2012 cMBP - (Why) should I upgrade?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by undo2, Jun 18, 2017.

  1. undo2 macrumors newbie

    Jun 5, 2017
    I'm writing this from a 2012 13" non-Retina MacBook Pro. I bought it 3 years ago for $800, have since bought it a $100 SSD (MX300 525GB, highly recommended), and could probably sell it for $400-500 based on a quick glance at Ebay.

    I'm a software developer by trade, and this thing has handled everything I've thrown at it. Running latest macOS with no hiccups (SSD helps a lot with that). Code compiles quickly, even light ML work runs fine (usually supplemented with EC2 resources, but still). In general it's as smooth or better than the top-of-the-line 2016 mobile workstation I have from my employer.

    In short, it works fine. Recently I've been considering upgrading - here's what's been going through my mind:

    - It is a 2012 machine. Getting close to five years old, an eternity for a laptop.
    - The battery has ~800 cycles on it and it shows. Bad. Considering buying a replacement battery for $50-100 off Amazon, but it feels wrong putting money into a 5yo laptop.
    - I'm really not heavy on port usage. Ethernet is nice to have, but by no means a necessity. 99% of the time, I'm using my monitor as a USB docking station (USB-A + miniDP connected to the laptop).

    There's another thing in the mix: I'm cheap. Certainly have the resources to treat myself to a newer laptop, but it pains me to spend money.

    Here's my current train of thought: Sell this laptop for ~$400, then buy a 2014 or 2015 Retina Pro for $600-700. That'd only get me the 128GB model, but I'm only using 80GB on my current disk anyway, without even trying to control disk space. Seems doable.

    Macbook Pros always seem so expensive, even though they always last me so long and they're such awesome machines.

    If you were in my shoes, what would you do?
  2. BorderingOn macrumors 6502

    Jun 12, 2016
    BaseCamp Pro
    If it serves your needs, keep it. The screens in the rMBPs are nice and battery life is better. Other than that, I don't read anything in your post that would be pushing me to upgrade.

    Btw, I have a 2012, 13" that I use for all kinds of stuff including VMs / Docker.
  3. undo2 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 5, 2017
    Here's another thing I forgot to mention: I'm concerned that value is going to drop significantly when macOS support for this model stops (at which point it'll stop being useful for iOS dev). I don't have historical data to back that (looking it up now), but I'd rather stay ahead of that edge than get caught behind it. Is that a legitimate concern?
  4. BorderingOn macrumors 6502

    Jun 12, 2016
    BaseCamp Pro
    To that, I'd say the value of your replacement will fall just as much. In addition, you'll have no warranty and risk buying someone else's problem. My personal though is spend money on electronics when you want or need to. Trying to forecast what the future might bring is not likely to put you ahead financially.
  5. undo2 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 5, 2017
  6. mmomega macrumors demi-god


    Dec 30, 2009
    DFW, TX
    Until something is costing you time or money, I don't think buying another peace of equipment is going to improve much if anything. Keep the cash to yourself until you need it. Enjoy that MBP as long as you can.
  7. windows4ever macrumors member


    Aug 14, 2011
    If you have the money, then by all means buy a newer one. Life is too short to be cheap forever, lol. The battery issue alone is reason enough. For the times you use the screen, you'll find the retina screen a huge improvement. It'll also be thinner and lighter and the HDMI port is nice to have.

    The 2012 model you have has held its value well because of the USB 3 ports. The late 2013-2015 models will also hold their value well because they have legacy ports and better keyboards than the 2016-2017 models.
  8. New_Mac_Smell macrumors 68000


    Oct 17, 2016
    Nothing holds its value, especially based on subjective opinions, and you should buy a computer to use it not worry about how much it may sell for when you're done with it. Nobody will care about USB 3 in a few years, like nobody cares about USB 2 today. People will however probably care about having modern standards and not old tech.

    OP: If there's no reason to upgrade then don't, nobody is going to force you to upgrade. You could have that computer for another 5 years or 5 months. As @mmomega mentioned, upgrade when you need.
  9. addictzz macrumors 6502

    Jun 11, 2012
    For software development purpose, I am pretty sure 2012 version is more than enough in term of performance. But personally I would love to have light laptop for portability. If you are currently using macbook air or retina macbook pro, I'd say hold the upgrade. But cMBP with disc drive? I'd say go for 2017 nTB MBP or 2016 refurb version whichever fits your budget.
  10. Cassady macrumors 6502a


    Jul 7, 2012
    Same boat, at least I was. cMBP, i5 mid-2012. Upgraded to 16GB RAM, 500GB SSD and 1TB HDD in the optibay. Still purrs along beautifully!

    Seriously, fans spin up when converting videos for videocasts, but that's about it.

    Only drawback would be the battery life. I'm already on my 2nd Apple battery, and just hit 400 cycles. I think that both HDDs obviously take their toll on a battery designed for one. Whereas I primarily use this as a desktop replacement, the occasional conference is a hassle.

    Was concerned about what my options would be come the day I eventually needed to upgrade. Paying for a 16GB BTO with about the same (1TB) storage space, was going to be an exorbitantly priced upgrade...

    Fortunately, I lucked out on a great deal on a mid-2015 15" MBP, with just those specs. Granted, it's already two years old, but comes in far below what I could expect to pay for something (reasonably) similar in the 2016 models.

    I guess my point of posting is to maybe suggest that whereas you don't need to upgrade, it wouldn't do you any harm to keep an eye out for good deals - that way, you can jump if the right one comes along. And then it's rinse and repeat, going forward several years till you need a new one.

    I'm perfectly happy to sit a few years behind the latest and greatest, since I don't do intensive work requiring the fastest/latest - where price and storage capacity can then be one of the key determinants.

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