2012 MacBook Pro or newer models?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by three4rd, Apr 18, 2015.

  1. three4rd macrumors newbie

    Apr 18, 2015

    For several months now I have been tracking the prices on the MD101/ll/a - the 2nd generation model that still has the optical drive. I do not use discs a great deal, but do record and burn my own music CDs, plus use tax software every year. So I do like the idea of the optical drive. The processor is 3rd generation Ivy Bridge 2.5 GHz. Price is close to $1k. Is this a good buy, or would it be better to purchase a newer model? I really don't feel the need for retina display.

    I am currently using a 2003 imac G4 with 1.25GHz and 768 MB DDR SDRAM, so obviously any new computer will be a significant upgrade. I have also been considering the Air, but have heard that the screen resolution is not as good as MBP, and also I'm concerned about the lesser 1.6GHz processor. Another factor is SSD vs. regular HD. Also 4 GB vs. 8 GB of RAM is another decision point. I do not do any heavy graphics or gaming. I really think the 2012 model would be more than sufficient for my needs, but it has been suggested to me that $1k is alot to spend on the 2012 MBP compared to what is available now.

    Are the Haswell and Broadwell processors that much better than the Ivy Bridge that is in the 2012 model to the extent that there is a discernible difference for the average user? Any suggestions are greatly appreciated. I don't mind spending a few hundred dollars more for 3rd generation IF it is truly worth it for the newer specs. But if there is not that great a difference, than I believe I'd be more than content with an earlier MBP.

  2. ilikewhey macrumors 6502

    May 14, 2014
    nyc upper east
    wait you talking about a mac pro or a macbook pro.

    for 1k you might as well get the retina macbook pro. if you like just go to the refub section and they have retina for under 1k before tax.

    the broadwell 14nm die size is more efficient therefore u get better battery life

    plus the ssd will make the whole experience more snappy, with a 500gb its gonna feel sluggish til u put a ssd in there.

    4gb is enough for now but it looks like u only upgrade like once every 10 years, if thats the case than definitely get the latest and greatest cause its gonna be another 10 years til u get another upgrade.

    as for optical just get a usb one.
  3. three4rd thread starter macrumors newbie

    Apr 18, 2015
    I should have clarified....I meant MBP. The retina version would be around $1400-1500. I don't do refurbished. I want new. Thanks so much for your suggestions! I'm sure I would probably not upgrade for another 10 years. Why would the 500 GB hard drive seem sluggish? I would think the processor, moreso than the type of hard drive is a greater determinant of how fast the machine operates (?)
  4. ilikewhey macrumors 6502

    May 14, 2014
    nyc upper east
    because ssd drives down the loading time for retrieving info from storage to be processed. it makes everything "instant"

    just search a youtube vid of ssd vs hdd and you'll see what i'm on about.

    if you like to hold onto things for long as possible, i would advise the new broadwell 5th gen macbook pro retina. since its the tick of intel's plan, you got at least 3-4 years before another die shrink.
  5. three4rd thread starter macrumors newbie

    Apr 18, 2015
    Here is where I have a hard time convincing myself to get a 3rd generation model: to get comparable specs in a 3rd generation MBP (2.5GHz or better processor, 8 GB RAM, and 500 GB storage) that I can find in a 2nd generation machine, I'm looking at paying around $1700 - which would be for a 2.9 GHz. It appears that the 2.7 GHz / 8 GB configuration is not available at more than 256 GB Flash. The same specs I'm talking about can be found in a 2nd generation MBP for around $1100....PLUS I wind up with the built-in superdrive. I'm just having a hard time seeing the value of spending the extra $600 for what would be a newer processor, retina display, and SSD. If I can walk into an Apple store, try both generations and actually feel that there IS a big difference between the two - then I'd have an easier time justifying spending more money. Not trying to be hard-nosed or tight-fisted, but I'm just not sure that the extra value is there. I guess I'm having a hard time feeling that 256 GB of flash memory is better than 500 GB of regular hard drive. With the new MBP, I'm still losing out on close to 250 GB of space. So I'm paying more but getting less (unless I go with the $1700 model). $1400 only buys 256 GB SSD.
  6. Samuelsan2001 macrumors 604

    Oct 24, 2013
    There is a massive difference

    And it is tied to much better graphics, faster CPU but mainly the SSD, SSD's are the biggest thing to happen to computers in the last decade and they really are that good. I would keep all my files on an external drive and run a tiny 64gb SSD rather than have a slow 500GB HDD in my computer, they make that much difference.

    The other big thing is a retina display, this is how you interact with your laptop most and it makes all the difference great for photos and videos, of course, but it with text where it really shines it is more like reading a printed page, also the IPS panel gives fantastic viewing angles and the antiglare coating is actually a bit of a help. It is worth the money just for this but with the better graphics CPU and SSD it makes it a no brainer.

    You will also get thunderbolt 2 and AC wireless, a far lighter and more portable machine, and better battery life. They really are a much better PC for the money...

    I know you said you want new but really take a look at the savings on apples refurb page. They are as new with new batteries and any problems replaced with new components, many are just those sent back because people changed their minds... Apart from the box they are as new and a great deal if the cash is important to you.
  7. three4rd thread starter macrumors newbie

    Apr 18, 2015
    Ilikewhey and Samuelsan2001,

    Thanks so much for your replies. I really appreciate it. It does sounds like it would be worth my time to visit the apple store and check out a few newer models that have SSD and Retina display. You both make a pretty compelling case for the difference between HDD and SSD. I am a bit disappointed that, from what I've been reading, the newer MBP is not as readily recyclable - something about Apple having glued the battery to the casing. There is some debate, even between recycling officials, as to whether or not this makes things more difficult.
  8. RedRaven571 macrumors 65816


    Mar 13, 2009
    I know you said you didn't want refurb, although it is an excellent deal, I just got a refurb mid 2012 15" cMBP for $1099 (2.3 gHz quad core i7, 4GB RAM and the 500GB HDD); it comes with the same 1 year warranty as a new unit, and the ability to extend to 3 years via Applecare (just like new).

    But, each to their own.

    My main point is I wanted this particular model because it was the last with optical drive and user upgradable RAM, HDD/SSD, and battery (if outside the warranty period).

    $50 got me 8GB of Crucial RAM (from Amazon) and I already had a 500GB SSD that was in my 2008 MBP. I just pulled the SSD and dropped it into this MBP and it really flies (and runs much cooler than my old C2D model, too); if you want to keep it for a long time, and if you're not locked into the retina display, and want to be able to upgrade RAM, etc. at a later date, this is a really good choice (or, at least it was for me).

    just my $.02.
  9. snaky69 macrumors 603

    Mar 14, 2008
    Apple refurbished products are almost better than new. They replace the topcase, battery and anything else that could show use. They go through a second round of QC that new models don't, then get repackaged as a new machine would be (minus the box, they use a regular old brown or white box).

    They come with the same 1 year warranty a new machine has, and are eligible for AppleCare.

    The only real difference to you is the box(if you care about that sort of thing) and the price.
  10. three4rd, Apr 20, 2015
    Last edited: Apr 20, 2015

    three4rd thread starter macrumors newbie

    Apr 18, 2015

    I have been researching further about refurb and it really does seem like an excellent way to go. I always sort of equated 'refurb' with 'used' but now I see that is not really the case. With the same warranty as new, it appears you really can't go wrong. And, as Snaky69 just mentioned, with the stringent testing that these machines undergo, it is almost like better than new. So I will definitely keep my eye on the apple refurb section of the website.

    I am still not sold on SSD vs. HHD though. There is a thread on this forum dealing with SSD problems that does not do much to instill confidence. I'm not sure if the long-term reliability exists compared to HHD, which has been around for three decades. It almost seems that if an SSD fails it tends to be more complete and catastrophic in nature than issues that develop with HHD. When transistors and such start to go, it can take the SSD with it. A bit scary. If it can be shown to me at the apple store that SSD is that much faster, it might help to sell me. Although achieving the fastest available processing speed is not really a critical factor at all for me. Otherwise I would not still be using a 2003 imac running at 1.25 GHz with less than 1 GB of RAM. If I can get a laptop where Safari doesn't suddenly close so often, youtube videos run faster and smoother, and the general operation is faster overall (looking at the little spinning wheel all the time waiting for the computer to do something has gotten a bit old after 12 years...), and has more space than the approximately 4 GB that I left on my 60 GB hard drive, I'll be more than pleased!

    RedRaven571....I believe my inclinations are much like yours with regards to looking for a MBP...I still like the 2nd generation models such as the MD101ll/a (which is what you bought I believe) that has the superdrive, and good specs overall. I don't need the best that is out there, but if it is a better value for the money, I'm certainly willing. What a tough decision this is! Unless the SSD and retina display totally wow me when I see them at the store....I keep leaning towards the 2012 MPR.
  11. snaky69 macrumors 603

    Mar 14, 2008

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