Comparing various macs' performance (website?)

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by Tozovac, Jun 21, 2017.

  1. Tozovac macrumors 6502

    Tozovac

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2014
    #1
    I'm trying to convince my nephew to let me buy him a ~2012 pre-owned loaded up Mac Pro for ~$800 from a reputable re-re-seller, as its performance should be more than adequate for his entire 4 years of bio-med.

    2012 2.5 MHz i5 MBP, 8 gig ram, 500g HD, +2 year warranty, excellent like-new condition, ~$800 with el capitan OS 10.10. Plus it has a disk drive and actual dedicated ports! (network, USB-B, SD, magsafe, and maybe even thunderbolt). No dongle madness!

    I'm facing resistance from his parents (sister & brother-in-law) about "isn't that too old?"

    Isn't there a site or iOS app that lets you compare stats/performance of various iterations of macs? Unless he were going into heavy music/video production, I can't see this being a risk.

    Secondly, any thoughts out there about the pros/cons of my outlook on this suggestion? I.e., the likelihood of this being a robust/solid option for the next 4 years of use?

    Much appreciated, THX.
     
  2. fig macrumors 6502a

    fig

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2012
    Location:
    Austin, TX
    #2
    This should help:
    https://browser.primatelabs.com/mac-benchmarks

    Assuming this is a 15" MacBook Pro you're looking at, it more than likely would work but I'd just as soon spend a few hundred more on a new (or refurb) 13" MBP that you know won't have any compatibility issues. I'm also assuming this one needs a new hard drive, if the one it has hasn't been replaced it's a ticking time bomb.

    By the time he graduates the one you're looking at is going to be 9ish years old and may have issues with newer software.
     
  3. Tozovac thread starter macrumors 6502

    Tozovac

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2014
    #3
    A ha thank you!

    It'd be a 13" from one of the better retailers (macofalltrades, in this case), and I was going to verify the age of the battery & HD. It has a 500g HD as base, a 1TB HD as an option, and a 240 SSD for $140, where I'd think the 1TB & SSD may be "new." 2 years extended warranty is ~$100 I believe.

    I forgot twp major reasons why I targeted that particular one.

    I am buying this as a gift and had a ~$900 budget.

    Secondly, I believed it to be the last/latest iteration where I could upgrade the memory or harddrive or batter (and other items?) easily, before Apple started integrating things. I'm placing a large emphasis on that, and I'm certainly open to hearing trade-offs regarding that and which I'm not recognizing (such as: it may be better to future-protect with a 1-year-newer machine even if that machine is less upgradeable/modifiable than a mid-2012 MBP, or just suck it up and go with a ~$1100 MBAir...

    Thanks for the help/comments.
     
  4. Bart Kela macrumors 6502a

    Bart Kela

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    #4
    What no benchmark nor performance metrics site/service will do is predict when Apple will discontinue current macOS support for a given machine.

    2012 is already five years old and in recent years, Macs have typically have been dropped from current macOS support anywhere between 5-8 years. For me, at the five year mark, I start thinking about replacement (I am not one to hoard old Macs).

    I have a 2010 Mac mini that I know is looking at its twilight years in terms of current macOS support. Apple claims that any system that runs macOS Sierra will run macOS High Sierra, so this old Mac has a one-year reprieve, but I certainly wouldn't expect any more. Moreover, the system is showing its age, sometimes crashing while under extended heavy CPU load, so I avoid putting the system in those situations these days, something I didn't worry about a couple of years ago.

    I also have a 2013 MacBook Air, and in a couple of years, I will start thinking about a replacement for that one as well.

    I would personally never count on a Mac to go nine years with current macOS support and full hardware functionality. It's nice if they do go that long, but I wouldn't rely on such an old system as my primary computer.
     
  5. Tozovac thread starter macrumors 6502

    Tozovac

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    Jun 12, 2014
    #5
    Thanks - can I ask - are you talking about (1) the risk of not being able to keep up with the latest OS, or (2) the risk that an older OS would no longer be updated security-wise?

    For me personally, I've stopped at Mavericks which retains some of the Steve Jobs/Scott Forestall-esque UI appearance. I really dislike the Fisher Price dumbed-down kiddy-fied appearance of everything after Mavericks, and I'd even suggest that to my nephew who is new to macs. And the 2012 MBP can be upgraded to High Sierra per macofalltrades (just with what "snappiness"...) just in case. So just wanted to check if you were talking about (1) or (2) or both?

    I hear what you're saying though, I have a 2006 mac pro (1st gen with Intel) and it achingly crawls with OS 10.7 or 10.9 or whichever it stopped at. :)
     
  6. fig, Jun 21, 2017
    Last edited: Jun 21, 2017

    fig macrumors 6502a

    fig

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    Jun 13, 2012
    Location:
    Austin, TX
    #6
    This would be my primary concern with a machine that's more than a few years old.

    As far as replacing/upgrading, I had a few older Mac laptops that were upgradable and never did a thing to them outside an initial RAM upgrade. We all want that capability in theory, but for the most part you don't really need it on a laptop.

    If ~900 is the price point I'd probably keep my eye out on refurbs:
    https://www.apple.com/shop/product/...-27ghz-dual-core-intel-i5-with-retina-display
     
  7. Bart Kela macrumors 6502a

    Bart Kela

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    #7
    Let's not forget what the basic definition of an operating system is: it's a big complicated program that lets other big complicated program co-exist peacefully on the same system.

    However, these days, a lot of features are built into modern operating systems where these is a subset of big complicated programs that are only available with that operating system, not available separately. Specifically, I'm talking about cloud services.

    When you can no longer run the latest and greatest version of ____ operating system, you probably are missing out on some of the latest and greatest cloud features. I noticed this on my MacBook (mid 2007) when it no longer could run the latest OS X. About a year after it had been obsoleted, I recycled it despite the fact that it was physically running well. I really missed the additional cloud functionality.

    And yes, at some point Apple does stop releasing security updates. Also, third-party software vendors stop providing support or security updates as well.

    All of these factors should be carefully considered when dealing with an older system. Again, these aren't things that are covered in some performance/spec website. Those just focus on the time it takes to run some silly benchmark suite which ultimately is a rather poor metric for the usage experience of a system over the total duration of ownership of a device.
     
  8. Tozovac, Jun 21, 2017
    Last edited: Jun 21, 2017

    Tozovac thread starter macrumors 6502

    Tozovac

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2014
    #8
    Thanks! I agree and acknowledge all that. For me, I can't get past the awful UI that was dumbed-down starting with Yosemite (or whatever came immediately after Mavericks). I'll take missing out on some features for the benefit of working with an OS that I enjoy looking at & interacting with!

    I specifically looked for the benchmarks since I have a 2013 i7 MacBook Air and wanted to use it as a baseline to roughly compare options...

    But for a laptop for my nephew, perhaps the 2015 Apple refurb is the way to go...an initial buy price of under $600 looks great at first until you tweak things slightly and next thing you know, it's at $875.
     
  9. Bart Kela, Jun 21, 2017
    Last edited: Jun 21, 2017

    Bart Kela macrumors 6502a

    Bart Kela

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    #9
    Since the user of this system is your nephew, it would be wise to consider his parents' concerns. You aren't buying it for your own personal use so your personal preference about UI or system interaction does not play here.

    The primary goal is for your nephew to have a useful and reliable system for the next four years, not to hopefully squeeze out four more years out of a 2012 box that will be undeniably geriatric at his graduation (and that's assuming he completes his degree on time).

    The idea of a 2015 or 2016 refurb is a far more sensible option.
     
  10. Tozovac thread starter macrumors 6502

    Tozovac

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2014
    #10
    Like certain Apple executives' opinions about what a proper UI should be (apparently no Apple executives have had a clue after 2012), opinions are allowed to vary about what a sensible option is. :)

    As I've already said that's probably a better option if I go the Apple route. If it were your money, and if you knew my nephew and his propensity for dropping Apple devices like I do while also wanting to treat him to his first Apple computer while having a true budget of $700 max, you might be taking your time thinking slowly like I am. Thank you for your input.
    --- Post Merged, Jun 21, 2017 ---
    Thank you!
     

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