Sandy Bridge MBP 15" still good value?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by macsforme, May 2, 2013.

  1. macsforme macrumors member

    Mar 16, 2007
    Several years ago I purchased a 2006 MacBook Pro refurbished from the Apple store (it was about two years old at the time), and was very happy with that machine, finding it more than capable for all of my needs for several years (although it ran a little toasty). I have tried various models since then, including a 2006 Mac Mini and a 2011 Mac Mini (both of which seemed to function well), but I am considering returning to the laptop form factor so I can have the flexibility of moving around the house and taking it when I travel. I already tried supplementing my Mac Mini with an MBA, but found the trouble of storing data on two machines to be more trouble than it's worth.

    I do not need this computer for my primary occupation, but tend to do things like web browsing, email, watching movies, document editing, light gaming, and some occasional software development or other programming.

    My needs/goals are as follows:

    1) Sufficient screen resolution. I tried a MBP 13" recently but it was a killer moving from my old 23" desktop display at 1680x1050. It looks like a high-res 15" will let me keep that resolution, and I like the idea of an antiglare screen.
    2) Optical drive. Notwithstanding Apple's rationalizations for eliminating these, I still want to be able to pop in a DVD now and then, install older CD-based software, and install alternative operating systems that require CD installations if I so choose.
    3) Potent enough to last me for 2-3 years, and modern enough to get through that same period of OS updates.

    Since I am not in any urgent need of an upgrade, I was considering waiting for the next refresh to see what Haswell might offer. Keeping up with rumors here, it sounds like the next iteration of MBPs may have better thermal management (a big plus), and will of course be more powerful. On the other hand, rumors of the elimination of the classic MBP with its optical drive were not encouraging.

    I've been watching the refurbished store for a few weeks, and this model caught my eye: (a high-end Sandy Bridge model with a high-res antiglare screen and a 750GB hard drive for $1,699). Initially I was not interested in investing in an older model, but the price really caught my eye, as a similarly-configured Ivy Bridge model (with the 2.6GHz processor) runs $1,999 with the student discount. I plan to replace the drive with an SSD anyway, but the higher capacity drive would be nice to throw in an enclosure for backups. It will be nice to be able to transfer my 16GB RAM chips straight over from my Mac Mini, as they appear compatible. The two factors that gave me pause were that I heard Sandy Bridge 15" MBPs have significant heat issues (and the high-end model would seemingly exacerbate those), and the model with this specific configuration has been available for some time, leading me to wonder if the value is as good as I initially thought.

    I would appreciate comments on the value of this unit, especially in the context of the release timeline, expectations for the next iteration, and any known issues with Sandy Bridge MBP models.
  2. saturnotaku macrumors 68000

    Mar 4, 2013
    I basically own the machine you're looking at, though I purchased it last year. A couple weeks after Apple announced the 2012 MBP lineup, MicroCenter put the 2011s on clearance. For a brand new unit, I actually paid $100 less than what the Apple Store is charging right now for the refurb.

    I considered buying the low-end 2012 model, but the antiglare screen won me over. The CPU and GPU are plenty powerful for the tasks you describe. I put my machine through the ringer for work and play and it responds like a champ.

    Apple's refurbished products generally get high marks for being in essentially like-new condition. They carry the same warranty as a new machine and are eligible for an extension with AppleCare. It's a solid system that will be even better when you've upgraded the RAM and replaced the hard drive with an SSD.
  3. Doward macrumors 6502a

    Feb 21, 2013
    I was forced to a Sandy Bridge, as I wanted 17".

    I am extremely pleased with the performance of my 17" MBP, especially with the SSD in place.

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