Mid-2010 MBP 15" - upgrade existing or buy new?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by 1400cs, Jan 26, 2015.

  1. 1400cs macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2015
    #1
    Hey guys, new here and hoping I can appeal to your collective wisdom for some advice!

    I apologize in advance for the rambling below but hopefully it’ll at least be indicative of the confusion I have :)

    Coming up on 5 years with my mid-2010 MBP 15” w/ anti-glare and 8Gb ram. On the whole it’s been fantastic. Have loved the size, the keyboard, the anti-glare screen.

    I’m definitely not a “power user” - I’m a writer - but i always have multiple (albeit small) programs open and running; MS-Word, Evernote, and usually lots of windows open in Safari, including some sort of streaming audio for listening to tunes (soundcloud and/or Songza), and I also occasionally do light Photoshop work as well (maybe 10% of the time).

    I use it everywhere - connected to an external in my office, take it to coffee shops, use it on the plane, where i often look ridiculous, trying to awkwardly type on a 15-inch monster. ;) But excepting the airplane thing, I haven't minded the weight/size of it. Slighlty lighter/smaller would be welcome, but I'm healthy and strong, and can carry stuff when I need to ;)

    Anyhow, I’m now at the point where the battery needs replacing (less than 2 hours charge) and I’m also contemplating upgrading the 320GB HDD, (which is filled mostly with non-essential music and photos) to a 256 or more likely 512 SSD. Upgrading the battery and the SSD would probably run around $400.

    So the question is, is it worth it to do this upgrading on my machine? Or should I bite the bullet and upgrade to a newer laptop - either MBA 13 (maxed out to 8gb) or rMBP 13 (maxed to 16)? Though I like the luxurious size of the 15, I do not want to spend $2200+ to get it.

    While I could afford to get a new computer, I do like the idea of minimizing waste and really maxxing out the use of a laptop that has served me so well thus far, possibly keeping it for another 2-3 years. I'm sure performance-wise, it would do fine, but I also understand I shouldn't/can't upgrade to Yosemite and I will thus have an increasingly obsolete machine.

    Thoughts??

    BTW if you’ve made it this far into this particular "analysis paralysis' wormhole, thanks for reading and for your time!

    Cheers,

    Dan
     
  2. Silencio macrumors 68020

    Silencio

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2002
    Location:
    NYC
    #2
    You'll see a nice improvement in responsiveness on that machine by upgrading to a SSD. However, it won't do much for the battery life, and you won't be able to put more than 8GB of RAM into it, unfortunately. I guess if you really like the display and the size of the machine, upgrading the battery and the SSD will be worth it, if the performance otherwise doesn't bother you too much.

    Don't know if you're in the US, but Other World Computing has a NewerTech battery for the 2010 15" MacBook Pro for $99. A 480-512GB SSD will set you back a little over $200 these days.

    Have you been to an Apple Store to try out a 13" rMBP yet? See how you like the size and the display.
     
  3. spatlese44 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2007
    Location:
    Milwaukee
    #3
    You can upgrade a 2007 MBP to Yosemite. Yours shouldn't be a problem. You could also upgrade the RAM.

    Wait; do sell. Sell it to me. My wife is a writer and she has a 2006 MBP 15" and you can't upgrade that to Yosemite. She, like you, does Word and Safari and that's about it, but loves the big screen and doesn't want a desktop or even a separate monitor for when she's home. The matte screen is also a big plus. Honestly, I'd hang on to that machine as long as you can, which considering Yosemite is supported could be a while. You don't need a faster machine. You don't need an SSD. If you are feeling particularly well off right now, an SSD makes any machine a lot faster, especially if you aren't doing processor intensive stuff. For that matter, buy a low end MBA and keep the MBP and just replace the battery.

    If you're still thinking of selling, you might consider this purely as an expense and just do the math. You could go with the base 2014 MBP. Add $300 for a bump to 512GB SSD and another $100 for tax and you're at $2,400. Probably need a case too. If you consider an 8 year lifespan, which is what my wife machine is up to, that works out to $2,400/8 = $300/yr. Your 2010 MBP has another three years until it turns 8, so if you can get more than $900 for it, I'd say you are doing pretty good. Some other things to consider:

    * Having a new machine means you won't have to migrate again for some time.

    * The last three years of a computers life are not the same as the first three.

    * Unfortunately for you, you're back in the Core 2 Penryn world. The next version (2011) had i5 / i7 chips, which really is something of a dividing line. I would much rather have a 2011 or 2012 model, though market value probably reflects that.

    * You can't get another matte screen. Ever.

    ----------

    Actually, I think that's correct. You're stuck at 8GB, but you really don't need any more than that.
     
  4. NavySEAL6 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2006
    #4
    I have the same machine as you. I have a 5400 drive and 8GB of ram and I run Yosemite very nicely. I would suggest maxing the ram to 8GB and replacing the battery. This will buy you another 1-2 years of comfortable usage then you can buy a new machine.

    The SSD probably isn't worth the cost for your needs. I think you're better off saving that for your next machine.

    This way will speed up your machine and make it usable for a cheap price. Use the extra 2 years to save for another 15 then you'll be getting a sky lake (or later) and you'll get more longevity from that than from one that's available today.
     
  5. Altemose macrumors G3

    Altemose

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    #5
    The thing to remember is that these machines still have much life left in them. If your machine looks like it was well taken care of and in good shape then it is worth it to upgrade it. An SSD, RAM upgrade, and new battery would make it like new. If you go for a new machine, I think the Retina 13" MacBook Pro would be the best bet.
     
  6. 1400cs thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Jan 26, 2015
    #6
    Guys, thanks so much for the feedback - really appreciated. Apologies for not replying sooner - pretty much as soon as I posted my question I got hit with a ton of work. My replies are below. Thanks again!

    I’ve been to the store before to look at the rMBP 13” and it’s a beautiful machine, but thinking I like the size of the 15 more though. I’m going to head to a store today and compare the pros/cons of the antiglare with the higher resolution of the glossy Retina, and see if it’s really worth the change-over. Another factor for me, when I’m not in my office, is there’s a lot of variable natural/artificial light, so anti-glare really is an enjoyable feature, if not necessarily a must-have.

    One more thing re: the retina, I should also add that I’ve had an iPad 3 16gb with Retina for the past 2 years so I’m familiar with the technology and it is, not surprisingly, SO enjoyable to read with. Actually I also occasionally pair it with a logitech bluetooth iPad keyboard (not the popular clamshell case style, but the older version that comes a separate folding stand for the iPad). Ironically despite the iPad having limitations as a “work” device vs. a “consumption” device, i have found it to be an excellent secondary, super-portable and surprisingly ergonomic work machine, as I’m able to elevate the iPad to eye level while i keep the wireless keyboard on my lap or at a lower desk level. But I seriously digress ;)

    Anhyhow, for sure, if I do keep it, I’ll definitely be upgrading the battery, and will consider the SSD. I see the new battery as a necessity and the SSD as more of a luxury. Unless I’m mistaken, I believe I’d only see the advantages to an SSD on startup and launching programs, neither of which happen too often, as I tend to keep all my programs running and open until I do a weekly shutdown/restart of my mac. Am I wrong here?

    I’ve checked out OWC but I’m actually up in Vancouver, so yeah the lower US prices are counteracted by our currently weak Cdn dollar, and the local shops here seem to be offering reasonable prices.

    Thanks again for weighing in!




    Thanks man, all very good food for thought!

    First off, re: Yosemite, I did not realize upgrading was such a good idea. The little I had read suggested that my model of MBP, though compatible with Yosemite, did not “play nicely” with it for some reason. I guess this is wrong. So I should definitely upgrade?

    Very glad to hear your wife’s MBP is still going strong, and very much appreciate her/you perspective. My only point of difference is I definitely see the ergonomic benefits to having an external monitor.

    Good point about the math and value proposition of buying a new machine vs. upgrading. I’m diverging from the original post here, and I’m sure this has been discussed ad nauseum, but the more i think about it, the more I’m realizing that, at the end of the day, regardless of what I buy, I will likely be on the hook for between $200 and $500 every year from Apple - whether it’s due to the cost of amortization, or upgrading - or man-hours spent researching Apple forums ;) and ultimately, in the grand scheme of annual expenses, it’s somewhat inconsequential, especially for a machine on which I rely for my livelihood.

    Do you really think I could get $900 for my machine? I was thinking probably closer to $600 if I was lucky.

    Anyhow, all that to say, points very well noted and your final one re: the matte screen may actually be the swaying point for me for keeping the machine and running her [but lovingly] into the ground.


    Thanks NavySEAL6, per what I wrote above, i did not realize Yosemite actually did play nice with our mid-2010 MBP’s, so I will look into DL’ing it.

    Well-noted re: the SSD - yeah, the more i think about it, the more I realize it is pretty unnecessary for my needs. And yeah, my ram is already maxxed out to 8GB - cue Scotty from Star Trek, “she’s givin’ me all she’s got!”

    Thanks Altemos, despite my love for the 15”, it’s not like the 13” is so much smaller and there’s no doubt it’s the value proposition for the preofessional on a budget. Gonna have a good look at it today at the store.


    Thanks again everyone!

    Dan
     
  7. Altemose macrumors G3

    Altemose

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    #7
    The 13" can also scale to offer more desktop space.
     
  8. Pearl Wisdom macrumors member

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    Sep 25, 2009
    #8
    I really think the SSD upgrade would be worth it. It seemed to make the most difference of the upgrades I have made to my MacBooks. If you are using swap space due to using all your RAM (check Activity Monitor to see that), then the SSD will make that swap memory use much faster and smoother.

    Also, you might want to stick with Mavericks rather than upgrade to Yosemite unless there is some compelling feature that Yosemite will give you.
     
  9. 1400cs thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Jan 26, 2015
    #9
    Ok good to know, thanks. But I'm assuming if I had a 13" retina MBP i'd want to take advantage of the max. resolution, no?

    Thanks Pearl, I can indeed imagine the SSD is a whole new world of speed. If I'm understanding the "swap" aspect of it, an SSD can actually make the existing RAM work faster as well, which would certainly be welcome, though again, not a necessity for how I use my machine. I'll think about it and see what makes sense re: finances.

    And duly noted re: Yosemite. I researched it some more this afternoon and it indeed seems a lot of 2011 and earlier Macs have had issues with it. Reading through the list of improvements, there doesn't seem to be any substantive benefit to how I use my machine, so I think I will indeed hold off for now.

    Thanks again,

    Dan
     
  10. theusualsuspect macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2010
    #10
    I replaced my 2010 MBP battery for about $60 by buying a 3rd party one from eBay. Worked fine so far.

    Searching websites like slick deals can often point you to 512GB SSDs for under $200.

    I'd upgrade on the cheap, and run it another couple years. By then you've gotten your money's worth. PCs/laptops are plateauing in terms of performance, so you can really stretch your tech between upgrades.
     
  11. Altemose macrumors G3

    Altemose

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    #11
    There is some information on the Retina scaling system here.
     
  12. 1400cs, Jan 28, 2015
    Last edited: Jan 28, 2015

    1400cs thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Jan 26, 2015
    #12
    Thanks, good idea for sure to search for deals. Also agree the fact that my MBP is still running so well, 5 years later, suggests that consumer-grade laptop performance is heading towards a plateau, and it would certainly help justify my inclination to hold on to my mac for a little while longer.

    Thanks, got it!


    Sorry, one more question - would switching to an SSD noticeably improve my laptop's performance when running Photoshop? Or would that be more a RAM issue?
     
  13. Silencio macrumors 68020

    Silencio

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    NYC
    #13
    If you're still running the stock 320GB drive, it's coming up on 5 years old now. You're getting closer and closer to the drive failing. For that reason alone, I wouldn't cheap out and skip on the SSD if you do plan on keeping your MacBook Pro.

    My wife also has a 2010 15" MacBook Pro: the Core i7 model with the anti-glare display. I took out the mostly unused optical drive and installed a 256GB SSD for system, apps, and home directory, keeping the 750GB 7200RPM hard drive I had installed previously as secondary data storage. The setup works very well, though the 256GB SSD is always a little too close to being full. Performance-wise it does the job for her, though she is pretty jealous of my MacBook Air's size, battery life, and cooler, quieter operation. Long term we'll get her a top-end 15" rMBP, but we will squeeze more life out of her current machine.
     
  14. 1400cs thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Jan 26, 2015
    #14
    Thanks Silencio, that's a good point. I was wondering about that - what the realistic longevity is of my original 5400 RPM HDD.

    So if I understand correctly your wife is still using the 750 GB HDD but in a secondary capacity to her new 256 SSD - and if that HDD fails, does she have a backup external drive as well?

    Right now I don't use any kind of external but I do have Backblaze.
     
  15. Silencio macrumors 68020

    Silencio

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    #15
    Both of her drives are backed up by Time Machine over the network to a dedicated 2TB drive in my Mac Pro.
     
  16. ScotsLad macrumors newbie

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    Jan 28, 2015
    #16
    I've basically the same model as you. I replaced the battery a few years ago but that's it.

    I'm waiting for the new MacBookAir, the much rumoured 12" model, and assuming I like it (and it exists) that's the one for me. There's nearly 5 years of improvements there, from processor performance and energy savings, to graphics, to ssd, etc as well as a great form factor and presumably new screen.

    Whilst you could replace a few components for cheaper and get some improvement, my guess is it's time for something new. Just my 2c though - no evidence to really back it up.
     
  17. 1400cs thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Jan 26, 2015
    #17
    Gotcha, thanks. I'm thinking I may invest in some local networked storage like a Time Capsule or WD Cloud thingie, even before getting an SSD, and if the worst/inevitable happens, at least I'll be covered.

    Haha, but this is the internet, "evidence" isn't required ;)

    Thanks for weighing in. The new rumoured MBA sounds like it'll indeed be a dynamite machine - it'll be interesting to see what the specs will be and what the commensurate improvements will be to the rMBP's.

    And it's true, 5 years is a significant amount of time - and to your point I'm certainly only delaying the inevitable of eventually buying a new system.

    As said above I may end up just getting the battery and some external storage.

    Cheers!

    Dan
     
  18. Altemose macrumors G3

    Altemose

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    #18
    Photoshop is very heavy on RAM usage especially when working on larger files. I would do both the SSD and the RAM.
     
  19. 1400cs thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Jan 26, 2015
    #19
    Thanks - actually I should have specified i'm already maxxed out to the 8GB limit for RAM, so SSD is the only thing I can upgrade to. I guess my question was more: would switching to an SSD greatly improve photoshop performance, given the RAM will not change?
     
  20. Altemose macrumors G3

    Altemose

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    #20
    It will improve as the disk access times will be greatly reduced, and should you be paging out to the SSD it will be much faster than a regular HDD. Whether there is enough improvement is what you need to ask yourself.
     

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