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MBP for Dad
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Laminar
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Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: Iowa, how long can this be? Does it really ruin the left column spacing?
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May 10, 2020, 02:41 PM
 
Dad's looking at replacing his 2009 MacBook (finally). It's his main computer for schoolwork. He uses it on a desk without an external monitor or keyboard. He wants the 13" size and his budget is about $1100.

I'm leaning toward a refurb MPB like this one, the 2019 1.4 i5. RAM and SSD are plenty for him, performance of the i5 with Turbo Boost seems better than the higher base clock 2017 models.

My main hesitations would be the touchbar and the butterfly keyboard. I don't think he ever uses the actual function keys, but I think the touchbar would add another layer of confusion that we don't need. A 2017 model wouldn't have that.

Butterfly keys will be hard to avoid on anything made in the last 5 years. He buys for the long term and does lots of typing on the actual keyboard, so the unreliability of the butterfly has me worried.

He could get education pricing and a new MBP with the Magic keyboard would run $1200. That might be the way to go? We'd just have to get a dock so he could use his existing USB devices.
     
Laminar  (op)
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Location: Iowa, how long can this be? Does it really ruin the left column spacing?
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May 10, 2020, 02:48 PM
 
Holy cow is there a decent dock out there for under $100? I had no idea it was going to be an extra $140+ just to get some real USB ports to plug in his existing backup drive.
     
Doc HM
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Join Date: Oct 2008
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May 14, 2020, 07:11 AM
 
Originally Posted by Laminar View Post
Dad's looking at replacing his 2009 MacBook (finally). It's his main computer for schoolwork. He uses it on a desk without an external monitor or keyboard. He wants the 13" size and his budget is about $1100.

I'm leaning toward a refurb MPB like this one, the 2019 1.4 i5. RAM and SSD are plenty for him, performance of the i5 with Turbo Boost seems better than the higher base clock 2017 models.

My main hesitations would be the touchbar and the butterfly keyboard. I don't think he ever uses the actual function keys, but I think the touchbar would add another layer of confusion that we don't need. A 2017 model wouldn't have that.

Butterfly keys will be hard to avoid on anything made in the last 5 years. He buys for the long term and does lots of typing on the actual keyboard, so the unreliability of the butterfly has me worried.

He could get education pricing and a new MBP with the Magic keyboard would run $1200. That might be the way to go? We'd just have to get a dock so he could use his existing USB devices.
Don't dismiss the current Air. Now it's gone both Retina and quad core its a fantastic machine.
This space for Hire! Reasonable rates. Reach an audience of literally dozens!
     
Laminar  (op)
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Location: Iowa, how long can this be? Does it really ruin the left column spacing?
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May 15, 2020, 08:08 AM
 
What’s the value proposition of the $1200 MBP vs the $1200 MBA? The Air has twice the SSD storage. Is the Pro any more expandable or upgradable? Same keyboard, trackpad, same two stupid ports.
     
Laminar  (op)
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Location: Iowa, how long can this be? Does it really ruin the left column spacing?
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May 15, 2020, 08:35 AM
 
And single core performance on the Air is better, I guess that's the 10th gen vs 8th gen coming through? Pro gets the touchbar (which I don't want anyway) and I guess a better screen.

Or I could start with the base model 256GB MBA and spec it with the i7 and it's $1150. Going to 16GB of RAM takes it to $1329, kind of busting the budget. But it seems the most future-proof. For how long will 8GB be "enough?" Catalina is the first time that 4GB is required.
     
P
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Location: Gothenburg, Sweden
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May 18, 2020, 05:15 PM
 
Wow, lots of questions here. Let’s see what I can answer.

CPU, first. The 6th, 7th, 8th and 9th generation are all the same core, Skylake. The 10th generation is a new one - Sunny Cove is the core, Icelake is the chip. It has about 17% better IPC (instructions per clock) than Skylake. It doesn’t clock as high, but the better IPC means that it generally wins on laptops anyway.

When comparing two chips and consider light general work only, take the max turbo clock of each chip, subtract 200MHz, and multiply by 1.17 if one of them is Sunny Cove. That is as good as it will get if your load does not hit the power limit of each chip. If you’re doing something that hits the power limit, the 4-port MBP is the way to go. The difference between the 2-port and the MBA is fairly small. In practice, it is trivial to hit the power limit using the GPU, but surprisingly tricky when only doing CPU work - it has to use more than 2 cores and usually some vector math.

The MBP has a better display. The 4-port additionally has better speakers, faster SSD, and faster Wifi.

If buying new, the 2-port MBP is a fool’s choice - either stay with the MBA or go to the 4-port MBP. For used, the 2018 models and newer are quadcores, which is worth a lot. Older are duals, and would have to be a lot cheaper than a modern MBA to be worth it.

The Touchbar should not be a problem. Just introduce it as a bunch of shortcuts that you can configure, and the left edge is the Esc key. That tap target is enormous, much larger than the visible key.

As for docks: there are dirt cheap ones if all you want is a USB port. What do you need?
The new Mac Pro has up to 30 MB of cache inside the processor itself. That's more than the HD in my first Mac. Somehow I'm still running out of space.
     
   
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