What holds more value 16" or new 13"

donleon

macrumors newbie
Original poster
May 30, 2020
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Considering the coming updates to ARM, if I were to buy a computer today either a base 16" or a 1tb 4-port 13" which are roughly the same price, what is going to hold its value and be better to sell in the future?
 

magbarn

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Oct 25, 2008
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Probably the 13”. Most Average Joe’s do not know the ins/outs of a dGPU vs iGPU. In fact, the base 8th gen 2020 MBP will likely fetch an even better residual value as how many parents buying a MBP for an incoming college student are going to care between 10th gen vs 8th gen CPU. All they’re going to care about is that it’s a ”2020 Model”
 

pshufd

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Oct 24, 2013
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New Hampshire
Typically more "Pro oriented" machines will fetch a higher value several years later. Most 15 inch MacBook Pro models are worth more than most old 13".
I'd say that's true for dual-core 13s (I'm on one right now) as the dual-core 13s lack CPU punch for many workloads. The quad-core 2020 is a game-changer though.

Also, it's not what's worth more. It's which better retains value.
 
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Tankmaze

macrumors 68000
Mar 7, 2012
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15" MBP holds more value than the 13" counterpart, the same will still hold true for the 16" to the 13"
 
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Falcon80

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Oct 27, 2012
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The nice screen and the excellent speaker will make this a valuable computer if anyone still interested in intel Mac in future.
 

throAU

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Feb 13, 2012
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Probably the 13”. Most Average Joe’s do not know the ins/outs of a dGPU vs iGPU. In fact, the base 8th gen 2020 MBP will likely fetch an even better residual value as how many parents buying a MBP for an incoming college student are going to care between 10th gen vs 8th gen CPU. All they’re going to care about is that it’s a ”2020 Model”
I'd say probably the 13" for different reasons:
  • people who need the dGPU on the 16" need good GPU performance, which is a moving target. people who don't need good GPU power won't notice much difference between say, a 2020 machine and a 2023 machine. the 16" owners will.
  • the 15" + machines have a poor reliability history - most of the models in the past decade have had some form of GPU problem over the long term

i.e., the 13" market is less performance sensitive than the 15-16" market. thus, older machines aren't so much of a performance problem, so long as they work, etc.
 
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magbarn

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Oct 25, 2008
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Typically more "Pro oriented" machines will fetch a higher value several years later. Most 15 inch MacBook Pro models are worth more than most old 13".
Have you looked at ebay prices?
2016 MBP 15 was $2400 brand new base model. Now $700 on ebay. 29% residual value
2016 mbp 13 touchbar was $1799 new. Now it’s $650 on ebay, 36% residual value in 4 years.

you will never get money back anywhere close for the upgrade prices you paid. Only weird exceptions have been examples like the 2012 Mac mini quad core that Apple got rid off on the 2014 refresh.
 

profcutter

macrumors 6502
Mar 28, 2019
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Hard to know for sure, but I'd say the 16 is more likely to hold value, particularly if you get one on sale or refurb. Look at the current market for 2015 15 inch machines. A highly specced one in good condition still fetches up to around 1300 USD, that's 5 years later. Granted, this is largely because the 2016s and up have such a bad reputation (I think well earned, but that's another debate). If I was looking for an intel machine in 2023 or so, it's probably because there's something the ARM macs can't do for me. Assuming there's not another fiasco, I'll probably want the fastest and best performing Intel machine I could get. I'd be in the market for a 16 incher, not a 13. If I wanted a 13, I don't really think performance is an issue, as long as it's good enough. In that circumstance, why not buy an ARM mac? I think the reseller market in a few years for Intel will be folks looking for the most performance they can squeeze from an Intel processor.
 

throAU

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Feb 13, 2012
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Hard to know for sure, but I'd say the 16 is more likely to hold value, particularly if you get one on sale or refurb. Look at the current market for 2015 15 inch machines. A highly specced one in good condition still fetches up to around 1300 USD, that's 5 years later.
We need to clarify something:

Holding value is about either percentages or absolute loss numbers. A 15" having a higher resale price than a 13" is to be expected and not necessarily an indication of losing less money.

Having a MacBook Pro 15 that cost 4500 worth 1500 after 4 years is no better than a 13" Macbook that cost 1800 being worth 600 4 years later.

You've still lost 66% of your money, but in absolute terms you lost $3k in terms of total ownership cost, instead of $1200.

Unless you need the 15", blowing more money over 4 years is.... going backwards - even if the percentage retained is better.


edit:
above numbers are examples in AUD, but the ratios won't be too far off. concept is the same.

Also... as per my reliability comments above, personal anecdote: I've had both 15" and 13" Pros. My 13" still works after 5 years. The 15" failed after 4 (dGPU failure). I'm not alone in that experience. The likelihood of the machine having ZERO residual value after 4-5 years (i.e., because it broke) is higher with the discrete GPU machines.
 
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profcutter

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Mar 28, 2019
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Interesting points, but given that a base 16”, which the OP is considering, is at basically the same price point as a maxed 13”, the numbers crunch differently. Also, the only reason I’m not still using my 2013 MacBook Pro with discrete graphics is that I broke the screen and Apple doesn’t have replacements anymore. In my house, we’re running a 2013 maxed out, my 2015 too of the line, and my wife’s 13”, guess which one has had major problems including 2 keyboard and topcase replacements? That’s the problem with anecdotal data. Sure, the earlier MBPs had problems with discrete graphics, but you’d have to run a data analysis on if you have a higher failure rate with discrete graphics machines post 2013. If I’m a “power user” in 2023 or so, and I want a used intel machine, I wouldn’t even consider a machine without discrete graphics. What would be the point?
 

pshufd

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Oct 24, 2013
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Interesting points, but given that a base 16”, which the OP is considering, is at basically the same price point as a maxed 13”, the numbers crunch differently. Also, the only reason I’m not still using my 2013 MacBook Pro with discrete graphics is that I broke the screen and Apple doesn’t have replacements anymore. In my house, we’re running a 2013 maxed out, my 2015 too of the line, and my wife’s 13”, guess which one has had major problems including 2 keyboard and topcase replacements? That’s the problem with anecdotal data. Sure, the earlier MBPs had problems with discrete graphics, but you’d have to run a data analysis on if you have a higher failure rate with discrete graphics machines post 2013. If I’m a “power user” in 2023 or so, and I want a used intel machine, I wouldn’t even consider a machine without discrete graphics. What would be the point?
What if you're not a power user? I'd guess that most people with Apple products aren't.
 

magbarn

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Oct 25, 2008
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Interesting points, but given that a base 16”, which the OP is considering, is at basically the same price point as a maxed 13”, the numbers crunch differently. Also, the only reason I’m not still using my 2013 MacBook Pro with discrete graphics is that I broke the screen and Apple doesn’t have replacements anymore. In my house, we’re running a 2013 maxed out, my 2015 too of the line, and my wife’s 13”, guess which one has had major problems including 2 keyboard and topcase replacements? That’s the problem with anecdotal data. Sure, the earlier MBPs had problems with discrete graphics, but you’d have to run a data analysis on if you have a higher failure rate with discrete graphics machines post 2013. If I’m a “power user” in 2023 or so, and I want a used intel machine, I wouldn’t even consider a machine without discrete graphics. What would be the point?
We’re not comparing maxed out versions vs base config of another here. As mentioned previously maxed out versions of any model will lose the most value period. throAU put it best.

When you’re trying to sell a MacBook, it is very rare to find a power user buyer of a used machine as most of them are going to be buying new or almost new with a recent model refurbished. WE ARE NOT AVERAGE JOES OR JANES HERE! Lol

I’ve sold many of my previous MacBooks through the years, and majority of my buyers have been college students, seniors looking for a value, or parents buying for their kid.
 

iRun26.2

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Aug 15, 2010
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The way I see it, the new MacBook Pro with super fast Apple Silicon CPUs will probably blow both the current Intel 13” and 16” away. Thus I think that the 13" might hold value more because it will still be portable and the 16" will just be bigger (albeit with a bigger screen).
 
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profcutter

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Mar 28, 2019
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Frankly, I think it’s all a gamble no matter which way you go. I can see your points, I think you make strong arguments. I just wouldn’t base my purchase decision on betting one way or the other. The next few years are a complete unknown. Maybe folks who sold G5’s after the intel transition would have better insight?
 

VertPin

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Nov 12, 2015
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And given the history of Apple machines with a discrete GPU, flooded with dead 16" models inside 4-5 years - be it swollen battery due to long term thermal problems, failed GPUs, etc. :D
What MacBook models with dGPU’s have those issues?
 

pshufd

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What MacBook models with dGPU’s have those issues?
2007, 2008, 2011 - I have personal experience with models from these years. 2010 iMac. I have heard of few problems with the 2015 AMD Radeon. Some problems with the 2014 nVidia. The 2011s were notorious, so much so that we have a thread here dedicated to disabling discrete graphics.
 
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throAU

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Add 2012 retinas to the swollen battery issues. and 2008s to the Nvidia GPU problems (reflow/re-balling required).

So its at least half of the 15+ inch machines machines in the past decade or so...
 

profcutter

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Mar 28, 2019
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What problems have you heard of with the 2015 or 2013/4? I've never encountered any. Doesn't mean they don't exist, but I haven't heard of any widespread problems like you saw with the 2011s and others you mentioned. Those were major flaws, enough to kill the relationship between Nvidia and Apple.
 

pshufd

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I have seen them on this forum. Very infrequent but they do happen. I have not heard of dGPU problems on the 2015; just the 2014. I haven't seen them on the 2013.

If there's a failure possible, you'll probably see it here.
 
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