Best for me: 2011 AG cMBP v 2012 glossy cMBP?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by chris92825031, Dec 3, 2013.

  1. chris92825031 macrumors newbie

    Dec 3, 2013
    My 15” 1GHz Titanium PowerBook is finally dying after a decade of faithful service. I like to buy the best machine I can and run it into the ground.
    My next one needs to be portable (weekly not daily), do the usual MS Office/browsing/e-mail but also some video encoding for my iPad and I’d like to play some games (nothing too hard core, but given I’m finally getting up to date I want to be impressed). I’ll often be working in trains with overhead bar lights. I’ll use my iPad or TV to watch video.

    I want a 15” MBP. I respect the retina and the relative price premium, but don’t want it – I use the optical drive too much and hate the idea that you can’t upgrade/(easily) repair it. I gather the oldie’s deeper body gives better sound but that’s not a major issue. I also *love* my current matt display and am pretty sure I want another – thing is I haven’t been able to see them in the flesh, though my wife has a white plastic MacBook, if that's comparble to the glossy.

    Looking at refurbs my choices are:

    A) USD 1,449 - a 2012 glossy basic spec (Ivy Bridge quad i7 at 2.3Ghz w/Turbo boost to 3.3GHz, 4/500GB, Intel HD Graphics 4000 & NVIDIA GeForce GT 650M with 512MB of GDDR5 memory) see what I think & maybe buy a glare filter (BTW I can’t find Power Support anywhere, and ppl seem to think Moshi not as good, so not sure what premium one I’d choose).

    B) USD 1,599 - a late 2011 mid spec high res anti-glare (Sandy Bridge quad i7 at 2.5 Ghz, 4/750GB, Intel HD Graphics 3000 and 1GB AMD Radeon HD 6770M).

    C) Wait for a 2012 anti-glare to appear?
    I’d buy an SSD and 16GB RAM from OWC and put the internal in an enclosure for Time Machine duty.

    So it’s a USD 150 difference, 1600 vs 1333MHz RAM, USB 2 vs 3, the graphics, the chip and the screen. I’m least worried about USB – I don’t often move large volumes of data, and there’s FW and Thunderbolt for that. Looking at Geekbench the basic 2012 should be slightly, but only slightly, faster overall. And then the screen isn’t just matt but high-res in the 2011.

    Should I be looking anywhere else and what should I do? If screen filters are reliable (and I’m quite good at installing things) I think I value the 2012’s performance over the 2011’s high-res. But after a lot of research I just can't decide!

    Your advice/experience/prejudices all gratefully received!

  2. alphaod macrumors Core


    Feb 9, 2008
    This one is tough call.

    I would prefer USB 3.0 and that faster graphics processor, but that low resolution display just doesn't do it for me. The high resolution option is just much better and it's antiglare to boot!

    If you're going to using it for a decade, I would wait it out a bit more for 2012 one with at least the higher resolution display.
  3. saturnotaku macrumors 68000

    Mar 4, 2013
    I went through this exact same debate myself and have revisited it a number of times over the last 12-15 months. While I crave the extra CPU and GPU power of the 2012 MBP, I simply cannot bring myself to get rid of my 2011's antiglare screen. It came in handy yet again when I brought my MBP to the local service center to have my car fixed. The customer seating area was so brightly lit that it would have played havoc with the glossy screen unless I had the brightness turned all the way up. That, of course, would kill battery life. If given the choice, I would always recommend the matte screen. Actually, the $1599 refurbished system you're pointing out is the exact same one I own, and I absolutely love it.
  4. chris92825031 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Dec 3, 2013
    Thank you both! Yeah, on the one hand I know the 2011 will be a huge leap forward and I'd be very happy, but the perfectionist wants to wait since it really is the end of the road for that model. Do antiglares come up often? Given they stopped selling them in October has the moment passed or might one expect to see waranty returns for one year, i.e. to October 2014?
  5. saturnotaku macrumors 68000

    Mar 4, 2013
    It's entirely possible that Apple could get another shipment of 2012 cMBPs with antiglare, but there's no way of knowing unless you check the refurb store daily.

    It might be worth your while to contact the original poster in this thread as he has a 2012 cMBP with antiglare display, upgraded RAM, SSD, and AppleCare until 2015.
  6. SpecFoto, Dec 3, 2013
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2013

    SpecFoto macrumors member

    Oct 23, 2013
    So Cal
    Let me ask you, if the screens were the same which would you buy? For me it was easy, Today I ordered the 2012 15" MPB from Apple refurb and pocketed the $150. With the savings buy this:

    I like the standard screen for my photography work, only in unusual situations is the anti-glare needed, then I simply adjust the viewing angle and it goes away. I had a snap on anti glare for my 13" MBP but really never needed it much, and I not planning on buying one for the new 15" MBP.

    Another reason for the 2012 vs 2011, I wanted the USB3, as it seems this is where the small 2.5 external drives are going. I use these small drives for field use, and 2 per year, for safe storage and backup of my photos. Sure FW800 or Thunderbolt is great for Macs, but try finding locally small drives with these connectors, it is getting harder and they are way more expensive. B&H has a 2 TB WD USB3 My Passport for $99, the 2TB My Passport Mac FW version is $169, the 1TB FW version is $119. It is only going to get worse.
  7. librarian macrumors regular

    Sep 24, 2011
    I would not go for the 2011 model. While performance is still very good it lacks USB3 for external storage and the GPU fails after about 2 years of use.
  8. chris92825031 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Dec 3, 2013
    Thank you all, this is really helpful. I should get a move on though before the refurb sell out :). (Enjoy your purchase Specfoto, and I totally hear you on the value of using mainstream ports.)

    For my reference, is a white plastic MacBook comparable to a cMBP glossy, or is the latter glossier? I find the plastic MacBook fine...
  9. marvin4653 macrumors regular

    Jun 11, 2012
    The latter is glossier. The cMBPs have an extra pane of glass covering the screen and extending over the bezel. I describe the basic MacBook (and current Air) screen as glossy, while the cMBP is glassy.
  10. NewishMacGuy macrumors 6502a


    Aug 2, 2007
    Obviously we can't tell you what's right for you. My choice would be a hi-res glossy if you can find one, but they're hard to come by. The anti-glare screens certainly benefit from the lack of glare, but they don't look nearly as good IMO - others will obviously disagree.

    The 2012's are probably worth $150 extra for the 650M but I wouldn't rest assured on additional dGPU reliability as they're not old enough yet to tell (the 2011s just started demonstrating significant reliability problems this year).

  11. yjchua95 macrumors 604

    Apr 23, 2011
    GVA, KUL, MEL (current), ZQN
    I have a 2011 15" MBP with the antiglare screen and I agree with you that colors don't look as good, although they're more natural and more accurate. The glossy one is over saturated and over contrasted for my taste.

    PS I'm a photographer.

    I'd stick back to the matte display anytime, because it produces more accurate colors and are closer to what most printers print without color calibration.

    I normally print images off customers' printers on the go, so I need a screen that produces the closest colors to the average printer, so matte it is :)


    My 2011 MBP is already 2 years and 8 months old and nothing has ever failed, except for the battery and the HDD.

    Fixed a new battery and got an 840 Pro 512GB SSD, plus 16GB RAM and it's performing like new.

    I use a CalDigit Thunderbolt Dock to add USB 3.0 capability.
  12. saturnotaku macrumors 68000

    Mar 4, 2013
    I use a calibrated color profile that someone posted on this forum, and the screen looks much better with it. Not as good as the 95% color gamut matte screens I've used on Clevo laptops, but still pretty darn good overall.
  13. librarian macrumors regular

    Sep 24, 2011

    I also have the 2011 model, and its having the death symptoms, as the scribed here:

    the reason of all these failures is unrelated to bad components, but more like to improper thermal paste application and quality. There's simply too much of it and overtime it gets cooked, failing to dissipate the heat.

    First component to go apparently is the SMC, its easily spotted by console error message:

    SMC::smcInitHelper ERROR: MMIO regMap == NULL - fall back to old SMC mode

    this will lead to improper readings.
    After that its only a matter of time before next component get destroyed by heat - usually the GPU will get burned out (unbootable computer) or the GPU solders cracks out Xbox360 style.

    crappy paste quality and application has been heavily documented by at the computer release, and big question was: what will happen in a couple of years with all this paste?
  14. chris92825031 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Dec 3, 2013
    I took the plunge. Happily a 2012 cMBP with AG came up this morning, and with a faster chip (2.6 if memory serves), 8GB of RAM and a 1GB graphics card so I snapped it up. Am feeling very lucky and happy.

    Little bit more expensive, so I think I'll stay with 8GB of RAM for now (unless you all think I should just drop the USD200 now and get it done). I think the SSD is still worth doing today.

    Thank you all - so great to have such quick and helpful answers. Time to put the TiBook and modded Cube to one side...
  15. joepunk macrumors 68030


    Aug 5, 2004
    a profane existence
    Great for you and bummer for me as I was also looking this morning and must have missed it. I've been eyeing the 2011 AG model that is still around for $1600+taxes. But haven't taken the plunge yet.

    Stick with the 8GB ram for now. You have time to upgrade later if you want.
  16. yjchua95 macrumors 604

    Apr 23, 2011
    GVA, KUL, MEL (current), ZQN
    As long as you don't plan to open Photoshop CS6 and VMware Fusion with 4GB allocated to the VM at the same time, 8GB of RAM will do you fine.

    I put 16GB in mine because I always have some Autodesk software that only works on Windows and run it along with PS CS6 in my Mac side.
  17. chris92825031 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Dec 3, 2013
    Thanks again all. After a couple weeks I'm really pleased with the machine and its performance. 8GB of RAM is indeed fine and the Samsung 840 Pro SSD I put in really flies and was dead easy to install. Finally the screen is wonderful and I particularly appreciate the extra resolution the high definition gives. It is a significant extra benefit over the glossy + filter route (cheaper and easier to source as that is).
  18. ecschwarz macrumors 65816


    Jun 28, 2010
    I just came across this thread, but I think you made the right choice - USB 3 seems to be where things are going for drives and are plenty fast for most needs (FireWire and Thunderbolt are great and all, but when you just want a quick backup drive, USB 3 is way cheaper and fast enough). Nice choice on the SSD, too!

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