Buying advice for web developer student - Looking at MacBook Pros 15" from 2012-2015

austriker27

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jan 26, 2008
18
0
So I already have a 2011 MBP that's 11 inches I use as my primary laptop but want to upgrade it to a larger display. I've been getting into web development and while the 11" MBA is awesome the tiny screen isnt great for coding. (And I'll be going to a classroom as a student so an external monitor isnt really an option).

I want to prioritize easy hardware upgrades and speed overall. I won't be doing anything super graphically intense like gaming. Just web development, graphic design and that sort of thing. I also want a good screen, so want to look at only retina displays.

I'd like to replace the hard drive with an SSD and upgrade the RAM, if possible (I know some models apple has made that really hard).

My budget is around $750. Im getting confused doing all sorts of googling and research on different models (I started by looking at 2012 15" MBPs)... What years and which models should I be looking at and why?
 

960design

macrumors 68030
Apr 17, 2012
2,820
832
Destin, FL
My budget is around $750. Im getting confused doing all sorts of googling and research on different models (I started by looking at 2012 15" MBPs)... What years and which models should I be looking at and why?
How about something like this:
https://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?item=9SIAC886A56346

I agree screen size is probably the most important factor. Wait until you get out in the world and start making some serious money before you move on to a MBPr 15.


I'd like to replace the hard drive with an SSD and upgrade the RAM, if possible (I know some models apple has made that really hard).
Very hard is an understatement. Just this fact alone is why I pointed you to the zenbook.
 

austriker27

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jan 26, 2008
18
0
How about something like this:
https://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?item=9SIAC886A56346

I agree screen size is probably the most important factor. Wait until you get out in the world and start making some serious money before you move on to a MBPr 15.


Very hard is an understatement. Just this fact alone is why I pointed you to the zenbook.
Thanks for pointing out the zenbook. Im not comfortable using windows nor linux and want to stay with Apple for now because they are the best for me and web development.

Very hard? Could you expand which years you are referring to ? I've read online people have changed it pretty easily (see iFixit guide here for the 2012 model: https://www.ifixit.com/Guide/MacBook+Pro+15-Inch+Unibody+Mid+2012+Hard+Drive+Replacement/10761) for some MBP years.
 

ZapNZs

macrumors 68020
Jan 23, 2017
2,310
1,150
How firm is the budget and how big of an SSD do you need?

I ask because you can sometimes find the 13-inch 2015 MacBook Pro for under $950 new - this is the base model, with the 128 GB SSD, but it would be a new machine with a warranty.
 

organicCPU

macrumors 6502a
Aug 8, 2016
636
166
Very hard? Could you expand which years you are referring to ?
You are referring to a non retina unibody MacBook Pro (MBP) in your link. Indeed, swapping RAM or HDD is quite simple in those models and there is an excellent availability of drive and memory options to upgrade to.

If you're talking about retina models (rMBP), then that's completely different.
While in the 2016 and up Touch Bar models (tbMBP) RAM and SSD is soldered, an easy upgrade is impossible.
To swap the non Touch Bar rMBP SSD in the 2012 to 2015 often lacks on availability of replacement drives, but can be done: Here on everymac.com are the specs overview of different drives. Upgrading RAM in a retina model is impossible after purchase, except if you are able to unsolder the on-board memory.

As your second requirement besides upgradeability is speed, you should go with a more recent retina model that has the wanted amount of memory already inside (e.g. 16 GB). I recommend looking at the refurbished Macs or the educational offers and try to find a deal you can afford. However, I guess you're going to need 2 to 3 times the budget you mentioned.

If speed is not a such important thing to you and you don't need a retina display, try to find a Mid 2012 MBP 15" (MacBookPro9,1) with an optional 1680 by 1050 pixels (glossy or IMO preferably antiglare) display with processor speeds of up to 2,8 GHz. Those are currently priced to fit inside your budget. Don't forget to add the costs of a SSD upgrade (e.g. 1 GB Samsung 850 EVO) and maybe 16 GB of RAM, although 8 GB would fit, too. That is the latest and fastest model of the series that you linked to in your previous post.
 
Last edited:

kohlson

macrumors 68000
Apr 23, 2010
1,994
539
If the bidvoy link is any indication, you may be able to get a 15-in MBP (late 2013) for under $1000. I have one, and it's a great machine. Geekbench scores are within 5% of the latest 2017 models. Nice, big display, too.