Macbook pro 17 " is it worth it ? New retina laptops. Buying used laptop

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by CROSP, Mar 25, 2016.

  1. CROSP macrumors newbie

    Jan 12, 2014
    Hi. I am trying to buy macbook. This will be my first laptop from apple.
    I am hesitating whether model to buy.
    I have not a lot of money about 1000-1100$

    I need following configuration of laptop
    i7 ,16GB RAM, 15"-17", good viewing angles.

    I have found a lot of different offers but let me start with retina.
    I understand that it is much better, but every person I asked about it had at least 10 dead pixels, as far as I understand, to make it thicker apple has removed protective glass from the screen so it is easy to to damage screen now, as a result each of sellers confirmed that it has some amount of dead pixels, and the price for such laptops Macbook Pro 15" Retina (2013-2014 (in my country) above 1350-1500$. As far as I am buying such expensive laptop I don't want to have any dead pixel even if it is not noticeable.

    Furthermore the one of the major problems in new laptops is there are only few ports (USB), no ethernet port. And the most important for me is that no other choice other than SSD , and it is quite expensive to change. On the other hand all prior models like MacBook pro 17" 2011 has a lot of extension ports, and a lot of space for upgrading and that's great.

    Now some questions about Macbook Pro 17"

    I have decided that I want to buy Non-Retina Macbook (reasons I have mentioned above)

    So now I am hesitating between Macbook Pro 17"(Early 2011 and Late 2011) and MacBook pro 15" (MD103) A1286

    17" Model Specification : Apple MacBook Pro 17" 2011 i7-2.4/16Gb/SSD512Gb/Radeon HD6770M 1Gb. and Apple MacBook Pro 17" 2011 Early i7-2.2/16Gb/Radeon 6750M SSD 250 GB Samsung EVO 840 + 500 GB WD 7200

    15" Model Specification : Macbook pro 15 md103 / i7 2.3/16gb ram/256sdd/GT 650M 512 mb

    1. !!! FIRST IMPORTANT QUESTION does Macbook Pro 17" (Early and Late) have IPS screen or TFT ? What are viewing angles, are they the same as in later 15" models ?

    2. I understand that hardware is much slower in 17" model in comparison to 15", but is it really noticeable between laptops mentioned above ? I have compared each component, of course 15" wins, components are generation higher

    3. Is it possible to install the latest OS X version on Mac 17" ? I don't know what restrictions are for installing OS X I have never used it

    And finally 17" screen size is awesome without doubts (but is the quality the same ? 1 question) and it is great I guess

    Please help me to choose between these laptops and give some other advice.
    Thank you so much.
  2. Willo34 macrumors regular


    Feb 5, 2015
  3. CROSP thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 12, 2014
    Thank you for reply, I have already read a lot about different macbooks on this site, but everywhere stated that macbook until retina has TFT display, does this mean that it is IPS with good view angles ?
  4. AAtte macrumors newbie

    Jun 4, 2014
    Buy at least late-2013 15" Retina. Not older. Thats my advice.
  5. JTToft macrumors 68040

    Apr 27, 2010
    Aarhus, Denmark
    Lots of questions here.

    On your Retina musings, I'd have to say I've heard of no widespread problem with dead pixels on their screens. Of course, don't buy a machine you know to have dead pixels, but there's no reason to think they'll all have it and to stay away for that reason.
    You are correct about ports (though all sorts of adaptors and docks exist, of course) and partly about SSDs. For Early 2013 and earlier models, at least two third party vendors (Transcend and OWC) offer SSD upgrades. For later models, only OWC offers them (and the ones they offer are really pretty bad). They're all rather expensive.

    On your questions:

    1. There is no contradiction between TFT and IPS. All of the models you are looking at have TFT LCD TN panels with LED backlight. None have IPS panels. Only Retina models have IPS (and thus improved viewing angles).

    2. The noticeable difference will be relatively minor, but it's definitely there. The difference in GPU will be the largest.

    3. It is. The newest OS X is supported all the way back to 2007 machines.

    Screen quality is the same between the models. Of course, the 17" has a higher resolution, which might be important to you.

    Now, in my estimation, you're actually missing some of the most important things which differentiate the 17" 2011 models you've found from the 15" 2012 model:

    a) 2012 has USB 3.0; 2011 does not. 2012 has bluetooth 4.0; 2011 does not.

    b) 2011 models are known to have issues with their GPUs, causing affected machines to be rendered entirely useless (in most cases, refusing to boot), which has caused Apple to initiative a world-wide extended warranty for repairs until the end of this year. Some users may be unaffected, but the problem is extremely widespread.
    These issues do not affect the 2012 model you're looking at.
    See this:

    c) Since you mention upgrading, I feel I need to add that the 2011 models are not guaranteed to have SATA III connections in the optical bay but may only have SATA II. Further, regardless of which revision they use, they may have stability issues when using SATA III hard drives and SSDs in that bay. The main drive bay is perfectly fine with SATA III.
    The 2012 model has SATA III in both bays and is guaranteed to be stable. So if you're thinking of adding a second internal drive, it's worth keeping this in mind.

    In conclusion, I would strongly recommend you choose the 15" 2012 model. It's a solid machine in all respects and has no known faults.

    I hope that answered your questions. :)
  6. CROSP thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 12, 2014
  7. mahabharata, Mar 25, 2016
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2016

    mahabharata macrumors newbie

    Mar 25, 2016
  8. CROSP thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 12, 2014
    Before reading JTToft answer , I was quite sure about buying Mac book pro 17 rather than 15, but now I am not sure :( As I can guess this version of macbook (17) is not affected, because it is still working from 2011 ( or it can still have an issue ?).

    I am not interesting in new mackbooks with only thunderbolt ports and two usb 3.0 ports without ethernet (RJ45) connector, they are great, but doesn't provide any chance to upgrade it, everything is soldered on the mother boars except SSD (now it is PCI interface)

    I understand that 2011 is quite old machine and hardware is one generation lower, so it will be outofdated soon, but in my case it is in awesome condition and one thing is that 17 inch screen.
    Really I don't need exactly 17 screen 15 is ok, but 17 I think will be better because I am using applications (IDEs) where it is important how much text do you see an a time on the screen.

    On the other hand I understand that 2013 model will have better performance and it is still upgradable.

    The main advantage for me in mac book pro 17 is the screen and condition.

    I am very grateful JTToft for great answer, but
    I am still hesitating between Apple MacBook Pro 17" 2011 i7-2.4/16Gb/SSD512Gb/Radeon HD6770M 1Gb and Model Specification : Macbook pro 15 md103 / i7 2.3/16gb ram/256sdd/GT 650M 512 mb

    Maybe someone can add or advice something more regarding this topic.
    Thanks everyone.
  9. JTToft, Mar 25, 2016
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2016

    JTToft macrumors 68040

    Apr 27, 2010
    Aarhus, Denmark
    - You're quite welcome.

    - So the way it works is: All 15" and 17" 2011 machines have the fault, which is due to a connection between GPU and logic board which may deteriorate and so create errors over time. In large part, the heavier use a machine gets, the more likely it is to exhibit issues. Not all machines will exhibit issues, but the risk is there with all of them. So even though the ones you're looking at have been fine so far, they may fail completely in a week (in which case Apple will simply swap out the logic board at no charge). The greater risk is if it happens after the end of the programme, in which case you'd be on your own.

    You may have seen from my signature that I have a 2011 machine, too. Mine failed about a year ago with the GPU error and was repaired without issues. (There is still some debate as to whether the replacement logic boards are also affected by the problem. Most evidence suggests that they are, and that the repair, therefore, is rather temporary.)
    In nearly all cases, if it fails, it fails completely. With mine, within an hour or two of it showing symptoms, it failed completely and refused to boot.

    - Really, the 2011s are extremely capable machines. CPU wise, there's not much they can't do. With an SSD and 16 GB of RAM, as with the ones you're looking at, they'll do most things extremely well. I know mine does.

    As for the screen resolution question, you may consider getting an external monitor to have even more space to work.

    As mentioned above, ExpressCard solutions do exist for USB 3.0 (with more or less well-functioning drivers, it appears).
    Additionally, the Wireless/Bluetooth card inside the machine can be upgraded to the same card that the 2012 machines use, thus gaining Bluetooth 4.0.
    With those two upgrades, my point (a) above is essentially negated.

    But I'll reiterate that I really think you should go for the 2012. If the specific machine you've found isn't to your liking, perhaps hunt around a bit more for a better one.
  10. Fishrrman macrumors P6


    Feb 20, 2009
    DON'T buy a 2011 MacBook in the 15" or 17" configuration.

    These models have a problem with the dedicated GPU that's called "RadeonGate". The GPU eventually fails on a large number of the boards due to heat/solder problems.

    Apple has a program to replace the failed motherboards with refurbished ones, but the refurbished MB's will eventually fail from the same problems, as well.

    The MB replacement program is (I think) currently extended to the end of this year.
    But again, even if you experienced a failure and have the MB replaced now, it's probably going to fail again, eventually.

    I wouldn't buy a 5-year-old MacBook in any case.
    Get something relatively new(er) and "fresh(er)".

    My opinion only.
    Others will disagree.
    Some will disagree vehemently.
  11. ron1004, Mar 25, 2016
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2016

    ron1004 macrumors 6502


    Feb 6, 2010
    Louisville, KY
    My late 2011 17" MBP has had the graphics card issue repaired by Apple and the warranty on this is extended to Dec 2016.
    I use gfxCardstatus to hold the GPU in "Integrated Only" just as a safety measure, ....which may, or may not be protecting it from further GPU issues.

    I have installed a 1TB Samsung 840 evo SSD, upgraded the wireless card to BT 4, and installed an ExpressCard with 2 USB 3.0 ports.

    Stepped up the RAM to 16GB.

    I am totally happy with this machine and have no thoughts of buying a new one.
  12. CROSP thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 12, 2014
    Thank you so much I really appreciate all your help
  13. CROSP thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 12, 2014
    Thanks everyone for persuading me not to buy 2011 version, I have recognized that it is really low performance machine and can fail anytime.

    So I decided to search for something better than this and found such variants,

    And found a lot of interesting offers.

    1. Apple MacBook Pro Retina 15 MC976LL/A i7/16gb/512gb ssd/GT650M/ M2012
    2. Apple MacBook Pro Retina 15 ME294LL/A i7/16gb/512gb ssd/GT750M/L2013
    3. Apple Macbook Pro 2012 md104 i7 CUSTOM I7-3720QM 2.6 GHz "high-res" antiglare 1680x1050 8gb DDR3 SSD 256GB 650GT 1GB

    I have reconsidered my opinion about retina, first and the most important argument is that it can be sold much easier in the future rarther than non-retina display.

    Note that the last one has matte screen
    Prices are great for all laptops, but they are quite different. Difference between first and third = 350$ and difference between second and third one is 500-550$

    I can say that second one is REALLY AWESOME it has amazing hardware.
    All retina variants has some small screen issues - some light spots that are visible only on the white screen

    Like that image-3894317f06b9f87a75c919f647eda14bfa1e01df193c1e2cd85463882f605f69-V.jpg

    But any dead pixel, so I think it is quite good .

    I am hesitating now between second and third models, please suggest what will be better ?
  14. JTToft macrumors 68040

    Apr 27, 2010
    Aarhus, Denmark
    - Between those two, it's really mostly up to your preferences and whether the differences are worth the higher price on the Retina.

    The only potential advantages I see for the 2012 cMBP is (1) hardware can be modified, and (2) screen is antiglare.
    Those may matter more or less to you.

    The 2013 rMBP has loads of advantages, though: (1) miles better GPU, (2) Thunderbolt 2, and thus (3) support for two external 4K monitors [the 2012 can't even drive one], (4) far better screen, (5) faster SSD, (6) faster 802.11ac Wi-Fi, and (7) more RAM and larger SSD [not the most important point, as those can easily be swapped out on the 2012 cMBP, though at a price].

    And the Retina is obviously thinner and lighter. So it comes down to whether those advantages are worth the extra money.
    I agree that you should not select the first option (2012 rMBP).
  15. CROSP thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 12, 2014
    Thank you so much for you help again, what would you choose ?
  16. JTToft macrumors 68040

    Apr 27, 2010
    Aarhus, Denmark
    - Quite definitely the Retina 2013 model. The Classic 2012 model wouldn't be significant enough of an upgrade from my existing 2011 to bother with it.
  17. CROSP thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 12, 2014
    I totally agree with you !! Second variant is really awesome, hardware is one the most powerful for today, retina display is also great. SSD is fast, furthermore I think video card built into processor has better performance than 2012 model built-in + discrete video card together. All is great in this laptop except (personally for me)

    1. No way to insert HDD (((
    2. SSD is very expensive, I can buy used macbook laptop for new SSD price
    3. No ethernet RJ-45 port, I still use it very often, of course I can use USB adapter but...
    4. Few USB ports, it has two thunderbolts instead, there are some expansion devices, but they are really expensive, and using a mouse you have one USB left. hubs and other variants are still external devices and I have to carry them with me all time rather than have them built in.
    5. Thunderbolt devices again are very expensive

    Maybe there are other ways to solve these problems ?
    It may seem that I am buying expensive laptop but have no money for expansion devices and thats true, so why I am choosing it so meticulously.

    Furthermore I have Fujitsu AH552/SL with the same processor as third variant has, so buying laptop four times as expensive as my one would be foolishly maybe.

    So you suggest to buy second variant ?
  18. JTToft macrumors 68040

    Apr 27, 2010
    Aarhus, Denmark
    1. I don't really know why you'd want to have an HDD.
    2. True. But is there any reason to switch it out when it already has a quite roomy 512 GB?
    3. Either get an adaptor (I'd recommend a Thunderbolt one rather than USB) or learn to do without it. :)
    4. It has exactly the same amount as the Classic MBP.
    5. Yes.

    - Well, I can't really determine your needs, but yes, I would suggest you buy the 2013 Retina model.
  19. CROSP thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 12, 2014
    Thank you very much !! You have helped a lot !! I am very grateful everyone for replies.
    I have just ordered Apple MacBook Pro Retina 15 ME294LL/A i7/16gb/512gb ssd/GT750M/L2013(upgraded with CPU Intel Core i7-4960HQ Quad-Core 2.6MHz)
    Thanks again.
  20. michaelsviews macrumors 65816

    Sep 25, 2007
    New England

    They offer extended warranty's also

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