Buy now or wait? retina MBP pricing in next cycle? retina/ssd worthwhile now?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by Baya87, Nov 13, 2012.

  1. Baya87 macrumors member

    Nov 13, 2008
    This is a particular question about my situation, I am hoping that those of you experienced with the trends of Apple can help.

    I am a college student graduating in December. My comp is 3.5 years old (mid-2009 15" MBP). It is on it's last legs. As in it frequently overheats, battery says "service batter" (I think that is relating to the overheating). It lags freezes for short periods of time on a semi-regular basis. Sooo, I need a new computer.

    I am looking for another 15" MBP, to last 3-4 years technology-wise (not be crazy outdated by that time), but I was only hoping to spend around $2000.

    Are their any indications for when the next update/price reduction will happen? I am thinking February at the earliest?

    Right now my student discount saves me $200 on a computer. What is the likelihood that retina MBP pricing will decrease at least $200 next cycle?

    i.e. should I try to hold out on my current computer as long as possible (hoping for performance upgrade/, or just bite the bullet and buy now?

    I'd really like a SSD/retina display, but that doesn't seem feasible currently with my ideal price range.

    The model I am currently looking at:
    2.3GHz Quad-core Intel Core i7, Turbo Boost up to 3.3GHz
    8GB 1600MHz DDR3 SDRAM - 2x4GB
    750GB Serial ATA Drive @ 7200 rpm
    SuperDrive 8x (DVD±R DL/DVD±RW/CD-RW)
    MacBook Pro 15-inch Glossy Widescreen Display, AppleCare Protection Plan $2,163.00. (with student pricing)

    I don't need 750 GB of storage, but I have heard that 7200 is a noticeable improvement over the 5400 ,pm? and there is no 500 GB w/ 7200 rpm.
    My main concern is that next upgrade things will be dramatically better/cheaper and I will regret not getting the SSD or retina. Or that 3 years from now, anyone who doesn't have SSD/retina will look archaic technologically.

    General thoughts from people are appreciated.
    Thank youu.
  2. Spink10 Suspended


    Nov 3, 2011
    Retina from Amazon - no tax in some states (if you dont report it) - something like this an option?

    If you dont know - just wait until you need to make a move.
  3. zhenya macrumors 603


    Jan 6, 2005
    I would try a fresh install of OSx. If that seems to improve things I would max out the RAM and purchase an inexpensive SSD and replace the battery if necessary. A 2009 model with a SSD will feel much faster than a new rMBP without a SSD, and you'll save over $1500.

    There is nothing you need to do as a student that your existing laptop can't do with a do few minor upgrades.
  4. gnasher729 macrumors P6


    Nov 25, 2005
    Less than $300 for a new battery, a modern hard drive, some additional RAM, and your MBP is as good as new. The battery is probably the most expensive bit. If you can handle a screwdriver, you can do it. So far you MBP cost probably about $500 / year. For $300, it will last another 3 years.
  5. Baya87 thread starter macrumors member

    Nov 13, 2008
    hmm. I hadn't really considered that option of just revamping it! Not a bad idea. Is there a webpage/how-to on where/what to buy? I think I could figure it out, however, not sure if advice was already all in one place?

    An additional concern I had was, what if it is not a battery problem (causing the "service battery" but a motherboard problem? That would be very expensive, yes? Is there a way to tell? My last computer had its motherboard replaced (under applecare), so I am worried that it might be something similar. I did bang it around a bit bringing it to class in a shoulder bag.
    I have had a couple of occasions where it was lagging so bad, I did a restart, and it got stuck at the grey screen and went no further. :( Once I had to reinstall lion completely as nothing else worked (this was about 6 months ago), another time it happened again, but it worked after a 2nd restart and a lot of waiting (happened recently, hence my looking at current models). (Would a SSD fix this?)
    I do disk verifications/permissions repairs on a fairly regular basis and use Onyx.

  6. Cougarcat macrumors 604

    Sep 19, 2003
    You can check your battery health with cocoanut battery, and you can try running Apple Hardware Test ( to see if it finds anything.
  7. BeginnerXP macrumors newbie

    Jul 26, 2011
    Next refresh of Apple laptop lines will be in second half of 2013 because that's the earliest availability of Haswell (about 8-9 months from now). So I don't think we'll see any update to Ivy Bridge macs in February. Mac Pro might see an update in the first half of 2013, if Apple still wants to continue that line.
  8. oldtime macrumors 6502

    Nov 27, 2007
    I think it'll be 2014 before the price of retina decreases somewhat significantly.

    Take the advice of others and see if your current laptop can be resuscitated. If you don't NEED to buy now, it's always better to bite the bullet and wait until you actually do.
  9. 8281 macrumors 6502

    Dec 15, 2010
    I would also recommend just upgrading your existing machine. You'll save tons of money in the end, and the Core 2 Duo in your current Macbook should be fine for you.

    Check out ifixit for instructions on adding RAM, and replacing the battery and hard drive.
  10. gnasher729 macrumors P6


    Nov 25, 2005
    Where are you? is a good place for RAM. There are other good places; Crucial is not the cheapest, but the advantage is that they don't sell this and that kind of RAM, but they sell specifically for all the different Mac models. So you look up your Mac, then buy 8 GB for it (likely very cheap). And RAM for a 2009 MBP is so cheap, it doesn't make much difference where you buy.

    Hard drives: Many places. In the UK, as an example. Replacing the hard drive in a MBP is very easy (you do need a tiny screw driver, Philips #0 or #00; I got a set for £2 at a DIY store). You do need a complete Time Machine backup - but if your Mac is "on its last leg" then you need a Time Machine backup anyway (and if it is brand new, you also need a backup). A 2009 hard drive will be _a lot_ slower than a new one. SSD is even faster, but even a 500 GB 7200 rpm drive is likely a _huge_ improvement. (A tip: If everything else is equal, a bigger hard drive will be faster).

    The battery: I'd go to an Apple Store. I bought a replacement for a 2006 MBP off eBay. I swear it looked identical to an Apple battery, but it didn't last very long. But just go to the Apple menu, "About This Mac", click on "More Info", "System Report", then click on "Power" and it tells you everything about the battery. If you ask them nicely at the Apple Store they will first check if there is anything really wrong with your Mac.
  11. Baya87 thread starter macrumors member

    Nov 13, 2008
    I live in the US. (Washington DC area)

    I did run the hardware test and it fortunately/unfortunately found no trouble. It doesn't seem like I have a software problem though... hmmm. I'll have to try the reinstall.
    Side story: I once restored from time machine incorrectly, the proper "restore" wasn't working, so I just dragged files from time machine. Apparently the wrong way. the files still work, but I have all sorts of permission problems on my old files, that I can only fix by changing each file individually, and not all at the same time. I wonder if that has to do with anything.

    I'll definitely look into upgrading vs buying as I was at the Apple store, and I didn't feel like they were that many lightyears ahead of what I have now...especially for $2000+. :)

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