It’s New MacBook Time

So on Thursday I make my last debt repayment! :smile::money_with_wings:

To celebrate, I am going to start saving for a new MacBook :computer:. My current MacBook is a 15” MacBook Pro 2016.

I have considered switching to an iMac but it sacrifices too much portability. Even just at home, before considering taking it with me when I travel or go to work (both of which will presumably happen again someday :weary:).

  • The MacBook Air is not for me. I like my TouchBar, I like the significantly better display panel on the Pros.
  • I play games on my Mac, so discrete graphics is important. That doesn’t rule out a 13” with an eGPU.
  • I’m not waiting for ARM options; there’s no guaranteed timeline or particular benefit in doing so.

I have brought this up before but the lineup has changed since then. I’m looking for any thoughts on which model you’d opt for? Which upgrades? Grey or Silver? Any other considerations at all?

Congratulations on the repayment! Well… not wanting to rain on your parade, but I would definitely hold off from buying a Mac, especially a laptop, until the ARM models are out (which are likely to be laptops).

You’d have to give me a real good reason. They may be two years away. The only plausible rumour for an ARM Mac this year so far is the iMac redesign.

There will also be no significant benefit to having an ARM Mac, where as my current Machine is showing it’s age a little.

No way. Two years from now (maximum) the window closes on Intel Macs, and the market will have already had several ARM-based models out. Reports are for a 13" ARM MBP by the end of the year, and a 14" MBP (processor not determined) next Spring.

Apple announced the PowerPC to Intel transition in summer 2005, its first Intel Macs came out the next January, and the last new PowerPC model came out in the summer of 2006 (PowerMac G5 update of model that came out the previous November).

Like Tim Cook did here, Jobs said it would take two years, but that obviously was to give them wiggle room in case of problems; they realistically did it in a year.

Don’t expect any different, and do expect at least one ARMac under the Xmas tree.


It sounds like you’re an ideal candidate for a 16” MBP. 5.0ghz i9, 32GB, 8GB 5500M and whatever storage you need, maybe? Edit: changed 16GB to 32GB.

I agree with not worrying about Arm, but I’d look at the potential timing of 10th generation i9s later this year. It depends on how much CPU performance matters to you.

“A little” would not be enough to buy now IMO. If you buy an Intel Mac today, expect it to be fully deprecated in five years (which is more or less the time PPC compatibility lasted last time, and I would venture it’s going to be faster now since Apple controls the whole stack).

Once again, don’t want to rain on your parade; if you feel like having fun now, go for it. But I think ARM Macs are going to be way more powerful than people think.

Tim did say Intel Macs would be supported for “many years to come” and I’m likely to upgrade again within 5 years. If there’s a suitable Mac announced in the next few months then I’d consider it but otherwise these timelines are all speculation.

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You should have put the quotes around supported. :sweat_smile:

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I do have the option to squirrel the money away and wait and I’m not going to rule it out.

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I would bet good money that one of the first ARM Macs to be announced will be a laptop. However, it might not be the laptop you want. You say you’re not interested in the current MacBook Air and that may well be the first machine Apple moves to ARM. It could well be a much longer wait for the MacBook Pros. Plus, there’s the question of whether you want to dive in on the first generation of ARM hardware and (perhaps more importantly) software. So it’s either wait about six months and see if what Apple has on offer fits your needs, both hardware and software wise, or buy an Intel Mac in the meantime. If I had a 2016 MBP I’d probably wait, but I can see the case for buying now.

So, turning to the current MBPs, if you want discrete graphics, I’d go with the 16” rather than a 13”+EGPU. You’ve already got experience with the ‘big’ MacBook Pros with your current 15” and it doesn’t sound like the size and weight are dealbreakers for you (the 16” only adds slightly in both categories).

Personally, I wouldn’t buy a Mac today as a general purpose machine without at least a terrabyte of storage. Once you spec it up to a TB, there’s only a $300 difference between the 6 and 8 core models. Whether the CPU upgrade is worth it depends on the details of what you’ll be doing with the machine. I think the bigger decision for you will probably be on the graphics card end of things. You seem to want some oomph there and Apple recently added a Radeon Pro 5600M option for $800 (they also offer the 5500M for $200). Again, whether it’s worth it depends on the details of your workload.

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Another consideration is bootcamp. We don’t know that ARM Macs will support Windows installs using Bootcamp. Maybe more accurately that Windows will support being installed onto an ARM Mac. I may opt for an Intel Mac to preserve that capability for the next couple of years.

I’m in a similar position. I’m fairly confident an ARM MacBook Pro will come out latest early next year, but I use Parallels and support for that may be slow at best. More clarity from Apple and third party developers are needed, which I’m definitely willing to wait a few months for.

I’m hearing that virtualization is ARM only. The Linux virtualization they showed at the keynote was later revealed to be an ARM distro. Windows 10 on ARM is so new and so minuscule a platform that I doubt either Apple or Microsoft has any interest in spending valuable dev talent bringing it any time soon to ARMacs.

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What about it is feeling old? Speed, storage, memory, size/weight? Maybe start there and see what your main priority is.

In the long term I may end up with an ARM MacBook and a Surface device of some kind.

Surface machines aren’t bad. I’ve played with a two different models for a few hours total and liked them as desktop units.

It’s showing it’s age in performance to a degree, but it also has a developing hinge fault that I’d have to fix out of warranty when it gets bad enough, and the graphics card is now somewhat behind the curve.

I also really want that True Tone retina display.

I bet that this will the slowest part of the transition: gaming industry support of whatever graphic solution apple will adopt in the arm lineup (said the man who knows noting - anymore - of graphic cards… :roll_eyes: :stuck_out_tongue:)

Seems like most graphics-intensive games use one of the big game engines (Unity, Unreal, etc.). Those already support Metal and already work on iPhone/iPad. I imagine Apple is already working with them to build in support for Apple Silicon GPUs.


Yep, my hope that an Apple-developed gpu will be more powerful and upgraded more frequently than sub-par gpus used in intel macs.

Metal and metal 2 are great things in theory, not that much adopted in “mainstream” gaming (steam gaming, if you get the point).

As I said elsewere until today Apple supported more Apple Arcade like gaming (which is understandable, of course, I’m not judging). We’ll se what the future brings.