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Apple Doubles the Price of RAM Upgrade on Entry-Level 13-Inch MacBook Pro (macrumors.com)
135 points by jrwan 35 days ago | hide | past | favorite | 189 comments

For comparison:

Lenovo charges $149 (regularly $170) for the same upgrade in the X1

Microsoft charges $200 for the same upgrade in the Surface Pro 7

It sucks that they raised the price (and I'd love to hear the story behind it), but it's on par with everyone else.

Yeah, I was going to say these sorts of price hikes are like a canary in a coal mine for the industry.

Yet the demand must be way down, I'd guess demand could be down at least 25% just based on the economy and people buying less stuff, following through to phones and computers.

I realize I'm responding to speculation with anecdotal evidence, but I've seen lots of mentions of people having issues acquiring PC parts and full laptops. A lot of workplaces suddenly needed to purchase a lot of laptops for remote workers. A lot of parents needed to purchase computers for their children who now need to do school remote. A lot of gamers seem to have decided that they might as well build a new PC if they're going to be stuck at home.

> Yet the demand must be way down

How do you figure? A large % of the population is now work from home and seeking to equip their home offices.

We're in the process of moving our entire data center into the cloud before the end of July. I'm anticipating an announcement that our office will not be reopening and that we're all now remote staff.

I have to schedule an appointment to go into the office to retrieve my personal belongings from my desk as well as any equipment I'd like for my home office.

I see conflicting things, increases in work from home for knowledge workers and others, yet vast decrease in spending for people that lost jobs and can't buy a new car, phone, computer, ipad, etc.

Demand for cars and other big price things is down.

If anything many people are investing in new computers, or cameras or video games than ever before.

At least in my country, lockdown is just starting and I got a new laptop last week.

As an "early adopter", I bought the Surface Pro 3, Surface 3 LTE, Surface Pro 4, Surface Book, and Surface Book 2, and have tried all of them extensively.

The Surface line is Microsoft's best chance at their own hardware, and I kept buying Surface after Surface, hoping it would get better. Unfortunately, they have all had build quality issues, hardware problems, or just some kind of strangeness that pushed me over the edge to buy an iPad Pro, and when that happened, I was dumbstruck how Apple entered the market much later than Microsoft and yet Apple still nailed the handwriting feel much better. Windows 10 is a real operating system, which is great and makes the Surface feel like a real computer, but the pen quality differences are too great to ignore, and the notetaking PDF apps for iOS are in a different league (Goodnotes 5, Notability). OneNote is not as good.

Have you tried the reMarkable tablet?

If you have, how does it compare with the iPad Pro?

The Surface Pro 7 upgrade is DDR4, the X1 and Apple are DDR3.

And for even more relevant comparison.

MacBook Pro 2019, MacBook Air 2020, and and previous MacBook has always charged $200 for 16GB or 512GB upgrade.

And the original $100 dollar upgrade was very non-Apple.

Which makes me think it was an error from their part and they decide to fix it at start of the month due to whatever accounting / operation reason.

My question to Apple (and others) would be:

Why is in 2020 a "Pro" laptop coming with only 8 GB of RAM?

Apple's Sales Distortion Field. offer a must-have device without something it clearly should have, only to unveil that feature later as a new Apple perfection. It goes all the way back to copy and paste on the iPhone.

Because the “Pro” thing has been marketing bullshit for at least 5 years.

For software development even 16GB is not enough these days. But for many other tasks 8GB is OK. iPad Pro max memory is 6GB and with right applications it is rather good at video and graphical editing.

8GB of LPDDR3 costs about $30 retail. So they went from a 330% markup to a 660% markup. Nice.

Pretty hilarious, 32gb sodimms are only 150 GBP in the UK, Apple charging 200 for 16. Similarly, 2TB disk for 800 GBP, open market it's 219.

Some PC laptop vendor could do a whole TV campaign based around the idea of turtle-necked folk setting fire to money and smiling, because it makes them feel better, and that's really all that matters[.. right?]

Please let me know where I can buy an 8GB 2133Mhz LPDDR3 module for $30, because that's a very very good price.

Wouldn't LPDDR be more expensive for the retail customer because it is not used that often? Most of the Wintel laptops have standardized on regular DDR4 SODIMMs and it looks like Macs use LP variants, where Apple is surely getting volume discounts.

You can find one on Newegg for $35

The only LPDDR3 modules on newegg is aftermarket ram for iMacs, of which an 8GB stick is $90 for a lower speed.

Partly in their defense, the RAM is soldered to the board.

This limits the spaces available to RAM so they're probably swapping out higher density (i.e. more expensive) chips. They also can't just pull a Macbook off the shelf, slap an extra DIMM in it, box it up, and ship it.

It's their own fault but... yeah.

I've never seen LPDDR3 sold retail, how does it work?

Yeah, on those rare spec chips that are not on the retail market, Apple probably have to place custom order to the memory chip manufacturers for a low-yield production, which is definitely causing the unit pricing to be much higher than the mass produced memory chips. Economy of scale. (even if Apple is still a big customer, it's still a small order to make if no other computer makers use that spec of the chips)

>Apple probably have to place custom order to the memory chip manufacturers for a low-yield production

Except LPDDR3 is not a custom low yield part since they're present in phones, game consoles, SSDs, cameras, VR headsets, etc. They're as off the shelf as they get.

LPDDR3 is not sold on dimms.

I see some on newegg, but not much selection: https://www.newegg.com/p/2E2-003M-000G6?Description=lpddr3&c...

Those are for iMacs, and cost $719.99

It is sold on DIMMs but laptops generally do not have DIMM slots these days.

False, most laptops do have dimm slots. From gaming laptops to XPS and ThinkPads.

Only Macs and the PC ultra portables tend to forgo them.

Surely gaming laptops are a small percentage of laptops sold. I’ve seen more people with Chromebooks than gaming laptops.

Is it easy to install your own RAM in MacBooks these days? I used to do it all the time 20 years ago and I know times have changed.

The RAM has been soldered onto the logic boards for quite a while now. Probably approaching 10 years for the first models without removable RAM.

impossible. It's soldered on the mainboard.

Never say never, sometimes someone with a hot-air workstation could swap chips for denser ones. Never an easy job.

Normal DIMM's have a SPD flash chip soldered to the board which identifies the ram/timing parameters for the firmware/OS. At least on phones, to save a penny they forgo this and frequently the RAM capacity is tied to the model via hardcoded tables in the firmware. It wouldn't surprise me if at least on some of these "laptop" devices with soldered on ram something similar isn't being done.

So, at a minimum your flashing new ram parms to a SPD, or hacking the device model number somewhere. AKA, even with a rework station its likely a lot more than just swapping the chips, if there is sufficient PC/etc linage you might be able to swap the SPD chip as well, otherwise its going to be more than a mechanical heat it up, clean the pads, and drop/heat the new chip.

A lot of Apple hardware is locked down nowadays via hardware identifiers and the T2 security chip; it’s likely the RAM modules are not replaceable by the user even if you had the skill to solder a BGA.

Sure. But I don't consider this be a "user installing their own RAM". That's more of a professional doing a delicate operation.

no Ram or Storage upgrades on Macbooks for many years now.

230% to markup to 560% markup.

This is why it makes more sense to say "3.3x vs 6.6x more expensive". It's better aligned with how people actually think.

Also see benchmarking - 'times as fast' vs 'times faster' vs 'times slower' etc etc etc eternally confusing.

What? I have never seen that as a problem, and I've probably consumed thousands of benchmarking articles over the years. Benchmarks either use the (in my pov stupid) "X percentage units faster" or x faster/slower method. The latter is obvious, the former is not.

As to 'times as fast' vs 'times faster' vs 'times slower': I don't see how there could be any confusion.

> What? I have never seen that as a problem, and I've probably consumed thousands of benchmarking articles over the years.

Possibly you gloss over the words as you're used to them, but don't stop to think what each paper really means? I didn't either until one day I stopped and did.

I wrote a blog post about this, but unfortunately never got around to posting it because I think it came across as rather pedantic. I surveyed the language used to express speedup in systems papers using benchmarking in top conferences and produced this table:


Each row is a different way to talk about the same thing, then the English way to say it, then each column is what this looks like for a different example value, then the actual mathematical expression.

Just to emphasise this - each column is the same empirical result, and then each row in the column is a different way to express that same result, that I've seen in a paper.

> The latter is obvious, the former is not.

I'm afraid it isn't as obvious to everyone, and other people may think it's obviously something different to you. You'll notice that some English phrases can be interpreted in multiple reasonable ways. Is running in half the time '1 times faster' or '2 times faster'? You'll see both in the wild.

> As to 'times as fast' vs 'times faster' vs 'times slower': I don't see how there could be any confusion.

Is '2 times as fast' the same as '2 times faster'? Some papers think so, others not.

Have you read the root comment of this thread... that's an example of real-world confusion right there! Just with markup not speedup. It's the same maths and the same confusion.

Okay. I see.

Unsolicited coaching tip: don't spend many cycles on stuff like this at work.

Because... Chrome.

Not that I agree with Apple’s pricing, but you have to assume this isn’t adding an extra 8GB, but changing the existing packages out for ones with double the density. That presumably is more expensive than just adding the same amount again of the lower-capacity packages.

This isn't a phone, most likely the motherboard has free solder pads for extra RAM chips.

I was looking at that teardown myself to see whether this was the case, and I don't think it's enough information to say -- that's a teardown of the model with 16GB of RAM, so it's not impossible that the 8GB model might leave some of those areas empty rather than switching to lower density chips.

It's also possible that it varies depending on DRAM prices. You might have models with 8GB populated single sided and others double side. Same goes for the 16GB models.

I have been a faithful Apple/macOS since 2002. Always very happy and proud.

I have now switched to Windows on my Macbook Pro and I'm liking it. It's not as polished as macOS still, but I think (and hope) it's getting there. I don't think I'll ever buy another Apple machine. Windows has turned around since those times, I recommend you give it a try if you're thinking about it or you're unhappy with how Apple has become nowadays.

I almost feel free to choose whatever machine I want next and not pay a hefty price for it. Or pay it, if I want to, but it will be my choice, not imposed.

> It's not as polished as macOS still

But isn't this the most important thing?

Yes this RAM is expensive... but it's just a few hundred dollars for something I use every day for all my income and most of my hobbies and the alternative is something hobbled.

Just like a Toyota Corolla isn't as polished as a Mercedes S class but ultimately they get the same job done.

Whether the polish is worth the significant premium is up to each individual buyer.

> and the alternative is something hobbled.

Is the difference between a Toyota and a Mercedes one of being "hobbled"?

Nope because the difference between these OS is also not hobble IMHO. But I get it since HN is a very pro Mac bubble. In Europe Macs are a rare sight due to the cost mostly so I learned to get my work done with Linux and Windows. Would the extra price for OSX hardware make me more productive? Probably not but each to his own.

HN is not a “pro Mac bubble”. It’s actually quite the opposite; Every time sometime about Macs or macOS is posted, the comments are always about how they’ve “finally dropped the ball” and are failing. On articles about the bemoaned butterfly keyboards, comments saying they like them are downvoted.

Plus, Macs are far from a rare sight in 'Europe'...

It is very very important, but I used "polished" and "as polished as". "Not polished" doesn't mean it's not stable, or everything breaks. It means there are several small annoyances or some things that could be improved. And it is highly polished compared with how I remember it. It's just not on par with what macOS was a few years ago, which I definitely think it's not nowadays.

Also, I only recommend that people TRY it, not make the jump.

A single 8gb stick of ddr4 is ~$30-$40 on Amazon right now.

A single stick of ddr3 is $20-30.

Apple is charging $200 for that same stick of RAM.

It likely costs them $10 or less since they buy in bulk.

Their UI isn't work paying them a 10x margin. That's fucking ridiculous.

It doesn't matter what the margin is, to me.

All I care about is is it worth it to pay $200 more for a MacBook with 16 GB rather than 8 GB. Yes it is to me, because I can get that money back and more from the value it gives me.

I don't care how much you can buy the RAM for elsewhere, because what can I do with that? It's not of any use to me when it's not inside a MacBook, is it? It's irrelevant.

Fair enough.

Apple doesn't use "sticks" of RAM. There are other problems with your comment as well, but let's just start there.

> non-standard proprietary nonsense

Right, forgot this is Apple we're talking about

Then charge for the software, not the RAM?

I’m thinking it’s a psychological thing: when one buys software, they tend to feel entitled to do what they want with that software, such as installing it wherever they want. But when one buys hardware, they tend to feel entitled to do what they want with that hardware, such as installing whatever they want. I’m reminded of open source software where criticisms of said software are usually met with, “Well, it’s open source. Just fix it yourself.”

Besides, why shouldn’t they charge for a RAM upgrade? It costs them money to add more (RAM chips aren’t cheap), so they pass that cost on to the customer with a markup that the customer is willing to pay.

Why should they?

Just out of respect for the customer. Of course this is a common pricing tactic in a lot of markets (cheap printer, expensive ink), but it always feels disrespectful.

I'd be fine with just an "Apple tax" added on top of the bill. The average consumer might not have the same reaction, so maybe this is the only way of adding the tax.

> I'd be fine with just an "Apple tax" added on top of the bill.

I can't understand this point of view - why do you care how the person you're buying from is breaking down their charges?

If you're a rational person all that should matter to you is are you getting the value that you want from the transaction. If you are and you can't get better value elsewhere then go for it. How the price came to be determined is completely irrelevant. Either it works for you or it doesn't.

Exactly. For hobby I’ll tinker with Linux. It doesn’t matter if there’s weird bugs and quarks, if I have time I’ll try and figure out what’s happening.

For my money maker I need it to work reliably 100% of the time. I don’t want to ever tinker with drivers. I just want it to work in a polished way.

In my (admittedly anecdotal) experience, I lose about a day a year to weird Linux quirks, and I run an extremely non-standard setup that has accumulated over the course of the last ~20 years. Back when I was using a Mac full-time, (~2010ish), I lost much more than that to things not working the way I needed them to. While I'll freely admit that a large part of this is that I have an unusually in-depth knowledge of how Linux works, my knowledge from 20 years ago is still useful, whereas it felt like every OSX update made a big chunk of my knowledge of the internals obsolete. I barely recognize a modern OSX system.

This is exactly it. My 2015 MacBook Pro with an upgraded 2TB SSD has the best balanced software engineer setup I can ask for between customizability and bells & whistles. Every time I have tried to use Linux, I could never find a way to find the very smooth, easy, performant way to clear Terminal buffer with no scrollback (CMD+K). The best I have seen is some kind of reset command bound to a key.

Windows is pure garbage and the only time I ever touch it is in a VM running on my MacBook, and even then I strictly require it to be Enterprise version so that I never have to deal with the adware bloat or forced updates. On regular Windows 10, you can disable updates, but never permanently. It always comes back like a specter.

My MacBook has never forced me to restart or install an update. The UI for updates can get a little annoying, but there are Terminal tricks to disable it, and I still have choice.

The shell library is not as good on Windows. I cannot muster the motivation to learn PowerShell.

I never feel safe installing anything on Windows. What I mean is I never understand what is actually changing on my computer if something installs on Windows. On a MacBook, I can drag and drop to Applications. If I need to uninstall it, I delete it. It's that simple. For anything that forces me to install via pkg file, I am happy that most of the time, homebrew cask has a formula for it, so uninstallation is handled for me cleanly.

The only good thing I can think of for Windows is that GUI automation is much better due to AutoHotKey. MacOS GUI automation is basically deprecated at this point (AppleScript) on most apps, so you are forced to find third-party options.

AirDrop between my iPad Pro and MacBook is so fast, it allows me to copy my iPad's handwritten notes into a pdf in an instant.

One good thing I can say for Windows is backwards compatibility for compiled apps. Most open source projects I see with a MacOS binary have a high chance of not working relative to Windows. On Windows, if I see a compiled binary, I already know it will probably work.

The OS is what keeps me to my MacBook, and if no other competitor can produce the equivalent experience, I can't move away.

Look at all the software engineers in the Bay Area, and you will see waves upon waves of MacBooks. This "standardization" of hardware has also somewhat reduced the instances of coworkers using the excuse of "Oh it works on my computer, must be a hardware issue." If both of us are using MacBooks, I know it's a software issue, and so it's something we can probably figure out and fix.

I'm desperate to move away from the dark, abuse direction Apple is taking macOS, and I love the software so-much-so that I made a desktop Hackintosh, but getting it to run was more work than getting hardware to work on Linux (still was worth it). I only wonder when the final time will come where Hackintosh doesn't work and my 2015 MacBook Pro stops working. 2015 MBP was the last year for selling MBPs with removable storage. 2015 MBP will be remembered as the best laptop for its replaceable SSD and laptop keyboard.

> Windows is pure garbage

Yes... pure garbage. Very objective vision.

> On a MacBook, I can drag and drop to Applications. If I need to uninstall it, I delete it. It's that simple.

This is a lie. Applications in macOS save files outside of Applications, sometime you don't know where, and you need other apps if you want to completely delete the data. There are also installers for macOS and portable apps for Windows (where you put it where you want, and to uninstall it just delete it). There are also package managers like homebrew for windows (chocolatey for example) but all of these are not made or endorsed by Apple or Microsoft.

> AirDrop between my iPad Pro and MacBook is so fast

It's fast when it works and many many time it doesn't at first, you need to fiddle around with it. And if any excuse is somethin like "it works with newer machines" they're not valid.


With this, I don't want to convince you to switch, but I think Windows can be valid for many people that are not considering it right now, as I wasn't. And it is only getting better, whereas you can't really say the same for macOS.

MacOS Is still much cleaner though. 99% of apps only put some config files in my ~/Library folder (and homebrew can easily remove them all with the 'zap' command). On Windows, I always don't understand what the heck happened when I installed a program and the whole registry thing is just garbage. The other day I uninstalled "Everything" but it was still showing up among "start-up item". I had to go hunting in the registry to make it disappear.

I try to use Scoop whenever I can exactly for this reason: I want to use portable apps every time it's possible, they're just cleaner

Take my above post with a grain of salt, as I don't think I need to tell you that I was not going for an objective viewpoint, by any stretch of the imagination.

I just wanted to explain to anyone who was wondering why people would be willing to pay $200 for more RAM unnecessarily. It is be because we are trapped in macOS and there is no good alternative (again, an opinion, not objective). Many people have commented confusion on why we subject ourselves to pricing like this.

Windows UI and Linux Subsystem is a whole other set of things which I disagree with, but I don't want to get into it. All I want to say is that I grew up with Windows, I used it for decades, and it took leaving it for me to realize how much more fun software development could be without Windows.

For gaming purposes, I can be found using Windows, no problem. Either way, this is a very subjective discussion that has been beaten to death by different sides over the decades, so we should temper our expectations on whatever productive discussions can be had over such topics, and the best I can say is that I am happy that we, as users, ultimately have freedom to choose, rather than be forced into a monopoly.

I personally think Linux (smartphone, desktop, laptop) has the biggest delta and promise as of recent, so we should all cross our fingers and hope for the best for an open-source, generally usable OS for everyone.

On this I agree with you :)

CTRL+L clears terminal in all Ubuntu versions I have used (16.04+) and works out of the box.

Didn't use Mac for some time. Is CMD+K behavior different in some way?

Yes, CTRL+L clears the terminal, but if I scroll up with my mouse, it returns lines that were cleared, making it difficult to distinguish between the two points. On Ubuntu, the closest I have come to macOS's CMD+K is binding a key to either "reset" or "tput", but those have some kind of delay or still add one extra line at the top. On macOS, it's instant, with no artifacts.

C-l is form feed, it makes sense it'd leave everything else visible when you scroll up because it doesn't clear anything, it's effect is that of a page break.

I did this 4 years ago, with a move to Linux after well over 20 years of being a diehard Mac Fanboy. What did it for me was the fact that Apple hardware cannot be fixed except by Apple. I used to take apart Powerbook Duos, which were a huge pain and not made to be easy to take apart, but at least, Apple didn't actively work against you taking it apart.... LIke the Power Mac 8500, it was a really tight, difficult to get into design, but you could still do it.... Now, you open an Imac and it's broken by opening it. Permanently. On the motherboard.

Which model iMac breaks the motherboard by opening?

mine was a 2013. You pull the monitor forward and it breaks the cable mount that connects it to the motherboard . The tollerance diference between opening it and breaking it is like 1 millimeter, i swear. It is unopenable without a special tool.

Sure, if you don’t avail yourself of freely available disassembly guides before opening your iMac, you’ll probably break it. Bad Apple.

Had to move some of my workflow to windows too just because Apple's GPUs are so weak. Honestly been a less bumpy transition than I expected as someone who hasn't run windows since Win 2000.

It's not perfect but here's the thing, Microsoft are iterating on it with two major versions a year and they're fixing the old bad parts of it bit by bit while Apple ignores Mac OS in favor of pushing iPads as the future.

And yet arguably it's not even more polished, it's just got more visual effects.

For a software developer like me, who has to jump through so many hoops in order to do any work, or just flat out can't run some compilers that are windows only, this is different.

And as far as usability is concerned, I think Apple lost their, "it just works" values years back. Nowadays it's just a case of whichever OS you use first is the one you're used to

I do think it is more polished in many ways, but Windows is improving with each release, macOS is not.

In no way am I arguing Apple is right here, but could this have anything to do with a possible shortage in RAM due to supplychain/COVID-19?

Wow. After >= 5 years of having a 8GB base model and expensive upgrades to 16GB (which are imho totally necessary today) i thought they finally improved a bit with the 2020 model by at least reducing the upgrade cost. Seems like they are back to 2015 again.

Well I guess they were right. They do have a lot of courage

Probably too many people went for base + 16gb. There's not too big of a difference between base 8th gen and upgraded 10th gen except for graphics.

Does that mean the new 2020 Macbook Pro I bought with 16GB just became $100 more valuable?

The price increase is actually a price correction, Apple told. The price to upgrade RAM from 8GB to 16GB is $200 on other Macs, including the iMac and MacBook Air, and this change is meant to keep the fee consistent. Apple says it will honor the earlier pricing for those who purchased the cheaper RAM upgrade before the price change went into effect.

The 13-inch MacBook Pro was refreshed last month. Though the entry-level design remains largely unchanged, it now includes Apple’s Magic Keyboard, which replaces the maligned butterfly keys found on previous MacBook models. i also purchase a used mackbook pro 15 inch https://www.asan.com.pk/ad/79849/macbook-pro-15-inch-early-2... 4gb ram, with installed graphic card AMD Radeon HD 6490M 256 MB, 2 GHz Intel Core i7

I don't really understand who's buying the two-port 13" MBP with its 8th generation CPU over the MBA or the four-port MBP, both with 10th gen CPUs. Now I really don't understand it. Maybe Apple is trying to guide people toward one of those other two models. You're at $1500 by the time you've upgrade it to 16GB. The four-port which comes with 16GB starts at $1800, but gets you a current generation CPU which is faster (2.0 Ghz vs 1.4 Ghz), has double the CPU, double the Thunderbolt ports, and double the memory. Seems like a no-brainer for $300 more.

I personally just purchased a maxed-out MBA. I went with the MBA because I prefer the form-factor and don't want the touch bar. If I'd been willing to accept those, I would've gone with the four-port MBP. At no point did the two-port MBP make any sense to me.

Edit: it's $200 to upgrade the RAM in the MBA as well. I wonder why the MBP was only $100 in the first place.

Huh? The 13" MBP has 4 ports, not 2. And you can buy it with the 2.0GHz quad-core 10th-generation Intel Core i5 processor as an option if that matters to you.

The top option on a MBA is a 1.1GHz quad-core 10th-generation Intel Core i5 processor.

There are two versions of the 13".

Three versions. My point is that you can get the 13" with a 10th gen CPU. I know because I ordered one like a week ago.

There are only two current versions[1] of the 13" MBP:

1. "MacBook Pro (13-inch, 2020, Two Thunderbolt 3 ports)"

2. "MacBook Pro (13-inch, 2020, Four Thunderbolt 3 ports)"

The two-port version comes only with the 8th gen CPU[2] and the four-port only with the 10th gen[3]. So you ordered the four-port version. That's not the model I was commenting about, nor is it the model this article is about.

1. https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT201300

2. https://support.apple.com/kb/SP818

3. https://support.apple.com/kb/SP819

This was your point:

"Huh? The 13" MBP has 4 ports, not 2."

Could you please explain why you would choose an Apple anything over a much more reasonably priced and specwise better PC? Not trying to be a dick, I'm a sysadmin genuinely trying to wrap my head around it.

macOS, and great hardware.

I love the MacBook touchpad, no other laptop really compares in that regard. The screen is also amazing on the MacBook Pro.

I don't like Windows, and Linux is hard to get completely stable on a laptop (battery life, standby, webcam, touchpad gestures, etc.). Thus, macOS is the best alternative for me.

Not everything is about price to performance ratios for me. It's about the overall experience I have when interacting with the device. Plus, the 15" MacBook pro I have is more than powerful enough.

I agree with all of the above, but would also like to add the ecosystem to your list. With my iPhone, iPad, and MacBook Pro I get some really nice integration of Keychain, Handoff, Continuity, etc.

Yeah, personally I use an Android phone so that stuff doesn't apply to me but it's definitely a big part of the value prop for a lot of people as well.

Apple ecosystem is nice. Everything just works, or at least that's been my experience.

Except macOS Catalina when it hits WDT panics.

Specs aren't everything, it's a holistic thing. So long as the specs are good enough to do the work you need, things like the overall experience can take priority.

One of the standard things to mention in this area is that Macbook trackpads are nice. This doesn't show up in a spec comparison, but if you get used to having a really good trackpad then you might not want to switch to a laptop where the experience is worse. (I've heard positive things about the XPS and Surface trackpads -- not that they're better, but that they're maybe in the same hardware ballpark, with software just not being quite as polished.)

It best suits my needs and taste. I wrote a bit more why here:


10:16 screen, perfect HiDPI scaling.

By now this amounts to stating that Luis Vuitton doubles the price of the shiny lacquer upgrade on its entry range of handbags, i.e. more or less irrelevant since there is no direct relation between the cost and the imagined value of the object. Some will pay since to them the imagined value of the product justifies the price, others won't since they consider some factors to be less important, others to be more important in deciding the imagined value. Those who will pay the price tend to defend the rationale behind the price increase while those won't tend to do the opposite, i.e. the decision does not much to move the dividing line between those who are willing to pay and those who are not since those who value the brand will continue to do so.

> there is no direct relation between the cost and the imagined value of the object

Try looking for an equivalent to this:

Apple MacBook Pro 16" silber, Core i7-9750H, 32GB RAM, 1TB SSD, Radeon Pro 5500M 8GB, 3500€

Similarly specced models are either not available at all or be priced around 3000€ (eg HP ZBook Studio G5). So yes the MBP will cost a little more, but not outrageously so, and some of it can be explained by better components.

The fact that RAM cannot be upgraded, even on the 16" MBP, will keep me away from buying another Mac laptop. It is so nice just not having to worry about whether or not I have enough when I buy the machine.

I do wonder why so many manufacturers are moving away from user-upgradable RAM. Perhaps the failure rate is lower or it is easier from a manufacturing standpoint. It can't all just be to save space or to make more money by selling marked up RAM, can it?

Size, cost, and integration.

Size: SODIMM slots are huge. That space can be much more efficiently utilized when put onto the main circuit board. This potentially leaves more space for the battery, or making the laptop thinner/more aesthetic.

Cost: Supply chain optimizations drive down cost. The DDR chips they are using are likely similar to the ones they use in other hardware (think phones). This increases total volume, and decreases cost. Also chips aren't a finished good, so they are saving on the cost incurred in making RAM DIMMs in the first place.

Integration: They only have to make sure their hardware, firmware, and software works with the RAM they supply. Decreases the testing burden. No lookup tables to see what is compatible, and no guessing when you buy RAM that causes the BIOS to panic. It just works, and is highly optimized for the use case.

When the new Macbook's came out, I did think they were priced a bit too reasonably. Apple must have thought so too...

Anyone know if this soldered Mac RAM upgrade receipe was genuine and if it's become harder since? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CTsEJ49LLsQ&feature=youtu.be

I’m still running a 2014 MacBook Air. It’s fast enough, but I do want a more powerful machine for video editing. Is there a Windows based machine that’s likely to still feel as new and solid after 6+ years as an aluminum bodied MacBook?

Unlikely, but how much of you wanting to keep a machine for 6 years is BECAUSE it's so expensive?

I would say it depends on one's usage. My daily driver is a late 2013 MBP 15" and the performance is more than enough for what I do (mostly sysadmin / light dev for work and Lightroom / Photoshop for my own time).

As other comments have pointed out, a comparably specced PC is not that much cheaper and would be much more of a hassle.

During those six and a half years I knew I could count on this machine and I never had any annoyances with it. If I had gotten a PC which was unlikely to last as long, I would have had to change it at least once, which means going through a period of not quite broken but not quite hassle-free either. And two PCs with the specs of my MBP would have cost more. I'm also OK with paying a premium to not have to deal with those issues (noise, screen sometimes not working, ports failing, keyboards dying, etc — all issues I've had with "pro-level" computers, mostly HP).

There's also the fact that at the time a similar PC was extremely rare (maybe the X1?). I'm talking about a computer with thunderbolt, high resolution display, the ability to run a 4K display at 60Hz, fast SSD. Granted, all those are much more common today.

It was less than $2K.

I'll refer you to the other thread trending today about a blogger who upgraded from the Macbook Air I have to a new Macbook Pro and doesn't like it.

I also have Dell and HP equipment, and most of them have weird driver issues with the basic hardware after about 2 years. I don't want to live like that... I currently have an i7 Dell laptop that randomly disables the keyboard based on which WiFi network it's connected to. The other Dell I have spent its first two years of life re-installing the wrong SSD driver with every Windows update (when it crashed, I'd have to boot into safe mode and re-install the correct SSD driver that I kept on a thumb drive).

So, yeah: Dell is out. Looking at other brands, and desktops.

For video editing, why not use a desktop? Hidden behind the monitor who cares what it looks like.

Seriously. Even dropping $2k on a 16" MBP is going to be a waste compared to a desktop.

Macbooks are pretty well known to have very little deck flex and general rigidity. Probably the closest you are going to get are Microsoft Surface Books but then the problem is the trackpad won't be as good at all.

As long as it has a Solid State Drive it will feel like new for many years

A lot of manufacturers offer aluminum bodied laptops, though I'm kinda biased towards the feel of HP laptops

I think Lenovo has the best chassis build quality but still doesn’t quite compare to Apple

I have a working, unblemished thinkpad X61 and I’ve never seen a metal MacBook that hasn’t been dropped and dented. Dropping a MacBook on its corner basically ruins it. Plastic is the right material for a laptop.

I don't know about that. My old MacBook Pro (non-retina unibody) was dropped on a corner and the most annoying consequence was that in order to change the SSD I would have to angle it just right.

My current 2013 model does have its share of scratches and two small dents but it works as well as 6 years ago. I'd much rather have a dented metal case that stays together than a cracked plastic one.

The only cracked laptop I ever had was the titanium powerbook. Dropping a macbook on its corner tends to dent it in such a way that the lid can't completely close, which sucks a lot.

Stop pushing me away Apple.

Dammit, that's always the main upgrade I'd recommend to everyone.

I think I had previously noticed it was already $200 to go from 8 to 16 on entry level new MacBook Air -- at any rate, it is now too.

I agree, though with ultra high speed NVMe SSDs, not having enough RAM isn’t the performance penalty it used to be for casual computer use.

The danger now without enough memory is that you're using the SSD for swap. I've seen web browsers eat 16GB of memory by themselves. If you only have 8GB, it might not be that slow anymore, but then you're going to wear out your SSD.

Is that a realistic concern for typical usage patterns?

Weird, I'd think you'd want 16GB at least to make it last.

I've actually upgraded my desktop to 64GB when I had the need (data analysis and compilers).

They're probably selling more 8th gen models with 16GB of RAM than 10th gen models and they don't like it, as simple as that

Hopefully you can do your RAM upgrade by yourself. In the end it's a "Pro" machine no ?

> Hopefully you can do your RAM upgrade by yourself.

No unfortunately this isn't a user-replaceable part in most modern MacBooks.

> In the end it's a "Pro" machine no ?

Not sure what that has to do with it? Most professionals don't want to be changing their RAM.

I think it's just that most professionals have given up expecting to be able to change their RAM.

Most professionals aren't using Apple in the first place. The world runs on Windows desktop PCs, and business-oriented models from major vendors like HP are really easy to work on: can replace RAM, HDD or power supply in a minute or two and without any tools. Instruction manuals are simple, clear and well illustrated. if you can tie shoelaces, you can replace RAM.

> Most professionals aren't using Apple in the first place.

Depends on the field and location.

I work in an ad agency with 200 people. Every single professional has a Mac. Basically creative fields prefer macs.


Unscrewing a cover and popping up some ram is not a “professional” task. It’s something anyone with passing familiarity could achieve.

Shove your ram in some obscure place so the owner can’t access it, now you need a professional if simply to offset the risk something goes wrong while you’re fiddling.

User serviceable parts are just not an Apple priority.

This is not a technique for replacing RAM on Apple’s current computers.

Does Apple let you upgrade anything in their laptops anymore?

I thought everything was soldered to the main board for years now.

The last partially upgradable machines were the 2015 Macbook Pros and Airs. You could upgrade the nvme ssd.


Back when you could upgrade the RAM yourself, everyone did just that. I bought a Mac Mini with 2 GB in 2011 and maxed it out to 8 for what felt like pocket change. Apparently, Apple didn't quite like people bypassing its ridiculous markups altogether.

I had iMac in ~2009 had to do virtualisation work, so tried to upgrade RAM, ordered a few RAMs and none of them worked, iMac refused to boot. Gave up on this, never used Apple products again... too much hassle and too much lockdown from manufacturer.

I think you can still do that with the current Mac Mini although it is a fiddly job.

ibook g4 could do it with your fingernails.

Yes but it weighed twice as much as the current model.

I'd be okay with a 2 kg laptop if that would mean I could upgrade most of its components.

Judging by what people buy it seems you are in a minority.

Well, this exact problem is more apparent in smartphone market: there are literally no options with screen smaller than about 5.5". So yes of course people buy whatever crap market has to offer because the only other option is not buying at all.

People complain about the new thinner macbooks all the time. The keyboard is atrocious, the touchbar, the dongles... Seems to me they would've totally bought a modernized 2015 model if it existed.

People complain, I don't think it means much. If you want to know what is really going on then look at the sales figures. Apple's market share of desktops and laptops has been broadly consistent for a long time.

No. "Pro" to Apple means expensive and showy, not upgradeable.

Can we be done with this “real professionals” meme? It’s been beating a dead horse for years and at this point it’s starting to sound like trolling.

Have you seen the motherboard of a recent MacBook/Pro? They’re tiny. Having user replaceable RAM would make them far larger which would require compromises in other areas. Judging by the popularity of MacBooks, people don’t want those compromises.

Nope. Only the Mac Pro has upgradable RAM at this point.

Edit: The Mac Mini does as well, but apple doesn't consider it 'user-upgradable'.

iMac too (27 inches)

I upgraded my 2018 Mac mini to 32gb ram.

It has the maxed cpu and performance is fantastic.

The majority of thin/light laptops sold today have soldered memory, it's not just Apple.

LOL! You haven't seen the insides of recent Macs (read: since 2010), have you? Everything is soldered to the motherboard, the battery is glued to the case, etc. They're the pinnacle of non-repairability.

"Since 2010"? Do your research a little better next time. A lot of Macs "since 2010" have had upgradable RAM and upgradable storage, etc.

Sadly the machines from the repairable / upgradable era are getting to the end of their lifespan; at least with normal MacOS and standart software.

I'm writingh this on a 2010 mbp on it's third battery, second ram upgrade and new-ish SSD and i'don't know if my next machine will hold up ~10 years when nothing is easily replacable.

The iMac, iMac Pro, Mac mini and Mac Pro all have upgradable components. The portables are generally non-upgradable however

Does anyone ever desolder their parts?

Louis Rossmann does, but he has a bit of a vendetta against Apple. It requires a very steady hand and a lot of patience.

He doesn’t have a vendetta against Apple, he makes a living acting like he has a vendetta against Apple on YouTube.

Between his computer repair business and video productions, he financially benefits from Apple products being relatively difficult to repair.

Also, he's been pretty open about the fact that while he complains about Apple, he makes his money off people who own Apple products.

You imply that as being somehow virtuous. It would be impossible to not be open about that.

The alternative is to make the laptops bulkier, heavier and less energy efficient for the tiny number of people who want to upgrade their RAM.

It's not as trivial as people think to switch to removable RAM. See e.g. this informative reddit comment:


The rest of the thread is also worth a read.

That's nonsense.

We replaced most of MacBooks last year when we got sick of waiting for a non-defective keyboard and maintaining a spare pool of $3000 laptops. The thin models use soldered memory, but are priced at a much lower margin. The slightly thicker models are still thinner and lighter than the MacBook Pros they replaced, and have user replaceable memory as well. In most cases, we just ordered more memory because HP doesn't gouge you, and our budget was built around MacBooks.

There was some grousing initially about leaving MacOS for Windows 10, but it went away fairly quickly, as Catalina really fubared stuff that our Mac users cared about around the same time, running MacOS in a business sucks anyway, and the Windows 10 linux stuff is good enough for our folks who were using a Mac for Unixy reasons.

Apple's thin and light principles make sense and are ultimately correct from a technical POV, but the business side uses it as a margin mining operation. 2020 isn't 2010 from a competitive POV, where Apple blew everyone away -- they lost focus in the 2014-15 timeframe and now focus on the ARM transition. Today, competitive forces drive thin & light among other vendors and ultimately result in a better outcome for most scenarios.

The following points are not nonsense:

1) RAM slots take up more space.

2) There is not a standard socket for all kinds of RAM (particularly some kinds of energy efficient RAM).

Which thin non-Apple laptop are you referring to?

I seriously doubt Apple gives a crap about whether or not people can upgrade their RAM. Hardly anyone does it even when they can, so it can't make much difference to their business model. Do you really think Apple are doing this so that a tiny fraction of people who would have just upgraded their RAM buy a new laptop instead?

The thin one is the x360, I don’t recall the other one — I don’t need more than 16GB.

I’m sure Apple doesn’t care at all — they removed the iMac memory slots and made storage replacement impossible for no real good reason at all as well. That combined with the gouging for additional capacity and the borderline fraud of shipping the defective keyboard for years was enough for me.

I liked MacOS a lot, but the companies behavior is a textbook example of why you need competitive forces in hardware.

The x360 is not thinner than a 13 inch MacBook Pro (1.58cm vs 1.56cm, according to the manufacturers). And according to the following data sheet, the LDDR-3 memory on the x360 is soldered onto the board: https://www8.hp.com/h20195/V2/GetPDF.aspx/4aa7-6087eee

Soldering on ultrafast SSDs does make sense for a number of reasons beyond just saving space. The higher the bandwidth, the more difficult it is to get data transfer working reliably when part of the electrical connection is made via a connector cable. Apple have some of the fastest SSD speeds out there.

There are similar issues with RAM. There's lots of crappy RAM on the market. If people started putting third party RAM in modern MacBooks, you'd get lots of issues with e.g. reliable suspend/resume. Some good discussion here: https://www.quora.com/Is-there-a-valid-technical-reason-for-....

The laptop options that are hyped up as being better than Apple almost always turn out to have a mythical element, on further investigation. If you want removable RAM and SSDs you can get them (yay free market!), but there's a real downside.

A tradeoff I'll take every time.

Apple has pretty much always placed an emphasis on compact (by the standards of the day) form factors for its laptops. Just buy from another manufacturer if that's not your thing. History has usually proved them correct. People used to complain about the lack of a CD drive.

It always makes me laugh when Apple (and their fans) talk about how Environmentally Friendly Apple is...

Reduce and Reuse is the best way to help pollution, yet Apple is known, famous for Planned Obsolescence and non-repairability

you can not be Environmentally Friendly and maintain the only solution to any problem is to just toss it and buy a new one

Yet, these notebooks last really long. I usually use them for 5+ years. My mom has been using her‘s for almost 10 years and it still feels fast (for her needs).

And it‘s easily recycled afterwards. The RAM is rarely the issue and I know few non-technical people who ever changed their RAM in a notebook.

Sustainability is really important, but I don‘t think upgradable notebooks make a significant difference at all.

I'm writing this on a 2005 Thinkpad T42p. In the intervening years it has had its drive replaced by an SSD and an extended battery installed but that is about it. It still feels and looks newish, apart from the keyboard which show wear on the key caps. A new keyboard can be had for ~$20.

Hardware can be both long-lasting as well as upgradable.

I’m still using my non-upgradable base model 2013 Macbook Pro, while I don’t know anyone still using a 7 year old Windows/Linux laptop, even an upgraded one. It’s fallen on a cement floor multiple times and has had no damage from that. Repairability doesn’t matter if it doesn’t break in the first place, and there’s certainly been no problems with obsolescence, planned or otherwise.

I’ve got a Dell m4600 that I bought in 2011. I specifically chose it so that I could upgrade. It’s now got a new SSD, HDD and 24GB of RAM. It works well enough for most things, but not video editing.

There is no "planned obsolescence" from Apple, and btw, that phrase is not capitalized in English.

There is a popular myth among the lazy-minded about this, but the fact is that Apple's hardware lasts a lot longer, and is intentionally supported for a lot longer, than competing hardware. This is true for Macs as well as iOS devices. If Apple is "planning" for anything, it's for their stuff to last a lot longer than others' stuff, not the opposite.

Not everything has to be black and white. Apple can be supporting old hardware for very long time, much longer than any other manufacturer, and yet simulatiously be shit at making sure their hardware is actually repairable if it does break down. Luis Rossman had a very good series of videos on this, consider this for instance - a chip that controls USB-C charging used to be just a regular chip made by some chinese company, you could order them by yourself for like $0.10 each, a tray full of chips would cost you few dollars at most. So as he runs a repair business, and those chips fail relatively frequently for <reasons>, he could repair a dead macbook for like $50-100(practically charging just for his time to take the chip out and put a new one in). But Apple doesn't like that - so they went to that manufacturer and specifially asked for that chip to be modified, so that it only works with their machines, and asked that they are the only buyer of that chip. So now if your macbook dies because this chip failed, you cannot replace it with a new $0.10 chip - you need to buy a whole new $1000 motherboard from Apple.

This is not planned obsolescence - this is going out of your way to make the repairs harder. I can understand when certain decisions are made for engineering reasons(like say, having the ram soldered on), but this kind of thing when Apple goes to the manufacturer and asks for a version specific only to them so that no one else can buy it, ever - that's just anti-consumer, and I hope the hand of the law will come on them super hard due to this.

> There is a popular myth among the lazy-minded about this, but the fact is that Apple's hardware lasts a lot longer, and is intentionally supported for a lot longer, than competing hardware. This is true for Macs as well as iOS devices. If Apple is "planning" for anything, it's for their stuff to last a lot longer than others' stuff, not the opposite.

As someone who has bounced in and out of Apple products for ~10 years at a time (1985-1995 and 2005-2014), I have a couple of nits.

The last two Mac laptops I had (2009 plastic Macbook, Early 2011 MBP with known heat issues) - both can still run the latest version of Windows 10 adequately for what they are hardware-wise. Every "modern" (as in OSX capable) Mac I have had at some point lost support from the latest version of OSX (which means you lose the ability to upgrade some apps). In some cases, like the 2011 MBP, for seemingly no reason, as it is still a decent computer even now.

While I know a lot of people here like to change their computer every couple of years like it's nothing, I still like to use things I buy for as long as possible before recycling them.

In terms of "hardware lasts a lot longer", I generally agree with that statement, but there have been notable instances of bad designs combined with bad support (and I generally think Apple's support is a notch better than everyone else).

The most notable (in recent times) being the Early 2011 15" MBPs with overheating issues. That thing was a lemon that was poorly handled by Apple. There's still a good chance that I'd still be using a Mac right now had that experience not left a sour taste in my mouth. I've never had a laptop die on me in 20+ years of having laptops (my very first was a Powerbook 170, and I've had a pile of PC and Mac laptops since) outside of that early 2011 MBP, which lasted just over 3 years before it died. It died again after the recall service was performed on it, because they basically just replaced the logic board with the same board having the same design defect. (FWIW, someone else I know who bought the same model had the exact thing happen).

Well, too bad that modern front-end developers don't take this into account. I use a high-end laptop from 2015 (not apple) and it could work perfectly well for a few more years if not for 8gb ram. Nowadays a single electron app easily takes 500mb and web browser 4-5gb. Given the prices on RAM in retail I am really upset that I have to drop couple of grands just to have a bit an incremental upgrade and enough ram to browse goddamn web.

Personally I prefer reliability over upgradability.

Intel wants you to only have 4 cores Apple wants you to only have 8G RAM

what a huge surprise!

They can double the price of the laptops and I’d still buy them. macOS is just ahead of the competition.

macOS needs that extra 8GB due to all the bloat nowadays.

You'll pay it.

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