Please help me pick a 2013 or 2015 Macbook pro 15"

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by smca, Apr 2, 2017.


2013 or 2015 macbook pros with specs as mentioned in text

  1. Faster, cheaper 2013 Macbook Pro with no apple warranty

    4 vote(s)
  2. Slightly slower, $600 more expensive 2015 Macbook Pro with apple warranty and option to extend to 3y

    2 vote(s)
  1. smca macrumors newbie

    Apr 2, 2017

    I need some help picking my first Macbook Pro, any advice would be greatly appreciated. New machines are too expensive so I'm looking at a used Macbook Pro. I have to choose between the following two machines:

    - Late 2013 Macbook pro 15", 2,3Ghz i7, 512gb SSD, 16GB RAM, Nvidia GT750m. Genuinely immaculate condition, was barely used, battery cycle count less than 50 and no wear on keyboard keys. No apple warranty.

    - 2015 Macbook Pro 15", 2,2Ghz, 256GB SSD, 16GB RAM, Intel iris gpu. Excellent condition although does have a few scratches on the bottom of machine and keys are starting to go a bit shiny. Still under warranty and I can extend the original apple warranty to three years. $600 more expensive than the 2013 model.

    The average geekbench scores are very similar, 2013 machine's 12494 slightly faster than the 2015's 12309. Although running geekbench on the individual machines gives a 1400 point performance advantage to the older 2013 model. The older model has a significantly faster GPU and larger SSD although the 2015 model has a faster SSD (I don't think I will ever notice the difference and i prefer more storage space).

    The older 2013 model seems to me like the better option, cheaper and faster (except for SSD speed) although my only concern is the lack of warranty. What is the failure rate of these late 2013 macbook pro 15" models? I always look after my computers but things can fail and the macbook pro has the horrible system board with everything fixed to it. I am leaning towards the late 2013 macbook pro but I'm worried I'm making a mistake to get a macbook without a warranty.

    Any wise advice from macbook users with more experience. Should I stick to the more expensive, slower, newer machine with warranty or the older, faster, cheaper option without warranty?

    Thanks for the help!
  2. ZapNZs macrumors 68020


    Jan 23, 2017
    If the computer were to fail outside of warranty, would the price of the logic board replacement be something you could swing, or would it have long term negative effects on your productivity?
  3. j1104638, Apr 2, 2017
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2017

    j1104638 Suspended

    Dec 26, 2015
    @smca, from technical POV I see no big difference between late 2013 and 2015 with other things being equal. In your case the latter one is even worse model in its year lineup (2.2 GHz vs 2.3 GHz, 256GB vs 512GB SSD, iGPU only vs iGPU/dGPU).

    Buying Apple Care from Apple will cost you 349 $. I believe I've heard it could be bought for cheaper on eBay I'm not sure though, haven't done it myself. So let's be honest, the difference with warranty included is more like 949 $.

    Late 2013 has this issue with anti-reflective cover on the screen. It could wear off. Apple had a replacement program for it but it ended I believe. I own late 2013 myself and haven't had this issue so I believe if it hasn't shown itself up until now, it will not. Even if it shows itself, you'd be able to buy replacement display from Amazon and replace it yourself, it will be like 300 USD. But I doubt it'll happen.

    I hope you understand that battery cycles are not the only wear off for battery. It could've also lost its capacity. Open it up in coconutBattery and check its max capacity in addition to cycle count.

    Also check how much data has been written on the 512GB SSD. I believe you need some SMART reading utility for that (I know Crystal Disk Info for Windows, don't know for macOS but they do exist I'm sure).

    So check the display for signs of anti-reflective cover wearing off. If no signs, battery max capacity is >=75% of original and less than 5TB written on SSD, I believe 2013 is a no brainer.
    Even if it's worse, it could still be better option than 2015... just more to consider.
    --- Post Merged, Apr 2, 2017 ---
    @smca, if you can unscrew late 2013, also check it hasn't been water-damaged (there are white dots inside which must not be orange; see iFixit). Also check if all screws outside and inside are intact (if they are, likely it had never been repaired or parts replaced which is a good sign for used one).
  4. Sanpete macrumors 68020

    Nov 17, 2016
    What will you be using it for? If it's anything that can use the dGPU, that can be a big advantage for the 2013. How long do you intend to use it before updating?
  5. smca thread starter macrumors newbie

    Apr 2, 2017
    It would cost about 1,5 times the amount I would save with the cheaper model so I'll be able to afford it, although it's never nice spending money on something like that.
    --- Post Merged, Apr 2, 2017 ---
    Thanks for the help.

    I can't see any signs of the anti-reflective coating wearing off.

    Battery max capacity for the 2013 is 102%, and 96% for the 2015 model.

    I used DriveDX to check the SSD usage. 2,8TB has been written to the 2013 model with 2,7TB read from it. For the 2015 model, 4,5TB has been written to and 8,1TB read from. Power on hours for the 2013 is on 142 and for the 2015 on 735. Is it possible to easily replace the SSD in case something happens to it?

    To remove the screws, do I need special Apple screwdrivers or can I use something available from a hardware store?

    Thanks again for the help.
    --- Post Merged, Apr 2, 2017 ---
    I'll use it mostly for graphic design and photography and I'd like to use it for roughly 3-4 years, maybe a bit less.
    --- Post Merged, Apr 2, 2017 ---
    By the way, I'm surprised to see such a small performance improvement between the MacBooks released during the past 3-4 years. Even the latest 2016 model isn't significantly faster than the 2013 model.
  6. tryrtryrtryrt Suspended

    Sep 10, 2016
    You'll need Pentalobe P5 screwdriver. It's not a special Apple screwdriver so you can buy it in a big enough hardware store but it's special enough for you not to have it in your equipment box already.
    Quite amazing for late 2013 IMHO. I'd buy it.
    There was quite a stagnation in Intel CPUs performance specifically starting with MBP late 2013 up until now and presumably at least next MBP (of course other vendors are also this way). There was a huge leap in iGPU performance however this new iGPU can only be seen starting with MBP 13" 2015 and MBP 15" 2016 so not something you're currently choosing from.

    Some weeks ago AMD has rolled out quite promising CPUs. Hopefully lack of monopoly will make Intel improve.

    Or maybe we're stuck in physical boundaries.
  7. Sanpete macrumors 68020

    Nov 17, 2016
    For your intended use, the dGPU won't matter much. Looks like you'll be fine with either one.

    The dGPUs are an area where progress was made over the years, but the 2015 you're looking at doesn't have one.

Share This Page

6 April 2, 2017