New or refurb MBP 13

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by tollermee, Oct 9, 2018.

  1. tollermee macrumors newbie

    Oct 9, 2018
    Hi all. I haven't been on this forum for years. I couldn't remember my account so just set up a new one.

    Anyway, following a 12" PowerBook G4 in 2004 and a 13" MacBook Pro in 2010, its time for my 3rd Apple laptop. As ever, they aren't cheap, but if this new machine lasts as long as its predecessors I don't mind spending a fair amount of money on it. I can't say I *need* an MBP, as most of what I use it for is general stuff (browsing, writing documents, music, very basic photos etc.) but I like the form-factor and figure a more powerful machine will last longer than something less so. That's my rationale for MBP v MB/MBA, at least.

    That said, I'm struggling to understand the difference between current MBPs and older generations. In the past there were obvious differences in specifications between generations, but it seems that a 2018 MBP is identical to a 2013 - Retina display, Core i5, 256GB SSD and 8GB RAM. Aside from the touch bar, which seems like an utter gimmick and only relevant for certain Apple apps (I always use Chrome and Spotify).

    Therefore, I'm not sure that dropping close to £2k is the best investment this time around when I could probably pick up a refurb or lightly used model for half the price.

    Interested to hear your opinions, as I'm sure others have considered this as well.

    Thanks in advance.
  2. apiro macrumors regular

    Oct 23, 2017
    #2,135935 check differences between late 2013 and 2018.
    similar differences between SSDs.
    RAM is marginally faster.
  3. tominco macrumors member

    Mar 14, 2008
    You can't just compare the HD/SSD, RAM, and CPU clock speed. The 2018 looks like a much better machine than what was available 5 years ago, primarily due to generational improvements in the CPU.

    I'm seeing Geekbench 4 multicore scores in the 6,000 range for the 2013 MBP i5 and 16,000 range for the 2018 MBP with an i5. Single core is improved, but not as significantly. Performance improvements are not unexpected and when you notice the new i5 is four cores and on chip cache is double the size. Also consider pipeline improvements internal to the CPU that occur over several generations and the general population is totally unaware of. There's a fair improvement in memory bandwidth. Also, the 2018 should have significantly improved graphics performance as it is using the IRIS plus graphics (formerly IRIS pro) for the integrated graphics.a
  4. Hankcah macrumors regular

    Jul 8, 2010
    I wouldn't discount the refurbished. I've purchased my two recent MBPs that were refurbed, and mine from 2010, lasted until 2017. Upgraded the RAM and to the SSD but other than a few scratches over the years, it's been great. I ended up upgrading due to the OS updates and wanting to add a 3rd extra monitor, but other than that my 2010 was fine.

    You can always sell the current device for a few hundred on craigslist.

    I love the new keyboard and the spacegray exterior. I changed my touchbar to just the regular function keys, so it's no big deal. I thought the constantly changing keys was annoying and probably not that great for the battery.

    Save the money and go with the refurbished model. You can possibly use that money for AppleCare+.
  5. Denmac1 macrumors 6502a


    Apr 22, 2007
    Lost in Space
    I'd go with an Apple refurb any day. Still has 1 year warranty and you can get AppleCare.

    Many people don't understand that a refurb could just be a return because they just didn't like it and Apple can't sell anything opened as new. Also the box could have been missing something. I used to sell Pioneer gear and even if the remote was defective, the whole box was sent back as refurb. Also refurbs, i believe, are usually subjected to a higher QC.
    I got lucky when I purchased my 2015 MBP (i really didn't want dongles and needed the card slot) The 2.3 i ordered was out of stock and i got the 2.6 at no further cost, so i figured i saved about $700 off new
  6. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere


    May 16, 2008
    Apple refurbished products are considered by most to be a very good deal, as they're pretty much like buying a new Mac, except for the box.
    Click the link in that quote for more details on the refurbishment process.
    • Apple Certified Refurbished Products are available online from the Apple Refurb Store and are not sold in local Apple stores
    • Educational discounts do not apply to refurb products.
    • Refurb products come with the same warranty as new products, and qualify for AppleCare
    • Refurb products have a changed serial number that identifies them as refurbished
    • Refurb products come with whatever OS version and software they originally shipped with as new
    • Refurb products come with the same items in the box as new products, only the box is a plain one, not the new box.
    • A refurb product could have some cosmetic signs of prior use, but rarely do
    • A refurb Mac notebook may have some cycles on the battery, but not a significant enough amount to affect usable life
    • The refurb store inventory changes frequently, sometimes several times a day, and doesn't have any direct relation to upcoming product releases. What's available in the refurb store is determined by what has been returned to Apple.
    • If you're looking for a particular item, can alert you when it becomes available.
  7. tollermee thread starter macrumors newbie

    Oct 9, 2018
    Thanks for the responses. I actually found the 2018 MacBook Pro on Amazon for £300 off list price. I was sceptical, as I assumed it was either incorrectly advertised i.e. an older model or a used/refurb. When it arrived I was very pleased to see it was neither, just an unopened 2018 model.

    Things were great....for a few days. Then it started crashing consistently. Apple Support were very helpful, talking me first through resetting the PRAM and caches, and then reformatting and reinstalling the OS. Sadly, none of that helped and they diagnosed it as hardware failure. Of course, I had to send it back to the Amazon seller which is not as easy as walking into the Apple store and asking for a replacement, which I'm sure Apple would do. So its in the process of being returned, but its already a week into the process. When the seller has completed the refund, I'll see whether they have any more in stock as its not their fault the unit was faulty. They may not even have any more available or wish to sell it at that discounted price.

    The Apple event tomorrow may include new MacBooks that are better priced, so we'll have to see
  8. ignatius345, Oct 29, 2018
    Last edited: Oct 29, 2018

    ignatius345 macrumors 68000

    Aug 20, 2015
    The butterfly keyboard is trash. For me, the comparison ends there. It's awful to type on and quickly becomes unusable if any dust gets into it.

    I literally just last night had a friend tell me she took her MacBook keyboard in to the Apple Store because of sticking keys. They blew some canned air into it which got most of the keys back to normal and told her to buy some canned air so she can do it herself. She said it needs a full replacement but she hasn't been able to do it yet because she needs the machine for her work.

    Meanwhile, I've got two 5 year-old Mac laptops which have absolutely zero issues with the keyboards. I'm not alone in this. Maybe tomorrow we'll all get lucky and they'll walk back this **** design somehow.
  9. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Jan 5, 2006
    Redondo Beach, California
    If you have not yet done so, upgrade the 2010 Mac. Buy an SSD and max out the RAM at 8GB. Those two things will not bring it 100% up to date but will make a HUGE difference in performance. I think 75% as good as a new Mac but for only a couple hundred dollars. Both are easy DIY upgrades.

    You get 75% of the effect for 20% of the price.
  10. tollermee thread starter macrumors newbie

    Oct 9, 2018
    Hi Chris. Yes, I added an SSD and a new battery a year or so ago. It did help.

    Unfortunately, it's crashing when disconnected from the power supply, so it's rather troublesome to use. I can't take it out of the house really. Also, the dual-core CPU is noticeably slower running newer versions of MacOS and more modern versions of Chrome, Office 365 etc. Even viewing pictures in Photos is pretty sluggish. It is time for something newer, it's had a good life :)
  11. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Jan 5, 2006
    Redondo Beach, California
    Is it really the dual-core CPU that is making it slow? Have you checked this using "Activity Monitor"? Do both CPU Cores go to 100% utilization? I suspect the bottleneck is the disk drive.

    But if the Battery is shot so that you can't run except when connected to power then, it might be time to upgrade. But given that you do Final Cut and the Adobe suit you might want to buy as much ram as you can

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