Buying a 2008 MBP

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by encircle, Jul 17, 2011.

  1. encircle, Jul 17, 2011
    Last edited: Jul 17, 2011

    encircle macrumors newbie

    Jun 21, 2009
    My 2008 Dell M1330 is a piece of crap. It constantly over heats the dvd burner doesn't work and the resale value is $150. My parents bought it for me when I started college for at least a grand. I know...should've bought a Mac.

    I wish I could afford a brand new MBP but I'd be saving for a long time considering my salary doesn't allow me to buy a $2000 MBP.

    I was thinking about buying a 2008 15inch MBP from Ebay since I can afford it. Will a 4 year old MBP still have enough life in it to last me a few years? I would be using it for surfing the web, word processing, and heavy photo editing. Or should I just save for a year for a new MBP?

    What are the known issues with the 2008 early/late Mac Book Pros? What is a good price for this model?

    I need advice since I'm completely new to Mac. Thanks so much. :)
  2. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere


    May 16, 2008
    I have an Early 2008 MBP that still runs as good as the day I took it out of the box, over 3 years ago. I'm using it 14+ hours a day, every day. I've never had a problem with it at all. I haven't replaced it because there's simply no need to. The new models don't offer anything I need that my MBP doesn't already do well. As long as you get one that has been cared for, you should be very pleased with it.
  3. encircle thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 21, 2009
    That's good to hear that you're just as happy now with your purchase as you were when you bought it. I'm just wary to purchase off ebay because I'm afraid I might get a "lemon". Although its good to know a MBP from 2008 still runs great in 2011.
  4. cantthinkofone macrumors 65816


    Jul 25, 2004
    Missouri, USA
    I bought my MBP off ebay earlier this year. It came with apple care and a receipt from a apple authorized repair shop in New York for repairs it had received after it was dropped. They installed a new logic board and track pad. It has a small bump above the ethernet port but other than that its in perfect shape. About two months ago the screen bezel started separating from the screen. I still had apple care so apple replaced it. The store in St. Louis said it was a common problem. They put a brand new display on it and replaced the battery. It came with a really banged up battery so they tech replaced it free of charge. $550 worth of parts for free.

    Just read the descriptions well, talk with the seller on the condition or to clear up any confusion. If you can find one with a few months of apple care left even better. I think I have just over 90 days left on mine. I am very happy with my purchase.
  5. GavWhite, Jul 17, 2011
    Last edited: Jul 17, 2011

    GavWhite macrumors newbie

    Jul 16, 2011
    My early 2008 MBP works fine as well after all these years. I have had problems, but only one was a significant issue. The early '08 MBPs fall into a small category of MBPs that suffered from a graphics card issue where I would turn the computer on, but the screen would be black. Eventually this was the case all the time. I brought it in, it was a documented problem that Apple extended the warranty for, and they replaced the motherboard, no problem. As for the insignificant issues, the optical drive eventually lost its ability to burn DL discs after a few years (understood with age), and I'm now on my third battery after the other two died out (I wasn't properly cycling the first, the second was just a bad battery). Apple replaced both those batteries for free.

    The only reasons I've been thinking about upgrading lately are that the hardware isn't quite meeting the requirements for things like Final Cut Pro X (which I'll purchase once I get a new MBP and hopefully most of the promised features make it in), and because Thunderbolt accessories will eventually come around and make my work more efficient. The timing works out... the 2012 MBPs are supposedly a significant redesign rather than just a marginal refresh.

    That said, if you're really only going to be using it for surfing the web, word processing, and photo editing, you might be fine with a MBA instead. It'll cut your costs significantly. Regarding the DVD burner, an external drive would do the trick.
  6. And1ss macrumors 6502a


    Oct 20, 2009
    I have a early 2008 mbp 2.4ghz 4gigs ram. It works great. Aside from a few battery swaps (covered under APP) and recently a screen replacement (light leaks due to age + covered under APP), it has been perfect for the last 3 years.

    I use my laptop daily. I run some of the Adobe software, do some web programming, photography w/ Aperture, etc. It runs fine, albeit a bit slowly, but still great! I can feel the limitation of the computer, especially when i tried FCX, but I still think I can get a couple more years out of this machine.

    I particularly love the 08 design, FW400 + 800 + expressport. Great machine and as long as you don't plan on doing some crazy intense computing, you should be fine.
  7. gmans46 macrumors regular

    Feb 24, 2011
    how much are 2008 mbps going for, like whats your price range?
  8. kellen macrumors 68020


    Aug 11, 2006
    Seattle, WA
    Known issues include the graphics card going out. Really overblown on the web, but still a realistic possibility.

    Besides that I don't know of a single problem specific to that year of MBP.

    I owned one. Worked great with everything I threw at it. Only bad thing buying one is that you would be paying a significant amount of money for an older computer probably not in warranty.

    I sold my 2008 MBP 15" 2.4 ghz with 4gb of ram and a 7200 rpm drive for 850 2 months ago. I felt lucky to get that much. I would think that 700 would be a decent deal and near 500-600 a great deal. However it all depends on the specs and shape.
  9. Panch0 macrumors 6502a

    Feb 23, 2010
    I have a late 2008 15" MBP.
    I want an MBA, because, well, I *want* it. But with my nearly 3 year old MBP I find myself in the fortunate position of not *needing* to upgrade. My MBP is much faster now than when I took it out of the box. I added an SSD and upgraded the RAM from 4 to 8GB (that's overkill, but very inexpensive).

    Note that there are differences between the early and late 2008 MBP. I'm having trouble remembering them, but I think it was something like:
    Unibody Construction
    Multi-touch trackpad (or maybe just an upgraded version)
    Improved Graphics (switchable, but not auto-switching between 9400 and 9600 GPU)

    late 2008 was also the last 15" model with a user replaceable battery.

    When I do upgrade, I don't think it's going to be because of power or usability. It's going to be for improved battery performance and reduced weight. Point being that if you buy a mac book of that generation that has been reasonably well treated, you are going to end up with a very serviceable computer. Not sure how I'd feel about eBay personally; I think I would want to be able to check the laptop out before I bought it.
  10. Apple 26.2 macrumors 6502a

    Apple 26.2

    Jan 1, 2011
    What up, 212?!
    I use an early 2008 WhiteBook 13"; no issues at all (knock on wood!). All I've done for it is put a Speck case on it and an upgrade to 4GB of RAM instead of the stock 1GB... the machine runs beautifully.
  11. andylyon macrumors 6502a


    Jul 23, 2008
    I'm in the same boat, took the words right out of my mouth, got to 100% agree.
  12. mgsquared macrumors newbie

    Jul 1, 2011
    I was in a situation just like yours (there's a dead once super expensive HP Tablet laptop gathering dust on my desk..) and decided to buy a used Mac. I'm a Kindergarten teacher and couldn't afford a new one.
    Extensive research and advice from the nice people in these forums helped me to my decision. The general consensus was that macs last super long! I don't need to worry about viruses, etc. etc.

    There's a slightly geeky deals forum in my country that has a classifieds section and I got a great late 08 unibody aluminum macbook upgraded to a 500gb harddrive and 4gb RAMfor 450 euros with case, receipts, and six months of warranty left on it from a nice IT guy a few hours away (my boyfriend and I made a weekend out of it!). :)

    I got to see it and turn it on and ask questions etc.

    I absolutely do not regret my choice. For all I know I got a new laptop! It's faster than my old fancy shmancy PC laptop and it looks like new. The funny thing with this model is that it looks just like the macbook pro and the specs aren't too different! My laptop even has a backlit keyboard. I asked my boyfriend what the differences between my MB and his MBP are and he couldn't tell me much other than firewire port and slightly better processor!

    I didn't even know what a firewire port was! I use this thing to browse, work on photos, write, download, connect my iphone.. and it works perfectly for all that and I expect it to keep working perfectly for at least two-three more years! Since I received it upgraded it should also handle Lion well.

    I don't programm or do any kind of graphic design or anything that would require the latest and greatest. After this experience I have decided that I am only ever buying used Macs from now on. It is definitely the way to go.

    Do it! You won't regret it!
  13. mrklaw macrumors 68020

    Jan 29, 2008
    I'm in Panch0's shoes. Original unibody MBP late 2008, looking to update. Mainly for battery life. Later MBPs doubled the battery life or more. But it's still a fine machine, and the GPU in the current base 2011 MBP (6490) seems on par with the 2008 9600 (course the CPU creams it)
  14. gpat macrumors 6502a

    Mar 1, 2011
    How much are you going to pay for it, $600? Unless you need a GPU, even the 13" i5 Pro creams the best 2008 MBP you can get.
  15. Liquinn Suspended

    Apr 10, 2011
    Why would you spend so much money on an old bit of kit? By all means go ahead though :D
  16. encircle thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 21, 2009
    That's probably true but I don't want a 13" screen anymore. I've been using a screen size that small for years and I hate it. I need a bigger screen or else I'd be all over the new 13" pro.
  17. encircle thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 21, 2009
    You sound condescending. I thought I made it clear that the reason I want to buy an older MBP is because I don't have 2k lying around for the model I really want. But I do need a new laptop.
  18. gpat macrumors 6502a

    Mar 1, 2011
    Is your problem the screen estate or the actual screen size? If you just need an higher res, the Air 13" might be your best bet. I have a Pro 13", and it actually looks a little cramped when I'm heavily multitasking.
  19. mgsquared macrumors newbie

    Jul 1, 2011
    It works just as well! My new old macbook is running lion and I'm having tons of fun with it and no problems at all. Why pay more when you don't have to? We're talking about over 1200 dollars in savings most likely! You can then save and plan to replace for a new model in some years when the 08 dies (which will be a while!).

    I don't get this whole "latest and greatest" hype! I really don't. I look at the specs and they are really not so drastically different! So why pay more? Let someone else who is obsessed with buying the newest do that! Really. You're a PC user! What if you don't even like using a mac and want to switch back? You'll have spent a fortune! That fear is another reason I bought used but I am happy to report that I love lion! :)

    But anyways, I recommend buying used from a reputable source. You can also look into mac refurbished but it's still super expensive.
  20. Liquinn Suspended

    Apr 10, 2011
    Well true, but the benchmarks get better as the years go on.
  21. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere


    May 16, 2008
    Benchmarks are meaningless, if your computer does everything you need/want it to do, with performance that is acceptable. I never buy computers based solely on benchmarks. If I did, I'd be buying new computers every few months. Once you find a computer that meets your needs, there's no need to upgrade, simply because something newer and faster is available. Most users never come close to the limits of their computers' performance capabilities.
  22. Liquinn Suspended

    Apr 10, 2011
    Agreed tbh, but I'd never spend so much money on something that doesn't have a warranty.
  23. Raje macrumors member

    Mar 2, 2010
    You can get by with a 2008 MBP, but really I think it is a poor investment. It would be 3 almost 4 years old. You can still use it now but in a few years it might become unusable whereas buy a new MBP now would mean you could still use it for 6+ years. Assuming you still have access to your college email account you can get a 15" MBP for $1700 and you can get the $100 Mac App Store gift card as well as a free printer after $100 dollar rebate. If you are settling for a 2008 MBP you don't need the $2K model MBP. The only way I would buy the 2008 MBP was if it were less than $600 anything more and I think it is worth spending the extra money.
  24. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere


    May 16, 2008
    That's certainly your choice. Others have no problem with it.
    Unusable, in what way? I know I'm not the only one who finds that there's nothing I need or want to do that my 3 yr old MBP won't do quite well. I still see no reason at all to switch to a newer model.
  25. Liquinn Suspended

    Apr 10, 2011
    True, that's what I mean. As much as I'd love a Powerbook G4, why would I invest in something so old? Agreed ^_^

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