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ClickClick5
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Modern Macbooks...really worth it?

Wed Nov 14, 2018 9:21 pm

So I'm typing this on a Late 2009 Macbook I bought for $850 at Microcenter in Denver in December of 2009. For $850 I got:
-2.26Ghz Core 2 Duo
-4GB Ram
-500GB HDD
It has a dedicated power port (MagSafe), Ethernet, mini Display Port, 2x USB ports, headphone jack, security lock, DVD burner. And the apple logo lights up on the back. I know this laptop is on it's way out now due to 10.13 being the last OS for it, but I have since put in an SSD, a fresh install of 10.13, and so far, no issues at all. Granted it is a little slow at times online, but it still performs great.

So my question, do those of you who have a new machine, do you actually enjoy the lack of many of these ports, or upgradeability? I use USB a lot and will often find myself needing to use the DVD drive, or the ethernet port for troublesome routers. I know many of the new users to Apple might not remember when the Macbook Pro was just that, a pro model. Many ports, upgradeable parts, ect. Now looking at the new machines, I see just thunderbolt port(s)..... Heck, the new Mini is the most "pro" thing they have released since 2013. Also, the new laptops now costs near $500 more, and nothing is upgradeable! Will the soldered ssd even last 10 years? This has all kinda made me wonder if this is going to be my last Apple laptop.

How is the experience for you all? Minus the blind allegiance crew, I'm looking for honest opinions.
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Re: Modern Macbooks...really worth it?

Wed Nov 14, 2018 9:31 pm

IMO, the upgradability isn't the real issue these days. They put decent enough parts in their machines that I can live with that. Just spec it out how you want from the jump. It's going to be pretty expensive. You just have to know that and be OK with it.

The ports. So, I've used at 2017 rMBP at work for a while, but I refuse to upgrade my 2015 rMBP (personal) as of yet. The ports are kind of a pain on the 2016-2018 models, but honestly it's fine with me. USB-C/TB3 is a wonderful convergence and I welcome it. Dongles are annoying but TB3 is great and useful. I do miss the MagSafe at work though.

Truthfully, the biggest quibble I have with the 2016-2018 rMBPs is the gd keyboard. That keyboard. My god. Such trash. A full on dumpster fire IMO. And the worst part is they know it! They PUT A SILICONE BIB underneath it this year because they had enough defective ones to do something about it. I can't believe they're sticking with something that HAS GOT to cost them more money than just putting a decent keyboard (or even the old style chicklet!) on there.

So now that I have typed that up, are you talking about the little baby 12" Macbook, or the 13/15" Macbook Pro? Regardless of your answer, I think if you're talking about the 12 incher, then no it is not worth it in any way, shape, or form. I love my 2015 rMBP and I still like the new ones, but the keyboard is honest to god stopping me from upgrading tomorrow. I'm going to hold out until at least the next refresh and see where things go.

Have you considered buying a used model? It's still quite a bit of money for a used laptop, but it's closer to what you want I'd imagine.

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Re: Modern Macbooks...really worth it?

Wed Nov 14, 2018 9:46 pm

I think you'll have to weigh up:

Pros:
* How much you like OSX
* How much of your workflow and productivity is tied into the OSX environment, including programs and services (for instance, if you develop for iOS, you're stuck with Macs)
* How much you're tied into the wider Apple ecosystem
* Security. Apple sells the T2 encryption as the most secure consumer system out there, and while you can get business Windows notebooks with hardware TPM chips, they're probably not as well integrated into the system as Apple's, for better and for worse.

Cons:
* New butterfly keyboard. You should really test one before you buy a current macbook as your main computing device
* New T2 DRM lockout of third party repairers. This means that only Apple-approved repairers, and more importantly, only Apple-approved repairs will be available to you moving forwards. If you experience a simple component failure, such as, say, a connector controller out failure, but Apple says that only logic board replacements are approved for that failure, then you are looking at a much more expensive repair bill than if you could take it to a 3rd party and simply have them fix that faulty component.
* Lack of ports. TB3 hubs exist, but dongle life has been part of Apple's world view for a while now. I doubt they will change that.
* Cost.
* Longevity. It's going to be harder to maintain the current MB and MBP for a decade, especially if Apple extends its DRM scheme to battery replacement. If you can find OEM or third party battery packs. Modern macbooks will also refuse to boot if the internal battery is dead, even if connected to A/C, so at some point, that macbook will become a paperweight.
* Lack of upgradability. SSD, RAM, CPU, GPU, T2 are all soldered in.
* Performance. Apple's insistence on thin means that macbook pros hit thermal limits sooner than comparable high end windows laptops. Even after the VRM firmware fix, MBPs with the i9 8950HQ processor can be 30% slower than a Dell XPS with an i7 8750H CPU, a model that's two tiers down intel's product stack, in Cinebench R15. But if you don't need sustained performance, then a modern MBP would still be much faster than your current machine.
* Flexibility. You're at the mercy of Apple recognizing security certificates for 3rd party OSes. Right now, only Windows and OSX have valid certificates that Apple recognizes for Secure Boot, so if you're wanting to install Linux, there are a lot of hoops to jump through even after disabling SecureBoot (I believe you will have to carve out an unencrypted partition on the (non-expandable) SSD).
* Portability. OSX used to be a great platform for cross-platform development, but with Apple deprecating OpenGL and OpenCL in favor of its proprietary Metal API, there are going to be limits on how much of what you code will fit into a "write once, export multiple times" philosophy.

Lastly, if you're looking for alternatives, then you should check to see if any windows laptops meet your specific needs before jumping ship. There might not be anything that exactly fits your needs, although with how many and how varied the windows space is, chances are there is at least something, or several somethings.

Phew. That's a lot of negatives, I admit. I'll leave it to you whether you think the pros outweigh the cons.
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Re: Modern Macbooks...really worth it?

Wed Nov 14, 2018 9:56 pm

I'm using a 2015 one at work. We have the option of upgrading, but the built-in keyboard on the new ones is garbage, and the need for an extra dongle to support standard USB peripherals is lame. My plan is to continue using it until the battery stops holding a charge or IT tells me it's not supported any more.
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Re: Modern Macbooks...really worth it?

Wed Nov 14, 2018 10:15 pm

Thanks all this is helpful!

I'll admit, I have not been in the presence of the new butterfly keyboards since my move to Alaska, but it looks like you all agree they are garbage.

My Macbook is just that, the Macbook. Not a pro model, but viewing it in today's terms of a Pro model, this IS a pro model! MacBook6,1

So yes, that con list is about what I feel like as well. Say with this laptop. When the battery finally gives out, I can order a new one, swap it out myself, and boom, back in business. I'm just finding it quite difficult to justify spending $1,500 on a new laptop, then $100+ on adapters and dongles, then more money for an external disc drive, to then go "Oh well, it's all dead." five years later. I feel like Apple has been shifting from "product engineering" to "profit engineering". Laptop dead? Buy a new one.

Yeah, I think I'll keep this guy alive as long as I can, then when it finally croaks, pick up a sturdy windows laptop (whoever it making it at the time. I liked the Lenovos a few years ago).

PS, so the keyboard is really that trashy?
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Re: Modern Macbooks...really worth it?

Wed Nov 14, 2018 10:21 pm

I have the 2017 model, so it's now the previous-generation keyboard, and it's not pleasant at all to use. My biggest complaint is the near-total lack of travel. For that reason I can't imagine it's any better in the 2018 models.
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Re: Modern Macbooks...really worth it?

Wed Nov 14, 2018 10:28 pm

ClickClick5 wrote:
So yes, that con list is about what I feel like as well. Say with this laptop. When the battery finally gives out, I can order a new one, swap it out myself, and boom, back in business. I'm just finding it quite difficult to justify spending $1,500 on a new laptop, then $100+ on adapters and dongles, then more money for an external disc drive, to then go "Oh well, it's all dead." five years later. I feel like Apple has been shifting from "product engineering" to "profit engineering". Laptop dead? Buy a new one.

PS, so the keyboard is really that trashy?

Honestly dude, a 2015 15" would be my choice for you. It's still gonna be at least 1K, and you can't upgrade much on it, but it has the ports, a decent keyboard, and you'll be able to replace, say, the battery by yourself if you want. I think the CPU in those machines is Haswell? Mine is still plenty fast enough, but definitely look at 16GB of RAM. Do not, I repeat, do not get ANY macOS device that doesn't have at least 16GB of RAM in 2018 (regardless of the year it was made).

And yeah, the keyboard really is that ****. I used to think the chiclet style keyboard on the 2015 model (and going back a number of years) was pretty bad before I touched these new ones. I honestly just don't get it. I really don't. I type on my 2017 model, and then revert to my 2015 model after work and hooooooo boy it's a relief every. single. time. And the keyboard on the 2015 model isn't even that great!
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Re: Modern Macbooks...really worth it?

Wed Nov 14, 2018 10:34 pm

I also have the 2017 model, and I can say is an ok-ish machine. The keyboard is alright in my opinion, I don't mind it (I like it's clicky nature when compared to the previous iterations). However, if you're willing to stay in the Apple ecosystem, this could be the machine to go, as the later versions have:
  • the T2 security enclave chip that prevents Linux from booting
  • has even more awful thermals (I've had experiences with that running Windows natively)
  • the USB-C jump (I've had to buy USB-C cables for my portable drives, and a single slot USB-C adapter for anything else/extra - USB-C is the future sadly)

These are all things that Voldeniut mentioned, and are the ones that weighted in my decision to buy my MacBook, it was a really good deal for the price I got it (~2.5K). However with my experiences, I would go for a Razer Blade or similar form factor, that would get you more bang for your buck - and potentially you could turn it into a Hackintosh (if the internals work out for this).

To summarize: I would go with the MBP 2017 if you really have to, otherwise, it would be best to go for something else.
 
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Re: Modern Macbooks...really worth it?

Wed Nov 14, 2018 10:40 pm

DancinJack wrote:
Honestly dude, a 2015 15" would be my choice for you. It's still gonna be at least 1K, and you can't upgrade much on it, but it has the ports,

...except for Ethernet. If you want wired network connectivity you need either a Thunderbolt to Ethernet adapter, or a USB NIC.

For when I'm at my desk, I have a combo USB 3.0 hub/NIC... external keyboard, mouse, and wired network stay plugged into it, so I can "dock" the MBP by plugging in just the USB hub and external monitor.
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Re: Modern Macbooks...really worth it?

Wed Nov 14, 2018 11:18 pm

So why are they keeping the keyboard? This laptop has about...oh...I would say 1-2mm travel per key, and is rather nice. All these years later and the keys still pop and respond like they were brand new.

I was looking at the 2015 model Pro too. Looking at it vs the ones now is just shameful what Apple has done to it.

All this makes me nervous for the eventually released "Mac Pro" now. Before this laptop I had the PowerMac G5 Dual 2.0. I ran it from 2004-2009. It still boots and runs fine, but it is just stuck in time due to the PPC phase out. However, I can run linux on it, upgrade nearly everything. With Apple's hard-on for the T2, and removing upgradability, will the Mac Pro be the same? $4000 for a desktop that MUST stay in its lane, how it was ordered? Or pull a Mini tactic and let you bump the RAM, but that is it. They say they are making it more modular than the current tube tower, but...billions in R&D and it is still not out yet...makes me wonder if they are giving it the iMac Pro treatment. Ah, sorry for the ramble. Just have not been in a good standing with Apple's releases as of late.
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Re: Modern Macbooks...really worth it?

Wed Nov 14, 2018 11:18 pm

just brew it! wrote:
...except for Ethernet. If you want wired network connectivity you need either a Thunderbolt to Ethernet adapter, or a USB NIC.

For when I'm at my desk, I have a combo USB 3.0 hub/NIC... external keyboard, mouse, and wired network stay plugged into it, so I can "dock" the MBP by plugging in just the USB hub and external monitor.

I will mail him a TB to Ethernet adapter if he buys a 2015 MBP. Not kidding.

Also FWIW, I have never had a single issue with the Wi-Fi on either of the two Macbook Pros that I currently have. I've used other Macbooks (older Pros and an Air) for work and neither of those had issues either. I understand ethernet is a nice thing in some cases, but I don't think you'd NEED it on the regular with any modern Macbook Pro.
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Re: Modern Macbooks...really worth it?

Wed Nov 14, 2018 11:51 pm

DancinJack wrote:
just brew it! wrote:
...except for Ethernet. If you want wired network connectivity you need either a Thunderbolt to Ethernet adapter, or a USB NIC.

For when I'm at my desk, I have a combo USB 3.0 hub/NIC... external keyboard, mouse, and wired network stay plugged into it, so I can "dock" the MBP by plugging in just the USB hub and external monitor.

I will mail him a TB to Ethernet adapter if he buys a 2015 MBP. Not kidding.

Also FWIW, I have never had a single issue with the Wi-Fi on either of the two Macbook Pros that I currently have. I've used other Macbooks (older Pros and an Air) for work and neither of those had issues either. I understand ethernet is a nice thing in some cases, but I don't think you'd NEED it on the regular with any modern Macbook Pro.


Unless Apple is willing to reverse the decisions they're making, buying an older machine is just prolonging the inevitable. Is that worth buying a 3-year-old machine for?

The 2015 MBP may be repairable by 3rd party repair shops, but these shops are being forced out of business by Apple right now. In 5 years' time (or 3, or 2, or 1), there may be no one left to replace the battery, screen, drive etc.

As for the 2017 MBP suggestion, bear in mind that not only does this model have the same scissor key mechanism on the 2018 model, it will be lacking the silicone condoms Apple is using as their "quick fix" to dust ingress and jammed keyboards, unless it's one that has been refurbished/repaired.So you'd better make sure it is a unit that still has a valid warranty, or you'd be out $700 for Apple to fix it if the keyboard goes bad. That means you have to make sure the unit hasn't been tampered with, had its serial blacklisted by Apple for some reason, or have its water damage indicators activated.

Oh, and the Apple extended keyboard warranty was only for 4 years, so better hope that keyboard fails before 2021 or not at all.
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Re: Modern Macbooks...really worth it?

Thu Nov 15, 2018 12:30 am

Voldenuit wrote:
DancinJack wrote:
just brew it! wrote:
...except for Ethernet. If you want wired network connectivity you need either a Thunderbolt to Ethernet adapter, or a USB NIC.

For when I'm at my desk, I have a combo USB 3.0 hub/NIC... external keyboard, mouse, and wired network stay plugged into it, so I can "dock" the MBP by plugging in just the USB hub and external monitor.

I will mail him a TB to Ethernet adapter if he buys a 2015 MBP. Not kidding.

Also FWIW, I have never had a single issue with the Wi-Fi on either of the two Macbook Pros that I currently have. I've used other Macbooks (older Pros and an Air) for work and neither of those had issues either. I understand ethernet is a nice thing in some cases, but I don't think you'd NEED it on the regular with any modern Macbook Pro.


Unless Apple is willing to reverse the decisions they're making, buying an older machine is just prolonging the inevitable. Is that worth buying a 3-year-old machine for?

The 2015 MBP may be repairable by 3rd party repair shops, but these shops are being forced out of business by Apple right now. In 5 years' time (or 3, or 2, or 1), there may be no one left to replace the battery, screen, drive etc.

As for the 2017 MBP suggestion, bear in mind that not only does this model have the same scissor key mechanism on the 2018 model, it will be lacking the silicone condoms Apple is using as their "quick fix" to dust ingress and jammed keyboards, unless it's one that has been refurbished/repaired.So you'd better make sure it is a unit that still has a valid warranty, or you'd be out $700 for Apple to fix it if the keyboard goes bad. That means you have to make sure the unit hasn't been tampered with, had its serial blacklisted by Apple for some reason, or have its water damage indicators activated.

Oh, and the Apple extended keyboard warranty was only for 4 years, so better hope that keyboard fails before 2021 or not at all.


Dear heavens...well scrap it all then. $2,500 laptop, $700 keyboard fix due to the keyboard integrated into the case, ect. Gotta say, I just can't justify this type of money on something so...disposable.
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Re: Modern Macbooks...really worth it?

Thu Nov 15, 2018 12:46 am

ClickClick5 wrote:
Dear heavens...well scrap it all then. $2,500 laptop, $700 keyboard fix due to the keyboard integrated into the case, ect. Gotta say, I just can't justify this type of money on something so...disposable.


And the worst part is, it's not even "integrated" into the case... just glued on with lots and lots of glue.
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Re: Modern Macbooks...really worth it?

Thu Nov 15, 2018 1:00 am

Voldenuit wrote:
Unless Apple is willing to reverse the decisions they're making, buying an older machine is just prolonging the inevitable. Is that worth buying a 3-year-old machine for?

The 2015 MBP may be repairable by 3rd party repair shops, but these shops are being forced out of business by Apple right now. In 5 years' time (or 3, or 2, or 1), there may be no one left to replace the battery, screen, drive etc.

As for the 2017 MBP suggestion, bear in mind that not only does this model have the same scissor key mechanism on the 2018 model, it will be lacking the silicone condoms Apple is using as their "quick fix" to dust ingress and jammed keyboards, unless it's one that has been refurbished/repaired.So you'd better make sure it is a unit that still has a valid warranty, or you'd be out $700 for Apple to fix it if the keyboard goes bad. That means you have to make sure the unit hasn't been tampered with, had its serial blacklisted by Apple for some reason, or have its water damage indicators activated.

Oh, and the Apple extended keyboard warranty was only for 4 years, so better hope that keyboard fails before 2021 or not at all.

Hey, I don't think anyone thinks it's an ideal solution, but it checks a few of the boxes for the OP. At least a reasonable port selection, lower cost, and SOME repairability. I personally wouldn't buy a 2015 Mac at this point, even though I hate the keyboard to death on the newer models.

I didn't suggest he buy a 2017 model.

Yeah, the "repair" program for the new keyboards is insane. Like I said in many previous posts, I just don't get why they're doing what they're doing with the keyboard. I really don't. It CAN'T just be to make more money off people. I think companies are cynical and greedy, but I can't believe the keyboard situation is a flat out money grab.
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Re: Modern Macbooks...really worth it?

Thu Nov 15, 2018 1:11 am

DancinJack wrote:
Voldenuit wrote:
Unless Apple is willing to reverse the decisions they're making, buying an older machine is just prolonging the inevitable. Is that worth buying a 3-year-old machine for?

The 2015 MBP may be repairable by 3rd party repair shops, but these shops are being forced out of business by Apple right now. In 5 years' time (or 3, or 2, or 1), there may be no one left to replace the battery, screen, drive etc.

As for the 2017 MBP suggestion, bear in mind that not only does this model have the same scissor key mechanism on the 2018 model, it will be lacking the silicone condoms Apple is using as their "quick fix" to dust ingress and jammed keyboards, unless it's one that has been refurbished/repaired.So you'd better make sure it is a unit that still has a valid warranty, or you'd be out $700 for Apple to fix it if the keyboard goes bad. That means you have to make sure the unit hasn't been tampered with, had its serial blacklisted by Apple for some reason, or have its water damage indicators activated.

Oh, and the Apple extended keyboard warranty was only for 4 years, so better hope that keyboard fails before 2021 or not at all.

Hey, I don't think anyone thinks it's an ideal solution, but it checks a few of the boxes for the OP. At least a reasonable port selection, lower cost, and SOME repairability. I personally wouldn't buy a 2015 Mac at this point, even though I hate the keyboard to death on the newer models.

I didn't suggest he buy a 2017 model.

Yeah, the "repair" program for the new keyboards is insane. Like I said in many previous posts, I just don't get why they're doing what they're doing with the keyboard. I really don't. It CAN'T just be to make more money off people. I think companies are cynical and greedy, but I can't believe the keyboard situation is a flat out money grab.


I don't think it's a money grab either. I do, however, believe that Apple genuinely thinks they can do no wrong, so they almost never acknowledge any mistakes in design, engineering or build. Just look at G4 Cube cracks, TiBook Wifi reception, MBP screen cracking (going back many, many generations), iPhone bendgate, iPhone antennagate, nvidia bumpgate (where Apple initially refused to fix MBPs that wouldn't boot up, even if the GPU was the cause), and so on. I've also watched teardowns of recent-ish macbooks and macbook airs where the screen hinges were not screwed into the metal frame, but glued on (and of course, glue can wear out and come unstuck). And of course, their insistence that their chassis is "unibody" when it can clearly be disassembled along the splitline.
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Re: Modern Macbooks...really worth it?

Thu Nov 15, 2018 1:53 am

Voldenuit wrote:
DancinJack wrote:
Voldenuit wrote:
Unless Apple is willing to reverse the decisions they're making, buying an older machine is just prolonging the inevitable. Is that worth buying a 3-year-old machine for?

The 2015 MBP may be repairable by 3rd party repair shops, but these shops are being forced out of business by Apple right now. In 5 years' time (or 3, or 2, or 1), there may be no one left to replace the battery, screen, drive etc.

As for the 2017 MBP suggestion, bear in mind that not only does this model have the same scissor key mechanism on the 2018 model, it will be lacking the silicone condoms Apple is using as their "quick fix" to dust ingress and jammed keyboards, unless it's one that has been refurbished/repaired.So you'd better make sure it is a unit that still has a valid warranty, or you'd be out $700 for Apple to fix it if the keyboard goes bad. That means you have to make sure the unit hasn't been tampered with, had its serial blacklisted by Apple for some reason, or have its water damage indicators activated.

Oh, and the Apple extended keyboard warranty was only for 4 years, so better hope that keyboard fails before 2021 or not at all.

Hey, I don't think anyone thinks it's an ideal solution, but it checks a few of the boxes for the OP. At least a reasonable port selection, lower cost, and SOME repairability. I personally wouldn't buy a 2015 Mac at this point, even though I hate the keyboard to death on the newer models.

I didn't suggest he buy a 2017 model.

Yeah, the "repair" program for the new keyboards is insane. Like I said in many previous posts, I just don't get why they're doing what they're doing with the keyboard. I really don't. It CAN'T just be to make more money off people. I think companies are cynical and greedy, but I can't believe the keyboard situation is a flat out money grab.


I don't think it's a money grab either. I do, however, believe that Apple genuinely thinks they can do no wrong, so they almost never acknowledge any mistakes in design, engineering or build. Just look at G4 Cube cracks, TiBook Wifi reception, MBP screen cracking (going back many, many generations), iPhone bendgate, iPhone antennagate, nvidia bumpgate (where Apple initially refused to fix MBPs that wouldn't boot up, even if the GPU was the cause), and so on. I've also watched teardowns of recent-ish macbooks and macbook airs where the screen hinges were not screwed into the metal frame, but glued on (and of course, glue can wear out and come unstuck). And of course, their insistence that their chassis is "unibody" when it can clearly be disassembled along the splitline.


I don't understand why all those issues were "gate" problems in the first place, but that's a different topic.

I know a lot of people on MacRumors and 9to5 proclaim the downfall of Apple past Jobs, but I'm starting to lean towards all this being just a money grab. Remember the backlash after the 2017 MBP when they bumped the cost? They love to tack on $200 here, $200 there for each revision, but proceed to just use more glue and remove features and call that a feature. "The new 2020 MacBook Pro! 25% lighter, 10% thinner, and now 60% better battery life! We removed the backlight for the screen! Best. Mac. Yet! Only $2,999!!!" At some point, I hope anyway, the public will see this and demand the silliness to halt. Things like, we are ok with having a phone the thickness of the iPhone 5. Imagine the battery life with the current lithography and a battery knocking on 5,000mah. Though I do know many full core, blind allegiance Apple fans. I have full faith Apple could sell a phone with no local storage and people would still line up to drop $1,200 on this "feature".
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Re: Modern Macbooks...really worth it?

Thu Nov 15, 2018 3:00 am

As an owner of a 2015 rMBP, I can only add to the general consensus.

1. Not being able to upgrade/repair is not a very big deal if you spec it correctly (and pay the price). Apple support has been very generous with me and I wouldn't have it repaired elsewhere.
2. OS X is much more stable than windows and much more mature than linux. At the same time, Win and Linux can be "good enough" for almost every use.
3. The dongles have become a bit ridiculous. I carry three with me at all times but at least I have HDMI and USB type A. Now you can't even exchange files with a USB key without using a dongle. And we're not talking small adapters but little portable docking stations in some cases.
4. The prices have slowly risen a bit: the equivalent 2018 model (i7, 16GB, 512 GB) has, thankfully, a much better processor than mine but otherwise is quite similar and costs $300 more, for the same RAM and SSD capacity. And that's almost 4 years later.
5. The deal-breaker for me is the keyboard and touchpad. I just don't like them. I could get used to it. I would probably not care at some point. But every time I try one I feel instantly annoyed.

I haven't yet decided whether my next machine will be a macbook. Some of the thinkpads look really nice. And I could do my job in linux. If the next model goes in the right direction I will probably get a macbook. If they keep slicing fractions of a mm by removing useful features, then thinkpad it will be...
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Re: Modern Macbooks...really worth it?

Thu Nov 15, 2018 9:10 am

DancinJack wrote:
Also FWIW, I have never had a single issue with the Wi-Fi on either of the two Macbook Pros that I currently have. I've used other Macbooks (older Pros and an Air) for work and neither of those had issues either. I understand ethernet is a nice thing in some cases, but I don't think you'd NEED it on the regular with any modern Macbook Pro.

TBH the WiFi would be just fine for me 98% of the time as well; I agree the MBP's WiFi is excellent.

The other 2%: Occasionally I need to deal with massive (multiple GBs) log dumps to troubleshoot problems, and having the speed of a wired connection to move those around is a plus. The wired infrastructure at the office is more reliable too; they occasionally have issues with the authentication servers for the WiFi, and I'd rather not have to deal with those glitches when they happen.
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Re: Modern Macbooks...really worth it?

Thu Nov 15, 2018 9:23 am

ptsant wrote:
2. OS X is much more stable than windows and much more mature than linux. At the same time, Win and Linux can be "good enough" for almost every use.

IMO this is less true than it used to be, and maybe not even true at all any more. OS X has gotten less stable, while Windows has improved. My work MBP has several intermittent annoying behaviors, mostly related to waking up from sleep or recognition of external displays. I'd guesstimate that I end up doing a hard reboot a couple of times a month to fix issues like this, which doesn't seem any better than a typical Windows laptop TBH.

Linux has always been a "two steps forward, one step back" sort of deal, especially when it comes to desktop use. The ecosystem-wide rollout of systemd was the most recent step back, but that mess seems to be settling down so things can start improving again. All things considered, it's currently my preferred desktop OS.
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Re: Modern Macbooks...really worth it?

Thu Nov 15, 2018 9:51 am

I have a 2017 15" rMBP and I'm pretty happy with it.

It has lots of power, good thermals, an amazingly fast disk drive, and great battery life. While dongle hell is annoying, the actual ports are awesome because they can do basically anything due to the mountain of bandwidth available on thunderbolt and usb-c. I can see where Apple is trying to go with the port situation. It was a bit immature in the beginning, but now you can basically extend everything on the laptop apart from the RAM via some kind of add-on. These add-ons get expensive, but they do make the machine quite flexible. It can be a damn good portable computer when you are traveling, but it can convert into a hefty workstation with the addition of high-speed/high-capacity storage, a workstation-class GPU, fast networking, or in my case a mountain of screen real-estate.

My only major gripe about it (apart from the price) is the relatively low amount of RAM. If I was more invested in VM usage, it would be a big annoyance to me, especially as macOS soars with a large amount of RAM available (better than Windows, IMO). I went from a Lynnfield i7 (Windows) laptop to this so the speed difference was huge. I don't see this becoming a slow machine for a long time. If I had to guess, the RAM would be the limiting factor before the CPU started to feel slow.

I don't mind the keyboard except I wish the keys were a little taller, I sometimes have issues centering my fingers on the keys as I can barely feel the edges. I use an older MS keyboard at home on my desktop which travels like 1/4" before bottoming out, and the difference is so striking that just about every day it takes me a few minutes to adjust to it before my typing rate becomes acceptable. Once I'm used to it, it's fine for me. Not great, but fine.

I initially thought the touch bar was a dumb gimmick but I've grown to like it quite a lot, and wish more apps would take advantage of it.

The issue with soldered on storage and the T2 chip is kind of a double-edged sword. I understand why people are annoyed by it, but I also understand why Apple does it that way as it makes the machine much more secure. Note, however, that Apple does have a way to copy off the disk (if the password is provided, of course), in the event the main board dies or the laptop is otherwise inoperable. There is a port on the board that a repair facility can attach to that will give access to the disk so they can copy to another working machine, or build a disk image.

I had one issue where the keyboard/touchpad stopped working, but it was covered under warranty. Sadly, Apple's policy on repairs of that nature is just to ship it to a repair facility and ship it back (the store I took it to literally just filled out a form and shoved it in a UPS box, then told me to come back in a week). I wish they had a policy of giving out loaner laptops or something as I would have been SoL if I didn't have some sort of backup machine to work on during the repair, and with iCloud/Time Machine it's darn close to as easy as an iPhone backup/restore to turn a blank machine into a fully running clone.
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Re: Modern Macbooks...really worth it?

Thu Nov 15, 2018 10:06 am

For all that is holy, it is macOS!!!!!

Apple retired both the Mac OS X and OS X names ages ago.
 
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Re: Modern Macbooks...really worth it?

Thu Nov 15, 2018 10:44 am

Since you said you were looking for options, I'll suggest that a number of Windows laptops offer much better value. In the past, Macbooks were one of the few ways to have both a thin-and-light frame and competent GPU performance. There is a lot of competition in that market now.

Look at the specs and reviews on the following lines:

Asus Zenbook
Dell XPS (Intel GPU only for 13" model though)
HP Spectre
MSI Stealth
 
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Re: Modern Macbooks...really worth it?

Thu Nov 15, 2018 11:28 am

Add to that list: HP Zbook / ZBook Studio.
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Re: Modern Macbooks...really worth it?

Thu Nov 15, 2018 11:36 am

It is worth it if you get the newest MacBook Air. Simply put, Apple has decreed that everything shall be TB with USB3 connectors. That means dongles for just about everything else. That may not necessarily be a bad thing if you get the right dongles and keep it with you. Spec out the best MacBook Air and buy it. I am not sure if the newest MacBook PRO is worth it, but I believe the newest Air is for most people.

If you would rather have Windows or Linux. get a Thinkpad X1.
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Re: Modern Macbooks...really worth it?

Thu Nov 15, 2018 11:43 am

riviera74 wrote:
It is worth it if you get the newest MacBook Air. Simply put, Apple has decreed that everything shall be TB with USB3 connectors. That means dongles for just about everything else. That may not necessarily be a bad thing if you get the right dongles and keep it with you. Spec out the best MacBook Air and buy it. I am not sure if the newest MacBook PRO is worth it, but I believe the newest Air is for most people.

If you would rather have Windows or Linux. get a Thinkpad X1.

I actually disagree with almost everything you said here. The new Macbook Air has a Y series Intel processor. No freaking way I'd spent 1200(!!!!!!!!!!!) bucks on the BASE model (with only 8GB of RAM and 128GB SSD btw). No way no how. That's a crazy price for pretty low end specs. IMO, do not buy the new MBA. It's just too hard to justify it against other Windows alternatives.

I also think the X1 is (can be) overpriced for what it is. I say that with a Thinkpad sitting next to me, too. There are just too many other good Windows alternatives that are just as good in almost every aspect and cost less a good amount of the time.
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Re: Modern Macbooks...really worth it?

Thu Nov 15, 2018 11:49 am

riviera74 wrote:
It is worth it if you get the newest MacBook Air. Simply put, Apple has decreed that everything shall be TB with USB3 connectors. That means dongles for just about everything else. That may not necessarily be a bad thing if you get the right dongles and keep it with you. Spec out the best MacBook Air and buy it. I am not sure if the newest MacBook PRO is worth it, but I believe the newest Air is for most people.

If you would rather have Windows or Linux. get a Thinkpad X1.


$1K-1,400+ for a dual core 7W CPU in 2018, though. The 7W part especially is going to be a bottleneck in anything CPU intensive. Although it's scary to think that you can get iPhone XS that are more expensive than some MBAs these days...

DancinJack wrote:
I also think the X1 is (can be) overpriced for what it is. I say that with a Thinkpad sitting next to me, too. There are just too many other good Windows alternatives that are just as good in almost every aspect and cost less a good amount of the time.


The thing with lenovo is that, just like Dell, you should always wait for a sale, unless your company is footing the bill. That X1 Extreme looks so sweet, although the MSRP is pretty pricey.
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Re: Modern Macbooks...really worth it?

Thu Nov 15, 2018 12:21 pm

TheRazorsEdge wrote:
Asus Zenbook (and Zenbook Pro)
Dell XPS (Intel GPU only for 13" model though)
HP Spectre
MSI Stealth

Good suggestions

Sorry I just don't have a lot to contribute here since I don't have experience with MBPs and I don't want to persuade anyone into Apple/Windows, but I'm flabbergasted by how much people pay for a laptop. Perhaps I'm in the minority, but I'd rather buy a ~$800 laptop every 4 years instead of trying to stretch a $1600+ laptop out to 6-8 years (far past its useful life). For that reason, I simply can't/don't afford Apple.

Obviously different people have different hardware needs, but something like this Asus K570UD my buddy bought for $600 with an i5-8250U, GTX1050, 8GB RAM (expandable/replaceable), 256GB SSD (replaceable), empty 2.5" drive slot, and backlit keyboard is the epitome of what a laptop should be. Stepping up from the 4c/8t CPU to a higher power model or one with more coarz and/or >GTX1050 and/or better screen with 100% sRGB, and/or metal chassis, and/or etc etc might be necessary for some, but as was mentioned, there's a point you have to step back and realize that this is a power/cooling-limited portable machine with a similarly small screen that even if the hardware lasts you 4-6 years, there's no guarantee that the thing won't physically break before that. And if it breaks, how many hundreds of $$ will you have to spend on that glued/soldered together paperweight to get it back up and running?
Last edited by DPete27 on Thu Nov 15, 2018 12:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Modern Macbooks...really worth it?

Thu Nov 15, 2018 12:23 pm

DPete27 wrote:
Sorry I just don't have a lot to contribute here since I don't have experience with MBPs and I don't want to persuade anyone into Apple/Windows, but I'm flabbergasted by how much people pay for a laptop.

Are you sure? Because that's basically what you just did. Lobby for people to use Windows machines (by proxy, but still). Which to be clear, I think is fine, but let's just be clear about what we're saying here. :)
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Re: Modern Macbooks...really worth it?

Thu Nov 15, 2018 12:27 pm

DancinJack wrote:
Are you sure? Because that's basically what you just did

I only linked a Windows laptop because there's no equivalently spec'd Apple alternative for anywhere near that cost. The point is, a laptop with those specs can be made for that price, regardless of which OS is installed on it. I understand that adding niceties like better/thinner chassis and such can cause prices to increase considerably, but it's not my fault that Apple chooses to ignore the market segment I'm in and instead focus on the high priced niche. It's also not Apple's fault that they can sell their products for >100% profit. They charge what the market will bear.
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