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$2800 on a laptop with only 16GB RAM that you're going to run linux on anyway?

If you're going to run Ubuntu, why not get a Lenovo for much less and with notably better legitimately "Pro" specs?

Build quality. It's difficult to find a computer that matches the quality of a MacBook for fit and finish, trackpad quality, and battery life.

I haven't used the new one, but the 2015 models were among the best hardware on the market - regardless of what OS was installed.

While Macs have fantastic build quality, there are now premium-level PCs that are catching up to it. The new EliteBook Folio is a Core M-powered, Thunderbolt-containing replacement for the 12" MacBook (not Pro); the Razer series appear to be built just as well as Macs from my time with them hands-on as well.

Personally, I don't care so much about "build quality" in terms of materials used. If the hardware works I'm happy, and the Thinkpad is fine to me.

There are some competitors in the 12-13" range. Nothing that matches it in battery life though: http://arstechnica.com/apple/2016/11/review-cheapest-2016-ma.... And there is no competition for the 15" that doesn't have serious flaws (HiDPI display or 10+ hours battery life, but not both).

The hardest part for me was finding a 15" PC laptop without the retarded number pad. I'm quite happy with my Dell M5510, but it was basically the only alternative to a MBP.

Yes, this drives me insane too, and is the thing that I hate about the "workstation class" devices. I don't use the number pad and I don't want it, thank you. It trips me up whenever I have to use one and I have to offset my hands from the display.

I would have really loved one when I was doing a lot of data entry in a previous job. Instead I just got a USB keyboard with a number pad, I understand that my niche desires don't necessarily make for a mass-market desirable device.

Even as a frequent user of the numpad, I'd rather carry a USB numpad around than deal with the asymmetry caused by putting one in a laptop.

A laptop isn't a suitable tool for frequent data entry.

(By regulation, in some countries, like the UK)

There's people like me who want the number pad. Also I can't live without separate home & end keys.

I have no problem with offering the numpad as an option for users who do a lot of numerical entry. I just don't want the damn thing forced on me.

It may be fine, but the disk speeds on the latest Macs are amazing. There is no laptop that matches that I'm aware of.

Unless I'm missing something: Huh? Apple is just using regular NVMe/M.2 SSDs, nothing special about them. Lots of laptops have the option for M.2 NVMe SSDs, and most newer desktop motherboards have the slot for it.

Just as a sticking point, Apple's SSDs are not, and have never been, regular NVMe or M.2. They have always used their own stupid custom proprietary connector, despite basically implementing most of the relevant standard (NVMe/PCIe/SATA).

A lot of laptops that advertise NVMe SSDs are using inferior TLC-based or non-Samsung SSDs to check that box. Apple's not alone at the top (especially when aftermarket upgrades are taken into account), but they have been pretty good about using the fastest PCIe SSD that money could buy at the time of release.

True, but I don't think that's common near the price point of Apple hardware.

It's also not uncommon in the "lower ranks". I just bought a 800 € ultrabook with a 256 GB Samsung PM961 SSD (NVMe, 2.8 / 1.1 GB/s) and the Skylake i7 for example.

Also, don't forget that one can buy a Samsung 960 Pro in a machine that comes with a cheaper SSD but uses a standard M.2 NVMe slot, and ditch the original SSD, for cheaper than any of Apple's capacity upgrades.

The Samsung PM961 is not top of the line. It's one of the more recent TLC-based alternatives that shares a controller with the top of the line products, but it's inherently slower and less power efficient.

The latest MBP leapfrogged the rest of the market again

Specs seem to be 3.1 GB/s read and 2.1 GB/s write speed. While that's faster than most M.2 SSDs, equally-or-better specced SSDs are already on the market, eg. Samsung 960 Pro (3.5 / 2.1 GB/s).

It's kinda disingenuous to say that the 960 Pro is already on the market when it's not for sale yet.

Assuming you are using Linux and you have gobs of RAM, the 15-20% difference you will see between an mSATA SSD and NVMe is negligible for most common workloads/applications, as you will be likely pulling things from the RAM cache. The Linux box I'm writing this on only has 8 GB RAM and my whole system is only using 1.1G, leaving 6+ GB RAM as a RAM cache for read files. On 16 GB systems it's even better.

For more info: http://www.linuxatemyram.com/play.html

Umm, they're using PCIe SSDs so you can just go get another laptop with one. Like this ASUS: http://amzn.to/2eGg2KM

> 512GB SSD with transfer speeds of 1400MB/s and 16GB DDR4 RAM

The build quality of MacBook Pro is generally good, but it's still hit and miss especially for a premium priced machine. For example, the film layer on my display is currently peeling off, similar to this: http://cdn.macrumors.com/article-new/2015/03/Retina-MacBook-...

This is a 2015 model.

I didn't know this issue happened on the 2015 model as well... I've got the mid 2014 model and it has the exact same issue. They call it staingate [0], and it seems that they've replaced screens with the issue (for free). I have yet to request that, however...

[0] http://www.staingate.org/

I was very disappointed to find it on a 2015 model as well.

The "staingate" name is odd, it's definitely not staining, the laminate just wipes right off with little effort.

They chose for 'staingate' as it looks like regular stains (like the ones you get with dirty hands on your screen). One of my colleague had the same issue (of course, same serie macbooks) but his was just in the middle of his screen. He tried everything to get it away (he said it randomly appeared; he used cleaning wipes daily)... I wonder how many people are still walking around with damaged screens...

Is there any chance of getting this replaced by the Apple Store? I think I was quoted $900AUD.

Yep, Apple are replacing these for free.

This is a result of improper care and applying harsh cleaning chemicals that remove the glare resistant coating - this is not a result of bad quality.

Wrong, you made an inaccurate assumption.

I use a microfiber cloth to remove dust from the MacBook Pro display. Never have used a chemical once, there is no need if you are dusting a display.

I'd take a video and show you how you can scrape off the laminate with quite literally anything, but I have nothing to prove to you. Besides, as another commenter has pointed out, Apple is apparently replacing these screens if you can handle to be away from your work machine for the repair time.

It's build quality.

Only, it's also happening on my 15 inch MacBook Pro screen, which has never been touched with anything else than the cloth it came with and purified water.

I bought it brand new knowing about Staingate and purposefully treated the screen with kid gloves, yet here we are.

I've told friends and family numerous times to throw away that "LCD/Screen cleaning" crap that they were upsold at BestBuy and to just use (preferably distilled) water and a microfiber cloth. That combo will get rid of 99% of smudges and will get rid of them safely! All those commercial screen cleaners contain crap like ammonia and other chemicals that can take off screen coatings.

Build quality is awesome. But parts themselves are just ordinary cheap things which fail. And some of them are just an example of poor engineering. I use rmbp 15". My audio port failed in funny way. It's combination of audio port and laser port in one hole. There's some kind of switch there and it's stuck, so computer thinks that I plugged optical cord and refuses to play sound at all. And it's actually not that rare problem, it happens. Some people had luck with wooden stick, didn't work for me. So I basically have to pay some crazy bucks to replace motherboard because of bad port and bad driver, which can't switch to audio (fun thing is, Windows driver can do it).

Terrible keyboard, terrible cords, glued battery (really???), display which can't forget previous image (crystallization or w/e it's called), terrible mic. Macbooks are not that good.

"Build quality" on a Mac to me, overall, is usually quite manic. Some things are really good - the finish quality on the materials used is always excellent, hinges are always excellent and long lasting, trackpads, keyboards etc are always finished to high quality and installed with a good degree of precision - you don't see too many uneven gaps etc.

In saying that, you're absolutely right about things like the poor quality cables, idiotic glued batteries, and parts that can't be easily replaced. Even i.e. keyboards - I've replaced Thinkpad keyboards before when they have worn out, simply because the new keyboard feels a lot nicer than a cleaned up abused one.

> So I basically have to pay some crazy bucks to replace motherboard

Really? I'd imagine there must be a decent repair guy who can simply replace (or just remove) that audio port?

I really like ThinkPads. People keep claiming that build quality has gotten worse, but that doesn't match up with my impression and experience. The T and X series laptops are very well built. The screens aren't as nice as Apple's, and I can't comment on the touchpads (I exclusively use the TrackPoint), but overall they're great machines (and cheap, compared to MacBooks).

Spec-wise the screens are not as nice. In practice, for coding, I would much rather have the anti-glare matte screen of the kind that comes standard on Thinkpads.

ThinkPad's displays have historically been embarrassingly poor for the price of the machines. Only recently do they have displays that I would consider adequate.

Only a few years ago with their IPS upgrades on i.e. X220s, X230s, suffered from numerous issues (poor gamut, image retention).

I Bought a MacBook a few years ago, the keyboard broke a few times, and the frame was full of cracks even though I was really careful with it. I don't believe one second the quality of the MacBook is better, especially for the price I paid at the time ( + Apple Care cost ). It might be easier to find spare parts for Apple devices but that's it.

Yikes. I don't have much experience with the MacBook line, but I wouldn't call myself careful with my machines and have never seen anything like that!

Real question: Is battery life a benefit when you're running an OS other than macOS? Doesn't macOS have optimizations that make it better at battery consumption than other OSes?

Of course, macOS has better battery management than recent versions of Windows, but a "barebones" install of Windows (drivers and the tools you use without a bunch of services that run all the time) does have good battery life.

I think Apple generally puts more watt-hours in their systems as well, but don't quote me on that. :-)

Not anymore with their thinness obsession :-(

I think the Surface line matches the build quality on macs, but the Linux story is about the same on those...

Razer Blade

Are you able to have a functioning linux installation with a razer blade, without doing too much sorcery? For example, this is the case for plenty of Dells that I have tried. I have never used a razer blade, but I have been through the forums and it seems that having linux work properly is not that straightforward.

I have a 2015 Razer Blade Pro and it worked very well under Ubuntu 16.04. The touchpad, touch screen, wifi, etc. all worked well, at least on newer Linux kernels (the trackpad had issues on older kernels). I did some 3D graphics work, and the Nvidia drivers were much better than other drivers I've used on Linux. There wasn't really any "sorcery" involved from my experience; I just installed from the official iso.

I followed this guy's blog for some further configuration: https://alexcabal.com/get-a-working-touchpad-on-a-14-razer-b...

My main problem was that battery life was pretty abysmal under Linux. With Windows, I would get 4-5 hours under light usage, but under Ubuntu I would pretty much only get ~2-2.5 hours, even without doing much on it. Stressing the CPU/GPU made it die even faster. But that thing isn't really known for its battery life anyways.

Unfortunately I don't have Ubuntu installed on it anymore because I couldn't get Windows and Ubuntu to happily coexist side-by-side. Windows (10) always gave me a boot failure when Ubuntu was installed next to it.

A friend had the same problem, of windows and ubuntu not willing to share the same machine on another laptop (acer). He was able to solve it by disabling secure boot and using UEFI as boot mode plus one magical command to show grub boot menu. Maybe it is worth a try, if you have not already.

My issue with Razer: As far as I can tell, they only ship laptops with the country's keyboard layout. I move around a lot and always buy laptops with US keyboard layout. At the moment, I'm in Germany and can only order Razer Blades with the awful German layout :( I know, pretty niche, but both Apple and Dell allow you to do this.

This page gives a drop-down with the choice of an American or Nordic layout. There's clearly something dodgy with the site, when the German page offers me the Nordic layout.


Thanks for your detective work. Unfortunately that's the 2015 Razer Blade, not the 2016 model. Very weird site indeed.

that's not true and you know it. please stop repeating nonsense.

everyone who argues that and then try to prove their point ends up comparing budget pcs. so tiring.

also my company is full of 2012 and 2013 macbook pros that crash and burn with several hardware video card build issues that for some reason it was never able/willing to return.

I've used lots of Windows laptops at home and work over the years. From $800 to custom-built $3k business-class workhorses. I maintain my claim that the build quality and integration on a MacBook is still among the best.

I'll agree that the build quality is excellent but the promise of the stability of an OS built for hardware from the same vendor has been a disappointment. OS X on my late 2012 13" MBP Retina has been the most unstable platform I have used in years. It completely freezes on me about once a month.

I haven't had a blue screen of death or lockup on the various Windows laptops I've been forced to use for work since some time in the mid 2000s. My desktop machine runs Ubuntu and I have not had any stability issues over several versions.

When I replace my MBP it will be with a laptop running some flavor of Linux.

I must say i probably have lot of luck. I have 2011 nonretina macbook pro without ssd and i never had problems. I even dropped it once on hard ground (slipped from opened bag pocked). I use it every day, abuse it, travel all the time i do cpu intensive shit and even 3D sometimes. It still works very well without single repair (just added 16gb ram).

I never was much of a apple fan but this notebook was so good investment. I wish i would get something equaly good again. Unfortunately all that unrepairable glued bullshit is just sad.

$150 Chromebook works great and runs Ubuntu with crouton.

$150 isn't a very good status symbol.

Linux isn't, either... Otherwise, it's great!

You'd be surprised. When I was in college I saw a lot of people running Linux and showing off how cool it was. They were l33t because they had Linux. Uncommon things are very cool in the right audience. Plus, people in CS majors see their heroes using Linux for work and want to emulate them. For us, it's just another tool to get the job done. For them, it's getting a jump start on how they imagine their lives will be in a few years.

My 18 yr old cousin drives a 1988 Volvo with holes in the floor and a missing second gear, and he's the cool one in his group. Because he has the most inconvenient car. That's cool in his group.

Apple, maybe, actually fights for your privacy, while Lenovo definitely exploits it for money.

Is there a secure enclave chip in Lenovo? Do you really trust their firmware?

Lenovo's malware scandal should certainly give you pause, but do note that it was only installed on its consumer laptops. Thinkpads were unaffected.

Moreover, Apple is far from the cleanly ethical choice you seem to think it is. It blocks or impedes the installation of software that it has unilaterally decided is against its interests + takes a ludicrous percentage of revenue via the App Store.

>Lenovo's malware scandal should certainly give you pause, but do note that it was only installed on its consumer laptops. Thinkpads were unaffected.

And would not matter if you were installing Linux per this thread...

Operating system doesn't matter much when the malware is in BIOS or firmware code.

The 'malware' used a Windows misfeature that allows the BIOS to supply an executable that is run during startup. So the malware was in the firmware but only runs on Windows.

>Operating system doesn't matter much when the malware is in BIOS or firmware code.

Are you insinuating that was the case here? Source please, I'd be interested to read about that.

Here are three news articles on what happened:




This should really only affect Windows systems as far as I know -- Windows is running an executable stored in the firmware at boot (a rather dubious feature, in my opinion, but it's intended as an anti-theft measure). Lenovo used that feature to try to circumvent removal of their crapware when someone reinstalls the OS.

For example SMM (system management mode) code is certainly loaded and executed under any operating system. You have to just trust the mainboard vendor.


I'm not insinuating anything. All I know is that Lenovo broke our collective trust before, thinking they can get away with it.

It gets copied from the firmware and runs pre OS. But the executable only runs on windows from what I can tell, so its technically its cross platform but it wont run on both platforms.

The executable runs on Windows because Windows loads it and runs it. The executable doesn't force itself on Windows.

> It blocks or impedes the installation of software that it has unilaterally decided is against its interests

What software are you thinking of? Apple maintains editorial control over what's in the App Store, but I can't think of any case where Apple has blocked software distributed outside the app store. The closest I can think of is the fact that the default settings of the computer require apps to be codesigned with an Apple certificate, but Apple doesn't maintain editorial control over who gets certificates, anyone with a developer account can get one (and of course you can even bypass this requirement with right click -> Open, or by changing the security settings on the computer).

> takes a ludicrous percentage of revenue via the App Store

The App Store is completely optional. All software that's published on it can be distributed outside of it. And I don't see how the percentage Apple takes from their completely optional App Store is even remotely connected with ethics.

> by changing the security settings on the computer

Sierra has disabled the "install from any source" option (although you can re-enable it with some terminal magic). How long until they disable the identified developers option too and leave a system like the iphone?

If the user cannot be trusted to make reasonable choices because he doesn't understand or want to read security popups, you have to make the choice for them. That's what Apple is doing and so is Microsoft. It's the only way to go if you want a secure system. And guess what: people appreciate a stable, secure system that makes it difficult to distribute malware. They appreciate it more than fear-mongering about theoretical issues.

Apple is never going to completely lock down the Mac because it can't be a development platform if it is locked down. Besides, why would they even want to?

> If the user cannot be trusted to make reasonable choices because he doesn't understand or want to read security popups, you have to make the choice for them.

I would bring up a libertarian argument to counter this view, but unfortunately I don't politically lean that way do it wouldn't be authentic. Somebody definitely should make that point, though.

Somebody definitely should make that point, though.

Like Richard Stallman?


> How long until they disable the identified developers option too and leave a system like the iphone?

Never. That would literally kill the platform. And nothing Apple has done has indicated that they even want to go this route. For example, against all expectations, they haven't been expanding the set of sandbox exemptions for apps, which means there are still large classes of apps that cannot be distributed on the App Store as they need functionality that isn't available in the sandbox.

Removing the "disable Gatekeeper" option from the UI does not indicate that Apple wants to force everybody on the App Store, it means that Apple wants everybody to codesign their apps. But, as you already mentioned, you can easily re-enable it from the CLI, and anyone who isn't capable of finding out how to do that is almost certainly not qualified to judge the security implications of making that change.

Actually they haven't. You can still install from any source by right clicking and choosing Open.

Also one of Sierra's new features is adding support for non-MAS apps to use iCloud features. If they were planning to freeze out non-MAS apps, why would they do that?

An Apple developer account costs $99/year.

The ethical problem on macOS is that Apple is imposing artificial technical barriers to push people to pay Apple what amounts to "protection" money.

On iOS, there is no reasonable way to bypass the app store for the vast majority of users.

The fact that you apparently don't understand the security implications here and the reasons why Apple is pushing for codesigning does not mean that Apple is putting up artificial barriers out of greed. That's a pretty ludicrous claim - do you really think the $99/year Apple gets from developers (who aren't already paying for iOS) even registers as a blip on their balance sheets?

The next time you see something you don't understand, your automatic reaction shouldn't be "those greedy bastards", it should be to actually educate yourself as to why it's being done. You may find that in a lot of cases there are actually really good reasons for it. And even if you decide that you don't agree with the reasons, that doesn't make it appropriate to accuse someone of being greedy or doing "evil" things (e.g. artificial technology barriers to extract money), and it's rather offensive for you to do that.

$99 every year is enough to be a barrier to entry for individuals but low enough to for malicious actors to obtain the ability to sign code.

It doesn't matter how much it costs. Even if it only costs $0.01 a year it would offer the same level of protection.

The only thing the fee does is limit the number of developer certificates to one per bank account.

I suspect it is you that doesn't understand the security implications -- if all it takes is $99/year to gain the ability to sign arbitrary code, then there is no security benefit whatsoever. Pure security theater.

Obviously, the $99/year isn't making Apple a lot of money. But what it is doing is creating a culture of acceptance around Apple-as-gatekeeper. The iOS app store is most certainly making Apple a non-trivial amount of money (yes I know its a small percentage of their total at the moment.)

> takes a ludicrous percentage of revenue via the App Store.

Do you know what it was before the Apple App store came along? You were handing over about 70-80%, and that was if you could convince a publisher to take your app, which was a very hard sell.

Then Apple came along offering EVERYONE the ability to publish apps, and at a very reasonable cost.

You could throw up a web site and an online store and sell directly for nothing close to that. If you used a full-featured sales service, you might pay 8%. If you put in the work to run your own store that works with a merchant account, you could get it down to maybe 3%.

The alternative to the App Store isn't selling through a huge publisher who takes a huge cut, it's selling directly and keeping almost all of the money.

No, then _the internet_ came along, offering EVERYONE the ability to publish apps, at an actually very reasonable cost.

Please provide one example of Apple blocking an application from running on MacOS. What's that, you don't have an example? Because this is false.

First off, I didn't say that Apple was blocking apps on MacOS. I mentioned it because the OP was disparaging Lenovo as a whole because of unethical behavior in one product line. As such, it's only fair to do the same for Apple.

Second, Apple most definitely does "impede" the installation of apps downloaded independently by requiring you to perform an obscure dance to execute them.

> "It blocks or impedes the installation of software ..."

You didn't?

You're aware that iPhones and iPads run software I assume.

You only have to to the "right click and Open" dance if app is unsigned.

Even for unsigned apps, I don't thing two clicks instead of one is all that obscure.

I don't see how that's a relevant point if you're going to do a fresh install anyways, unless you think lenovo is going to use something like vpro to spy on you without the OS.

They do. They've modified BIOS in the past to keep the spyware going.

You're funding spyware, even if it's not on your own computer.

if you're referring to the superfish scandal, that piece of software wasn't developed by lenovo, it was developed by a third party, who paid lenovo to install it on their windows images. so i don't see how buying lenovo is "funding spyware".

More like Lenovo is taxing spyware, if you're going to install something other than Windows. Superfish only loses money on that transaction.

Well, that makes me feel better. Let me rephrase: By buying Lenovo, you're supporting a company that exchanges the privacy and security of unwitting customers for profit.

It goes both ways. By buying Apple you're funding walled gardens and anti-choice design patterns, abusive labor practices including child labor and sweatshop conditions at their prime contractors, and collusion with NSA et al via PRISM.

This comment is just ridiculous. Apple does more than ANY manufacturer to improve working and supply chain conditions, anywhere, and most OEMs use the same facilities so blaming Apple specifically is doubly silly. How is the Mac even close to a walled garden or anti choice??? They allow Windows and any app you want to be installed.. What are you talking about? And please, do provide a source for your "collusion with NSA" accusation as every other statement and action by Apple shows the opposite.

Wow bud, sorry to have insulted your favourite company.

They did in fact participate in PRISM, sorry to get you so worked up.

Hmm, let's see: can't run OSX and variants thereof except on Apple hardware (despite acceptable to flawless hardware compatibility), can't build software for OSX and variants thereof except on a Mac (despite being perfectly workable), can't use a different app store on iOS...

Wasn't this very post about clear hardware incompatibilities with the latest laptops and linux? Despite appearing to be the same, it's clearly not, otherwise it would simply 'just work'.

The idea that a constrained team spent the time to intentionally 'break' some 'standard' functionality to prohibit linux from working is laughable as well.

I'm not arguing a defense of Apple here. Honest question: Are there differences between computer manufacturers in these regards that you're aware of?

Err, Apple was a willing participant in the NSA's PRISM program.

Someone adding a companies name to a slide is not proof of being a willing participant in anything.

Alright, why don't you tell me all the proof you have that Apple was not a participant in the programme?

The NSA talks about them in internal documents, that they have absolutely zero incentive to lie on, that Apple is a part of PRISM. Why would the NSA lie about that on an internal document.

Don't you think there would be documents saying "We tried to get Apple to cooperate, but they didn't. Until they do, these are the steps, techniques, and hacks we will use against their technology." I don't remember seeing any such documents.

My guess is most of the companies (Yahoo excluded) on the PRISM slide were not complicit with the PRISM or the NSA. More likely, they were pwned by the NSA without their knowing.

As much as I dislike Apple, I actually really doubt they were willing.

I get your sentiment for the new model. I still run a 15" MBP from mid 13 and couldn't be happier with running Debian on it. Friends had multiple new machines (also Lenovo) in the same time. Some of them actually broke down. All of them have a very dim screen, speakers that I cannot hear and microphones that cannot record. And then there's the touch pad, ... The list goes on.

I'm no Apple fan boy, but those Lenovos are not IBM Thinkpads anymore.

>I'm no Apple fan boy, but those Lenovos are not IBM Thinkpads anymore.

Are you saying the quality is down? I can't agree with that, I have kept buying Thinkpads and my X1 Carbon (2nd gen) is fantastic.

I'm with you there. I'm tired of the assumption that quality has decreased because of a change of branding, possibly enhanced because the new owner is Chinese. My ThinkPad from early 2015 is better built than the older ThinkPads I have used, especially considering how thin and light it is. This shouldn't be surprising because the quality of materials has improved to make for lighter and more durable bodies.

The build quality is fine. I like Lenovos, but I can't buy them anymore...it's more the malware that bothers me. And not so much the malware, but the fact that the company was caught twice doing it, once being a BIOS malware that kept reinstalling itself if removed.

That shows fairly malicious intent on behalf of Lenovo. They just can't be trusted, at least not after a few years with a clean record.

$2800 is nothing to a very significant portion of American developers. No, I am not one of them.

Ehh, I'm one of those people, and it's a lot to me. I've been having trouble pulling the trigger on a new $2K laptop. I'm generally pretty frugal though.

Dual booting maybe?

Though I do agree that there are better laptops for cheaper.

Sure, a Honda will get you there... but sometimes people would rather have the BMW anyway.

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