i7 vs i9 MacBook Pro 16" – Is it Worth Upgrading?

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Is the Base 16″ MacBook Pro fast enough or should you upgrade to an i9 with 32GB of RAM and 5500M Graphics?
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The 16″ MacBook Pro comes with a six-core i7 processor, 16GB of RAM and the 5300M 4GB graphics chip, which are pretty decent specs for the price.

But are those specs powerful enough to do what you want to do with your MacBook Pro? Will they handle the workload compared to an almost fully-specced out model?

We compared the base model to one with with an i9 8-core CPU, 32GB of RAM and the 5500M 8GB graphics chip, which is priced at $3500.

In this video, we test everything from benchmarks, video editing with Final Cut Pro X, photo editing with Photoshop and Lightroom, and we also mention programming, Logic Pro X and 3D Rendering.

We did that to find out how much you get from spending that much extra cash, and we see if the base model is actually powerful enough for all of those tasks!

If you enjoyed this video, Tap Like & Subscribe for more our full review of the 16″ MacBook Pro!

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50 thoughts on “i7 vs i9 MacBook Pro 16" – Is it Worth Upgrading?

  1. Buy a Ring Video Doorbell 2 for you or someone you love this holiday! http://obvs.ly/max2
    Tap Like & Subscribe for our 16" MacBook Pro Full Review!
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  2. Only have money to buy base 13 inch don't know why am I even watching this btw love your videos especially apple one's

  3. I'm a graphic designer, but they only talked about photo editing! What about vector programmes such as illustrator or affinity design, layout programs like InDesign and even motion graphics?

  4. ΟΚ well done @Max Tech for the video but do you think the base model with i7 and 32GB of ram was a good choice for webdeveloper graphics design and sometimes video editing ? I'm waiting for your answer

  5. What app is he using to monitor CPU and GPU workloads in the top menu bar? Also, can someone link me to where he got those backgrounds? 😛

  6. But you can upgrade to the i9 for way cheaper than what is stated in this video. If you JUST upgrade the processor, it’s an extra few hundred dollars vs the extra $1k

  7. Basically, what I get from this review is that if they were similarly configured the i7 is only slightly behind the i9. The only thing that seemed to bottle neck the i7 was the graphics card. Using it for photo editing RAM and storage are king. I can save the $150 on the processor difference, which is not significant, but may help with cooling the beast and battery life.

  8. whats better for video editing the 8gb ram GPU or going from 16gb ram to 32 gb ram?? like the speed of scrolling through your timeline.

  9. I have important questions I hope to get the answer as soon since im planning to buy one. first Q, which one has a better battery life? Q2 which one heats up less?

  10. For programmers, my advice would be to go for the i7, base GPU model, and get a cheap external 4k monitor for the price difference. Trust me you'll be better served. Unless you are doing heavy compilations of entire linux operating systems, you won't benefit much from the i9 processor. If you are working on an app in Xcode, you'll probably only see the benefit in the first compilation run, as all further compilations are incrementally processed on the code changes you introduced in between. If you are working in ML/Data science, most libraries are single threaded. If you are working in Deep Learning, you need an external Nvidia GPU with CUDA support, which too you can get with the price difference between the i7 and the i9 model. Overall, the i7 model is a more efficient investment.
    You can add more RAM or storage as per your need.

  11. I’m newer to YouTube but trying to make it my income. I am current working with a Mid 2010 MacBook, what do you think would work for me as far as editing for videos (simple videos on FCP)? I don’t have a ton to spend but I will save up to get the best choice! 🙂 Your videos are awesome, keep up the great work!

  12. I'm a music producer working mainly on various DAW's, but recently I've started doing music production streams on Twitch as well. I was thinking of getting the base model and upgrading the RAM/CPU or both. The RAM for music production and the CPU for streaming. I don't think that upgrading the GPU would make a huge difference for me music production wise. I don't think my DAW's are using a lot of graphics memory and if at any moment I should decide to also stream games I would do that through my PS4 and a capture card or the Remote App. The only thing which worries me is if the GPU can handle my DAW and the streaming software at the same time. What do you guys think? Does that make sense or am I maybe missing something? Thanks for your help!

  13. I bought this laptop in the i7 configuration with the 5500 GPU (8 GB ram). What I agonized over was the decision to go for 32GB ram. I have a 2017 i7 MacBook pro with the quad-core processor and 16 GB of ram. I've noticed something strange. While editing photos with luminar 4 , the ram usage in the new 2019 model goes up to18GB! On my 2017 MacBook under the exact same conditions, the ram does not exceed 13 GB. No other programs were open at the time and both computers were restarted prior to the test.  No noticeable change in performance times that I've noticed. Not sure why this is happening. Wonder if anyone else has noticed increased Ram usage by the 2019 16 inch model compared to older macs.

  14. What about for longevity? Would you get the base model and then upgrade it somewhat? Not everybody can get a new MacBook Pro every couple years.

  15. Little tip for testing Photoshop performance: duplicate a high res layer multiple times, then try applying the liquify tool, and the lens blur tool with high quality preview.

  16. The most product by Apple for sure. I had and I still have super bad experience with this MacBook Pro 16inch. Couple of friends are testing brand new laptops unboxed brand new and they are broken because of the Mac OS which we are not able to use other oldest version . Apple definitely sucks and there is no Good feedback for this computer. DO NOT BUY THIS LAPTOP . I am not hater I have 4 other devises from Apple but this is the most worst computer and I am advance user not the regular customer watching videos and listening music . DO NOT BUY IT GUYS !!!!!!! Bb

  17. Hello Max, how’s the playback of Canon Cinema Raw in Final Cut on the base model? Is it smooth or performance differences only affect to rendering? Have you worked with Braw on the base model? Thanks!

  18. If you wanted to run boot camp for gaming how much SSD space would you recommend? I probably would only be using it to playing 5 games. Mostly driving simulators and FPS.

  19. Budget wise. Would your recommend i7, with 32 gb ram, or i9 with 16ram. actually don't care much about 512gb – will be fine. thank you

  20. Right now the base model it cost only 2k$ and the i9 only 2.3k$. Huge difference cost. It is second hand however it still have warranty till 2021. Anyway I like to know about new mbp 2020. I hope it will so much change. Beside of that Second hand is best for people. 😉

  21. I am a Software developer and went for the 64 GB RAM as i mostly work on developing Big Data related software. My previous laptop(Hp Omen Gaming Laptop) with 32 GB RAM gave problems when i use the Virtual machines with Big Data software's.Your config should depends upon what you want to do with your Laptop. My projects involve running multiple applications at once which means multiple read and write with some visualizations in real time. You can also use docker for efficiency while running virtual machines

  22. I’m a graphic designer and because of this video I’m relieved to hear that the base model will suffice for my needs!

  23. What I want to know is, with day to day use is the i9 just a bit snappier downloading webpages, opening applications and such. Honestly not having to wait that extra second for a web page makes more of a difference to me than rendering a clip. I’m going to walk away from a clip while it renders regardless. But I have to sit there for an extra second or even half second while a page loads it just makes the experience way less seamless.
    So, is it different in that respect?? I’d love to know. Thanks!

  24. I considered upgrading from the base model 16 inch, but the base model 2018 15 inch I have for work handles basically everything I throw at at it (Software development). So I figure the upgrade from 2018 to 2019 alone would be more than enough. I believe nearly all users (except serious professional video editors) would be more than covered using the base 16 inch.

  25. If I want to take a video I shot with my iPhone and edit it in Final Cut on the i9 with 8gb 5500m is that good enough or do I need 32gb RAM?

  26. So I’m guessing Apple doesn’t allow you to upgrade the RAM in the 16’ model by yourself anymore, right? 🙄

  27. The big bottleneck kn photoedoting mostly show when doing stuff like big hdr panoramas with 30+ photos in my experience. Also in importing and creating 1:1 previews benefit from more powerful machines

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