looking at 2 refurb macbook pros, can't decide

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by mentaluproar, Aug 14, 2013.

  1. mentaluproar macrumors 68000


    May 25, 2010
    Ohio, USA
    I've been thinking about this for a few weeks and am still stumped.

    I currently have a mid-2011 mac mini (AMD GPU) and after upgrading the ram to 8gb and the HDD to an SSD, I adore it. The GPU is a bit anemic for the occasional game, but certainly tolerable.

    I'm looking at upgrading to a macbook pro with discreet graphics because I just can't keep my old vaio laptop limping along much longer. I use it from time to time when I do computer repair work for others. Rather than have two systems, I'd rather just sell my mini, monitor, etc and just have one computer.

    My mini still has applecare, but with the SSD in there, it would be hard to sell that and even if I did, I wouldn't likely reclaim the cost on this SSD. I think it would be easier to see and I would see a better return if I included the upgraded ram but I put back in the factory HDD.

    With a classic macbook pro, I could reuse this SSD and use the factory hard drive in the ODD bay for extra storage. Upgrading the ram is trivial and cheap enough not to matter to me. I have all the extra ports on there, including the firewire plug so I can use my external 3TB drive at home. The pixel density would be much better than that of my 23 inch monitor, which I loathe.

    On the other hand, I run BOINC and the thermals are theoretically better on the retina model. Quieter. 256gb is okay for use as a desktop where I can just tie in my external drive as I am now, but when I'm away from home I would like more. That display is absolutely stunning. As a power geek, it's a terrible system. Not a single thing can be swapped around.

    The last time I had a mac with a built-in screen, it was a 24 inch imac and the image retention issues that apple refused to fix made me hate that machine. I worry that with a laptop, retina or otherwise, those issues may return. How likely would this be?

    What about the fan noise? I plan to let BOINC run whenever the unit is plugged in. Is the retina really that much quieter? My mini used to annoy me with the fans spun up but now it's become a little white noise machine. I have grown to enjoy it.

    I'm leaning toward the classic macbook pro, but the upgrades I can feasibly drop in today may limit my options tomorrow, when that resolution could really pay off and resale could be higher.
  2. monkeybagel macrumors 65816

    Jul 24, 2011
    United States
    Fan noise is significantly lower on the MacBook Pro with Retina Display. The regular MacBook Pro will be louder, and it is noticeable.

    I have a standard MacBook Pro and the one with Retina Display. I am big on expanding as well. After owning the one with Retina Display, I find I am using it much more. The machine is much more portable. The screen is fantastic. Battery life is good (about 7 hours) and there is no image retention at all. This is an Early 2013 model 2.6Ghz i7/512GB/16GB. So far I have been very happy with it. The only complaint is the bottom doesn't appear to be seated as well as it could be, so it you pick it up by the edge you can hear the metal bottom creak against the body. This would easily be solved by taking it to an Apple Store and have them loosen and replace the bottom. I don't own a Pentalobe screwdriver so I can't do it myself, and it frankly does not really bother me enough to deal with it right now. I am sure I will address it at some time.

    Also, the big thing when it was released was no Gigabit Ethernet. I have the Thunderbolt --> 1GbE and it works great and has great throughput. Only downside of it is it does not secure in the machine as good as an RJ45 connector would, as it has no clips to hold it in the Thunderbolt port. This would not be a problem if the machine was on a desk of course.
  3. mentaluproar, Aug 14, 2013
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2013

    mentaluproar thread starter macrumors 68000


    May 25, 2010
    Ohio, USA
    I was briefly considering rooting a cheap android tablet and booting other machines off of it, but that ethernet issue reminds me that I like having the ability to directly tie in and flash routers with alternate firmware.

    What do you think my mac mini could sell for via craigslist? What if I included my 23" lenovo monitor, magic touchpad & apple wireless keyboard? Could I get more including the SSD?

    I'm so stumped. If I get the retina, I'll need adaptors too. FW800/esata external drive & ethernet plus the need for greater internal storage makes this look more complicated than if I just bought the classic.

    I absolutely hate laptops, but looking at the macbooks, with the magsafe ports & great thermals, I'm willing to try them again. The last real laptop I had was as a college freshman in 04, a desktop replacement compaq with an athlon 64 running XP.

    I hated that machine.

    My current vaio was a trashcan rescue with a damaged screen and bad hard drive I've had running ubuntu for 4 years. It wants to die.

    How do these macbooks fans compare against a toasty mac mini?

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