So confused... which Macbook do I buy?

Discussion in 'MacBook' started by ChrisCannon711, Oct 18, 2017.

  1. ChrisCannon711 macrumors newbie


    Oct 18, 2017
    After being wishy-washy for way too long and doing hours of research on benchmark with pretty little understanding of what all of those numbers mean, I'm coming here to MacRumors for the very first time, BEGGING for assistance.

    I can't remember the last time I bought anything brand new and usually stick to things used/refurbished unless I see a massive deal or someone convinces me I need to suck it up and spend the dough.

    The problem is... I see these deals and reviews and have no idea what I'm doing.

    I currently use a 2012 Macbook Pro with a 500 gb ssd and 16 gb of ram. I don't do anything particularly heavy, but I do run multiple tasks at once. Occasional Photoshop and Lightroom, Mindbody(cloud based scheduling software), around 10-20 tabs on a regular basis in Chrome, Microsoft Word, and Skype. These are things I can pretty much count on using daily except Photoshop/Lightroom which is only every few days. However, there's a SMALL chance I may want to also do occasional and simple video editing for vlogging.

    A new MBP is ideal, but a bit out of my budget. I'm also looking at Macbook 12's specifically for portability as I travel often. Also, silence is a good thing.

    So here are three deals that grabbed my attention:

    Best Buy's deal on an M5 512 GB which I believe is an early 2016 for $1100

    Then two different refurbished Macbooks' directly through Apple:

    June 2017 i5 512 GB $1359

    April 2016 m7 512 GB $1399(although, when I copy the address here, I see that it's an m3 which I guess I'll ask)

    All that said, assuming that's actually an m7 and not an m3. Is that the right choice for my needs even if it's from April 2016? Or is that deal at Best Buy for m5 the way to go? Or is the June 2017 the way to go???

    So many things... HEEEEEEELP.
  2. magbarn macrumors 68000

    Oct 25, 2008
    Every MacBook you listed all have only 8gb of ram. Make sure that's enough. Load up everything at once like you usually do on your current 16gb MacBook Pro and open activity monitor, look at the memory tab and then look at the memory pressure. If you're more than halfway up or it's yellow or red, you're going to need 16gb of ram. If ram isn't an issue, the refurb 2017 m5 is going to be your best bet as it's not much more than the Best Buy deal on last year's model. Don't get the 2016 m7, it's slower than the 2017 i5, with slower SSD and worse keyboard to boot.
  3. ChrisCannon711 thread starter macrumors newbie


    Oct 18, 2017
    Hi, Magbarn!

    I was beginning to think that no one was gonna get back to me so thank you!

    I checked out my Activity monitor and it looks like it's hovering right above 8gb with most of the apps I use open. Just photoshop and not Lightroom. It looks like the big biters are Chrome, Adobe Creative Cloud related software, Word, Finder, and Skype but also LOTS of Google Chrome Helper which I'm still not completely sure what they do.

    I'm thinking the 8gb will be enough, but I'm not sure, to be honest.

    Really good to know that the 2016 m7 is slower than the 2017 i5 because that was my main question. I've felt the keyboard for about 10 minutes on an older Macbook and it didn't seem too bad to me, but I see that's a big complaint from others. What is it about it that's so bad? Or better in the 2017?

    Is the keyboard the biggest difference between the Best Buy's 2016 deal or is the 2017 significantly faster?
  4. magbarn macrumors 68000

    Oct 25, 2008
    The keyboard and the ability to play 10bit HEVC with gpu support are the biggest upgrades. The SSD is also faster...
    I've played with the 2017 macbook keyboard some more. It's NOT the same as the new MBP models. It's somewhere inbetween the 2015-2016 macbooks and the new TB MBP's in feel. It has the same clickyness, but not the same amount of key travel. Honestly, I can see why it can be a deal breaker for some as it does give a bit more feedback.
    Unfortunately, you're not going to easily find a store that would have the 2016 and 2017 macbooks side by side to do a comparison.
  5. ChrisCannon711 thread starter macrumors newbie


    Oct 18, 2017

    Okay, next question. Is it worth it for me to save a hundred bucks to buy an older MBP instead?
  6. magbarn macrumors 68000

    Oct 25, 2008
    Depends what your priorities are...
    The Macbook is a specialized machine where weight/size is the biggest factor. I only use my macbook 12 when I want to travel light. My rMBP 13/15's are much more comfortable (with a superior keyboard to boot) to use for extended periods and much easier to connect peripherals to due to have more than 1 port. The dongles/usb hubs that you have to carry for the macbook 12 are a PITA.
  7. mp2017 macrumors regular

    Sep 24, 2017
    I found the mid-2016 m5 model best suited my needs, especially for the price (I paid $875 from BestBuy online). My priority was SSD capacity over processor performance. In a side by side comparison I was unable to tell a difference between the 2016 and 2017 keyboards. My mid-2016 doesn't have as fast SSD performance as the 2017 model but I doubt I would tell the difference in most of what I do real world. For the price I just couldn't pass it up.
  8. mp2017 macrumors regular

    Sep 24, 2017
    FYI...BestBuy has refurbished early 2016, core m5, 8GB, 512GB models for $899 plus shipping.
  9. ChrisCannon711 thread starter macrumors newbie


    Oct 18, 2017
    I've already been mentally preparing for dongles and hubs, but I guess my real question is if it's powerful enough to do what I need to do. I really value traveling light, but I also spend a great deal of time working from home and was planning on getting an external monitor to add.
    --- Post Merged, Oct 18, 2017 ---
    Useful info. Do you find that it's plenty fast enough? Still, a great deal!!!
  10. happyslayer macrumors 6502a


    Feb 3, 2008
    Glendale, AZ
    If you haven't yet decided, I would build-to-order one off the Apple site or B & H Audio Video with a custom config, specifically 16GB RAM. You named off a lot of programs that you run every day and at the same time. I believe the 16GB RAM upgrade will be the most beneficial. The CPU isn't such a big deal on the MacBooks since they throttle to about the same frequency on all models under sustained loads. So, if I were you, I'd stick with the mid-range i5. As for Hard Drive size, 256GB or 512GB, how much space are you using now? if it's close to or more than 256GB, get the 512GB. These are expensive options (maybe, don't know (or need to know) your financial situation.) But, NOTHING is upgradeable on a MacBook so definitely get what you need--or may need--now.

    Good luck!

    Also, I would check the Apple Refurbished site (Google it) because they may have a cheaper model that meets your needs and it comes with full Apple warranty.
  11. mp2017 macrumors regular

    Sep 24, 2017
    I haven't had any complaints with it. However I'm the last person who should be giving advice about MacBook performance as the system only sees light, occasional use. BTW my system is an early 2016 model and not a mid 2016 model. Apple did not make a mid 2016 model.
  12. magbarn, Oct 19, 2017
    Last edited: Oct 19, 2017

    magbarn macrumors 68000

    Oct 25, 2008
    If you’re going to have an external monitor frequently connected, make sure you budget in the price of a good usb-c hub that are powered, these are usually close to $100 for the good ones. You might be better served with a non-tb mbp 13 which has the 2nd usb c and of course TB3 which makes monitor and power hookups much easier. (TB hubs are much more useful than usb c hubs also ). The single usb c port irks me when connected to 4K as it basically limits it to 30 FPS which is very choppy

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