Road reliability: current 13" MBP, refresh concerns - advice, please :)

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by Ynyr, Feb 9, 2011.

  1. Ynyr macrumors newbie

    Feb 9, 2011
    Hi! This is my first time posting here, although I've read these forums for years and gotten quite a bit of help along the way. I'm hoping someone can give me advice about a problem I can't quite figure out for myself.

    My situation:

    1. Travel 2-3 weeks out of every 8. On the road, there is nothing more important to me than reliability.

    2. Currently use a 2008 iMac with 2.4GHz C2D + 4GB RAM, totally happy with performance using Dreamweaver, Photoshop & ProTools as my main apps for work. I don't do any gaming at all.

    3. Need a 13" MBP for work while traveling, NOT to replace iMac. Absolutely not getting a 15.4". When I'm home, the iMac is perfect. 13" MBP is strictly for work on the road.

    4. Have set up apps at 1280x800 and worked for a day to see if I could use that resolution. I can, and it wasn't too claustrophobic. (1440x900 WOULD be nice, but not essential...MacBook Air is not an option; I need firewire for tracking audio via ProTools to external firewire drive, not USB.)

    5. Must buy this laptop no later than second week of March (I know I may miss the refresh).

    Concerns: current "workable" 13" MBP vs. the upcoming MBP refresh

    1. The new SB processors...aren't these essentially "revision A"? I actually don't need more speed than the outdated 2.4GHz C2D. Would you consider the C2D "proven"? For me, reliability is everything.

    2. If the new 13" MBP ships with SSD, what are the chances I'd be able to "downgrade" to a standard hard drive? I've heard two horror stories about SSDs failing completely in the MBA, and also, I'm concerned about ProTools compatibility. You guys who've been with Digidesign for years know that this is absolutely not an unreasonable fear.

    That's it. My greatest fear, by far, is this thing dying on the road. My greatest wish is that I could just have the current model with a 1440x900 screen.

    If this was your situation, would you buy the current 13"MBP or wait for the new one? Thanks in advance for your help, and sorry about the length of this first post!
  2. greytmom macrumors 68040


    Jun 23, 2010
    Why is a 15" out of the question? That's the one I would go with, but you've said no way... Just curious as to why.
  3. moosez3 macrumors member

    Apr 13, 2010
    I bought mine the day this current one came out, so I have as much exposure as anyone can.

    While I dont travel as much as you, my MBP comes everywhere with me when I do travel. It leaves my house everyday for school and work.

    I love it because it is a good size, yet its small and light and the battery lasts forever considering what it can do. At school I always keep it unplugged in class and the brightness on high... because I can and dont have to worry about it. I watched 2 full length movies on one charge on the flight from Orlando to LA on one charge.

    I use iMovie, PS CS4, iTunes in my car from bluetooth on it and other apps on the road no problems. I tether from my phone all the time, its a tough machine.

    Dont get me wrong, I dont drag it through the mud, but I do put it in my backpack with my books everyday for like a year so far. I havent had any hardware or software hiccups.

    To conclude I NEVER hesitate in talking about this apple product, I wish they would focus more on computers too.

    I have a portable harddrive that I have partitioned half for movies and half for backups. so whenever I plug it in to watch movies or whatever it automatically backs it up with time machine.
    This is important because Hard Drives of ALL kinds are like mines, you never know when its your time.

    Hope this helps!
  4. Ynyr thread starter macrumors newbie

    Feb 9, 2011
    Sure, it's a valid question. I really do prefer the size of the 13"...tried both sizes and used to have a 15" MBP at work. Even if I did want the 15", it's $600 more than the 13". For my fairly modest needs, it's not worth spending 50% more than the 13", and I also couldn't swing that right now. The current 13" has the same processor & RAM as my iMac. And that's been smooth sailing for over 2 years.
  5. Ynyr thread starter macrumors newbie

    Feb 9, 2011
    Yes it does! I'm thinking that how you use it at school (carried every day in a backpack with books, constant opening/closing, etc.) is probably a more challenging environment than mine. And totally agreed on your points about hard drives and backups; covered there. Just seeing my question in type moved me significantly closer to just buying the current 13". And thanks for sharing your experience with it! (BTW, not sure if you're supposed to edit quotes...was just trying to avoid quoting your whole post)
  6. Jaro65 macrumors 68040


    Mar 27, 2009
    Seattle, WA
    Have you even considered a 13" MBA? That machine replaced my MBP and I love traveling with it.
  7. mgartner0622 macrumors 65816


    Jun 6, 2010
    Colorado, USA
    I had the 13" Pro from when it first came out (with the pro name) in June, '09.
    I had the 2.53GHz Model with the 9400m.
    It survived being slipped into my pack everyday, and was overall a great computer, I think it would work perfect for you.
    The only issue I had with it is when I encode HD Video @ 1080P. It takes quite a long bit of time, however, with the stuff you do, you'll be fine.
    I also use adobe photoshop, dreamweaver, and indesign daily, and they performed quite well.
    When at home, I used to connect the 13" to my 23" Cinema Display and run it at 1920x1200, and it ran fine.
    The only issues I had were with gaming frame rates, which is why I upgraded to my current 15" last month.
    I'd wait until your last possible date, and see if the refresh hits, but overall the current 13" should work fine for you.
  8. chrmjenkins macrumors 603


    Oct 29, 2007
    Now that the macbook air has this, they may finally get with the program and add it as the baseline. I'd say it has a good probablity of happening.

    It will be close. Worst case, the new one comes out within the return period and you exchange for a new one. Or, new one comes out and you are fine with old 13", pick up one for cheap from refurb/clearance.

    It's a new architecture, but that shouldn't scare you away. These things are so vetted in engineering reviews and tests etc. that they're solid.

    SSD as baseline is unlikely due to cost and low storage size. The horror stories you are hearing are isolated incidents, however. Solid states are absolutely more reliable than spindle based hard drives. They can also tolerate drops much better.
  9. Ynyr thread starter macrumors newbie

    Feb 9, 2011
    I'd love to go with the MBA, but it's not officially supported by Digidesign (ProTools) yet, and it also doesn't have Firewire, which I really need for tracking audio to an external drive. The USB2 won't cut it.

    I'm gonna try to do that (I dragged myself back out of BestBuy tonight), but I have a hunch that the current model would be just fine, too......must......wait.......

    True, the trick is making sure I buy within 14 days of a refresh date we don't know yet...but I only check MR about 700 times a day, which should increase the odds. :D

    iz dat u, god?
  10. altecXP macrumors 65816

    Aug 3, 2009
    This made me LOL so hard!

    If you can do all of your work on the current 13in then go for it, I used the Aluminum MacBook(same thing) one all through college and now my brother uses it and it's still as strong as the day I bought it like 2-3 years ago.

    Like you I am trying to hold out hoping for a 1440x900 display on the new 13in. If I can't last that long I'll settle for a MacBook white due to how much cheaper it is and the fact that I dont NEED FW800. It's nice, but not required for me personally.

    I know I can do all I need on the 1280x800 but I am so used to the HR 15in MBP that I used to have, and the 1440x900 that I use at work, that now I feel cramped on the current 13in display.
  11. badpinoy macrumors regular

    Oct 25, 2007
    If you are premier silver member at bust buy. your return period is 45 days and no restocking fee.
  12. Boe11 macrumors 6502a

    Sep 12, 2010
    I've owned all 3 macbook pro screen sizes (as well as the new MBA) since the last update, and I agree that the 13" mbp is nearly perfect in terms of form and function as a portable computer. I currently use an iMac at home as well and love it.

    I think you'd be positively delighted with the current 13" model and it would suit your needs very well. I think people (myself very much included) tend to get wrapped up in the latest and greatest thing on the horizon when it really makes little difference on 99% of what we do with our computers. Especially apple products, as I'm sure you know - as the moment something is announced it's only a matter of a couple of months before the rumors of the next big thing begin.

    All of that being said....if it's an option, I'd recommend you hold off a week or two before pulling the trigger, just in case :)
  13. ssn637 macrumors 6502

    Feb 12, 2009
    Of course it makes sense to wait as long as you can just in case the new models are launched before mid-March.
    But I can assure you the current 13" MBP is a great machine. I take mine to work daily and have put in many hours with it at home and in the office. The optical drive has been ditched for a 256 GB Crucial C300 SSD and the original hard drive replaced with a 1 TB WD HDD for storage. You just can't get that kind of capacity in a MBA, and the 8 GB of RAM is also practical for virtual machine use with Parallels. And the NVidia 320M is the last integrated GPU we'll see, which is a real shame because it kicks ass and will more than meet your needs. As for the outdated CPU, it should be just fine for all your needs and can be undervolted with CoolBook to extend battery life. You won't regret having bought one even if the newer models are made available later.
  14. tigress666 macrumors 68040

    Apr 14, 2010
    Washington State
    Sorry, didn't read the whole thread, but why not an MBA?

    Even if you're concerned about price, the 11" is 999 so it's cheaper even. And the 13" is a little more expensive but if size is that important to you maybe it would be worth it?

    Why I say this? It seems that size is very important to you and the MBA is aimed specifically at size. It also is aimed at people who are using it as a second computer, not the main one (you say you'll use your imac at home so it's not your main computer).

    Yeah, the screen is smaller but it's just for travel so the bonus is it is a lot easier to carry around and you only have to use that small screen when on travel.

    It's pretty much as capable as a full computer (but not much storage space).

    I mean I think the 13" MBP still has a place (in fact I'd choose the MBP over the Air but I'm using my MBP as my desktop too! So I think it's a great compromise for some one who wants it as their main computer. But as a second computer just for travel I think the MBA is a much better fit for your needs).
  15. jim9112 macrumors newbie

    Aug 20, 2008
    I have a 13" MBP, june 09 model i bought refurbished last year. I brought it to work with me all year with no issue. I am currently deployed to a very sandy country and have it with me. It has held up very well. I have fairly minimal computer needs while away from home and hope to keep this one running for a few more years. I pull off the back plate once in a while and hit it with some compressed air, very sandy country, and it runs like a champ. Several other soldiers have had cheaper/older PCs die on them already. With a little TLC a MBP should be able to hold up to any amount of traveling you have in store.

    Like you I have an iMac at home and see no reason to drop big money on my travel machine. I strongly reccommend a refurb from apple. Save a few bucks and your getting a quality machine. C2D is plenty of power for the average users needs.
  16. Ynyr thread starter macrumors newbie

    Feb 9, 2011
    I was only partly joking!

    That's a good idea, and I didn't know it existed. You have to spend $2500. in one year to get into that program, tho. Hunting for receipts...

    Man, that is the truth! Still doing the same coding, web graphics and the occasional ad or poster that I was doing ten years ago with Photoshop5, BBEdit, OS 8.6, 256MB RAM and an 1152x870 monitor. The poster files today aren't significantly larger. Web graphics weren't that big then, and they aren't much bigger now. Code is no more taxing to the system than it was then, and we're largely doing with jquery what we used to do with Flash. Maybe Louis CK is right...

    I didn't know that! Didn't know you could swap out the OD for an SSD and have two drives onboard, OR about the CoolBook - battery life thing. Thanks for posting this! ...BTW...SSN637 = Sturgeon?

    mmmm...why you no read the thread? :D Just kidding. It's the lack of firewire; gotta have it for ProTools.

    That's really impressive...and goes a good way toward making me feel more confident about having just this one computer out on the road. I'm gonna be like Barney Fife about taking off the back plate and blowing it out, tho. Hey Jim, I appreciate the info...and btw, thanks for your service! :)
  17. badpinoy macrumors regular

    Oct 25, 2007
    it usually takes a couple of weeks for the premier sliver status to kick in. if you don't have it yet. find a friend that has one.
  18. Jdstew1234 macrumors regular

    Nov 24, 2010
    I have a 2.66 ghz iMac and you can get a c2d 2.66ghz Mbp and that will be fine if you are happy with you iMac, I run Photoshop elements, illustrator, iTunes and safari at the same time with no trouble
  19. PurpleMarmalade macrumors regular

    Aug 29, 2010
    I've had the unibody MB (pre-Pro sticker) since Feb 2009. It's been a great machine, and utterly reliable, but I wouldn't buy the same thing in Feb 2011. I would want a core iX processor, a high-res screen and a matte screen (the glossy is deeply irritating). I also don't like the front edge of the laptop; it's uncomfortable and digs into your wrists if you're sitting in a less-than-ideal position.

    I do recommend the SSD, though. I'll never buy the spinning platter sort ever again.

    So, I'd wait for as long as you possibly can. Or get the MBA 13", and buy a USB to Firewire converter. Something has to give!

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