New/used MBP purchase help please

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by Kelisdad, Mar 13, 2013.

  1. Kelisdad macrumors newbie

    Feb 26, 2013
    I'm looking to buy my daughter a MBP for school & side work. She's a 3rd year graphics student at a nearby state university. My budget is tight at $1500. I've been lurking here to learn the MBP from the perspective of serious users (unlike me). What I learned so far is to be looking for 15", quad core i7, unsure of which graphics package to be looking at (which is where I need the help) , as far as ram and drive go I'm fully capable of upgrading myself. She will be using for graphics classes and doing web development side work for local business.
    She'll be using CS6. I have a 27" Thunderbolt display to lend her if she needs for a job, so I'm assuming 15" should suffice. As far as Retina is concerned I do not know enough to even ask a dumb question. I've been scout Craigslist and have located a couplr of candidates.
    Kelsey's dad
  2. phoenixsan macrumors 65816


    Oct 19, 2012
    Not sure about your question....

    when you say "graphics package". It means graphic card? If so, the 15 inch Core i7, 2.7 Ghz MBP have two graphics sistems: a nVidia GT GeForce 650M and an Intel Graphics HD 4000 that switch based in use. And based in this,seems as a worth package for your daughter. Incidentally, I search in the Refurb section of the Apple Store and see a 15 inch MBP going for $1529.00 (plus tax)....:(

  3. xnatex macrumors member

    Nov 19, 2012
    If you get a MacBook Pro that has a Retina Display, don't expect to upgrade the RAM by yourself, it's soldered in. Also, the hard drives aren't standard laptop hard drives, they're small boards with flash storage on them. Although it's "possible", it's expensive.

    Here's a 480GB "hard drive" for the Retinas that are out this year. Also note that the 2.7GHz 15" rMBP comes stock with 512GB stock, so this wouldn't help anything, and upgrading the 2.6GHz 13" rMBP and the 2.4GHz 15" rMBP to 512GB is only $300, so upgrading though Apple is actually cheaper than doing it yourself (and comes with 32 more Gigs). World Computing/SSDAP12R480/

    If you want something you can upgrade the hard drive and RAM on (and actually be cost-effective about), don't get a retina.

    Considering that she's a Graphics student, a Retina might be a good decision for her.
  4. Kelisdad thread starter macrumors newbie

    Feb 26, 2013
    both great points

    Aren't the important things to consider given the machine's intended use are 1) the core count for heavier processing 2)maximum system ram 3) graphics processor and its' ram?
    How truly important is display type(native vs. retina)? Will retina improve work output quality? And what impact does 15" vs 17" have over output quality or are these two items a designers personal preference?
    She's been getting along with the ole 11" MB I got her a few years ago.
    A Mac refurb 15" is within my budget. The 15"Retinas are too tough of a nut to crack at this time (definitely budget-busters), maybe something to consider once she graduates and can help with the tab.
    thanks again, I do appreciate your input.
  5. phoenixsan macrumors 65816


    Oct 19, 2012
    It is my understanding....

    that Retina displays allow higher screen resolutions. That, in turn allows better detail and more truthful colors, by example. But I can be proved wrong.
    Not all the sofware is enabled for Retina displays, tough. So it can be an area of interest for you and your daughter. But I hope some pro designer can weigh in about real improvements in working/class environments.

  6. Kelisdad thread starter macrumors newbie

    Feb 26, 2013
    but see this is where I need your guys & gals help

    given her heavy graphics design work (web & magazine/promotional material layouts) will the 1/2gig vram be enough or should I make 1 gig the choice? is the vram upgradeable? are the two graphics cards barely capable, capable or more than capable to handle the anticipated work load? is the 1440 x 900 appropriate resolution for given tasks? the more I lurk, the more I'm thinking the 17" might be the way to go due to it's higher screen res, is this a red herring on my part?
    I've been checking and rechecking my local CL (chicago area) and all I can say is---
    UGHHHHHHHH! my head hurts!
  7. MattSepeta macrumors 65816


    Jul 9, 2009
    375th St. Y
    Honestly, any of the MBPs will work fine. I use a 17" MBP 2011 2.3 i7 professionally 50+ hours a week: Editing 1500 RAWs from weddings, 1080P multi cam in Premiere CS6, Large print graphics and layouts in Photoshop CS6, etc. No hiccups at all. Be sure to find the "hi-res antiglare" screen upgrade. It is a matte, slightly-higher pixel count screen. WAY WORTH it.

    Best part is that on the "old" MBPs like mine, you can easily swap the HDD and add RAM.
  8. Kelisdad thread starter macrumors newbie

    Feb 26, 2013
    thanks Matt, one more question

    from everymac ---"The standard configuration of this model has an LED-backlit 15.4" widescreen TFT active-matrix "glossy" display (1440x900 native resolution), but it also was available via custom configuration with a "high-resolution glossy" 1680x1050 display and a "high-resolution antiglare" 1680x1050 display for an additional US$100 and US$150, respectively."
    so, I'm looking for the high-res anti-glare, right?
  9. mpringle macrumors newbie

    Mar 30, 2012
    Refurbished is the way to go ...

    Good as new, almost better (it has been looked at/burned in hard, they don't want it back a second time!).

    Full warranty, fully eligible for AppleCare which you gotta get for a laptop, but can be bought anytime in the first year.

    For $1529, you can't have everything, but this is a damm good computer:

    2012 15.4-inch MacBook Pro 2.3GHz Quad-core Intel i7, glossy 1440x900

    If want to go anti-glare, the cheapest is $1659, similarly spec'd but older

    2011 15.4-inch MacBook Pro 2.3GHz Quad-core Intel i7, anti-glare 1680-by-1050

    Personally, I'd go with the 2012, for faster graphics and later generation i7. And be careful about lending out my 27" thunderbolt, you might not get it back!

  10. jeffreyfranz macrumors member


    May 21, 2012
  11. JoeRito macrumors 6502a


    Apr 12, 2012
    New England, USA
    Right... I agree, the antiglare is nice for imaging. I personally do not feel the retina is worth the extra cost. Many times you'll use a large external monitor at work regardless.
  12. Kelisdad thread starter macrumors newbie

    Feb 26, 2013
    got my finger on the trigger and it's shaky

    we discussed buying off of CL last night if I could find what she needs with remaining Applecare, but after much discussion the idea was nixed. She can't free up time from school and work to check out private sales with me either,so looks like I gotta bite the bullet and buy from the Mothership :apple:or certified reseller. This way I have some recourse if problems prop up. Maybe the upside is, I can weasel my way into her aspiring business as her IT guy because I'm coming in on the ground floor.:)
    on a serious note thank you for all your level headed informed responses. I'll post when I pull the trigger this week………. steady,,,exhale,,,squeeze
  13. designs216 macrumors 65816


    Oct 26, 2009
    Down the rabbit hole
    I'd skip the retina model since you'll pay a premium for that gorgeous screen and get the 2.3 classic. You'll have the option to upgrade the RAM and drive later yourself for a song compared to what Apple charges. This config also allows the second drive configuration for TimeMachine backups or extra storage. If you want to spend a little more up front, consider springing for 1GB of VRAM/2.6 config which will give her additional flexibility as far as projects and a marginally faster processor.

    On a side note, this computer is going to see some rough usage, so I'd spring for AppleCare.
  14. Kelisdad thread starter macrumors newbie

    Feb 26, 2013
    preliminary decision

    15" cMBP 2.3/quad i7/anti-glare hi-res/AMD 6750 w/1g ram apple refurb = tax,license, insurance and undercoating for a tick under 1800 to my door. had apple sales rep compare against buying new w/student discount and it was closer to $2K.
    I started out with a 1200 budget, which got bumped to 1500 and ended up at 1800.
    Put off 3 year applecare for a now, will buy within the allowable time period.
    All in all money well spent on a young person's future, even more so that it's my daughter's.
    thanks again
  15. Yebubbleman macrumors 68030


    May 20, 2010
    Los Angeles, CA
    If you can scrounge up $30 more, I'd HIGHLY recommend just getting this:

    If you can't, then I HIGHLY recommend waiting until you can because the benefits are worth it.
  16. dlimes13 macrumors 6502a


    May 3, 2011
    Perrysburg, OH
    IMO I think that's an awful lot to pay for old hardware. Still good, but $1800 is a bit pricy for 2 year old product. I would recommend one of these:

    (Classic, 2012 15"):


    If you're spending $1800, might as well just get the Retina above. WAY better value and your daughter will appreciate it in the long run.
  17. magbarn macrumors 68000

    Oct 25, 2008
    Not to mention rMBP has a much faster GPU and overall much lighter laptop than the 2011 model. I'd cancel it if I were you, and just pony up for the rMBP.
  18. lixuelai macrumors 6502a

    Oct 29, 2008
  19. Kelisdad thread starter macrumors newbie

    Feb 26, 2013

    went with the cMBP 15",2.3/i7 from :apple: + Applecare for $1950 out the door. My rough math puts me ~ 60% over budget.
    Major factors for this decision are;
    1) it's a 2012 with Intel HD Graphics 4000 and NVIDIA GeForce GT 650M with 512MB of GDDR5 memory which seemed to perform better than the 3000 on the macworld tests
    2) price for refurb
    3) user-upgradeability (I can take care of memory and drive upgrades if need be)
    4) Thunderbolt connectivity - I have a 27" TBlt display she can use externally thereby enabling to save on the anti-glare additional cost.
    5) employee discount (not :apple:, my employer has through :apple: which saved a couple bucks
    6) free shipping
    7) non-Craigslist/eBay purchase
    8) first thing this morning my 2011 mini started making intermittent internal chirping noises ala cooling fan or hard drive getting ready to take a dump?:eek:

    I want to thank you all for your input, it was very helpful and informative. My resources are extremely limited so I had to attempt to maximize value for every penny spent. Yeah, I'd love to be the cost is no object dad, but I gotta keep the lights and heat turned on, food in the bellies of my animals and me and the roof over our heads(which incidentally is in need of dire replacement). Started out with a stretched $1200 budget (cash - not credit) and choking hard to swallow at a tick under $2K. I know it's money well invested in her future. I have no doubt after watching a beautiful 22 year old single young lady sit in my front room on St.Patty's Saturday night doing homework on her ole 11"MB while her cousins home on spring break left to go out partying at the bars/clubs.
    That my friends is her dedication to improving her future and why I'm so damn proud of her.:D

    thanks again all!
  20. Kelisdad thread starter macrumors newbie

    Feb 26, 2013
    chirp noise solved on mini

    it was the APC 800 battery back up! time for a trip to batteries unlimited.

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