2010 MPB 17" Replacement

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by johnnylarue, Aug 20, 2013.

  1. johnnylarue macrumors 6502a

    Aug 20, 2013
    "Look, mom--I'm finally posting in the Buying Advice forum at MacRumors!"

    Okay folks, I need guidance. My apartment was broken into on the weekend (on my BIRTHDAY, no less) and my beloved pimped out 17" MBP (512GB SSD, matte screen) was stolen. No insurance, but I suppose that's *my* problem.

    Anyway, music production and occasional photo work account for about a third of my livelihood, so I need a new computer sooner than later. I really got used to the screen real estate and form factor of the 17"--perfect all-in-one portable desktop solution, just big enough not to require an external monitor, plenty fast, etc.

    Here are the options I'm looking at:

    1. Buy the last version (late 2011) of the 17" for ~$1200 locally and upgrade the RAM to 16GB and add an SSD if necessary. Total cost ~$1600. I might choose to experiment with a glossy screen this time as all my prior MPBs have been matte--bad idea? (Was glare still bad on the 2011 MPBs?)

    2. Buy a refurbished 15" Retina (mid-2012 model) for $1599+. Very, very hesitant to drop cash on a 100% non-upgradeable computer, but this is the world we live in. These have better GPUs than the MPB17, but also have a history of problems with image retention and occasional sluggishness. And stuck with 8GB of RAM, which is not a comforting thought looking 2-3 years down the road.

    3. Suffer through 2+ months of using my girlfriend's hand-me-down 7-year-old white Macbook, and hope the upcoming MPB refresh is tantalizing enough to make me want to drop big dollars on one. Not expecting miracles, as the current crop of 15" Retina options all seem overpriced to me.

    4. Get an iMac. (Maybe a used one?) My 17" was on my desk 90% of the time, but that doesn't change the fact that iMacs and towers feel like boat anchors to me. Portability is nice. But performance/screen/price are nice too, I guess. And an iMac is harder to steal.

    5. A non-Retina 15" + external display would be cheaper and somewhat upgradeable. But I don't have much space, and the external display would be a tight fit.

    Can anyone talk some sense into me? How much life has a late-2011 MBP17 got left in it at this point? My 2010 was only just barely starting to show its age. Barely. And the 2011 MPBs were said to be quite a bit faster. I just don't want to drop $1500+ on a computer that's one evolutionary step away from obsolescence...

    Thanks for any help you can provide!

    And sorry for the tl;dr post--I'm a bit of a mess. Getting robbed SUCKS.
  2. Aaron from KY macrumors member

    Aug 4, 2010
    Northern Kentucky
    The 2011s aren't showing their age, except in the battery life arena, which since you said that your laptop stayed parked on your desk most of the time probably wouldn't matter. I have a late 2011 15" and it handles most games on high detail settings at native resolution, which I think, if it will handle games it should handle work. Apple still sells late 2011 17inchers refurbished:
    or even a high res matte 15in might meet your needs. I agree with you about upgradeability, but I understand why Apple did it, it's only a small minority of buyers that EVER upgrade their machines(look at how many stock machines are on Craigslist or ebay).
  3. johnnylarue thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Aug 20, 2013
    Thanks, Aaron. The 17" refurbs aren't available to me in Canada, unfortunately (and they're a bit pricey), but it's reassuring to know they're still going strong. Having the option to beef up the RAM to 16GB provides at least a little peace of mind in terms of its ability to keep up with the times for a few more years.

    The one I'm looking at locally was purchased in 2012, so there's a chance the battery is still in reasonable shape. I'm really just trying to decide whether to stick with the 17" formula, or make a clean break with a Retina but I'm hesitant to give up that screen real estate, especially when it comes to using my recording software.

    And while I also can understand where Apple is coming from, I can't help but feel like soldering in the RAM was a real kick in the nuts to its most hardcore/professional customers--i.e. the people who don't associate the word "pro" with high-end fashion/lifestyle accessories.

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