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macrumors newbie
Original poster
Sep 18, 2016

After asking what would be the best choice between a 2015 M 1.3Ghz VS 2016 M3, I am wondering it this 2016 M3 would still be enough for my needs. I am about to pull the trigger for a 2016 used one :

- M3 for 1000€ ($1060)
- M5 for 1200€ ($1275)

But I already have a powerful 2014 Macbook Pro 15" i7 for the biggest tasks. However, I would like to buy this Macbook to use it when I am not on the desk (for example, at the end of the day, to continue to work on the couch without a big machine on me) and also when I am travelling. Because of the size of my 15", it's really difficult to use it on my train or plane trips (and I move a lot).

Main usages would be :

- Web development with Coda 2 / Atom
- Web browsing

So the disk space is not a problem - I don't bother if it's only 256Gb actually. However, I still want a powerful computer - which will be usable for at least 2-3 years as a second machine. So I know that the M3 would probably be the way to go - but I have read that it sometimes lags during scroll on some pages, or when using Mission Control for example. What is your opinion?



macrumors 68030
Jul 23, 2011
I'd say get m5 for more headroom if you can afford it.

I have an m7/256GB model, probably the ideal of what you want, and not only does it work well by itself for the mentioned task, it performs very reasonably with a 4K display as well. But it does occasionally stutter with animations and scrolling still. That usually happens with large PDFs that contain only images, and/or large websites with a lot of animations.

From m3 to m5, you get roughly 27% more performance due to m5 being able to Turbo Boost higher (2.8GHz vs 2.2GHz). In actual use, the performance difference is noticeable.

Someone compiled this chart a while back:

I never had the m3 or m5 model, but having owned the base model 2015 rMB, I jumped straight to the m7 model, knowing that I needed a very significant performance boost. And I wasn't disappointed.


macrumors 65816
Jan 4, 2009
San Antonio, Texas
I have the m3. I run Xcode and Netbeans on it for programming Java and Swift. I ditched the 15" 2011 MBP for it. I never have a problem with lag or heat. Having said that, always buy the most you can get, unless you upgrade every few years anyway, then it never matters.

Computer specs are for lab comparisons, they don't measure real world. If you are ripping DVDs, Doing heavy video editing, you may want a larger computer with a fan. Otherwise, most people buy more than they need. Nothing wrong with that, it lasts a few years longer.


macrumors 6502a
Jun 23, 2015
I got the M3 and run Xcode for Swift programming, no real problems to speak of. I mean it is not as fast as an 15" MBP when running Photoshop, Xcode, Multiple safari windows (including Netflix, Youtube or Twitch), Steam and some voice chat but it does work just fine. This is my only Mac so it is my primary developing machine, then again I am not a full time developer (hopefully that will change at some point).

I was planning to (and most likely will) upgrade it when the new model comes out this year so I didnt take a chance on it really when it comes to longevity.


macrumors 68000
Sep 25, 2013
I'd personally get the M5 in any case scenario.
I think M3 is just too weak.and maybe M7 is not worth the extra, but M5 is the sweet spot model.
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macrumors 68020
Feb 5, 2011
I'd get the m5 as well. It doesn't throttle nearly as much as the m7, and the boost from the m3 is apparently noticeable.

I'm waiting to see what happens this year. I'm still using my early 2012 non-retina MBP, which does the job with an aftermarket SSD, but if the MacBook has an equivalent or better option than the current m5 this fall, then that's what I plan to get ... 512GB and 8GB. (My usage has changed considerably since I got the 2012. I mainly login to VMs remotely via VPN these days.)

Then again, I may end up getting a MacBook Pro.


macrumors 68000
Nov 15, 2010
m3 here, have been able to develop with Xcode, Sublime in VMs, and even Unreal Editor 4 on the lowest graphics settings. I don't think the m5 will improve on that substantially.
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