For a budget-conscious college freshman: Used 2013 15" rMBP or new 2015 15" rMBP?

winnch

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Mar 28, 2016
5
1
I am an incoming freshman majoring in Computer Science looking for a laptop to use long-term, and I am torn between getting a used 2013 retina Macbook Pro vs getting a 2015 retina MBP from the education store.

Getting the 2013 model would save me a ton of money, and as a student, that is definitely great. But since I plan to use this thing long-term, would it be better to bite the bullet and spend big on the 2015 model if it means more longetivity and future-proofing? Also, is the difference in performance huge enough to warrant spending much more for the latest model?

Thanks in advance!
 

wlossw

macrumors 65816
May 9, 2012
1,057
946
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
I have a mid 2012 rmbp with 2.7ghz cpu and it's still more power than I need. If i where you i would compare the battery life of the two models, and see if they meet your needs...

You also haven't mentioned specifically which model your where looking at or what you where planning to do with the machine... Whatever you do if you are getting a machine for long term pick up apple care (you can add it anytime during the first year after purchase, during original warranty period, and often can save by buying from A reseller.)

Tl;dr you'll probably be happy with either as long as you don't have a super demanding workload (4K video, complex modelling etc).
 

winnch

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Mar 28, 2016
5
1
I have a mid 2012 rmbp with 2.7ghz cpu and it's still more power than I need. If i where you i would compare the battery life of the two models, and see if they meet your needs...

You also haven't mentioned specifically which model your where looking at or what you where planning to do with the machine... Whatever you do if you are getting a machine for long term pick up apple care (you can add it anytime during the first year after purchase, during original warranty period, and often can save by buying from A reseller.)

Tl;dr you'll probably be happy with either as long as you don't have a super demanding workload (4K video, complex modelling etc).
Sorry if I did not make it clear enough, I'm a newbie here.
I intend to code (i.e., Xcode, Netbeans, Android Studio) and probably run some VMs and will maybe install windows if my classes require it. I don't do any creative work so no 4k video editing or anything like that.
 

wlossw

macrumors 65816
May 9, 2012
1,057
946
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Sorry if I did not make it clear enough, I'm a newbie here.
I intend to code (i.e., Xcode, Netbeans, Android Studio) and probably run some VMs and will maybe install windows if my classes require it. I don't do any creative work so no 4k video editing or anything like that.
So pick the machine with lots of ram, and a big drive for your vms to run well.
 
  • Like
Reactions: blesscheese

David58117

macrumors 65816
Jan 24, 2013
1,205
498
Weren't the 2013 models the one with "stain gate"...and then wasn't there a gpu issue with 15"?

Either way, I would stay away from the 2013.

I think 2014 is the year you want.
 

Mr_Brightside_@

macrumors 68040
Sep 23, 2005
3,094
1,137
Toronto
Weren't the 2013 models the one with "stain gate"...and then wasn't there a gpu issue with 15"?

Either way, I would stay away from the 2013.

I think 2014 is the year you want.
The GPU issues affects 2012 and early 2013 models, I believe the screens are covered for any retina or 2015 MacBook model:
http://www.macrumors.com/2015/10/17/apple-mbp-ar-coating-quality-program-staingate/
For whatever reason, this program isn't on Apple's site, so it's not specified.
 

NavySEAL6

macrumors 6502a
Dec 13, 2006
595
71
Definitely get a brand new machine. It'll last the entire 4 years with time to spare. If you get something older, you may possibly need a new one before you complete your program. Also, once you're paying student loans you'll appreciate having more life left on the machine as you won't be able to buy a new one right away
 

bent00

macrumors member
Jan 13, 2012
34
10
Buy the cheapest used one you can find that has an ssd (which is large enough for your needs). If it has applecare remaining, better yet - you'll have some months to use it and make sure it's fully functional. I have a 2008 15" MBP which has never had a problem. Dropped an ssd in it a year ago (not as easily user-replaceable anymore in newer models), it works great for all of my needs including photo and video editing. It's a no-brainer :)
 
Last edited:

Mernak

macrumors 6502
Apr 9, 2006
435
16
Kirkland, WA
Definitely get a brand new machine. It'll last the entire 4 years with time to spare. If you get something older, you may possibly need a new one before you complete your program. Also, once you're paying student loans you'll appreciate having more life left on the machine as you won't be able to buy a new one right away
As opposed to continually having the difference saved up in cash instead of a computer (which is a lot less liquid and more of a sunk cost)?

I have a Mid-2012 rMBP as my personal computer, and a Mid-2014 rMBP for my work laptop, and there is surprisingly little difference. Honestly, a 2012 model is a pretty powerful machine, and most assignments aren't going to be complex enough to even begin to tax that system (even much larger projects installed using Homebrew or similar aren't too taxing). I think where you will see the most difference is going to be waiting ~15s instead of ~12s for a longer command. Honestly, the VMs (I hope the CS department doesn't require Windows) and Chrome (which, in my experience, is the only process that can kill my 32GB RAM workstation) are probably going the be the most resource-intensive activities that you will probably do. But your core CS classes should be an issue (it was really easy to quickly iterate on analyses on the first 100k primes on my 2006 MB). I would suggest going for the SSD, but I believe all rMBPs come with it (and the retina screen is great for productivity, especially using the scaling factors).

The worst case scenario is that it completely breaks and you have to buy another one, but with the money you save you could probably buy one a few years earlier from when it does break and wind up with the same overall cost as the 2015.
 
  • Like
Reactions: wlossw

winnch

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Mar 28, 2016
5
1
Thanks for the replies! I have decided to go with the Late 2013 version for ~900$ cheaper than buying a new one. Very happy with the decision!
 
  • Like
Reactions: CrashX

KaliaHaze

macrumors newbie
Apr 27, 2016
14
2
Thanks for the replies! I have decided to go with the Late 2013 version for ~900$ cheaper than buying a new one. Very happy with the decision!
Hey! How's the 2013 holding up? I have one i could buy for $675 with 8/256gb. I'm never going to do anything more intensive than coding and photoshop, for sure.
 

winnch

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Mar 28, 2016
5
1
Hey! How's the 2013 holding up? I have one i could buy for $675 with 8/256gb. I'm never going to do anything more intensive than coding and photoshop, for sure.
Hi! I got the Late 2013 15" Model and so far it's been great. I code Java with IntelliJ IDEA and it's working great. Photoshop works very smoothly. Tried editing some videos on Final Cut Pro X, still no hiccups. The laptop handles everything I throw at it perfectly.

All in all I'm very happy with it! =)
 

KaliaHaze

macrumors newbie
Apr 27, 2016
14
2
Hi! I got the Late 2013 15" Model and so far it's been great. I code Java with IntelliJ IDEA and it's working great. Photoshop works very smoothly. Tried editing some videos on Final Cut Pro X, still no hiccups. The laptop handles everything I throw at it perfectly.

All in all I'm very happy with it! =)
Awesome! What are you specs? Did you get any sort of insurance with it? :)
 

winnch

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Mar 28, 2016
5
1
Awesome! What are you specs? Did you get any sort of insurance with it? :)
The one I got comes with a 2.3GHz Quad Core i7 and Iris Pro graphics, 8GB of RAM, and 256GB flash memory. No insurance, though.
 

KaliaHaze

macrumors newbie
Apr 27, 2016
14
2
The one I got comes with a 2.3GHz Quad Core i7 and Iris Pro graphics, 8GB of RAM, and 256GB flash memory. No insurance, though.
I see, we could possibly have similar specs. Thanks for your input, it's making my decision a bit easier:)