Looking to purchase a new MacBook with gaming needs in mind, which purchase is m...
 
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Looking to purchase a new MacBook with gaming needs in mind, which purchase is more sensible?  

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Falconpwn6
(@falconpwn6)
New Member
Joined: 3 years ago
 

I'm looking to purchase a new 2017 MacBook Pro but would like to keep my overall budget capped at $2500. That being said, I am considering several different options, as this MacBook would be for school primarily but also used for gaming. I am looking to probably play modern AAA graphically intense games (NBA 2K, Battlefield 1, etc)

1. 13 inch 3.1 Ghz dual core Touch Bar Macbook Pro + eGPU (1060 or 1070 likely)

2. 15 inch 2.8 Ghz quad core Touch Bar Macbook Pro w/ Radeon Pro 560 with 4 GB memory graphics upgrade

Would the first option be much better for gaming than the second? I have read that the 13in MacBook Pro's can't utilize the eGPU as effectively, but I do not intend to purchase an eGPU if I go with the second option. Cost-wise, I would anticipate that the first option would be slightly less expensive as well. Can anyone give advice on the more sensible option for educational/gaming needs?

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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rushvora
(@rushvora)
Trusted Member
Joined: 3 years ago
 

First option would be better for gaming. It would give you much more overall performance than the 2nd option.

If you think you can somehow save up for eGPU with the 2nd option, that is, get the 2nd option now, buy an eGPU down the line, that would be ideal.

Otherwise, go with the 1st option, if gaming is a necessity.

2016 15" MacBook Pro (RP455) [6th,4C,H] + GTX 1080 Ti @ 32Gbps-TB3 (Mantiz Venus) + Win10 [build link]  

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nando4
(@nando4)
Noble Member Admin
Joined: 4 years ago
 

The 15" MBP's unique and performance superior TB3-CPU architecture explained at https://egpu.io/macos-pascal-drivers-gtx-1080-ti-2016-macbook-pro/#cpu-vs-pch makes it the fastest TB3 eGPU candidate system available at the moment.

May I suggest then seeking a deal on the superceded late-2016 15" MBP to bring it's cost down closer to the mid-2017 13" model you are looking at? The 2017 15" model only offer a slight CPU+dGPU performance bump. Hardly worthy of paying a premium for if intending to use an eGPU with it.

eGPU Setup 1.35    •    eGPU Port Bandwidth Reference Table

 
2015 15" Dell Precision 7510 (Q M1000M) [6th,4C,H] + GTX 1080 Ti @32Gbps-M2 (ADT-Link R43SG) + Win10 1803 [build link]  


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wingman9
(@wingman9)
Active Member
Joined: 4 years ago
 

Gaming on a 13" is not so pleasant, especially if you're accustomed to a larger display.

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

If you're in the US, check open-box laptops at Best Buy. These open-box units are returns and they retain the one year warranty. They're typically in great shape. The savings are about 10% to 20% over new prices. Every few months Best Buy have promotions on Apple computers. This lowers the open-box prices. You can also negotiate for additional discount for aged units.

It's very possible to find a late-2016 15" MacBook Pro for $2,000 or less. The rest of your budget then can go towards an eGPU.

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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jim_survak
(@jim_survak)
Eminent Member
Joined: 3 years ago
 
Posted by: itsage

If you're in the US, check open-box laptops at Best Buy. These open-box units are returns and they retain the one year warranty. They're typically in great shape. The savings are about 10% to 20% over new prices.

As a former BBY employee I can vouch for this. When they're initially returned, if they're in like-new shape it's a 10% discount. The discount goes up for missing packaging and cosmetic damage (like light surface scratches on the casing). Everything that gets returned undergoes Apple's hardware diagnostics, as well, so the hardware should be good. Call 1-800-APL-CARE & get it registered under your name as well; if you give them a copy of your receipt via e-mail AppleCare will do it right over the phone for you in a few minutes (I also used to work at the AppleCare call center). Best Buy has back-to-school/college deals going on too you might want to look into.

I've only ever owned two brand-new Macs. Every other one I've bought was used from eBay, an open-box from Best Buy, or an Apple refurb. I think nando makes a good suggestion.

2018 Mac mini: Core i3, 8GB RAM, Sonnet 350 (aftermarket 550w PSU)+XFX Radeon RX-480 8GB Black Edition
2012 Mac mini: Core i7, 16GB RAM, Toshiba 1TB SSD, Seagate 1TB HDD
Custom: Ryzen 7 1700, 16GB Corasir DDR4-3200MHz RAM, 2x Corsair 500GB Neutron SSD, Seagate 3TB SSD, EVGA Nvidia 980Ti
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derFunkenstein
(@derfunkenstein)
Active Member
Joined: 3 years ago
 

I got my 13" TB version at Best Buy as an Open Box deal, too. $1750 for the 2.9GHz model with 500GB of storage and 16GB of memory. More like $1900 after sales tax. Full 1-year warranty. 

I'm a little surprised to read that the 15" version has a better implementation. Apple makes a note on the Touch Bar version that the left side ports have full PCIe bandwidth and the right-side ones have reduced bandwidth. Are those full-bandwidth ports on the left really still not as fast as the 15"? That's odd, but I guess I wouldn't put it past Apple.

I game on my 13" but I'm using an external monitor, keyboard, and mouse to do it. I don't like gaming on laptop keyboards in general and I have a nice 24" Dell Ultrasharp, so going this route made sense. I've used a GTX 1070 in the past but I was able to sell it for more than I paid, partly because I only paid $325 in the first place. I guess some of these miners are desperate. I'm going to get by on a lower-class Polaris card for the time being.  

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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JDug
 JDug
(@jdug)
Eminent Member
Joined: 3 years ago
 
Posted by: derFunkenstein

I got my 13" TB version at Best Buy as an Open Box deal, too. $1750 for the 2.9GHz model with 500GB of storage and 16GB of memory. More like $1900 after sales tax. Full 1-year warranty. 

I'm a little surprised to read that the 15" version has a better implementation. Apple makes a note on the Touch Bar version that the left side ports have full PCIe bandwidth and the right-side ones have reduced bandwidth. Are those full-bandwidth ports on the left really still not as fast as the 15"? That's odd, but I guess I wouldn't put it past Apple.

I game on my 13" but I'm using an external monitor, keyboard, and mouse to do it. I don't like gaming on laptop keyboards in general and I have a nice 24" Dell Ultrasharp, so going this route made sense. I've used a GTX 1070 in the past but I was able to sell it for more than I paid, partly because I only paid $325 in the first place. I guess some of these miners are desperate. I'm going to get by on a lower-class Polaris card for the time being.  

The reduced bandwidth only applies to the 2016 and early 2017 versions of the 13" MBP.  The mid 2017 with Kaby lake has fixed this and all 4 TB3 ports are full bandwidth. 

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

From what I gathered here are the arrangement in the Thunderbolt 3 MacBook Pros:

  • 15" MBP has two Alpine Ridge Thunderbolt 3 controllers to handle 4 Thunderbolt 3 ports, two ports per controller at full bandwidth.
  • 13" MBP has one Alpine Ridge Thunderbolt 3 controller. The non-touchbar MBP has two TB3 ports to use this one controller at full bandwidth. The touchbar MBP has the right side TB3 ports run at half bandwidth because the lack of a second TB3 controller. 

Correction: This is for Late 2016 MacBook Pro. @JDug confirmed with Apple the Mid 2017 have better arrangement for the 13" Touch Bar MacBook Pro; two TB3 controllers like the 15" version.

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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JDug
 JDug
(@jdug)
Eminent Member
Joined: 3 years ago
 
Posted by: itsage

From what I gathered here are the arrangement in the Thunderbolt 3 MacBook Pros:

  • 15" MBP has two Alpine Ridge Thunderbolt 3 controllers to handle 4 Thunderbolt 3 ports, two ports per controller at full bandwidth.
  • 13" MBP has one Alpine Ridge Thunderbolt 3 controller. The non-touchbar MBP has two TB3 ports to use this one controller at full bandwidth. The touchbar MBP has the right side TB3 ports run at half bandwidth because the lack of a second TB3 controller. 

I recently purchased the Kaby Lake 13in with TB and Apple confirmed that all 4 TB3 ports can run at full bandwidth.  Now I have not tested this, but according to Apple this was a change with the mid 17 update.

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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