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Dr. Bobsky
Senior Member
Join Date: Feb 2015
Location: UK's most densely packed city. It's not London...
2015-08-24, 12:49

So if the rumors are to be believed, the top end MacBook Pros will be receiving a bump to the new Skylake processors sometime in the next iteration cycle or so. It is beginning to be evident that this jump will be substantial in terms of overall performance, battery life, etc. This is not surprising. I think Intel would have preferred to have had the Broadwell processors out a couple years ago, and not pushed the 4th generation chips as far as they have. So the jump in specs is perhaps in line with essentially skipping a generation.

I am running a 6 year old 17" MacBook Pro with Core2Duo Processors (maxed out specs at the time). I barely missed the jump to the 'i' series of processors, and while it hasn't meant much over the years -- overly pixelated YouTube videos (because the computer is the limit for streaming videos) and essentially frying pan heat whenever running any sort of game (not that there's been much of that lately ) -- I'd rather not find myself on the wrong side of a significant performance jump again. As such, I do not actually need to replace the laptop -- it is doing fine, the harddrive is almost at capacity but occasional purges of media files keeps this in control -- but it has been relegated to an entertainment device mostly because it really cannot comfortably do what I would like it to do (responsive photo editing, biophysical simulations, etc).

So my question to you: Do you think the Skylake jump is going to be worthwhile? Is the hype backed up by anything real? Will Apple screw power users over by eliminating a dedicated graphics card? Would you wait for the next processor architecture?
The Ban Hammer
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Boyzeee
2015-08-24, 13:51


Skylake has been talked about so much the last year it will be hugely disappointing if it isn't a hefty upgrade.

That said, Apple appears to be on an efficiency kick as much as anything else. Better battery life in impossibly thin cases seems to be the new "innovation". In some cases, I agree. However, the current series of 15" Retina Pros are anything but slouches. They have 2.5GB/s PCIe flash cards that are nearly twice as fast as the current MacPro tower and i7 processors that are plenty powerful for a laptop. If you're looking for a fast laptop, the current 15" Retina's are as good as it gets.

As far as the GPU is concerned, the current lineup hints at the future. The base 15" uses the integrated Iris Pro with 1.5GB of shared VRAM, but the premium model has that plus the discreet Radeon R9 with 2GB VRAM. The Radeon isn't the fastest option out there, but it gets the job done. I think this setup will continue in any future upgrades, i.e., the base model will be integrated, the premium model will ship with both. I won't get on board the "Apple doesn't care about pro's" bandwagon. The Mac Pro, 15" Retina and topped-out 27" Retina are witness that, as far as horsepower is concerned, they care very much about pro's.

The future is hard to predict regarding Skylake and Apple. Certainly they will make the jump, but when is a big guess. We usually get a pretty good sense based on availability of current systems, and right now any update seems off in the future bare minimum 3 months while probably more in the 6-9 month timeframe. As it always goes, waiting is a two-edged sword with Apple. Sometimes you get bit on the leading edge of an upgrade, sometimes on the trailing edge.

If you simply can't stand your current 17, go ahead and make the jump. The current 15" Pro's are wicked fast!!! However, if finance and patience are nibbling at your bum, you might consider hanging on for 6 months or so. Rumors should start heating up regarding Skylake availability and such.

Edit: Note this, also. The last update was pretty minor (faster PCIe and Force Touch) and could be a prelude to an October/November Skylake upgrade.

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The Ban Hammer
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Boyzeee
2019-07-29, 22:47

I still stand by what I said.
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