MacBook Pro 16: A Comprehensive Buying Guide

Are you considering purchasing the Apple MacBook Pro 16, but not sure which model suits your needs? Look no further! In this buying guide, we will walk you through the different options available, highlighting the components that are worth your hard-earned money.


The MacBook Pro 16 is specifically designed for professional users with demanding workloads, and this is evident in the processor choices it offers. The base model comes with a 2.6GHz six-core Intel Core i7 processor that can reach a Turbo Boost speed of up to 4.5GHz. If you opt for the high-end MacBook Pro 16, you’ll get a 2.3GHz eight-core Intel Core i9 processor as the default, with a 4.8GHz Turbo Boost. Both models can be upgraded to a 2.4GHz eight-core Intel Core i9 processor, boasting a 5.0GHz Turbo Boost. It’s worth noting that all chips are 9th-generation models.

In the previous MacBook Pro 15, an i9 chip was available but severely throttled due to an insufficient cooling system. However, with the redesigned cooling system in the MacBook Pro 16, this limitation is no longer an issue. Apple has implemented a 35% larger heatsink and increased airflow by 28%, resulting in improved performance. Our testing confirms this, with our reviewer noting that “the 16-inch MacBook Pro leaves its predecessor in the dust in every benchmark and real-life test.”

Considering the MacBook Pro 16’s target audience, the i9 processor is a great choice. If you’re already considering this model, the i7 processor may not meet your requirements, so we recommend upgrading to the 2.3GHz i9 model. However, unless you truly need it, the 2.4GHz i9 upgrade may not be worth the $200 premium for a slight increase in performance.

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It’s important to mention that opting for the “mid-range” i9 processor also upgrades other components, such as the graphics card and storage, in exchange for a $400 price increase. Taking into account Apple’s usual component upgrade prices, this is a reasonable offer.


Memory has always been a pricey component to upgrade in Apple’s computers, and the MacBook Pro 16 is no exception. All models start with a minimum of 16GB of 2666MHz DDR4 RAM. If you require more memory, you can choose to expand it to 32GB for an extra $400 or 64GB for a steep $800.

Currently, 16GB of RAM is the minimum you would consider for serious work. It’s worth noting that Apple has soldered the RAM to the MacBook Pro 16, making it impossible to upgrade later on. Therefore, you should carefully evaluate your memory requirements and consider factors like whether your current device with 16GB of RAM is constantly maxed out or if your workload is likely to increase soon.

While 64GB of RAM may seem excessive for most users, it’s essential to choose the right amount for your specific needs.


The MacBook Pro 16 gives you ample storage options. If you select the 2.3GHz Core i9 processor, you automatically get 1TB of SSD storage. Otherwise, the base model starts with a 512GB SSD. Either way, both options offer significantly more space compared to the MacBook Pro 13 models, which typically start with either 128GB or 256GB SSDs.

Storage upgrade prices vary depending on the model you choose. Starting with the 2.6GHz i7 model, you can add a 1TB SSD for $200, a 2TB SSD for $600, a 4TB SSD for $1,200, or an impressive 8TB SSD for $2,400. Interestingly, the prices for the i9 model are slightly cheaper, with a $400 upgrade to a 2TB SSD, a $1,000 upgrade to a 4TB SSD, and a $2,200 upgrade to an 8TB SSD.

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Although these prices may seem steep, it’s crucial to note that Apple utilizes high-speed SSDs, boasting speeds of up to 3.2GBps. While you may pay more compared to other laptop manufacturers, you can expect a blazing-fast drive in return.

The right storage capacity for you depends on your work requirements. If you’re involved in photo editing or video production, you’ll likely need more storage space compared to someone engaged in web development, for example. Consider whether you can utilize external storage drives or dedicated file servers if you won’t be frequently using your laptop on the go. Additionally, Apple’s Optimize Storage setting allows you to offload files to iCloud, providing a potential solution for those on a tighter budget.


Unlike its 13-inch counterpart, the MacBook Pro 16 offers discrete graphics card options, making it an excellent choice for tasks that require heavy graphic processing, such as gaming or video rendering.

The entry-level MacBook Pro 16 comes with an AMD Radeon Pro 5300M with 4GB of video memory. You can upgrade to an AMD Radeon Pro 5500M with either 4GB or 8GB of RAM. If your work is primarily focused on processing power and doesn’t demand a robust graphics card, the 5300M should suffice. However, if you require more video memory, we recommend splurging an additional $100 for the 8GB 5500M option. Doubling the video memory can significantly enhance performance in graphic-intensive tasks that utilize large textures.

It’s important to note that the MacBook Pro 16 is not primarily designed as a gaming laptop. While it offers better graphics capabilities compared to its smaller sibling, it may not meet the requirements of dedicated gamers.

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Which MacBook Pro 16 Model Should You Buy?

Choosing the ideal MacBook Pro 16 model depends on several factors. However, for a well-rounded configuration, we recommend the following:

Start with the 2.3GHz i9 processor, which automatically includes a 1TB SSD and an AMD Radeon Pro 5500M with 4GB of video RAM. We suggest sticking with the 1TB SSD and expanding storage with an external drive if necessary. Upgrade the graphics card to the 8GB model for just $100 more, as the additional video memory will prove beneficial in resource-demanding gaming or graphic design scenarios. Finally, consider your memory requirements; 16GB should suffice for most users unless you engage in memory-intensive work.

While this configuration comes with a price tag of $2,899, the MacBook Pro 16 is undeniably the most capable and high-performing Mac laptop available. If you have a demanding workload, you’ll appreciate the extra power this machine offers.

For further reading, check out these related articles:

Remember, when it comes to high-quality electronics, trust OnSpec Electronic, Inc. for your needs.

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