New MBP or beefier older generation?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by Droogan Leader, Dec 14, 2008.

  1. Droogan Leader macrumors newbie

    Oct 23, 2008
    Finally, I'm getting my laptop, which I've desperately needed for the past years (this POS Dell ain't cuttin' it). I've checked out the brand new MBP, been following them since the leaked photos, saw the launch, etc.

    But considering the discount, and the previous generation being cheaper, what's a better buy? My budget is about ~$1700.

    So, is it the previous 2.5 with the 512 video card, or the new, base MBP?
  2. drichards macrumors 6502a


    Nov 30, 2008
    I still like the old one, and you might be able to get one from the Apple store still for about $900 off list price.
  3. drewsof07 macrumors 68000


    Oct 30, 2006
    get the previous gen, processing power outweighs arguably "good looks" most of the time.
  4. tivoboy macrumors 68040

    May 15, 2005

    amazon has some great deals on the previous gen mbp. just picked up one for 1400AR, 2.5, 250, 15" mbp. That was with an amex 125$ coupon, but it is 1550$ otherwise.
  5. Droogan Leader thread starter macrumors newbie

    Oct 23, 2008
    Woah, fast replies. Thanks guys! :cool:

    Seriously, that's all I see as the saving grace for the new one, the looks. Can anyone produce some benches showing a vast improvement in horsepower? To me, the matte screen is a pretty big deal (I also dabble in photo and print work) and it isn't included in the new model.

    I think I've found some of the older generations for around $1200 with a discount, what's the cheapest you've seen (being brand new, of course). Was 2.5 Ghz the fastest processor available on the previous generation? I plan on upping the ram myself anyways...
  6. tivoboy macrumors 68040

    May 15, 2005

    I think 2.6 was the last highest chipset, and I THINK you can find some of those builds at macmall.

    but honestly, if you can get 2.5 for 1200$ ACB, then that would be a steal.

    4GB mem upgrades are running 19$ AR now, for 2x2GB sticks.
  7. Michael CM1 macrumors 603

    Feb 4, 2008
    I saw an ad locally for the previously $1999 model for $1299. I wish I had been in the market now because that's almost a deal too good to pass up. I don't think the new graphics setup is $700 nice (not to mention all the ports changing and MDP for your monitor).
  8. clyde2801 macrumors 601


    Mar 6, 2008
    In the land of no hills and red dirt.
    Macworld and Arstechnica did some testing. Bottom line is that the newer systems have a slight difference due to faster FSB speed and DDR3 ram, but nothing to write home about.

    They liked the new unibody designs (except for losing firewire) but couldn't recommend existing users upgrade.

    THAT being said, if you can get into a last model legacy pro at a steep discount, why not? By the time a 2.6 becomes obsolete, they'll be making unibodies with an intel 16 core chip by then....:D
  9. orpheus1120 macrumors 65816


    Jan 23, 2008
    Well OP, see my sig. and you will know what my recommendation will be. :D
  10. Droogan Leader thread starter macrumors newbie

    Oct 23, 2008
    Maybe it's just that I'm getting serious case of buyer indecisiveness :p
  11. tivoboy macrumors 68040

    May 15, 2005
    here was my thinking

    I hated the glossy, so it wasn't an option really,

    but the deals on the previous gen were so good, I had to bite on that bit. I got a 2.5, 250, 15" for 1400$ AR, it worked for me, and I figure in a few months, if something comes with the MATTE screen again, then I could probably get 1200$ or so -maybe for my unit.
  12. botsmack macrumors member

    Dec 16, 2008
    Birmingham, AL, USA
    If you don't mind me asking, where is everyone finding the 2.5, 250, 8600M 512MB, 15" for $1400 AR? I'm somewhat in a similar boat as the OP, but decided that the previous generation MBP would be fine, considering the discounts. However, the cheapest I can find the model I listed in the first sentence is $1550 AR and I've checked about 3-4 different online stores for Macs.

    This would be my first official Mac and my first (ever) laptop. I've been using an old iMac G3 running OS X 10.4 for my "Mac experience" up to now. It's ok, but seeing how ancient the system is, there's nothing I can really do on it besides check email and surf the net. I'm a Windows administrator during the day.

    I don't mean to hijack the thread, but just wanted to state that for me it's between a previous generation MBP or a new Lenovo Thinkpad W500. For the same price as the MBP ($1590) I can get 2.8GHz, 1680x1050 resolution, ATI FireGL V5700 512MB, 4GB DDR3 PC3-8500 RAM, 160GB HDD. On specs alone, the Thinkpad would seem obvious, but I'm still undecided.
  13. darwinian macrumors 6502a


    Jan 4, 2008
    In R4, more or less
    What's "beefier" about the older one? I find quite the opposite, in my experience owning both currently.
  14. S00NERB0RN73 macrumors newbie


    Dec 16, 2008
    Oklahoma City, OK
    I really don't like the way the old ones close/open, the lid/screen doesn't do as well for me, as the new one...but I'm justa guy.
  15. tivoboy macrumors 68040

    May 15, 2005

    I bought from amazon, had the 25% off or 150$ off AMEX coupon to use, so that made it 1400$ AR.

    But, macmall had the same unit a few weeks back for that amount, and currently sells the GLOSSY model for 1398$ AR.
  16. madmaxmedia macrumors 68030

    Dec 17, 2003
    Los Angeles, CA
    I think he means cheapest unibody configuration, or the higher-priced older configuration (since price will be close between those 2 options.)
  17. macrem macrumors 65816


    Mar 11, 2008
    Just to balance out this thread a bit, I agree the pre-Unibody MBPs are a great value but having recently switched I can say what stands out to me about the new MBP:
    - I went from 2.4 to 2.8 so maybe that's why the difference in performance is noticeable (that's all I'll say about spec other than a small boost across the board and dual video cards)*
    - better, brighter screen (no increase in resolution). This is my first non-matte notebook, which I was skeptical about but quickly adapted to, like, as soon as I saw it. Colors are vivid and its easier to keep glass clean. The bezel is behind the glass including around the camera so there is no edge to blow dust out of and to try to clean right up to
    - the unibody machined out of a single slab of aluminum is really cool, feels more solid and no worries about warping around edges
    - bigger trackpad / no button (trackpad is button) / glass won't wear out like old ones / gestures (instrux to add gestures to last gen MBP are posted on this forum)
    - better sound: I don't have info to back this up but noticed a difference in both improved speakers and a clearer signal with earbuds
    - sleeker
    - magnetic latch is a nice functional and aesthetic improvement
    - so easy to swap HDDs
    - keyboard feels better IMO
    - superdrive on the side works out better for me
    - DisplayPort versatile & more aesthetic than DVI adapter
    - this is really subjective, I know, but overall the new design really did it for me, so strikingly so that I upgraded despite having a well functioning last gen MBP
    - looks like overall easier maintenance
    - I've also heard the iSight cam is capable of higher resolution

    *apparently Snow Leopard will take advantage of the GPUs for general computing, which I imagine will feel like another hardware upgrade :)
  18. melchior macrumors 65816


    Nov 17, 2002
    These are some well articulated reasons here, but from my perspective, they are luxurious design improvements that i can live without and prefer to be without. I today bought a 2.5 MBP for 32% less than the cost of a unibody model. To boot, performance is marginally better.

    if you look at the benchmarks for these, you'll find that there is negligible difference. the cpus are the same and the 9600m is almost identical to the 8600m. i think it's unlikely that 10.6 will simultaneously take advantage of both GPUs, but they might, either way the 8600m does as well as the 9600m. the 9800m is necessary to make a genuine dent...

    things to dislike about the new MBP include must purchase a dvi adapter separately. there is no support for output via s-video or composite, meaning that i could not connect it to any tv or projector that i have encountered. (of course, i wish everyone had digital, but they don't) the firewire debacle. again. adapter purchased separately. these to me are more deal breakers, for now, than the improvements of the latch and unibody design.

    and there is the glossy screen of course, i'll pass for now, but i could live with it if necessary.

    overall, i see the new mbp as a great cutting edge machine, just too far ahead of the game for me as i need to live with legacy components. and it's more expensive (everywhere but the US)...

  19. mullman macrumors 6502


    Jan 13, 2004
    I completely agree with everything you said.
    Finally a screen that is easy to clean with out scratching!
    No more goofy latch and screens that do not completely close or warp over time!
    The new model is the cat's meow and makes last years model feel sub par.
    And I can say that since I have both of them sitting here on my desk.
  20. Droogan Leader thread starter macrumors newbie

    Oct 23, 2008
    So now it's pretty much come down to purchasing a new 2.4 unibody, or going for the last generation 2.5 and upgrading it. If I got the older MBP, I'd use some of the cash I save by putting in a faster, bigger HDD and bring it up to 4GB of total ram.

    I imagine with the new 320GB Seagate 7200RPM drive, 512MB VRAM, 4GB of ram and the 6MB L2 cache, the older generation model would be much more powerful then the base unibody.

    Any word if Apple plans to release the unibody down the road with a matte option? If that were the case, I'd probably get the new one and upgrade when it comes out (I think a newer unibody would hold it's value much better).
  21. AdiosVista macrumors 6502

    Sep 10, 2008
    I'm in the same boat as the OP as well. I dig the looks of the new model but Amazon has some sweet deals on the older version. What is the discount I keep hearing about and how do you get it?
  22. tivoboy macrumors 68040

    May 15, 2005

    I bought the 2.5, and then spent 15.99 AR to put in 4GB of crucial memory. SWEET~
  23. Revelation78 macrumors 68000


    Dec 18, 2008
    North Carolina
    Well if you're a student and an ADC you can pickup the new MBP for $1599.
  24. darngooddesign macrumors G3

    Jul 4, 2007
    Atlanta, GA
    I chose the new one and m reasons were:

    I got a used one for 1500
    I prefer the new design over the 5 year old tired design
    Glossy isn't an issue for me
    I have no legacy monitor to support with ports
    The keyboard is far better to me, especially the backlighting
    The GPU is better
    The single firwire port is fine
    Easier access to the drive
    Faster RAM
    Speakers are better
  25. Droogan Leader thread starter macrumors newbie

    Oct 23, 2008
    Eh... really? I would imagine that the previous generation would be faster due to the bigger cache (6MB opposed to the newer 2.4's 2MB) and having 4GB of ram, no?

    Is there ANY word on Apple producing the new models with matte screen? If that were the case, I'd shoot for a new 2.53 matte, no question, done deal.

    I'm slightly leaning towards the previous generation (I'm actually typing on my family members right now :p). I just can't seem to get used to the chickett's yet, but that could be because I haven't really spent time with an Apple system that has them.

    Thanks for the responses guys, keep 'em comin'.

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