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Spectrum

macrumors 68000
Original poster
Mar 23, 2005
1,766
1,102
Never quite sure
Looking for advice. This old workhorse that I use at home for web browsing/email/iPlayer has just suffered from black screen of death (no chime on startup) - most likely due to well-established fault with the graphics chip. So...what to replace it with?

I also have a 15 inch 2011 MacBook Pro, but for TV watching it is no way near as good, and the sound system of the 17 inch was *much* clearer/louder.

Options:
1. Get it fixed
2. Find a second hand 2011 (or older) 17 inch MBPro
3. Replace with an iMac (21 or 27).

I currently move the laptop around the house/garden a lot (so an iMac is not the most obvious replacement...)
 

Samuelsan2001

macrumors 604
Oct 24, 2013
7,730
2,152
How about Bluetooth speakers or a soundbar or something with 15 inch, seems the cheapest simplest quickest option
 

maflynn

Moderator emeritus
May 3, 2009
70,083
38,537
Options:
1. Get it fixed
2. Find a second hand 2011 (or older) 17 inch MBPro
3. Replace with an iMac (21 or 27).
Of the options listed, I think #3 makes the most sense. I don't think spending more money on fixing the current laptop is the right move, nor is buying another. I think the time has passed for these 17" MBPs
 

theluggage

macrumors 604
Jul 29, 2011
6,677
6,137
3. Replace with an iMac (21 or 27).

4. Get a TV...? Plus AppleTV if you're invested in iTunes content, or lots of other media streaming boxes (many of which have iPlayer/ITVplayer/4OD etc) if not. Most will also serve as a second display for the MBP15"

2. Find a second hand 2011 (or older) 17 inch MBPro
The 2011 17" ought to be a great 2nd-hand machine, but the GPU problem is a deal-breaker.
 

iShater

macrumors 604
Aug 13, 2002
7,023
464
Chicagoland
My 2009 15" MBP hit the video issue a few weeks back, and it is used now in Target mode to move files off. I ended up replacing it with a similar machine for $127 including shipping from ebay :p
 

thats all folks

macrumors 6502a
Dec 20, 2013
675
750
Austin (supposedly in Texas)
late 2011 17" MBP would be a nice performance bump from your 2008.
Apple is still repairing video problems on that year,
http://www.macofalltrades.com/MacBook-Pro-17-inch-HRA-2-5GHz-QCi7-Late-2011-p/mbp-17-25-l11hra.htm

as a 17" owner myself (early 2011, i7, Hi-Res antiglare) I'd support you going that way, but the reality is that the money is probably better of being put towards something newer.

you could also improve your TV watching on the 15" by hooking it up to an actual TV (that would be the lowest cost solution)
 

theluggage

macrumors 604
Jul 29, 2011
6,677
6,137
late 2011 17" MBP would be a nice performance bump from your 2008.
Apple is still repairing video problems on that year,

But for how long? Plus, as I understand it, the repair isn't a permanent fix, just a like-for-like logic board replacement and another roll of the dice. Its a crying shame, because otherwise they're great machines.

The link you gave offered a 2 year extended warranty for $99 which sounds like a good hedge against the GPU problem (but check the small print)... You'd also want to stick a SSD in place of that 750GB spinner (which is still a user-replacable part in those Macs). A lot of cash for a 5-year-old computer - but you can't really get anything like it new.
 

thats all folks

macrumors 6502a
Dec 20, 2013
675
750
Austin (supposedly in Texas)
But for how long? Plus, as I understand it, the repair isn't a permanent fix, just a like-for-like logic board replacement and another roll of the dice. Its a crying shame, because otherwise they're great machines.

The link you gave offered a 2 year extended warranty for $99 which sounds like a good hedge against the GPU problem (but check the small print)... You'd also want to stick a SSD in place of that 750GB spinner (which is still a user-replacable part in those Macs). A lot of cash for a 5-year-old computer - but you can't really get anything like it new.
I actually meant to post this link,
https://www.apple.com/support/macbookpro-videoissues/
till the end of this year.

The OP knows the issues and limits if he wants to continue owning a 17. the reality is we all make these decisions based on emotional as much as factual criteria. And I'm okay with that, because at the end of the day, for most of these decisions, it just doesn't matter. Honda or Toyota? iOS or Android? Cheddar or Swiss? SSD or Hard Drive? our lives will carry on much the same regardless. We like to think we are making important decisions (myself included) and some options can seem to be quantifiably worse than others (I can find no reason in any way for Heineken to exist) but what we've usually done is develop an opinion. My real preference is to spend as little as possible while still finding well constructed and considered products from companys and retailers whose practices and ideals I can live with.

now if I was to apply my own opinion to this situation, I'd suggest a maxed out Air (will outperform his 2008) and a big monitor and some speakers for the desk. that's what I like cause as much as I want a big screen, I also like the extreme portability of the Air.
 

markieG84

macrumors newbie
May 22, 2016
28
18
If sound is your concern, the speakers on my "12 2015 rMB blow away the ones on my "15 2012 cMBP. They are actually enjoyable to listen to music on.
 

theluggage

macrumors 604
Jul 29, 2011
6,677
6,137
The OP knows the issues and limits if he wants to continue owning a 17.

There's a difference between "continue owning" and splashing half the price of a new computer on a 5-year-old one with a potential known fault.

I bought mine in early 2011 - it failed in spring 2015 after pretty much daily use - so this isn't a case of "if its lasted several years its OK.
 

Spectrum

macrumors 68000
Original poster
Mar 23, 2005
1,766
1,102
Never quite sure
Thanks for the suggestions. I'm in the UK and I've actually found a seller of a 2011 17 inch i7 for under £500...it even has the matte screen...but yes, the video card glitch is a problem. Apple are only repairing them under warranty until the end of 2016.

We don't have much space for a TV, and the 2008 17 inch currently did double duty: as a second computer (for me or my partner) and for a portable iPlayer. Ironically, our wifi signal improved recently and we just started watching telly outside on the terrace with it...then a week later the graphics card appears to have failed. Typical.

The failed 2008 has 6Gb RAM and 512GB SSD (Crucial) so the latter would swap straight in to a second hand 2011 17 inch model. It will even boot from the same drive (Snow Leopard works on the 2011 models with a few tweaks... :)

I am pricing up iMacs (which I can essentially buy cost-free via work) but for the specs I'd like (SSD + i7 to get quad core, plus RAM [soldered on 21 inch] - it comes to £1500 and up. In fact the cost differential of the 27 inch is only about £200 due to the fact that RAM can be added after market for a quarter of the price charged by Apple. But ultimatley will an iMac be "portable" enough?

I started another thread today asking whether you can put iMacs into safe sleep and then allow move them about without apps closing down (like you can with a laptop). Any opinions on that here?

EDIT: the model I've seen is actually this mid 2010 model: Dual core i7 2.67Ghz M620. So not quite the quad-core 2011 bargain I thought it was.
http://www.everymac.com/systems/app...-2.66-aluminum-17-mid-2010-unibody-specs.html
 
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Samuelsan2001

macrumors 604
Oct 24, 2013
7,730
2,152
Thanks for the suggestions. I'm in the UK and I've actually found a seller of a 2011 17 inch i7 for under £500...it even has the matte screen...but yes, the video card glitch is a problem. Apple are only repairing them under warranty until the end of 2016.

We don't have much space for a TV, and the 2008 17 inch currently did double duty: as a second computer (for me or my partner) and for a portable iPlayer. Ironically, our wifi signal improved recently and we just started watching telly outside on the terrace with it...then a week later the graphics card appears to have failed. Typical.

The failed 2008 has 6Gb RAM and 512GB SSD (Crucial) so the latter would swap straight in to a second hand 2011 17 inch model. It will even boot from the same drive (Snow Leopard works on the 2011 models with a few tweaks... :)

I am pricing up iMacs (which I can essentially buy cost-free via work) but for the specs I'd like (SSD + i7 to get quad core, plus RAM [soldered on 21 inch] - it comes to £1500 and up. In fact the cost differential of the 27 inch is only about £200 due to the fact that RAM can be added after market for a quarter of the price charged by Apple. But ultimatley will an iMac be "portable" enough?

I started another thread today asking whether you can put iMacs into safe sleep and then allow move them about without apps closing down (like you can with a laptop). Any opinions on that here?

EDIT: the model I've seen is actually this mid 2010 model: Dual core i7 2.67Ghz M620. So not quite the quad-core 2011 bargain I thought it was.
http://www.everymac.com/systems/app...-2.66-aluminum-17-mid-2010-unibody-specs.html

All iMacs are quad core desktop CPUs i5 and i7 and they have been for over 4 years, the i7 does have hyperthreading though while the i5 does not.
 

Spectrum

macrumors 68000
Original poster
Mar 23, 2005
1,766
1,102
Never quite sure
All iMacs are quad core desktop CPUs i5 and i7 and they have been for over 4 years, the i7 does have hyperthreading though while the i5 does not.
The base iMac is actually a low power dual core now...similar to a MacBook but without the benefit of a SSD. I suspect apparent performance will feel worse compared to my old 2008 2.5Ghz C2Duo MBpro with a SSD...

But what I actually meant was to get the i7 in order to get hyper threading - something that is standard issue on the quad core MacBook Pro but for some reason not the desktops unless you BTO the i7 processor.

I have a number of Rstudio scripts that take advantage of multicores and as an investment it seems silly to me to to spend a large amount on an all-in-one and not get the hyper threading model.
 

Samuelsan2001

macrumors 604
Oct 24, 2013
7,730
2,152
The base iMac is actually a low power dual core now...similar to a MacBook but without the benefit of a SSD. I suspect apparent performance will feel worse compared to my old 2008 2.5Ghz C2Duo MBpro with a SSD...

But what I actually meant was to get the i7 in order to get hyper threading - something that is standard issue on the quad core MacBook Pro but for some reason not the desktops unless you BTO the i7 processor.

I have a number of Rstudio scripts that take advantage of multicores and as an investment it seems silly to me to to spend a large amount on an all-in-one and not get the hyper threading model.

Of course I always forget about that low end model, it's just a desktop air....
 

Old dog guy

macrumors newbie
Jul 11, 2016
7
0
Looking for advice. This old workhorse that I use at home for web browsing/email/iPlayer has just suffered from black screen of death (no chime on startup) - most likely due to well-established fault with the graphics chip. So...what to replace it with?

I also have a 15 inch 2011 MacBook Pro, but for TV watching it is no way near as good, and the sound system of the 17 inch was *much* clearer/louder.

Options:
1. Get it fixed
2. Find a second hand 2011 (or older) 17 inch MBPro
3. Replace with an iMac (21 or 27).

I currently move the laptop around the house/garden a lot (so an iMac is not the most obvious replacement...)

This probably won't help but, I had a 2008 15" MBP that went black a few months out of warranty. Took it in to the local Apple Store. Found out that it was on a silent recall because of known problems with the video card. All fixed for free. Yours may be too old but what have you got to lose? Finally replaced it with an iMac and an iPad, the new pro wasn't out yet. I know I miss that old MBP with the Super drive.
 

Bubba Satori

Suspended
Feb 15, 2008
4,726
3,756
B'ham
There are a lot of great 4K 17" laptops out there.
Latest Skylake CPUs, up to 64GB DDR4, insanely fast M2 SSDs, USB 3.1 and TB3.
The next couple of weeks 1060 to 1080 mobile GPUs will roll out.
 

Spectrum

macrumors 68000
Original poster
Mar 23, 2005
1,766
1,102
Never quite sure
There are a lot of great 4K 17" laptops out there.
Latest Skylake CPUs, up to 64GB DDR4, insanely fast M2 SSDs, USB 3.1 and TB3.
The next couple of weeks 1060 to 1080 mobile GPUs will roll out.
I'm set on OSX unfortunately...but your post does possibly point to Apple missing a trick - even if the market is small.
 

1 iron

macrumors member
Oct 25, 2010
35
27
Infinite Loop
I recently put a new graphics card in my 08 17" and it works like before. It cost $660 at a local repair place to get it done. In retrospect, I wish I junked it and invested the $660 in a newer, faster machine. It works fine like before, but the newer stuff is so much faster. Just my 2 cents.
 

Spectrum

macrumors 68000
Original poster
Mar 23, 2005
1,766
1,102
Never quite sure
I recently put a new graphics card in my 08 17" and it works like before. It cost $660 at a local repair place to get it done. In retrospect, I wish I junked it and invested the $660 in a newer, faster machine. It works fine like before, but the newer stuff is so much faster. Just my 2 cents.
Yeah a 2008 2.5 Ghz Core2Duo - whilst still pretty good - is miles behind the performance of new processors. It was the SSD upgrade 3 years ago that really breathed life into this old machine, but it doesn't seem like a good idea to try to get the logic board repaired...Gettign a 2011 17inch is the better option...

However, I can feel that I am pushing myself towards a 4K iMac with 2TB fusion drive. Costs a pretty penny though and looks poor value compared to the 27 inch if I am honest...only benefit is smaller footprint and easier to move about the house when needed.
 

Efrem

macrumors regular
Jul 30, 2009
115
15
I was in your situation a few years ago and got a late 2011 17" MBP. No GPU problem yet. In fact, no real problems at all. I'm on El Capitan using Office 2016, Adobe CC via subscription, and many other current apps. Only thing it can't do is Handoff with my iPhone. There's a hack for that, but Handoff isn't important enough for me to bother with it.

I think Apple made a mistake when they dropped the 17" models. I understand that they didn't sell a lot of them, and that Retina screens in that size may be a problem, but they sold a lot of smaller ones to companies that wanted to standardize, needed a few 17" machines, and no longer had Apple as an option. I'll keep mine until it croaks.
 

Altis

macrumors 68040
Sep 10, 2013
3,059
4,557
If you can get a 2010 17", it shouldn't have any of the logic board issues that sadly seem to plague the 2011.

I just got my 2010 17" this year and it's fantastic for what I do with it. I have a desktop for anything that requires more CPU/GPU stuff, so it's more of a work/browser/programming/entertainment machine for me.

I should note that Windows does run better on it than El Capitan, but for general purpose it's still quite good.

Nothing beats the 1920x1200 17" screen real estate.
 

Spectrum

macrumors 68000
Original poster
Mar 23, 2005
1,766
1,102
Never quite sure
If you can get a 2010 17", it shouldn't have any of the logic board issues that sadly seem to plague the 2011.

I just got my 2010 17" this year and it's fantastic for what I do with it. I have a desktop for anything that requires more CPU/GPU stuff, so it's more of a work/browser/programming/entertainment machine for me.

I should note that Windows does run better on it than El Capitan, but for general purpose it's still quite good.

Nothing beats the 1920x1200 17" screen real estate.
Do you know what the max spec 2010 model is? I can swap in memory and SSD.

Edit: found it here:http://www.everymac.com/systems/app...7-2.8-aluminum-17-mid-2010-unibody-specs.html

Seems to be a unibody dual core i7 2.8Ghz with turbo to 3.46Ghz and hyper threading for four virtual cores. GPU is 640M
 
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Altis

macrumors 68040
Sep 10, 2013
3,059
4,557
Do you know what the max spec 2010 model is? I can swap in memory and SSD.

Edit: found it here:http://www.everymac.com/systems/app...7-2.8-aluminum-17-mid-2010-unibody-specs.html

Seems to be a unibody dual core i7 2.8Ghz with turbo to 3.46Ghz and hyper threading for four virtual cores. GPU is 640M

Mine is the i5 dual-core, 8GB RAM. A decent SSD makes the world of difference. Sadly, it would appear this model cannot handle 16GB in OSX, but the motherboard supports it and it does work if you boot in Windows, from what I've found.

I'd absolutely love to have a 2011 with the quad-core i7 and 16GB of RAM, but the logic board problem makes it a bit too risky of a buy for me.

In any case, I love the 17" form factor (at 16:10) and it has permitted me to be a lot more productive with my particular software.
 

HBOC

macrumors 68020
Oct 14, 2008
2,497
234
SLC
if you get an iMac, the late 2014 27" 3.3GHZ is faster than the 2015 models - as the video card is faster - if that makes a difference. I had a mid 2011 iMac base model and sold it a few weeks ago for $500 (paid $999 in 2011) and bought a new 15" MacBook Pro 2.5GHZ. so. much. faster than my iMac was :)
 
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