Time to upgrade! A few questions.

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by macguymike, Jan 18, 2013.

  1. macguymike macrumors 6502

    Mar 28, 2003
    I have a 5 year old black MacBook. It has become a bit slow when I push it, especially when I'm online. I see that nefarious beachball a lot more than I used to. Chrome won't update anymore because I don't have the latest OS. It works, though. I've taken good care of it. It just seems to be getting old.

    So I am looking at MacBook pros. I'm sad Apple dropped down to 13" from 14" on the lower end laptops. So I am looking at the 15" models.

    And... really, an extra $80 for a DVD drive? I still own movies and music on discs, Apple! What am I supposed to do with those? Oh, spend $80, I guess. :-\

    Anyway, I'm on a budget but I'm eyeballing a refurb 15" retina display MBP.

    What are the pros (apart from the obvious hardware upgrade) and cons (aside from the missing optical drive) I might be missing if I make this purchase?
  2. xShane macrumors 6502a


    Nov 2, 2012
    United States
    Cons. Sorry, what? There will be no cons of upgrading to a modern 15" MBP. If you get a regular MBP and not the rMBP, you will still have an optical drive. The regular MBPs are also quite a bit cheaper than the rMBPs.

    Pros. Everything. Literally. Both the hardware and the software (latest OSX) will be much better than what you currently have.
  3. macguymike thread starter macrumors 6502

    Mar 28, 2003
    I'm planning on swinging by the local Apple store to see the difference between the retina and regular MacBook displays. I've heard a lot of good things about the retina, which is why that's currently the front runner, despite the added cost.

    I missed that the regular MBP has a Superdrive, though. Anyone know why the costlier model doesn't have one?
  4. Mrbobb, Jan 18, 2013
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2013

    Mrbobb macrumors 601

    Aug 27, 2012
    Some people here wish they had a black Macbook. They keep asking when are they gonna make a BLACK MB again?

    Are u dead set for upgrading? tired of the old lady? Already maxed out everything? Screen worn and dim?

    Am in the (minority it seems) camp of "why upgrade software if I don't need any of the new features?" They invariably demand more power from your hardware then one goes into the upgraditis vicious circle which hurts the wallet. But that's just me. Of course sometimes you have a legitimate reason to do so, like you need to run Halo4 and the old dog just drags.
  5. macguymike thread starter macrumors 6502

    Mar 28, 2003
    The screen is a bit dim, but I'm comparing it to my newer Samsung HD monitor on my desktop PC. The whites are not as white & it's dimmer in general.

    Mostly it's annoyingly slow -- sometimes just being really slow to catch up and sometimes all the way to beachballing -- when I'm browsing websites, when I have multiple applications open, etc. It could maybe use some more RAM, as I only have 1GB right now.

    I love it, but it's lagging.
  6. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    I've not noticed this but I did read somewhere the retina screens are a bit dimmer.

    I have 16gb and I've not seen any beachballs. I run PS, vmware, safari, iTunes, Excel Mail and gotomypc all at once and it just gets churning away with no beachballs.

    Did you reboot that computer and retry, it could be lack of ram or some other issue being a display model you don't know how its used.
  7. Rhyalus macrumors 6502


    Mar 4, 2011
    This is turning into a funny thread...

    No! Don't upgrade your old, slow computer! What do you need to do that for?!?!?!


    Just check our cMBP and rMBP in the store and then buy the best computer that your budget will allow. If you read threads here, there are quite a few unhappy rMBP owners.. you should read those threads and try to separate the high maintenance weird people from the rational ones and try to gauge what your issues will be.

  8. macguymike thread starter macrumors 6502

    Mar 28, 2003
    I have considered just throwing some RAM and the newest OS it'll accept at it, but it feels more and more like just delaying the inevitable.

    Huh. I've not heard any negatives about the retina display. Owning an iPhone has made me very interested in retina, as I love how the screen on it looks. I'll look for these threads you've mentioned.

    I tend to be not too terribly nitpicky. I used to be overly concerned about the glossy display on my current MacBook because I read a lot of critical comments before I bought it but in practice it has rarely bothered me.
  9. grapes911 Moderator emeritus


    Jul 28, 2003
    Citizens Bank Park
    RAM is cheap and 1GB is not enough. Spend a little cash on more RAM and give it a month or two. I'm not saying you shouldn't get a new machine but more RAM will make a huge difference.
  10. macguymike thread starter macrumors 6502

    Mar 28, 2003
    Any recommendations on brand or place to buy it, if I go this route? Or how to find out the max this machine can take?
  11. grapes911 Moderator emeritus


    Jul 28, 2003
    Citizens Bank Park
    Start with crucial.com. They make it easy to find the type of memory and the max memory your machine can take. Use their price as the benchmark. Then check datamemorysystems.com, newegg.com, macmall.com, and macsales.com to see who has the best price. I'm sure there are other retailers but these are the ones I use the most.
  12. macguymike thread starter macrumors 6502

    Mar 28, 2003
    Cool, thanks! :)
  13. Radiating macrumors 65816

    Dec 29, 2011
    Upgrading a computer that is that old is silly and ridiculous. There is absolutly no way that it's going to last much longer with today's specs.

    The MacBook Retina screen is well well well worth the investment. It's a whole other level of user experience. You will not realize the difference until you've owned one for a week though and try to go back to a regular computer. I did the same comparison back to back with another computer and didn't really appreciate the difference until I owned one. The difference is so huge because you learn to ignore the pixelation and texture of normal screens, but when you're no longer blind to that it's a huge difference.


    If you look at the TEXTURE of the cross hatch pattern on the left, that's what you learn to ignore.

    Other than that the new retina is better in every measurable and conceivable way than your old computer.

    The reason why they don't use optical drives any more is because everything is wireless, bluetooth, usb thumb drive, or downloadable content.

    I have literally never used a CD drive in the last 4 years, and most people have a similar story. The loss of the CD drive means that over 1/4-1/3rd of the bulk of the computer can be reduced, which makes a huge difference for portability. It's much better to have an external drive than a larger computer.
  14. macguymike thread starter macrumors 6502

    Mar 28, 2003
    Tangential: I literally saw a guy in the Starbucks I'm at just 30 minutes ago walk in with a titanium Powerbook G4!

    Not everything. As I mentioned, most (95%) of the movies I own are still on DVDs. Sometimes I want to watch them on my laptop. And how do I install software that comes on discs?

    I've never had a problem with the "bulk" of my MacBook. :)
  15. Arnezie macrumors 65816


    Oct 10, 2011
    x2 I can tell by your post your a smart guy:cool:
  16. hallux macrumors 68030


    Apr 25, 2012
    I have no issue with the "bulk" of my 15" non-Retina machine. One of the nice advantages of this style is that you can get what you need specs-wise now and upgrade it later on (more RAM and SSD) when it starts feeling slow, I already upgraded to 16 GB memory for running a Windows VM. You can save A LOT of money this way. If I was you, I'd bump to the hi-res screen if you're getting a 15" (I did with mine), this gives you a resolution of 1680x1050, your choice of anti-glare or not.

    Software? Most new applications will be downloaded from a web site or installed from the Mac App Store. Something nobody has mentioned, Mountain Lion (and Lion I believe) no longer include Rosetta, PowerPC apps you have will NOT be compatible.
  17. Radiating macrumors 65816

    Dec 29, 2011
    That deserves some respect, not an ideal soltuion though.

    Use your superdrive to instal software, this needs to be done once in a blue moon. I got mine for $45 used in like new condition.

    If you want to watch a DVD you can use a wireless DVD player:


    Or you can simply rip all your movies into ISO format and mount them on a virtual dvd player. If you're worried about taking up hard drive space, then an SD card will do in a pinch. You can store 30 single layer and 15 dual layer DVDs on a Lexar 128gb card, which runs less than $90 on sale, so around $2.75 per dvd.

    SD cards were supposed to be the next big physical media. A 8GB Micro SD runs $2, but they were leap frogged by online storage.

    Maybe you'll think otherwise and learn you couldn't live without it. :)
  18. grapes911 Moderator emeritus


    Jul 28, 2003
    Citizens Bank Park
    That is a ridiculous statement. My wife has the same machine except with 4 GB and it works wonderfully. It fits her needs and runs very smoothly. She's probably going to get another 1-3 years out of it. That all depends on what you use it for, but $50-60 in RAM for an extra few years is a great deal.

    Now, if someone wants to upgrade then more RAM is a dumb idea. Just upgrade. But saying someone has to upgrade because of this machine is absurd.
  19. NewishMacGuy macrumors 6502a


    Aug 2, 2007
    It is delaying the inevitable, but that might be a very good thing if you are set on a rMBP. If you can make it just a few more months, then you're likely to get a rMBP with fewer issues (UI lag & IR), with 802.11ac, and either with a decent sized SSD (500GB+) or with the 256GB SSD for significantly less money. Remember what happened with the MBAs, large price drops in the second version. If you've waited this long that's probably worth waiting another 6 months for. Rather than upgrade to the rMBPs a few months back and take that hit on the first versions, I just bought a couple of 2011 machines on CL which I will resell when version 2 or version 3 comes out, and the upgrade was both cheap and massive.
    Having just come from an old MacBook to a uMBP and ATD, the screens are glossier now than they used to be, but they're also a light brighter with better contrast and color saturation.

  20. KPOM macrumors G5

    Oct 23, 2010
    If you have a desktop (PC or Mac) on the same network, you can "share" the DVD drive to install software. Better yet, use the Mac App Store. You can use Migration Assistant to move the applications over from your old Mac (just get a $29 Thunderbolt Firewire 800 adapter).

    You've also never had a MacBook Air or rMBP. Coming from 5 years of using MacBook Airs (including 2 on the 11.6"), I'm having to get used to the "bulk" of the 13" rMBP. :)
  21. peapody macrumors 68040


    Oct 7, 2007
    San Francisco, CA
    Blackbook is still a great computer, for the cost. If I was in the market for a computer, I would not hesitate on a blackbook on a budget.

    That being said, sometimes you have money for something new and shiny. At that point, why not?

    Pro for the purchase - you get a new computer
    Con - you spend the money.

    Can't really go wrong with any of the new offerings. DVD player is a nice plus..if you even use it. I can't remember the last time I used an optical drive.

    As my friends on facebook would say... #firstworldproblems.
  22. GermanyChris macrumors 601


    Jul 3, 2011
    I'm with you, if it works or is used for work there is little need to upgrade not matter how cheap..

    Really so a C2D is not longer adequate for what exactly ? So we should just throw away our Mac's made before 2010? In my house that would be all of them minus my wifes MBP, so 5 Mac's in use daily are pointless..:rolleyes:
  23. GizmoDVD macrumors 68000

    Oct 11, 2008
    Yep, Apple finally dropped that useless thing few people still use. Spend $80 on an official Apple one or $30 on an off-brand.

    Extra weight + battery life to remove that is well worth it. Just get an external, rip your movies and boom - less weight and better battery life.
  24. Freyqq macrumors 601

    Dec 13, 2004
    get a "PC" external dvd drive. They're also compatible with osx and cost about $30.
  25. duervo macrumors 68020


    Feb 5, 2011
    Stands a good chance of not being able to boot OS X from a non-Apple external optical drive ... not that it matters with a brand new system and Internet Recovery, and also the ability to install the OS from a USB key, but still ... it should be pointed out that if you own an older SL Mac, and you want to reinstall OS X SL on it from the DVD's it came with, you probably won't be able to unless it's an actual Apple USB SuperDrive (or you still have the internal SuperDrive in it.)

    Pointing this out in case somebody finds this thread with the search feature 6+ months from now.

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