Long term support for 17" MBP?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by Shintsu, Mar 29, 2017.

  1. Shintsu macrumors member

    Shintsu

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    #1
    I am trying to determine (as best I can) how long an i7 based Late 2011 17" MBP will likely be supported. I know Sierra cut off support for some of the older devices and it's that same thing that concerns me about the Late 2011 MBP. The cutoff was Mid 2010 or newer for MBP, so what I'm wondering as I look at this if the cutoff was Core 2 based Macs. Mid 2010 MBPs would all have been first gen i5/i7s right? So a Late 2011 17" MBP with a 2nd Gen i7 seems pretty safe if the cutoff is going to be based off architecture.

    But I am very new to Mac and Apple, so I have no idea if those of you who've been around much longer in this space are more familiar with a pattern from Apple regarding things like this. Technical ability wise, I think the 17" MBP with i7 would be great for me and my intended use. My Windows PC is running a 3rd gen i7 and I see absolutely no need to upgrade to the newer generation CPUs. It should be noted that the battery life benefits are largely moot for me since I am not going to have it off the charger much, but I know on the MBPs that's a big boon on the newer gens.

    I'm planning to use this computer for at least probably the next 2-3 years, I mean barring the need for something far more powerful. But with an i7 it's already still ahead of even the newer i5's in raw power.
     
  2. smallcoffee macrumors 65816

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    #2
    You're fine if you think you're fine. It's not like they're going to turn the Mac off on you or something. Are you looking to buy one, or do you already have?
     
  3. Shintsu thread starter macrumors member

    Shintsu

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    #3
    I'm looking to buy, I know the seller so I'm sure I can get it for a fair price considering what it is. I was considering buying a used '15 or '16 13" MBP, likely with an i5, 8 GB RAM, and 256 GB or larger storage, mostly just so it would be supported for a long time (The 17" MBP has 16 GB RAM and a 1 TB drive, I think HDD). But that will most certainly cost more. How reliable are the older user serviceable MBPs like that 17" vs. the newer non-user serviceable MBPs? More moving parts, but less soldered in than the newer ones.
     
  4. Sanpete macrumors 68020

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    #4
    Apple has already declared the early 2011s vintage, and no longer supports repairs, though I think they'll still run diagnostics if they're in a good mood. You can still get service from other sources, though.

    Are you aware of the dGPU issues for these 2011s? There's a history of the dGPUs failing, which can make the machine unusable unless you take some rather involved measures to bypass the dGPU. There are reports you can also repair the logic boards, but that's iffy.

    As for the OS, the processors are similar to current ones, so I think that will be OK for a while.

    I'm still running mine, use it most days as a secondary machine to stream video content on that nice 17" screen. It's also my backup, just in case.
     
  5. Shintsu thread starter macrumors member

    Shintsu

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    #5
    Argh! It seems like the older ones just have more problems. I know someone who is an Apple certified tech, and they've told me the repair bills on a few various MBPs and it's always astronomical so I'd hate to buy an old computer and then possibly be stuck with a repair bill that isn't even worth it to do. I do remember in another thread some issues mentioned around that time frame of 2010-2012. If I go with a newer one that just has all Thunderbolt ports and I want a wired ethernet connection, do I need an adapter or do they just not support wired anymore?
     
  6. smallcoffee macrumors 65816

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    #6
    So I wouldn't pay more than, say, $250 for that machine. What is the price range you're thinking of for that?
     
  7. Shintsu thread starter macrumors member

    Shintsu

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    #7
    They go for more than 3 times that on eBay. Not saying I want to pay all that, but I think that price is unreasonably low for what it is. I saw someone selling a 2010 13" MBP for $300, which seems more inline for that kind of price. Much less mostly seems to buy you stuff so old it can't even be used on a modern OS or broken Macs.
     
  8. sunapple macrumors 65816

    sunapple

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    #8
    A car from the 70s has fewer complicated parts and is more easily accessible in comparison to a modern car. That's great, and they're cheaper, but you have to be able to get parts when needed and think of those costs and the inconveniences before you buy.

    In the case of a MacBook Pro from '11 that's known to have dGPU issues, I'd say don't do it. If you need something reliable, get something as new as possible.
     
  9. Sanpete macrumors 68020

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    #9
    The 17" still gets a good price because of the larger screen, but there is increased risk. More and more they'll end up in the hands of people who are tech-savvy and can take care of problems. As you say, it's not only the 2011 with the dGPU issues, that extends to a couple years later, and some think the dGPUs in recent years are also suspect for longevity, though there isn't much evidence for that.

    Yes, for ethernet with the 2016s you need an adapter, but that's not a big issue for most people. The new ports can do everything the old ones do with the right cables or adapters, and are about twice as powerful. Read the threads here to get a good view of potential issues. I have the new 15" and love it, but I don't push it too hard yet.
     
  10. Shintsu thread starter macrumors member

    Shintsu

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    #10
    Oh I don't doubt it. Though I do have to wonder, considering Macs are so ubiquitous in their uniformity for given years why would parts be sparse? I know for old ThinkPads you can still buy all the parts for them, usually because some corporation out there still runs the old ones and thus all the parts are available to repair old ones and keep them going. Are Macs less supported in this way?

    It seems like each year has some flaw that should steer people away from them, which I just can't believe. In the world of Microsoft based PCs, as a custom builder there isn't anything to steer away from besides really cheap crappy parts. Apple to oranges for that bit, but at least as far as laptops go I don't think there are many notable issues with ThinkPads, Latitudes, or EliteBooks (The respective business lines of Lenovo, Dell, and HP). But my problem is I don't want Windows, so these options would only work if I chose to convert them into a Linux machine. I'd really rather not, but if Macs are going to be problematic in such a way, I can find a cheap ThinkPad like a T430 or T440 for $300 or so and make it run Linux and I have high confidence that it will be unlikely to experience a failure. I mean for that matter I could just build a custom PC that is Linux. I think in 17 years or so of various custom PCs I have had 2 parts fail. One was a GPU and the other was a power supply, both were rather old at the time of failure too.

    Are issues with Macs overblown, or am I right to have concern? Please don't take this as some anti-Mac sentiment from me, as I've grown disgusted with Microsoft more as time has gone on and they seem content to just keep rolling along as they always have. Just trying to make the best decision on what to buy, especially since Macs are pricey.
     
  11. sunapple macrumors 65816

    sunapple

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    #11
    dGPUs are the problem and you'll have to replace the logic board which is still expensive I believe. You should look it up. Battery too I guess.

    I also don't know how performance stacks up nowadays. I guess it's enough for you for the next three years or you wouldn't have thought of getting it.

    They still receive updates, they still look great; it's the best thing from that year that you can get. Trouble is, is any computer from six years ago going to be reliable in the next three years? It's all just a bunch of parts, Macs are not that different.
     
  12. Shintsu thread starter macrumors member

    Shintsu

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    #12
    Oh I'm not saying I'm sold on this older one, I don't want to have to deal with the potential for logic board issues as that stuff is a nightmare. No offense to Mac users, but I think they often tend to think they need a new computer far more often than I myself feel the need. I would've still been on a 3rd gen i5 except for some games were hitting CPU bottleneck. 3rd gen i7 solved the problem, much cheaper and easier than going to a newer gen i7 and having to upgrade motherboard and memory too. And I think 3rd gen is what, circa 2012? Performance has largely plateaued so I don't see the need these days to get the latest greatest unless you're just starting from scratch today or something.

    In my case, it was merely in the interests of saving money. All I'm saying is I can buy a 6 year old ThinkPad and be confident that basically nothing will break. They're just computers all the same. I worked in IT for a large corporation and old ThinkPads just got taken out of service because they were too slow, very rarely did they break. I always thought Macs were the same as far as reliability, but the more I look I keep seeing people who like Macs saying to avoid older ones and pointing out all sorts of problems. I honestly couldn't tell you of any specific problems with ThinkPads, the ones that did break didn't have a failure pattern. If anything, it's probably from users who do stuff like block the vents and let it run too hot which isn't the computer's fault.

    I take issue with the idea a 5-6 year old computer is problem prone. It has largely not been my experience, so as an outsiders point of view this sounds like you're telling me a Mac is problem prone at 5-6 years old. Is this accurate, or no?
     
  13. Shintsu thread starter macrumors member

    Shintsu

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    #14
    See, this sounds like what I'd expect (Though I take issue with Lenovo not being mentioned, but their consumer line of laptops is nothing to write home about - it's the ThinkPads that are what's good). That old 2008 iMac I had I owned maybe 3 years ago so that made it a what, a 6 year old computer at the time? It was absolutely perfect. The superdrive worked fine, despite people saying they often broke. Screen was perfect, everything worked.

    Do I just have some pension for finding the random Macs that have problems and asking about them? To me, the newer retina MBPs seem like they would have almost nothing that should fail. It's all non-moving parts, unless some of them have fans? I don't know Apple well enough to know.
     
  14. killawat macrumors 65816

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    #15
    My 2006 Original Vintage MBP is still running strong with daily use, my 2010 17" still strong, 2007 MBP fell over and died. It's so random, but the difference is that my 2007 model just went from bad to worse. Its not like it was working well one day and it just said poof.

    If your rig is still running strong after five years then I think it still has more juice, based on my own experience. But you will start to run into ceiling with these units, OS wise. I think 11.12 will be the end of the line for the 17"/older MacBooks.
     
  15. Shintsu thread starter macrumors member

    Shintsu

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    #16
    For someone who never really owned Macs, I have had a few random ones over the years. They were usually older models at the time, but still good deals when I bought them. I had a G3 iBook 700 MHz, that thing was absolutely perfect. Everything worked on it, alas I want to say it did not have wifi? I think it didn't anyway, it needed the Airport card. I also had a Power Mac G4 Digital Audio, thing worked great especially considering it was 466 MHz.

    I have a gut feeling the old MBPs probably are still fine and these issues that could impact them likely won't, but I'll go with the safe bet and go with a newer one. I'd kick myself endlessly if I had to pay what a logic board costs or be out the cost of one of those older MBPs. They'd likely cost more to fix than just buying a newer one in the first place and having a faster one to boot.
     
  16. Sanpete macrumors 68020

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    #17
    Probably you underestimate the problems of the non-Apple ones. Spend some time at their forums and you'll find out what issues they have.
     
  17. Altis macrumors 68030

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    #18
    @Shintsu I went through this last year. I love the 17" form factor and decided to get one.

    Because of the risk of logic board failures in the 2011, I decided to get a 2010 17" instead.

    That means dual-core instead of quad-core (in addition to being 1st-gen core i rather than 2nd-gen), and max 8 GB of RAM instead of 16 GB.... which is quite a performance cut, there's no way around it.

    Very sad that Apple couldn't just come up with a proper fix for the logic board failures. As of 2017, they no longer replace them free of charge and I'm not sure they'll do it at all. Some people have had success putting it in the over to reball the dGPU. Others have forced the firmware to use the integrated graphics only, though the process is a bit tricky.

    All that said, I really like my 2010. I don't use it for anything that has big demands as I have a desktop PC for gaming and photo/video editing. I mostly use it for web/office/programming stuff, for which it's fine. I will say that it runs noticeably better in Windows or Linux than OS X, but they use the battery quicker as they only use the dGPU. I only have around 230 cycles on my battery, so despite being 6-7 years old, I still get 6-8 hours on Mac and around 3-5 on Windows.

    Being able to use the 17" display on the go is very nice for getting some work done. I'd have a hard time going back to a smaller screen.

    As for software support (hardware is done), El Capitan should get another ~2 years of support. I could get an additional year by putting Sierra on it, though I'm not sure I will.

    Windows is another story though. Windows 7 is supported until January 2020 and runs beautifully on it. Windows 10 also runs beautifully on it and is supported until January 2025. I imagine by that point, 2010 hardware will be less usable and the battery will have turned to stone, but it will have software support. Linux also runs beautifully on it and will be supported for ages to come.

    Anyways, that's my experience. It's solid as a rock and really nice for getting work done on the go. I wish they'd make a 17" model again.
     
  18. Shintsu thread starter macrumors member

    Shintsu

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    #19
    I mean I think a few years of IT support at a large corporation supersedes people on a forum, where you're going to get a bias showing more broken since often those are the people who will come to a forum to ask for help. Probably not going to have as many people on there that have one that are just there because they like and support the brand/model. I did see broken computers with issues, but considering the volume they were put out we could put out 30-40 ThinkPads and we might have one bad one in the bunch or that would have problems. On the cheap ~$500 consumer laptops, I don't doubt it. They're not built as well and it shows, though despite cheap build and some substandard parts I still think it has more to do with how the people who own them take care of them. Lots of people are rough on laptops and bang them around. Cheap laptops don't take well to that. ThinkPads really don't care if you do. From what I've seen, Apple laptops seem to withstand abuse but they show it easily due to the aluminum body via scratches and dents.
     
  19. Sanpete macrumors 68020

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    #20
    Exactly. If you want to compare apples to apples, so to speak, you compare what you read here to what you read at other forums, not what you see working with ThinkPads to what you read here. This place specializes in issues.
     
  20. Shintsu thread starter macrumors member

    Shintsu

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    #21
    I mean that's basically going to be more trouble to determine than it's worth without analytics on these forums or something. This forum I would say has less bias considering Mac Rumors isn't dedicated solely around people trying to get help with issues on their computers, a lot is speculation about new versions or various other things.
     
  21. ZapNZs macrumors 68020

    ZapNZs

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    #22
    I've noticed that, in many cases, used 2011 17-inch MBPs sell for roughly the same price as used 2012 15-inch Unibody MBPs. Is the 15-inch a possibility? While both the 2012 and 2013 MacBook Pros also were/are included in the dGPU Repair Program, I have been told by several sources that I trust that the frequency of problems with the 2012 Uni/2012 Retina/early 2013 Retina are far, far, far less frequent than with the 2011. (However, the 2012 is probably very close to being coined "vintage" by Apple, and, like the 2011, Apple will stop making parts for them and no longer service them at all.)

    I personally feel that the best source for older/used Macs are often Apple Authorized Service Providers. Someone competent with Macs does the inspection, and as a representative of Apple, they have a strong incentive to maintain honest business practices (ex: not trying to sell water damaged Macs.) In many cases, these Service Providers offer their own in-house warranty on used Macs, and, unlike another third party warranty, the people who will work on your computer are unquestionably certified by Apple and will use Apple parts (but on older machines, they may be forced to use used parts since the availability of new parts eventually ceases--the good news is that some are quite resourceful at finding quality used parts.)

    At least with the past several cutoffs, there have been ways of getting around it - many people have had flawless operation, but some have run into issues. Even though a half-decade old quad core laptop often performs better (in multicore operations) than brand new dual ore i7 laptops, I think there is a pretty good chance that Apple and Microsoft will both get more aggressive with hardware cutoff in the future (and so capability alone may not be enough to predict what happens here next, IMO.)
     
  22. Shintsu thread starter macrumors member

    Shintsu

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    #23
    I'm not too crazy about these used options. More and more it sounds like I'm going to have to go with a refurb direct from Apple. I'm not paying $1,500 for a MBP, at least the refurb gives some savings. Every used Mac seller seems incredibly suspect and with OS X having a more integral role with the hardware, I'm more concerned about making sure everything is good before buying. On a Windows based machine I'd just make sure there's no bios password, but I have to make sure there's no password on that special bootup mode (I forgot the name, I think you press F when booting to get to it), make sure it's not still tied to an iCloud account, etc. Even ignoring the malicious possibilities, every mac I've bought I had some password issues. The iBook had some password on it but the seller was nice enough to give it to me and I changed it. The iMac I bought also had a password despite the seller having just reinstalled the OS on it and saying he never put a password on it. Luckily got him to clear that too.

    What a headache...and I don't see any good reason to justify hardware cutoffs, the difference between a 2nd gen i5 and a current (6th? 7th?) gen i5 is maybe 25-30%. Until that difference is closer to 100%, any ploy of "it's too old" just sounds like some nonsense to force people to upgrade and get more money.
     
  23. sunapple macrumors 65816

    sunapple

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    #24
    Old Macs can be reliable, it's the 2011 models that have known issues. We've used an iMac 2007 until it no longer booted last October. We also have a 15" MBP from 2010 that drank half a glass of Ice Tea three years ago, still works (battery needs service). My dad uses a 15" MBP from 2011, also still works. Actually, I think he had his logic board replaced two years ago thanks to the dGPU, so yeah. But the rest works fine.

    There's examples from both sides, but I believe the statistics for Macs are great overall. There's just no definitive way around spending serious money
     
  24. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

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    #25
    Agreed, Apple had (keyword here) a repair program for the 2011 MBPs because the dGPU was defective. I'd stay away from that model regardless of the price. Add on to the fact that they now consider 2011 models vintage just adds more justification to avoid it.
     

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