On the Way For Testing: Apple 2018 MacBook Pro 15-inch 2.9 GHz 32GB 2TB Radeon Pro 560X
Thanks to B&H Photo for making this top-line Apple MacBook Pro available for testing. As this was written B&H Photo was offering it at a $100 discount( $100 e-gift card).
On the way for testing (expected August 1) is the most capable laptop ever produced by Apple. The model with the 4TB SSD is more expensive but of no more utility unless one needs 4TB of internal SSD versus 2TB (for another $2K).
- 2.9 GHz Intel Core i9 Six-Core
- 32GB of 2400 MHz RAM
- 2TB SSD 15.4"
- 4 x Thunderbolt 3 (USB Type-C) Ports
- AMD Radeon Pro 560X GPU (4GB GGDR5)
- 2880 x 1800 Retina Display with True Tone Technology
- 802.11ac Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 5.0
- Touch Bar, Touch ID Sensor, Force Touch Trackpad
- macOS High Sierra
For the first time ever, the MacBook Pro really looks like a pro machine, excepting possible CPU throttling when heat builds up. The key factors are the 6-core CPU, the 32GB memory option, P3 gamut display, and 4 Thunderbolt 3 ports. I wish I could pay to remove the touchbar, but we cannot have everything. Still, the iMac 5K remains a much better choice for me.
- The TrueTone display sounds like a disaster for those working with images where accurate color is needed. It will need to be turned off.
- The Apple T2 chip creates booting and recovery headaches just as with the iMac Pro. That said, encryption of the SSD without any speed penalty is something well worth having for a travel machine.
- The keyboard and touchbar irritated many pro users including me. These remain in improved form, but are of serious interest as maybe acceptable, and maybe not.
Recommended configurations below. Be sure that a 512GB SSSD is enough if you go with an SSD that small—it is not upgradeable since it is soldered onto the logic board (ditto for memory). My own photographic work demands nothing less than a 2TB SSD, so even 1TB is problematic. It can be an expensive mistake to buy too small an SSD (that is, to buy another MacBook Pro to fix the problem, a huge cost). The best alternative when running out of storage is the OWC Envoy Pro EX Thunderbolt 3 SSD.
Do not buy a MacBook Pro with only 8GB of memory unless it is only for casual use. The memory is soldered on, and 8GB is nowhere near enough for many tasks. It is sufficient for email and web and so on—casual simple uses.
While a 13-inch display is too small for my taste, the smaller size may appeal to some.