reliability of macbook pros 3+ years out?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by Freyqq, May 3, 2010.

  1. Freyqq macrumors 601

    Dec 13, 2004
    Hello everyone! I have a macbook pro SR - 2.2 ghz 8600gt (128 mb) 4 gig of ram that I bought roughly 3 years ago. I'm going to law school next semester and am concerned with reliability. I have already had to have applecare replace most of the components over the years, but atm it seems stable. How reliable are these machines after 3 years? Would you guys recommend getting a new macbook pro, or do you think the one I have now will last at least another year? While I suppose I'd benefit from the extra power slightly, the most I usually do is word + itunes +ical + mail + 20+ tabs in safari + ~20 pdfs open on a bad day...usually eats up about all 4 gigs of ram but not too CPU/GPU intensive. Expose lags a lot though by that point lol...prob not enough vram. I also plug the laptop into a 24" monitor (LG 246WP). Thanks!
  2. scaredpoet macrumors 604


    Apr 6, 2007
    If what you have now works for you, I'd stick with what you have and save up, and just assume that it's going to go south sooner rather than later. Basically, run it till it breaks or no longer suits your needs, and then get a new one. Who knows; it might last you until the next refresh. :)
  3. supercaliber macrumors regular

    Aug 9, 2007
    My advice, buy new sell old, and do so every three years. Why...

    1. Laptop Speed, yeah a three year old laptop isn't that bad, but each year you are wasting more and more time and probably don't realize it.
    2. Service, stay under applecare, while i like Apple quality I think its more perception than reality. The fact is they do fix everything that breaks, but for me in my experience everything does break.
    3. Depreciation, you can make $650-1000 on a well-maintained three year old macbook pro. Each year just adds more dings and pushes the price to zero.
    4. Avoid catastrophe, the better your equipment is the less likely your hard-drive, processor, mainboard, keyboard, whatever, crashes on you the night your term paper is due.

    Get the best one Apple makes and never look back.
  4. Freyqq thread starter macrumors 601

    Dec 13, 2004
    lol the last thing I want is this thing dying on me in the middle of finals though
  5. scaredpoet macrumors 604


    Apr 6, 2007
    You know on second thought, supercaliber's idea is a better one. Sell the old guy, and get a new one. It's time.
  6. snouter macrumors 6502a

    May 26, 2009

    Electronics do typically fail right away, or not at all.

    I used to buy and sell the $1999 15" MBP every 18 months or so.

    That way I was only out of Applecare for ~6 months and I got a new computer.

    But then the innovation stoppped and I bought a 2008 for the LED screen, which was a good move, but it has an 8600GT. Hmm. None of the unibody's were dramatic enough to entice me to switch, but the i5 chip was.

    I just bought a mid-2010 17" base model. Instead of the i7 upgrade, which is arguably not worth $200, I upped the ram to 8GB and put in a 128GB SSD. 2 things that definitely improved performance.

    So, maybe I take issue with the get the "best one" but rather get the one least gimped out, and make sure you can set it up right with hard drives and RAM and other peripherals as needed.

    Look at the Mac Pro. The base models come with weak video cards, small hard drives and just to move up CPU speeds costs an extreme amount of money.

    I think the base 15", the base 15" with high-res, and the base 17" are the best options right now. I'd take the $200 i7 upgrade and apply it to an SSD and/or RAM.

    I use CS5, and I've already dipped hard into the 8GB of ram, so, if you do creative work, def consider 8GB. Maybe not needed if you use it for more typical writing, surfing media consumption tasks.
  7. Freyqq thread starter macrumors 601

    Dec 13, 2004
    Do you guys think the base model 15" with high-res matte would be the way to go for my uses if I went that route? How's that gpu work with a 24" monitor? Is 256 mb of vram enough to make expose smooth with the workload I listed earlier?
  8. Azathoth macrumors 6502a

    Sep 16, 2009
    I have no idea about OS X, but I know about computers -
    "word + itunes +ical + mail + 20+ tabs in safari + ~20 pdfs open on a bad day."

    That should not stress any machine... I mean that's my normal workload on a 1.66GHz C2D 2.5GB Win7 machine (connected to a 26" monitor), with Intel GMA950 - now *thats* an underpowered graphics card...
  9. etceteraism macrumors member

    May 3, 2010
    My Macbook is almost 4 years old now and is still running, although I'll be replacing it soon.

    I would keep it until it dies-just be sure to keep everything properly backed up in the meantime.

    Although it might be a good idea to buy now when you're still in school because you can get the educational discount (this is the reason I'm buying now rather than wait one more year when I'm no longer a student). If you buy in the summer you can take advantage of the free iPod deal as well-you won't be able to sell it for full price but it would help offset the cost a bit as well.
  10. jsol92 macrumors member

    Jan 27, 2010
    Best advice I've ever heard in my life.
  11. miles01110 macrumors Core


    Jul 24, 2006
    The Ivory Tower (I'm not coming down)
    Depends almost wholly on usage. Last I checked a faster processor doesn't help you type a paper any more quickly.

    For each year you use it, that's one more year you're not shelling out thousands for a new one. I honestly don't understand the depreciation argument.

    I highly doubt anything but the hard drive would "crash" on you. You should have backups anyway. New machines are not immune to hard drive failure.

    Depends on the part. Hard drives can fail at any time. As we saw with the 8600 graphics card in 2007, failures of that nature can take months or years to show up. I just don't think the above blanket statement really applies.
  12. ARF900 macrumors 65816


    Oct 30, 2009
    That would be fine. And if you find yourself having trouble you can always add more RAM later.
  13. King Apple macrumors regular

    King Apple

    Mar 17, 2010
    I recommend selling your old laptop and buying a new 13"
  14. capitanbuzo macrumors 65816

    Jul 17, 2007
    I am in a similar position as the OP and could use some advice. I have a Late 2007 MBP Santa Rosa 15" with the 2.6ghz Processor, 4GB of RAM and a 200GB 7200RPM HDD. Had it and used it extensively over the time. I am a bit worried about the 8600m in it failing while at college. I never have replaced anything either and do not have Apple Care. I will be a Business and Computer Information Systems double major once I start this coming fall. Think it is time to upgrade to an i7 15" Macbook Pro? I would like it to get me through 3-4 years realistically. On another note, if it is better to go on the route for a new computer, what would be the recommended resale price for my current MBP (specs listed above)?

    Edit: My usual update cycle is when I can get double the performance out of a new machine than what I am getting from my current one. In this case, it is almost twice as fast as my current one so it may be time. I am just reluctant to spend a significant amount of my savings (thanks old MBP and MP for getting me that cash) to purchase a new machine.
  15. wisty macrumors regular

    Feb 18, 2009
    I'm typing on a 4 year old MacBook (not Pro). The hard drive has failed twice, but everything else is fine.
  16. mdatwood macrumors 6502a

    Mar 14, 2010
    Denver, CO
    Let me add that if your HD does crash you just buy a new one for <$100 and go on your way. Still saves you a ton of money over a new computer if your old one is currently good enough.

    Well the person did say 'typical' and he's right. If you look at electronic failure graphs they typically have a wide 'U' shape. Plus the 8600 failure was atypical and fixed for free by Apple even on out of warranty non-applecare machines. I know this because they fixed my old computer last year for free and I never purchased Applecare.
  17. unagimiyagi macrumors 6502a

    Jun 9, 2009
    I have had horrible luck with macbooks, but there is a price to pay for that thinness. They run hot, and their fans fail, and they dent b/c you will drop them or bump them over time. Static electricity shocks are also incredibly annoying and an every day occurrence here. But I keep coming back because when they work, they really work well.
  18. gagaliya macrumors 6502

    Feb 24, 2010
    computers rarely fail if they dont fail the first couple months. I never had a computer failure in the last 10-20 years since my first computer, still has the original pentium somewhere in the basement...working. Macs are no different, they are same as regular computers....

    The only thing is if you leave your pc on 24/7 like me, i replace the power supply after 2-3 years. Also still have my very first "top of the line" dell laptop from 7 years ago (a 15 lb brick) that has an ati graphic card so i could play everquest in college! Also still works perfectly.

    I never buy insurance, applecare, whatever. To me the chance of failure is very low for computer hardware after running stable for a while, and the way pc hardware depreciates, the money you wasted on insurance you could probably used to to buy a more powerful computer by then.....

    applecare is not cheap, and just like bestbuy and other insurances, it's a cashcow for the companies playing off human nature behavior.
  19. Freyqq thread starter macrumors 601

    Dec 13, 2004
    how hard is it to change out a hard drive in the old school mbp?
  20. strausd macrumors 68030

    Jul 11, 2008
    I would suggest getting an external for time machine. That way if your current MBP dies, you still have all your data. And if you decide to sell it and get a new one, you can easily copy all your data from your old one over.
  21. Freyqq thread starter macrumors 601

    Dec 13, 2004
    I have a 500 gb external, but it's 2.5" so it'd fit in the mbp and I could swap it for the 120 gb internal i suppose
  22. etceteraism macrumors member

    May 3, 2010
    Very true. My 2006 MacBook (the original) had it's logic board and hard drive die in the first year, as well as the power cord fraying and needing replacement and the battery being replaced just shy of 2 years. Ironically, 2 years later the battery power has not diminished to the level it did the first time I replaced the battery and I haven't had any further problems with it.

    (Personally) I would buy Applecare though. With the student discount the price isn't nearly as bad-and if anything DOES go wrong, it will cost much more than the price of Applecare to replace. If you replace your computer every couple of years it isn't really necessary-but I hold on to mine for at least 4 (I'm a student-I can't afford to buy a new $1500+ machine all the time) so for me, the piece of mind is worth it.
  23. scaredpoet macrumors 604


    Apr 6, 2007
    A general rule of thumb is: the older the MBP, the harder it is to replace the hard drive. There's more steps, and more components have to be removed the earlier in the product line you go.

    Here's the iFixit guide for the old-style MBP.

    Here's the unibody procedure.

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