best macbook pro?

Discussion in 'Mac / Hackintosh' started by tzzsmk, Mar 20, 2017.

  1. tzzsmk

    tzzsmk Platinum Record

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    Hello everyone,
    I'm thinking about buying newest possible non-Retina MacBook Pro (around 2012) with some topped Core i7, 16GB ram, eventually SSD+HDD with optical drive removed,
    and I would like to know your opinions/pros/cons on whether to get 13" or 15" version,

    I am not a music creator but audio engineer, so I barely use virtual instruments (and if I do, I just bounce things final) but recording long sessions no less than once a week, I have own small studio, but the equipment is fully portable, so that's why laptop, but doesn't need to be feather-lightweight imo (I have i7-5820K 32GB ram equipped El Capitan hackintosh workstation for mixing/mastering/creation/video etc.. in another room)

    right now I'm using my MSI GE60 which has very similar configuration as MBP 15 2012 (quad core i7 Ivy Bridge, 8GB ram, GT650M, 750GB HDD, 15" 1080p) - it does job fine, but I would have different use for it, plus I'm seriously leaning towards OSX rather than Windows, so I'd handle all this stuff right away in one go :)

    things I primarily use and absolutely must work flawlessly:
    1) pair of RME Fireface 802 (via usb) controlled via TotalMix FX (or one FF802 and one UFX) - today I checked TMFX window height is around 850px which is more than what 13" model screen can offer, anyone has experience about that what happens?
    2) Reaper DAW, recording no less than 16 tracks at once
    3) relatively silent operation if possible

    what are your thoughts?
     
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  3. Cocker

    Cocker Noisemaker

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    This is the exact machine I have
    Macbook Pro 13" 2012
    2.9 GHz i7
    16Gb RAM
    256GB SSD
    2TB Storage on Optibay (Backed up to Google Drive)

    AFAIK, this was the first Macbook Pro model to introduce USB3 (which is great for cheap, portable external drives).
    It also has FW800, Thunderbolt and SD cared reader.
    It currently works perfectly under macOS Sierra and will probably still avail of updates for at least two more OS versions.
    In my opinion, the last (and best) great Macbook that was (and will be) ever made.
    It's all gone downhill for MacBooks since 2012.

    I love this laptop. Bar the CPU, it had none of these specs when I bought it.
    It was fully upgradeable. Which it now more or less is.
    And it didn't cost me an arm and a leg to upgrade it. Apple's upgrade prices are bollocks.
    Runs all my software flawlessly.
    Even CPU heavy shit like running several intances of Altiverb 7 in Ableton,
    whilst using MaxforLive and simultaneously watching 6 tabs of Youtube on Chrome
    Reaper, being a relatively small and simple app will run just fine.
    In Uni, we used Reaper to record multichannel audio using soundfield microphones (Ambisonics stuff)
    This laptop had no trouble at all

    I've rendered stuff from Adobe After Effects, Premiere and encoded vids using HandBrake.
    It's not super fast, but gets the job done.
    I use a MOTU Ultralite over the FW and it's rock solid. Recording multitrack audio isn't a particularly intensive process.
    RME shouldn't be any different. No good quality audio interface will cause you trouble.
    As long as your using an OS version that has a stable driver for your interface, it's all good.
    Let's just hope Apple don't ever mess with the CoreAudio functionality.
    My old Macbook Pro from 2008 could handle big multitrack sessions no problems.

    Initially it will run quietly, but inevitably after some years you'll hear fan noise.
    Never had a Macbook that didn't do this. However, it's still pretty quiet.
    The optibay HD is louder most of the time.
    It's negligible really.

    13 or 15 inch ??? I needed super light and portable, so I went for the 13"
    I always felt too that the 13" models had a much more robust build. They feel more sturdy in the hands if you get me.
    Like they can easily withstand a pounding. The have a bit of depth to them.
    I always felt like the newer models could buckle under a bit of pressure

    My mate has a a later model Macbook Pro 13" 2014 Retina
    Mine literally shits all over it.
    He has a newer but slower CPU
    A shitty proprietary 120 gb Apple SSD
    8 gb of fused RAM
    no room for an optibay (no DVD drive on this model)

    AND.. as if that wasn't enough... it cost... MORE than mine did, because it's a more recent model


    Apple have their heads up their arses, they truly do.
    I'm sure you've done this already but here are the 2012 models WORTH having:

    http://www.everymac.com/systems/app...re-i7-2.9-13-mid-2012-unibody-usb3-specs.html
    http://www.everymac.com/systems/app...re-i7-2.7-15-mid-2012-unibody-usb3-specs.html

    Hmm.. only noticed now the 15" version is marginally slower. Negligible really

    These are the NON RETINA versions. Be careful with that. Apple started producing Retina Macbooks in 2012
    The Retina versions were the first to include Apple proprietary internal storage, which is still, to this day ridiculously expensive
    So steer clear of Retina is my advice. I you're not into graphics/photoshop etc. then you don't need it.
    You can always use an external display for that anyways.

    Will I ever buy a newer MacBook Pro ?? Yes probably in a few years I may have to.
    But I'll get a decently spec'd model second hand and avoid Apple's extortionate prices

    By the way, noticed you said you have a Hackintosh. I'm defo going to build one in the future
    At the moment I also have fully upgraded Mac Pro 2009 at home.
    It's a 3.46 GHz 12 Core monster with 64 gb RAM. It's a beast. A literal beast
    HOWEVER... again Apple, in their infinite wisdom have discontinued OS support for 2009 Mac Pros as of macOS Sierra
    This is one of the most blatant examples of Planned Obsolescence I've ever come across
    Thankfully there's a relatively easy firmware upgrade utility built by some kind chap Netkas forum
    Allows 2009 models to utilise 2012 hardware and most recent OS. Brilliant !

    That turned out longer than expected
    Good luck !!
     
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  4. tzzsmk

    tzzsmk Platinum Record

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    thanks for the very thorough insight :)

    that 13" 2.9GHz (boost 3.6GHz) i7 version is what I've been keeping an eye on,
    yesterday I ran across a pristine condition 15" 2.6GHz (boost 3.6GHz) i7,

    those are therefore very similar and only worthy difference for me is 2 cores vs 4 cores Core i7 and 1280x800 vs 1440x900 screen,
    I'm aware of fact the cpu heat-caused throttling may pull out, and also often no more than 2 cores are needed for a task, and actually highest core clock is what matters most anyway,
    so what's your opinion on that specifically, regardless of eventual price difference?
     
  5. Sindroid811

    Sindroid811 Member

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    Pros and cons of 15 and 13 is quite a big gap. as you pointed out the processors

    13 inches are very weak. All of them sports a museum piece dual core (even the new touchbar models) and bollocks intel integrated graphic cards (even if that is not important for music).

    15 has way better ones.

    my first macbook wasI a 13" and it heated up the fan for nothing. It was a whole different world when i got my 15".

    Personally i´m going for a hackintosh desktop next time. Apple has priced me out of their market and their new line is not exactly "pro" targeted.
     
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  6. sisyphus

    sisyphus Platinum Record

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    might just be the 2011 models, but I think that the internal sata on the 13" models was full speed, vs the 15" ... but that might have changed with the 2012's... I have the 2011 2.8 i7 w/ 16gb ram, WISH I had the 2012 (for usb3 amongst some others), but it was given to me by a benevolent friend, so beggars can't be choosers!

    (and also not quite sure the other differences between the 2011 and 2012, but I'm more then sure the 2012 is the unit to have...)
     
  7. Cocker

    Cocker Noisemaker

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    In my opinion 4 cores is good enough to be a desktop pc.
    If you do all your work from a laptop then this might be the way to go.
    But for me, the laptop is all about portability/performance trade off.
    The 13" is the perfect laptop for me. Snug fit in a bag along with the Ultralite.
    I only use it for Ableton / Push / Kontakt 5

    Like I said the one I have is full spec'd out
    It's Geekbench score is: 6779 (multicore)
    The highest score I found for this model is: 7095
    Putting it firmly in the top percentile

    The highest score I found for the 15" was: 12507

    But yes as mentioned, the 2012 model, regardless of " size is the way to go
    Based on the simple facts that:

    1. It's very user configurable and DIY friendly (tutorials on iFixit)
    2. Goes for a reasonable price these days
    3. Has a CPU only marginally slower than current Macbook Pros
    4. Can fit an optibay
    5. Has ports and connectivity now devoid in most later models

    Not sure why people are shitting on the Intel Graphics.
    I don't use my laptop for graphics/games
    Doesn't mean I can't see the screen properly
     
  8. saltwater

    saltwater Rock Star

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    new macbook pro 15" , everything is better by far, the cpu is easily fast enough, the SSD is the fastest in the world.
    the touchbar and the tb3 ports are a breeze to use, its actually way better with a decent dock than old style cablework.
    il guess you have an iphone, the wireless data transfer speeds are insane.
    although there is no touchbar support planned in reaper
    Since you want Apple, you pay for Apple.
    in the end for work worth every penny imho
     
  9. Cocker

    Cocker Noisemaker

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    Not sure what you mean by "cable work"
    I have one dedicated cable to connect each piece of hardware I own
    As compared to the cable + dongle I would need for a new MacBook
    Why should I have to buy a dock
    Docks cost money
    An external drive costs money
    The processor on the new Macbooks Pro 13" is still 2.9 GHz (same as the 2012)
    It's only i5 and not i7 (at base spec. It's €330 euro more for i7)
    Has absolutely no other internal storage other than the ridiculously overpriced Apple SSD
    The RAM upgrade to 16 gb is also ridiculously overpriced

    i just spec'd one on the Apple store with more or less the same configuration as my current 2012....

    .... €3,379..... for a dual core laptop!!!

    Pretty sure mine was about €1,200 in 2014
    Over the last few years I've had the OPTION to upgrade it as I see fit
    Not nailed in to some bullshit predetermined non user configurable Apple scam
    And the Touch Bar...? Please... What a gimmick

    I'm not trying to say they are not good computers. They're probably fine
    They're just not that much better than Apple laptops still around since 2012
    And they are definitely not worth any where near the money Apple are looking for regardless of your income
     
  10. Cocker

    Cocker Noisemaker

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    Case in point:

    My 2012 Macbook Pro 13" 2.9 GHz Geek Bench Score


    Screen Shot 2017-03-20 at 17.41.01.png

    And the Geekbench average score for a 2016 13" 2.9 GHz

    Screen Shot 2017-03-20 at 19.13.30.png

    Really not that much in the difference of the scores
    Worth noting that the top score for a 2012 was over 7000
    Certainly not worth an extra €2,500 for the 2016

    Less connectivity
    Less storage
    Less ram
     
    Last edited: Mar 20, 2017
  11. saltwater

    saltwater Rock Star

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    cpu is the same performance, but the SSD and port speeds are insane, this machine is incredible fast, everything is instant.
    touch-bar and touch-id alone are worth it.
    its not less connectivity at all, its far superior, 4 x Tb3 40Gbps
    1 cable - everything connected
    im talking about the 15" which is quad and 16 GB base model, without touch-bar starts at 1.999
    new with warranty, not a 5 year old machine,
    as every apple product you can still sell it after 5 years for decent value.
    cost is not determined by price:guru:

    if you buy the old one you will get nearly nothing in 5 years
    if you buy the new one you will get about what you payed for the old one now
    so it costs you about the same :bow:
     
    Last edited: Mar 21, 2017
  12. tzzsmk

    tzzsmk Platinum Record

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    @saltwater problem is, that even if I would pay for the maxxed up version of 13" MBP 2016 (which would be around 3360€), I would still get only 3.6GHz boosting dual core i7, 1TB SSD and without bag full of dongles which I'd need to buy along, I'd be screwed,

    for similar price I built my rock-solid stable El Capitan hackintosh which is 6core/12thread 4.2GHz clocked i7-5820K (could go 4.4GHz but that would require touching the voltages and I prefer silent smooth operation instead), 32GB DDR4 2400MHz ram (downclocked from 2666 because of stability issues), EVGA GTX980Ti (which does amazing job thanks to 6GB vram at 384bit bus and full CUDA support), bunch of drives (pair of 500GB Samsung 850 EVOs, pair of 2TB Seagate HDDs, 4TB WD Blue HDD), RME HDSPe AIO PCIex audio interface, this all running on ASUS X99-S mobo and neatly packed in silent Fractal Design Define R5 case..

    and since I already have another little mini-ITX rig (i7-3770K, 16GB DDR3 1600MHz ram, ASUS Z77-I Deluxe, 250GB 850 EVO, 2TB WD Blue, packed in Fractal Design Node 304), which cost me years ago around 1500€,
    the effort I'd put into making this another hackintosh would save me 2000€ to get better performance than 13" MBP 2016 and for leftover money I could still get maxxed out 2012 MBP with pair of 1TB 850 EVO SSDs and still have some money left :P
     
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  13. huschiwuschi

    huschiwuschi Platinum Record

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    If you like to use Avenger make sure to get the fastest as possible.
     
  14. 5teezo

    5teezo Platinum Record

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    Imo MBPs are pretty much dead for music making. The old are outperformed already and the new ones are non-pro devices where you need to buy all sort of shity USB-C dongles for. I had an MBP late 2008 wich lastet till 2015. It was cool, but I definitely would not buy one again.

    And something that almost nobody tells you: Apples doesn't support any Models that are older than 5-6 years as far as spare parts and stuff is concerned. After 5 - 6 years your Notebook will be rated as what they call "vintage" so they won't produce nor provide any spare parts for it and fixing issues at reasonble prices becomes almost impossible. For example a new Mainboard for my 9 year old MBP would cost around 250-300 euros. You can buy a new laptop for that nowadys!
     
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2017
  15. Vader

    Vader Producer

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    make yourself a favor, and buy a Windows computer.... cheaper, and far more powerful
     
  16. trutzburg

    trutzburg Ultrasonic

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    I normally would recommend a MBP 15'' mid-2012 over the smaller one, but as I saw now, there are only a few of them in the bay, overly expensive...one is 1250,- Euros (more than a 2012 Retina) with the i7-3615QM, which is a bit slower than the i7-3720QM.
    I bought a used MBP 15'' with i7-3615QM in june' 15 for 990,- Euros from a trader, I then thought that was expensive, but now...
    This MBP was then upgraded with a 500GB Samsung 850 and 8 GB of RAM (dual channel). It works very good (gave it to my daughter who learns graphic design).
    13'' MBP are, however, available, it seems, from 500,- to about 700,- Euros.
    I use a 12'' Dell-Laptop with i7-2640M (Dual-Core) from 2011 (on Win7) and I must say, it's fast enough for most of my music tasks, that includes real-time performance with Reaper and several vst's (like Beatzille, Olga, HGF-synths, Korg Legacy, Bitsonic WT-01, SynthmasterBE etc.) together, arpeggiated, sequenced and so on. The most performance-defining hardware part in such a Notebook is the SSD.
    The only setback is the missing extra graphic card, HD3000 (on MBP 13'': HD4000) is not very fast, but sufficient, if you don't plan to play games.
    Compared to modern U-CPU's, these old ones are quite capable at a fraction of their price; It's strange that a 300,- Laptop can be as fast as one for 1200,- or more. Of course the new ones last longer off the cable, but that's not always needed.
    So the 13'' MBP with i7 should do the trick. The free 'Hartmann Neuron' synth is a reason alone to buy it.
     
  17. tzzsmk

    tzzsmk Platinum Record

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    @5teezo actually there are more than a few unofficial independent servicing groups in my country, so I believe fixing isn't a problem, although it's true shortages of spare parts will rise prices eventually - if Apple stopped selling 2012 models just recently, there's a good chance for spare parts for following 3 years at least :)

    @Vader I do have my primary hackintosh+Win7 workstation of i7-5820K + 32GB ram + GTX980Ti and another rig of i7-3770K + 16GB ram + GTX770 and i7-3630QM + 8GB ram + GT650M 15.6" laptop, so believe me there is no need to buy another Windows machine at all,

    one fact I figured out through decades of months of testing since very early insider builds till nowadays providing support for plenty various rigs running Windows 10, I do not want to have anything to do with Windows 10, it's a dead-end WindowsNT-based branch with uncertain future full of ads, spying and cloud subscription, plus the fact hardware manufacturers are forced to develop for Windows 10 (and Microsoft even announced all previous Windows version will automatically cutoff any updates as soon as new hardware is detected), there is really NOTHING, I repeat, absolutely NOTHING to keep me on Windows,

    on the other hand Apple has been utterly failing to provide proper high-end hardware platform, and so I am definitely not against making some more hackintosh rigs (but then it's questionable, if the build quality of Windows laptops can be matched with Apple's),

    @trutzburg thanks for your insights, so do you think dual core i7 would be enough for non-heavy but realtime audio sessions?

    on a side note, what makes me sad is that no professional hardware manufacturer would ever provide flawlessly optimized drivers for open-sourced Linux system, because that would basically mean to freely giveaway their precious know-how, if RME could provide same level of functionality for Linux platform, I'd go for it in my recording studio :|
     
  18. Andrew

    Andrew AudioSEX Maestro Staff Member

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    Not necessarily all software for Linux have to be open-source :yes: - it's always a matter of a choice for the devs. Displaylink made a closed-source driver for Linux to enable users run their USB-to-Displayport solutions, and it apparently work wonders.
     
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  19. saltwater

    saltwater Rock Star

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    he got already 2 windows machines, he clearly stated he wants macOS.
     
  20. saltwater

    saltwater Rock Star

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    why would you build another machine now?
    thought u want a macbook?
    from what i see the slowest dual core macbook pro could easily handle everything you need.
    the ports and the SSD speeds are what really matters in your regard, and nothing beats the new macbooks in this category.
    the 850 evos are a joke in comparison (still i bought another one last week :D )
    the dongle thing is a myth, y you maybe gonna buy 1 or 2 and attach them on some cables
    but the real thing is the usb-c dock, wireless and lightspeed tb3, even bluetooth is now fast as hell and near 0 latency
    the truth is you gonna end up using your macbook pro for everything because it can handle anything, just way faster, silent, secure, hassle free.
    you never need to boot your machine, theres only 1 cable to attach once you come home.
    daisy chain all your devices including multiple monitors and charger, automatic backup via timemachine.
    no worry about anything, the power of macOS

    you got 2 wonderful machines already, the earliest upgrade thats worth it would be the LGA 2066

    to come back to topic:
    it is the best macbook ever, by far,
    its a new world actually.
     
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2017
  21. tzzsmk

    tzzsmk Platinum Record

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    @saltwater actually there is a small chance to receive new macbook pro 2016 (or maybe 2017) as part of my job equipment, so I definitely wouldn't buy that myself :)
     
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