Apple MacBook Pro 2017 : A Laptop for Professionals but not for Gamers

The 2017 lineup of Apple MacBook Pro’s was launched at WWDC and everyone was super excited but for me, this excitement soon faded away after checking the specifications out. Yeah, I know, bummer, right? As shown in Figure 1 given below, there are no physical changes in the new lineup but the internal hardware has been beefed up a bit. Anyway, let’s check the new specifications out.

MacBook Pro lineup.jpg

Figure 1 : Lineup of 2016/2017 Apple MacBook Pro’s [1]

Processor

The new MacBook Pro’s come with the 7th Generation Intel Kaby Lake Processors, which are said to have a boost in performance with greater clock speeds when compared to the previous generation (Skylake processors). The in-built GPU can handle encoding and decoding of HEVC (High Efficiency Video Coding) format, which means that 4K videos will be handled effortlessly.

7th-generaion-of-intel-core-processors

Figure 2 : 7th Generation of Intel Core Processors [2]

RAM

The RAM has not changed from the 2016 models even though a lot of people (including myself) thought that there would be a model with 32 GB of RAM for 2017. The 2017 models have LPDDR3 RAM with capacities of 8 GB and 16 GB with clock speeds of 2133 MHz. Even though the laptops manufactured by Apple’s competitors use DDR4 RAM, Apple had decided to stick to LPDDR3 due to low power consumption. Meh, you get 16 GB of RAM : That’s good enough for me.

Storage

The base model (13 inch) contains 128 GB of flash memory while this can be configured to 512 GB, 1 TB and 2 TB. I do not think that 128 GB of flash memory is enough for all files these days as there are now 4K video, which require a lot of space to be stored in the hard disk. One can argue that portable hard disk drives and cloud storage are now available for cheaper prices but what is the point of paying a huge sum of money only for a laptop with 128 GB !

Graphics

Alright. Here comes the moment that the gamers have been waiting for : Graphics. All MacBook Pro’s are equipped with Intel Iris Plus 600 series graphics. The 15 inch models consist of AMD Radeon Pro 555 and 560 graphics chips which have GDDR5 memories of 2 GB and 4 GB, respectively. These chips are good for gaming in 2012 but in 2017, people prefer getting higher frame rates to obtain a more realistic effect. They could have at least incorporated AMD Radeon 570 or 580 chips, which have greater capacities of video memory and higher memory bandwidths.

AMD Radeon Pro 500 series

Figure 3 : AMD Radeon Pro 500 Series Specifications [3]

 Check the video given below for the gaming performance on a MacBook Pro with Radeon Pro 560 graphics chip :

Gaming on the new MacBook Pro 15″ 2017 [4]

This is what I feel about the new MacBook Pro lineup. Feel free to comment on your views of the 2017 lineup.

 

 

References :

[1] Gizmodo Australia. 2017. Apple MacBook Pro (2017): Australian Review | Gizmodo Australia. [ONLINE] Available at: https://www.gizmodo.com.au/2017/01/apple-macbook-pro-2017-australian-review/. [Accessed 25 June 2017].

[2] Redmond Pie. 2017. Intel Unveils New Kaby Lake 7th Gen Core Processors Destined For Future Macs | Redmond Pie. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.redmondpie.com/intel-unveils-new-kaby-lake-7th-gen-core-processors-destined-for-future-macs/. [Accessed 19 January 2017].

[3] VideoCardz.com. 2017. AMD announces Radeon Pro 500 series – VideoCardz.com . [ONLINE] Available at: https://videocardz.com/press-release/amd-announces-radeon-pro-500-series. [Accessed 27 June 2017].

[4] YouTube. 2017. Gaming on the new MacBook Pro 15″ 2017 – YouTube. [ONLINE] Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PzbuCI3tIJ0. [Accessed 27 June 2017].

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This One’s for Apple : Make the MacBook Pro “Pro” Again

Although the latest MacBook Pro was a hit among some people, most of the Apple fan boys were quite upset with certain features of the flagship device, which was released last year. These include, removal of the legacy USB-A ports, including a graphics card that would not handle 1080p resolution in games and a heavy price tag. I’m going to share some of the possibilities for the 2017 model of the Apple MacBook Pro that the users would love to expect.

Processor

During CES (Consumer Electronics Show), Intel introduced the 7th generation processors for the future MacBooks.

7th-generaion-of-intel-core-processors

Figure 1 : 7th Generation of Intel Core Processors [1]

Although Apple rushed to release the new MacBook Pro last year, they should have waited for the new processors to be released by Intel, so that the users could feel that their product is truly revolutionary. Well, for the Mac lovers who have a bit of patience, it is quite possible that the 2017 models will feature the 7th generation processors (codenames Kaby Lake), which are said to be quite power efficient. Though Ryzen processors, which are manufactured by AMD (the main competitor of Intel), made some waves during this year’s CES, it is very much unlikely that these would be equipped in the new MacBook Pro.

RAM

The current models have 16 GB of RAM, which seems to be an ample amount, some users have complained that this amount is not sufficient for complex tasks. According to Apple, only 16 GB was used as the maximum possible amount of RAM because battery life could be reduced with greater amounts of RAM. According to KGI analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, there is a “high-end 15-inch model” with 32 GB of RAM which could be released later this year with desktop class RAM with “emerging memory technology like LPDDR4 or DDR4L” [2].

Graphics

The 2016 MacBook Pro comes with AMD Radeon Pro 450,455 or 460 dedicated graphics chip, the latter being a component for the custom built machine. If you recall, the high-end Mid 2013 15-inch model was equipped with a 2 GB nVidia Geforce GT 750M with 2 GB of GDDR5 memory. Radeon Pro 450 and 455 have 2 GB of VRAM and this is not sufficient for playing games on high definition with high quality today. However, Apple would argue that the MacBook Pro is meant for professionals but a “Pro” laptop should be targeted to the gaming community as well. Both 2012 and 2013 models were equipped with nVidia chips and then Apple moved to Radeon chips by AMD in 2014 and has been using them ever since. According to an article by Apple Insider, there is a possibility that the 2017 models could feature nVidia chips again [3]. I am not quite sure about the agreement between Apple and AMD to provide graphics chips for future Macs, so it is also possible that the 2017 model could feature Radeon Pro 500 series as the dedicated graphics chi. At CES 2017, a Radeon RX 570 graphics card had been spotted with 8 GB of VRAM [4]. Also, it would be better if the basic model consists of a graphics chip with 4 GB of VRAM rather than 2 GB.

Storage

The basic amounts of storage of the 2016 models are 256 GB and 512 GB. These days, people download movies with 1080p quality and hence 256 GB is clearly not an option for the modern world. Also, if Windows 8.1 or 10 is installed by creating a Bootcamp partition, there will be less space for the Macintosh HD partition. Of course there are external hard drives as a viable solution but who would like to spend money on another peripheral storage device after already spending enough money on a laptop that is quite expensive? Therefore, models with 1 TB of storage have to be made available without making the buyers to spend more for an upgraded storage option.

Ports

Since the 2016 model featured only four USB-C (Thunderbolt 3) ports (15-inch model) and one headphone port , it is very much likely  that Apple would stick to USB-C boasting  about the versatility of the port with the help of adapters.

usb-c-to-usb-adapter

Figure 2 : Apple USB-C to USB Adapter [5]

If that is the case, it would be nice if at least one USB-C to USB-A adapter is included in the box (like the lightning-to-3.5 mm adapter that comes with the iPhone 7), considering the fact that most flash drives, mice and Apple’s very own iOS devices have USB-A data cables, without making the users buy adapters separately as the laptop itself has a heavy price tag.

Price

The basic pre-configured 13-inch model, which features a dual core Intel Core i5 processor costs $1,499 while the 15-inch model, which features a quad core Intel Core i7 processor costs $2.399. These laptops are quite expensive when compared to the ones that are manufactured by competitors such as HP and Dell with outstanding specifications. Therefore, a drop in price is highly essential.

 

After reading this article, I would like to request my fellow readers, who are potential MacBook Pro upgraders, to hold their horses as the release of the 2017 variants is not far away and the devices will have best value for money, hopefully.

 

References:

[1] Redmond Pie. 2017. Intel Unveils New Kaby Lake 7th Gen Core Processors Destined For Future Macs | Redmond Pie. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.redmondpie.com/intel-unveils-new-kaby-lake-7th-gen-core-processors-destined-for-future-macs/. [Accessed 19 January 2017].

[2] AppleInsider. 2017. Apple to offer 32GB of desktop RAM in top-end 2017 MacBook Pro, 16GB for 12″ MacBook. [ONLINE] Available at: http://appleinsider.com/articles/17/01/16/apple-to-offer-32gb-of-desktop-ram-in-top-end-2017-macbook-pro-16gb-for-12-macbook. [Accessed 19 January 2017].

[3] AppleInsider. 2017. Nvidia working with Apple on graphics for ‘revolutionary’ new Mac products. [ONLINE] Available at: http://appleinsider.com/articles/16/09/26/nvidia-working-with-apple-on-graphics-for-revolutionary-new-mac-products. [Accessed 19 January 2017].

[4] Wccftech. 2017. AMD Radeon 500 Series Mobility is an OEM-Rebrand of 400 Series. [ONLINE] Available at: http://wccftech.com/amd-radeon-500-mobility-rebrand-rx-570/. [Accessed 21 January 2017].

[5] Apple. 2017. USB-C to USB Adapter – Apple. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.apple.com/shop/product/MJ1M2AM/A/usb-c-to-usb-adapter. [Accessed 21 January 2017].