Hey team! This is a long one for those of you who like armchair-advising about hardware purchases.
I realize this poor dead horse has been thoroughly beaten (oof, what an awful cliché, really), but I thought I’d share some thinking (and get your valuable feedback) on
justifying rationalizing deciding on a potential Mac upgrade in the near future.
I have a 2015 MacBook Pro (MBP). While I cherish it, it recently failed me. I was working on a project for a client (editing a systems map like this, if you’re curious) and the MBP started stalling. I imagine the challenge was rendering the numerous elements of the map at high resolution (5K). Anyway, some functions it just couldn’t do.
I thought I was ruined, because of course it failed at the final step just before the deadline. Fortunately, my wife’s two-ish year old 27" iMac was in the next room. I loaded the same map up and working on it was buttery and quick.
So. Between that and the fact that the MBP’s fans are constantly trying to keep the temperature below 70°C, I am itching for an upgrade.
Pending whatever happens at WWDC, I’m looking at a Mac mini or a 27" iMac. In order to figure out which to go for, I thought I’d calculate  the approximate amortized cost (per year) of a purchase (found in column five below), and  the approximate performance gains each computer might have over my MBP .
I’ve managed to keep my MBP for five years, so that’s the number of years I’d hope to keep this next device (at least).
At first, I used everymac.com’s data to grab the Geekbench scores for each device. Then I realized that these numbers wouldn’t take my configuration choices into account. So, I went to Geekbench proper, sought out recent scores uploaded by users with the configurations I’d want, and used that data instead.
Note: costs are in Canadian dollars.
|Price||Estimated selling value after [Years]||Actual cost||Years||Amortized cost per year||Geekbench 4 SC 64 vs. MBP||Geekbench 4 SC 64||Geekbench 4 MC 64 vs. MBP||Geekbench 4 MC|
|MacBook Pro 2015||$3187.54||$800.00||$2387.54||5||$477.51||100%||4363||100%||14533|
|27” iMac 2019||$4798.00||$1500.00||$3298.00||5||$659.60||138%||6022||234%||34016|
The takeaway: It looks like I’d have to pay about double for my choice of 27" iMac, but there’d be no real performance gains on single-core operations vs. the Mac mini. I don’t think I do a lot of multi-core work, so the 45% performance gain on the iMac in that category doesn’t really matter to me.
Granted, the iMac comes with a display, but I have a great one already (and I don’t think I’d run two 5K displays next to each other on a smallish desk…).
One surprise: these gains are not as big as I’d have thought. “Only” 40% better performance… is that a lot, really?
Thoughts? Any other comparisons you’d run? Any deep flaws in my logic? Anything else to consider?
(Maybe all of this will be blown up with WWDC and ARM Macs anyhow!)
Edit: the specs I’m looking at for the mini are the 3.2Ghz 6-core i7 with 32gb of RAM and either 512gb or 1tb of storage.