Hard Decision To Make... Late 2016 MacBook Pro 13" or 15" for Work and Play (eGP...
 
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Hard Decision To Make... Late 2016 MacBook Pro 13" or 15" for Work and Play (eGPU)  

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Swisher Sweet
(@swisher-sweet)
Trusted Member
Joined: 4 years ago
 

Hi Folks!

I'd like to share a hard decision I need to make and hopefully get your experience/opinions on the matter.

I currently use a Late 2013 MacBook Pro 15" with the 750M GPU chip. I use this machine 90% of the time for work/business. Of that, I spend a good amount of time in Parallels running Windows 8.1 developing software in Visual Studio. The machine is still very fast today.

However, I have decided to upgrade to the lighter, faster Late 2016 MacBook 15" and sell my 2013 model. I will receive it today. It has the upgraded AMD Pro 460 GPU, 16GB RAM, and 1 TB SSD. But, I cannot stop thinking about the ultra light and compact 13" model. It's so light and compact, and I'd be more likely to take it with me and use it more often since it's so discrete. Ergo, I'm considering returning the 15" and getting the 13" instead.

Ultimately, I would like to run an eGPU setup. Since I use this for work most of the time, I want the setup to be stable and work every time I need it to. I have heard it is easier to get the 13" working with an eGPU than the 15". 

It appears the only ready-to-use commercial option right now is the BizonBOX. While these units appear have a good support and construction, it comes at a incredibly high premium price compared to the AKiTiO Node, which won't be available for months.

In your opinion and experience, should I return the 15" and get the 13" instead?

Has anyone used the 13" version long enough to know if it has enough power to handle demanding apps like Parallels and VR?

Is it true the 13" configuration is far easier to get working with an eGPU setup and keep working?

Thank you!

2019 16" MacBook Pro
Blackmagic eGPU Pro (Vega 56)
27" LG Ultrafine Display

2012 Mac Pro Tower
NVIDIA RTX 2070 Super
Acer Predator X34


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itsage
(@itsage)
Illustrious Member Admin
Joined: 4 years ago
 

Many are in your position. I've used both the 13" and 15" Late 2016 MBP for a while now. I returned the 15" a few days ago. Here's my not-so-favorable review of the Late 2016 MacBook Pro lineup.

With that said, I don't use a laptop as my main machine (Mac Pro tower is). For your demands, I'd say the 15" would be better long term.

external graphics card builds
best laptops for external GPU
eGPU enclosure buyer's guide

 
2013 Mac Pro (FP D500 x2) [3rd,12C,E] + RX 5700 XT @ 16Gbps-TB2>TB3 (Mantiz Saturn Pro) + macOS 11 [build link]  


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itsmikerofl
(@itsmikerofl)
Trusted Member
Joined: 4 years ago
 

Hi!

 

I just picked up the base model 15" 2016 MBP this past weekend. Coming from a custom liquid cooled high-end PC, I value portability just as much as power. Seeing that the 2016 MBP would support TB3, I immediately jumped and sold my build in favor of the 2016 MBP.

 

I too found myself questioning the 13" vs. the 15", but ultimately settled for the quad-core i7-6700HQ on the 15". Once my Node ships, I plan on using the EVGA GTX 1080 FTW Hybrid under BootCamp.

 

@itsage - I've seen you benchmarks with the 980 Ti Hybrid using Engine Heaven and Valley, and I greatly appreciate the work you've done for the community on making this information public. Now, I see that you're recommending the 15" with quad-core over the 13" dual-core. Judging by your Engine benchmarks, it really only looks like an average of 5FPS difference between the two. If this is the case, what makes you believe that the quad-core i7-6700HQ is worth the jump up from the dual-core in the MBP 13"?

To do: Create my signature with system and expected eGPU configuration information to give context to my posts. I have no builds.

.

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Swisher Sweet
(@swisher-sweet)
Trusted Member
Joined: 4 years ago
 
Posted by: itsage

 

Many are in your position. I've used both the 13" and 15" Late 2016 MBP for a while now. I returned the 15" a few days ago. Here's my not-so-favorable review of the Late 2016 MacBook Pro lineup.

With that said, I don't use a laptop as my main machine (Mac Pro tower is). For your demands, I'd say the 15" would be better long term.

   

Thanks for the recommendation. Do you think the 15" will every have a solid eGPU solution that won't require tedious mods to the OS or other hacks to get it to work? I saw Nando4’s DIY eGPU Setup but it appears it won't work with the late 2016 MBP. I wonder if it ever will.

2019 16" MacBook Pro
Blackmagic eGPU Pro (Vega 56)
27" LG Ultrafine Display

2012 Mac Pro Tower
NVIDIA RTX 2070 Super
Acer Predator X34


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Swisher Sweet
(@swisher-sweet)
Trusted Member
Joined: 4 years ago
 
Posted by: itsmikerofl

 

Hi!

 

I just picked up the base model 15" 2016 MBP this past weekend. Coming from a custom liquid cooled high-end PC, I value portability just as much as power. Seeing that the 2016 MBP would support TB3, I immediately jumped and sold my build in favor of the 2016 MBP.

 

I too found myself questioning the 13" vs. the 15", but ultimately settled for the quad-core i7-6700HQ on the 15". Once my Node ships, I plan on using the EVGA GTX 1080 FTW Hybrid under BootCamp.

 

@itsage - I've seen you benchmarks with the 980 Ti Hybrid using Engine Heaven and Valley, and I greatly appreciate the work you've done for the community on making this information public. Now, I see that you're recommending the 15" with quad-core over the 13" dual-core. Judging by your Engine benchmarks, it really only looks like an average of 5FPS difference between the two. If this is the case, what makes you believe that the quad-core i7-6700HQ is worth the jump up from the dual-core in the MBP 13"?

   

Thanks for the comments.  If you don't mind, what criteria did you use to ultimately decide on the 15" over the 13".  Also, it's my understanding the GTX 1080 won't work with macOS. How will you be getting external monitor support while running macOS? Will you only use internal display or have an A/B switch for your monitor?

2019 16" MacBook Pro
Blackmagic eGPU Pro (Vega 56)
27" LG Ultrafine Display

2012 Mac Pro Tower
NVIDIA RTX 2070 Super
Acer Predator X34


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itsmikerofl
(@itsmikerofl)
Trusted Member
Joined: 4 years ago
 

Having used high-end custom PCs for a long time, I understand that although the GPU is the biggest influence on gaming/editing performance, but the CPU may limit the GPUs ability to compute. Because of this, I settled on the 15" with quad-core CPU, rather than the 13" with a dual-core CPU.

I do not intend to use the Node inside macOS; everything I need a powerful GPU for is run under BootCamp. If I need to use my external monitor, I use an HP Envy 34c 3440x1440 monitor. I understand that the monitor itself will work if directly connected to the MBP, but if I need to switch to BootCamp, all that needs to happen is to reboot the machine attached to the Node - and viola! Of course, the automate eGPU script must be run before using the eGPU at all.

To do: Create my signature with system and expected eGPU configuration information to give context to my posts. I have no builds.

.

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Arthur44
(@arthur44)
Active Member
Joined: 4 years ago
 

I was also wondering whether to buy the 13 or 15 inch MacBook Pro 2016. Coming from an early 2011 13" MBP, I decided to go for the 2016 i7 16GB because the 15" is still too big for me. I plan to buy an Akitio Node in the following month with an AMD RX 4XX GPU.

Also, the integrated graphics is quite powerful and I managed to run game such as Fallout 4 and Battlefield 1 in decent quality.

For me the compact size of the 13" is a major advantage.

To do: Create my signature with system and expected eGPU configuration information to give context to my posts. I have no builds.

.

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Swisher Sweet
(@swisher-sweet)
Trusted Member
Joined: 4 years ago
 
Posted by: Arthur44

 

I was also wondering whether to buy the 13 or 15 inch MacBook Pro 2016. Coming from an early 2011 13" MBP, I decided to go for the 2016 i7 16GB because the 15" is still too big for me. I plan to buy an Akitio Node in the following month with an AMD RX 4XX GPU.

Also, the integrated graphics is quite powerful and I managed to run game such as Fallout 4 and Battlefield 1 in decent quality.

For me the compact size of the 13" is a major advantage.

   

Thanks for your comment. How does the 13" perform other than graphics? What do you use it for other than gaming? Do you feel this computer would be something you could own for several years and not be limited by only having dual-cores?

2019 16" MacBook Pro
Blackmagic eGPU Pro (Vega 56)
27" LG Ultrafine Display

2012 Mac Pro Tower
NVIDIA RTX 2070 Super
Acer Predator X34


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itsage
(@itsage)
Illustrious Member Admin
Joined: 4 years ago
 
Posted by: itsmikerofl

 

Hi!

I just picked up the base model 15" 2016 MBP this past weekend. Coming from a custom liquid cooled high-end PC, I value portability just as much as power. Seeing that the 2016 MBP would support TB3, I immediately jumped and sold my build in favor of the 2016 MBP.

I too found myself questioning the 13" vs. the 15", but ultimately settled for the quad-core i7-6700HQ on the 15". Once my Node ships, I plan on using the EVGA GTX 1080 FTW Hybrid under BootCamp.

@itsage - I've seen you benchmarks with the 980 Ti Hybrid using Engine Heaven and Valley, and I greatly appreciate the work you've done for the community on making this information public. Now, I see that you're recommending the 15" with quad-core over the 13" dual-core. Judging by your Engine benchmarks, it really only looks like an average of 5FPS difference between the two. If this is the case, what makes you believe that the quad-core i7-6700HQ is worth the jump up from the dual-core in the MBP 13"?

I was referring to @Swisher Sweet and his plan of using the Late 2016 MacBook Pro as his main laptop. For me personally, I'd go with the non-Touch bar 13". The 13" is easier to get going with eGPU due to its iGPU-only setup. I like the size of the 13" MBP better as well.

The quad-core definitely has the edge when you want to do VR stuff. I recall seeing in Nvidia Experience software my 13" MBP + 980 Ti ePGU was not VR ready due to the CPU.

external graphics card builds
best laptops for external GPU
eGPU enclosure buyer's guide

 
2013 Mac Pro (FP D500 x2) [3rd,12C,E] + RX 5700 XT @ 16Gbps-TB2>TB3 (Mantiz Saturn Pro) + macOS 11 [build link]  


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Swisher Sweet
(@swisher-sweet)
Trusted Member
Joined: 4 years ago
 
Posted by: itsage

The quad-core definitely has the edge when you want to do VR stuff. I recall seeing in Nvidia Experience software my 13" MBP + 980 Ti ePGU was not VR ready due to the CPU.

@itsage, thank you for bringing that up about VR. One of the main things I'll want to do with the eGPU is VR. If the 13" is not powerful enough to use VR gear and software, then my choice is clear.

Curious, were you still able to use the VR program/hardware with the 13" or did it block you completely? 

Also, do you know if most VR programs are so demanding that they won't work on a dual core i7?

Thanks.

2019 16" MacBook Pro
Blackmagic eGPU Pro (Vega 56)
27" LG Ultrafine Display

2012 Mac Pro Tower
NVIDIA RTX 2070 Super
Acer Predator X34


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