Which MacBook should I buy?

There are other reasons to steer clear of the 2018 MBP. There’s an acknowledged issue connected to the T2 chip and it’s BridgeOS causing random restarts. Im about to return my third 2018 -fortunately the issue each time has shown up within a day or two. It’s a shame given it’s the first MBP with more than 4 cures and good gpu options.
I’ve had so many MBP and based on experience I recommend always getting a refurbished if you can - I’ve had much better luck with them.
I was I could switch. Too invested in Mac only software that has no easily convertible windows or Linux equivalent.

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We’ve got a stackload of these 2018s at my office, nobody here has had any issues with this.

I’m definitely sorry to hear you’re having issues with yours (all computers have some small chance of defects/problems), and I’m not saying it doesn’t exist for others, but again, there are significant numbers of people using them with zero problems, so let’s not blow the issues out of proportion (not saying you are, I’m cautioning others not to take a single data point as a rule, as humans are wont to do).

It’s not common and one theory involves a faulty batch of T2 chips - another that only the i9-plus-Vega units do it (kind of makes sense given sone iMac pros have the issue too). Just my bad luck to get multiple such machines in a row I guess. Apple admits the problem but it is - or was until a couple months ago - rare. There are a fair number of threads around about it.

Since my MBP is for performance work I need it to be absolutely solid so I gave up and went for a 2017 refurb which has been perfect so far (only a few days in). A big letdown (the 2018 plus egpu would have also replaced my Mac Pro for my film and video work - in fact I was going to fund it by selling the Mac Pro) but now even if I got a 2018 that’s seemed fine I’d be too nervous to perform with it. I’ve used macs live for decades with zero issues - this is the first time I’ve even considered the prospect of a mid-performance crash and it’s not worth the stress.

If I didn’t need it for live work I might have kept going until I got a non-afflicted 2018, but I do.

I avoid the use of all general-purpose computer systems for live performance having seen far too many of all brands (ranging from vintage Compaqs to recent Macs) work flawlessly up until showtime and then randomly conk out with some bizarre failure moments before or even during the actual performance, despite doing many run-throughs and resets flawlessly even the same day.

To say that I’m cynical about the state of GP computing is a massive understatement, and I’m with you - I wouldn’t trust any recently manufactured system for live duties until it had performed flawlessly for a while in a practice/studio setting and gotten into the reliable phase of the famous ‘bathtub’ curve as we engineers call it. But that goes for any definition of ‘recent’ across any year, I’m not singling out the 2018s or the upcoming 2019s or any brand… I just wouldn’t use a recently purchased system of any kind for live shows until I had gained confidence in it with my setup.

The proliferation of A/B instant-failover rigs (like the iConnectivity stuff and Radial’s A/B switcher) in today’s touring rigs should speak to this too… even proven touring workhorse systems fail spontaneously, almost always mid-show (and never in rehearsal, of course!). So if you’re looking for reliability in performance never look to any specific brand, but look to a redundant and time-proven rig, regardless of your system preferences and hardware choices.

Edit: and to stay on topic, I do say that if you’re going to get a Mac now, get a new 2018 system and don’t get a 2016/2017, because of the improved keyboards and there will be support and security updates for that much longer, and security updates are going to be an increasingly important concern in the upcoming years. Plus the new chips have some very nice improvements in audio/media processing that are nice to lock in versus the previous generation - there was a solid bump in capability the past year or so and I don’t expect 2019/2020 to offer significant performance increases, we’ve locked in the current round of ‘next gen’ for a little while, I think. But if your 2013-2015 system is working fine, I would also advise you not to feel a need to upgrade unless you have a very specific reason to do so and not simply “it would be nice”.

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+1

The lower price while maintaining extended AppleCare eligibility are great bonuses too.

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My 2012 MacBook Air is reaching the end of its useful lifetime (which has been impressively long given the abuse it has survived), and I will be getting a new MacBook imminently. Just like most of you I’m not quite happy with Apple making increasingly unrepairable products, but the alternative OSs genuinely make me want to scream and tear out my hair, so here I am.

I will be getting either a 2018 13" Pro with an external display or a 2018 15" Pro. For those of you who have these, how are they for sound, graphics, interactive installations, programming, and those kinds of things? I’m not quite sure what I’d prefer between the portability of the 13" and the graphics power of the 15".

I guess its worth keeping this in mind if you’re looking at the 13"

Don’t know if its been fixed/updated since, but article is fairly recent.

Aside from general funny-business like that, the 15" is a pretty good computer. Fast, light, keyboard seems fine (so far). Absolutely useless for USB2 audio-based work at the moment, which can be a deal breaker. But generally a “good” computer. Not worth the cost for sure, and I’ll be looking elsewhere once this reaches the end of its life.

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Just to share another experience - I’ve had one of the 15" 2018 MBPs for a couple of months now and have had zero USB audio interface problems. Granted, I’ve mostly used my Apogee Duet 2 at home with a powered TB3 CalDigit hub, but I’ve specifically done a couple of tests at the studio I work at using just an unpowered USB-C dongle and some Focusrite Scarletts (6i6) and an RME Fireface UFX. Again, no problems, although I didn’t do any intricate multichannel setups, mostly just stereo playback…

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Did you check macOS console? You may not hear the dropouts, even if they occur.

I also used my RME UC with a normal dongle at first. Using Ableton Live, I didn’t noticed the dropouts, I thought it was all good. Then using Logic Pro, the soft would just stop recording.

You’ll need to test playback or recording for a long period of time. The dropouts will occur every 20-30 minutes. Or try to let your MBP go to sleep and see if it doesn’t crash.

I don’t think that any MBP 18 with a T2 chip is immune to the Bridge OS crash using USB 2 audio interfaces. And I’m not sure it will be fix at all.

FWIW I went through three 2018 MBPs (testing, returning w/in window) that suffered from the T2 crash (2 sec freeze then system rebooting). On the third, I was eventually able to lessen these (they’d happen as often as every 20 mins before) by ditching every bit of MOTU software related to my ultralite Mk4. But they still happened rendering the machine useless for live performance or tight deadline work.
I gave up and settled for a 2017 refurb for audio work, which has been trouble-free. The 2018 is now only used for Davinci Resolve, with onboard audio only.
Had I not needed a portable Resolve system I would have returned the 3rd 2018 and stayed with the 2017 (which isn’t quite up to my video needs for work. )
I’m not an engineer or even close but my suspicion after all the testing and troubleshooting and research is that the 2018s are ok with class compliant audio devices, but will succumb to some version of the errant T2-related behavior (reboots, KPs , it may even be behind the dropout reports, etc) with certain audio device drivers (or similar files) installed. the Ultralite did not need to be connected for the crashes to occur, but with no drivers there were few crashes even with the UL connected (it runs in class compliant mode as a much more basic audio io device with no drivers installed. )
Side note - I’m still in software license hell due to the multiple machines and returns.

I have a 2015 maxed out MacBook Pro 13” and it’s still going strong. I don’t have any reason to upgrade and haven’t run into things I want to do that I can’t… of course YMMV.

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My older Mac laptop just died and now I’m trying to decide what to get next. What’s really baking my noodle is: as a musician I should get whatever will be the most stable, but as a software and hardware maker I should get whatever is most problematic, to make sure all my software and hardware works on it.

I guess I will take the plunge and get one of the 2018 touch bar machines (I don’t want a touch bar) and make sure it works with the Soundplane.

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Same here. It’s a beast. More or less no problem in 4 years

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Thank you so much!

Just saw this today, made a Genius Bar appointment, and have just got back from dropping off my 2015 13" MBP (which is only 6 days away from the 4 year cut off).


Just as an aside, every interaction I’ve had with our local Apple Store has always been really friendly, I’ve just had a rather wonderful conversation about the joys of fatherhood while waiting for the diagnostics on my laptop to run.

So while I still think my 2015 MBP was the last ‘good’ laptop they made, and I am generally trying to run Linux as much as possible, on this particular day I’m finding it hard to be too grumpy with them.

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I have a 2011 maxed out MacBook Pro 15" and it’s still going strong. Music production, sound editing, Photoshop, video editing, animation, it all works as well as when I got it. I stopped upgrading the OS at some point and now there’s software I can’t upgrade, but nothing that really hampers work.

My 2018 MBP had both 1) the audio issue (using a MOTU UIltralite 4, even in class compliant mode which I had to resort to due to issue#2) and 2) the T2/BridgeOS constant restarts issue. Since the update - no restarts (at its worst it was several times a day, even restarting while the MBP was SLEEPING) and audio is behaving perfectly. But this is still in class compliant mode. A little leery of re-installing the MOTU drivers, which greatly increased the restarts (2-3x an hour!) but all signs point to this update at least solving some of the issues so far.

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admin notice:

despite repeated calls from staff and community members to stay on-topic, this thread kept getting derailed with specific vendor/interface issues, non-macbook systems, desktops, hackintoshes, general negativity directed toward apple, mac vs windows, and so on.

please keep this “which macbook should i buy?” thread on-topic. though it was originally posted in 2017, the question still applies across all current macbook options.

ongoing issues with apple/mac hardware, firmware, interfaces, and the like, for both mobile & desktop systems, can be found in this new thread:

Apple/Mac issues: hardware, firmware, interfaces, etc.

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aggggghh looks like the rumored 16"/2019 MBP refresh just got pushed back. I’m desperately in need of a new computer, and my Windows MSI has been pretty depressing.

Just want to buy another OSx laptop, but Apple seems to be actively making things worse! Was hoping to hold out for a refresh, but now I have no idea what the next move is. It’s insane that a computer from 2015 still looks more appealing than the current offerings tbh.

Looks like they resolved the usb 2 interface and audio drop out issues? Most of that talk got moved to the other thread about Mac issues.

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I recently bit the bullet and got a 15" MacBook Pro. Horrendous price tag, but it’s absolutely excellent so far. Coming from a 2012 13" MacBook Air, the screen is just amazing, the computer is not much bigger physically, the integrated speakers somehow good, and the boost in computing power is enormous. I haven’t even had the time to try out my audio interfaces yet, but I assume it would work fine with one of these sleek hubs.

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