Better of older MBPs to buy?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by Lesly, May 4, 2018.

  1. Lesly, May 4, 2018
    Last edited: May 5, 2018

    Lesly macrumors newbie


    May 4, 2018
    Pacific Northwest
    After doing a lot of research and buying and then returning a new PC system, it seems like I’ve reached an impasse with PCs. I need a computer system to do some fairly simple office tasks, photo editing and relatively low-level video editing. It’s the video editing that creates the problem, because in the PC world that seems to mean one has to basically have a gaming system and that’s $2-3K before even getting to a proper matching monitor. So I’ve arrived at a point where I believe an older MacBook Pro makes the most sense for me. Aware that the newer MBPs are inferior to their 2012-2015 MBP Retina counterparts, I’m seeking suggestions and advice on which of the older MacBook Pro models, of which I’m learning there are many, might best suit my sub-professional needs. I'm thinking about using "Final Cut Pro" or "Avid Media Composer" for video editing, "Gimp2" for photo editing and "Softmaker Office Suite" for word processing and spread sheets. I’d be much obliged to get word from you as to which models you’d prescribe for a budget hovering around $2K. Thanks a bunch.
  2. Audit13 macrumors 68040


    Apr 19, 2017
    Toronto, Ontario, Canada
    Listing the programs you intend to use may help in making your decision in terms of storage size, ram, screen size, portability, etc.

    Are the programs you intend to use available for and compatible with macOS?

    What is your budget?
  3. Anarchy99 macrumors 6502a

    Dec 13, 2003
    correction for you: you meant the 2012-2015 Retina MacBook Pro's not 2013 - 2016
    2016 form factorwise is same as the current 2017.

    anyway the 2013-2015 Macbook Pro uses PCIe based SSDs vs the 2012 using much slower SATA based SSD's for that reason alone I'd say your options should be between the 2013-2015 Models.

    if you care about the SSD speeds which to be fair they are fast in all those models.
    they are the fastest in the 2015 Models (4xPCIe vs 2xPCIe) so personally I'd look for a 2015.
    (which I did, i upgraded to the 2015 from the 2012)

    the 15" 2015 Model with descrete graphics is the most powerful both in CPU,GPU and SSD speeds.
    but basically if your size conscious go for the 13" models or 15" if you prefer power/no comprimises.

    another thing to remember is every mac since like 2011 has had thunderbolt and with that you can use a eGPU (a box with a standard PCIE graphics card) even my 2012 model which only had thunderbolt one on a external display you loose about 15-20% or so performace over the card being in a mac pro tower or hackintosh etc. (atleast in gaming when i tested it) on the internal display is where the bottleneck really hit but thunderbolt 2 on the 2013+ models helps with that significantly

    also you can buy adapters for m.2 SSDs (2013-2015 or MSATA on the 2012) so internal storage can be upgraded.

    when I was looking for my 2015 my goal was best CPU and most ram (because those cant be upgraded later)
    descrete GPU perfered (so i wasnt tethered to a desk with my GTX1070 eGPU)
    and the smallest SSD so i could throw a large Samsung EVO in there because it was a cheaper way to get more internal storage.

    sorry for the rambling, hope this helps :D
  4. Fishrrman macrumors P6


    Feb 20, 2009
    The answer is easy:
    Get an Apple-refurbished 2015 design MacBook Pro (13" or 15") in the configuration you want.

    Also be aware that the 2015 MBPro 15" with integrated GPU is still being built and sold "as new units" by Apple. But you have to "dig for them" to find them at
  5. jksu macrumors regular

    Nov 26, 2009
    yup, of that generation, the last model year, 2015, was the pinnacle...fasted SSD, latest wifi 802.11ac and nicest trackpad.

    i got a 15" 2014 just recently for $800 on ebay and it's a beast. use it for my aging eyes as a desktop replacement as i've had to do more writing recently. i also have a 13" 2016 mbp non-touchbar that had replaced a 11" mba and it's my travel computer. have had rare space bar and arrow keys sticking issues but self-resolved and probably rare since i use a keyboard cover. slick computer but wish it was just a bit more bullet-proof like the mba.
  6. Lesly thread starter macrumors newbie


    May 4, 2018
    Pacific Northwest
    Thank you Audit13 for replying. I'm thinking about using "Final Cut Pro" or "Avid Media Composer" for video editing, "Gimp2" for photo editing and "Softmaker Office Suite" for word processing and spread sheets. I’m hoping to hover around $2K for cost, but could stretch to $2.5K if it would mean a more trouble free experience.
    --- Post Merged, May 5, 2018 ---
    Thank you Anarcy99 for responding to my plea for help. Sorry for my ingnorance, but if I'm understanding you correctly, you're suggesting a: 2015 Model MBP with "discreet" GPU, maximum RAM and inherent upgradeable/modifiable storage. What I think I additionally need to grasp better is what you mean when you say model. I suspect that translates to "MGXG2LL/A", "MJLT2LL/A", etc. for example. So I guess my question is what specific model designation is your 2015 system. I'm also interested to know more about your use of "discreet" when referring to the GPU. What does "discreet" describe about the GPU? Thanks again, you've been a big help already.
    --- Post Merged, May 5, 2018 ---
    Thank you Fishrrman for your direction. Much appreciated. When you refer to configuration, I'm surmising that you mean the CPU speed, GPU capability, amount of RAM, type of drives, etc. What would you recommend those values to be? Please bear with me, I am trying to keep up.
    --- Post Merged, May 5, 2018 ---
  7. Rhinoevans macrumors 6502

    Oct 5, 2012
    Las Vegas, NV
    I have been looking to upgrade from my 2012 13 MacBook Pro. It was upgraded with 16Ram and a 512 Samsung SSD. Spent the last two years look at the new 2016 and 2017. Was sold on the new ones till the keyboard issue. I never buy Apple care. Just last week I bought an open box 2015 15 which was marked down 25%. It is the base model with 256. Had the option for the dGPU and 512 SSD but it was $375 more. Didn't need the dGPU but the larger SSD would have been nice. I really love the 15 inch, the I7, and the Retina display. Also so thin. It had 1 battery cycle. I love it. No regrets. BTW the ports are nice.
  8. baypharm macrumors 65816


    Nov 15, 2007
    My 2010 MBP 17” is still going strong. Love the antiglare screen.
  9. Anarchy99, May 5, 2018
    Last edited: May 5, 2018

    Anarchy99 macrumors 6502a

    Dec 13, 2003
    Basically yes if you wanted no compromises the fasted CPU, GPU and storage MJLU2LL/A*

    the reasons i mention upgradable storage is if your technically inclined and want to upgrade the storage yourself it is possible for any Retina Macbook Pro 2012 through 2015. (guides are on youtube and the internet)
    and when doing my own searches online over the years I found that many used Macbook Pro's have the drives pulled because people keep there data and sell off the rest of the machine.
    so for example you may find a MJLU2LL/A* with the 1TB SSD already removed or downgraded to a smaller size and its cheaper to get a m.2 ssd and 15$ adapter to give it storage again then buy a used 1tb model that someone pulled from there MJLU2LL/A*

    that was the case with mine it was a MJLU2LL/A* and someone swapped the 1tb drive for a 256gb so they could keep there data,so i got the laptop cheaper than it would have been listed if it had it original drive and rather than paying $1200 Canadian for a replacement 1tb someone pulled from there MJLU2LL/A* I spent less than that on a 2tb m.2 drive and a 20$ sintech m.2 adapter.

    I say “2015 model” as in the 2015 category of retina MacBook pros in general, rather than name a specific apple identifier for a specific laptop "MGXG2LL/A", "MJLT2LL/A", etc. for example.

    primarily i do this because everyone use case is different and what i need isn’t necessarily what you need so i rather educate on the differences so people can weigh the pros and cons of the choices for themselves.

    if i didn’t say “2015 model” and just said “retina MacBook pro” I could mean any machine from 2012 to 2015 even though they have differences in CPU, GPU and SSD speed.

    I have a MJLU2LL/A* its is the 15" 2015 Retinal macbook pro with the discrete graphics (which in the 2015 is a AMD Radeon R9 M370X) 16gb of ram, and the 2.8ghz processor so that is the highest ram, CPU and best graphics of all the 2015 models
    it should have had a 1tb SSD that was pulled prior to my puchase so i put a 2tb m.2 SSD inside and used a sintech adapter that takes a standard m.2 drive and makes it fit in the slot of the 2013 to 2015 macbook pros

    Discrete graphics it Is what the computing industry means if you have a GPU in addition to the one built into the motherboard. So an AMD Radeon card or a Nvidia GeForce card versus Intel integrated graphics which is built in.

    saying discrete graphics isnt naming a specific model or brand it just denotes having something other then the Integrated graphics.
    the macbooks with discrete graphics also have the Integrated graphics which they use when discrete graphics is not needed to save power/increase battery life. so you get the best of both worlds but discrete graphics models cost more.

    eg. MJLU2LL/A* is a 15" Mid-2015 Apple MacBook Pro with a "Core i7" 2.8GHZ processor (4980HQ) with 1TB Flash and 16GB RAM which originally retailed for US$2699 with 512gb of storage or US$3199 for the 1tb model
    according to everymac there was a integrated graphics only version of same machine (would have had a different model identifier that isn't listed on everymac) but it aparently originally retailed for US$2299

    I tend to max out my machines especially when they have no upgradeable parts which is why i limped along with my dying 2012 model till i found the specific 2015 i wanted at a price i could justify.

    another wrinkle is eGPUs since all these machines have thunderbolt the could use a eGPU which i explained in the original post but can clarify if needed,but the take away is:
    if you work at a desk with the laptop most of the time and dont mind not having alot of graphics power on the go you could have a eGPU box plugged in via thunderbolt may be a option to consider so you can choose a cheaper Integrated graphics model rather then the more expensive discrete graphics ones

    hopes this clarifys things more then muddying the waters
  10. Gravydog316 macrumors 6502


    May 17, 2016
    Saskatchewan, Canada
    Don't get a 2010 or 2011 MBP due to faulty GPUs
  11. Falhófnir macrumors 68030


    Aug 19, 2017
    Another vote for a 2015 15”, probably still the best machine Apple has ever made as far as most normal users are concerned
  12. lambertjohn macrumors 6502a

    Jun 17, 2012
    Second this. My 2010 15" MBP with antiglare screen is running better than it ever has. I've upgraded it to 8GB of RAM and a 256GB SSD, and it keeps up just fine. Love the keyboard! Think it's one of the best keyboards Apple ever came out with, and it's never given me one single issue.
  13. Future-Proof macrumors regular


    Apr 29, 2018
    I've got an Acer Aspire v15 laptop 4GB gtx 950M i5 with turbo boost up to 3.3ghz which can run the latest games so you'd have no trouble with video editing. But the battery lasts only 4-5 hours so it's more of a desktop replacement. Got it brand new for £650. Well below your budget if you can live with the battery life.

    Here are the specs:
  14. Fishrrman macrumors P6


    Feb 20, 2009
    OP wrote:
    "What would you recommend those values to be? Please bear with me, I am trying to keep up."

    I bought a "base model" 2015 MacBook Pro 13", 2.9ghz (I think), 8gb RAM, 256gb SSD.
    Quite satisfied with it.
  15. mikzn macrumors 6502a


    Sep 2, 2013
    FWIW - I have a MBP late 2012 15" i7, and a rMBP mid 2015 15" i7 - both have 16gb memory - here are some comparisons

    Speed - I don't see any difference speed wise between the 2 - I am sure if I did a benchmark the 2015 rMBP would win but I can't notice any real difference speed wise - both have ssd's

    Upgradability - the 2012 MBP is much easier and cheaper to upgrade ( Memory and SSD) and has a CD-drive that I still use occasionally, the rMBP 2015 is not so easy to upgrade the SSD it is a special SSD that is considerably more expensive and hard to source.

    Graphics are much better on the retina 2015 and the graphics card is 1536 MB, so that might be important for your video editing, as well as the 4 core processor.

    Firewire Port - the mid 2012 MBP has a firewire 800 port so can connect to firewire drives and accessories without special adapters and also has a separate microphone and headphone inputs - this is important for me as I have some music and video equipment that uses firewire for connectivity

    The rMBP 2015 is thinner, lighter and sleeker

    I think both will do the job for your above mentioned uses - the MBP 2012 will be less expensive and easier to upgrade for less cost and less hassle, the rMBP has better graphics and processors for video editing but make sure you have the memory and ssd you need "up front" if you purchase a 2013 - 2015 - Lastly the 2013 - 2015 don't have a cd-drive for burning a cd

    hope that helps
  16. Sirchief macrumors newbie

    Jun 25, 2013
    I recently returned a 2017 15" Macbook Pro and purchased the 2015 15" model instead. It is like a breath of fresh air - so much more pleasant to use. The keyboard is immensely superior. The Touchbar didn't do it for me - although the TouchID feature was nice - everything else just slowed me down. No physical ESC key is absurd and the 4 arrow keys are a joke with the new design. Loud/clicky noise, and double characters were occasionally popping up and it was only less than a week old.

    The speed actually will out perform the 2017 model in many heavy cpu intensive tasks, because the 2015 does not throttle down when getting too hot, so it maintains steady power. I also have noticed the battery life is quite a bit better on the 2015 as well.

    Oh, and I have my ports back! HDMI, 2 x Thunderbolt 2, 2 x USB 3.0, SD card slot, and the wonderful MagSafe. I agree with an earlier post - HUGE MISTAKE not implementing MagSafe on the new models.

    Another thing that is ridiculous is the fact that they no longer include the longer extension cord with the AC adapter. Really? Spending 2400 bucks on a laptop and they don't include this cord - shame on Apple for this. How much $$ can this possibly save them?

    I love my Apple gear, but I am not sure I'm fond of the super thin laptop trend - there are simply too many trade-offs that I think are disadvantageous in the long run.

    2015 all the way for me!
  17. illadee macrumors newbie

    Apr 4, 2014

    Nice to hear! you got the one with the intel iris Graphics?

    Still on my MBP2010 and still dont know what to buy next, 2015 vs looking what 2018 brings... its hard ;)
  18. nigelbb macrumors 65816

    Dec 22, 2012
    I have a 2013 15" rMBP & my partner has a 2012 15" Unibody MBP which is physically identical to the 2010 & is a great system but is very bulky & heavy compared to my rMBP.
    --- Post Merged, May 13, 2018 ---
    Similarly in our household. My partner has a 2012 Unibody 15" MBP & I have a late 2013 15" rMBP. Both have 16GB RAM & 1TB SSD.

    Ethernet Port - the mid 2012 MBP has a 1GB Ethernet port so can connect to wired network without a TB dongle

    SD card reader - the late 2013 rMBP has an SD card reader which is handy for reading cards from my cameras without a USB dongle

    The 2012 Unibody does feel very bulky compared to the 2013 rMBP & the latter is faster especially since it's been upgraded with the fastest 1TB SSUBX SSD. Both are great systems but if the 2012 Unibody were to die I would replace it with a rMBP.
  19. TheArchitect345 macrumors newbie

    Oct 23, 2017
    Any idea where to dig exactly? I looked but didn't find it. i'm looking to upgrade my mid-2013 MBA to a MBP but the keyboard issues have me looking at a refurb 2015 instead. If there are new 2015's still being built I'd like to see that option.

    EDIT: I think I just found it.
  20. Miltz macrumors 6502a

    Sep 6, 2013
    New York
    Buying a 2012-2015 Laptop in 2018 isn't a wise move. You've been misinformed about the new models being inferior. Get a new 2017 model with Apple Care and don't worry.
  21. Anarchy99 macrumors 6502a

    Dec 13, 2003
    You've been misinformed about the old models being inferior. Get a 2015 model with a keyboard that doesnt make you want to not use it, not to mention the cost savings of 2015 and ports etc. :D
  22. Fishrrman macrumors P6


    Feb 20, 2009
    Re the 2015 v 2017 question:

    Do you want a computer with a keyboard that won't break, with ports you can actually use, and an overall "more-rugged" design?

    Or... do you want the "latest and greatest we sell!" with all the newest fangles, but with the uncertainty of a keyboard that may be Apple's worst design, ever?

    Your choice.
  23. Future-Proof macrumors regular


    Apr 29, 2018
    Does anyone know where to buy 2015mbp in the UK these days?
  24. Mr Invisible macrumors newbie

    Dec 24, 2016
    eBay often has seller or Apple refurbished models for sale. Got my 2014 rMBP for a great price, and it's an Apple refurb. I'm very happy with it.

    I've also seen some 2015 rMBPs for sale on Apple UK's refurb site, but quite often they have a 256Gb SSD installed, though sometimes I've seen larger capacities for sale. They are also more expensive from Apple when compared to other resellers online.
  25. djt01 macrumors newbie

    Apr 15, 2018
    Not sure if I’d say “the best”.

    I just purchased a new 2015 15” MacBook Pro (2.8GHz i7, 16Gb, 1TB SSD) and received it late last week. It’s a beautiful machine but compared to the 15” 2017 (3.1GHz i7, 16Gb, 1TB SSD, Radeon Pro 560) I’ve had since last summer I wouldn't say the 2015 is the best.

    The keyboard on the 2015 is a little on the mushy side and just like the comments in the reviews the fan does kick in a lot more than on the 2017. Mine was also delivered with two small discoloration spots on the black hinge cover. I’m probably going to send it back for a replacement. If I have issues with the replacement I’m contemplating just replacing it with a new 13” MacBook Pro.

    I intended on using the 2015 for travel only. The 2017 is being used strictly in the office and is connected to a CalDigit TS3 Plus+ dock. The Thunderbolt 3 connectivity has turned the 2017 into an incredible work station.

Share This Page