Which MacBook?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by atlas_0, Mar 1, 2017.

  1. atlas_0 Suspended

    atlas_0

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2016
    #1
    I had the 2016 13" Pro non-Touchbar, and didn't really care for it. I flipped it, but find myself needing a new MacBook of some sort.

    My uses:

    -iOS Dev work
    -Adobe CC Suite apps
    -Audio recording
    -Media consumption
    -Pages/Microsoft Office
    -Web design (Rapidweaver, Dreamweaver)

    I'd prefer a machine that can last at least three years, and it must be portable. I'm a student, so it'll be coming to class on occasion, and I also commute to a studio for work daily, so portability is important.

    Budget is $2500, but the lower the better. I don't want to spend that much, but will if I have to.

    What model, Pro or not, will best fit my needs? I'm open to any model, but as I've bounced around between various machines I'm kind of at a loss for what to go with. Any advice is appreciated!
     
  2. Sanpete macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2016
    Location:
    Utah
    #2
    Why not? Might help to know.
     
  3. atlas_0 thread starter Suspended

    atlas_0

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2016
    #3
    I don't know if it was my specific one, or if it's standard but I had the following issues with it:

    -Issues with USB-C ports and peripherals, including flash drives, backup hard drives.
    -Charging not always responsive - IE, plug in USB-C, no charging until removed and re-plugged.
    -Lack of ports (using a dongle didn't particularly bother me, but only two ports did)
    -Screen flickering
    -Occasional sleep issues (such as the screen remaining on when closed)

    I considered that perhaps I had a dud, but couldn't be sure - hence remaining open to any/all models.
     
  4. casperes1996 macrumors 65816

    casperes1996

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2014
    Location:
    Horsens, Denmark
    #4
    Sounds like a dud to me.

    Anyhow, one rather big and important question before I can suggest something - Which Adobe CC apps, on what "level"? I.e. what do you do with the apps?
    Because if we're talking compositing in AfterEffects, we need to spec you out to the max and back, versus if we're "just" talking UI design with Photoshop/Illustrator and the like.
     
  5. atlas_0 thread starter Suspended

    atlas_0

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2016
    #5
    Heavy, professional use of Photoshop, Lightroom, and Dreamweaver. Dabbling in Illustrator, Muse, and Audition. I don't do much video work right now, but I won't rule it out for the future. If I'd get into it though, it'll likely be dabbling as well for the time being - at most editing some videos for Youtube.

    Also worth noting, my current computer, which I'll be keeping, is an Alienware R4 17, loaded with an i7, 16GB RAM, and a GTX 1070. So it can handle the extreme heavy lifting if needed.
     
  6. casperes1996 macrumors 65816

    casperes1996

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2014
    Location:
    Horsens, Denmark
    #6
    Right - Here's how I see it.

    Option 1)
    MacBook
    Extremely portable with a relatively weak CPU and GPU, but good enough for coding tasks and webdesign. I mean, assuming that what you're coding isn't a full machine learning system... But since it's for iOS, I'm assuming the MacBook will do just fine. It should also do fairly well in Photoshop and the like relative to what it is. Multi-threaded performance won't be brillant by any stretch of the imagination, but it's got super fast storage, enough RAM to boot and pretty good single-threaded performance. Screen is brillant, speakers are somewhat meh and keyboard and trackpad are obviously subjective, but I'd say worse than the following options.

    Option 2)
    A new 13" MacBook Pro where you hopefully avoid issues like you saw before. You know what to expect when it comes to size and weight and that, and obviously the screen is amazing, and even supports the P3 colour space. Speakers are brillant relative to size and you also get what I'd call a better keyboard, as well as a better FaceTime HD camera.
    Real difference is with performance however. The TouchBar models come by default with a faster processor than the non-TB model, but of course BTO can change that. However, in all cases as far as I recall, the GPU will be different. Now, we are only talking a 100MHz difference, but it's there to consider. Performance in multi-threaded workloads is far and beyond what the MacBook can deliver, and in single-threaded ever so slightly better. (base model). GPU performance is a significant jump up, however, still not exactly amazing. You'll have to whip out the Alienware a lot less with this option, and will have more options for, for instance, running tests and debugging tasks whilst also being active with Photoshop at the same time. Unlike the MacBook, if you compile your code, you won't experience a massive slowdown with other tasks. whilst it's compiling

    Option 3)
    Last gen MacBook Pro 15". Now I could also say the current gen, but for budget reasons, I'm saying last gen.
    Now the new one will offer a relatively significant chunk of extra performance, especially in the GPU department, since the last gen model Apple sells is without a dGPU, unlike the new one. However, the Iris Pro in the last gen is not bad at all for an iGPU. It's a bit of a step down in speakers, screen and arguably trackpad/keyboard (although I prefer the last gen keyboard). Battery life is reportedly a lot better on the last gen model, but reports vary dramatically. The 15" MacBook Pro should have the power to do pretty much anything you'll put it through, especially the high end models, but the base should do perfectly fine too. Personally, I'd also say the screen size is a plus, but obviously it also adds to the size and weight of things.

    Now, from the top down you have portability to power. All three options should give you something that'll last a good few years, and I strongly recommend looking through the Build-To-Order options for all of them to see if any customisations would benefit you. Especially since the hardware is soldered on.
    My recommendation sits with Option 2 as of right now, though if it were myself I'd go for 3 because I personally do a lot of video editing and it can get really intensive on the hardware. Furthermore, I regularly use around 20 gigs of RAM on my iMac and around 8 on my laptop (active memory). I prefer not having to go to swap. The 13" MBP is however a very competent computer for its size and weight, and the screen is magnificent.
    --- Post Merged, Mar 1, 2017 ---
    Regarding this issue, only Option 3 will really fully fix that, however, there are multi-port adapters that can turn one port into more ports. i.e. one TB3 port into 4 USB ports + Display Port or whatever.
    The TouchBar equipped model also brings you up to four ports. However, remember they aren't all equally powerfull. If I remember correctly, the right side? Is full-speed TB3, and the left side is a bit slower.
     
  7. atlas_0 thread starter Suspended

    atlas_0

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2016
    #7
    Thanks for the thorough and well-thought out post - that's really a huge help!

    I actually had a 2015 15" for a short time, but sold it to a friend who offered me more than I paid for it. Was kind of hard to argue with, as the 2016s were around the corner - which I bought, had the experience above, and ended up selling as well. The 2015 15" served my needs really well though, and had power to spare. Battery life was also excellent, and I can't remember any particular annoyances with it.
     
  8. casperes1996 macrumors 65816

    casperes1996

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2014
    Location:
    Horsens, Denmark
    #8
    Getting more than you paid is a rather great deal I'd say.
    There's a massive difference in terms of, well, almost everything between 13" and 15" MBPs. Both the 2015 and 2016 varieties. As I said, I think you'll get a great time with another 2016, as I feel like you were just rather unlucky, but it does suffer a bit from being the first of its series, and there've been a lot of reports of various issues, some to be fixed by software, others hardware that replacement issues have fixed. For a nice spot between power and portability, I do think the 13" Pro is a good fit for you, albeit perhaps you'd like some BTO changes depending on how many system resources you used with your last MacBook. And if the ports thing is important, maybe go with the TouchBar equipped one for two extra ports, although I personally find the TouchBar a bit pointless. Don't want to look away from the screen to use another screen and then go back to looking at my main content. But hey, that's just me.
     
  9. Sanpete macrumors 68020

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    Nov 17, 2016
    Location:
    Utah
    #9
    If you end up wanting to do 4K on Premiere on your MBP, you'll wish you had a quad core (15"), but since you don't plan on that yet and have the Alienware, maybe the dual core will do. I personally much prefer more screen space. The 2016 has numerous improvements over the 2015, mostly incremental. Whether they're worth the extra cost is entirely personal.
     
  10. atlas_0 thread starter Suspended

    atlas_0

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2016
    #10
    I didn't see the appeal in the Touchbar when it launched, and still don't. I prefer the content in one space, rather than divided, so I agree with you on that. I found I was mostly getting by on RAM, but noticed a bit of sluggishness if I'd push the processor. I'm not sure if it was throttling, or just not quite as powerful as I needed, so a BTO may be a good idea unless I can snag a solid deal on a standard model.

    The Alienware is a 17", and I like the big screen. I also liked the big screen on the 15" MBP when I had it, especially in photoshop and lightroom for photo work.

    That being said - would you say the 2016 is worth it over the 2015 15"? There's quite a price difference, especially when the 2015 model can be had for ~$1300 used or ~$1500 new with some shopping around. While I could swing the 2016, will I get my dollar's worth in performance if I get it over the 2015?
     
  11. Kcetech1 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2016
    Location:
    Alberta Canada
    #11
    atlas we seem to be in similar situations but I do more video work. casperes has given great advice. I would say go with the 15" 2015 model for reasons you guys have mentioned plus another ... its actually a proven platform and the soldered on SSD's give me the willies, if you need to get work done. As where all 4 of the 2016's ( 1x13 and 3x15" w/tb's) have gone back for a number of reasons. You have the AW for heavy lifting and I have a few 17" portable workstations that take all my heavy load, may as well be somewhat kind to the budget if you are able to divide the workload, older does not mean worse or not going to function.

    for me the only way I would head to the 2016 15" is if I was determined to work in FCPX again.
     
  12. Sanpete macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2016
    Location:
    Utah
    #12
    The advantages of the 2016 are a screen with about 50% more brightness and contrast, about 25% broader color gamut (though the content for that is limited for now), better speakers, better dGPU (a lot of the 2015s don't have a dGPU), better external monitor support (though most people won't want to drive 2 5K or 4 4K monitors), Touch ID, smaller size and weight. The 2016 runs cooler and more quietly--thermal throttling can be an issue with the 2015s in heavy use like video editing. The 2016 has better battery life for light to medium tasks like browsing and watching video.

    People disagree about whether the keyboard and larger trackpad are better, and about whether the touch bar is worth having. The ports are definitely more powerful and flexible, but many prefer the older ports anyway.

    You can save a lot of money buying a used 2015, but you probably won't have as good a warranty. Its SSD isn't soldered in, so if the logic board fails, you're more likely to be able to get your data from it, should you not back it up.
     
  13. casperes1996 macrumors 65816

    casperes1996

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2014
    Location:
    Horsens, Denmark
    #13
    Hmmm. I don't think throttling was the problem, as under normal use (i.e. not pushing both GPU and CPU fully at the same time but one a fair bit more than the other), I haven't really een throttling problems on those models at all (your old 15" and the 13". Now the 15" model can throttle under some circumstances, but yeah, not under normal load I'd say. Not even high-end loads. Was it single-threaded or multi-threaded tasks that you felt were slowing you down, and do you know for sure it was CPU and not for instance GPU? At any rate, with the workloads you've mentioned, II stick by a 15" being more power than necessary (strictly speaking), and a 13" being an "It works, but it could be nice if it were faster" option performance wise. BTO, I think the 13" one could hit the sweet spot performance wise.

    I'd just like to point out the following post, as it basically outlines all the major differences between the two, to inform your own decision on what it's really worth.
    And as an addendum to that - If the 2015 you're looking at, is one without a dGPU, i.e. Iris Pro only, the performance different with GPU is rather significant. Otherwise, it's somewhat minor. With respect to CPU, take the clock speed advantage and add 7-10% and you're probably somewhere around a correct figure for the CPU performance difference.
    Overall, I'd say screen and speakers are the biggest upgrade points, especially screen. But depends who you ask, as some use external screens anyway.

     

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