Touch Bar or Not - Computer Science Student

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by ramen5677, Oct 29, 2016.

  1. ramen5677 macrumors newbie

    Oct 29, 2016

    I have ordered a 13 inch 2.7GHz/512GB/16GB touchbar MacBook Pro, but am now getting some doubts about that touchbar.
    As a Maths/Computer Science student i do not think that I can make great use of that gimmicky bar (if not the contrary); I'd rather have the function keys. However, the better processor and faster Ram made me buy the touch-bar one.
    How big will the CPU/GPU advantage of the above MBP be on a 2.0GHz/256GB/16GB non-touchbar MBP in the scenario of light/scientific coding and regular Uni-stuff? In light of the battery-size reduction I am now additionally concerned about battery life. Will the 15Watt Processor of the non-touchbar MBP in addition to the slightly bigger battery yield noticeably better battery life?
    Will I feel ripped off when not going for the touch-bar one, as prices differ only slightly and specs seem much better?

    Thanks in advance.
  2. keviig macrumors 6502

    Jun 7, 2012
    Here are top Geekbench 4 results for:

    - 2015 rMBP 13" Base model (5257U)
    - 2016 rMBP 13" Base Non-Touch Bar (6360U):

    - Single Core
    - 2015: 3716
    - 2016: 3730

    - Multi Core
    - 2015: 7110
    - 2016: 7085

    So performance should really not be an issue. Expect the Touch Bar base model to be 5-10% faster than this. The battery is roughly 10% bigger in the non-Touch Bar version, it doesn't have to power the Touch Bar + T1 Chip and it has a CPU with half the TDP (15W vs 28W). I guess roughly 15% better battery life is a fair assumption.
  3. Smoovejayy macrumors regular

    Jan 20, 2012
    I am a comp-sci student as well that ordered a 13" i7/256GB/16GB touch bar MBP. For the cases you outlined above, that config is fine but the further along you get with your studies, you're going to need to spin up at least two VMs at once, generating millions, if not billions, of passwords, etc. My field concentrates on information security so I tend to deal with a lot of hacking tools, replicating attacks on protocols, etc... it depends on how much work will be actually required of you (and your machine) down the line since this is a machine that you will be using for at least the next four or five years.
  4. CreativeC macrumors member

    Oct 23, 2016
    How do you fell does the Mac handle Windows/Linux VMs?
  5. wchristian6 macrumors member


    Oct 27, 2016
    I am a CS major as well and was thinking about this too. I never really use the function keys much in general except they can make coding faster by using the for shortcuts in a text editor. I don't think I'll be using the touch bar much at all don't see it as being worth it. I'm leaning towards the 13 in non-touch model.
  6. ramen5677 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Oct 29, 2016
    Thank you for your answers. I am not yet involved in those heavy tasks as described by Smoovejay but I can certainly imagine myself getting into that situation in the future. How fast will I come across stuff that will challenge the 15W CPU of the non-touchbar MBP and, if, is this not better dealt with on a desktop pc?
    The more I think about the touchbar the more I hate it, will I not run into problems as soon as I use bootcamp?
  7. keviig macrumors 6502

    Jun 7, 2012
    15W should be enough for both cores to run at full speed without TDP throttling (as evident by the Geekbench multi core score). It'll only really need more once you get into gaming, where the CPU and GPU share the same TDP pool. I read somewhere that Apple has confirmed that the Touch Bar will show static F1-12 keys while in Bootcamp.
  8. ramen5677 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Oct 29, 2016
    What would you go for? To me going for energy-efficiency and non-gimmickery seems wiser at the moment, but I fear that the touchbar will reveal itself as pretty useful for everyday stuff.
  9. Smoovejayy macrumors regular

    Jan 20, 2012
    I currently have a MBA and when I'm running at least two VMs, the CPU usage tends to increase and at least one VM is using > 100% of the CPU. Aside from that I am using Safari and/or Chrome, Outlook, Word, Excel... Outlook alone eats up half a gig of memory. I think it handles those VMs pretty well. Fluid, just like the rest of the OS. As long as you configure them correctly and have the proper resources allocated, everything should be fine.

    EDIT: I also use this machine for work and sometimes have four or five different desktops open since I work in IT.
  10. wegster macrumors 6502

    Nov 1, 2006
    This is somewhat tough. Not every CS student will be in security and doing brute force password hacks, but a Windows VM is likely, while Matlab and similar computational software (or AI/machine learning) may come into play. Realistically, none of the 13" models are ideal for computational power, period - quad-core wins. Having said that, being a student IF the portability of the 13" is really needed over performance, either one will be within spitting distance of the other. The touchbar for 'real work,' is of more question, mainly as many people using MBPs for work will have them in docked mode so even when using the MBP screen, it's connected to others as well as external displays, keyboard, etc., but for portable use the touchbar might have more appeal - meaning if the focus is on portability and/or you'll primarily or always be using the MBP keyboard vs connecting externally, I'd go with the touchbar model, otherwise not.
  11. mattopotamus macrumors G5


    Jun 12, 2012
    This is a damn good breakdown. I'm actually shocked they are quoting the same battery life for both machines. I would think 11-12 on the non TB
  12. Baldrake macrumors 6502

    May 22, 2012
    Great White North
    If you're a CS student and you plan to keep this computer for a few years, get the touch bar one with the faster processor*. You'll appreciate it down the road. If you have any thoughts of doing game dev, pick up the faster GPU as well.

    * Well, maybe not the fastest processor. That last 0.2 GHz increment is pretty pricy.
  13. Juneauu macrumors newbie

    Nov 9, 2016
    What did you guys end up getting? I am a future CS major, and I am learning towards 13'' non-touchbar 2.0ghz/16gb/512gb, but I can't decide!
  14. ramen5677 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Oct 29, 2016
    I changed for the non-touchbar one. So far, it seems like the right decision. Very nice computer, priorities set on all the right points (for students atleast). All-day battery life, very light and reasonably powerful. Still has to throttle on me, never even heard the fan. Am glad to have the function-row, too.
  15. spikionion, Feb 8, 2017
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2017

    spikionion macrumors newbie


    Feb 8, 2017
    Hi Smoovejayy, thank you for your response!
    I am a freshman of the Cybersecurity major and I am considering buying the MBP 2016 as well, but I am not sure if I should get the 13in with touch bar or the 15 in with touch bar. I would love to get your advice on this and thanks in advance!
    I will mainly use it to run VMs (windows, Ubuntu) for now, and then hacking tools and some forensics software later down the road. Also, I will use Adobe Suite (mainly Premier and Photoshop) for some light video and photo editing, but I am not gonna use it for gaming at all. I have a budget for the 13 inch now and I could save up for the 15 one in 2 months. My MBP 17" late 2011 graphic card is not working anymore and it has passed Apple's extended warranty period so they cannot replace it for free. They said it would cost $575 + tax to replace it so I might as well just get a new one.
  16. Smoovejayy macrumors regular

    Jan 20, 2012
    Considering you will use the Adobe suite of applications, maybe the 15" will better suit you because of the greater screen real estate and the more powerful graphics card. I have conflicting views on this since obviously the 13" is cheaper.

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