Upgrade advice needed (Currently have a mid 2010 17" MBP)

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by Trent0341, Nov 13, 2016.

  1. Trent0341 macrumors 6502

    Jun 3, 2007
    So I was wondering what some of you more technically knowledgable people thought about when/if I should upgrade.

    I generally use my laptops about 5 years giver or take. Currently I have a mid 2010 17" MBP 2.66 i7 with 4gb RAM and I am considering the following three options:

    1. Keep my current MBP - switch out the battery and upgrade to 8gb of RAM (would that make a significant difference?)

    2. Upgrade to the new 15" MBP 2.9 i7 skylake processor

    3. Wait till spring and hope they update with Kaby Lake processors (which seems to be a good idea considering I keep my laptops about 5 years and the ability to handle 4k video / power consumption)

    Any thoughts/opinion would be appreciated. Thanks!
  2. BasicGreatGuy Contributor


    Sep 21, 2012
    In the middle of several books.
    As far as speed is concerned, upgrading the RAM and HD to a SSD would be your best performance boost, not to mention cheapest move. If you don't need to be mobile with your Mac, I wouldn't bother spending money on a new battery.

    Conversely, your Mac is up in age and given the specs, if I had such a model, I would be hesitant on spending more money on it, unless money was really tight. I would be more inclined to upgrade to the model that suits my needs without trying to play some guessing game about some time next year.
  3. T5BRICK macrumors G3


    Aug 3, 2006
    If your Mac still works for you I don't see a reason to replace it. Replace the battery and install a SSD if you haven't already.
  4. tubeexperience macrumors 68040

    Feb 17, 2016
  5. jackoatmon macrumors 6502a


    Sep 15, 2011
    like everything: totally depends on your use-case
  6. bodonnell202 macrumors 6502a


    Jan 5, 2016
    Calgary, Alberta, Canada
    Depends on your use case, if your existing MBP is still running ok and suits your needs a RAM upgrade and especially upgrading to an SSD if you haven't already (if it is still running a mechanical hard drive the SSD will make a bigger difference than the RAM in making your computer feel snappy again) may be enough to keep it relevant for another couple years.

    If you are ready to take the plunge and spend the money on a new system just go for it now. Kaby Lake isn't really the big deal that a lot of people seem to think it is. It's just a stopgap made because Intel can't keep up with the Tick Tock cycle anymore.
  7. Deanster macrumors regular

    Jun 6, 2005
    I have the exact same 2010 17" MBP in front of me, and with 8GB of RAM and an SSD, it's a rock-solid basic productivity (web/Office/etc) machine. It's been by primary machine for the last year or so, since I ended up giving my 15" 2013 MBPr to my wife, as she needed the power for work more than I did.

    Even running a 27" Apple Display over MiniDisplayPort, my upgraded 2010 17"MBP keeps up fine with all the basics. No reason to upgrade as long as that's all you're doing.

    However, it simply doesn't have the power to push any kind of HD video. Even watching a 1080 Netflix stream on one side of the external monitor starts to push the CPU, and doing that at the same time as Time Machine runs its hourly update over Ethernet will get the fans humming. It can do it, but it's clear it's working hard to move the amount of data involved in even just playing 1080p video.

    I attempted to watch a bit of 4K footage off my DJI Phantom 3 drone a couple months ago, and the 17" MBP simply choked. It showed about one frame ever few seconds - had no chance of keeping up with that video density. Similarly, even a basic export of a 1080p video as h264 takes many times the real-time length of the video.

    I've got a new 2016 15" MBP on the way, and I'm really excited about it, I think people are off base, and it's going to be a screaming barn burner of a laptop.

    For you - you can do a HUGE upgrade on your 17" by going to 8gb RAM and something like a Samsung 850evo SSD - very reasonably priced on Amazon. The SSD install is super-easy, you just need the right screwdriver and about 10 minutes for the physical install - obviously duplicating your current HD to the new SSD will take longer.

    Less than $300 of SSD and RAM should make your 17" sing compared to what it's doing now, for 'basic/office' tasks.

    But if you want to do anything with 4K video, you'll want to upgrade at least to something from 2015 or so onward. 4K is a real beast - an absolute computer-crusher.
  8. Trent0341 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jun 3, 2007
    Thanks for the responses everyone....

    Does anyone think Kaby Lake is worth waiting for?
  9. Deanster macrumors regular

    Jun 6, 2005
    Kaby Lake isn't a major upgrade, they're both 14nm process chips. It's not 'nothing', but you tend to see the real improvements when they move to a smaller process.

    Given that Apple's been slow about moving to Intel's newer chips, my inclination would be to get what you need when you need it, and especially right after new machines come out, not to wait for the next chip unless you're willing to wait quite a while.

    We don't know for sure, of course.

    I suppose Apple could do a Kaby Lake upgrade in the spring, but that's sure not how they've been doing things the last couple years.

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