Help Me, Laptop: Are MacBook Pro Upgrades Worth the Money?

Any Apple product will happily burn a hole in your pocket, but once you're coaxed into that lovely OS, there's no turning back. So when you know which premium product you want, is it worth getting an upgraded version of it?

User sdhakal96 had this very question about the 8th Gen,
13-inch MacBook Pro.

sdhakal96 writes, "Hi guys, I'm planning on buying the 2018 MacBook Pro with the Touch Bar and Touch ID soon. My question is regarding the upgrades that are possible. I'm considering the memory upgrade, but there's also a processor upgrade. I'm leaning towards the [RAM] upgrade, [but] I wanted to ask you guys if you think it will even be useful for me. I wouldn't consider myself an intensive user, I mostly stick to Microsoft applications [like] R and STATA, [but] I'd also like to get more into steam games. Thank you for reading this post."

All right, sdhakal96, let's go on a MacBook Pro config tour and we'll see what's best for you. The new 13-inch MacBook Pro starts at $1,799 and comes with a 2.3GHz quadcore 8th Gen Intel Core i5 processor, 8GB of RAM, 256GB SSD and an Intel Iris Plus 655 GPU. It costs an additional $300 for a Core i7 processor, and an extra $200 to upgrade to 16GB of RAM.

Considering you're running light programs, and the base processor and RAM should be able to handle most Mac-enabled Steam games, you probably don't need to upgrade those two things. I would consider getting a storage upgrade instead. There's the 512GB ($200 plus), 1TB ($600 plus) and 2TB ($1,400 plus) SSD upgrade. The 512GB is an affordable choice, and it would be useful especially if you're downloading a lot of games.

But, if you happen to be stuck between the choice of the CPU and RAM, a better processor would be more beneficial, since 8GB of RAM can handle most of your tasks (except a modded- out Minecraft server). Seriously though, if you're playing modded Minecraft, get the 16GB of RAM.

MORE: Best Apple Laptops

While there are  some notable games for the Mac, like Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor and Rise of the Tomb Raider, the biggest issue with your request is that there is still a very limited selection and the Mac's graphics card won't be able to handle as much as a high-end GPU. If you aren't tied down to a Mac OS, then I would highly recommend getting a more powerful Windows gaming laptop for a similar price point. Or, if you want to save a few bucks, you can even check out our best sub-$1,000 gaming laptops.

The most suitable replacement I can think of for a MacBook Pro, that matches it in size and display, is the Alienware 13 R3 OLED (starting at $1,599). While its 7th Gen Core i5 processor is a little behind the times, it can be upgraded to a powerful Core i7. It also comes with 8GB of RAM and a 256GB SSD like the MacBook Pro. The GPU starts with a lower-end Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 Ti, but you can upgrade it to a Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 with 6GB of VRAM, which is powerful enough to handle VR.

We hope these suggestions helped you in your quest for a premium laptop. Let us know if you decided to go to the dark side of the OS.

Credit: Laptop Mag

Rami Tabari

Rami Tabari is an Editor for Laptop Mag. He reviews every shape and form of a laptop as well as all sorts of cool tech. You can find him sitting at his desk surrounded by a hoarder's dream of laptops, and when he navigates his way out to civilization, you can catch him watching really bad anime or playing some kind of painfully difficult game. He’s the best at every game and he just doesn’t lose. That’s why you’ll occasionally catch his byline attached to the latest Souls-like challenge.