Cheapest MacBook Pro: good enough?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by printz, Dec 23, 2012.

  1. printz macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Dec 23, 2012
    #1
    Hi,

    I'm thinking about buying a MacBook Pro when my current MacBook (cheapest early-2008) dies or becomes too old for the software. I'm aiming for the cheapest model because I think it will be enough for my needs.

    So, I'm asking of anyone who has bought the cheapest MacBook Pro model...

    Does it work just fine with the default specs? Can you run, on Mountain Lion, many apps at the same time (including Xcode, App Store, Safari, iTunes, Word, Excel, LimeChat...), while having 4 GiB RAM (as-bought)? And becoming even better once you upgrade to 8 GiB RAM...

    I'm planning to install Windows 7 or 8 through a virtual machine (probably VirtualBox), so probably I'll get 8 GiB RAM from a non-Apple store (I hope that works on non-Retina laptops).

    Is the "Core i5" noticeably faster than a "Core 2" with the same frequency and number of cores?

    Are they reliable and future-proof -- can they live for more than 4 years (even if you have to replace the battery at some point)? Do (non-vital) components start to break (such as the display)? Does it overheat unhealthily?

    My MacBook has the older trackpad, with visible button. Is the newer, multi-touch trackpad fast enough to use? I tried it a little while in a store, and my finger tended to slip while attempting to press the button. I prefer to work with tap-to-click turned off...

    Is Intel HD 4000 much better than GMA? Can it run apps like Autodesk 123D Design?
     
  2. chibiterasu macrumors 6502

    chibiterasu

    Joined:
    Apr 5, 2012
    Location:
    London, The United Kingdom
    #2
    I have the cmbp 2012 I used to have a white core 2 duo macbook 2010, the 2012 is twice as fast as the 2010 (source geek bench scores). So to your questions:

    Hell yes it works great with everything you first talked about.

    vm will be fine although I brought a mac to run osx, any reason why you need windows?

    core i series way faster than c2d (see the jump between 2010 and 2012)

    They will last 4 years if not more, battery replacement (depending on use) is about 4-5 years.

    I love the magic trackpad going back to windows laptops is a real pain the mac has the best trackpad in the business.

    Your really asking if the HD4000 is better than the GMA series, yes by a long way. Autodesk 123D Design will run just fine on the 2012.
     
  3. 1member1 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2012
    #3
    don't buy computer in 2012 without an ssd drive. you will be sorry later.
    try the air.
     
  4. Spink10 macrumors 601

    Spink10

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    Nov 3, 2011
    Location:
    Oklahoma
    #4
    Why not just add a SSD to a cMBP?
     
  5. chibiterasu macrumors 6502

    chibiterasu

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    Apr 5, 2012
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    #5
    Exactly cheaper and easier than upgrading the air's ssd, also you can take out the dvd drive for an optibay and have an ssd in the main sata III and your stock 500gb in the optibay (im planning on doing this myself).
     
  6. Spink10 macrumors 601

    Spink10

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    Location:
    Oklahoma
    #6
    And upgrade RAM to 8/16GB for a lot cheaper than Apple.
     
  7. yinz macrumors 6502a

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    Apr 12, 2012
    #7
    Not everyone is brave enough to take apart their MacBooks... Also, the MacBook Air's design is a fundamental advantage over the cMBP. It's wedge shape allows users to work comfortably for prolonged periods of time..
     
  8. Spink10 macrumors 601

    Spink10

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    Oklahoma
    #8
    His priority based upon his thread if value (spending as little and getting the most) - therefore MBP is the way to go.

    Air design is nice - though I have never owned one.
     
  9. smotania macrumors member

    smotania

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    Jun 14, 2012
    Location:
    Boston, MA, USA
    #9
    I got low end cmbp and put 16g of ram and its flyn ;) I'm planin to put hybrid when i have money cuz the ssd i too expensive for the size of storage ;) dont hesitate go for it ;)
     
  10. ultra7k macrumors 6502

    ultra7k

    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2012
    #10
    I have the base as well, and throw in 16gb of RAM and HDD+SSD and the machine flies. You can do these upgrades for well under $300, or even less than that if you opt for a smaller SSD.

    It's great.
     
  11. richnyc macrumors regular

    richnyc

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    Nov 8, 2012
    Location:
    NYC
    #11
    Same as ^^^. Just get the base cMBP, it seems it's plenty for your needs and upgrade RAM and SSD yourself and you are set for a few years;)

    BTW, if you keep checking Amazon.com, you might be able to score the 13" cMBP base config for around one grand rather the 'official' Apple price of $1,199.
     
  12. printz thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Dec 23, 2012
    #12
    Thanks for the replies, they make the device sound promising. Of course, it may be 2 more years until I buy a new one, I just wanted to be sure how much to plan to save.

    I'm asking this because my white 2008 MacBook, out of the box, just wasn't enough. It only came with 1 GiB of RAM, which could barely do Internet browsing. After awhile, the browser would hang to a swap for minutes. I'd more likely force quit the browser and start over. The problem got solved once I bought 4 GiB RAM.
    I'll put Windows just to be prepared in case I need to use a specific Windows-only app for a task.

    You can put 16GiB in base classic MBP? Even the 13.3" ones? Don't the specifications say "maximum 8GiB"?
     
  13. Poisonivy326 macrumors 6502

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    Nov 25, 2012
    #13
    Ok this is someone who's never opened a computer in her life ... Opened my macbook and replaced the RAM and hard drive with zero problems. Took a few minutes. The machine really is very straightforward -- you open it up and things fall neatly into place, just have a cup to make sure you don't lose any screws. Machine kicks ass and all the upgrades were about $350 total.

    It just depends on how important retina is for you. For me it's not important because I prefer to watch videos on either my retina iPad or big screen TV. Reading -- same thing, I do it on my iPad. My cMBP is used mostly for making PowerPoint presentations for biology class and downloading PAL videos and reformatting them to NTSC.
     
  14. jangozo macrumors member

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    Oct 10, 2012
    #14
    I was in a similar situation. I didn't have a lot of cash to spend so I wanted to make the perfect choice and get best value for my money. I researched and saved-up for months. However, when I started to add up all the things I needed to make my laptop future-proof (hi-res antiglare, ssd, ram) it came to a cost close to a base rMBP. Just consider the cost of 8 GB ram and 256 GB SSD and subtract them from the base rMBP and then consider the slimness and display.
     
  15. Ploki macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2008
    #15
    We actually did some real math in the other thread and with cheaper parts from i.e. newegg you get somewhere to around 20% price decrease in a comparable cMBP, if you don't care for 2xTB, HDMI and Retina display of course.
     
  16. jangozo macrumors member

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    Oct 10, 2012
    #16
    If that means getting the parts separately for an upgrade yourself can save you 20% then yikes :D.

    Still happy with my retina though.
     
  17. Ploki macrumors 68000

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    Jan 21, 2008
    #17
    yeah, and installing it yourself, etc etc. it's not that much though, Should be at least 30%, and 15% from apple. from apple it's actually more expensive.
     
  18. Spink10 macrumors 601

    Spink10

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    #18
    I love modifying my MBP! It has become a hobby.
     
  19. NewishMacGuy macrumors 6502a

    NewishMacGuy

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    Aug 2, 2007
    #19
    In our experience, it's tough to run OSX 10.8.2 with a moderate workload and have no pageouts. You can get away with 4GB, but your computing experience will be less-snappy.

    If you're going to run a VM, 8GB is a workable minimum, but if you want to run moderate workloads on both sides, I'd go with 16GB as it's not that much more expensive to upgrade to 16GB.

    Yes. Both Sandy Bridge (2011) & Ivy Bridge (2012) chipsets are a significant performance upgrade over the C2D computers.

    Thus far, the 2011 & 2012 models appear to be fairly reliable. Clearly the cMBP form factor is more "future-proof" than the rMBP form factor because you can upgrade it. The SLOOOW 5400rpm HDD isn't going to age well, and actually will make the computer seem old right out of the box, but upgrading that is easy and cheap as well.

    The new trackpad is far better than the old in terms of feel, speed, responsiveness, and range of gestures.

    HD4000 is significantly better than GMA, but it's still not a dGPU. If you need serious graphics capability, you need a cMBP-15.


    ---
     
  20. Ploki macrumors 68000

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    Jan 21, 2008
    #20
    me too. thats why i bought it with 256gb drive, to have an excuse to tear it apart.
     
  21. printz thread starter macrumors regular

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    Dec 23, 2012
    #21
    You can put 16 GB in the MacBook Pro? All tables here say 8 GB maximum.
     
  22. Ploki macrumors 68000

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    Jan 21, 2008
    #22
    nope. thats a lie, all sandy bridge MBPs can take up to 16Gb.
     
  23. yinz, Dec 23, 2012
    Last edited: Dec 23, 2012

    yinz macrumors 6502a

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    Apr 12, 2012
    #23
    Wouldn't buying used be better then? Based on price.


    And you do this with a NEW macbook pro?

    I wasn't speculating about the ease of the process. I was talking about the peace of mind.
     
  24. Poisonivy326 macrumors 6502

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    Nov 25, 2012
    #24
    Yup a new one, they have guides at the apple website and everything. It was designed to be a very basic laptop that you could upgrade and replace on your own.
     
  25. Braniff747SP macrumors 6502

    Braniff747SP

    Joined:
    May 30, 2010
    Location:
    Los Angeles, California, USA
    #25

    I've got a bare-bones MacBook Pro (the latest model) that replaced a MacBook (almost the same as yours.) It achieves most everything that I need it to. I run several programs at once (Chrome, Word, iTunes, Excel, and the rest) without a problem. I'm not running anything extremely intensive, so I don't need anything else. I see no reason for the machine to last less than four years. You'll definitely see the difference between the MacBook and the new Pro; like night and day. In terms of the trackpad, you get used to it--it is a bit different but ultimately superior. If you have any questions, feel free to ask...

    Specs say 8GB, but you can park 16.
     

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