How often do you upgrade? Is this idea cost effective. Thoughts?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by Ardash, Jul 10, 2013.

  1. Ardash macrumors newbie

    May 6, 2012
    So I have been doing a lot of thinking recently about the upgrade cycle people buy their computers. I know some people use their macs until they die but more often the software renders machines obsolete rather than actual machines dying. I remember the first mac I had was a lovely 27 inch iMac that was a dream but after 6 years there was not a lot of new software that would run smoothly.
    What makes more sense, to upgrade often thus having access the best OS, hardware and software? Or is it better to upgrade every 2,3,4, or 5 years?? I know for a lot of people it comes down to money, but upgrading every year is just stupid expensive and also the improvements often do not justify the costs of the yearly upgrade.

    I was wondering how often you guys replace your machines. I have been searching the forums and have seen people vary with such answers as every two-three years being the majority. If you were to replace your machine every two years you could reasonably get 50% of your purchase price back on a website like ebay or ksl or craigslist or what have you, so every two years assuming you pay around $2000.00 for a laptop (retina macbook pro) it costs you $1000.00 per 2 year cycle to upgrade or $500.00 a year if you break it down like that.

    I was wondering what do you guys think of this? What if I were to buy a refurbished macbook pro from apple lets say the 2012 15 inch retina. Right now I have seen some selling for 23-25% off from Apples website, of course there are supply constraints but if you look and wait they do appear.
    Now hear me out and tell me what you think of this.......

    So the laptop would cost around $1600.00 keep that laptop for a year and then sell it for as much as you can lets just say $1000.00 for arguments sake.
    Do you guys think it is worth it to always run a macbook that is one generation behind and buy refurbished? You are still upgrading yearly it is just one generation behind but still comes with Apples great warranty. What do you think? Is this a good idea have any of you done this or would you even consider it? I am anxious to hear what the community thinks? What about a similar concept for an ipad or iphone. With my iPad what I normally do is buy on black friday from macmall and buy tax free and for a good deal and then right before or after apple announces a refresh I sell my ipad. I may go a month or two without an ipad but I feel like it is worth the money.

    Please share with me your thoughts.
  2. Orlandoech macrumors 68040


    Jun 2, 2011
    Salt Lake City, UT
  3. mslide, Jul 10, 2013
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2013

    mslide macrumors 6502a

    Sep 17, 2007
    I upgrade my computer when it can no longer meet my needs and/or when the performance benefits of a newer computer will increase my productivity enough at work to make it cost effective. My BlackBook lasted me 6 years and it's still good enough for simple things (web browsing, email, iTunes, MS Office, etc). Especially with an SSD, it still runs quite well with Snow Leopard. If it weren't for the fact that I frequently have to run virtual machines, I'd still be using it as my work computer. I expect my current one to last me about that long as well. I usually don't sell my old computers either because I always wind up finding a use for them. Doing what you're proposing would cost me more money in the long run.

    Then again, I don't need my laptops to have a lot of horsepower. I don't do video/photography stuff with them and I have a gaming PC for games (and that doesn't get upgraded very often either).

    I don't see a need to upgrade an iPad so often. We only use ours for simple things and our iPad 2 and mini will be able to handle those things for many years to come. I mean, I'm sure they will be more than good enough to run the TV Guide and How To Cook Everything apps, for example, for a very long time.
  4. Doward macrumors 6502a

    Feb 21, 2013
    I buy last year's maxed out system for the best price possible, make sure I have AppleCare, then ~3-6 months before AppleCare runs out, I sell the system and apply towards a new system.

    At least, that's my plan. Maximize value on the front and back end, and ideally rock the system for ~2.5 years.

    I bought this system in 2012 for $1400. It has AppleCare until 02/2015. ~10/2014 I'll put this system up for sale, hopefully for near $1000.

    I'll have spent ~$200/year to own and use this laptop. I've made a good sight more than that from the system already ;)

    I used to get very emotional about my system, how it's built, etc. Comes from the PC side of things where customization is everything.

    Now, it's a tool. I need my system to accomplish specific things for specific reasons. I'm not nearly as worried about it being 'mine' as I am about it being 'what I need'.

    That's why I bought an Apple Macbook Pro.
  5. srsub3 macrumors 6502


    Mar 10, 2013
    I usually change laptop after 2 years because I am an intensive user.... get as much as i can and start with a new machine... when you need power it doesn't matter how much you have to pay, that's all :)
  6. wb123 macrumors newbie

    Jun 7, 2013
    I paid about £750 for my macbook 6.5 years ago, a quick look at ebay finds the same model going for £200-250. So its cost me about £77 a year to keep the thing vs your $500.

    That said a full replacement every 2 years might have reduced money spent on things like ram, a bigger hard drive, then an SSD, and a replacement charger. If it avoided all of those purchases entirely, struggling to remember costs, I think I paid about £50 for the ram, £80 for the hard drive, £80 for the SSD, £60 for the replacement charger.

    Redoing the calculation allowing for that extra expenditure I still come out at £121 a year. Perhaps you could also argue that OSX upgrades should be added to this also.

    I say keep it till it melts down or no longer meets your needs, which in my case may well be the former.
  7. Count Blah macrumors 68040

    Count Blah

    Jan 6, 2004
    US of A
    I keep my laptops and then hand them down to the rest of the family. The misses is enjoying the 1st gen unibody 2.53 C2D with 8 Gigs of RAM. Her needs are such that it is just fine for what she does.

    I replaced that as my primary with the base cMBP and promptly put 16 Gigs of RAM into it. At some point in the next 6 months or so, I'll replace the DVD drive with an SSD, and that will set me up for the next couple of years, like the C2D. I don't see anything on the horizon that will make this machine obsolete for my needs. Who knows, the cMBP may bring a slight premium on the market due to it's upgradeability, if the line is replaced by all rMBP.

    This cMBP will most likely go to the misses at the point it cannot keep up with my needs. But I fully expect at least three years out of it.

    If I were to go the resale route, I would hope to keep it for two years versus one, but that is talk from someone who keeps them for WAY longer.
  8. Bear macrumors G3

    Jul 23, 2002
    Sol III - Terra
    Some people replace there machines on a fixed cycle (anywhere from 1 to 5 years) and some people replace when needed or a new machine has something they really want.

    I'm on the 3-5 year as needed cycle myself.

    If you buy a refurbished system, you don't necessarily have to be a full year behind. And if you do sell it every year you will always have a system under warranty without having to buy Applecare. But do you really want to buy a new system every year and have to set it up again? That is your choice.
  9. takeshi74, Jul 10, 2013
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2013

    takeshi74 macrumors 601

    Feb 9, 2011
    These are all questions that each user has to answer for his/her self. Worth, usage, sense, best, expensive and justify are all highly subjective matters on matter what the topic. Going by consensus or popular choice instead of your needs/wants/preferences is what really makes no sense no matter what figures you include in your question.

    I'll use my MBP until it no longer meets my needs and I need to upgrade. I don't rely on a calendar. That said, do whatever works best for you, considering your computing needs/wants, budget, need for warranty, willingness to deal with migrating from one system to another, etc etc.

    If you've already seen that it varies then why are you asking again? Why do you think this thread will provide you a conclusive answer that fits everyone's varying (or even your specific) requirements? Popular/majority and what's best suited to you are always two different things. Yes, they may coincide sometimes but don't assume that one is the other.
  10. Ih8reno macrumors 65816


    Aug 10, 2012
    When I used pc's I would upgrade about every 3 years due to sluggishness and problems with hardware software. Now I have a 2 year old macbook pro which has been upgraded somewhat internally. I see no real reason to upgrade in the near future as this works flawlessly. Finally, as I purchased applecare when I got the machine I have peace of mind that should I do have problems apple will take care of it!
  11. Ardash thread starter macrumors newbie

    May 6, 2012
    Great responses. I just wanted to see what everyone did. I don't think I would like using a machine that is 6 years old it all depends of what you are doing but it just would not work for my needs. I am currently in Utah and I have access to a great website which lets me sell my old apple tech for a decent price while not having to deal with ebay's percentage cut. Normally I buy new and then sell in 2.5 years before the applecare expires.

    I am thinking that my for my new plan will buy a apple refurbished machine and skip the applecare and then sell it right before the one year is up to get a good selling price and then new buyer will have the option to add applecare if they want. I will not have to pay a premium for a new machine still have apple warranty on the machine while I have it and get a selling price that will let me have access to quality machines. As for transferring data to a new machine that is super easy to do with time machine not to mention cloud based storage. In my opinion however the absolute best time to buy is during the black friday shopping weekend. That is what I am going to try and base my upgrade cycle around.
  12. newdeal macrumors 68020

    Oct 21, 2009
    I upgrade every refresh cycle by buying a used model of the previous generation that still has warranty and then keeping it until warranty is about to run out and selling it just before it is out of warranty. By doing this, and by knowing what they are worth, I actually make money every time I upgrade. Just in the process right now of selling a 2011 macbook pro 13 (out of warranty when I bought it but it was a great deal) and will make around $100 on it when I sell. Already have its replacement which is a 2013 rMBP 15 that I got for $1650 (its the 2.7ghz i7 with 16gb ram and 512gb hdd). This one will be a tougher sell, the 13s sell far better than the 15s on the used market
  13. jcpb macrumors 6502a

    Jun 5, 2012
    If you can claim the upgrades against your income taxes or file them as business expenses, it makes sense to get the latest and greatest when they come out. Otherwise, it's better to upgrade once every 2+ years because of overall performance improvements compounded over time.

    Upgrading yearly just to "keep up with the Joneses" never makes sense financially.
  14. NewishMacGuy, Jul 10, 2013
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2013

    NewishMacGuy macrumors 6502a


    Aug 2, 2007
    I think it's a better idea than you have given it credit for. If you buy a 2012 refurb rMBP-15 for $1600, chances are high that you'll get more than $1000 for it in a year's time. You should be fine with the 8GB on resale in a year or two, but the 256GB drive could be a problem for resale. That really isn't much space and they're going to be a lot of the 256GB specced computers on the market as most didn't opt to pay the freight for the 512GB model. The fact that they're not affordably upgradeable will reduce resale value a little, so I would not expect them to perform quite like the uMBP has on resale. Still I'd guess you'd be able to get $1200.

    I upgraded last year after a 5yr stint with my MacBook and opted to buy a 2011 uMBP and upgrade it while I wait for rMBP specs to improve and prices to drop, because I'll be keeping that one for a while. Hopefully we'll get reasonable pricing on 16GB/512GB in a couple of months. If not, I may flip into an upgraded 2012 model from either CL or AS refurb.

    I paid $900 (got a great deal) +$200 in upgrades and expect that I'll get at least $800 back if I sell later this year, maybe more given the upgrades.


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