First time Mac purchaser

SarahCat

macrumors member
Original poster
Jun 5, 2014
52
1
Hi Everyone,

I have been a long time user of mac computers and other apple products, but have never purchased a Mac/Apple computer before. I am looking to buy my first Apple computer, but I am on a budget. I have looked at several authorized retailers, and apple retailers, and I am considering buying an older refurbished model of a Mac Book Pro for $950. (Non Retina from late 2011 13 inch i7 with 8GB of Ram with a 750 GB Hard Drive).

Do you think that the price difference from these models, to the current Retina Mac Book Pro's is worth it? Is the extra cost of the Retina display, worth it?

Do you think the above specs on the non retina model is a good deal, or should I look into the new retina models, with the i5 chip?

Thanks everyone
Sarah
 

andyp350

macrumors 6502a
Aug 14, 2011
807
459
Hi Everyone,

I have been a long time user of mac computers and other apple products, but have never purchased a Mac/Apple computer before. I am looking to buy my first Apple computer, but I am on a budget. I have looked at several authorized retailers, and apple retailers, and I am considering buying an older refurbished model of a Mac Book Pro for $950. (Non Retina from late 2011 13 inch i7 with 8GB of Ram with a 750 GB Hard Drive).

Do you think that the price difference from these models, to the current Retina Mac Book Pro's is worth it? Is the extra cost of the Retina display, worth it?

Do you think the above specs on the non retina model is a good deal, or should I look into the new retina models, with the i5 chip?

Thanks everyone
Sarah
If you can stretch your budget to a retina model then I would. The solid state drives just make such a massive difference I would never buy a computer with the old HDDs in them these days.
 

glenthompson

macrumors 68020
Apr 27, 2011
2,247
300
Florida
Refurbished is definitely a good way to go if on a budget. Having upgraded my 2011 model to a SSD I now consider it a necessity. It makes a huge difference in the user experience. If you can't afford a retina model, factor in the cost of a replacement SSD in the price of an older model.
 

Freyqq

macrumors 601
Dec 13, 2004
4,022
172
Hi Everyone,

I have been a long time user of mac computers and other apple products, but have never purchased a Mac/Apple computer before. I am looking to buy my first Apple computer, but I am on a budget. I have looked at several authorized retailers, and apple retailers, and I am considering buying an older refurbished model of a Mac Book Pro for $950. (Non Retina from late 2011 13 inch i7 with 8GB of Ram with a 750 GB Hard Drive).

Do you think that the price difference from these models, to the current Retina Mac Book Pro's is worth it? Is the extra cost of the Retina display, worth it?

Do you think the above specs on the non retina model is a good deal, or should I look into the new retina models, with the i5 chip?

Thanks everyone
Sarah
depends on what you are using it for, but that computer would very effective for many usage cases. A 13" macbook air might be even better for you, though, as it is a probably little faster, has an SSD, lighter, and has has a higher resolution screen. Cost difference is minimal.
 

Altemose

macrumors G3
Mar 26, 2013
9,173
480
Elkton, Maryland
Hi Everyone,

I have been a long time user of mac computers and other apple products, but have never purchased a Mac/Apple computer before. I am looking to buy my first Apple computer, but I am on a budget. I have looked at several authorized retailers, and apple retailers, and I am considering buying an older refurbished model of a Mac Book Pro for $950. (Non Retina from late 2011 13 inch i7 with 8GB of Ram with a 750 GB Hard Drive).

Do you think that the price difference from these models, to the current Retina Mac Book Pro's is worth it? Is the extra cost of the Retina display, worth it?

Do you think the above specs on the non retina model is a good deal, or should I look into the new retina models, with the i5 chip?

Thanks everyone
Sarah
Welcome to the forums! When you say this a refurb are you talking refurbished from apple.com? Apple.com refurbs are just like new, but I cannot vouge for any other vendors standards. The word "refurbished" is tossed around in terms of meaning with Apple being the premium standard. In my opinion, only purchase refurb machines from Apple.com.

That being said, if you can afford a Retina, go for it! An Apple refurb greatly cuts the costs. Look here: http://store.apple.com/us/product/F...z-Dual-core-Intel-Core-i5-with-retina-Display

or

http://store.apple.com/us/product/F...-24ghz-dual-core-intel-i5-with-retina-display

Both are great machines and not much more than what you are thinking about paying!
 

SarahCat

macrumors member
Original poster
Jun 5, 2014
52
1
Hi Everyone, thanks for your responses.

I mainly want the computer for web surfing. Though the computer comes with iLife and Adobe software suites. This will be my first time owning a mac, so I am not sure how graphics heavy these are. I doubt ill be running more than one of these at a time.

I have researched the Mac Book Airs and the Retinas but Flash storage is not something I can afford to upgrade. I have seen some refurbished models with 512GB flash storage but it is still an extra $500 or so, im trying to avoid spending the extra money if I can.

The size of the Hard Drive and chip is really important to me.

I am having trouble figuring out if the faster chip and upgraded hard drive of the 2011 computer, would be more use to me than the Retina display and smaller hard drive space.

I could wait to see if there is a future MBP refresh soon, but I don't think that it will bring the prices down of the current ones, that much.

I will mainly be using the computer for my photos, web surfing, storing my itunes library. I have a lot of itunes movies, but I can keep them in the cloud too. I am currently a PC user, and have looked into Mac for a while, but my budget was never within reason. I would really like to keep it under 1,000 or 1,200 if I can.

Does anyone have a 2011 Mac Book Pro? How is it still working for you?

Thanks everyone
Sarah
 

Meister

Suspended
Oct 10, 2013
5,456
4,309
The size of the Hard Drive and chip is really important to me.
I am having trouble figuring out if the faster chip and upgraded hard drive of the 2011 computer, would be more use to me than the Retina display and smaller hard drive space.
I could wait to see if there is a future MBP refresh soon, but I don't think that it will bring the prices down of the current ones, that much.
I will mainly be using the computer for my photos, web surfing, storing my itunes library. I have a lot of itunes movies, but I can keep them in the cloud too.
Thanks everyone
Sarah
I dont know what you mean with the chip being important to you :confused:

With your usage the cpu is pretty much irrelevant.
Also all new macbooks have better cpus than the model you are looking at.

Large amounts of files can be kept on an external hd, unless you always need them on your laptop.

I would go for a base 13" mba that can be had for 900,- new already if you look out for good offers.

Like others have metioned, buying a hdd laptop in 2014 only makes sense in rare scenarios.
 

Hieveryone

macrumors 603
Apr 11, 2014
5,200
2,075
USA
Hi Everyone,

I have been a long time user of mac computers and other apple products, but have never purchased a Mac/Apple computer before. I am looking to buy my first Apple computer, but I am on a budget. I have looked at several authorized retailers, and apple retailers, and I am considering buying an older refurbished model of a Mac Book Pro for $950. (Non Retina from late 2011 13 inch i7 with 8GB of Ram with a 750 GB Hard Drive).

Do you think that the price difference from these models, to the current Retina Mac Book Pro's is worth it? Is the extra cost of the Retina display, worth it?

Do you think the above specs on the non retina model is a good deal, or should I look into the new retina models, with the i5 chip?

Thanks everyone
Sarah
I would get a refurbished retina from the apple store. The 2.4/4/128 should come at a good price although the space and ram are a bit low.
 

SarahCat

macrumors member
Original poster
Jun 5, 2014
52
1
Hi everyone thanks for your advice.

At meister, I just meant that the difference between the i5 chip and the i7 chip are important factors and I would prefer the slightly faster one.
 

yjchua95

macrumors 604
Apr 23, 2011
6,725
231
GVA, KUL, MEL (current), ZQN
Hi everyone thanks for your advice.

At meister, I just meant that the difference between the i5 chip and the i7 chip are important factors and I would prefer the slightly faster one.
There is absolutely zero difference between the dual core i5 and dual core i7, because both are clocked similarly and only have 2 cores/4 threads. 0.3-0.4GHz difference will make zero difference in performance.

Between a 750GB HDD and a flash/SSD of any size, the difference is night and day.

To give you an idea of the difference, a HDD Mac takes 2 minutes to start up, while a flash/SSD Mac takes only 7-10 seconds to start up into a fully usable state.

I'd rather have a small SSD than a large HDD, and put everything in a large external drive instead.
 

SarahCat

macrumors member
Original poster
Jun 5, 2014
52
1
Hi everyone thanks for your advice.



Would this be a good deal? I might try to consider spending the extra money.

Mid 2012 MC975LL/A Apple 15.4" MacBook Pro Retina Display
$1500

Product Highlights
 2.3GHz Intel Core i7 Quad-Core
 8GB of DDR3 Onboard RAM
 256GB Flash Storage
 nVIDIA GeForce GT 650M Graphics (1GB)
 15.4" Widescreen LED-Backlit IPS Display
 

bennynova

macrumors member
Jun 6, 2014
43
0
an SSD will do you WAY more good than a faster chip
so keep that in mind.

there are NUMEROUS external hard drives out there for under $100 that can hold all the data you need.

Hi Everyone, thanks for your responses.

I mainly want the computer for web surfing. Though the computer comes with iLife and Adobe software suites. This will be my first time owning a mac, so I am not sure how graphics heavy these are. I doubt ill be running more than one of these at a time.

I have researched the Mac Book Airs and the Retinas but Flash storage is not something I can afford to upgrade. I have seen some refurbished models with 512GB flash storage but it is still an extra $500 or so, im trying to avoid spending the extra money if I can.

The size of the Hard Drive and chip is really important to me.

I am having trouble figuring out if the faster chip and upgraded hard drive of the 2011 computer, would be more use to me than the Retina display and smaller hard drive space.

I could wait to see if there is a future MBP refresh soon, but I don't think that it will bring the prices down of the current ones, that much.

I will mainly be using the computer for my photos, web surfing, storing my itunes library. I have a lot of itunes movies, but I can keep them in the cloud too. I am currently a PC user, and have looked into Mac for a while, but my budget was never within reason. I would really like to keep it under 1,000 or 1,200 if I can.

Does anyone have a 2011 Mac Book Pro? How is it still working for you?

Thanks everyone
Sarah
 

SarahCat

macrumors member
Original poster
Jun 5, 2014
52
1
Thanks everyone. I am going to keep looking and post back if I make a decision.
 

Freyqq

macrumors 601
Dec 13, 2004
4,022
172
Hi everyone thanks for your advice.



Would this be a good deal? I might try to consider spending the extra money.

Mid 2012 MC975LL/A Apple 15.4" MacBook Pro Retina Display
$1500

Product Highlights
 2.3GHz Intel Core i7 Quad-Core
 8GB of DDR3 Onboard RAM
 256GB Flash Storage
 nVIDIA GeForce GT 650M Graphics (1GB)
 15.4" Widescreen LED-Backlit IPS Display
Looks like a good deal to me.
 

Badrottie

Suspended
May 8, 2011
4,317
333
Los Angeles
Hi everyone thanks for your advice.



Would this be a good deal? I might try to consider spending the extra money.

Mid 2012 MC975LL/A Apple 15.4" MacBook Pro Retina Display
$1500

Product Highlights
 2.3GHz Intel Core i7 Quad-Core
 8GB of DDR3 Onboard RAM
 256GB Flash Storage
 nVIDIA GeForce GT 650M Graphics (1GB)
 15.4" Widescreen LED-Backlit IPS Display
I have same model and I love it you will be glad if you did.
 

simonsi

macrumors 601
Jan 3, 2014
4,850
734
Auckland
If you can stretch your budget to a retina model then I would. The solid state drives just make such a massive difference I would never buy a computer with the old HDDs in them these days.
Nope - but buying an old upgradeable cMBP with an HDD and putting a new SSD in it is a smart move, especially as the SSD will be transferrable to another machine in the future (even if only as an external drive).
 

gtanner00

macrumors member
Apr 21, 2014
73
0
Just a heads up. You are likely comparing the ghz value of the CPUs of current models with that of older ones. This is not a good comparison. The 1.3ghz i5 in the Mba will smoke chips running at 2ghz + from just a few years ago. That is how far these CPUs have come. The sad will make a hug difference too. We are in the middle of a shift from large slow spinning platter hard drives to small capacity SSDs which are 10 times as fast combined with network storage or files stored on a cheap portable hard drive.

You will likely find that the refurbished MBA will be the best fit for you in terms of performance.
 

fig

macrumors 6502a
Jun 13, 2012
916
71
Austin, TX
There is absolutely zero difference between the dual core i5 and dual core i7, because both are clocked similarly and only have 2 cores/4 threads. 0.3-0.4GHz difference will make zero difference in performance.

Between a 750GB HDD and a flash/SSD of any size, the difference is night and day.

To give you an idea of the difference, a HDD Mac takes 2 minutes to start up, while a flash/SSD Mac takes only 7-10 seconds to start up into a fully usable state.
I agree with your premise and to go for the SSD over a slightly faster clockspeed.

However, any Mac from the last several years isn't going to take 2 minutes to boot up, you're looking at probably 45 seconds to a minute tops with most models. My '06 iMac booted up in around 40 seconds with a 5400 RPM drive.
 

yjchua95

macrumors 604
Apr 23, 2011
6,725
231
GVA, KUL, MEL (current), ZQN
However, any Mac from the last several years isn't going to take 2 minutes to boot up, you're looking at probably 45 seconds to a minute tops with most models. My '06 iMac booted up in around 40 seconds with a 5400 RPM drive.
My 2011 15" MBP with a 7200rpm drive took 2-3 minutes to boot up (i.e. from power button press to getting into a fully usable state in the desktop, where all menu bar icons are loaded). It was the same even after erasing the entire drive.

After I threw the 7200rpm drive into the trash bin and put a 512GB Samsung 840 Pro, it booted up in 10 seconds.
 

glenthompson

macrumors 68020
Apr 27, 2011
2,247
300
Florida
Hi Everyone, thanks for your responses.

I will mainly be using the computer for my photos, web surfing, storing my itunes library. I have a lot of itunes movies, but I can keep them in the cloud too. I am currently a PC user, and have looked into Mac for a while, but my budget was never within reason. I would really like to keep it under 1,000 or 1,200 if I can.

Does anyone have a 2011 Mac Book Pro? How is it still working for you?

Thanks everyone
Sarah
I have a late 2011 15" MBP that works great. I have upgraded to a SSD and 16GB of memory. At home I use it like a desktop with an external monitor and full sized keyboard. I have AppleCare in it until the end of the year so the Radeon GPU issue won't be a major concern until next year.

I only have 512GB disk space but I have a media collection that's well over 1TB in size. I keep it all on a NAS and just copy what I expect to want while traveling. I do keep my Aperture photo library stored locally which eats up a fair bit of space.
 

mrtravel123

macrumors regular
Aug 9, 2007
198
2
I replaced my previous 2009 MBP HDD with a SSD and the difference was astounding. And incredibly difference and improvement, much more than any hardware upgrade I've experienced.

When I recently replaced that laptop, I didn't even consider HDD as an option. I'll only look at SSD, even if I need an external drive for larger files. That being said, 256 GB SSD is working fine for me - and my external is simply for my Time Machine backups.

I suggest looking at the Apple Insider discount (via their website), then consider buying from MacMall. The discounts could mean that a NEW machine from them equals the same price as a discounted refurb from Apple. Be sure to consider total cost from both sources.
 

DubelBoom

macrumors newbie
Jun 6, 2014
28
1
Welcome to the forums! When you say this a refurb are you talking refurbished from apple.com? Apple.com refurbs are just like new, but I cannot vouge for any other vendors standards. The word "refurbished" is tossed around in terms of meaning with Apple being the premium standard. In my opinion, only purchase refurb machines from Apple.com.

That being said, if you can afford a Retina, go for it! An Apple refurb greatly cuts the costs. Look here: http://store.apple.com/us/product/F...z-Dual-core-Intel-Core-i5-with-retina-Display

or

http://store.apple.com/us/product/F...-24ghz-dual-core-intel-i5-with-retina-display

Both are great machines and not much more than what you are thinking about paying!
For that price you can get a NEW basic configuration 13" rMBP from here: http://www.ebay.com/itm/Apple-13-3-...splay-Core-i5-2-4-GHz-ME864-NEW-/390845363599

I've ordered mine yesterday. It will be in my hands on late July (not becauase of seller shipping time - it will be sitting at a friends house for a long time :()
 

fig

macrumors 6502a
Jun 13, 2012
916
71
Austin, TX
My 2011 15" MBP with a 7200rpm drive took 2-3 minutes to boot up (i.e. from power button press to getting into a fully usable state in the desktop, where all menu bar icons are loaded). It was the same even after erasing the entire drive.

After I threw the 7200rpm drive into the trash bin and put a 512GB Samsung 840 Pro, it booted up in 10 seconds.
You had some other issues than your hard drive then.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zE0lmLjc5_4
 

jg321

macrumors 6502
Aug 29, 2012
306
8
UK
Once you go for a Retina, you would't want any other screen IMO. It's an absolutely amazing experience. I would choose the current rMBP, you won't regret it.
This. Even seeing them in the stores etc you can be unsure if they're worth it, but for me, as soon as I used mine "in the wild", the screen on my work cMBP, and the girlfriend's 11" Air (2013) just look rubbish tbh. The 21.5inch iMac is just about acceptable.
 
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