Considering getting a MacBook, don't know which one

Discussion in 'MacBook' started by AlexxRyzhkov, Aug 23, 2014.

  1. AlexxRyzhkov macrumors regular

    Joined:
    May 17, 2014
    #1
    Alright so after trading my MacBook Pro 13" for an iPhone 5S i am beginning to miss having a laptop. I was going to get a Windows 8 laptop but then i thought about buying a used macbook.
    My budget is $300
    I was looking at eBay and I found 3 Options:
    2008 MacBook Pro 15" for $250
    2009 MacBook 13" for $230
    2010 MacBook 13" for $300
    All of them had 2gb of Ram
    Or I could get a Windows 8 laptop with an i3 and 4gb of Ram for $350
    If I get the 2008 Pro I would upgrade the ram to 8gb.
    If I got the 2009 MacBook I would get a 120gb SSD and upgrade to 4gb of Ram
    If I got the 2010 Macbook I would keep it stock for a while and I later would upgrade the ram.

    Im using the laptop for browsing, typing school projects, and light gaming. By light gaming I mean like GTA San Andreas, League of Legends, and Minecraft.

    Which one should I go for?

    Also how good is the battery life in these macbooks? I was hoping to get at least 3 or 4 hours out of it on light Web browsing
     
  2. Jschultz macrumors 6502a

    Jschultz

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2005
    Location:
    Chicago, IL
    #2
    I would definitely choose the 2010 if I had a chance. I use my '09 for stuff you mention, aside from gaming, and it's fine.

    The battery on a 4 year old laptop is likely to have quite a few cycles on it. I know my '09's needs replacing and only lasts about an hour and a half with a full charge.

    With only 2 GB of ram, you might want to stay on snow leopard.
     
  3. BrettApple macrumors 65816

    BrettApple

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2010
    Location:
    Heart of the midwest
    #3
    The EARLY 2008 MBP was a great machine, but DO NOT buy one now, they are well known to have the video card (Nvidia 8600m GT) go out on them due to the solder cracking (bad lead free solder and heat issues). I had one that was luckily fine, and it was beautiful. But something to be aware of.

    If you're looking at a Late 2008 15" model, then go for it, that'd be a great price. Sold a 13" 2008 for $500 last year.

    I recently got an Early 2009 MacBook on eBay for $199, put in 4GB RAM I had laying around (it takes either 667 or 800MHz DDR2), and got a 120GB SSD off Newegg for $57. It runs Yosemite PB perfectly. I'd go for that if you can find an '09 at a good price. The 9400m runs basic games, but don't expect a lot.

    If it's a Late 2009 its basically the same as the 2010, but with a 9400m instead of the 320m. Mid 2009 is like the Early 2009 with a 130MHz boost.

    The 2010 would be a nice option to as it would be a unibody and have a nicer trackpad and build to it. Plus it's DDR3 and has a 320m I believe. And can support more RAM. If you have 2GB do keep it on Snow Leopard till you can budget at least 4GB.

    Any of them except for the 2010 (depending on cycles and health), will probably need a new battery. I get about 3.5 hours off my 2009 with 300 something cycles on the Apple battery (fine for college class). I got around 4-4.5 hours on a new OWC battery in my Early 2008 13".

    If I were you, I'd get one where you can budget a small SSD in and some RAM. And then later down the line sell it and get a newer Mac when you can afford one. This would probably be the 2009 model at that price.

    Otherwise, if the 2008 is the unibody one, that would be the guy to go for. 9600m isn't too bad for light games, it's DDR3 and supports 8GB RAM, SATA II support for an SSD, and it's got quite a bit of life left. Beautiful screen too. If it's the pre-unibody I'd shy away due to the 8600m failures.
     
  4. Jschultz macrumors 6502a

    Jschultz

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    #4
    Do you really only have 300 cycles on the original battery? That's pretty impressive; I have over 1000 on mine.
     
  5. BrettApple macrumors 65816

    BrettApple

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    Location:
    Heart of the midwest
    #5
    Opened coconutBattery and apparently it was replaced in 2012 (manufacture date). It still reports as good and has something like 90% capacity at 342 cycles. Not too bad.

    Many eBay sellers just sick a $20 generic battery in them that works for a few months then just dies. Had that happen before. I'll take a used Apple or OWC battery over that junk. Usually doesn't fit right or isn't the right finish either.

    The most cycles I've had was either on my Late 2008 MacBook (original battery till late last year) or a Mid 2010 MBP I got used with 800 something.

    Finally got my first new Mac since my Late 2008 13", and I'd expect it to reach a good number, as I plan on having it at least 5 years, and use it on battery way more than any of my other Macs since it's so portable (13' rMBP). At 14 cycles so far.

    1,000 is a lot for an older style battery (mine is considered consumed at 300), but with the Late 2009 having the newer built in battery, they do last much longer. About 1,000 till consumed via Apple Documentation.
     
  6. MCAsan macrumors 601

    MCAsan

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Atlanta
    #6
    I would not purchase a Mac older than 2010. I have 3 2010 white Macbook 7,1 units I am refurbishing for friends and family. You can get them for $300-$400 on ebay. I typically upgrade memory to 8GB, HD is replaced with SSD, and battery is replaced if needed. I have them running Yosemite beta, no problem.
     
  7. Jschultz macrumors 6502a

    Jschultz

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Chicago, IL
    #7
    Interesting; thanks for the link. I've been getting the 'service battery' message for quite some time now, but I've been ignoring it. Coconut battery is telling me that my current battery health is 62% :)eek:)

    It's a good thing my wife has OK'd a new MBA in the near future.
     
  8. AlexxRyzhkov thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    May 17, 2014
    #8
    Well bad news :c
    My graphics card failed on my main windows PC so my budget has dropped to about $220.
    I can get a 2009 Macbook and then upgrade it around Christmas time with more ram and an SSD, but will the Macbook be good enough for what I want?
    I really need to get a decent laptop for school.
    Keep in mind my current laptop has 1gb of ram, runs windows 7 32-bit, has an Intel Celeron CPU, and is pretty damn slow.
     
  9. BrettApple macrumors 65816

    BrettApple

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    Location:
    Heart of the midwest
    #9
    An Early/Mid/Late 2009 MacBook with the base 2GB of RAM and a stock spinner (HDD) running OS X Snow Leopard will run just fine! It'll be much better than your current laptop I'm sure.

    It'll run Office 2011, Chrome/Firefox, and most any software you'll need for school just fine. Games won't fare too well though, but with the 9400m it'll make it through Minecraft and GTA on lower settings.

    When you've got the cash 4GB RAM and a small SSD will go a long way.

    Best of luck!
     
  10. AlexxRyzhkov thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    May 17, 2014
    #10
    Ok so I found a used mid 2009 MacBook With 2Gb Of Ram for $205
    The only thing is that according to the description the Super Drive dosent work and it doesn't come with a charger. Is this a good deal? It current runs OS X 10.6.8
     
  11. MCAsan macrumors 601

    MCAsan

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2012
    Location:
    Atlanta
    #11
    If Snow Leopard or later is installed, you could update to Mavericks and soon to Yosemite. See below.

    It seems as if a 2009 Macbook can from a 2.0 to a 2.26 CPU. You would need to replace the Superdrive (assuming you want it to work), add memory to at least 4GB, and likely replace the battery given its age (if it is the original). And you need to purchase a new or used charger.

    Personally I would look for a fully work 2010 white Macbook 7,1 with 2.24 CPU that always seem to come with a charger. You can often find them already with 4GB of memory (I put in 8GB). You may want to swap the slow 5400rpm drive with a newer/faster/larger 7200rpm HD, or a SSD. There is a good chance the battery will have a year or two of life left in it. Ask the seller about that if it is not noted in the ebay listing.

    Macbook models: http://www.everymac.com/systems/apple/macbook/index-macbook.html


    -------------------------------

    OS X Mavericks: System Requirements


    To install Mavericks, you need one of these Macs:

    iMac (Mid-2007 or later)
    MacBook (13-inch Aluminum, Late 2008), (13-inch, Early 2009 or later)
    MacBook Pro (13-inch, Mid-2009 or later),
    MacBook Pro (15-inch or 17-inch, Mid/Late 2007 or later)
    MacBook Air (Late 2008 or later)
    Mac mini (Early 2009 or later)
    Mac Pro (Early 2008 or later)
    Xserve (Early 2009)
    Your Mac also needs:

    OS X Mountain Lion, Lion, or Snow Leopard v10.6.8 already installed
    2 GB or more of memory
    8 GB or more of available space
     
  12. AlexxRyzhkov thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    May 17, 2014
    #12
    Alright so I also found a different Macbook.
    It's the early 2009 base model with the 2.0 C2D, 2Gb Ram, and 120gb. This one also comes with the box and original charger.
    This one costs $212.
    I would go for a 2010 model, but as of right now I can't afford one, they are about $300 and after upgrading the ram and HDD it would be too pricy for me
     
  13. BrettApple macrumors 65816

    BrettApple

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2010
    Location:
    Heart of the midwest
    #13
    That's a fine model, exact same one I got.
    Early 2009 MacBook (5,2)
    2.0GHz Core 2 Duo
    256MB Nvidia GeForce 9400m
    2GB DDR2 RAM
    120GB 5400rpm HDD
    OS X Snow Leopard

    I put in 4GB RAM I had from an old, dead HP, and am installing an SSD today, but 10.6 runs fine on 2GB and the 120GB HDD no problem. I'm just putting Yosemite PB2 on it.

    Here's a pic with Yosemite on it a few weeks ago.
    [​IMG]

    I got it for $199 on eBay. Not a bad deal at all for something that is still perfectly useful and cheaper than an iPad yet more functional.

    If it's got a working Super Drive, working charger, and a working battery (good condition at least) than I'd go for it.
     
  14. AlexxRyzhkov thread starter macrumors regular

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    May 17, 2014
    #14
    Dang yours looks nice!
    So I remembered I had a 2gb DDR2 ram stick from a late 2006 iMac 17". Can I put it in a 2009 Macbook for a total of 3 Gb of ram?
     
  15. BrettApple macrumors 65816

    BrettApple

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    Location:
    Heart of the midwest
    #16
    You can! The Early 2009 ships with 667MHz DDR2, same as the iMac.
    Though it can take 800MHz (Confirmed by me and others). I have 2x2GB 800MHz DDR2 running in mine just fine.

    The Mid 2009 MacBook shipped with 800MHz RAM, but it has the exact same chipset as the Early 2009. Only difference between the two was a 130MHz increase and a 160GB HDD instead of 120. Thus why you can use either speed.

    I've also had 8GB DDR2 (2x4GB) running just fine too, rather than the 6GB that was the max on older MacBooks with the Intel GPU (EG. Late 2007-Early 2008). They were sticks I had from other PCs at work.

    Economically though, 4GB is the most feasible option. Or just get one more 2GB DDR2 667MHz stick and use the other from your iMac, that should get you by too. Helps if it's the same brand and type too. Mac's can be picky.
     
  16. stephenxiii macrumors regular

    stephenxiii

    Joined:
    May 12, 2009
    Location:
    Glasgow
    #17
    not always true my mackbook 1,1 for instance

    [​IMG]
     
  17. MCAsan macrumors 601

    MCAsan

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2012
    Location:
    Atlanta
    #18
    Definitely the exception. I have purchased 2010 MacBooks with well over 400 cycles on the batteries.
     
  18. AlexxRyzhkov thread starter macrumors regular

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    May 17, 2014
    #19
    Alright well I finally pulled the trigger and bought an early 2009 Macbook with the 2.0 GHz C2D, 2GB Ram, and 120GB HDD.
    It was $175 plus $16 for shipping. It came with a new "generic" battery, but sadly no charger.
    Here's some of the original pictures on eBay.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG][​IMG]

    So I'm going to swap one of the 1gb ram sticks with a 2gb ram stick, so I'll have 3gb of ram.
    One thing I'm wondering is how good the generic battery in it is gonna be.
    So far I'm pretty excited, but I did have one question.
    I am thinking about sticking in an old 60gb Sata II SSD into the HDD Slot, and using the current HDD in the DVD Slot. First of all is 60gb enough for the OS, Google Chrome, and apps like Microsoft Office?
    Or should I just get a 128gb SSD?

    Also the computer will come running OSX Lion, how well will Lion run on 3GB of ram and the stock HDD?

    But anyways I'm pretty excited, it should come this Friday or Saturday :D
     
  19. BrettApple macrumors 65816

    BrettApple

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    Location:
    Heart of the midwest
    #20
    You could move the drives around using a caddy (EG. Data Doubler or a generic model off Amazon). But if you don't plan on storing lots of media on there, a 60GB SSD will do the trick.

    I just got my Sandisk SSD (128GB) in the mail today and installed it. Had a hard time deciding between Snow Leopard, Mavericks, or Yosemite PB2. But ended up on 10.6 because it is still my favorite version of OS X to date.

    I've installed OS X Snow Leopard (default install options), Microsoft Office 2011 Standard (Word, PPT, Excel, Outlook, Lync and others), Google Chrome, Dropbox and Evernote. So far I've used under 15GB. I've yet to load CS5, but it'd still be well under 60GB.

    [​IMG]

    As for speeds, it's SATA II limited by the Nvidia chipset, and I'm getting great speeds out of it.

    [​IMG]

    I'd keep it as it is when you get it and see if it meets your expectations. Then go from there.
    Do note it's running OS X Lion, which is one of the slower versions of OS X out there. Snow Leopard will be faster, and even ML and Mavericks will run smoother. This is just from my own personal experience.

    I'd put the SSD and extra gig of RAM in it though, install Mavericks, and have a speedy up to date Mac that will last you a while! :apple:
     
  20. AlexxRyzhkov thread starter macrumors regular

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    May 17, 2014
    #21
    Alright, so since it comes with OS X Lion, with 3gb of ram should I stay with Lion, go to Mavericks, or downgrade to Snow Leopard?
     
  21. MCAsan macrumors 601

    MCAsan

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    Atlanta
    #22
    Mavericks does a better job with managing memory. And in a few more weeks, you can load Yosemite. I would not hold onto the old cat releases.
     
  22. BrettApple macrumors 65816

    BrettApple

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    #23
    If you go SSD, go ahead with Mavericks. If you want to stick with the HDD, Snow Leopard runs faster, as far as app launch times, startup/shutdown, and light on RAM since it has fewer features to use it up. But it is also old and unsupported now days.

    But you can easily run Mavericks and Yosemite off the stock hard drive. I did for about a month and it ran, it just took an ice age to get going. But once it was up it wasn't a problem.

    For your sake though, I'd just go ahead and take it up to Mavericks from the App Store if you aren't a speed freak like I am, haha.

    Here's a short video of the boot up with my SSD on my '09 with 10.6 for what it's worth. Starts from right after the logo shows up to desktop. Spinner goes around like twice :cool:
    http://instagram.com/p/sJlFEeScZy/
     
  23. AlexxRyzhkov thread starter macrumors regular

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    May 17, 2014
    #24
    Hmm honestly I might load Yosemite on it and see how it runs with the 3gb of ram and the original HDD.
    I've been using my second Windows PC a lot lately, and that thing runs Windows 8.1 pretty well with only 2gb of ram and the stock HDD. Plus that thing is about 2 years older than the Macbook.

    So also does anyone have any recommendations for 60-80gb SSDs?
    Preferably something that's under $70.
    Also what is the newest version of Windows that is supported on this Macbook?
     
  24. Nothingfaced macrumors member

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    Aug 15, 2014
    #25
    My '08 Aluminum Unibody Macbook has been the greatest machine I've ever owned.

    Never has crashed or broken, just had to replace the battery a few years ago.

    And, it will run Yosemite.
     

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