Is 2012 MacBook Pro still something to consider?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by spencertimm, May 16, 2017.

  1. spencertimm macrumors newbie

    May 16, 2017
    Hi all,
    I currently have a base model 2015 MacBook Air that I am beginning to grow out of. I have used it for college, which has been great, but I am about to graduate and it is showing its age. I have been getting more into photography and this is quite taxing on it. I will be working at a firm that will give me a computer when I start in a few months so my Mac won't be my primary machine anymore, just my hobby machine.

    I am looking for something with more power, but I don't like the new MBP and I can't really imagine spending $1,400 or more on a 2015 MBPr just to get a base model with a 256GB SSD.

    I was browsing the refurbished store and noticed that Apple has some mid-2012 MBP's on there with a Core i7. I know I can add in an SSD and up to 16GB of RAM. Are these still a viable option in 2017 (upgraded of course)? I don't mind not having the thinnest and lightest or a Retina display.
  2. turbineseaplane macrumors 601


    Mar 19, 2008
    Have you thought about a pre-owned 2015 model?

    I just got a mid 2015 15" that was purchased last Fall off Craigslist.

    2.8ghz i7
    16GB RAM
    512GB SSD
    370x & Iris Pro
    Extra AppleCare attached to it

    All for $1500 and totally mint condition
    For me this was after having 2 different variants of 2016 13" and one model of 2016 15" and two different 12" MacBooks.

    For me, at this point in time, I seem to prefer the the 2015's.
    I'm not ready to deal with dongle fest and I actually sort of prefer the older keyboard (arrow keys and more travel) and trackpad (size mainly).

    But all in all, the value to be had was my main thing..
    The 2016's are just too expensive to me for what is on offer.
  3. azpekt macrumors regular

    Jun 27, 2012
    hp, illinois
    i would still rock my 2012 mbp, but retina display was the biggest reason i got myself an 2015 one
  4. treekram macrumors 68000

    Nov 9, 2015
    Honolulu HI
    For your purposes - a secondary computer which isn't going to be carried around much and for your tastes (don't need Retina), the Apple refurbished 2012 MBP's will probably be fine. I bought one in late 2015 for secondary use and still think it was a good decision on my part (my MBP was manufactured about a month before I bought it). I don't like to buy used (Apple refurbished or open-box from reputable retailers I can do). FYI, the 2.9Ghz i7 is still dual-core and is about 15% faster than the base 2.5Ghz i5 and I see there's a $220 price difference and because you want 16GB, the extra 4GB in the i7 model doesn't do you any good. The benchmark is from Geekbench. The 1.6Ghz i5-5250U in the base early-2015 MBA looks to be about the same speed as the 2.5Ghz base mid-2012 MBP. Some of the mobile Intel processors with lower clock speeds can be competitive with their other mobile CPU's with higher clock speeds. The benchmark figures come from Geekbench and are like government MPG figures for cars - YMMV.
  5. johannnn macrumors 65816


    Nov 20, 2009
    I have the 2012 MBP at work. Out of the box its stupid slow, but thanks to 16GB ram and a fast SSD I now do complex bioinformatics with it.

    I use with an external screen, never carry it around. It's heavy!
  6. caramelpolice macrumors regular

    Oct 6, 2012
    This would practically be a downgrade from a 2015 Air, honestly. No better performance, except for a higher RAM cap. Lower-res display. Heavier. Thicker. Worse battery life. Completely pointless.
  7. keysofanxiety macrumors G3


    Nov 23, 2011
    Yep, absolutely spot on. Just to add to that: it's got a SATA SSD rather than PCI-e. So real-world usage would feel much slower. Even with the top end i7 2.9GHz it's only about 20% more powerful than the i5 in the OP's MBA. If they're currently hitting the CPU bottleneck, it's hugely unlikely that extra would make a difference.

    @spencertimm: as Caramel rightly said, a 13" 2012 would be closer to a step down than a step up.
  8. The Mercurian macrumors 68000

    Mar 17, 2012
    I think you would find the 2012 slower. The SSD in the 2015 Air would be much faster. Even if you put a fast SSD in the 2012 model, the Bus speed in the 2012 would not compete. At least I think so anyhow.
  9. andreyush macrumors 6502


    Oct 24, 2015
    If you talk about the 15" one then you will have a powerfull CPU and planty of RAM , but the Air's SSD is better.

    Also if you don't mind the thickness and the weight then you should go for it. Or if you want both you could aim a Late-2013 Retina Macbook Pro :). It's more expensive but I think that should do the job for you many years from now on.
  10. Fishrrman macrumors P6


    Feb 20, 2009
    OP wrote:
    "I am looking for something with more power, but I don't like the new MBP and I can't really imagine spending $1,400 or more on a 2015 MBPr just to get a base model with a 256GB SSD."

    I paid $1,189 for a -new- 2015 MBPro 8gb/256gb last December.
    You need to get out and shop around, young man.

    Also, IF you shop carefully, you might be able to find -new- "2012 non-retina" MBPro's selling in the $800-850 range. There may still be a few places with stock left.
  11. KieranDotW macrumors 6502a


    Apr 12, 2012
    I would say not. I've been using my mid-2012 cMBP since the day it was released as my only machine, and even with an upgrade to an SSD and 8GB RAM it's not the machine it once was.

    I'm a graphic designer, and I can't manage to run any version of Adobe software newer than CS6 (released in 2012). Even so, I get speed hiccups using said software. After Effects is almost unusable (surprise surprise), with playback previews clocking in as low as 0.7 FPS (!!!) at 1/4 resolution and being completely unable to export any projects at resolutions higher than 1080p.

    The non-retina display does no favors for my eyes, though on the bright side the battery has held up surprisingly well being at 84% capacity after over 1200 cycles. I really want to get another year out of this machine, but I'm no sure if that's practical.
  12. MacInTO macrumors 65816


    Apr 25, 2005
    Canada, eh!
    I love the 2012 cMBP. I've had a retina and went back because I didn't like the storage limitations. I have a cMBP with a 2TB SSD.

    If you don't do too many processor-intensive tasks, you should be okay with the speed.

    If you get one of these, take out the hard drive and install a SSD.
  13. osakakid macrumors newbie

    Dec 19, 2012
    Do not buy. The video card are doomed to fail anytime.
  14. MacInTO macrumors 65816


    Apr 25, 2005
    Canada, eh!
  15. treekram macrumors 68000

    Nov 9, 2015
    Honolulu HI
    The OP didn't mention it, but is referring to the 13" mid-2012 models, which have an iGPU. If the OP has the truly base 2015 MBA, that came with 4GB RAM, which could a reason why it's feeling long in the tooth.
  16. Audit13 macrumors 601


    Apr 19, 2017
    Toronto, Ontario, Canada
    I like the idea of being able easily upgrade the ram and hard drive but I would look for a good used unit rather than buying new imho.

    I have a late 2011 Macbook pro 13 and it's quote peppy with Sierra.
  17. Anonymous Freak macrumors 603

    Anonymous Freak

    Dec 12, 2002
    Well, I just bought a used 2012 Retina 15" one off Craigslist. Works great for me! Definitely an upgrade over an older dual-core system. Handles movie editing, photo editing, even light gaming (mostly older games like Portal 2, Starcraft, but even the latest Unreal Tournament is playable if you don't try to run it at native resolution.)

    Only downside is if you want more than 8 GB RAM, you have to find one that was configured with 16 GB at purchase time.
  18. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    I have the 15" 2012 rMBP, great machine, it still gets used nearly every day, though at this point the battery needs to be replaced. Personally, I'd probably be very hesitant to buy a 5 year old computer, though with this deal you do get a warranty.

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17 May 16, 2017