How good are the early 2011 MBP's?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by marc55, Nov 18, 2013.

  1. marc55, Nov 18, 2013
    Last edited: Nov 18, 2013

    marc55 macrumors 6502a


    Oct 14, 2011
    I have a lead on an early (June 2011) 2011 MBP, I7, 4GB Ram, 500GB SD/HR (5400RPM), and I am wondering if it would be good to pick up, or is the system too old or going to be too old in the near future to effectively run updated OSX's. I'm also not sure how the antiglare display is on the older models?

    How does this compare overall in performance to the 2013 models? I know the 5400 RPM HD will be slower, but now sure about the rest of the system, like the graphics, etc.

    The one thing good about the system, I think, is it is upgradeable.

    Are there any lingering issues pertaining to this model that I should be aware of?

    I am interested in the rMBP until I found out about this one, but not sure buying old with no warranty is the right road to take if I will only have problems?

    Thank you
  2. Phildo macrumors member


    Nov 14, 2011
    Perth, Western Australia
    I've got the exact same MacBook Pro. Love it.

    - It's the last MBP that runs 10.6.8, which you need if you want to run old software. Until I bought this one new two years ago, I would change MBP at least once a year. I've stuck with this one because I have so much stuff in AppleWorks 6.

    - Replace the hard drive with an SSD. Makes a huge difference.

    - Get a 16Gb RAM kit.

    - This one has both FireWire and Thunderbolt. No USB 3 though.

    - The 2.7GHz i7 processor is fast.
  3. qawsed macrumors regular

    Jul 9, 2009
    Just moved from a base 2011 with 8gb ram. Was slowing a bit but i think an SSD would have made a big difference if I kept it.
  4. caughtinfire macrumors member


    Jul 2, 2011
    Bellevue, WA
    That's the model I have, except with 8gb ram and a 7200rmp drive. The only reason I'm upgrading is the weight is too much for me personally to carry around all the time. It's fantastic and takes everything I throw at it. You'll want to do at least a RAM upgrade (8gb is enough for most), and consider a hard drive upgrade at some point but it's not really a necessity.
  5. FuNGi macrumors 65816


    Feb 26, 2010
    I just sold my 15" hi-res with an M4SSD after the graphics card failed (replaced under Applecare). Turns out this is a known issue with those AMD chips and there is a 100 page list over on Apple Support Communities link. Just something to be aware of, apparently many people get refurbed replacement parts that then fail again and again. That being said, I loved that machine.
  6. thundersteele macrumors 68030

    Oct 19, 2011
    I have the late 2011, which is very similar. Overall I'm satisfied with my machine, and I'm having a hard time convincing myself that it needs an upgrade.

    - no USB 3.0
    - rather weak graphics
    - my antiglare display turned out not so great (uneven lighting, backlight bleeding) - not sure if that's a generic issue or just my bad luck

    For gaming I think this machine is too old. Otherwise it should be fine for everyday tasks, and it is still quite powerful for computing. For a smooth experience you should upgrade the RAM and replace the HDD with a SSD - so include that in the total cost.
  7. FastEddiebags macrumors 6502

    Jun 1, 2012
    Same thing happened to me and both the early and late 2011 are affectedd. Luckily I had Applecare since they replaced the logic board 3 times then gave me a replacement computer.

    I'd go with a 2012
  8. Dwalls90 macrumors 601


    Feb 5, 2009
    This is exactly what I did.

    Hard Drive: Upgraded to an SSD (512GB), and it literally boots in seconds and is as responsive as the new rMBP and MBA.

    RAM: 16GB and never run out of free RAM (going to be a LONG time until 16GB of RAM is saturated, unless you're doing very intensive editing work or launching satellites).

    GPU: ... don't really game, but Apple's GPU selection has never been evolutionary anyways.

    Lighting: Check.

    CPU: Still very fast, new Intel CPU's are evolutionary at best, and I never max out my currnet CPU and don't see myself ever hitting that point.
  9. saturnotaku macrumors 68000

    Mar 4, 2013
    I have the late 2011 model as well, which I picked up in July 2012, not long after Apple announced that year's product refreshes. MicroCenter got in a shipment of fully upgraded 2011 MBPs with the faster 2.5 GHz CPU, 7200 RPM HDD, and antiglare display. The store put them on clearance for $1599, which was a screaming good deal considering the same machines sold for $2649 just a couple months earlier. My screen had no issues with bleed or unevenness. I installed 8 GB of RAM immediately after purchase, then I ordered the 960 GB Crucial M500 SSD the day they became available.

    The AMD 6770M is far from the latest and greatest, but I wouldn't consider it "weak" by any stretch. Sure, you won't be able to play Battlefield 4 at native resolution, but it's still plenty capable of running games at 1280x800. I've not experienced any GPU issues, knock on wood, though that is a concern. At the same time, I had a 2007 MBP with the infamous GeForce 8600M GT that never failed in my 3+ years of ownership. I would definitely say it's been quite lucky, but AppleCare is there to provide protection should the unthinkable happen.

    Overall, I'm extremely satisfied with this MBP. It does absolutely everything I ask of it, and I have little desire to upgrade.
  10. thundersteele macrumors 68030

    Oct 19, 2011
    Ah I wasn't precise there. The OP is considering an early 2011 which, in the low end version, comes with a very weak AMD 6490M GPU. The late 2011 was much better in that respect.

    My 8600M GT failed after 38 months. So much for AppleCare. It was repaired for free by Apple, but I found out that it would be free only after the repair was done...
  11. saturnotaku macrumors 68000

    Mar 4, 2013
    The OP never specified which version, though now that I look again, the key is in the hard drive. The low-end early 2011 with the aforementioned weaksauce 6490M GPU had 500 GB. The more desirable model with the 6750M had 750 GB as standard. I had completely forgotten about the base version.

    So yes, you're right. The 6490M is not worth considering unless you're going to be doing the most basic of tasks and are getting it on the cheap.
  12. marc55 thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Oct 14, 2011
  13. NewishMacGuy macrumors 6502a


    Aug 2, 2007
    The 6490M in the early 2011 is fine as long as you're not a hardcore gamer. I get acceptable frame rates on SC2 and COD4 at intermediate settings driving an ATD, for everything other than the latest games, you'll never know the difference.

    That being said, if you are really going to game on this thing, you should get a 2012 with a GT650, preferably a high-spec 1GB VRAM version at least.


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