Which 2016 Macbook to Buy?

A friend was asking me which 2016 Macbook to buy:

I’d prioritize:

  • enough HD space you don’t always need to be rearranging stuff!
  • 16 GB ram
  • fast video to support more and better screens, especially as they get cheaper (unless you’re the kind of person that likes to ONLY use the laptop screen)
  • CPU speed

I have no idea on how much a difference are the 450/455/460 video options:


The video option will make no difference unless your friend is a serious gamer.
If gaming video is important, 460 is about 80% faster than 450 (the baseline in the review article). Note that the two different MBP 15" base models represent the CPU+Video options for Radeon 450 / Radeon 455. Either base model upgrades to 2.9Ghz cpu + Radeon 460, so if you’re taking the upgrade, it doesn’t matter which base you start from.

I agree that HD is a priority. “Enough” space is a question mark. Based on Moore’s law, 1Tb today is barely 2Tb in 18 months, which is less than the overall lifetime of the MBP. So the choice would be 2Tb. Unfortunately, for MBP we have to make this choice at the original order, no option to “wait” for prices to drop in response to Moore’s Law pressure on pricing. It’s possible to dodge this with a good thunderbolt external SSD, though this gets into the “shuffling” you’re wanting to avoid.

CPU upgrade to 2.9Ghz / 3.8Ghz seems worth it for $300. I’ll point out for posterity this is 1000x faster than the CPU’s I used 20 years ago. :slight_smile: Thank you Mr. Moore!
The biggest speed improvement will be L3 cache, which has been increased and improved in the i7 “Haswell” chipset, and L3 is what is used for CPU sharing. If your friend will be doing some advanced data processing, or just slinging around large number of records, parallelizing those operations can be improved with L3 available.
This upgrade is possibly also important since there is no RAM upgrade option, so the extra CPU power will be helpful in a year or so to stay on top of the memory-swap pressure that will increase as software is enhanced over time.
Advanced info on L3 cache here : https://www.extremetech.com/computing/55662-top-tip-difference-between-l2-and-l3-cache

In my experience, MBP pricing has always been a limitation. The fully-loaded MBP is $4299.

I hope this helps a bit!

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Awesome post! I’m thinking of upgrading myself so I will be buying based on your recommendations I think. Large HD, don’t bother upgrading video cards, 16GB is essential, processor upgrade is worth it.

@robwise if you don’t have tons of images and videos, you can get by with a smaller HD.