That time has come. My old laptop, a 2011 Macbook Pro, has been upgraded and repaired enough times were GPU graphics card power was starting to become an issue with new not-so-advanced games. After holding back so long, with the recent redesign of the Macbook Pro I figured I’d go for it and I’m glad I did in a way.
After a lot of exploring, I ended up picking up the new 15-inch Macbook Pro with 500GB SSD drive and 16GB ram. The Intel HD graphics 630 GPU chipset holds up pretty well so far with the games I’ve pushed through it, though admittedly I’m not a heavy gamer and have only really pushed it with “Cities: Skylines”.
The 4x USB-C ports originally were a pain in the butt since I needed to get converters to connect, but I noticed it’s all about mindset when dealing with them. There’s really no need to convert everything over to USB-C since there are plenty of USB hubs/concentrators for sale that plug into a USB-C port to power 3-4 USB ports. The beauty I found was being able to put my power and HDMI cable into a concentrator, all into one USB-C port. Since the plugs can never be inserted wrong, that makes it much nicer as well.
I wouldn’t say it’s been worlds different than my old laptop. CPU is about the same (2.8 ghz i7 on the old laptop, 2.9 ghz i7 on the new one), both have 16gb ram and SSD drives. The only real difference is the design being lighter/thinner with a much better monitor and graphics chipset. Newer hardware is always nice, as well 🙂
The touchbar is kind of neat, but it’s not a big selling point for me. I do like being able to hold down the fn key to see the F-keys appear on the touchbar, though.
So far, the battery does hold up decently, though it does chew through the charge when using the graphics with games. Tonight with just web surfing and instant messaging, the battery life is about 8 hours.
There are downsides, however. The memory is soldered onto the board, and the SSD drive is not upgradable. That is going to be a major issue in the future, and I’m not looking forward to it.
UPDATE September 10, 2019:
I just wanted to put an update into this post, and say that this Macbook Pro has been a very reliable and strong computer. I currently use it as a desktop & mobile laptop, with a Sabrent Thunderbolt 3 to Dual HDMI Adapter (picked up from Amazon) connected to 2 external Samsung 32-inch monitors. Because of the laptop running in some dusty areas a lot of times, I did have to open the bottom and use my pressurized air can to clean out the fans. I will admit, 500GB of space is a bit rough when dealing with Virtualbox or Parallels virtualization since every OS uses 5-10GB+ of space but I’ve been using a 2TB thunderbolt-connected external drive to hold large files without any problem. As I said before, I’m not a true “gamer” (thankfully) so I don’t play uber-high graphics games but through virtualization in Windows 7 I do regularly play “Ruse” & “SuperPower 2” and in MacOS I play “Slime Rancher”, “Tropico 5”, “Universe Sandbox 2”, and others. I do play Hulu on one monitor while doing everything else on the other monitor, occasionally. I’ve yet to really slow it down, graphics wise. Then again, as you can see I’m not graphics-intensive.
A little add-in here – when the system is run in clamshell mode (external monitors hooked up, lid closed), the temperature does not get higher since the heat dissipation is entirely on the bottom/back through active fan vents. The average temperature without external monitors and just the laptop is between 98-105F and with the external monitors connected/lid closed or open the temperature is between 120-150F due to the secondary GPU working. The GPU are the largest consumer of power & producer of heat.