Buying a new Macbook Pro, upgradable?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by happyfish., Jun 1, 2013.

  1. happyfish. macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2013
    #1
    Questions about memory and harddrive upgrades. I am a college student and am looking to buy a new laptop during the back to school promotion which I was led to believe will start with the new MacBooks after WWDC. I am wondering what to get in order to get the most for my money as well as long term value. I am inclined toward the non-retina 13" MacBook Pro as I am worried about long term battery depletion (over 5 years) plus I like having an optical drive for when traveling the developing world where internet is not a fact of life. The set up I am looking at currently is the

    13-inch: 2.9GHz
    2.9GHz dual-core Intel Core i7
    Turbo Boost up to 3.6GHz
    8GB 1600MHz memory
    750GB 5400-rpm hard drive1
    Intel HD Graphics 4000
    Built-in battery (7 hours)2

    My question is can the hard drive be upgraded to a SSD after purchase either on my own or by a retailer and can the memory be upgraded and if so what to? If I were to buy the lowest level of HDD and memory from Apple would I be able to upgrade via 3rd party without voiding my Apple Care? Also I would be able to get the student discount which i think saves $10 off memory upgrades and $20 off of hard drive upgrades, is that worth doing through Apple or would a OWC SSD still be better/cheaper. I will be using the laptop for travel (internet/email/DVDs), office suite apps/school work, light photo editing and movie screen sharing via Apple TV. Any thoughts? Thanks
     
  2. hallux macrumors 68020

    hallux

    Joined:
    Apr 25, 2012
    #2
    You'll save more than that student discount if you get your SSD elsewhere. Also, OWC isn't the end-all of Mac upgrades. Apple uses a standard SATA connection, pretty much ANY SSD will work, many here use the Samsung 840 series. Same goes for memory, there's nothing special about Macs there either.

    Upgrading those yourself will NOT void your warranty.
     
  3. B... macrumors 68000

    B...

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2013
    #3
    HDD and memory are upgradeable without voiding the RAM. The memory can be bumped to 16GB and any old SSD (I like the Samsung 840) will be fine.
     
  4. happyfrappy macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2007
    Location:
    Location eh?
    #4
    I've owned a few Apple portables over the years and the batteries are still usable after 3+ years--on average 5-8% battery capacity loss is common(200-250 charge cycles per year). My old 2010 13" MBP still clocks about 7 hours for MS Office tasks, the integrated battery has handled age better than my older 12" PowerBook G4 with a removable battery.

    Don't expect much for back to school with Apple, the past two years it was just iTunes/Mac AppStore credit and Apple Dealers usually offer more useful discounts(Parallels free after mail-in rebate or accessories bundle). Shop around instead of settling with the Apple education discount, Microcenter for example has undercut Apple by $100-200 and they add another discount if you buy Microsoft Office for OS X at the same time. Another option is watch Amazon Warehouse Deals, items marked "Used-Like New" are dented box, still sealed MacBook Pro and not a customer return--I saved $250 this way :cool:

    If you're a student looking for the most bang for the buck/use the MBP 3-4yrs, I'd lean towards the 15" MBP as the dGPU will extend the usefulness as software makers are off-loading acceleration to the GPU and being stuck with an Intel IGP can be a mixed bag down the road(if you dual boot, Intel has a habit of end-of-life IGP drivers when a new CPU launches so the next Windows release may lack support/less power adjustment options--typically you're stuck hoping Apple/Microsoft includes their own WHQL certified driver). On the other hand if you plan to use the MBP for OS X only, sticking with the high-end 13" MBP is perfectly good enough if Apple opts for the faster mobile IGP version of Haswell processors-I have my doubts, I think the better Intel IGP may only get used for the rMBP. If all else fails, you could get a 2012 refurb or closeout, you'd save enough to put towards SSD+RAM.

    As far as upgrades, Samsung is the fastest aftermarket option at a reasonable price and if you need more than the stock memory the tricky thing is prices have been rising. In April I paid $70 for 16GB, I have a sinking feeling you'll be paying closer to $150 by August/Sept due to Windows 8 being such a flop for OEMs(less PCs being sold= higher component prices).

    ...in my opinion I didn't bother waiting for Haswell after seeing the i7 benchmarks, 5-8% faster vs Ivy Bridge isn't big so you're just getting a faster Intel IGP and a slim power savings(varies upon which IGP is used, Intel's fastest IGP will use more power-somewhere between a Radeon 6630M-6750M/GeForce 640M)
     
  5. ecschwarz macrumors 6502a

    ecschwarz

    Joined:
    Jun 28, 2010
    #5
    I agree with the other statements above - I was in the market for a new Mac for awhile and was leaning towards a Mac mini (already had a display, keyboard, and mouse), and didn't really need a portable Mac. However, with the even lower price on the 13" MacBook Pros, Apple's return window (14 days and no restocking fees), and a fairly proven design, I picked one up. I got the higher end model mostly for the i7 CPU, but the extra RAM was a plus (Apple has gotten pretty fair with their RAM prices these days - usually about $10 over doing it yourself). The 8GB RAM in mine hasn't even fully been utilized (zero page outs to disk), so you may just wait and see if going to 16GB of RAM is worth it for you right now.

    As far as upgradeability, it's very easy to upgrade and replace components in these machines. The hard drive can be replaced with any old 2.5" SATA drive (so a 7200rpm hard drive or SSD). You can even replace the optical drive with another hard drive or SSD (with a little bit of OS X command line work, you could even use this to make your own homemade Fusion Drive). I've performed a number of upgrades in these machines for friends, and as long as you follow directions, should be fine:

    http://www.ifixit.com/Guide/Installing+MacBook+Pro+13-Inch+Unibody+Mid+2012+Hard+Drive/10378/1

    http://www.ifixit.com/Guide/Installing+MacBook+Pro+13-Inch+Unibody+Mid+2012+RAM/10374/1

    If Apple does the back-to-school promotion, it'll probably be a Mac App Store gift card (gone are the free-iPod-after rebate days), and my money is on that appearing after WWDC. Then again, that Mac may be discontinued by then, so you might get some better closeout deals.

    It sounds like that machine would be more than fine for your needs (probably even something just a bit older), although I'm a bit foggy on what models prior to the current ones support AirPlay Mirroring. Then again, you can also grab a cheap Mini DisplayPort to HDMI cable from MonoPrice and then be able to connect to any HDTV you come across. :)

    Good luck!
     
  6. hallux macrumors 68020

    hallux

    Joined:
    Apr 25, 2012
    #6
    A quick Google search reveals mid-2011 and newer http://support.apple.com/kb/ht5404
     

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