The refreshed MacBook Pros sound like the notebooks Apple should’ve created in the first place so I went ahead to maxed out the flagship 2018 MacBook Pro model on the web store.
What I’ve eventually ended up with is a $6,669 notebook, which is the same price as the fully-loaded Mac Pro configuration and significantly less than the maxed-out 2017 iMac Pro all-in-one at an eye-watering $13,348.
I picked the flagship 15-inch MacBook Pro with Touch Bar and Touch ID, featuring a 2.6GHz 6-core Intel Core i7 processor, 512GB SSD storage, 16GB of 2,400MHz DDR4 RAM and Radeon Pro 560X graphics with 4GB of dedicated GDDR5 video memory.
Here are the three basic upgrades I chose:
- CPU (+$300): I went from a 2.6GHz 6‑core i7 processor with Turbo Boost up to 4.3GHz to a top-of-the-line 2.9GHz 6‑core i9 chip with Turbo Boost up to 4.8GHz
- RAM (+$400): I doubled the RAM from 16GB to 32GB
- SSD (+$3,200): Unlike the RAM, Apple’s SSD upgrades continue to be prohibitively expensive. Doubling the default 512GB SSD costs an extra $400. Want 2TB of flash storage? That’ll be an additional $1,200. Maxing out to four terabytes of ultra-fast flash storage (up to 3.2GB/s read/write speed) is a whopping $3,200 upgrade!
The above upgrades drove the model’s $2,799 price to a cool $6,699.
This is $2,400 more than the maxed-out 2017 MacBook Pro, but that’s because Apple now offers more powerful upgrade options which cost more, like 32GB RAM or 4GB SSD.
Another way to look at it: that kind of money could buy you an aging Mac Pro configured with a 2.7GHz 12-core processor, 64GB of RAM and 1TB SSD, which isn’t saying you should buy a Mac Pro instead because Apple’s pro desktop is undergoing some serious rethinking with a drastically redesigned modular Mac Pro due sometime next year.
By the way, had I also picked other suggested upgrades for my MacBook Pro—like Final Cut Pro X ($299), Logic Pro X ($199) and that wonderful but pricey leather sleeve from Apple—I’d have ended up with a $7,098 bill.
Fun fact: the base models of the MacBook Pro family still cost the same as last year’s models, starting at $1,799 for the 13-inch model or $2,399 for the 15-inch model.
We don’t mean this to be a rant about overpriced Apple hardware because prices is what you pay for. Apple uses only top-notch components in its machines and the MacBook Pro series is not a notebook for people who just want to surf the web, check their email, use social media and play light games.