[Update: Today 8-13-19, I got my notice from Apple that my new eight-core MBP is ready for pickup. Review to come soon.]
Some people want two-seater sports cars. Me, I like a bigger, more powerful experience. And Apple’s newest MBP offerings seemed to offer promise. But in the end, I’m back to my 2012 MBP.
Amid the hurrah of Apple’s trillion-dollar valuation today, there were some numbers in their recently released financials that were not all good. It seems Apple’s Macintosh computers are selling at their lowest level since…
Here’s the data: Mac sales were 3.7M last quarter against 4.29M the same quarter last year. That’s 13% down year-on-year. *9to5 Mac
And there’s a reason for that. I’m part of the problem. I’m an avid Mac user. And my MacBook Pro was sold to me in 2012. This week I have been trying to rationalize the purchase of one of the newer Macs. And guess what, THERE’S STILL NOT MUCH REASON TO PURCHASE A NEW MAC. I’ll explain.
Here are the stats on my machine today.
The big reveal here is that my mid-2012 MacBook Pro is still a great machine. With 16 gigs of ram and a 500 gig SSD drive, this machine is amazing. But… when the new MBPs came out, I jumped at the opportunity to get a bigger, badder, faster machine. But that’s where the problems started.
I stepped up to the plate and ordered a new MBP with a 15″ screen, 32 gigs of ram and a 1 terabyte SSD drive. And then I read this…
It turns out Apple may have messed up on their flagship speedy MBP. The top-of-the-line i9 chip runs too hot for the MBPs design. The blogger puts his MBP in the freezer and sees the performance go up significantly. And he guesses that the new unit is a bit faster than older i7 chips, but when thermal throttling happens it can actually perform slower than the lesser-powered siblings. Okay, so I canceled my i9 order.
BUT: I had already sold my current machine. So I needed a Mac of some sort to “migrate” to so I could keep all of my installed applications and documents and settings. That’s part of the Mac’s beautiful migration process. If it works right, you can port your entire Mac to the new machine and start running on your new hardware almost immediately. That’s not how it worked out for me.
It turns out, that my MBP’s thunderbolt ports are dead. So the efficient FIREWIRE transfer was not available to me. But that’s okay, right? I have 5g wireless and a fast router. Things should be fine. Right? NOPE. My migration to my hold-over machine failed twice. Both times, taking an average of 8 hours to do the wifi-migration. (I did the same migration for a friend with a firewire cable, and the entire thing took 30 minutes. Now, there could’ve been a lot of problems. I was trying to migrate a 500 gig SSD to another 500 gig SSD. Even with 40 gigs free on my current machine, maybe the Migration Assistant didn’t like being forced to fit my 460 gigs on a new 500 gig drive.
2ND BUT: I was leaving for a three-week vacation in NYC in a few days. I needed my machine, which I’d already been paid for, to be migrated, cleaned, and handed over to a friend in NYC on the day I arrived. So, I had to find a way to get my data off the machine.
I was doomed. Apple phone support tried to help me, but this was beyond their service scripts. I flew to NYC with my current Mac and my newer, hold-over MBP with no solution. I had to send the money back to the buyer. And I had to cool my heels for a week while my daughter and girlfriend were in town to see the sights and shows. The Mac would have to wait.
3RD BUT: During my last day in Austin, I purchased an external 500 gig SSD drive for $200. And this thing was tiny. Part of my reason for upgrading machines was to get a 1 terabyte drive so I could hold more of my sampled audio instruments and audio recording projects on my machine without having to lug around an external drive. But this new little rocket appeared to be an alternative solution I had not been aware of.
Okay, so a few days ago I made a critical decision. I purchased a tricked-out 13″ MBP rather than the newer 15″ with its overheating i9 chip. And now I’m debating the entire episode. Here is what the two units look like side-by-side.
I’ve been using the new 13″ machine after a partial migration. (Partial because some things didn’t transfer. What things? Apple can’t really tell me.) And it’s light, has great battery life, but each time I had to open up my 15″ to grab a setting or file that didn’t make the jump to the new hardware I was awed by the majesty of the bigger retina display. I even created a graphic so I could compare how many pixels I was losing on the smaller Mac. (image is close to real-size)
Okay, so there’s not a whole ton of difference in the pixels. But the feeling…
And then there’s the performance of the NEW MBP. You’re expecting a little hit when you cough up over two grand for a laptop. You want something to feel amazing, right? Well, this is part of the problem with the new “little” MacBook Pro. Here’s the processor specs for the new Mac.
Get this, that’s 0.1 GHz faster than my current machine. Moore’s law really has come to bite laptop owners. So in six years, the processor speed in a maxed out 13″ MBP is 0.1 GHz faster? Wow. It makes the i9 seem like a hail mary. The chips are just not keeping pace with the innovation we demand. My iPhone has quadrupled in speed in the same timeframe.
And here was the last straw for the new MBP. When I went to do some client work on my new machine today, my Adobe Illustrator would not open. Here’s the dialog box that appeared.
However, this morning, the link was not working. I could not install the older runtime engine for Java 6 to load my Adobe Creative Suite software on the new mac. I pulled out my heavy, hot, and in-need-of-an-update MBP 15″ Mac and I did my work. And I’ve used it all day today. And tomorrow, I believe I’m going to give the smaller MBP back to Apple. The only real thing I got out of the deal…
$300 Beats Solo 3 headphones. And while I got them free with my “educational” purchase, I’m going to have to pay for them when I return the MBP. The box is back in Austin.
THE BOTTOM LINE: Migration to a new machine is not easy. When Apple’s Migration Assistant failed to deliver on the promise 3 times, I decided the universe was telling me something. TURN BACK. NOTHING IS WRONG WITH YOUR CURRENT MACBOOK PRO.
What did I learn?
- Apple is the first trillion dollar company
- Apple has a problem with their i9 chip running too hot in the 15″ MBP
- The fastest 13″ MBP is no faster than my 2012 15″ MBP
- When you buy a new computer you DO want it to feel faster
- Size does matter
- If you are going to get a new Mac get a HUB rather than buying a ton of $49 converter dongles.
is much better than
So, now I need to take my 15″ MBP in for repairs. One of the speakers is buzzing and the battery only gives about 2.5 hours of life. It’s a $200 replacement cost for the battery and $98 if they repair both speakers. For $300 I’m going to polish up my old MBP and love it again. I’ll keep my eye on the i9 situation, but my guess is Apple needs a complete redo on the MBP chassis. AND, Intel needs to ship those faster chips.
ME: Waiting for a worthwhile upgrade for my MacBook Pro since 2012. Sure, Apple is having some problems moving their Macs. This is part of the reason why.
Keep the faith. Keep cool this summer. And don’t let your friends do Windows.
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