Replacing my MacBook Pro?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by skaertus, Jan 1, 2016.

  1. skaertus macrumors 68030

    skaertus

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2009
    Location:
    Brazil
    #1
    I have a 15-inch MacBook Pro with retina display which I bought back in 2013 when I visited the US. It is the 2.4 GHz version with 8 GB RAM and 256 GB SSD.

    Now I am in the US again and I can replace my Mac for something else. The Mac is still fine, but some things could be better. As I use Bootcamp, I partitioned the SSD and 128 GB is starting to be a little bit small. The RAM is not enough for running Parallels seamlessly. And the video card somewhat struggles when running Yosemite on a resolution that resembles 1920x1200 (my favorite setup).

    Not thinking in buying another Mac here. I realized I really need Windows and that Windows 10 is perfectly good for anything that I want. I need Office all the time and Office for Mac is still crap after all these years.

    I was interested in the Dell XPS 13, the Dell XPS 15 and the Surface Book. There is also an Alienware which is a beast. All of them seem to be very nice, but I don't know if any of them is worth to replace my Mac. I mean, they are fine, but do the specs justify it? And I also pay a lot of attention to the screen quality, the keyboard and the trackpad.

    Alternatively, I could just use my MacBook Pro with Bootcamp, with all its limitations mainly deriving from poor driver support. Especially the absence of multi-touch trackpad under Bootcamp (just for the record, I tried Trackpad++ and I found it both crappy and annoying). The Mac trackpad under Bootcamp is terrible and one of the main annoyances of using Windows on the Mac.

    I was going to give my MacBook Pro to my father. Alternatively, if I don't buy one for me, I would buy some crappy USD 500 PC laptop for him.

    Any suggestions? Opinions? Should I go ahead? Not the time to replace the Mac yet?
     
  2. 960design macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2012
    Location:
    Destin, FL
    #2
    I have the highest spec MBPr and run Win10 in Virtual Box with no issues. I do not game in Win10, just run the occasional Win software for a client.

    I have an Asus ZenBook Pro UX501 for the dedicated Win10 apps and high end testing. That thing is a beast. I can definitely recommend it.
     
  3. skaertus thread starter macrumors 68030

    skaertus

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2009
    Location:
    Brazil
    #3
    Thanks. I guess some of the best are the XPS, the Ativ Book 9 and the Zenbook. Which of these have better build quality, and better trackpad?
     
  4. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

    Staff Member

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    #4
    At this point given the issues with the SurfaceBook and its cost, I'd avoid that. I like the XPS model the best, but its hard to pass up the AlienWare computer
     
  5. Algus macrumors regular

    Algus

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    Jun 8, 2014
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    Arizona
    #5
    IMO the XPS has the better build quality. Zenbooks are awesome but they're known to have a hinge issue. I've not had trouble but I don't own a Zenbook personally so my experience is mostly from just testing them out.

    It was driving me nuts where I'd read this before then I was like, oh he posted on NBR too!

    Samsung has better presence in Brick & Mortar stores. If you don't have much luck finding the XPS 13 (or 15) or a Zenbook, that might make the decision for you.

    The 15'' Ultrabooks are pretty compact. It isn't like the old days so if you get one of these slim profile 15'' machines, I don't think you'll have to much trouble carrying it around.
     
  6. zhaoxin, Jan 2, 2016
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2016

    zhaoxin macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2015
    #6
    I don't think to buy a new computer just for the trackpad is a good idea. Why not buy an external trackpad or a mouse? Logitech has external multitouch trackpad for Windows.

    The lag in OS 10.10, you can upgrade to 10.11 and the lag will disappear.

    I think this is something between you want OS X or Windows most. If you don't want to use OS X any more. Just buy a new PC.
     
  7. RedCroissant Suspended

    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2011
    #7
    I agree that you should upgrade to El Capitan but in addition that, why not just upgrade the SSD to a larger capacity and at the least save yourself that headache?

    And yes, 8GB might not be enough to virtualize using Parallels, but Virtualbox is a great application that requires fewer system resources (the last time that I checked) and I think Windows would run better in virtualization using that application.

    Why do you use the Windows partition? If it's primarily for Windows applications like Office, there are good alternatives (based on one's uses) that could serve as great replacements. I personally use LibreOffice and have not found any issues preventing me from replacing MS Office completely.

    And no, definitely not time to replace the Mac yet in my opinion. I just think you need to adjust the way you approach the storage issues and the applications you use to complete the tasks that you require to be completed. I kept using Windows for a bit, once I switched, for basic things. I even used it a couple of times for design software (that I later found had an OS X version). But unless you're actually using BootCamp for gaming purposes, I don't see why a minor adjustment to your choices of software wouldn't benefit your setup.
     
  8. skaertus thread starter macrumors 68030

    skaertus

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2009
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    Brazil
    #8
    I don't know who can make the SSD upgrade for me back in Brazil. I will not try to do it myself, and I know nobody that can do that, neither where I can find a compatible model.

    As for the applications, I tried everything. I tried LibreOffice, of course. It falls short of Microsoft Office. I use Office for professional purposes, and I need all the power and features that only the Windows version can offer. No other piece of software can replace it. Believe me. I tried, and I tried hard. Nothing comes close to Office for Windows.

    As for the virtualization solution, well, I want all the bells and whistles. I want the full, uncompromised Windows experience. I don't want just to run Windows.
     
  9. skaertus thread starter macrumors 68030

    skaertus

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    #9
    I upgraded to El Capitan. It is better, but the video card is obviously struggling to render those graphics at 3840x2400.
     
  10. dollystereo macrumors 6502a

    dollystereo

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  11. RedCroissant, Jan 3, 2016
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2016

    RedCroissant Suspended

    Joined:
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    #11
    You'd be surprised what you can do yourself with the right tools and guide. www.ifixit.com has a great tutorial all set up and as long as you're comfortable disconnecting and reconnecting a few things, you can do it all yourself. They are also selling the higher capacity 512GB and 768GB SSDs on their site.

    And to be honest, getting into either an iBook or Powerbook is more difficult than replacing the SSD on your machine. And I've done that quite a few times with iBooks (12" and 14" models) and twice with a PowerBook 15".

    Well then that's too bad about LibreOffice not filling in for MS Office. You might be surprised but Virtualbox does still give you a great experience. I even had some great success virtualizing Windows XP, Vista and Ubuntu Linux. And this was on an early 2009 20" iMac with 8GB RAM (before I had to sell it). You can share and access drives, work within Windows and have Windows applications in the dock and run it seamlessly. And this was a couple of years ago when I still had an Intel Machine.

    I'm glad that it's better under El Capitan but I can totally understand the frustration with the graphics, but the machine doesn't technically support that resolution so I think you're asking too much of it. Are you using an external display and trying to get that? If so, why not spend some money on an upscaling 4K display and let that do it for you? Otherwise, it might not be your favorite, but using the optimized resolution on your display would be the better way to go to not overtask the machine.
     
  12. skaertus thread starter macrumors 68030

    skaertus

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2009
    Location:
    Brazil
    #12
    Thanks for the advice. Actually, I am not very comfortable in opening a 15-inch MacBook Pro, especially since it costs so much in Brazil (prices start at USD 4,500 for the base model).

    Plus, I can't have an SSD delivered in Brazil without trouble. The customs will retain the product and make me pay taxes of 60% plus 18% over the price plus shipment.

    As for the graphics, it is frustrating. One of the reasons I have a 15-inch is to have a large work area. I need it to work, and it is frustrating having to settle with less.

    As for the display, I am using an external display with a 2560x1440 resolution. I cannot have an upscaling display because those are not available in Brazil. And if I manage to get them, taxes will be prohibitive.
     
  13. skaertus thread starter macrumors 68030

    skaertus

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    #13
    Another question. The XPS 15 has an i5-6300hq and a GTX 960M. Is it a worthy upgrade over my 15-inch retina MacBook Pro, with an Ivy Bridge 2.4 GHz Core i7 and a GT 650M?
     
  14. skaertus thread starter macrumors 68030

    skaertus

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    #14
    I ended up buying a Dell XPS 15 with a Core i7-6700hq, 16 GB RAM, and a 512 GB SSD. Very nice laptop.
     
  15. MRrainer macrumors 6502a

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    Aug 8, 2008
    Location:
    Zurich, Switzerland
    #15
    If Windows is your primary environment anyway, an Apple notebook seems a bit like a waste.
    Don't you have to pay taxes on the XPS when your re-enter Brazil?
    Customs in Europe got pretty adept at spotting electronics bought overseas, even if not in original packaging.
    Who services the XPS in Brazil?

    OT:
    Every time I read postings from users from Brazil, I read about this thing or that thing not being available due to tax/market demand etc. Simple stuff that can be ordered from amazon or is even on shelves in retail-stores here. For very competitive prices (mostly due to a free-trade agreement with China...and lack of tariffs/import-taxes on most stuff)
    How can Brazil have so high taxes on imported electronics?
    Is there a Brazilian semiconductor industry the government likes to protect? A Brazilian Silicon Valley?
    ;-)
    And why do you keep re-electing these same clowns of politicians again and again anyway?
     
  16. skaertus thread starter macrumors 68030

    skaertus

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2009
    Location:
    Brazil
    #16
    Customs are sometimes aware, but they usually let one computer in.

    I won't have service for the XPS in Brazil. High-end laptops are usually not sold in Brazil and there is no official support for then. However, the option I had is to settle with an overpriced low-end laptop and this is no option at all.

    Brazil has so high taxes on electronics and other non-essential products such as cars. Taxes go as high as 40% of the total GDP of the country, and they are mainly over products. Now the government decided to raise taxes over electronics again.

    All these taxes go to finance the government and the public banks which lend billions to companies related to politicians. There are huge schemes of corruption. The Petrobras scandal, the largest corruption scheme ever revealed in the world, is just the tip of the iceberg. And all this corruption is funded by taxes. A company, depending on the sector, can hardly operate in Brazil without doing business with the government, and that will involve some kind of corruption.

    Why do we elect these clowns. I don't. But the government keeps itself by buying votes with social programs that give money away to the nearly starving people in the poorest region of the country. Those people hardly care about corruption or the price of an iPhone, and they identify themselves with the corrupt politicians who give them money.
     
  17. skaertus thread starter macrumors 68030

    skaertus

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    Feb 23, 2009
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    #17
    Thanks for the feedback, everyone. I bought a Dell XPS 15 and it is a powerful machine. Some things, though, are not as expected: (i) the trackpad is not as good as it should be, despite what all the reviews say; (ii) the audio quality is poor; (iii) the screen, although great, reflects a lot; (iv) build quality is good but not as great as the reviews say.

    Said that, I am still in doubt if I should have replaced my MacBook Pro for this one. It is powerful indeed but there are some flaws that are just not mentioned anywhere.
     
  18. RedCroissant Suspended

    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2011
    #18
    I know the DELL XPS 15 is a good machine and powerful, but if you like build quality and something as close as possible to the build quality of a Mac, then I would go with an Alienware laptop (yes I know DELL owns them), or a Razer gaming laptop. They're 4th Gen i7 and are pretty good machines that I think would be better.
     
  19. dollystereo macrumors 6502a

    dollystereo

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    France
    #19
    Relax and enjoy, the XPS15 is a super machine.
     
  20. Samuelsan2001 macrumors 603

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    Oct 24, 2013
    #20
    Those are the general flaws in just about all windows laptops and are the main reasons many of us buy macs, it's the attention to detail and a focus on user experience over pointless specs that many of us love apple products for.
     
  21. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

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    #21
    I've heard nothing but good things about the XP15, Alienware and Razer. I think any of those three are excellent choices imo.
     
  22. kmaute macrumors 6502

    kmaute

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    USA
    #22
    Remember that your #1 priority is MS Office, your 1000+ reply on Office for Mac proves that. I'm sorry your Dell hasn't met your expectations but I'm sure it will be worth it in the end. Best of luck.
     
  23. shaunp macrumors 65816

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    Nov 5, 2010
    #23
    I've got the Logitech trackpad for Windows and while it's okay, it's designed for Windows 8 and the gestures don't work that well in Windows 10. I gave up on it after a couple of days and went back to using a Logitec Trackball which is excellent. Personal preference sure, but for me the trackball seems more natural on Windows.

    I'm too looking at a new laptop and while I'll wait to see what Apple come up with next unless they make the rMBP either more useful (tones more ram - mobile Xeon supports 64GB, loads more SSD capacity, and an ethernet port would help too but I can't see that one happening) or really light then I might as well ditch them and Look at either a Dell Precession 5510 or 7510 or a Surface Pro. Different products I know but I already have a big Dell M4800 that I used for VMware because it supports 32GB RAM, but I don't need that all the time, hence the Surface. Unsure whether I will consolidate into a single laptop or not.
     
  24. 960design macrumors 68000

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    #24
    Very nice! That will do very nicely! :)
     
  25. thermodynamic Suspended

    thermodynamic

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    #25
    Depending on what one considers an issue to be or if it's there and not noticed. (I've found that Parallels beats the snot out of Virtualbox and others in some areas of performance, but for basic use the software being free (or whose price people haven't read yet) it's useful...)

    I find it more interesting that a person using Windows 10 is having no issues as well... same cause and reason.
     

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