Need to upgrade from 2009 MBP -- 2012 13"MBP or 2014/5 15" MBP?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by 147798, Mar 20, 2016.

  1. 147798 Suspended

    Dec 29, 2007
    I need to upgrade my 2009 C2D 2.26 13" MBP. In that laptop I have maxed at 8GB RAM, a 128GB SSD for the OS and a 1TB drive for my pictures.

    I do photo editing mainly. Some spreadsheet work.

    I've (kind of) narrowed it down to two options. I was waiting until 3/21, and will still wait until Monday, but this doesn't look like a Mac update event, and I'm tired of waiting, so...

    • Option #1, 2012 13" MBP 2.5GHz i5 for $800 refurb, remove the optical, and put in the SSD for OS and large drive for storage. Upgrade RAM to 16GB. I already have the SSD and HDD from my current machine, so I'd just need to purchase the RAM. Probably total cost around $1,000 after tax. Mainly what I'm getting from this move is 16GB RAM and a better processor.
    • Option #2, 15" MBP 2.2Ghz Qi5 w/16GB RAM for $1600 (2014) or $1690 (2015). I am thinking the screen upgrade is quite nice - size and resolution. Was just playing with the 2015 15" in the Apple store -- what a difference in screen size. Also, the performance should be much better, especially with the quad core. But internal storage is only 256GB, so I need to figure out external options. Can I put my current 1TB HDD in an external enclosure? I understand LR can handle this setup well??? though I don't know how that works. This will end up at least $1700 maybe up to $1900 depending on enclosure???
    I think either will be a step-up from my current situation, but I'm just a hobbyist, and $2K feels like a ton of money, but option #1 doesn't feel like that much of an upgrade, and maybe I end up buying another laptop in only a few years??

    Would love any thoughts on the options above.

    Is there a 3rd option? Like Would earlier 15" MBPs give me a big boost, but at a reasonable cost??
  2. Rhinoevans macrumors 6502

    Oct 5, 2012
    Las Vegas, NV
    Most will not recommend option 1, but I am not one of them. The last upgradable MBP. I have the 13 inch and to me carrying around a 15 inch is not worth the extra screen size or substantial cost. I still have the OD in mine because I have no need for extra storage. I installed a Samsung 500G SSD and use a 2TB external, and 16G Ram. The older 13 inch with the 2.5 i5 is more than enough for me. Sure I wish that had updated the 2012 model, but they didn't. A non-upgradage MBP for me is not an option. Too me the retina is highly overrated.

    Of course you can put your 1TB in an external enclosure.

    No way would I pay close to 2K when I could get a 2012 for $800, and from what you indicate you are not a power user. I have had my 2012 for 1 year now, and I love it. In the past I always bought the biggest and fastest. Now, I just buy what I need. That is why I really don't like the non upgradable MBP. I need to pay upfront for capability I might not need. Good Luck in your decision. One last note, I think most people don't upgrade anyway so that is probably one of the reason for the design of the MBP since 2012.
  3. 147798 thread starter Suspended

    Dec 29, 2007
    I should comment -- I use the MBP mainly in my office or down in my living room. I don't travel with it, so the 15" screen size is great -- in terms of more real estate. My work laptop is 13" because I have to travel with it, and I would not want the 15" for that one. For the home, I'm thinking I might like the 15"...
  4. MacInTO, Mar 20, 2016
    Last edited: Mar 20, 2016

    MacInTO macrumors 65816


    Apr 25, 2005
    Canada, eh!
    I have had a 2012 rMBP, the first one, maxed out (i7, 2.7GHz/16GB/768SSD), however, I found it a bit limiting because I always needed an external drive for my working data. I think the USB port is the bottleneck in the chain. Because of this, I switched back to the 2012 cMBP (i7, 2.6/16GB) that is almost the same as my retina except for the screen and the biggest SATA SSD I can find - maybe even two because I can swap out the optical drive for another SSD. I also got a 2011 13" cMBP (i7, 2.8/8GB) to replace my aging 2008 c2d Macbook which I used as a media servier. I put my 256gb SSD in it for my media server.

    If you don't need the retina screen, the 2012 MBPs are great value at the moment, but are still super fast. I was able to find a mint 15" for about US$600 and the 13" for about US$450! This is my setup at the moment and I'm going to sell my 2012 rMBP.

    You can also find the 2012 15" cMBPs with high resolution screens (1680x1050), which give you some more screen real estate if you need it.

    I recommend any of the cMBPs if you don't need/want a retina screen.
  5. comptr macrumors 68000

    Oct 25, 2007

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