Best Option to Replace 2013 rMBP

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by zachlegomaniac, Jan 27, 2019.

  1. zachlegomaniac macrumors 6502a


    Sep 20, 2008
    Hi there,

    Current Situation:

    I am looking for some advice (obviously, right?). I have a late 2013 rMBP running macOS 10.14 with a 2.4 GHz Intel Core i5, 4 GB MHz DDR3 and a 128 GB SSD.

    The small amount of drive space worked for me before the laptop became my daily driver for work. Now I use it to run a small business and I am constantly trying to manage disk space and what's stored in the cloud. At this moment I have 18.2 MB of available RAM and 8.5 GB available of disk space.

    I use Daisy Disk, Gemini II and Clean My Mac 3 to assist in managing the resources I have on hand. I am tired of trying to decode my 57 GB of "System Space", which appears to be in User - Library - Containers. A guy at the Genius Bar took a look and was as helpful as telling me to download Daisy Disk and wish me luck. Great app, but I still haven't been able to completely resolve my problem.


    I priced out the 13" rMBP with 512 SSD and 8 GB of RAM and it is $2,000.00 USD before tax. Ultimately, I would like to add RAM (+$200.00 USD for an additional 8GB) so I don't run into this problem again in 5 years, which would, of course, increases the cost.

    My business partner has a 2016 13" rMBP and is living the #donglelife. We have to take a lot of photos with our DSLRs and move our laptops around and connect them to various monitors as we have to work at various locations (our business doesn't quite allow for a single office and we often move around a lot in the field). This is a concern of mine, but perhaps we are close to a more streamlined experience with more devices using USB C and it shouldn't be. I could just keep an adapter at each monitor until we upgrade them again in a few years. Any thoughts on this would be great.

    I looked into the TarDisk Pear about a year ago, but decided against it due to a few scary reviews.

    Also, I could add more disk space to this machine. Do you think it would be worth it for a machine of this age? Maybe I could get a couple more years out of it that way? I should mention, I dropped it (not badly) a few months ago and has a small dent and two dead pixels (that are only noticeable when the screen is on, but black).

    Finally, my father-in-law just bought a 15" HP with an Intel Core i5, 512 SSD and 8 GB RAM for $700.00 with all the ports I would need. He thinks I'm crazy for even considering the new rMBP and his opinion doesn't help in my decision making process, but it's still valid.

    I should note I am deeply embedded in the Apple Ecosystem.

    Final Thoughts:

    I wish there was a 2018 (new) model without a Touch Bar and more ports. I'd have a much easier time buying that machine, but since it doesn't exist I'm punting this one out to my fellow MR Members for opinion.

    If you've made it this far thanks for your time!

  2. Nbd1790 macrumors regular

    Jan 2, 2017
    New York
    It seems you're well aware of the ups and downs of the various models. Ultimately, it's going to come down to preference. If you're primarily working in an office / home work space, the dongles won't be quite as big of an issue (currently using a 15 inch 2018 model for my home studio). If you're willing to get a pre owned model, you can always go for a 2015 model with a nice configuration of hard drive space and ram for somewhere around $1000 (maybe a bit less / more depending where you get it from).

    It's really a matter of your preference. The 2018 models will have a significant boost in power when handling heavy tasks, but the 2015 model has a great advantage by having legacy ports. As far as USB-C (TB3) goes, it's extremely convenient when products use it and I would imagine just about everything will use it in within the next few years.
  3. zachlegomaniac thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Sep 20, 2008
    Didn’t even think of the 2015 as a possibility @Nbd1790 . That’s actually a great idea. I’m going to price that out this week. Thanks!
  4. TGM85, Jan 28, 2019
    Last edited: Jan 28, 2019

    TGM85 macrumors member


    Aug 29, 2005
    Adding more disk space to a rMBP is a much ignored but very viable option. Just this weekend I upgraded my 2015 13" rMBP from 128 GB to 480 GB of storage using a Transcend Jetdrive 850. You could upgrade your 2013 rMBP to 480 GB with a Jetdrive 820. It's $269 on Amazon at the moment. There's also a 240GB model available for less.

    Installing the new SSD takes about 10 minutes, Transcend includes the required screwdrivers in the box. Then it's rebooting in recovery mode and reinstalling from a Time Machine backup (or a fresh install if you prefer). The whole procedure took me a couple of hours. I would recommend the SSD upgrade route in your case, it seems like it will give your current machine a new lease of life.

    Full disclosure: there's a cheaper alternative to the Transcend Jetdrive, using a Samsung EVO 970 SSD and a Chinese adapter, there's a 125 page thread on here somewhere with all the details. It will cost less up front, but seems to lead to diverse problems. I decided to take the more expensive route and am quite happy with the results thus far.

    The only downside to the upgrade is that the new SSD seems more power hungry than the old OEM one. The battery life of my MBP has gone down a bit (real world battery life before was about 6 hours, now it's more like 4,5-5 hours). Seems like a fair trade off to me.

    I am very glad with the results in my case. I was also considering a new 2018 MBP but this upgrade has saved me a couple of thousand.
  5. zachlegomaniac thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Sep 20, 2008
    It's funny you mention this. I was on iFixit this morning mulling over whether or not I could pull this off myself without experience. I'm also a little squeamish about the rebooting/recovery mode/installing from backup. What happens to my non-App Store program licenses if I do this? Is that a legitimate concern?

    I found this article detailing how to clone or restore from a time machine backup. I would rely on it to make sure I got everything onto the new ssd.

    I also looked into Tardisk this morning. I could use my SD card slot to permanently add the 128GB Tardisk for $150 to double the amount of drive space of my current machine. I was leaning towards this (since I don't know the level of skill it would take to get the new SSD up and running).

    Maybe I am selling myself short on swapping out the drive? I assume that would be most people's preference over the Tardisk option.

    Also, why Transcend? Most compatible and reliable way to go?

    Thank you.
  6. MSalemHawks macrumors newbie

    May 19, 2017
    Replacing the SSD is pretty easy, I would recommend getting an OWC SSD and toolkit, or the iFixit toolkit. just take care to lay the screws out so you can put them back in the same holes. Do a time machine backup, put in the new SSD and boot of of Apples servers over the internet ( At a point in the installation it asks if you want to restore from a time machine backup and you just pick the one you just did (make sure the drive is connected first) and just let it restore overnight. It really is very easy if you are methodical about it.
  7. Loki.Mephisto, Jan 28, 2019
    Last edited: Jan 28, 2019

    Loki.Mephisto macrumors 6502


    Feb 12, 2005
    Germany / Austria - Mozart, no Kangaroos!
    OWC is rather pricey. Check this thread: #3122

    A suitable adapter is available for roughly 15 bucks; you could fit any NVMe SSD into your device with little sacrifices to make (disabling hibernation).
    E.g. 500 GB Samsung Evo 970 plus Adapter will cost you - depending on location - roughly 120. Note you might need pentalobe screwdrivers (available e.g. on Amazon for about 10-15 bucks)

    I did the conversion on a late 2013 15" MBP; 1 TB SSD; read/write speeds went up by quite a margin. Replacement is pretty easy.

    If you can live with hibernation disabled (no big deal imo, sleep works well) this seems a very reasonable option
  8. TGM85 macrumors member


    Aug 29, 2005
    Installing the new SSD is not very difficult at all, but as MSalemHawks said, it's best to be methodical while performing the upgrade. iFixit has a great step-by-step guide on how to do it.

    There are many guides available online that cover the recovery process. Here's what I did:

    1) install new SSD
    2) reboot, hold Option-⌘-R
    3) wait for internet recovery to load (this can take a long time, 10 minutes or more)
    4) use disk utility to format and partition new SSD
    5) recover from Time Machine backup
    6) reboot and enjoy more than 300 GB of available disk space

    SD card slot expansions are an option that's out there, but I decided against using those. Felt kind of half-assed to me.

    I chose a Transcend drive based on the excellent reviews it had on Amazon.

    As Loki.Mephisto has pointed out there's also a less expensive DIY option, but that does seem to be somewhat more problem prone than the Transcend drive. YMMV. I was OK with spending more on a prebuilt solution that doesn't require fiddling with adapters and bootroms, but if you're into that kind of thing you can absolutely save money by going the DIY route.

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