MBP longevity.

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by Johbremat, Apr 14, 2013.

  1. Johbremat macrumors regular

    Feb 8, 2011
    Bought my first Macs in 2011. 13, 15, and 17 followed by a TBD:



    Really happy with them. 6750M in the 15 runs a treat for the games I play under Bootcamp; 13 turns a right trick when I'm focussing on my music (DJing and production) and the 17 is my desktop replacement - my daily - and burns through a few VMs running simultaneously.

    But requirements change and tech gets long in the tooth. A couple of the reasons I paid the premium for the MBPs was the symbiotic relationship between the hardware and software (that OS X is built specifically for the hardware, versus Windows built for heterogenous hardware) and as a result perceived greater longevity of the hardware I purchased (a belief that a good number of iterations of the OS would support this particular generation, whereas subsequent versions of Windows and its applications seemingly require the next generation of hardware to run at peak efficiency (loathe to say 'performance' seeing as later hardware would all but guarantee such, regardless of platform).


    How long do you think these might be supported?

    Have a fantastic community here. Seen that there's a thread even dedicated to bringing ML to unsupported Macs, though I consider this an allegory to the Hackintosh. That said, I think switching to ML we had machines as old as 4 or 6 years being capable listed as compatible?

    Yes, we can't see the future and tomorrow it may be that only Haswell and future x64 hardware platforms - or ARM - will support 10.9.x or later versions of MacOS.

    But, as a best guess or through personal experience, what do you think? What's the longest you've ever seen a Mac supported for?
  2. thermodynamic Suspended


    May 3, 2009
    That's a myth. OS X is built for the same off-the-shelf Intel hardware and stock SATA hard drives that are in every other consumer desktop or laptop Windows or Linux PC. Only the number of supported peripherals is down, due to what Apple natively picks. Some models are much nicer than others, but I wouldn't always say they craft the drivers to be honed with the hardware, since FreeBSD is just as speedy, and since nVidia's website has drivers for download it's safe to say Apple isn't the only one working on OS X. Otherwise half the people using "hackintosh" devices wouldn't be getting anywhere...

    And you're right - it is perceived longevity. The 2011 macbook pro has excessive amounts of thermal paste slopped on the CPU and GPU, which restricts heat flow (only use enough to fill microscopic gaps in the metal, don't slop globs of it on, which is wasteful and costs more as well) - the chassis is not a heatstink or else it would be touching the CPU and coated with thermal grease. Since it isn't, the aluminum acts as an insulator and temperatures get VERY hot. The 2010 models were reported to get well over 100C. Yes, the CPUs can run that hot. No, you do not want them to run that hot for any length of time. I wouldn't run a chip higher than 70C... and my2011macbookpro also reported a third heatsinked chip that didn't touch the heatsink (a major blunder for a precision-made laptop, or what's told to us as being).

    And a 85W AC power supply will overheat badly when the computer itself needs 97W. (this is why the 15" 2011 MBP runs slower than the 17" model despite having the identical CPU and GPU. The 17" battery provides the extra power needed to keep the CPU from throttling down...) In video editing class, my 2011 17" model's power supply got scalding hot to the touch and that's when I read up on the wattage issue...

    If ARM replaces Intel for the entire MBP line then I might find another OS, if benchmark tests for a $2000 Mac show to be far lower than even a Windows PC's processor. If I didn't do content creation then I wouldn't care as much... but Geekbench has more to say on this, and - so far - puny mobile processor technology has a LONG way to go to match desktop computer speeds...

    As for support, remember when Apple dropped Rosetta, leaving us with older 'universal' applications having to hope for new versions or different apps to compensate after upgrading? (in a symbiotic paradigm, there's more to it than the computer maker and the people who buy it... just those two elements make it a parasitic paradigm, and the customers are not the parasites...)
  3. Johbremat thread starter macrumors regular

    Feb 8, 2011
    The crux of the OP.

    Interesting that you mention Rosetta. They made it available for 5 years which I think was good stretch, especially for a translator/HAL. Moving to a different processing model and hardware architecture you couldn't reasonably expect them to hold on to it for much longer than they did, otherwise the benefits of having made the switch (beyond the POWER platform having hit the wall) wouldn't have been realised.

    But I digress.

    Harking back to the OP, ML (http://support.apple.com/kb/HT5444) supports a machine older than 5 years, Lion (http://support.apple.com/kb/ht4949) for some over 6 years...

    Left wondering how old an MBP some around here might have that still serves as a daily or useful machine.
  4. leman macrumors G3

    Oct 14, 2008
    Well, I disagree here. Windows has always been about backward compatibility (this is changing with Win8 though). Many people still run Windows XP - and most of the software will run on old machines. Apple has a much quicker-paced release schedule for OS X. You don't get any more longevity with OS X - but your machine will work fine and support everything for at least next 5 years, which is more than enough for a computer (personally, I change computers every 3 years at least).
  5. abc123 macrumors 6502

    Apr 26, 2004
    The longevity of a laptop is always going to be limited, more so as user serviceability gets locked down.

    My 12" '04 powerbook G4 still works but it is near unusable now, I more or less completely stopped using it in 2008. The change from PPC to intel sped up its decline I'm sure.

    My '07 MacBook pro would still be a great machine if all I wanted it for was basic use, e.g. web browsing, email, listening to music, watching video, word-processing... For photoshop work it has been stretched beyond its capabilities. It also has broken keys but that is due to user error. I suspect that mountain lion will be the last OS X version that will run on it.

    5 or 6 years is optimistic. I started really getting frustrated with my mbp about two years ago and should have upgraded then, or at least upgraded the RAM. I'm happy to see 4 years of use but will probably try to resell and upgrade before then from here out, depending on the condition.
  6. Johbremat thread starter macrumors regular

    Feb 8, 2011
    Happy for your use of optimistic, versus incredulous.

    HTPC is cobbled together from parts as old as 7 years and as young as 3 (a low profile GPU required to fit in the box and an SSD for the system drive). Burns through DVD rips and general encoding/transcoding at a decent clip. WHILE recording two free-to-air HD broadcasts simultaneously.

    The MBPs are close to fully loaded, and figure if I pop in dual SSD in RAID 0 at a later date I might be able to eek out a little additional performance. I think the biggest bottleneck will end up being the GPU.

    Will be really interested to see how long Apple provide supported versions of MacOS before I strip them down for server duties running *nix.
  7. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    From apple:
    The news isn't all that great. When Mountain Lion was released last year they dropped support from some 2007 and 2008 Macs. That means after 4 or 5 years apple removed support from OSX.

    From a warranty perspective they'll fix something for 3 years provided you have applecare and I'm sure they'll repair it a couple of years after that if you want to pay the bill.

    From the community:
    There are a number of sites (including ours) that help members continue to use PowerPC macs, so even 13 years later you get people using and helping others with their issues. I'd say this means that we can find help on our Macs regardless of the age

    From a personal perspective
    The machine will last as long as it meets your needs. I have an old G4 cube that still works but its collecting dust because I have no need for it any longer.

    So does my post miss anything in your questions?
  8. Johbremat thread starter macrumors regular

    Feb 8, 2011
  9. Orlandoech macrumors 68040


    Jun 2, 2011
    Salt Lake City, UT
    Cool pic, cool setup, waste of $ imo.

    Why not consolidate to a top-of-the-line 17" or 15" rMBP?
  10. Johbremat thread starter macrumors regular

    Feb 8, 2011
    • 13" is exclusively for music (DJing and production). Solves a number of problems I've had with respect to instability and resource allocation by farming out everything other than my media to the other systems.
    • 15" goes places with me the most. Bootcamps to Windows 7. Used for system engineering and software development. Sometimes a little gaming. Acts as an additional host for VMs when I need boxes additional to the 17" up and running.
    • 17" stays in the house, but travels around the house. My daily (though others cop double-digits for uptime every week). Hosts a bunch of VMs, do my office work on it and meets my entertainment needs.
    The machines are often on simulatenously to do some of the work I do, but if not I at least have focus, rather than getting distracted by other bits and bods on a single box. And with the 13" and 15" travelling as they do, a loss of either of those machines means I still have capability (I have backups of my backups which are backed up. Doesn't take much to bring up another machine for a different role).

    Not really a question of consolidating because it would meet my needs. Nor would replacing them with Minis.
  11. srsub3 macrumors 6502


    Mar 10, 2013
    A friend of mine is still using his macbook pro 15 from 2008.... only modified the hdd with an ssd even if he knew no sata3... he still enjoys it.... only problem no mountain lion.... but is it so different from lion? let see what happens with next osx iteration, but to me they'll last till 2015... at least the 15 and the 17....
  12. thundersteele macrumors 68030

    Oct 19, 2011
    In my opinion you got it all wrong.

    OSX: Roughly every year an upgrade. Only two versions are supported, i.e. receive security updates. Therefore you are forced to upgrade the OS every two years. However Apple regularly kicks older Macbooks out of the supported machines list, thus making them obsolete.

    Windows: Longer update support for older versions, new versions install on a lot of old hardware.

    Now, concerning the machine lifetime itself: In my experience a Windows laptop from a high quality product line (e.g. Lenovo Thinkpad) can last as long or longer than the average MBP. In particular the components seem more durable (e.g. the battery might loose some charge, but it won't blow up and die like some Apple batteries).

    There are a number of build quality issues with Apple laptops. They might be more durable than an average $400 windows laptop, but I don't think they look particularly good when compared to similarly priced premium windows laptops.

    Nevertheless, the great integration of hardware and software and the UNIX core of OSX makes Macs the best choice for me. Except for one MBP that died prematurely, all my computers in my life became obsolete (i.e. slow) before they experienced any technical failures. So durability is actually a minor issue.

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