Which 2017 laptop?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by Hawaga, Jun 9, 2017.

  1. Hawaga, Jun 9, 2017
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2017

    Hawaga macrumors member

    Jun 21, 2010
    Hi guys

    I'd like to buy a laptop complementary to a desktop workstation.

    I will use it when traveling, mainly to do some photoshop, backup 4K footage to an external drive, maybe some rough editing.

    I need maximum portability as my back already hurts so I'm not considering the 2015 models. It should be as lightweight as possible, but I don't know how heavy the 2017 MBPs feel in this regard.
    (I previously owned an early 2011 15" MBP which was way too heavy)

    I intend to have a Bootcamp windows partition and don't know if 256Gb will be enough.

    So... here are the contenders :

    1/ Maxed out MacBook 12" (i7 1,4 GHz, 16GB, 512 SSD) (lowest weight)


    2/ Maxed out MacBook Air (i7 2,8 GHz, 8GB, 512 SSD) (MagSafe and ports)


    3/ Almost maxed MBP TB 13" (i7 3,5 GHz, 16GB, 512 SSD) (P3 display)


    4/ Stock entry MBP TB 15" (i7 2,8 Ghz, 16GB, 256 SSD) (Same price as MBP TB 13 above + Radeon Pro graphics)


    Hope someone can help me choose!
  2. smallcoffee macrumors 65816

    Oct 15, 2014
    North America
    Well, I'd automatically disqualify the MacBook Air. MagSafe was a great feature, but I don't really miss it either way. The ports aren't a benefit either, as they are legacy ports. Sure maybe your stuff now works better with antiquated USB ports, but the I/O of TB3 is going to be a huge bonus in the future.

    Personally, I think the 256 SSD is plenty large enough but that will be up to you. I'm not a fan of 512 drives. If you're going to be using external drives then why do you need the 512?

    With that being said, the MacBook 12" is a great little computer, but you may find having only the single port to be a nuisance, and the screen may not be large enough for editing. The 13" is a bit larger, but same issue. At least it's more powerful.

    I have the 2016 15" Pro, and previously had the 12" MacBook. The MacBook does indeed not weigh very much, but the 2016 15" Pro doesn't either.

    So for me the real question comes down to exactly how much travel, exactly how much your back hurts, and exactly how much power you need.

    If you travel a lot, and you're out hiking and whatnot, then the 12" is probably the best choice. If your back is killing you, then again, the 12". If you need power, it's the 15". Pick from these three the two areas that are most important. The 13" kind of averages out all three but doesn't excel in any of them.

    I will reiterate that I would certainly not recommend the Air.
  3. Hawaga thread starter macrumors member

    Jun 21, 2010

    Thank you so much for that complete answer.

    After reading you I tend to lean towards the 15".

    Yeah my back does hurt even from carrying low weight for more than 15 minutes (Didn't properly take care of it when I was young and I am not anymore) but I'm doing my best since a couple of years to maintain it at the gym and I imagine the 2017 15" may offer quite a change from my old 2011 in that matter.

    thanks again for your input!
  4. Algus macrumors regular


    Jun 8, 2014
    Are you going to need all the power that the 15'' MBP sports? That's a lot of potential extra weight if you don't need the performance.

    I personally think the 13'' Pro is the sweet spot between weight, price, performance, etc. but I still remember the days of lugging a 7 1/2 pound laptop around in college, so most modern laptops seem super light to me.
  5. rfb22 macrumors newbie

    Jun 12, 2017
  6. Fishrrman macrumors G5


    Feb 20, 2009
    One of the MacBook Pro's is the answer.

    Whether your back will support a 15" or a 13" … well, that's YOUR decision.

    A 256gb drive should do (unless you want to spend more for space you may not need).
    If you DO find yourself needing "extra space", just buy a fast external SSD to supplement the internal drive. I'd suggest USB3.1 G2 (up to 10gbps possible).
  7. iDento macrumors 6502


    Sep 8, 2011
    iCloud Servers
    The MacBook Pro 15' is insanely powerful! I'd go with the 13' though, the difference in the size and weight is noticeable and you'll still have a powerful machine.

    Forget about the MacBook Air.
  8. Hawaga thread starter macrumors member

    Jun 21, 2010
    Thank you all for your answers.
    I think I'm gonna give a chance to the 15" and send it back if it's too heavy and go for the 13"

    Now I just have to decide if I upgrade the 15"s processor and graphics to 4GB cache before I order it.
  9. smallcoffee macrumors 65816

    Oct 15, 2014
    North America
    Meh. I don't think it's necessary unless you don't care about spending the money. Ram>GPU>SSD>>>>>everything else
  10. MrSpock75 macrumors member

    Apr 10, 2015
    Düsseldorf, Germany
    Definitely go for the 15" MBP TB. I have upgraded last year from a 2013 MBP 13" to the 2016 MBP 15" and I am still in love. Especially the much bigger screen I really enjoy and the overall laptop size is not so much larger.
  11. KensaiMage macrumors regular


    May 25, 2017
    If I were you I would think only about 2 options:

    High-end 12" and 15"

    If you have an iPad go for 15" for sure. (it is good only for at-desk work/media consumption)
    If you have no iPad go for 12" for sure. (12" has no fans and is also perfect for bed/couch-use as no dust will get inside)
  12. Hawaga thread starter macrumors member

    Jun 21, 2010
    Well actually I don't know what does the 4GB bump over the 2GB Radeon option improve in real-life usage?
  13. smallcoffee macrumors 65816

    Oct 15, 2014
    North America
    Look at benchmarks.
  14. Hawaga thread starter macrumors member

    Jun 21, 2010
    Where? Do you have a link? Didnt find any yet
  15. smallcoffee macrumors 65816

    Oct 15, 2014
    North America
    I haven't looked. If I see I will post.
  16. Samuelsan2001 macrumors 604

    Oct 24, 2013
    Well its a faster chip by about 0.6 Teraflops and the extra RAM really useful for video editing and the occasional bit of gaming.
  17. Hawaga thread starter macrumors member

    Jun 21, 2010
    So I guess the extra 0.6 teraflops will provide faster rendering but what exactly will the extra 2GB of RAM do?
  18. Yvan256 macrumors 603


    Jul 5, 2004
    Go at a store and try the keyboard on each. I did that yesterday and the new keyboards are absolutely terrible.

    Look at the 2015 MacBook Pro, the keyboard is much better.
  19. smallcoffee macrumors 65816

    Oct 15, 2014
    North America
    I have both a 2015 for work and a 2016 for personal. Much prefer the keyboard on the 2016.
  20. Samuelsan2001 macrumors 604

    Oct 24, 2013
    It will allow far larger data sets to be loaded to the GPU for graphics actions, so in gaming it can keep all the higher level effects shadows etc going at the same time in video editing it means that at any moment in time 4gb of information can be worked on by the GPU. A simplification and not really technically correct but it gives you some idea why more ram on a gpu is better.
  21. Thunderhawks Suspended

    Feb 17, 2009
    If money is no object, go with a maxed out 15" 2017 MBP.

    While I have no use for TB and need legacy ports, with a dock or your desktop station you can get around those limitations. Weight wise only you know if 13 or 15 is good for you.

    Reason for my recommendation is that if you keep this MBP for a long time, it will automatically become the lowest base unit over time (say 5-7 years)

    Plan B is to get a 2015 (eBay) 16GB 512, or if you do not mind tinkering, get a 2015 16GB 256 GB and swop in a 1 TB OWC SSD. The 256 SSD can be used as an additional SSD in an enclosure OWC sells as part of a kit.

    I have done that already a few times for myself and friends and it works really well.
  22. Hawaga, Jun 22, 2017
    Last edited: Jun 23, 2017

    Hawaga thread starter macrumors member

    Jun 21, 2010
    Thank you all for your advices

    I finally went with the entry 2017 15 inch MBP (2,8)

    Feeling strange. Beautiful piece of hardware but still quite heavy, though feeling fragile because it's so thin, especially the top lid. Felt obliged to order a plastic protective case for it, never did with my old 2011 which sure felt sturdier.

    So far TB looks very gimmicky to me, and it's not retina, you can see big pixels on it. Wish I was not looking for the controls (volume etc...) all the time.

    Keyboard feels fine, not as bad as I expected. Trackpad may be too big, I felt like clicking unwillingly with the palm of my hands a couple of time. Maybe this will be corrected when I'm used to it.

    Lack of legacy ports is a real pain, I can't wait till I receive the dock I ordered today, which will probably be a hassle to move around with. Just can't use the computer till then, because I can't even plug my drives on it. And I miss MagSafe. And Matte Screen. And the boot sound :(

    It's really silent, but it does get very hot, while not doing much.

    I'll probably keep it and try to get used to it but for the first time in years I almost feel it's not an Apple product and it's not mine.

    I mean, old MBP was an instant technological love affair, simple to use and easy going. Too much out-OF-the-box cons with this one.

    Hopefully I'll feel more positive about it in a few months.

    Thanks again to all of you for your answers.

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