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zooby

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Feb 2, 2008
908
324
I am coming from a 2.5 GHz Quad-Core Intel Core i7 with 16 GB of memory and a 512GB SSD. To be honest, it runs fine! But since I hadn't upgraded since late 2014 and only upgrade when needed (like in my case right now with my battery being practically dead), I figured I'd get something that would last a while. I also considered the base option, and it'd still be an upgrade from what I have (and I could save up money), but since I rarely upgrade I want something that will last me a long time.

i7 2.6GHz, 32GB RAM, 512GB SSD, AMD Radeon Pro 5300M 4GB

i9 2.3GHz, 16GB Ram, 1TB Storage, AMD Radeon Pro 5500M 4GB
 

effgee

macrumors member
Sep 6, 2007
44
24
Since we don't know what you're intending to do with that computer... i.e., surfing/browsing, office-related work, graphic design, video editing, 3D-modeling, scientific data processing, programming/development... no one is really going to be able to offer any insight or advice that could be helpful to you.
 
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zooby

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Feb 2, 2008
908
324
Since we don't know what you're intending to do with that computer... i.e., surfing/browsing, office-related work, graphic design, video editing, 3D-modeling, scientific data processing, programming/development... no one is really going to be able to offer any insight or advice that could be helpful to you.

Casual user mostly, sometimes open lots of tabs, something encode/transcode video. Definitely not a developer who programs.
 
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effgee

macrumors member
Sep 6, 2007
44
24
In that case my advice would be to - however grudgingly - go with the $400 RAM upgrade. As time goes on, macOS and apps aren't going to get any less RAM hungry, making this your most likely bottleneck. So regardless of what else you do, get 32GB.

If you need to watch your budget and don't work professionally with video/3D, I would forego the 8GB 5500M. And lastly, how much time does the MBP spend tethered to your desk? External storage is cheap and you might be able to get away with a smaller internal drive, saving you a few more bucks.

Which then leaves you with a dilemma... start with the $2,399.00 base "low-end"model and upgrade the RAM for $400.00 for a total of$2,799.00, or... start with the base "high-end" model at $2,799.00 and add the $400.00 RAM upgrade to that?

You can bet your bottom Dollar that this is precisely what Apple was counting on when they specced out this scenario. You'll be using this computer for years, and over that time frame the $400 more for the high-end model plus RAM will more than pay for itself.

You're basically paying $400 for a faster CPU (8- vs. 6-core), a faster GPU (4GB 5500M vs. 4GB 5300M), twice the RAM (32GB vs. 16GB) and twice the storage (1TB vs. 512GB).

A no-brainer really, no? My thought as well - go with the base "high-end" model and add 32GB of RAM. ?
 
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zooby

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Feb 2, 2008
908
324
In that case my advice would be to - however grudgingly - go with the $400 RAM upgrade. As time goes on, macOS and apps aren't going to get any less RAM hungry, making this your most likely bottleneck. So regardless of what else you do, get 32GB.

If you need to watch your budget and don't work professionally with video/3D, I would forego the 8GB 5500M. And lastly, how much time does the MBP spend tethered to your desk? External storage is cheap and you might be able to get away with a smaller internal drive, saving you a few more bucks.

Which then leaves you with a dilemma... start with the $2,399.00 base "low-end"model and upgrade the RAM for $400.00 for a total of$2,799.00, or... start with the base "high-end" model at $2,799.00 and add the $400.00 RAM upgrade to that?

You can bet your bottom Dollar that this is precisely what Apple was counting on when they specced out this scenario. You'll be using this computer for years, and over that time frame the $400 more for the high-end model plus RAM will more than pay for itself.

You're basically paying $400 for a faster CPU (8- vs. 6-core), a faster GPU (4GB 5500M vs. 4GB 5300M), twice the RAM (32GB vs. 16GB) and twice the storage (1TB vs. 512GB).

A no-brainer really, no? My thought as well - go with the base "high-end" model and add 32GB of RAM. ?

Ahh this is my issue! The thing is, I see a deal on both which is why I am thinking of hopping into it. The latter configuration is ideal obviously but 3k+. So it is either $2,550 final price of the base i7, 512 SSD, with 32 GB ram ($2800 value) OR $2,500 for the higher end i9, 1TB SSD, 16GB.
 
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htomi

macrumors newbie
Mar 13, 2020
17
4
IRL
Casual user mostly, sometimes open lots of tabs, something encode/transcode video. Definitely not a developer who programs.

I am coming from a 2.5 GHz Quad-Core Intel Core i7 with 16 GB of memory and a 512GB SSD. To be honest, it runs fine!

Stick with the base model: i7 2.6GHz, 16GB RAM, 512GB SSD, AMD Radeon Pro 5300M 4GB. Unless you have a $400 to spend on the -overpriced- ram. Spend that $400 on something which has less depreciation than a computer.
 
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effgee

macrumors member
Sep 6, 2007
44
24
Ahh this is my issue! The thing is, I see a deal on both which is why I am thinking of hopping into it. The latter configuration is ideal obviously but 3k+. So it is either $2,550 final price of the base i7, 512 SSD, with 32 GB ram ($2800 value) OR $2,500 for the higher end i9, 1TB SSD, 16GB.
Between those two, the base + 32GB for $2550.00 would be my recommendation. The extra RAM will be more important in the long term than a marginally faster CPU/GPU. Internal storage can always be amended by adding external drives.
 
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zooby

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Feb 2, 2008
908
324
Base model will probably be more than sufficient for you.

It probably would be. Cheapest option too. But I figured I'd future proof it a bit (either by storage or RAM, which are the options I am looking at). It's a dilema lol
[automerge]1584112016[/automerge]
Between those two, the base + 32GB for $2550.00 would be my recommendation. The extra RAM will be more important in the long term than a marginally faster CPU/GPU. Internal storage can always be amended by adding external drives.

Leaning towards that... But isn't Thermal Velocity Boost in the i9 a big difference? Or will I benefit more from the speeds of more RAM? Storage isn't a huge issue.
 
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jeyf

macrumors 68020
Jan 20, 2009
2,129
1,012
i would hold off and replace the old battery. Maybe a new SSD??
 
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Glockworkorange

Suspended
Feb 10, 2015
2,511
4,180
Chicago, Illinois
Stick with the base model: i7 2.6GHz, 16GB RAM, 512GB SSD, AMD Radeon Pro 5300M 4GB. Unless you have a $400 to spend on the -overpriced- ram. Spend that $400 on something which has less depreciation than a computer.
I have the same use case (basically) and yeah, base model has been great hooked up to LG 5K and Thunderbolt Display.
 
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Fishrrman

macrumors Core
Feb 20, 2009
21,498
7,757
MBP 16" base model (16gb/512gb) is on sale at amazon and bestbuy right now for 2,099.

Apple refurbished page has it for 2,039.

Either way, a good price and for that I could "live with the limitations"... ;)
 
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MacGizmo

macrumors 68000
Apr 27, 2003
1,884
1,181
Arizona
A few things to consider:
  • You can add more storage later (via Thunderbolt/USB-C) SSD drives
  • You can NOT add more RAM later if you need it
  • Unless you do 4k-8k video editing or something even more processor-intensive, the i9 processor is not only a little overkill for you, it's inarguably a MASSIVE overkill.
  • Video card upgrades are deceptively useful. Don't think that they're useless if you don't do video editing. The OS takes advantage of the video card for normal processing in many cases (things like scrolling will improve with better video cards).
Personally, I would go with an i7 processor, 500GB SSD, 32GB RAM and the upgraded video card.
 
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zooby

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Feb 2, 2008
908
324
A few things to consider:
  • You can add more storage later (via Thunderbolt/USB-C) SSD drives
  • You can NOT add more RAM later if you need it
  • Unless you do 4k-8k video editing or something even more processor-intensive, the i9 processor is not only a little overkill for you, it's inarguably a MASSIVE overkill.
  • Video card upgrades are deceptively useful. Don't think that they're useless if you don't do video editing. The OS takes advantage of the video card for normal processing in many cases (things like scrolling will improve with better video cards).
Personally, I would go with an i7 processor, 500GB SSD, 32GB RAM and the upgraded video card.

I think I am going to go i7, 1 TB, 32 GB Ram, and the base video card. Is the upgraded video card the 8GB one or the more expensive 4GB?
 
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MacLappy

macrumors 6502
Jul 28, 2011
360
174
Singapore
I am coming from a 2.5 GHz Quad-Core Intel Core i7 with 16 GB of memory and a 512GB SSD. To be honest, it runs fine! But since I hadn't upgraded since late 2014 and only upgrade when needed (like in my case right now with my battery being practically dead), I figured I'd get something that would last a while. I also considered the base option, and it'd still be an upgrade from what I have (and I could save up money), but since I rarely upgrade I want something that will last me a long time.

i7 2.6GHz, 32GB RAM, 512GB SSD, AMD Radeon Pro 5300M 4GB

i9 2.3GHz, 16GB Ram, 1TB Storage, AMD Radeon Pro 5500M 4GB


In that case my advice would be to - however grudgingly - go with the $400 RAM upgrade. As time goes on, macOS and apps aren't going to get any less RAM hungry, making this your most likely bottleneck. So regardless of what else you do, get 32GB.


I think I am going to go i7, 1 TB, 32 GB Ram, and the base video card. Is the upgraded video card the 8GB one or the more expensive 4GB?


Let me play the devil's advocate in this instance.

From the inception of the intel base MacBook Pro, one of the chief complaints has been the lacklustre amount of ram compared to similarly priced windows based notebook. Thankfully, Apple made a herculean jump from the anaemic ram count of 1GB in 2006 to 16GB in 2013.

Since then, they have basically plateaued. Most windows laptop have also kept ram count at 16GB, a surprising coincidence considering that ram is perhaps one of the cheapest commodities in a laptop(compared to reengineering thermals or redesigning the chassis, or installing a quantitatively better CPU or GPU), it would make sense for computer companies to increase the quantity of ram and hype it as a differentiating point for said product.

Or does it not?

My suspicion is, just like with everything else, ram has a point of diminishing returns. In 2020, that point for most regular consumer is 8GB, which equates to about 25 open pages in chrome, without any swap files. After this point, having an SSD over a HDD would likely grant a more perceivable performance boost than say, just adding more ram. A quick search online would show the vast difference between 4GB vs 8GB of ram in many applications. Yet 8GB of ram, yields close to the same result as say 16GB/32GB/64GB even in intensive gaming.

Of course the MacBook Pro 16" was not designed for the average consumer but the average prosumer. 16GB of ram equates to something like 80 open tabs in chrome, without the use of swap files. One of my more common workflows, involves playing WoW on my connected external monitor at 1980x1200, simultaneously watching Netflix on the build in display, while background rendering a 90 to 135 mins video on FCPX. Even under such heavy workload there is still no file swapping. MacOS has proven to be remarkably well optimised in terms of ram usage.

The point is if you really need 32GB of ram for some specific application or if you have extreme multitasking demands, you would already be conscious of your own requirements thus making this threat moot. In all likelihood the excess ram will yield little to no advantage over any other regular MacBook Pro 16" running 16 GB of ram. Adding to that, the additional power drain which occurs even in sleep mode, it makes little sense to incur both power and financial cost just for the off chance that this might increase the longevity of your device. Especially true when you consider ram usage has barely escalated in the last 10 years.

Chances are your next upgrade will be motivated by poor battery performance due to the age of your MacBook Pro 16", a redesign chassis(thinning, lighter with better thermals, micro led screen), need for more performance delivered by newer, more power efficient CPU/GPU architect, and even perhaps more storage space, rather than a general lack of ram.

On the other hand, going with the i9 processor, alongside the AMD Radeon Pro 5500m 4GB, will net you faster single core and multi core performance of up to 30%, while graphical performance is increased by up to 20%, today. Additionally twice the amount of SSD storage, all at a lower price point, compared to the cost of the base model with just the ram upgrade.

Putting it in a simple formula.

[CPU up to 30% increase in performance + GPU up to 20% increase in performance + twice the SSD + cheaper] > twice the ram.

😊
 
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MacGizmo

macrumors 68000
Apr 27, 2003
1,884
1,181
Arizona
I think I am going to go i7, 1 TB, 32 GB Ram, and the base video card. Is the upgraded video card the 8GB one or the more expensive 4GB?
I have the AMD Radeon Pro 5500M 8 GB... it makes for excellent screen redraw speed working with large files in Adobe apps.
 
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