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wasabi_sansho

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Sep 12, 2018
3
0
Tokyo, Japan
Hello, I need to update my laptop and not sure which one to get. I currently use 2013 MacBook Air and it is starting to freeze sometimes & becoming very slow at the start, so I do not want to wait too long. It has 256GB/8GB RAM, the hard drive is ~200GB full, so I plan to buy 512GB/16GB RAM when I update.

The question is, is 2018 MBP Touch Bar model worth extra $300?? I read many reviews that it is not worth it, so I was going to get no Touch Bar model but then apple did not upgrade its CPU and is sucks that I am buying an year old machine (also did they fix the keyboard problem? Is not having Touch Bar save battery life (the spec on apple homepage show no difference)). But then, the difference in processor speed may not matter much to me — I do not do video editing, or play video games, most my graphics are black & white (with a little bit of colors), I do some photo editing but minimal. One thing that I do need to do is to install Windows as well because I use some softwares that only run on Windows.

I also start to think MBP maybe too pricey, and perhaps just get Air or MacBook. Disappointed that they did not release any new models on Sep 12, but should I hold for these models to come out (hopefully next months??)? One nice aspect of MacBook is that it is much lighter than MBP, although the screen size is a little bit small (no I do not plan to hook an external screen).

I actually need to upgrade my iPhone SE (that does not support some apple pay functions) as well and I want to save $$ if I can (I do not like big screen models and waiting for SE2 .. but that is another story). Any suggestions, please?
 

Malus120

macrumors 6502a
Jun 28, 2002
680
1,415
I Just got the 2018 13" TouchBar MacBook Pro about a week ago. It's a great machine. I love it. Easily one of the best machines I've ever owned. It's so fast that if I didn't game I'd probably just make this my only computer. Oh, and TouchID on the Mac is so great I'm almost kicking myself for not getting a TouchBar model back in 2016 (bought a 13" nTB).

If you can afford it, go with it, you won't regret it. Just make sure to get 16GB of ram (as you said you wanted to). FYI Most of the early complaints were about throttling issues which have been fixed, and while some people are having BridgeOS issues with sleep and external monitors causing kernel panics, it doesn't seem to effect everyone, and I'm hopeful it will be addressed.

Think of it this way, even if Apple releases a new MacBook, the base config is going to be 8GB/256GB (or, god forbid, 8GB/128GB Ugh), so you're probably going to have to BTO anyway and that's going to drive the price up to the point where the difference may not be all that large.. While it may still be less than a TouchBar model, it's also likely to be less powerful. Also right now there are really great promotions (in the US) for students buying the MBP. There's no guerantee those will be around when the new Macbook is released.

Also just judging by your username and what you said about ApplePay I'm guessing you're in Japan. I feel your pain regarding the SE. I'm in the same boat with my iPhone 6S/Apple Watch S1 they're both great devices and I don't really need to upgrade but I'm itching for ApplePay in Japan. If you have access to the US market (via travel/friends/family/etc) try and hold out until retailers start clearance on the iPhone 8/X and or until the holidays sales in November/December. If you're lucky you might be able to get one for as much as half off.

As far as the Mac, if you can buy it in the US with the student discount (or on sale at a retailer) and free headphones, you'll save a ton vs paying the wallet busting weak yen + sales tax price in Japan.
 
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wasabi_sansho

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Sep 12, 2018
3
0
Tokyo, Japan
Wow, thank you for the input. You almost got me to get right on computer and buy MBP+TB …. almost. Al least to me, MacBook option is now gone, it is true that if you get 16RAM/512 configuration, then the price is not so different from MBP-TB (or if you upgrade the processor, it would be slightly more). But what about Air? The current model is old and only offer 8GB RAM (still can get 512 SSD) but then the price is -$500… perhaps if they do update soon, it may get a better processor at the same price. With that $500 I can get a new iPhone 7 base model, that does support using ApplePay with some prepaid cards (the function I need).

So there is another thread that says that if you use parallel, 16GB RAM is a must. What if I stick with bootcamp? Is 8GB RAM suffice? I do not use that software that require Windows setup that often to begin with (my current Air do not have Windows)

Well, yes I do think that TB looks really cool, TouchID would be nice for sure, I can actually afford to buy MBP+TB model, but I have to sleep on it… I guess I am too cheap in general, lol. Be nice if I can go back to the US for shopping but that is not an option for me… not until February next year, that I do have travel plan for work.

You are right that I am in Tokyo, moved from the US back in April and realized it is so inconvenient without ApplePay, ugh.
 

Howard2k

macrumors 603
Mar 10, 2016
5,454
5,336
I would not get the nTB. Also has inferior wifi too, I didn't see that mentioned.

There are a million threads that say that you must use 16GB. The vast majority of them are wrong. You don't actually say which specific Windows software you're using though. I'm not saying 16GB is a bad idea, but I wouldn't take it as a given that you "must" have it.

I would wait if you can. If you need to buy, then I'd go for the 13" TB. Otherwise if your current machine is still working I'd consider sticking it out for another few weeks and see if there is news. Especially if you're looking for a lower priced model, I would wait for sure. There's no way I would buy the nTB today. I'm not not saying it's a bad machine.


Of course, there's always SOMETHING new around the corner.
 

Malus120

macrumors 6502a
Jun 28, 2002
680
1,415
Wow, thank you for the input. You almost got me to get right on computer and buy MBP+TB …. almost. Al least to me, MacBook option is now gone, it is true that if you get 16RAM/512 configuration, then the price is not so different from MBP-TB (or if you upgrade the processor, it would be slightly more).
I do want to make a quick note here. I'm not saying that you should completely abandon the idea of a Retina MacBook (assuming it is updated,) IF it's something that would work for you. I owned one of the first models for about a year in 2015-2016, and it was also one of the best machines I've ever owned, albeit in a completely different way than my current 13" MBP. The rMB is amazing because of the size and weight (makes the MBA feel heavy & unwieldy), not only does it make you want to take it everywhere, but it makes a noticeable ergonomic difference for things like using it lying down. That said, you need to understand going in, it's way slower than a MBP, and this will be noticeable even in everyday use. Is it a dealbreaker? It wasn't for me when i had a 5K iMac at home, but as a primary mac I would find it more than a bit underpowered (although it's just fine for my girlfriend whose use case is much lighter than mine).

But what about Air? The current model is old and only offer 8GB RAM (still can get 512 SSD) but then the price is -$500… perhaps if they do update soon, it may get a better processor at the same price.

The thing about recommending either the Air or the rMB in their current form is we don't know how Apple will be updating them. There's a possibility the lines could be merged or that the Air gets a retina screen and then remains as a tier above (or below) the rMB. What I will say is I can't recommend the Air in 2018. The lack of a retina screen and USB-C combined with the outdated CPU/GPU/design just make it a poor choice at this time. Even if they merge the lines/update there is also the (disappointing) possibility they will continue to be dual core (in spite of lower powered quad cores being available,) which would still be much slower than the TB 13" MBP.

With that $500 I can get a new iPhone 7 base model, that does support using ApplePay with some prepaid cards (the function I need).

As far as your Apple Pay dilemma, have you considered a used (or refurbished) Japanese model Apple Watch Series 2? Especially with the release of the Series 4, these should be getting down to a very reasonable price on the secondary market, and will give you ApplePay without having to spend a bunch of money. Of course if you WANT to upgrade your phone that's different, but given that you mentioned the base 7, I'm feeling like it's just an "I need Apple Pay in Japan now," kind of thing. Also, while I have no idea what your credit score is like in Japan, an iD and/or a Suica enabled credit card (or one of each) can be a decent stopgap for ApplePay just FYI.

So there is another thread that says that if you use parallel, 16GB RAM is a must. What if I stick with bootcamp? Is 8GB RAM suffice? I do not use that software that require Windows setup that often to begin with (my current Air do not have Windows)

There are a million threads that say that you must use 16GB. The vast majority of them are wrong. You don't actually say which specific Windows software you're using though. I'm not saying 16GB is a bad idea, but I wouldn't take it as a given that you "must" have it.

I'm going to have to respectfully disagree with the above poster. Two years ago I would've agreed, but these days I can get to yellow memory pressure on an 8GB machine with just Safari, TweetBot, Mail, iTunes, and a few other light things running, and once you hit yellow, the paging is very noticeable, causing micro (and not so micro) stutters that detract from the user experience. It's a big part of the reason I upgraded from a 2016 nTB model with 8GB of ram to a 2018 TB model with 16GB. I will note that I briefly tried an 8GB 2018 13" for a few days, and while the quad core CPU does help power through some of that slowdown, it's still there. Even if you're not the kind of user who will see an immediate benefit, given that rate at which ram usage (especially by web pages) is increasing, I honestly just have a lot of trouble recommending spending over $1000 on a machine with 8GB of ram.

Well, yes I do think that TB looks really cool, TouchID would be nice for sure, I can actually afford to buy MBP+TB model, but I have to sleep on it… I guess I am too cheap in general, lol. Be nice if I can go back to the US for shopping but that is not an option for me… not until February next year, that I do have travel plan for work.

Nothing wrong with wanting to make your yen go farther. Good luck with your decision.
 

Howard2k

macrumors 603
Mar 10, 2016
5,454
5,336
I'm going to have to respectfully disagree with the above poster. Two years ago I would've agreed, but these days I can get to yellow memory pressure on an 8GB machine with just Safari, TweetBot, Mail, iTunes, and a few other light things running, and once you hit yellow, the paging is very noticeable, causing micro (and not so micro) stutters that detract from the user experience. It's a big part of the reason I upgraded from a 2016 nTB model with 8GB of ram to a 2018 TB model with 16GB. I will note that I briefly tried an 8GB 2018 13" for a few days, and while the quad core CPU does help power through some of that slowdown, it's still there. Even if you're not the kind of user who will see an immediate benefit, given that rate at which ram usage (especially by web pages) is increasing, I honestly just have a lot of trouble recommending spending over $1000 on a machine with 8GB of ram.



You're welcome to disagree, and thanks for doing so respectfully.

I typically have 15-20 Safari tabs open and iTunes open as a base. Then I'll sometimes be using (in addition) a combination of OneNote, Numbers, Chrome, and Lightroom. I don't think it's ever paged (aside from when I've tried to make it page), and the only times I run the risk of my memory pressure running into the yellow is when I've got some web pages running AWOL.

For my usage as described, I'd certainly seriously consider 16GB for my next upgrade, but in no way at all is it mandatory. I don't use the macOS mail client, and based on my extremely limited experience with that I thought that the RAM usage was a little high. Maybe that's a significant enough difference between your usage and mine.

So I agree, RAM is still a worthwhile investment in many cases, but certainly not all cases. Given the choice of 256 vs 512, or 8GB vs 16GB, if I had to choose I'd pick 256/16 over 512/8. I just don't think it's mandatory for all cases.
 

sosumi99

macrumors 6502
Oct 27, 2003
362
322
If I were in your position I'd wait to see what the new cheaper Air/rMB successor is like. Given your usage, I don't think the MBP will be worth it -- it's way more machine than you need.
 

wasabi_sansho

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Sep 12, 2018
3
0
Tokyo, Japan
Thank you for the comments — I am leaning toward waiting for the new MacBook or Air — I am not sure if anyone is still seeing the two-days old thread but I am writing down in case someone does. It seems the only reasonable reason for me to buy MBP would be for faster processor. The software that I need to use occasionally on Windows is Chem3D (CambridgeSoft). Actually, my current Air slowed down quite a bit when I had Windows and running on Parallel. When using Bootcamp, it was better but eventually I stopped using it because the battery became super hot that worried me.
The system requirement for the current version of Chem3D says
Memory (RAM)
For 32-bit OS 1 GB For 64-bit OS 2 GB
Processor
1.6 GHz or higher (minimum)
3.0 GHz or higher dual core processor (recommended)

??? It only requires 1 or 2 GB RAM?

The current MacBook comes with
1.2GHz dual core Intel Core m3(Turbo Boost - 3.0GHz), So it should already be good enough? (I still plan to wait for the new model to come out). My current Air has 1.8 GHz Intel core i5, and like I said it was already very slow when using parallel. But then my Air is 6 years old.
Can anyone help?

I can still live with my Air but it sometimes freezes so I cannot wait too long. Perhaps I should wait for another month and if nothing comes out just get MBP+TB (and live with my SE phone with no ApplePay).
 

Malus120

macrumors 6502a
Jun 28, 2002
680
1,415
Thank you for the comments — I am leaning toward waiting for the new MacBook or Air — I am not sure if anyone is still seeing the two-days old thread but I am writing down in case someone does. It seems the only reasonable reason for me to buy MBP would be for faster processor. The software that I need to use occasionally on Windows is Chem3D (CambridgeSoft). Actually, my current Air slowed down quite a bit when I had Windows and running on Parallel. When using Bootcamp, it was better but eventually I stopped using it because the battery became super hot that worried me.
The system requirement for the current version of Chem3D says
Memory (RAM)
For 32-bit OS 1 GB For 64-bit OS 2 GB
Processor
1.6 GHz or higher (minimum)
3.0 GHz or higher dual core processor (recommended)

??? It only requires 1 or 2 GB RAM?

The current MacBook comes with
1.2GHz dual core Intel Core m3(Turbo Boost - 3.0GHz), So it should already be good enough? (I still plan to wait for the new model to come out). My current Air has 1.8 GHz Intel core i5, and like I said it was already very slow when using parallel. But then my Air is 6 years old.
Can anyone help?

I can still live with my Air but it sometimes freezes so I cannot wait too long. Perhaps I should wait for another month and if nothing comes out just get MBP+TB (and live with my SE phone with no ApplePay).

I think the best advice I could give you would be, take advantage of Apple's 14 day return window (or better yet, wait until the holiday return window begins in mid-late November) to test drive the machine(s) you're thinking about purchasing with your given use case. That way you will know how it performs before you commit to using it for the next few years, and feel better about your purchase.

Be aware, you can only do this with machines purchased at the Apple Store. Also, just FYI, in my experience, some Japanese Apple Stores (Ginza) can give you a hard time about returns (guilt tripping you and saying "you're only allowed to make one return" in spite of the fact that Apple's website EXPLICITLY states you're allowed to do this with no limitations), while other's (Shibuya/Omotesando) will take a return with a smile and no questions asked.
 
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