Future Proofing a 15" Pro?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by bmstrong, Mar 3, 2009.

  1. bmstrong macrumors 6502a

    May 30, 2007
    What kind of specs would you guys load into a 15" Pro to make it last a couple years? Is there a good balance of current spec options vs price vs time to be had in the 15" platform?
  2. jmark macrumors member

    Jan 5, 2006
    What is it you're doing with the computer?

    I'm guessing in a couple years, large fast SSD drives will be both common and less expensive than now, so that in itself would take care of quite a lot of future-proofing.

    The RAM limit on the 15 is more of a concern, where with the 17 you can put 8gb in (again, likely to get cheaper in the future).
  3. Pika macrumors 68000


    Oct 5, 2008
    Be patient. Discipline your self by putting away your credit-card and save money till next year.
  4. RKpro macrumors 6502

    Oct 27, 2008
    There will always be a better model next year.

    The only upgrades you can do on any laptop, really, are RAM and storage. I currently have stock 2.4 config, and am planning on "futureproofing" it in the future as SSDs and 6GB of DDR3 become a bit cheaper.
  5. jmark macrumors member

    Jan 5, 2006
    This little exercise might give you a useful reality-check on the "future-proofing" value of any spec-upgrades you're considering paying for now:

    Look back on the various configuration lineups Apple has offered in the past. Sites like lowendmac and others have a lot of that information archived.

    After doing that, ask yourself if any of those then-current upgrades would make any real difference today.
  6. technotica macrumors member

    Feb 26, 2009
    For Macbook (Pros) there haven't been any real big jumps in the last years for instance have there been? I mean the early 2008 Macbook was available with 2.6Ghz and slower FSB, in 2006 we had Macbook Pros with 2.16Ghz, harddrives were smaller, but those are exchangeable, many people still use Macbook Pros from 2006, the change isn't as fast as with desktop computers.

    So I don't see how a Macbook isn't 'futureproove', heck people are still using PowerBooks and those still work. Its not like you play super hardware hungry games with them, where you need to buy the new top hardware every six months.
  7. kennyli macrumors regular

    Sep 16, 2008
    Hong Kong
    Agreed very much!

    Give your MBP at least 2GB ram and also a bigger harddrive. For daily uses, you can't see big difference between a latest Unibody MBP and a 2006 classic MBP.
  8. SDAVE macrumors 68040


    Jun 16, 2007
    With technology, you can't keep up. Don't even try. You will fail.

    Just enjoy what you have.

    As stated, only thing you can do is get more ram and HD space (or upgrade yourself later on, prices will obviously drop).
  9. raymondu999 macrumors 65816

    Feb 11, 2008
    Not necessarily. As long as your wallet's thick enough, that is:p
  10. OpenThirdeye macrumors member

    Aug 22, 2007
    Indianapolis, IN
    Just do whatever your budget will allow. You can never truly "futureproof" a laptop...but you can make sure that it'll last you a while by getting a good-sized hard drive and maxing out the RAM if you can!
  11. youpey macrumors member

    Jan 6, 2009
    its true. i tried years ago to keep up. i was getting a new computer every year, sometimes 2x per year.

    finally i gave up because even when the new technology would come out, it was outdated a few months later. i ended up buying an ibm x40, which i used as my only computer for years, i am thinking at least 5 or 6 years. it wasnt until recently i got my mbp and finally retired the ibm. i ended up installing ubuntu on the ibm and still fiddle with it on rare occasions. the ibm has seen its day though, the battery lasts about 20 minutes, the keyboard doesnt work well, some keys you have to slam down for them to work. the screen wobbles, a couple of dead pixels. i cant complain, it lasted a heck of a long time
  12. userblah macrumors member

    Dec 7, 2007
    Chicago, IL
    If you are looking to purchase a 'future-proof' MacBook Pro, but at the same time want to be careful with money your best choice is to get the best processor (2.93ghz) and not worry about upgrading anything else. This is because this is the only part of the laptop that the customer cannot update at a later date.

    Currently the mbp can only officially support 4gb of memory, eventually that will be raised to 8gb and by then the prices of memory will have dropped significantly. Also the same goes with hard drives. Over time the prices of SSD will decrease and the speeds will increase. Both of these you could go and spend crazy money on now and not notice the difference or you can wait for the 'future' when you will see a large difference as programs will require more 'power'.
  13. MagicWok macrumors 6502a

    Mar 2, 2006
    Apple have no reason to update the memory capacity, whether through software or firmware update. Ever since the 15" MBP has been, it's always had an upper limit of 4GB, and an unofficial support for 6GB. Don't buy the 15" MBP hoping that Apple will increase the potential capacity. Not to say it won't happen, but Apple has never done so as far as I can remember.

    The other point regarding the CPU however, is sound.
  14. ajohnson253 macrumors 68000


    Jun 16, 2008
    hahah there we go
  15. Kennedy macrumors member

    Feb 17, 2009
    Follow the Rule of Two.

    In two years, a computer with twice the performance will cost half as much.

    Some computer guy said that. IBM or Intel founder or president or something? I don't know, but it's fairly accurate.
  16. bmstrong thread starter macrumors 6502a

    May 30, 2007
    Glad to see this thread has so many replies! Thanks much for all of the comments.

    This whole issue started because I am unable decide between the lower 2.4 versus the 2.66 Pro's. The price on the 2.4 is incredibly attractive but if it's going to be obsolete in 3-6 months due to the 2.4? On the other hand if I spend a ton of money on the 2.66/2.93 then I've wasted cash paying for the "best".

    What I want is the best of both worlds, and I have yet to see a 2.53 for what I'm willing to pay for it.

    Great responses have given me a ton to think about...
  17. drewsof07 macrumors 68000


    Oct 30, 2006
    Personally, I like to wait until my machine is showing it's age and I actually need more speed, THEN do the upgrades. It just makes you feel better about its usefulness after such a long time running the stock config and then it's like new again! :D Plus, RAM and HD prices are only coming down.
  18. recon731 macrumors newbie

    Feb 27, 2009
    You are thinking of Moore's Law (George Moore was co-founder of Intel), the number of transistors that can be placed inexpensively on an integrated circuit has increased exponentially, doubling approximately every two years.
    This was stated in 1965.

    The statement you made is fairly inaccurate, current Macbook Pro cycle:

    Look at the Macbook Pros from 2 years ago. If we go with the Mid 2007 MBP base model, processor 2.2Ghz. Do you think the next refresh of Macbook Pros (Mid 2009, 2 years) will put them at 4.4Ghz? Will it only cost $1000?

    2.4 vs 2.66? 2.6 is wasted money in my opinion.

    I have a 2.4 MBP and I won't be upgrading to a new machine until i7 makes it into a Macbook.
  19. rick3000 macrumors 6502a


    May 6, 2008
    West Coast
    I think the biggest factor in 'future-proofing' is the processor and the graphics card. Software is what tends to outdate computers, not SSD vs. HDD. Apple only ever limits the software by processor speed and sometimes by the graphics card (like with FCP).
    So I would get the fastest possible Mac you can afford, because it will be able to keep up longer. My 1Ghz eMac is outdated, but if I had bought a 2Ghz PowerMac at that time instead, it would still be about as fast as the Mac Mini.
  20. jaydub macrumors 6502a


    Jan 12, 2006
    Good point. I carried my previous MacBook Pro for over two years before I started getting the itch to replace it with a newer MBP. I love having a machine that can last that long without me wanting to replace it immediately when the speed bumps or minor changes come.
  21. bmstrong thread starter macrumors 6502a

    May 30, 2007
    Okay. If I understand this correctly you are saying that there is virtually no real world diffence in the 2.4/2.53/2.66? Or that the difference is so small that you really won't notice if you run all three side by side? Following that train of thought the 2.93 is the most "futureproof" of all the options. Is it worth the $300 Apple charges for the jump? And does the 4GB cap limit the 15" platform and it's life as a "futureproof" platform?
  22. Kennedy macrumors member

    Feb 17, 2009
    So sorry, I was being Seargeant Sarcastic on that one. I meant as a general guide. Mostly, a computer will be (relatively, not that it won't work) outdated in two years. Whether they're half the price or half the performance is obviously pretty undeterminable.
  23. recon731 macrumors newbie

    Feb 27, 2009
    I will get you the links to some benchmarks soon (I am at work, and only utilizing my short break at the moment).

    On some of the more processor heavy applications (Photoshop, FCP, etc) The difference between those processors is a few seconds over an 8 minute encode.

    The current 15" unibody can address up to 6GB unofficially. Which should be enough for computing for a few years.

    To Sergeant Sarcastic, I was only responding because I have seen a lot of people throw around the 'new every two' rule a lot lately, and it really doesn't hold true. I did not mean any disrespect by it. I personally upgrade my desktop every year, and my laptop every year and a half. That way I can maximize my resell value, and not have to spend very much every time I upgrade.

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