Work Laptop: which Macbook Pro?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by swifty168, May 21, 2015.

  1. swifty168 macrumors member

    Aug 26, 2011
    I need to buy a work laptop for my wife and I need some advice as to which model is most appropriate.
    This will be used almost exclusively for work purposes so things like gaming won't be a factor at all.
    I have narrowed it down to the 2015 15" or 13" MacBook Pro but I'm leaning towards the 15" due to the extra screen real estate.
    Until the actual units gets benchmarked, I guess we have to rely on claimed battery life which favours the 13" model but only slightly. And of course the extra pound on the 15" also favours the 13" model for work travel which she may increasingly need to do in the future.

    But my main point of confusion is using external monitors.
    Namely the difference between the Iris 6100 (13"), Iris Pro (15" base) and R9 370X (15" high end).
    Extra screen real estate is a big plus and atm we have an UltraHD TV, a LG 49UB850T to be precise which can do 3840X2160 @ 60hz via HDMI 2.0 which I'd like to have the option of using. I assume a lightning to HDMI adapter is all I need? Is that the same as a mini displayport to HDMI?

    Will there be a difference in how each of these will drive the TV?
    As in, can each graphic card drive just the TV, mirror or extend the desktop. Ideally she'd want to extend the desktop so that she can work on the laptop whilst simultaneously have lots of other documents up on the TV to quickly reference.

    Does the inclusion of a dGPU decrease battery life? If so, can it be turned off when she's working 'unplugged?'

    I'm also leaning towards the 15" models for the faster SSD which should make loading large documents (some several hundred pages I've seen) quicker?

    I also can't wait for Skylake as she needs the computer more or less now. Am I correct in assuming CPU doesn't matter much for her uses anyways?

    RAM will be maxed out at 16GB. Faster clocked on the 13" it seems (1866 vs 1600MHz) but will that make a tangible difference?

    The computer will last many years so a larger SSD would be welcomed hence if she chooses a 15" the high end model makes more sense since it already comes with double the storage and not much difference in price once you factor in a SSD upgrade to the base model.

    Sorry for the long post but I thought I'd give as much info as possible.

  2. swifty168 thread starter macrumors member

    Aug 26, 2011
    After some research, I'll answer one of my own questions.
    It appears I won't be able to get 4k @ 60Hz on a TV that only has HDMI input, at least not yet until somebody makes a mini displayport -> HDMI 2.0 adapter and it appears none exists currently.

    It'll be great help if someone can explain the difference between the three different GPU's for driving other external displays, not necessarily 4K.
  3. Samuelsan2001 macrumors 604

    Oct 24, 2013
    There is no difference, if it's less than 4K then they will all perform the same and they will all do the 4K TV @ 30hz over HDMI.

    The new high end 15 with M370X is the first portable to do 5K @ 60hz from one port with mini display to display port.
  4. swifty168 thread starter macrumors member

    Aug 26, 2011
    Just clarifying that there's no difference in any mode, eg. mirroring or extending the desktop?
    But how bout multiple smaller monitor setup? Does the dGPU have an advantage?
  5. swifty168 thread starter macrumors member

    Aug 26, 2011
    I just made the connection that the new dGPU max support is the exact same resolution as the 5k iMac which currently doesn't support target display mode.
    Quite the coincidence. Maybe a software update will allow the retina iMac to be used as an external monitor.
  6. MRrainer macrumors 65816

    Aug 8, 2008
    Zurich, Switzerland
    I doubt it. Rather, they'd release a separate display...

    If she doesn't mind the weight and doesn't need to connect a 5K display, the "entry-level" 15" MBP with 512GB SSD will certainly impress innocent bystanders when she unpacks it ;-)

    What does she do with the laptop, other than carry it around?
    The rMB is also a possibility - although it's not a heavy-duty laptop, for sure.
    But carrying around will be so much easier...

    For single-threaded task, the new 15" is certainly faster than a 2013 MacPro.

    If someone can live with the weight, the 15" is a damn fine laptop - and if the price is no issue, I wouldn't advise anybody not to buy it.

    If you have a store near you, would it be possible to take some of the documents with her and try them out on the various display-models?
  7. cruisin macrumors 6502a


    Apr 1, 2014
    Unless they changed something, the 15 inch with the dGPU will always use the dGPU for any external monitor because it is wired up that way. This is how the 2013 model works and I assume they kept the design going forwards. So using it with an extra display will drain the battery quickly and should be plugged in. There is the handy gfxCardStatus, but it can only force the Iris GPU if you don't use an external screen.

    The SSD speed is fast, but for documents it will not make much difference. Unless you have documents measured in gigabytes, it will mostly depend on the software displaying the document (and maybe a small bit on CPU).

    Faster ram barely makes any difference in most cases. You need something that runs for a long time to see an improvement. More ram is better than faster ram, and if you actually need the speed then you will likely need more than the 16 GB the MacBook Pro has.

    Every new CPU will be better than the one before it. Performance wise, the CPU will not improve much. Unless she can make the CPU hit 100% usage, it will mostly be about power saving.

    Apple pricing is odd. My model came with a "free" dGPU upgrade once you upgraded the ram and CPU.
  8. Meister Suspended


    Oct 10, 2013
    What work?

Share This Page