A New Way to Upgrade?

Apple has secretly released ANOTHER incremental update to their latest Macbook Pro line. This time adding 8th & 9th gen Intel processors, Vega graphics, and a slightly tweaked keyboard switch design. There are a few things from this release that really intrigue me. One of the biggest is how Apple has switched to this incremental update circuit. Normally, products would be updated yearly, sometimes every two-years, sometimes every FOUR years as the case with the Mac Mini. I hope this new update pathway means that Apple will constantly update their products with the latest and greatest tech, and this is something to be excited about (hopefully). Unfortunately, this means your products will become obsolete much quicker. I mean, some people just bought their new Vega Macbooks in November, which was a small 6 month period. But to be honest, I much prefer this method, over the long wait of dated hardware. Give me new, and give it to me as much as possible.

If It’s Broke, Only Slightly Tweak It…

Next we move onto some of the hardware itself. The BIGGEST upset is that these new Macbooks utilize the same chassis and design. I’m not too upset over it as some others, mainly because I love the design of the Macbook and I believe it’s still to date the best on the market. It’s an extremely premium built machine. But that also means the same flawed keyboard design that has plagued many before. That’s right, they did not change the Butterfly-switch mechanism. What they did do was upgrade the materials. According to iFixit, the keyswitch cover seems to have had their materials upgraded, as well as this tiny metal “snapple cap” dome that impresses when pressed to register the keys. It seems this piece has had just a slight material change.


Finally, one of the reasons you’d buy these upgraded laptops is for the new performance. So the 13″ packs in 8th gen Intel chips, up to Quad Core i7 2.8ghz , Intel 655 iGPU, and 16gb LPDDR3 RAM. And the 15″ packs up to a whopping 9th Gen i9-9880H 8 core 2.4ghz chips, Vega 20 graphics, and 32gb DDR4 RAM. The first time the Macbook has had octo-core chips in their bodies. Now the performance of the 13″ Macbook will be great for productivity. In fact, it’s one of the only times I’m actually considering downsizing and going with that model. According to benchmarks from Apple Insider, it seems like the base model machine is able to just barely edit 4K video.

But the real draw is the 15″ with its big performance improvements. Benchmarks from Geekbench show impressive numbers with a single score of 5879 and multi-core score of 29184. Obviously this doesn’t tell nearly the whole picture, but the raw numbers do look good. One of the biggest concerns of using this same tired design is thermals. This design has had its fair share of criticism for essentially throttling performance tremendously, before an update helped clear it up. The previous 2018 Vega update also seemed to address the issue by at least maintaining base clock speed. Well taking a look at the thermals from channel MacDoesStuff, things are looking really impressive, where the machine stays much cooler, under 90c, and sits at a boosted clock of 2.8ghz under load.

Worth It?

This is really difficult. To get the best performance, you’ll need to shell out some big dough. If you’re a 4K video editor or power user, we’re talking above $3500. Not only that, but it seems like Apple is close to completely redesigning all of their tech, including their iPads and iPhones. It would suck to shell out $4000 and 6 months later a brand new redesign comes out with much better performance and cooling. But then again, you’re getting one of the best laptops on the market. No one does build like Apple, MacOS is a pleasure to use, and the size and portability means you’re not lugging around some clunky loud beast everywhere you go. That comes with an obvious premium. Personally, I’ve been leaning more towards the 13″ models to hold me over until a complete redesign. I own two very powerful PC’s and portable power isn’t a necessity. But I’m in the minority. If you’re in need of a new computer, and you need the portability of a laptop, with the power of a desktop, the 15″ top-end spec is one of only a couple choices to choose from. Maybe the other is an XPS or a Razer, where you’ll be paying around the same price, but getting much more performance and thermal overhead, at the sacrifice of MacOS and some thinness. So it’s a tough choice. All I’ll say is, no one does display better than Apple. If you’re in video editing/photo work, I can’t recommend anything else at the moment.