Guidance needed in selection

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by LegacyUser12, Nov 27, 2016.

  1. LegacyUser12 macrumors newbie


    Nov 27, 2016

    I have a macbook 5,1 late 08. The unibody core 2 dup 2ghz
    I was forced to upgrade from Leopard (I know how the hell was I still using it) to El Capitan in order to access websites for my business (banking security), VPN for work and synchrony with iphone & ipad.
    Already upgraded to 500gb HD and 4gb RAM and it still barely can do multitasking browsers and word open at the same time now :(
    HD has 3/4 free, RAM has barely 250mb free with only Finder, Safari 1 tab and another app.

    No gaming, fancy adobe use or any other RAM hungry programs.
    Fan runs great, never overheated.
    CD drive is shot but I don't need it.

    I'm not technologically a genius however, don't mind mild tinkering (upgraded HD and RAM myself)

    Basically I need guidance with what to do...
    Do I continue some upgrades to the 5,1 like try 8gb RAM?
    Or do I plunge into a purchase?

    NOT interested in buying new.
    Want to save on a used one, ebay etc.

    For moderate-heavy web browsing, word, excel, and ability to stay supported for a good 3-5 years in the future - which MBP do you recommend and why? Being a Legacy sucks! Damnit Apple!

    Not interested in Air, don't have confidence the hardware will support my needs.

    Cheers :)
  2. New_Mac_Smell macrumors 68000


    Oct 17, 2016
    You won't likely notice much difference in upgrading to 8GB, although it's certainly cheap if you wanted to try.

    Why wouldn't you consider an Air? From what you've said it would be perfect, and also much more powerful than your current system (Which I'm guessing is working more or less okay for your work?).

    I'd consider an Air (Newest one within your budget), or get a 13" Pro, Late 2011 model would again suite your needs more than fine, a 2012-2016 model would be better. You did say you wanted support for 3-5 years though which is why I'd recommend something newer.
  3. Nick11Mac macrumors 6502


    Jan 20, 2011
    You might want to consider browsing the Apple online store for a refurbished MacBook Air or MacBookPro. Perhaps a 2015 would fit your needs and be better on your wallet.

    They back it with their standard one-year limited warranty. And you have the option of purchasing AppleCare.
  4. thats all folks macrumors 6502a

    thats all folks

    Dec 20, 2013
    Austin (supposedly in Texas)
    first, it's impressive that you have keep that machine running and relevant for so long. you can up that machine to 8GB and swap in an SSD for a little gain but that money would probably be best spent replacing it with something newer. what is your concern with the Air? any 2013 or later model with 8GB RAM will be crossing the finish line while your current setup is still getting into gear. or for more money, the late 2013 or later 13" MacBook Pro (which can have to 16GB RAM (not user upgradable)). though that wont give you much more performance than the Air.

    I wouldn't look at machines earlier than those due to their under-powered integrated graphics.
  5. linguist macrumors member

    Mar 31, 2009
    even though SSD would improve responsiveness, it is still limited by old SATA interface ( I have 4GB RAM, SSD upgrade on macbook white 2009) slower CPU and GPU.

    compared to macbook air early 2014 also with 4GB RAM (i5 1.4ghz), connected to external 1080p monitor, running windows guest virtual machine (2Gb allocated), opening few PDF, using VPN, opening 3 youtube video and 10+ tabs under google chrome , is when it start to lag a bit but very usable, day and night difference compared to macbook white, super responsive.

    As much as I like 8GB RAM when using Windows VM, the macbook air I currently use is very usable with 4GB.
  6. LegacyUser12 thread starter macrumors newbie


    Nov 27, 2016
    Thanks all who responded.
    I suppose I snubbed my nose up at the air premature to getting a good look at their performance.
    Just feel like their specs are inferior to what I'm wanting.
    I do realize i5 & i7's ghz can be less but simultaneously more efficient than a C2D. Despite that realization, I struggle to be interested in less than 2hgz out of fear that its going to be similar to what I have now.
    A local tech professional advised I steer clear of even worrying about the ghz and just go with an i5 or newer regardless. Is that sound advice?
    Of course with respect to what I'm using it for.

    I've come close to pulling the trigger on some ebay units. Perhaps I should link them so you guys can see what I'm looking at and help steer me from there.
    I'm really not convinced anything in the past few years $600+ can offer *that* much more that I want than a $250-300 early i5 unit. How's that logic?
    Seriously, not sarcastic! I think of things from damn near every angle and unfortunately complicate matters for myself but this is also how I've acquired some novice tech skills to keep the late '08 churning.
    --- Post Merged, Dec 1, 2016 ---
    Can you dumb down the SSD difference for me? And in what regard does the graphic difference you mentioned affect the user?
    --- Post Merged, Dec 1, 2016 ---
    Not my style. Much prefer salvaging an oldy but goody and saving some Bens that way
  7. linguist macrumors member

    Mar 31, 2009
    for mobile i5 and i7 processor I wouldn't go back before Haswell CPU generation, there were quite steady speed & power efficiency and integrated GPU improvement until that period, meaning macbook pro retina / air starting from 2013 is preferable. After Haswell (2013) improvement in high performance CPU has been stagnant, there are power efficiency improvement still.

    older generation pro can be slower than newer generation air even i5 vs i7 case (above explanation)

    focus on the turbo clock frequency for pro/air macbook.

    SSD has limited life (write cycles), also later generation macbook air/pro has significantly faster SSD, reliability improves with newer generation, make more sense to get later ones for longevity & performance.

    model with only integrated graphic (iGPU) will be the bottleneck for graphic performance in older CPU, more noticeable problem for retina display (smoothness of screen redraw and animation judder) ,there has been steady improvement over the years, performance peaked in Iris pro 5200 (retina macbook pro 15" late 2013-2015), Iris 540/550 (13" 2016).

    discrete graphic (dGPU) macbook pro retina 15" has been quite problematic reliability wise, best get the model with only integrated graphic (late 2013 ,2014, 2015 base model Iris Pro 5200 GPU)

    My recommendation for buying secondhand:

    macbook air i5 and preferably i7 2013-2015
    macbook pro retina i5 or i7 13" 2013-2015
    macbook pro retina 15" late 2013-2015 base config 2.0ghz turbo 3.2ghz ( no dGPU )

    the SSD since 2013 is much faster (and more reliable) and speed keep improving every generation and very noticeable in daily use.

    as for MHZ , the macbook air I mentioned in my post before is i5 1.4ghz turboboost up to 2.4ghz, so yes the turboboost matters. 1.4ghz is the idle/low load speed)

    "Not interested in Air, don't have confidence the hardware will support my needs"

    there is nothing slow about macbook air, in fact it is only slightly slower than 13" pro by 5-20% depending on workload.
    macbook air generally runs cooler/less fan noise but don't have retina display, battery life is 10-12 hours for 13" version, and lighter.

    I personally prefer pro for retina display reason, much better.

    wont bother with anything pre 2013.
  8. jackoatmon macrumors 6502a


    Sep 15, 2011
    the macbook Air or 12" macbook will more than satisfy your needs

    they're many, many times as powerful as your current machine

    unless you're running adobe programs all day, 3D animations, gaming or 4K video editing, just about every other thing computers can do will be smooth as butter on those lower tier, more portable machines
  9. thats all folks macrumors 6502a

    thats all folks

    Dec 20, 2013
    Austin (supposedly in Texas)
    some of these questions, only you can answer for yourself. if you think $300 will get you a meaningful upgrade, are we really going to convince you to spend 2 or 3 times that?

    I'll say this, the early Intel integrated GPUs were crap. I had a 2011 Air (Intel HD 3000) that I hated with all the interface stuttering and poor video playback. I quickly upgraded to a 2012 Air (HD 4000) and my life got instantly better (work computer, I did purchasing, pushed that 2011 on to someone else). and I'm still using that machine right now but am considering a 2015 Air (largely for the improved GPU and battery life).

    not sure what you mean by the SSD difference.

    as to taking an older machine and rehabing/maintaining it, we are in the post repair era. more and more parts are integrated, soldered and glued in. not much the end user can do. best to buy for the long term. how long do you think a 5 or 6 year old $300 computer will last? do you really want another machine with USB 2?
  10. LegacyUser12 thread starter macrumors newbie


    Nov 27, 2016
    So that 2012 Air you have, what's the model number? Like mine is 5,1

    I'm confused a bit that you are satisfied with that 2012 but other posts are saying >2013 is where it's at?

    At this point, I just want to get a bridge to a full new one in the next couple of years.
    I'm on short term disability leave from a car accident, and not in the financial position to go be buying a new one right now. If I did, I'd be settling and not getting the best one, which I could probably do by the end of next year.
    That's why I don't want to spend really over $400. I can turn around and sell this one for about $300, that's what it's gone for on Ebay.
    --- Post Merged, Dec 14, 2016 ---

    Is it possible you could offer 2-3 specific models from those suggested?
  11. jackoatmon macrumors 6502a


    Sep 15, 2011
  12. LegacyUser12 thread starter macrumors newbie


    Nov 27, 2016
    I'm not going to debate this subject as "good" is different to everyone and their respective needs of the computer, and aesthetics. A cosmetic issue is not a concern I have. Nor would I care if I had to use an external keyboard or mouse, I have both and a bluetooth numeric pad as well.

    The world is cluttered with LEGACY (hence my username) electronics that function just fine but have been surpassed by refined technology that meets the demand of designer features not needed by myself.

    What I may debate is the fact that far too many people today are quick to throw away a perfectly fixable electronic out of convenience instead of fixing it.

    My late 08 5,1 C2D has no functional issues and would be perfect for a student or say a person doing light at home recreational internet browsing.
    And it sells for under $400.

    Constructive advice welcomed, broad generalization with the air of trolling is not.
  13. thesaint024 macrumors 65816


    Nov 14, 2016
    suspension waiting room
    How much do you value speed is the first question. I just upgraded from an 09 (with 8gb) to 16 and boot up, opening apps, switching apps, everything is just orders at magnitude faster. More importantly for you specifically is obsolescence even if you can tolerate slower speeds. As machines get older, software stops supporting them. This happened with my 09. Although it technically ran good enough for light browsing, I couldn't get the latest OS on there. Without the latest OS, your door to programs will be closed as well. In your case, browser support is going to run out, especially with secure sites. Hard to say when that is.

    I don't know what the used or refurb market is these days, but for your needs, get as new a computer as you can that fits that budget you set. Prior model air (2013-ish) would be my budget choice as well. You might need to spend a little more than $400 for that though, but only spending $400 when your current one sells for $300 isn't going to get you much more than what you have. If you absolutely must stay on budget, might as well upgrade your existing, but that's not a good answer either.
  14. duervo macrumors 68020


    Feb 5, 2011
    Any system with a CPU from 2010 or later will be worlds better than the C2D. Incremental improvements since 2010, but the jump in 2010 was significant.

    A used quad core 2012 cMBP might be something you could be interested in, especially if you value the ability to upgrade the internal storage yourself, but if you "gotta have retina", then that's out.

    2012 15" retina's have a recall program going for problems with the dGPU (the cMBP ones are safe.) Not sure about the newer ones, but I think the 2013's are safe (so far), so I'd probably look for something like that if I were in your shoes.
  15. thats all folks macrumors 6502a

    thats all folks

    Dec 20, 2013
    Austin (supposedly in Texas)
    my Air is a 5,2. I would consider the 2012 a minimum, the 2011 had terrible graphics and before that, core 2 duo. (though a 2012 certainly a real improvement on your situation). I'm satisfied with it for what I do with it (doubly so since I didn't pay for it). and Apple gave me a free battery replacement around 18 months ago so it's still holding strong. I have a well endowed 12 core Mac Pro (Frankensteined together over several months) for when I need power. the Air for me is all about portability, and it does that well. the Air also has a matte screen. way more usable than all those shiny MacBook Pros from 2009-2012

    but if I was to buy an Air now, I also wouldn't recommend earlier than a 2013 (and 8GB RAM). that year brought a jump in GPU, battery, WiFi and SSD performance. 2014 was a minor bump and 2015 another decent boost. I realize your budget is constrained, but it's a game of diminishing returns with older systems. when you compare what you get on an older system vs something only a couple years old the value always tips to the newer system. not only do you get the performance gain made in the intervening years but also a machine with better longevity and reliability. and I think the 2013 or later Air will be a better value than any MacBook Pro. at least for non-intensive applications.

    in your current situation, maybe the RAM bump is the best answer. a clean install of the system and all apps could also be a plus (if you didn't do that with your OS update). if you had no machine and only $400, anything (that works) is better than nothing, but in this situation, maybe better to wait until you have more money.
  16. SamVilde macrumors regular


    Oct 18, 2008
    New York City
    The day I put an SSD in my 2008 macbook (this one that I'm typing on today) was like getting a new computer. I just priced it for one of my students yesterday - for $120 you can get a great new drive. It's true that it won't make your computer last forever, but when I do get a new computer I'm going to turn this SSD into an external drive - I won't have wasted anything. Why not try it?
  17. linguist macrumors member

    Mar 31, 2009

    macbook air 13" :

    preferable i7 for speed and battery life already top performer on market

    model 6,2 (2013-2014)
    model 7.2 (2015)

    macbook pro retina 13" :

    preferable i5 for battery life and less heat & fan noise

    Late 2013 - ME864LL/A* MacBookPro11,1
    The only retina 13" ever released with 4GB starting RAM, maybe could be cheaper on the market.

    Mid 2014 MGX72LL/A (128GB ssd) MGX82LL/A (256gb ssd) MacBookPro11,1

    macbook pro retina 15" :

    all model below have 16 GB RAM standard
    integrated GPU only model for reliability and more trouble free operation, this is still top iGPU on market and comparable to 2016 13"GPU performance

    Retina Late 2013 15" - ME293LL/A - MacBookPro11,2
    Retina Mid-2014 15" - MGXA2LL/A - MacBookPro11,2

    check the year, ram amount you need, and SSD size.
    happy hunting
  18. LegacyUser12 thread starter macrumors newbie


    Nov 27, 2016

    BEST RESPONSE EVER THANK YOU SO MUCH!! Just took notes and hunting shortly!
    --- Post Merged, Dec 15, 2016 ---
    That's new technology to me and I was born in 1988 by the way. I have yet to research it but all the advice points towards that so it's definitely on my agenda. Thanks!
    --- Post Merged, Dec 15, 2016 ---
    Thank you as well! The 4gb RAM bump did help but as it stands I'm at 108mb free with the following running..
    Safari 2 tabs
    1 Word doc and 1 Excel workbook

    Forced quit down to only Safari 2 tabs, iMessage and Finder immediately opened up to 839mb free

    Ran a memory cleaner app and now at 1.60gb free

    With all the above though, it's running pretty damn good. I think since I originally posted on here, I've gotten better at optimizing usage. It seems much more tamed now and less aggravating...but I'm still on the market for a marginal upgrade.

    Just officially got my house sold and new house under contract, going to consider a REAL upgrade with proceeds if I can squeeze it. So my friends ya'll can school me on where I should best allocate that opportunity! :)
    --- Post Merged, Dec 15, 2016 ---
    I don't understand the hype behind Retina. And someone else mentioned a matte screen which sounds like absolute heaven to me because I can't stand glare. I'm not really into aesthetic graphics, actually my parents just upgraded their living room TV to one that is so freaking realistic it takes a few weeks to acclimate to looking at it without getting a little motion sick.
  19. Samuelsan2001 macrumors 604

    Oct 24, 2013
    Just a quick note about ram, in activity monitor ignore the numbers they mean nothing, OS X will use all the ram available anything else is a waste of ram this means a lot of stuff sits in ram for fast access but this ram is also available when needed for processes and running other apps etc!!

    As long as your graph is green or yellow then your ram pressure is fine. When it starts to go orange or red you may be running into a ram bottleneck.
  20. LegacyUser12 thread starter macrumors newbie


    Nov 27, 2016
    MacBook Air A1466 (Mid 2013) 13.3" i5 1.3GHz 4GB 128GB SSD Sierra
    $499 with free shipping, US seller with 100% 1836 sales, in excellent cosmetic condition.
    Returns accepted.

  21. linguist macrumors member

    Mar 31, 2009
    consider 256GB SSD for convenience (phone backup, etc) , other than that mostly seems fine.

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