2008 MacBook Pro 17": Still a relevant buy?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by Tannerman917, Nov 19, 2012.

  1. macrumors newbie

    Mar 17, 2012
    Hey all,

    I was wondering whether or not to upgrade to the aforementioned MBP. At the moment, the lousy Windows laptop I have is quite slow, and I've always wanted a Mac. I don't do any particularly intensive stuff, but I run a couple things at once (Chrome, Word '10, iTunes). I'd be buying the computer from a great friend of mine, and the only thing that's wrong with it is that a stick of RAM went dead (upgrading to 4 GB, 8 if possible, please let me know). I'm not sure as of yet what he's wanting for it, but I'll update that when I know. The only thing I would play on it would be some beta games and Minecraft. I'd also run a VM once in a while. So, any advice? Wait until my laptop dies, then convince Dad (I'm 15) to pitch in with a couple hundred bucks and go for a newer one, jump at it, or what?

    Thanks for all the input!
  2. macrumors 68040


    Nov 3, 2011
    All depends on the price point - at least you know the history of the MBP.
  3. macrumors 65816


    May 20, 2002
    Dallas, TX USA
    You will have no problems running all those programs at the same time, even with 4GB of RAM. Heck, my MacBook Pro tops out at 2GB and I have no problem running those applications and more!

    The only potentially limiting factor is how far you can upgrade the operating system. You may be limited to upgrading to Mac OS X 10.7 (Lion). It depends on the model.

    If that computer seems sluggish, it's the hard drive. Save up some money after you get the laptop functional and get a good SSD. I put an SSD in my MacBook Pro and my 6-year-old laptop still boots in less than 10 seconds. Best upgrade I could have ever done.
  4. macrumors 6502

    Oct 11, 2011
    exactly. I agree with above poster. I have a 2007 white macbook, it doesn't/can't run Lion, yet it runs and does what I need it to do, which is photoshop,itunes and multiple browsers open at the same time. I put in a 256 gb ssd in it and it runs super smooth and superfast, even though it can only hold 2gb of ram. So if you can get it for a good price or maybe talk the seller down a bit, definitely invest in a good ssd and that macbook will run like it just got out of the box. :)
    this is the ssd I put in:
  5. macrumors 65816


    May 8, 2008
    Hilo, Hawai'i
    I have an early 2008 17" MBP (4,1) and it's running Mountain Lion with no issues. So that's at least one thing you don't have to worry about.
  6. thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 17, 2012
    Thanks for the input!

    This Mac was the top-of-the-line model, with the LED display and everything. I would like to upgrade with an SSD at some point. Anyone got an opinion with the GT 8600? I've read about some issues with those, but I don't know how common it is for them to die.
  7. macrumors regular

    Jul 23, 2011

    Actually... it's the most fault-prone GPU in an Apple notebook, probably. I know Apple extended the warranty for it to 2012, but I don't know about extending longer than that.

    If the video card goes, the laptop is a brick.

    I really wouldn't buy that model to be honest, though it is eligible for Mountain Lion and 8gb ram (the latter only if it's late 2008).

    So just know that the 8600m GPU carries a very real risk of failing.
  8. thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 17, 2012
    So, I've heard of people getting their MacBook Pros replaced because of repetitive GPU failure. However, this Pro is beyond the four-year purchase date for repair. Have they extended that date? If so, to when? If it went out, would they replace the logic board, or upgrade me to a refurbished Sandy Bridge 17"? Sorry for all the questions, and thanks for the answers/advice!
  9. macrumors 6502a

    Mar 1, 2011
    I'd pay $600 at most for it. Processing power is not even comparable to a 2012 Mac. Any one, even an 11" Air.
  10. macrumors 68030


    May 20, 2010
    Los Angeles, CA
    Given that the 2008 versions of the 17" MBP are all pre-unibody, and have the dreaded GeForce 8600M GT (known for its inevitable failure) and are at the minimum requirements for a MacBook Pro running Mountain Lion, it's extremely likely that Mountain Lion will be the last version of OS X to be able to run on that machine. Given all of that, it's not really worth spending a whole lot of money on that machine. For roughly the same price, a Mid 2010 13" MacBook Pro will have better graphics (as the GeForce 320M IGP is more powerful than the 8600M GT) and it ought to be supported to at least 10.9. You do lose out on screen real estate, but that's what external displays are for.
  11. macrumors 68040

    Designer Dale

    Mar 25, 2009
    Folding space
    I have the 08 aluminum 17 with the 2.5 Ghz C2D processor and the 8600 video card and it just keeps clicking along. Does all my photo work and runs CS6 and ML with no issues. The bad batch of 8600s was in the 2.4 Ghz version, primarily in the 15. My computer has been shut down for a total of about 40 hours since I bought it. If it was going to fail, it would have by now.


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