How old of a Macbook Pro could I get and still have decent performance?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by everlong24, Apr 2, 2014.

  1. everlong24 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2014
    #1
    I have a Mini and would really like a Macbook, but I can't afford a $1,200 computer right now. How far back could I go and still have a decent Macbook for another 3 years. It would only be used for browsing the net, watching movies, and storing pictures.
     
  2. BenTrovato macrumors 68020

    BenTrovato

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    Jun 29, 2012
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    Canada
    #2
    Grab a MBA .. 2012 with 4gb of ram. If you want to splurge get 8gb of ram but with what you just described, it doesn't sound like you need more than the base model. Anything like that with an SSD will be snappy for your needs.
     
  3. Barney63 macrumors 6502a

    Barney63

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    Location:
    Bolton, UK.
    #3
    I would suggest that all models are capable of handling such light use.
    The only things that I would be wary of is the models that were prone to the GPU failure.
    A 2010/11 model isn't that old and is also upgradeable should you require a quicker HD or more RAM.

    Barney
     
  4. Ray Brady macrumors 6502

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    Dec 21, 2011
    #4
    I'm with Ben. If those are your only needs, don't even bother with a Pro. Get a MacBook Air and save a few hundred dollars.
     
  5. plinden macrumors 68040

    plinden

    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2004
    #5
    I've handed my old 2010 MacBook Pro to my daughter, after putting an SSD into it.

    It's definitely still usable. I was using it for software development, home photo and video editing, and general computer use up until December. I only noticed it was "slow" after my wife got a MacBook Air so I had to get a rMBP, of course.

    Anything 4-5 years old should offer decent enough performance if you spend the extra to max out the RAM and put in an SSD.
     
  6. Naimfan macrumors 68040

    Naimfan

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    Jan 15, 2003
    #6
    I'd stay with a Mid-2010 15" or an Early 2011 13" or later. Those will have Core i5 or better processors.
     
  7. KUguardgrl13 macrumors 68020

    KUguardgrl13

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    Location:
    Kansas, USA
    #7
    My mid-2009 MacBook Pro still runs pretty well with 8gb ram, and newer hard drive, and Mavericks as well as a new battery. But you need to be careful if you're going to be mobile with it. The SATA cable is fragile and can fry if compressed while moving.

    I'd say try to find an older MBA in good condition if you want to take it out with you. Getting one with 4gb or 8gb ram and an i5 should be sufficient. Just be aware that older solid state drives are small!

    You might even try to find one of the unibody polycarbonate white MacBooks from 2009 or 2010. Same internals as the mid-2009 MBP base, but the case should be able to withstand more movement. And you can upgrade the ram if it's skimpy.

    Don't be scared of core2duo. Processors are less of a bottleneck than ram or traditional hard drives (both of which can be changed on classic MacBooks and MacBook Pros!)
     
  8. drenline macrumors 6502a

    drenline

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    Aug 8, 2010
    #8
    my mid-2009 MBP with 8gb ram still runs like a champ.
     
  9. Gav Mack macrumors 68020

    Gav Mack

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    #9
    I'd say all the core 2 duo models with 4/8gb ram are absolutely adequate for general use, with an SSD especially so cos they boot OSX in about 20-25 seconds. Got old white macbook's and pre unibody mbp's out there who are very happy still using theirs once 'souped up'. I do also usually whip out the logic boards and redo the thermal paste for the CPU and GPU if fitted, especially for the unibody 15 inch models which can get seriously hot on the left hand side speaker as the paste is usually very old, over applied and rubbish thermally.
     
  10. MCAsan macrumors 601

    MCAsan

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    Jul 9, 2012
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    Atlanta
    #10
    A niece had a 2010 white MB with 2MB and a 256GB drive. I put in 8GB of memory and a Samsung 840 EVO 500GB SSD. The performance increase was amazing. Boot time and app start up times dropped by 75%. The MB will last her a couple of more years.
     
  11. snaky69 macrumors 603

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    Mar 14, 2008
    #11
    An iPad is powerful enough for those activities. Get one that fits your budget and you'll do just fine.
     
  12. leman macrumors 604

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    Oct 14, 2008
    #12
    All post Core 2 Duo, make sure to put an SSD in it.
     
  13. Gav Mack macrumors 68020

    Gav Mack

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    #13
    I could live without my iPad Air even though I use it loads, but it's useless for transcoding playing every type of media, running proper multitasking apps and in my case storing huge encrypted iOS backups so my MBP and Mac Pro for really hard tasks I could not do without. A core2duo MBP is pretty cheap nowadays and with an SSD transplant/ram upgrade will fit the OP's requirements like a glove.

    I upgraded a clients wife's 2008 white MacBook with SSD/Ram and on boot and opening apps it blew the clients 2012 15 i7 MBP away. You can guess what the client ordered the very next day for his one :D
     
  14. bbeagle macrumors 68040

    bbeagle

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    Location:
    Buffalo, NY
    #14
    My old white MacBook (2006) still runs perfectly. It's my only laptop. I use it for surfing the web, playing movies, listening to music. It can only use go up to OS X Snow Leopard, but it's a fine machine that doesn't seem laggy at all.

    I have a 2011 Mac Mini that I use when I'm home, and I don't see any real difference with the 2006 white MacBook for the activities I use it for. Of course, I'm not going to open up Xcode or Eclipse on it and use it as nicely as my Mac Mini, but I don't code on the go.

    I'm always tempted to get a replacement for it - it's now 8 years old, but I just can't justify it for my uses.
     
  15. glenthompson macrumors 68000

    glenthompson

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    Apr 27, 2011
    Location:
    Virginia
    #15
    I used to have a 2007 17" MBP and it handled most of my stuff fine except for running out of memory. It could only handle 3gb and that was a killer. I need 8gb for my typical tasks.

    Few people are CPU bound and most Core2Duo models will serve them fine as long as they have adequate memory and a fast enough hard drive.
     
  16. TechZeke, Apr 3, 2014
    Last edited: Apr 3, 2014

    TechZeke macrumors 68020

    TechZeke

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    #16
    2011 Macbook Pros would be the best. A 2011 MBP will fair well even against even 2013 models, especially processor wise.

    8gb of ram and an SSD and the performance difference will really be unnoticeable.

    2010 would be minimum I would say. 8gb of ram and an ssd would be mandatory though.

    Honestly, for your uses even a 2008 C2D would be enough. 3 years from will be a bit of a stretch though.
     
  17. drenline macrumors 6502a

    drenline

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    Aug 8, 2010
    #17
    Seriously considering this now, it just came to me that I could remove the optical drive and put my current 500gb hdd there and buy a new SSD as the main drive.
     
  18. everlong24 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Mar 31, 2014
    #18
    Thanks for the suggestions guys.How would say a 2011 stand up to current Window's laptops?
     
  19. Gav Mack macrumors 68020

    Gav Mack

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    #19
    My late 2011 2.4 i7 17" boots windows 7 to loaded desktop in about 20 seconds with maxed out 16Gb ram and 1tb SSD. Scores 7.5, 7.6, 6.9, 6.9, 7.9 with 7.9 max in the Windows Experience Index. Though I have modded the MBR to enable AHCI and SATA3 in bootcamp. OSX boots in about 10 seconds.

    Great machines but they do have a heat problem, I've just replied on the radeongate thread which is relevant to the 2011 models.
     
  20. thekev macrumors 604

    thekev

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2010
    #20
    Ironically the 2010 and 2011 are both known for a high gpu failure rate.

    What do you mean? GPU is already slower. CPUs are as fast on OSX as they were in 2011 on Windows. At the quad core level they haven't changed that much.
     
  21. iRadio macrumors newbie

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    Oct 30, 2013
    #21
    Im using a 2010 MBP, 13" with 8gb Ram and a Hybrid Seagate drive (750gb)

    Runs fine with Photoshop Elements, Lightroom, film watching, web surfing et al.
     
  22. 5to1 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2008
    #22
    My wifes still using her 2.26gh C2D 13MBP from 2009. She probably has similar usage to you, web (Facebook being the most taxing), videos, large iPhoto library, some web processing/etc. I only needed to replace the paltry 2GB it came with to 8GB.

    I haven't even needed to switch the HDD, as from sleep it resumes almost instantly and consistently (as opposed to windows machines we have from the era we're sleep is unreliable and slow).

    She's considering swapping for an rMBP for a couple of reasons now, but performance isn't one of them, as even a pre-unibody Mac she used while hers was with Apple was fast enough.

    Firstly she gets student discount which brings the cost down and gives her 3 years Apple care. Secondly she's running out of HDD space, so considering throwing that money towards a new machine rather then an SSD upgrade. Thirdly she used my machine for a bit while I was arguing with Apple for a new battery (they agreed given only 300 cycles and second time it had happened). During that time she noticed (even after getting hers back with a new battery) mine lasted longer untethered and her pictures looked better on it.


    This is the second time the battery has failed (expanded) and while Apple replaced it for free, she feels given the cost to upgrade (hers is still worth about £400-500 having canvassed people at work) and factoring the warranty she'll get it kind of makes sense to upgrade now. If she gets anywhere near that for her old one, I'll be astounded at the overall cost to her after 5 years of usage :O

    I concur with others, almost any machine from the past 6 years will perform perfectly well for you. If budget is an issue, don't muddy the water by playing with the newer machines as its quite easy to spend twice as much when you'd be perfectly happy with a cheaper used machine.
     
  23. KUguardgrl13 macrumors 68020

    KUguardgrl13

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    May 16, 2013
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    Kansas, USA
    #23
    I have the same machine as your wife :). I'd suggest looking at the new rMBP with the 256gb SSD if she's looking for an upgrade. With the education discount, it's a good deal and overall it's a great machine! I've had mine since October because my 09 had SATA cable connection issues. But the 09 got a new lease on life with a new battery and staying at home instead of going to school every day.

    But OP will probably be fine with anything from 2009-2012 depending on price. As was stated the 2011 models have some GPU issues. I'd especially look at the unibody MacBooks, both aluminum and polycarbonate (2008-2010). Also 2009 and 2010 MacBook Pros or the 2012 non-retina if you can find a good deal. All of these can have ram and drive upgrades. Keep in mind that the older the machine, the less likely it is to last as long as you want it to. If you want a machine you can take with you, look at the MacBook Airs.
     
  24. 5to1 macrumors regular

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    Mar 9, 2008
    #24
    Yep its been a great machine for her. I've handed down my windows machines to her in the past and they haven't lasted anywhere near this time and caused me much more headache. The only intervention with this one has been upping the RAM and getting the battery swapped. Still astounded sleep wake has worked flawlessly for the past 5 years and resumes so rapidly, having come from predominantly windows laptops.

    I have the rMBP13 with 512SSD and 16GB RAM. I'll definitely go with 8GB for her, just debating on the SSD side. Its the pics that have consumed her 160GB largely, but she doesn't want to hand them over solely to the HP micro server we have for backups. She largely prefers her pics to also be on her machine. As such, given Apple have gone a different route with their SSD's I'm contemplating just stumping up for the 512 SSD. Rather then risk the messing around later to replace it. For the sake of a couple hundred bucks, it seems worth it on a machine she uses daily for several hours/day.
     
  25. KUguardgrl13 macrumors 68020

    KUguardgrl13

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    May 16, 2013
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    Kansas, USA
    #25
    Yeah 512 might be worth it if she really wants to have everything with her. Apple put a 500gb hard drive in my 2009, and it's plenty of space! I store everything locally on that one but use a 1TB portable external with my rMBP for movies. I've learned to live with externals since it's cheaper (and now much easier) to buy a Western Digital external than it is to upgrade the internal storage in my Macs. I have a 1TB desktop for Time Machine, the 1TB portable, and a 500gb portable that has old schoolwork on it.
     

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