Which MBP will you recommend?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by AlexSSE, Feb 28, 2017.

  1. AlexSSE, Feb 28, 2017
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2017

    AlexSSE macrumors newbie

    Feb 28, 2017
    Hi all,

    I am Windows developer decided to give a try for MBP. I'm relatively familiar with Apple ecosystem, however not used MacOS yet (and I am OK with the fact I will have to learn it). Currently I'm looking for 2 options:

    1) MBP 13 2015 - i5, 16 GB Ram, 1 TB SSD - 2300$ before taxes
    2) MBP 13 2016 - i5, 16 GB Ram, 1 TB SSD - 2600$ before taxes

    After reading different reviews I have several main concerns regarding 2016 model:
    1. Stability issues
    2. Heat problems
    3. Keyboard problems
    4. Battery life
    I really like the aesthetics of newer model, however, the primary role of the laptop - be reliable tool for everyday work.

    Can you please share your knowledge and thoughts on which one of these should I purchase? I was kinda OK for giving up the ports and buying SD card dongles. But my biggest concern is that I tend to buy a laptop, that should provide top quality and stability (as reputation says), however it may turn out that this is not really true. In this perspective 2015 model looks like a more weighted decision, except the looks (I really liked the new one).

    What will you suggest? Or maybe should I wait for updated MBP? I don't really care about new processors, unless there will be significant improvement in quality.

    Also, as a separate question, will MBP be able to handle 34" 3440 x 1440 monitor for photo (not video) editing?

    P.S. Sorry if posted not in correct place
  2. Naimfan Suspended


    Jan 15, 2003
    I'd suggest the 2015, as it is a much more mature design.

    Performance will be virtually indistinguishable.
  3. xb2003 macrumors 6502


    Jan 18, 2016
    I am going to work backwards on your questions.

    I know there are all kinds of people talking about the battery life on these things and it seems to range from similar to the 2015 to a couple hours less. The consensus also seems to be that it has gotten better with some updates to MacOS. With such a new product, who know. It could continue to get better or it could not. I have the 2015 15" and I must say battery life is very consistent, and very good.

    Keyboard problems? I think it's mostly a matter of taste. Some people have talked about issues with the new design not lasting as long.. but honestly I don't know how you could tell beings the thing has only been out a few months. The keyboard would not scare me from buying a 2016, but it is notable that the keyboard on the 2015 had been largely unchanged since 2009, and they are known for being robust. Feel wise? It's up to you.

    I'm not sure what you are specifically referring to with heat. If you literally mean the thing overheating and catching on fire, don't worry too much. But if you were looking at it from a performance throttling standpoint.. well.. Don't buy a MacBook for awesome graphics performance, it just isn't there. If you need it for graphics performance, definitely get the 2016. The 2015's GPU had terrible throttling issues.

    A couple other notes on GPUs. Apple has had a bad history with GPUs. A bunch of older ones suffered from terminal issues causing the machines to fail. This has been solved, but they still throttle terribly. Another thing is that the 2016s are not using Iris Pro integrated graphics, and it shows. The 2015 has a pretty great iGPU to go along with the dGPU. For me, this alone would sell the 2015 over the 2016.

    I would say stability is somewhat of a crapshoot with the 2016. Like I said, Apple has a less than stellar history with dGPUs. The 2015's have proven to be very stable (heck they have been out nearly 2 years now), and once again, the design was largely unchanged since 2009.

    The ports are subjective, as is the touchbar. Discreet graphics performance took a step up (and integrated a step down) on the 2016, CPU really didn't. They say the screen is better on the 2016. Trackpad is bigger (too big imo). Sound is better (big woop). Touch ID (a very handy gimmick on a laptop).
  4. Fishrrman macrumors P6


    Feb 20, 2009
    Questions to ask yourself:
    - Do you really, really need 1tb of SSD storage?
    - Do you really, really need 16gb of RAM?

    If not, either model can be found for much cheaper, IF you shop carefully.
  5. xb2003 macrumors 6502


    Jan 18, 2016
    Oh shoot. I did't catch that you wanted a 13".

    If you are willing to spend that much, get a 15".
  6. AlexSSE thread starter macrumors newbie

    Feb 28, 2017
    I will use Parallels for running development Window VM, that's why I plan for this config. Will try to search for lower prices

    I was thinking about that, but small form factor is a huge point for me, as I travel a lot. Plus you mentioned dGPU issues that should be the case at this point..
  7. Samuelsan2001 macrumors 604

    Oct 24, 2013
    Well either will be great but the new ones have better screens, far faster and more versatile I/O and are smaller slimmer and lighter for your travel. The new dGPU in the 15 inch is apparently amazingly quiet and cool even the 460, looks like AMD mobile solutions are finally suitable for a slim laptop design.
  8. ZapNZs macrumors 68020


    Jan 23, 2017
    You will likely be happier with a 15-inch model, especially if you are running multiple VMs at once on 2-3 displays, because there is a very big performance difference in this area, IMO.

    If you are in the US, the refurbished 2015 15-inch with the 2.5 GHz i7 quad, 16gb RAM, R9 GPU, and 512 SSD is about $2,100, and the base integrated graphics model is something like $1,700 (plus you can add up to 256 GB of internal flash storage using a flush adapter that sits in the SD bay, and while its read/write speeds are nowhere near the internal SSD, it is still fast enough to run a VM from.)

    (A 2016 with the same level specs is around $800 more, but it is quite a bit more portable than the 2015.)
  9. Sanpete macrumors 68020

    Nov 17, 2016
    For current stability, the 2015 is a better bet, as its bugs have already been worked out. I don't know if you'd have any stability issues with either for what you have in mind, though.

    The 2015 13" probably has better battery life than the 2016 with touch bar, based on what users are reporting.

    Heat management is better for the 2016 than the 2015.

    The new keyboard does have issues for some regarding high-pitched clicking, though most users haven't had that issue. Otherwise, it's mainly a matter of personal preference.

    Even though my priorities are different than yours appear to be (I put a lot of weight on better screen and speakers, for example), I suspect you'd be better off with the 2015 based on what you say.
  10. That_Damn_Kid macrumors member


    Feb 3, 2017
    Which 2015/2016 models would you guys recommend if I only need 8GB of RAM and 256GB SSD.
  11. Sanpete macrumors 68020

    Nov 17, 2016
    Depends on what matters to you.

    13"? The 2016s have the nicer screen and speakers, the more controversial keyboard and trackpad, are smaller and lighter, and cost more. The non-touch bar 2016 also has excellent battery life, though probably the 2015s do well that way too. The ones with the touch bar have less consistent battery life.

    15" (to replace the dear departed)? You'd get 16 GB with all the 2016 15s, no 8 GB option. Similar differences to the above. The 2016s have better battery life than the 2015s, and a lot of other improvements that may or may not matter much to you. I crammed a bunch of comparative info into an Amazon customer review if you want details (mostly in the attached comments), though it focuses on the 2015s with the dGPU. Mostly the 2015s you see for sale now don't have the dGPU.

  12. beaubend macrumors newbie

    Feb 28, 2017
    Hey AlexSSE,

    I'm also a Windows/Web developer and recently purchased a 15" 2016 MacBook Pro, which I've been using primarily for Dotnet Core development using VSCode. Despite all of the negative feedback I've read about the newer model, I haven't had a single issue with the laptop itself. In fact, it's been the best built and most stable hardware I've purchased since my Windows Server-based Dell Precision 530 workstation many years ago.

    You know your development scenario better than I do obviously, but you might want to consider going for the 15" MBP with 512GB SSD and then opting for the external storage when you need it. Depending on your compiler options, this will net you:
    1. a higher resolution IDE, allowing you to see more code/windows at a time
    2. quad-core processors, potentially halving your compile times
    3. the ability to iteratively add (relatively) external storage over time as your requirements grow.

    That said, I can understand if the form factor is a deal breaker for your scenario, though I would still opt for the 2016 13" model over the 2015 version for the faster storage (again, incredibly important for compilation) and (in my opinion) nicer hardware.

    Best of luck!
  13. szilske macrumors member

    Nov 10, 2015
    I have a similar scenario. I run a Windows 10 development VM in a VirtualBox and besides that multiple docker containers, IntelliJ and the common stuff. I came from a 2013 13" with 8GB memory and the VM was painfully slow. Now I have the 2016 15" and performance is amazing. Really. Probably mainly due to 16GB, but also quad code and faster storage contribute al lot to that, I guess.
  14. AlexSSE thread starter macrumors newbie

    Feb 28, 2017
    Thanks all for reply

    Valid point, but my idea was to have small setup on the go via 13" model. And at home connect it to external 34" monitor.

    What do you think about this, will Iris 550 be able to handle 34" 3440 x 1440? According to this https://discussions.apple.com/thread/7745266?start=0&tstart=0 it should. As mentioned, no games or video editing.

    Just may be photo editing
  15. Dave245 macrumors 604


    Sep 15, 2013
    This is a good point, however i've always been told to spec out computers as much as possible in order to future proof them.
  16. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    What does the 2016 model give you that you'll use that the 2015 doesn't?
  17. Fishrrman macrumors P6


    Feb 20, 2009
    "This is a good point, however i've always been told to spec out computers as much as possible in order to future proof them."

    I bought a base model MacBook Pro in 2010, and when I retired it four months ago, it actually was running BETTER THAN NEW, because I'd installed an SSD.

    My needs were never very "heavy", but the concept of "future proofing" proved to be of no consequence to me. Never became an issue.
  18. Samuelsan2001 macrumors 604

    Oct 24, 2013
    The iris 550 can run a 4K screen with ease it'll run that without breaking sweat.
  19. AlexSSE thread starter macrumors newbie

    Feb 28, 2017
    Finally decided to go with 2016 MBP 13 w/TB. Thanks all for helping with decision)

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18 February 28, 2017