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Scaling down to a Macbook Pro?

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Re: Scaling down to a Macbook Pro?

Postby Luke W » Thu Sep 06, 2018 5:40 pm

james090 wrote:Does anyone know the last year that the MBP / iMacs still had the standard connectivity before using these new usb-c connections, thus needing hubs?

Was it 2013 or 2014?

It was either late 2016 or early 2017 that the Macbooks switched to USB-C, same model that introduced the touch bar. Not sure about iMacs, I’ve not kept up to date with them.
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Re: Scaling down to a Macbook Pro?

Postby Dave Rowles » Thu Sep 06, 2018 6:29 pm

I've got one of the new touchbar MBPs.

I really like it. I've not got adapters for anything other than my iLok, just replaced the cables with USB C to USB B cables which are readily available from amazon and other online retailers. I've also got a few different USB cables for various devices. I've got one hub, so have power, ilok, keyboard, external HDD, and interface all connected nicely with minimum fuss!

I lived through losing Firewire, so I'm not bothered by the change of ports. I always think its blown a bit out of proportion to the actual outlay of sorting the problem.
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Re: Scaling down to a Macbook Pro?

Postby Matt Houghton » Thu Sep 06, 2018 8:05 pm

desmond wrote:
Matt Houghton wrote:And be diligent if buying second hand ones from late 2012 models plus a couple of years— while the bulging battery seems to have been consigned to history, there have been some models with GPU problems, the only fix (short of a very expensive repair) is to disable the Nvidia graphics accelerator, which also means you can't plug the thing into an external screen.

:wave:

Actually, it's the pre-2012 models that are the worst offenders (late 2011 for me!), the 2012's and onwards don't really have the same issues.

Tell that to my crippled 2013 model... :?
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Re: Scaling down to a Macbook Pro?

Postby desmond » Thu Sep 06, 2018 8:19 pm

Matt Houghton wrote:Tell that to my crippled 2013 model... :?

:frown:

I had about a three day deep (*DEEP!*) tech dive into bootloader hacking, booting into cloned portable linux distrubutions and firmware hacking to properly get my discrete graphics chip to be properly disabled, so my machine would reliably boot and work.

I still have to start it with a special USB key and boot sequence... :headbang:

(And I'm pretty nerdy about trying to keep my machines running cool, I crank up the fans more than the default, and even sometimes use external cooling for long tasks like video rendering. So much for Apple replacing motherboards with graphics chips that weren't affected - not to mention that they replaced mine with someone elses, which had a knackered speaker and headphone jack too... :madas: )

The 2011's are definitely worse in the temps regard because of the graphics chips used, the 2010/11 machines are notorious for it. The 2012's use different graphics chips and were redesigned for better cooling - but I guess any of these laptops driven hard over long enough can have thermal problems. Especially if you don't clean out the fans from time to time!

Still, no-one can say I don't get my money's worth out of my gear...! ;) :headbang: :blush:
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Re: Scaling down to a Macbook Pro?

Postby Matt Houghton » Thu Sep 06, 2018 10:00 pm

I literally use ice packs to keep mine cool enough to run... and noteven for intensive work! The screen lid design where, when the screen opens, as it must if you want to use it as a laptop, it obscures the vents at the back of the machine is ridiculous design work. Form over function.

Time for a new machine soon. Will it be Windows or will it be Mac? Hmmm...
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Re: Scaling down to a Macbook Pro?

Postby desmond » Thu Sep 06, 2018 11:06 pm

Matt Houghton wrote:I literally use ice packs to keep mine cool enough to run... and noteven for intensive work! The screen lid design where, when the screen opens, as it must if you want to use it as a laptop, it obscures the vents at the back of the machine is ridiculous design work. Form over function.

There's still a gap between the case and the hinge, so the fans blow air out through the vents in the case, and there's enough gap for the heat to escape. The case itself is designed to be part of the cooling system. You can always use SMCfancontrol to crank the fans when necessary, too.

You shouldn't need ice packs for normal running! Have you opened the machine and cleaned out the fans? The vents can get really clogged up over time, and reduce whatever cooling the fans provide, quite significantly. I did that last week when I felt the laptop was running hotting than it should, which sorted that out nicely...

My 2011 (with the discrete card disabled) idles around 53C (fans at 2500). Obviously working it hard will push it, but I've never got over about 95C under full load (fans cranked at full obviously.)

Is your discrete card powered down, or is it still drawing power? (and creating heat...)

Matt Houghton wrote:Time for a new machine soon. Will it be Windows or will it be Mac? Hmmm...

Good luck! :thumbup: Let's us know which Mac you go for... I mean, which machine you go for... :P
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Re: Scaling down to a Macbook Pro?

Postby james090 » Fri Sep 07, 2018 7:34 am

Some good advice and answers here, on the latest MBP's over the slightly older but still powerful MBP's from a few years back.

After doing some research, I can still get a 2012 i7 MBP with 16GB RAM and 2 x 2TB Hybtrid SSDs fitted, for a total of 4TB Storage (internally)

This would also have the standard connections for ease, and significantly lower in price than a brand new spec'd out machine (and probably more than enough for my work!)

Would the 2 x 2TB Hybtrid SSDs fitted, for a total of 4TB Storage, replace my FW800 hd's which are lower than 2TB, and use ONE of these drives as an internal library drive ''inside'' the machine? and use the other separate 2TB for programs etc??

(My FW800 hd's could stay locked away as backups as this MBP has a fw800 port, as well as the optical digital stereo out from headphone which I still use in my set up and the later ones dropped I believe)?
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Re: Scaling down to a Macbook Pro?

Postby desmond » Fri Sep 07, 2018 8:11 am

Note: You can’t put two drives in Retina MBPs, (2012 onwards), they only have one drive slot and no optical drive, so make sure the 2012 is the last non-Retina display models
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Re: Scaling down to a Macbook Pro?

Postby james090 » Fri Sep 07, 2018 8:12 am

desmond wrote:You can’t put two drives in Retina MBPs, unfortunately (2012 onwards), they only have one drive slot and no optical drive.

Right, good to know, so this must be on the cusp in 2012 before the models changed, as it has 2 x 2tb's installed :)
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Re: Scaling down to a Macbook Pro?

Postby Matt Houghton » Sat Sep 08, 2018 6:09 am

desmond wrote:There's still a gap between the case and the hinge, so the fans blow air out through the vents in the case, and there's enough gap for the heat to escape. The case itself is designed to be part of the cooling system. You can always use SMCfancontrol to crank the fans when necessary, too.

Sure, but the lid still obstructs airflow, meaning the fans must work harder than otherwise. It's poor design. And who wants noisy fans in a recording rig? Try recording screencast tutorials like that...

You shouldn't need ice packs for normal running!

Yes, I'm aware of that!

Have you opened the machine and cleaned out the fans? The vents can get really clogged up over time, and reduce whatever cooling the fans provide, quite significantly. I did that last week when I felt the laptop was running hotting than it should, which sorted that out nicely...

Yep. Case, fans and vents thoroughly cleaned. That was my first thought.

Is your discrete card powered down, or is it still drawing power? (and creating heat...)

I've just used the gfxcard app to disable switching and tweaked settings in other apps (eg Firefox) which try to override that setting to use GPU acceleration. Which stopped most crashes but not all. I have had particular problems when the ambient temperature has been higher than normal, as over this Summer.

Good luck! :thumbup: Let's us know which Mac you go for... I mean, which machine you go for... :P

Current thinking is that I'll probably be ditching the laptop and going for an i9 desktop Windows machine... my current Windows machine is showing its age and my need for a laptop is about to lessen. I'd miss Screenflow and to a lesser extent Final Cut (a maddening programme but one in which I've invested some time). But the lack of connectivity on the new models is a big issue for me... and I'd like to keep my desk free of cables and clutter. I'll let you know. Meanwhile I'll keep limping along with this system... one good thing about MacOS is that it tends to recover your files pretty well post crash!
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Re: Scaling down to a Macbook Pro?

Postby desmond » Sat Sep 08, 2018 10:32 am

Matt Houghton wrote:
Is your discrete card powered down, or is it still drawing power? (and creating heat...)

I've just used the gfxcard app to disable switching and tweaked settings in other apps (eg Firefox) which try to override that setting to use GPU acceleration. Which stopped most crashes but not all. I have had particular problems when the ambient temperature has been higher than normal, as over this Summer.

That's where I was - I forced apps and the system from using the discrete card by using gfxcard status, which mostly worked, apart from Photoshop, which no matter what you did, would hard crash more often than not due to the bad card.

Eventually though the card was causing bootup problems (it got so bad that the machine would boot about 1 in 100 attempts) so while looking for solutions, I ended up with a hack that means the card driver is both not loaded on boot up or wake from sleep - in effect, the discrete gfx card becomes invisible to the system and at that point, I could boot reliably and use Photoshop again...

Anyway, I think you're probably past the point of investing any more effort into keeping that machine running, I just mention it in case others have similar problems...
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Re: Scaling down to a Macbook Pro?

Postby Matt Houghton » Sat Sep 08, 2018 2:07 pm

That's strange. I use Photoshop a lot and that doesn't override gfxcard status at all. Though the boot/wake failures are increasing in frequency the machine's on and the keyboard backlight works, but the screen is black).

There may be advantages in keeping this machine limping on for a while, though.

Could you possibly point me to advice on the hacks you used to disable the Nvidia card?

(Sorry for derailing the thread btw!)
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Re: Scaling down to a Macbook Pro?

Postby desmond » Sat Sep 08, 2018 2:29 pm

Matt Houghton wrote:That's strange. I use Photoshop a lot and that doesn't override gfxcard status at all.

It doesn't override gfxcard status, as such.

But it does something low level with the the driver, even with all the gfx card options in the Photoshop prefs off, that causes the machine to die, which is fixed when the card is removed. Either when you start Photoshop, or some random point when using it, the screen will go black and the machine needs to be restarted.

It is the *only* app that behaves this way when the card died (all the other apps avoided using the bad card fine when locked to the internal gfx)), and I spent a few months using a different app to Photoshop (remember, if my machine crashed, it would often take hours or reboots to finally get it to boot again, so it was imperative to keep it running while it was in that state) and rebuild my workflows with that, which was OK, but less than optimal.

Remember though that gfx chip failures are always different, and the effects and behaviours of hardware failures will manifest themselves in different ways - this is just the behaviour on my machine.

Matt Houghton wrote:Could you possibly point me to advice on the hacks you used to disable the Nvidia card?

Yes, this is the thread:

I don't know offhand how relevant it is for your specific card/machine, as this is for an AMD/2011 system, but it is working for a lot of people and the procedures are similar even if the hardware is different (this is the solution thread, there is another one trying to find solutions but that's a mess to wade through cold.)
https://forums.macrumors.com/threads/disable-a-failed-amd-gpu-on-a-2011-macbook-pro-grub-solution.2087527/

The point of this procedure is the remove the dGPU from the system (it won't be shown in the system hardware profile) and not have the driver running at all. GFXcardstatus thus becomes irrelevant because the machine will only ever see the integrated gfx chip, the discrete one will be gone.

You can find *many* proposed solutions for this across the interwebs, but this one is the only proper one that properly works (like I say, I did a *deep* dive on this to try and find a solution. It's really not fun when your machine crashes, and you don't know how many days, if at all, it's going to take before the machine will boot again, when you have stuff to do... :(

(I am "mcbeej" on that thread, btw).

There is an additional (hardware) hack to remove the card from even powering up, but I didn't bother going that far. I will either replace the dGPU on this machine for £200-ish, or more likely, just get a s/h 2015 machine (although there are some compromises with this on internal storage as they only have one drive bay...)
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Re: Scaling down to a Macbook Pro?

Postby Matt Houghton » Sat Sep 08, 2018 5:22 pm

Thanks. I'll see how far down this rabbit hole I want to go!

Much obliged. :clap:
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Re: Scaling down to a Macbook Pro?

Postby Chromeman » Thu Sep 13, 2018 4:32 pm

desmond wrote:
:frown:

I had about a three day deep (*DEEP!*) tech dive into bootloader hacking, booting into cloned portable linux distrubutions and firmware hacking to properly get my discrete graphics chip to be properly disabled, so my machine would reliably boot and work.

I still have to start it with a special USB key and boot sequence... :headbang:


You and me both Desmond. I have a dedicated USB which I use to boot into Ubuntu, disable the chip and restart then as normal. I have ended up keeping the Macbook turned on all the time. However, it's lasted 7 years although I was pretty fed up when the replacement board failed after Apple relented and allowed the initial repair for free. As I understand it, they just replaced like for like so the original heat problem was never really solved.
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Re: Scaling down to a Macbook Pro?

Postby desmond » Thu Sep 13, 2018 4:41 pm

Chromeman wrote:You and me both Desmond. I have a dedicated USB which I use to boot into Ubuntu, disable the chip and restart then as normal. I have ended up keeping the Macbook turned on all the time.

It can be made to boot automatically without the USB, but there were some things about that config I didn't like, so chose to keep it the way it is, meaning I can easily choose to boot normally if required (eg, if I get the chip replaced.)

Chromeman wrote:As I understand it, they just replaced like for like so the original heat problem was never really solved.

It was even worse in my case - after being without my machine for a week, I got it back, and after a while I noticed the headphone port was broken. At the time I couldn't face going back in and losing another week of work to get it replaced again, so just left it.

Unbeknownst to me though, the board they replaced was not a new one with a chip that doesn't have the problem, it was someone else's used board from another machine. Not only was the headphone port broken (so the headphone jack falls out), but one of the internal speakers is also broken, and yes, the GFX chip failed again after 6 months. But as far as Apple were concerned, I had accepted the initial repair, so they wouldn't fix it again... :cry:
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Re: Scaling down to a Macbook Pro?

Postby Chromeman » Thu Sep 13, 2018 5:05 pm

What version of the 2015 model would you go for now? My missus has a May 2015 2.2 i7 and she won't let me near it......she just uses it for work :headbang:
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