2010 Unibody Macbook? Is it viable?

Discussion in 'MacBook' started by KNPaige, May 25, 2015.

  1. KNPaige macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    May 22, 2015
    #1
    I'm looking to get a good budget Mac that won't break the bank but would give me a good impression of OS X. I've seen the old 2010 unibody Macbook selling on average from 300-400$ on eBay, and have seen several configurations with fairly strong Core 2 Duos, 4 GB of RAM, SSDs, and 802.11n WiFi either running Mavericks or Yosemite.

    As a long-term PC user, I've found myself growing increasingly impressed with Mac hardware and want something capable that would offer at least decent performance with the capacity to do some basic virtualization and Java development, as well as give me some exposure to Mac OS X.

    I know the Mac Minis now offer a 499$ configuration, but I already have a very powerful desktop that I use for both work and play and want a portable option to replace my aging Lenovo 3000 N100 laptop.

    Would this be a good option or should I just be patient and get the 13" Retina MacBook Pro of my eye?
     
  2. brand macrumors 601

    brand

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    #2
    In 2015 I think that would be called an oxymoron.
     
  3. KNPaige thread starter macrumors newbie

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    May 22, 2015
    #3
    I still find the Core 2 Duo to be a perfectly adequate processor for non-intensive tasks, even all these years later. My Lenovo 3000 N100 has a Core 2 Duo T5500 and I find it quite capable for browsing the web, writing and compiling Java, and basic productivity tasks.

    In any case, the 2010 MacBook would still be a significant upgrade in terms of weight, RAM speed (DDR2 to DDR3), network connectivity (802.11g to 802.11n), and even storage support (my N100 does not support AHCI.)

    All I want is the opinions of other people.
     
  4. brand macrumors 601

    brand

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    #4
    I think with an SSD and maxed out RAM it would be a viable computer for basic tasks I just wouldn't call the Core2Duo processor in that model a fairly strong processor by todays standards. It should be able to do most everything that the current processors will do, albeit just slower. Given that yo are aware of that and OK with it I don't see why it wouldn't work for you.
     
  5. junkw macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2010
    #5
    Web dev here and MBP 2009 is still my main machine. Like 'brand' said, 8 GB RAM + SSD, and it will be ok. IMO 4GB RAM is not enough.

    The only thing that annoys me is the fan sometimes. It will probably kick in under a lower load than a recent MBP. I you use Filevault2, the cpu usage will a bit higher because of the lack of AES-NI instructions in the Core2Duo vs later cpu.

    When I'm richer I'll get the fanless rMB :eek:
     
  6. KNPaige thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    May 22, 2015
    #6
    Fans don't bother me. If you're complaining about fans in a MacBook, then my desktop would absolutely drive you insane! Thanks for the advice, I'll definitely take note of it!

    I wouldn't ever consider a laptop these days with less than 4 GB of RAM. I'll probably pick up a Crucial MX200 and up it to 8 GB should I go with this route. This is all speculation and I may very well go with the 13" Air or rMBP. I don't see many benefits in the $1999 15" rMBP except for maybe Iris Pro. I usually connect my laptop to an external monitor at home anyway so screen size is a moot point.
     
  7. JTToft macrumors 68040

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    Apr 27, 2010
    Location:
    Aarhus, Denmark
    #7
    - Just in case you aren't aware, the 2010 MacBook takes up to 16 GB RAM. :)
     
  8. KNPaige thread starter macrumors newbie

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    May 22, 2015
    #8
    16 GB, seriously? Sweeet. :)
     
  9. JTToft macrumors 68040

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    #9
    - Yup.
     
  10. brdeveloper macrumors 68020

    brdeveloper

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    #10
    It's a pretty capable machine. I even used VirtualBox with my Late-2009 Macbook/8GB/250GB. If you have a VMWare license, it will probably perform even better.

    Eclipse IDE will love a SSD since it does a lot of I/O when building Java apps. I think that the bottleneck when building Java web apps is I/O. My impression is that my Early-2013 rMBP couldn't make things significantly faster comparing to a 2009 Unibody Macbook in terms of Java programming (Tomcat/Hibernate/Spring/etc).

    Of course, the new rMBP 15" with 2000MB/s SSD speeds promises some visible improvement on Java programming, but it's on a higher price range.
     
  11. Jkj12 macrumors member

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    Apr 15, 2014
    Location:
    The seven seas
    #11
    It takes 16GB ram and has SATA II. With a ram upgrade and an SSD, it's a decent machine.

    Remember to look at the bottom case. The rubber surface on the plastic often falls off. Apple had a replacement program. Not sure if it is still running.
     
  12. iModFrenzy macrumors 6502a

    iModFrenzy

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    #12
    I use a Core Duo MacBook with 2GB ram, and it runs better than my 2015 laptop.:p
     
  13. KNPaige thread starter macrumors newbie

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    May 22, 2015
    #13
    Thank you all for your input. :) I was initially worried, but it seems like the old MacBooks are still good computers in this day and age. It's nice to know that I won't have to break the bank to get a decent system running OS X that isn't a Hackintosh.

    The odds are just as good I may splurge and go for a 13" Retina MacBook Pro, but who can say?
     
  14. ApolloBoy macrumors 6502a

    ApolloBoy

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    Apr 16, 2015
    Location:
    San Jose, CA
    #14
    I still have my mid-2010 MacBook as my backup computer and I used it as my main system up until recently. As others have said, it's still a surprisingly solid contender with upgraded RAM and an SSD; even though I switched out the SSD for a conventional hard drive (the SSD went into my cMBP) it still runs Yosemite just fine. I wouldn't use it for any major lifting, but for everyday stuff it's a fantastic budget Mac.
     

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