Which MacBook should I buy?

Apparently the Mojave USB audio patch hasn’t been a complete fix to the issue.

And looking back at comments on the March CDM article ablut the patch, Clarett USB-C interfaces weren’t fixed.

I hope the 2019s are immune

oops i see i missed an announcement :crazy_face:

Reports in the RME forum seem to suggest that any residual issues are normal buffer or system-timing related problems. The consistent glitching or dropouts seem to be gone for the reporting users there.

Now that the new Macbook Pros have been announced I’m probably going to get one. The price tag is a hard pill to swallow though. I pretty much need to choose between more ram or more cores. Do I go with the i9 8 core but only 16GB of ram? Or settle for the i7 6 core but upgrade to 32GB of ram? It’s really hard to tell which will be more beneficial for music production. Anyone with deep knowledge of this stuff that can help me understand?

It depends on your typical use case. If you use large, deep sample sets (sampled grand pianos) or do a lot of video work (where gigs of data in memory can speed up editing) the memory is a good idea. 6 cores is usually plenty, unless you’ll be running a LOT of plugins simultaneously. Remember that 6 core processors typically have slightly higher single core speed than the 8 cores, so the tradeoff here isn’t linear - if your workload doesn’t easily scale across a lot of cores then you’re wasting the extra cores and losing speed at the same time. That said, if you use loads of plugins or soft synths, the extra cores could come in handy versus the speed loss, and since most of those synthesize their data, the memory utilization is not terrifically high.

Basically: lots of (smallish) plugins and not a ton of samples = more cores, less memory. Sample heavy and/or compute-intensive plugins would push you towards more memory and faster cpu, tradeoff against core count. It’s an oversimplification, but it should give you a clue as to what will serve you best.

And if you do a lot of video editing, focus more on the GPU than the CPU (tradeoff a much better GPU like the Vega options against the more expensive CPU) and buy as much memory as you can afford.


well, that fact is made more murky since the 6 core 2.6ghz has a lower top turbo boost speed (4.5ghz) than the 8 core 2.3ghz (4.8ghz).

Top turbo boost isn’t entirely relevant since the processor cannot sustain that for long (e.g. in audio application plugin processing, the processors won’t scale up to this and stay there, they’ll float along somewhere in between depending on thermal issues and demand). In typical audio cases, I’d consider these equivalently clocked for comparison / “what should I buy” purposes. Look at cost/workload tradeoffs to help you choose if the CPU or the memory make more sense, then!


yeah i can attest to this general concept being a serious serious thing. the only time i ever played live with a laptop the machine froze ( i think maybe this was in 2010 on a macbook (it had literally never frozen before that date) and it would not run properly so basically on the fly i deleted everything i possibly could in order to play but cut “fat”. it was a nightmare and i hope never to use i computer live again.

I doubt the i9 8 core will really improve performance numbers, the chassis was already thermally constrained with the 6 core CPUs.
Why are you considering 32GB? What would you use/need it for?

i need help spec’ing out a 2019 MBP for my studio practice, which is basically just standard equipment load ableton 10 and reaktor and modest plugin use.

i really dont know which processor/memory option is best for me (the only thing i know for sure is that i feel like i should get at minimum the 1TB ssd)

1 TB SSD seems excessive to me. Internal SSD can be supported by cheaper external SSD.

500 MB SSD is what I have in my iMac. It’s safely and comfortably more than I have ever needed. My external SSD: a 250 MB for recording; a 500 MB for plugins.


For those of you who bought a MacBook Pro just before the release of the updated models but just out of the 14 days returns period, I suggest you try your luck at returns. They make exceptions given they’re relatively reasonable, and it’s at the discretion of the individual employees. I just returned mine a bit less than 30 days after I received it. I had to try twice on different days to get to talk to different employees, but perseverance paid off.


has anyone had specific luck or the opposite buying refurbished macs of old or recent-old? my wife is looking for a computer but needs aren’t deep in terms of speed, memory etc and money is leaning towards tight. she/we is/are sold on apple os-es. is non-apple refurb safe? any good sources in your experiences?

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I picked up a refurb 2016 15’ MacBook Pro last month. it looks brand new and is functioning like a champ. I went with the 2016 because I wanted the extra ports it has. but yeah all in all I’m very pleased!

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did you go straight from apple or find a better deal? seems they… like to charge a lot of money LOL

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I went straight from apple and yes they do!!! ouch. I got my (ex) girlfriend a refurbed Mac from Gazelle it was a newer 2017 non touch bar model I think and also looked brand spanking new and didn’t seem to have any issues. She was mainly using it to do minor video edits and pretty basic usage. I did not fool with it much but compared to my 2011 Mac that was on the outs it was lighting fast. apple pun not intended.

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I’ve had friends get refurbs from Macauthority, that turned out to work well. They’ve got a local store, so you can try before buy. Oh, and I just remembered that they rebranded to Simply Mac.

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I now need to buy a new Mac to replace my beloved 2013 Air. The specs vs price ratio is shocking. But I have to use a Mac because of what I do and the software I run.

£2k for a refurb Machine, seems crazy.

I just got my replacement machine, and for some reason it seems the 2019 15" 8 core MacBook Pro is running Ableton much quieter and much cooler than the 6 core 2018 version. This is using a clone of the previous machine’s configuration through Time Machine. I was getting absurdly high temperatures with very high fan speeds at less than 5% CPU load on Ableton’s meter, but that seems to be gone now. I wonder if something changed with the thermals.

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Yep! They definitely improved the thermals.