Apple today dropped a new 16-inch MacBook Pro which has replaced the phased-out 15-inch MacBook Pro, simplifying Apple’s lineup a bit. I immediately visited Apple’s online store to max out the pricier $2,799 configuration with all the available hardware upgrades, ending up with a fully loaded $6,099 machine that offers lots of bang for the buck (at least on paper).
Here are all the upgrades I chose:
- CPU (+$200): I swapped Intel’s ninth-generation 2.3GHz 8-core i9 chip with Turbo Boost up to 4.8GHz for its faster counterpart clocked at 2.4GH with Turbo Boost up to 5.0GHz. Not a bad deal for an extra $200.
- GPU (+$100): I doubled dedicated memory on the AMD Radeon Pro 5500M GPU from four to eight gigabytes of fast GDDR6 memory, which cost me an additional $100.
- RAM (+$800): The $2,799 configuration offers sixteen gigabytes of DDR4 memory, clocked at 2666MHz. Apple lets you double the RAM in exchange for an additional $400 or go overboard with a total of 64 gigabytes of RAM for an extra $800, which is precisely what I selected. The RAM is probably soldered to the logic board (we’ll have to wait for an iFixit treatment to confirm that), so no cheaper third-party RAM upgrades for you! This is the first time any Mac notebook has offered 64 gigabytes of RAM.
- SSD (+2,200): Apple has doubled the amount of flash storage in both models without raising prices, which is a sweet move. The $2,799 configuration now comes with 1TB of flash storage. Apple offers 2TB/4TB/8TB SSD upgrades in exchange for an additional $400/$1,000/$2,200. I went with the 8TB option because I wanted to see what having “the largest SSD ever in a notebook” (according to Apple) would do to my wallet.
All told, I ended up with a $6,099 computer.
Before you jump to comments to complain about a “$6,000 notebook”, consider for a moment the fact that $6,099 is actually cheaper than a maxed-out 15-inch MacBook Pro model from 2018 that resulted in the $6,669 price tag. Yes, SSD upgrades still cost significant money.
That being said, however, look how far we’ve come since 2018 — back then, doubling the default 512GB SSD in the 15-inch MacBook Pro was a $400 affair.
Nowadays, $400 takes you from 1TB to 2TB in terms of flash storage.
And, the $1,200 that bought you a 2TB SSD drive in 2018 now takes you to 4TB, and you still have $200 spare change left. The one thing that hasn’t changed: these SSDs in the new MacBook Pros offer up to 3.2GB/s read/write speeds just like the new 16-incher.
My fully loaded $6,099 configuration costs a hundred bucks more than the new Mac Pro, which starts shipping in December in exchange for $5,999 for the baseline model with Intel’s 8-core Xeon 3.5GHz chip, 32GB RAM, 256GB SSD and Radeon Pro 580X graphics.
Another way to look at it: a maxed-out 16-inch MacBook Pro costs significantly less than a fully loaded 2017 iMac Pro all-in-one desktop that results in an eye-watering $14,000+ price tag.