SEM to email, social media and multiple browser tabs incl. YouTube/Netflix). Minor, very minor photoediting—all those new year's resolutions around learning Photoshop gone waste—and nothing video.

I do realise an Air/Macbook (now discontinued)/Pro13 basic would largely fit the bill. Just that I prefer some sort of longevity (if not the bigger screen)—because I am not keen on changing my computer every few years—and I feel having a powerful Pro 'helps' to be 'future-proof'.

Cases in point, my Dell from 2007, which lasted me a good 6 years. And the 2013 rMBP (first of its kind) which is with me even today, all of 8GB RAM. At the time, they were pretty neatly specced.

In fact - The only reason I am back in the market now: battery life. Still quite happy with my machine, but it is what it is - the battery cannot be replaced and the RAM cannot be upgraded. Don't have a choice, alas. And of course, seems it will bring in some money when I upgrade (checking Apple's website, I can get close to $450 yet - not bad I'd say).

So... That said, I was looking at one of the top-tier Pro 16s (i9/16GB RAM), mulling an upgrade to 32GB RAM because I'm thinking of switching to VM/Parallels instead of Boot Camp. But ever since hearing about upcoming ARM units, I'm not sure whether to "go for the beast" or, instead, opt for an Air/Pro 13 and upgrade in a couple of years looking at how ARM devices perform.

Not sure if there is a point in going for a beefed up Pro 16 if Apple will stop supporting it after 3-4 years.

Any suggestions, please? I'd love to hear your perspectives. Thanks for reading.
 
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Spock

macrumors 68020
Jan 6, 2002
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This is just my opinion, I think Apple will support the current Intel Macs for a long time to come. People keep comparing this transition to the PowerPC to Intel transition and its very different. The PowerPC was just at a stand still and Intel was killing it. The G5 was very powerful towards the end but was not suitable for portable use and Apple was stuck using the G4 that had been outdated for years. If you compare the last generation PowerBook G4 to the MacBook Pro that was released a year later you would understand. That PowerBook had a single core 1.67 GHz CPU with a 166 MHz bus while the MacBook Pro had a dual core 2.67 GHz Intel CPU with a 667 MHz bus speed. PowerPC was dead. Intel is far from dead and can still compete. If you need a new Mac right now, I think you would be pretty safe.
 
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glenthompson

Contributor
Apr 27, 2011
2,562
545
Virginia
While not easy, your battery can be replaced. Battery and tools needed are available from IFixit.com for $99. You could have had Apple replace it earlier this year for $199 but that option expired a week ago. Some Apple authorized service shops may still be able to do the fix.

If you get beefed up models, how did you end up with only 8gb of ram? Memory is generally a better upgrade option than processor.

Not a great time to be buying Intel Macs. I fear that in a few years they will be in the same category as PowerPC Macs were 10+ years ago. Normally if you just needed one to tide you over for a couple of years until the ARM transition is settled a refurbished unit would be a good buy but almost all of the refurb units have butterfly keyboards.
 
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kartnite

macrumors member
Original poster
Jul 2, 2013
44
2
Toronto, London, Chennai
People keep comparing this transition to the PowerPC to Intel transition and its very different.
Was thinking just that, because it seems a generation ago (but the same could be said of the current lot, say, seven/ten years down the line).

While not easy, your battery can be replaced. Battery and tools needed are available from IFixit.com for $99. You could have had Apple replace it earlier this year for $199 but that option expired a week ago. Some Apple authorized service shops may still be able to do the fix.

If you get beefed up models, how did you end up with only 8gb of ram? Memory is generally a better upgrade option than processor.

Not a great time to be buying Intel Macs. I fear that in a few years they will be in the same category as PowerPC Macs were 10+ years ago. Normally if you just needed one to tide you over for a couple of years until the ARM transition is settled a refurbished unit would be a good buy but almost all of the refurb units have butterfly keyboards.
Wow, really!?! I wasn't aware of that option from Apple - oh man... Thank you for sharing the other option; will check service shops nearby.

Oh, sorry, by beefed up, I meant - compared to most other Macbook options. I'd juuuust started working, so couldn't shell out more then (much as I wanted to upgrade), although I couldn't have given myself a better treat!

And yes, the last point is really what's maddening - can't blame either perspective though. : )
 
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glenthompson

Contributor
Apr 27, 2011
2,562
545
Virginia
This is just my opinion, I think Apple will support the current Intel Macs for a long time to come. People keep comparing this transition to the PowerPC to Intel transition and its very different.
valid points. I tend to forget this since I didn’t start using Macs until the Intel models so didn’t live through that. What will be interesting to see is how long it takes before developers take advantage of the Apple Silicon and the universal binaries show very different performance between it and Intel.
 
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profcutter

macrumors 6502a
Mar 28, 2019
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Unfortunately, that point about the battery replacement isn't true. I tried to do one back in February, they already claimed that a battery replacement would be 750 dollars or so, since they claimed they don't stock the parts any more. Same problem in December with another 2013 retina machine that needed a new display. They stopped supporting them with fixed rate repairs when they went from Current to Vintage, the latest change just means they won't repair it no matter how much money you throw at them.
 
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NoMoreSony

macrumors member
Apr 18, 2012
96
3
Apple business is heavilly depends on ARM transition success, so I do expect that they will push users really hard to the new platform. Sure they can still support Intel for quite a long time, but if Intel Mac OS start to miss most of new and amazing features available on ARM software versions... You know, nobody wants pay premium price and miss premium features. If you still want to buy new MBP 16 now - just end up with the base i7 or i9. There is no more "future proofing" with Intel Macs, all of them are already obsolete. It did happens right at the time when Apple told us about new ARM Macs on WWDC.
 
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kartnite

macrumors member
Original poster
Jul 2, 2013
44
2
Toronto, London, Chennai
Yep, there absolutely is a requirement to buy one now (much as I'd want to wait). Really hope this series doesn't miss out on too many things over the next few years.
 
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macrumors 6502
Nov 21, 2019
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It seems like a huge risk to buy one of these first-generation ARMs. Apple isn't really great with big transitions like this. Intel is likely going to be the best bang for the buck and supported for years to come. If you are just wiriting you don't need the latest OS.
 
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kartnite

macrumors member
Original poster
Jul 2, 2013
44
2
Toronto, London, Chennai
It seems like a huge risk to buy one of these first-generation ARMs. Apple isn't really great with big transitions like this. Intel is likely going to be the best bang for the buck and supported for years to come. If you are just wiriting you don't need the latest OS.
True, I'm too fussy about 'latest' OS so long the machine is smooth otherwise. Of course, I'd assume the 2019 MBP would, at very least, have OS support for 5 years. That 13-year-old Dell is still functioning on Windows XP, never bothered upgrading it to Vista.

And yes - while I did associate an * with 'first-generation' ARM, I remembered the rMBP I'm currently on is also a 'first generation' in a way; this was when Apple ditched the disk drive among other internal makeovers. Turned out to be pretty good! (Still recall the cMBP vs rMBP discussion I had here on these very pages, gosh time flies)
ANy intel Mac bought today will likely have a three long useful life. After that new versions of macOS will not run on it.

Is three years long enough? Sounds like you have no other option but to abandon Apple for maybe Linux.
Five, ideally (much as I'd want to say 7, ha, but five years at least). I've never used Linux! Really need to give it a whirl.
 
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macrumors 6502
Nov 21, 2019
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ANy intel Mac bought today will likely have a three long useful life. After that new versions of macOS will not run on it.

Is three years long enough? Sounds like you have no other option but to abandon Apple for maybe Linux.
The machine won’t suddenly stop working when OS support runs out. Any Intel Mac bought today will be useful for at least the next five years. Probably more like eight if software keeps up
 
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ChrisA

macrumors G4
Jan 5, 2006
11,810
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The machine won’t suddenly stop working when OS support runs out. Any Intel Mac bought today will be useful for at least the next five years. Probably more like eight if software keeps up

Yes, exactly. I still have a "Fat Mac" with 512K of RAM and a floppy disk. No hard drive on that machine and it runs as well as it did when new. I think this machine was made in the mid-1980s. Yes, it works but it is useless except as an antique.

The trouble with not getting updated OS is that if you are doing serious creative work (other then web browsing and Youtube) you want to use the current version os (say) Apple's Logic but it requires a certain version of the OS and you can't run that. Same with Xcode, FCP, and others.

I have run into a problem with Fusion 360 (a 3D CAD program) I can't upgrade Fusion. The upgrade addresses some bugs. So I need a newer Mac so I can install a newer macOS so I can upgrade Fusion so I can get the bug fixes.

Do I buy a new Intel Mac for this? If I do I will be right back again here in three years.

A really good option is to run Fusion 360 on a Windows PC.
 
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hallux

macrumors 68040
Apr 25, 2012
3,308
870
but almost all of the refurb units have butterfly keyboards.
If the OP is looking at 16" MBP's I can assure you NONE of those have the butterfly keyboard. There was a decent selection of them as I was browsing this week, I grabbed myself the i9 with 1TB of storage and 16GB of RAM.
 
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kartnite

macrumors member
Original poster
Jul 2, 2013
44
2
Toronto, London, Chennai
If the OP is looking at 16" MBP's I can assure you NONE of those have the butterfly keyboard. There was a decent selection of them as I was browsing this week, I grabbed myself the i9 with 1TB of storage and 16GB of RAM.
Yes, I believe the current 16" units reverted to the scissor-switch keyboard. I'm debating between 16GB/32GB RAM; but that's the range I do intend to go with (i9/1TB).
 
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macrumors 6502
Nov 21, 2019
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The trouble with not getting updated OS is that if you are doing serious creative work (other then web browsing and Youtube) you want to use the current version os (say) Apple's Logic but it requires a certain version of the OS and you can't run that
It depends on what type of creative work you are doing and if you actually need the latest bells and whistles. Most creatives don’t. Their art dictates the tools, not the other way around. Adobe has not made a substantial update to it’s software in a very long time. For my uses, Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign haven’t changed much from OG CC to 2020. That’s almost ten years.
 
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kingsrule5

macrumors member
Oct 11, 2011
73
8
I did a similar debate but was looking more at the Pro vs Air but 16" was in the conversation. Ultimately I went with a 13 Pro i5 16gb, 1tb.

Basically the savings vs loading it out and even a moderate residual will let me upgrade in 3-4 years if needed but I have enough power and storage to cover pretty much everything till then and really beyond (similar use case to yours OP).

I figure if they are saying 2 years to switch everything they will keep everything compatible for intel for at least 5 years (3 year applecare+2 year transition). And if Apple extends the intel support I should see any deficiencies.

For me I think the first few years of arm could be rough including software and hardware kinks. The biggest thing that could gain is the miniled screens but there always a next technology coming.
 
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kartnite

macrumors member
Original poster
Jul 2, 2013
44
2
Toronto, London, Chennai
I did a similar debate but was looking more at the Pro vs Air but 16" was in the conversation. Ultimately I went with a 13 Pro i5 16gb, 1tb.

Basically the savings vs loading it out and even a moderate residual will let me upgrade in 3-4 years if needed but I have enough power and storage to cover pretty much everything till then and really beyond (similar use case to yours OP).

I figure if they are saying 2 years to switch everything they will keep everything compatible for intel for at least 5 years (3 year applecare+2 year transition). And if Apple extends the intel support I should see any deficiencies.

For me I think the first few years of arm could be rough including software and hardware kinks. The biggest thing that could gain is the miniled screens but there always a next technology coming.
While the Air is indeed 'light', I'd prefer the general real estate the 16" offers (screen, ease of typing, etc.) besides the power of course. And the 16"—while obviously and understandably heavier—isn't all that cumbersome either and I'm ok with it not being ultra-portable like the Air or any of the recent Windows units (some of them are really good I hear).

I'd otherwise go with a 13", but unlike phones, I'd rather my laptop have the bigger screen. And this series has a decent screen anyway, so... I won't be too swayed by what the initial ARMs offer. Just hope AirBar comes up with something for the 16" MBP. Would love to make it a touchscreen.

And by "should see any deficiencies", are you comparing the current Intel unit with a future ARM device?

Thank you so much for shedding light on use case, @kingsrule5; that really, really helps ease a few things in my mind.
 
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