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I'm kicking myself, as the 2015 discrete GPU models were still available up through a week or two ago - I was pricing them out but didn't pull the trigger. They're now all gone, and I can't find anyone with new units available (other than with just the integrated graphics). Guess I'll keep an eye out for refurbs.
eBay routinely has 2.8GHz top-of-the-line 2015 Retinas + discrete graphics cards, usually used but occasionally brand-new, for great prices. Just saw one with a 512GB SSD and only 17 cycles on the battery for $1545. Our entire office is stocked with these. No problems at all. I'm not going anywhere near the 2016/2017 models for various valid reasons.
 


Just looking over the new 2018 MacBook Pros this morning... a 2.9GHz/32GB/1TB Space Grey is how I'd configure one, and it prices out at US $3,900, yikes! If the keyboard issues are fixed (wait six months), it will be tempting.
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
Some notes on MacBook Pro keyboards and much more:
Mashable said:
Apple upgrades the MacBook Pro, but ignores the elephant in the room
Apple just unveiled a new MacBook Pro. And I've got some good news and some bad news.

Bad news first: Apple has done practically nothing to address the major concerns about the current MacBook Pro design that debuted in October 2016. There's still a questionably practical Touch Bar in place of the function row. The laptop still relies solely on four USB-C ports and a headphone jack for connectivity. And the butterfly keyboard — which many consider a step down from the previous "chiclet" design and can often be notoriously inconvenient to repair — is still there (although Apple made it slightly quieter).

The good news is this isn't just a spec bump, like the 2017 refresh was. The 2018 MacBook Pro, which goes on sale Thursday, is a serious upgrade over the previous generation, bringing new features, hardware, and integrations to what was already a powerful machine. Where the specs go up, they go up a lot, and in doing so address some of the biggest requests from creatives — Apple's primary customers for the MacBook Pro.
 


So the new MacBook Pros... Hmmm...

Probably my biggest concern is the unwanted Touch Bar. I use my function keys now infrequently as function keys, but often for the media and screen control keys. Adding a Touch ID sensor ... meh... okay, I guess. It's gew-gaw for my purposes. I'd like to get my hands on the keyboard and see what's up.

Resolution on the screen is probably the biggest concern. It's 2880x1800, so in Retina mode, effectively 1440x900. Since I can disable Retina mode and use the raw resolution, I guess it's not that big of a deal... Still, it'd be nice to get at least a full 4K display. Curious to see what photo and graphics professionals think of the TrueColor display - is that a plus, or a minus? It's great on the iPhone. I would think it'd be problematic where color fidelity is important (presumably one can turn off this feature, just as you can on the iPhone).

I'm intrigued by the SSD - this seems to be the only area in which this laptop really knocks it out of the park. I'm irritated by lack of user-upgradeable parts, though this is certainly not a new development.

Conclusions: slightly more than a phone-in, slightly less than impressive.
 


Owen Williams, who fled the Mac over the lack of innovation in Apple's laptops, has an interesting—and thorough—review of his first few months with a Surface Book 2.
The Surface Book 2 is everything the MacBook Pro should be

I've been hunting for a great MacBook Pro replacement since early 2017 and while I've been happy with my switch to a desktop machine at home, it's been an interesting journey trying to find something that's on the same all-around hardware and software experience on the laptop side.

Over the past year I've spent time with the Razer Blade, Dell XPS 15 and the Eve V, which are all stellar machines, but I didn't quite feel at home yet. These are fantastic machines that do the job well, but always left something wanting, which I figured I'd need to settle for.

I'm back to say I was wrong, and I've found a machine that not only matches Apple's standard of hardware quality, but goes far beyond it to demonstrate how a laptop of the future should work.
I spent a month or so last summer evaluating the Surface Book 2, and came pretty close to buying one. In the end, I wasn't ready to completely ditch macOS, nor was I willing to replace my iMac as well, which is what I saw coming if I made the switch.
 


DFG

Apple quietly upgraded the MacBook Pro - understandable, since there isn't much to brag about.

The good:
  • max. RAM is increased from 16 GB to 32 GB. A minimal effort. You will pay dearly for the privilege (more than 2x going rate).
  • Latest generation Intel processors with more cores
  • Larger SSD capacities. The premium isn't as big as for RAM, but still expensive.
The bad:
  • similar questionable keyboard. Maybe it will break, maybe not.
  • useless Touchbar (give it up already!)
  • ugly giant trackpad
  • no NVIDIA GPUs
  • no additional ports
The ugly: The price remains the same. The configuration I want is $3600. Apple is pricing itself out of the market.
 



The bad:
  • similar questionable keyboard. Maybe it will break, maybe not.
  • useless Touchbar (give it up already!).
I actually find the touch bar to be useful. Like mice and keyboards, it is a highly personal opinion. The touch bar does take time to get used to, and I forget to use it when it would be easier, but I am so used to not having it. And I work all day long on an iMac, which does not have it. For example, with a misspelled word, you get three proposed words on the touch bar, which is faster. For me, the most useful item is using your finger for logging in instead of using a password.
 


What's your desired configuration? And have you priced that out in a Dell XPS or Inspiron?
I keep pricing out the XPS and a few others. Tempting - I run Win10 in VMware for a few things and it's not "horrible." It's the cost of replacing all my software, some of which has no Windows replacement for legacy/proprietary files, that keeps me from switching (so far).

My wife has a 2011 MacBook Pro 13", and every time I suggest replacing it, she asks about the DVD player. There are no Mac options with a built-in player any more, and she refuses to consider an external. The Pregnancy Resource Center she directs has an old HP laptop she uses (without complaint), so she may actually be the first "reverse switcher" in the house when the time comes.
 


The update is generally a good one, but I'm hugely disappointed that the touchbar-free 13" MacBook Pro didn't get the same updates. Nearly as disappointing that the keyboard failures weren't at least commented on. Prices are pretty eye-popping, too, with the fully decked out MacBook Pro 15" at $6700. (+$3200 of that is for a 4TB SSD, but still.) Upgrading memory/storage remains ridiculously overpriced, sadly.
 


What's your desired configuration? And have you priced that out in a Dell XPS or Inspiron?
My friend Andy Adkins, who's a filmmaker (he directed "An American Ascent," a documentary about the first African-American mountaineering team to attempt Denali), bought a tricked out XPS last summer about the same time I was looking at the Surface Book.

When I decided against the Surface and bought my 15" MacBook Pro, I loaned it to Andy for a weekend, so he could see how Premiere and After Effects would be on it. When he returned it to me, he had already ordered the Dell. It was cheaper, with more RAM, and a better GPU, and it was much, much faster for his work than my 16GB/1TB MacBook Pro with the GPU. He spent a good month configuring the Dell with tools and utilities, and was able to move into Windows fairly easily. (Quick Look was surprisingly one of the things he missed most, but it turns out there are a couple of Windows utilities that come close enough.)

He still works on his Hackintosh most of the time, but the Dell laptop is a dream for when he's on the road and needs to do production work.

And when I look at this morning's puny little MacBook Pro update—which would be fine for a mid-year update after a new release—I get thinking about the Surface Book all over again. I don't need a new laptop, but if I did, I think I'd go there over anything Apple had. The one hitch for me is that, if I were going to do it, I still think I'd need to go all-in on Windows—desktop and laptop; going back and forth between two different OSes/UIs would drive me batty. Or maybe not. Andy seems to be doing fine with it.
 


Nearly as disappointing that the keyboard failures weren't at least commented on.
"Third generation keyboard" was mentioned in the press release, and that was more commentary than I expected. Why would a company comment on a failure of their own from the recent past while introducing the succeeding product? For example, the press release for the iPhone 4s mentioned improved antenna design, but it didn't go into detail on the design failure of the iPhone 4 antenna.
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
Why would a company comment on a failure of their own from the recent past while introducing the succeeding product?
I think the question is more along the lines of "why would a company's lawyers allow the company to acknowledge defects when the company is involved in multiple lawsuits by its customers over those defects?"

But it struck me as odd for Apple to say it's introducing a third-generation keyboard that's "quieter" without saying anything that would indicate to potential buyers that a gross defect is no longer a problem if they're deciding what to buy among Dell, Microsoft and Apple options.
 
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Owen Williams, who fled the Mac over the lack of innovation in Apple's laptops, has an interesting—and thorough—review of his first few months with a Surface Book 2.

I spent a month or so last summer evaluating the Surface Book 2, and came pretty close to buying one. In the end, I wasn't ready to completely ditch macOS, nor was I willing to replace my iMac as well, which is what I saw coming if I made the switch.
I support a law firm that uses Surface Pro 2s for their staff of 7. They are nice, but of the 7 they bought, 2 had serious issues that required sending them back to Microsoft for replacements within a couple of months. That's, what, a 29% failure rate within the first 3 months. So, while I was at first tempted by them, I quickly became wary of them and their apparent QC issues (at least from my experience). On the plus side, Microsoft was very good about the whole thing. Not sure if that's just great customer service or they are aware of a large failure rate with these. As always your milage may vary.
 


Any thoughts folks... what are the chances my current MacBook Pro 2017 keyboard repair, at Apple now, will include the supposed, newly designed 2018 iteration as a replacement?

Are keyboards actually a separate component, i.e. does a repair on a 2017 necessitate a
replacement with a 2017-keyboard-hardware-battery-glue-up?
 


I think the question is more along the lines of "why would a company's lawyers allow the company to acknowledge defects when the company is involved in multiple lawsuits by its customers over those defects?"
But it struck me as odd for Apple to say it's introducing a third-generation keyboard that's "quieter" without saying anything that would indicate to potential buyers that a gross defect is no longer a problem when they're deciding what to buy among Dell, Microsoft and Apple options.
Apple's recent announcement that the company is extending keyboard warranties and reimbursing those who paid for keyboard repairs will most likely gut the class actions. Probably the attorneys who filed them will be paid by Apple, but if Apple fixes the keyboards and reimburses customers who already paid, there's not much of a lawsuit left.

The specs on the new MacBook Pros bring them up to, or at least most of the way up to, where WinTel competitors have been for some time. New energy-efficient cores should be a big improvement.

I'm curious about the $699 eGPU, not that I need one. The MacWorld Award-winning $299 Razer Core X seems to offer better specs and has the advantage of being upgradeable. Then, adding a Mac-compatible GPU card will erase much of Razer's immediate price advantage, though the Razer site lists quite a few Mac-compatible cards, so there may be cheaper and more powerful options for the knowledgeable to consider.
https://www.razer.com/gaming-laptops/razer-core-x
 


Ric Ford

MacInTouch
I'm curious about the $699 eGPU, not that I need one. The MacWorld Award-winning $299 Razer Core X seems to offer better specs and has the advantage of being upgradeable. Then, adding a Mac-compatible GPU card will erase much of Razer's immediate price advantage, though the Razer site lists quite a few Mac-compatible cards, so there may be cheaper and more powerful options for the knowledgeable to consider.
Yes, Blackmagic's $699 eGPU includes the GPU, while the $299 Razer Core X doesn't. (Razer Core X is just a Thunderbolt 3 box with a PCIe slot, like a bunch of other products.) Blackmagic eGPU actually looks pretty good for the price to me, but I don't have a computer with Thunderbolt 3 nor the budget for it.
 


I support a law firm that uses Surface Pro 2s for their staff of 7. They are nice, but of the 7 they bought, 2 had serious issues that required sending them back to Microsoft for replacements within a couple of months. That's, what, a 29% failure rate within the first 3 months. So, while I was at first tempted by them, I quickly became wary of them and their apparent QC issues (at least from my experience). On the plus side, Microsoft was very good about the whole thing. Not sure if that's just great customer service or they are aware of a large failure rate with these. As always your milage may vary.
I do know of people who had experiences similar to yours, and they said that Microsoft was quick to take care of them as well, so there's that.

I have no illusions about quality with any vendor any more, sadly, and QC was a concern during my search with both Microsoft and Dell. I quite liked the Surface Pro I played with, but, in the end, there were too many unknowns for me to switch over.
 


Yes, Blackmagic's $699 eGPU includes the GPU, while the $299 Razer Core X doesn't. (Razer Core X is just a Thunderbolt 3 box with a PCIe slot, like a bunch of other products.) Blackmagic eGPU actually looks pretty good for the price to me, but I don't have a computer with Thunderbolt 3 nor the budget for it.
Many of us have lamented about the difficulty of upgrading and repairing Apple's products. The BlackMagic eGPU is like that. It's a "fair" price for the gadget with its 2017 Radeon 580 - but there's no upgrading to better GPUs.

The HP Omen Accelerator eGPU can function as a Thunderbolt dock with Ethernet, USB, and even has a slot for a 2.5" drive. Razer's Core X is less flexible but can run today's and tomorrow's high-end graphics cards. Both are $299 on Amazon, as is the Mac-compatible Sapphire 11265-05-20G Radeon PULSE RX 580 8GB, also $299 on Amazon.

$299 for the "box," $299 for the same GPU as in the Blackmagic, about $100 in change for ear plugs, if your new eGPU is too loud, and possibly future proofed.
 


... Are keyboards actually a separate component, i.e. does a repair on a 2017 necessitate a replacement with a 2017-keyboard-hardware-battery-glue-up?
Everything I've read says Apple is replacing the bad keyboards with a new upper case. This includes all the glued in or attached components. I know it includes the battery and trackpad. I believe it includes the speakers.

Removing glued in components can easily damage them. That's one reason glued together devices get such a low serviceability rating on sites like iFixit.
 


DFG

What's your desired configuration? And have you priced that out in a Dell XPS or Inspiron?
Yes, I am comparing prices with the Dell XPS 15, a PC which aims for the same spot as the MacBook Pro.




MacBook Pro 15"

Dell XPS 15

Processor

i7-8850H(?), 2.6 GHz, 6 cores

i7-8750H, 2.2 GHz, 6 cores

RAM

32 GB DDR4 (+$400!)

32 GB DDR4

SSD

1 TB

1 TB

GPU

Radeon Pro 560X

NVIDIA GTX 1050Ti

Display

2280x1800, 500 nits

3840x2160, 400 nits

Price

$3,599

$2,550

Those are two very similar machines. You can argue that the case of the MacBook Pro is better (and I would agree). OTOH, the Dell is a lot more user serviceable.

But that's a cool $1,000 difference! Looking as hard as I may, I can't see a justification for it.
 


The update is generally a good one, but I'm hugely disappointed that the touchbar-free 13" MacBook Pro didn't get the same updates. Nearly as disappointing that the keyboard failures weren't at least commented on. Prices are pretty eye-popping, too, with the fully decked out MacBook Pro 15" at $6700. (+$3200 of that is for a 4TB SSD, but still.) Upgrading memory/storage remains ridiculously overpriced, sadly.
I wonder how much of that three thousand two hundred dollars for a 4TB SSD is pure profit. I truly hope a third-party shows up with vastly superior prices and we determine the SSD is somehow user-replaceable. At least we can hope and pray....
 


My Mid-2012 MacBook Pro 15" Retina has served me well over the last 6 years. Quite a feat, given that I use it for statistical calculations on sometimes pretty big datasets. I've specced out a replacement (max CPU, i.e. the i9 instead of the i7, 1TB SSD, 32GB) and compared it to the inflation-adjusted price of my current workhorse. Ahem… 63% increase…

Still, even at this price I'm going to wait if any teething problems manifest and then I'm probably going to spring for one.
 



I wonder how much of that three thousand two hundred dollars for a 4TB SSD is pure profit. I truly hope a third-party shows up with vastly superior prices and we determine the SSD is somehow user-replaceable. At least we can hope and pray....
We have to wait until the teardown (or Apple posts the service guide in GSX), but I wouldn't hold out any hope. The 2017 had the SSD soldered on to the logic board. I don't expect anything else from Apple this time.

Also, the T2 security chip probably would prevent installing unauthorized devices anyway.
 


what are the chances my current MacBook Pro 2017 keyboard repair, at Apple now, will include the supposed, newly designed 2018 iteration as a replacement? Are keyboards actually a separate component
As far as I know, the keyboard, battery and trackpad are all permanently fused to the upper case, so replacing any of them requires a replacement of the entire assembly.
Removing glued in components can easily damage them. That's one reason glued together devices get such a low serviceability rating on sites like iFixit.
Yes. It makes component replacement difficult or impossible. It's advantageous to Apple because it reduces the number of field-replaceable parts (e.g. there is no part for just a keyboard or trackpad or battery - just a top-case). This means less training is necessary for repair techs and there are fewer parts that need to be stocked. And for anything replaced under warranty, they can send the old top-cases to a specialized facility to remove and refurbish the sub-assemblies that still work.

But it's a real bear for anyone other than Apple trying to get non-warranty service, because it forces the purchase of far more hardware than would be otherwise necessary.
Also, the T2 security chip probably would prevent installing unauthorized devices anyway.
We'll have to see, but as far as I've been able to tell, the T2 security chip encrypts the content. It will prevent you from reading any data after moving it to a new computer, but I don't think it will prevent use of an aftermarket SSD. It's also unclear if you can move the SSD to a new computer and use it after wiping the content, at least based on what I've read so far.

Of course, we already know that Apple validates the origin of other parts (like TouchID sensors and iPhone displays), so it is certainly possible that Apple might be blocking (or might block in the future) aftermarket internal storage, as well.
 


My Mid-2012 MacBook Pro 15" Retina...
I've had a replacement of one those in my "bag" on the Apple store for a while, as my current hard-working machine is occasionally doing random external monitor blackouts and user logouts. Not enough to be really annoying, but alarming nevertheless. I just couldn't justify (in my mind) replacing it with outdated technology but with adequate ports. Apple took the decision out of hands and now the old MacBook Pro has been removed from my "bag" and I can only get the new one.

I may have to get a new machine before Apple drops us in it with a new buggy OS in the fall.

Ouch - although an equivalent spec new machine looks to be "only" about $400 more than the mid-2015 model. Plus a dock (of which the Plugable dock looks best). And no MagSafe connector.

Oh, and likely a new external monitor. My Apple Display works on my wife's new-ish MacBook Pro with an adapter....
 


Yes, I am comparing prices with the Dell XPS 15, a PC which aims for the same spot as the MacBook Pro.
... a cool $1,000 difference! Looking as hard as I may, I can't see a justification for it.
Much as I despair how macOS has changed beginning with Lion, between macOS and Windows 10? I choose MacOS. For $1,000 more?

Fortunately, I'm getting by with Macs and other computers that don't cost even that $1,000.

That $1,000 is easily justified, if time is money, and all your "muscle memory" is on, say, Final Cut and Logic.

I heard Alex Lindsay, co-host of TWIT.TV's "MacBreak Weekly", discuss on July 7th's "The New Screen Savers #164" how his Pixel Corps company processes high-end video. Seems Windows is doing heavy lifting and Linux is involved.

How to break out what I think is the very real "value" of not running Window from the part that's Apple's lifestyle up-charge? Seems the "Apple Tax" gets higher on gear sold to hardcore Apple fans - example: the iPhone X - and Apple taxes "pros" who need RAM and big, fast, SSDs.

Linux, as we've discussed, is a third option. That powerful XPS 15 would fly on Ubuntu. It might even be possible, using the recently updated/improved Ubuntu Studio, to get by without paying Adobe or Apple for photo, video, or audio editing software. Some do, but the ones I know of are doing it because they're committed to Linux as a "cause" and have invested lots of effort getting things to work.
 


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