Best upgradeable second-hand MBP

skilef

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Nov 17, 2018
2
0
First post here! I could not find a thread specifically on this topic, so here goes.

I am thinking about buying a second-hand Macbook Pro to give OSX a real try. I am a Windows fanboy but all my mobile devices are on iOS and I would never part with it so I have the feeling I have not given OSX a serious chance yet.

Anyway, I don't want to spend a lot of money on it right away (let's say 200-400 USD), so I am thinking about buying a second-hand device and upgrading it to the setup I have in mind:
  • Upgrades:
    • SSD
    • Replace optical drive with HDD (if I like the device)
    • RAM to 8GB or 16GB
    • Replace battery
  • Setup in general:
    • As snippy as possible
    • Energy efficient (the longer the battery lasts the better)
    • Leaning towards a 13 inch model (unless quad core is way better for snippyness)
Having done some research:
  • It seems Macbook Pro from 2012 or earlier can still be upgraded pretty easily (HDD, RAM, battery)
  • Some folks say the 2010 models are the best option because there are no potential structural issues (eg with the GPU)
  • On the other hand: 2012 models have USB 3.0 and sometimes quad core (15 and 17 inch)
  • Retina screens became available on 2012 models
  • AC wi-fi won't be an option unless I go for a 2013 model (which is harder to upgrade and probably too expensive).
What would your advise be in this case? Are there any considerations that I am missing?

Thanks in advance!
 

mikzn

macrumors 65816
Sep 2, 2013
1,432
705
Vancouver
The mid-2012 13" model is the best to get.
Yeah - I'll second that - get a mid 2012 or later

I have the 15" Mid 2012 MBP and the 2015 rMBP not much difference in speed / performance but the mid 2012 is a great value and easier to upgrade the SSD - so will be less $$

It is cheaper and less complicated to just put a bigger SSD and forget replacing the the optical drive with an SSD.

That said the 2015 rMBP is thinner, a little faster and the battery lasts 2 times as long as the 2012 MBP - try to get 16g mem if you can
 

skilef

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Nov 17, 2018
2
0
I'd personally consider Metal support to be important (even if you don't plan to run Mojave), which would exclude 2011 and older models.
Thanks, this is something I did not know. Do you want it for gaming or does it also offer significant improvements elsewhere (will check out Mojave myself)?
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I have the 15" Mid 2012 MBP and the 2015 rMBP not much difference in speed / performance but the mid 2012 is a great value and easier to upgrade the SSD - so will be less $$
Thanks for the insights! I do think the 13” mid 2012 MBP still has a dual core, whereas the largel models have a quad core. Is this very noticeable/relevant when also considering the other things in this thread (metal / Mojave)? If there is a big jump in performance (in speed and possibly battery life?) then I might consider the 15”.
 

Fishrrman

macrumors P6
Feb 20, 2009
17,179
5,536
The 2012 NON-retina MacBook Pro's are "what you're looking for".

Don't get anything "earlier".
 

mikzn

macrumors 65816
Sep 2, 2013
1,432
705
Vancouver
Thanks for the insights! I do think the 13” mid 2012 MBP still has a dual core, whereas the largel models have a quad core. Is this very noticeable/relevant when also considering the other things in this thread (metal / Mojave)? If there is a big jump in performance (in speed and possibly battery life?) then I might consider the 15”.
Yeah I think it makes a significant difference - see this link - differences between the "Mid-2012" 13-Inch and 15-Inch MacBook Pro models

Also both my MBP 2012 and rMBP 2015 have the i7 processors - so that is another thing to consider
 

tromboneaholic

Suspended
Jun 9, 2004
3,710
2,925
Clearwater, FL
Thanks, this is something I did not know. Do you want it for gaming or does it also offer significant improvements elsewhere (will check out Mojave myself)?
Mojave requires Metal support, and many apps are written to take advantage of it for performance, especially rendering graphics.