Upgrade or "If it ain't broke..."

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by kajitox, May 23, 2011.

  1. kajitox macrumors 6502a


    May 2, 2007
    Fellow mac enthusiasts, I have more of a discussion topic than a question. I am a student finishing undergraduate work and as such I am working on the computer that was purchased before coming to undergrad, 4 years ago (2007 SR MBP). It's running alright since I upgraded the RAM (4gb) and installed a new HDD (7200rpm) somewhere in the middle of college... however, the great debate begins in my head (as of 2 years ago): when do I upgrade?

    The biggest problem seems to be that I can't find a convincing argument for why I need to drop the money on a new computer if the one I have that works... This of course glosses over the other problem, which is that I desperately want a new computer (iMac + iPad combo to replace it) and could use the processing power for non-job-related photo processing (PS+Lightroom).

    Without a full time job (I'll be pursuing graduate work, so I don't see full-time, salaried employment for a while), the question gets harder, since now I'd probably have to consider long(er) term payments on the computer...

    Alas, the problems of moving out of blissful childhood and having to manage finances! What say you, peanut gallery? Is this something that most of you take the opinion of "if it ain't broke, don't fix it," i.e., if the old computer functions, don't replace it... or do most of you suck up the payment plans/credit card bills/etc. and get the upgrade?
  2. ShivneelSingh macrumors member

    Feb 3, 2011
    I'm currently an undergrad student, almost graduated. My roommate and I both have MacBooks, about three years old and they still work like the day we bought them. However, my roommate just caved and bought the new Sandy Bridge MacBook, but we don't see ANY major difference between them. There are a few advantages during video editing (especially in HD) but no much of a difference doing photo-editing or everyday work.
    In my opinion, it would be a waste of money if your MacBook still works and you're not having any problems with it, just wait at least a year and see what else they come out with.
    Anyway, Just buy an iPad.
  3. willieva macrumors 6502

    Mar 12, 2010
    If you don't need it, wait. Computers just get faster and cheaper. New toys are cool, but in the long run they don't make you happier. Save your pennies for what's important in life, like not being in debt and having fun. The feeling of desperately wanting new computers will happen again and again.

    You could compromise and treat yourself to a new ipad for graduation. That might scratch your itch and give you something new to play with.

    If, on the other hand, you are making money off your computer and can rationalize a faster computer being worth it for increased income then go ahead.

    When I was in school I bought a smoking fast 386(ask your parents). That was a $3000 lesson on what's not necessary in life.
  4. Apple OC macrumors 68040

    Apple OC

    Oct 14, 2010
  5. ghostlyorb macrumors 6502a


    Jan 9, 2010
    Virginia, USA
    honestly, I would just keep what you have. I love my new MBP and I would have kept my other MBP.. but it got damaged. =(
  6. kajitox thread starter macrumors 6502a


    May 2, 2007
    Great responses. I was also considering aiming for the iPad to, as someone eloquently put it, "scratch my itch." I think it might just do the trick, too! (Plus, if it doesn't, then it's not like I've sunk any money that I wouldn't have otherwise.)
  7. r0k macrumors 68040


    Mar 3, 2008
    Without full time employment, I'd definitely keep what you have or go for an iPad if you must "get something." I've found my iPad to be an excellent complement to my 3 year old Macbook. I drooled over the new MBP models that came out this year, then over the new iMacs but the truth is the only thing I need is a larger hard drive. I'm employed and could scrape the money together but last month we had to put on a new roof and there are more house repairs looming in the coming weeks so as much as I'd like a new and faster toy, I'll simply pick up a larger hard drive when I find the time and swap it in using carbon copy cloner to move things over.
  8. kajitox, May 24, 2011
    Last edited: May 24, 2011

    kajitox thread starter macrumors 6502a


    May 2, 2007
    Right. I also should be putting the money elsewhere. In my head I was trying to justify it as "well I'll spend the money on a new computer at some point in time no matter what!" but it ignores the fact that later down the road I may be in a better place to get it. And I think that not only would the iPad satiate my craving for a new device, but it would likely also be within my price range and take me off of my computer more often, thus making it less urgent to replace it.
  9. Trinite macrumors regular

    Oct 22, 2010
    I have to agree with this. With the economy the way it currently is (and IMHO it's likely to get worse before it gets better, though I'm a pessimist), if you don't have a job, it's foolish to drop a fair bit of money on something you don't really need. And this is no time to go (possibly further) into debt just for fun.

    On the other hand, as someone who was a graduate student not so long ago, some universities and programs will give you pretty decent financial support - and the student discount. And depending on what you're studying, the job market after grad school is pretty grim at the moment (and if you're going into academia, you're screwed). Thus, it might not be a bad idea to get a good, new computer that will last you a long time at the beginning of your program. So then the question becomes: are you already accepted into a program? If not, perhaps it would be wise to wait a bit longer....

    (sorry to be so gloomy; that's what graduate study will do to you...;))
  10. kuebby macrumors 68000


    Jan 18, 2007
    In order to not shoulder the full cost of an upgrade you might consider buying used and selling your current machine. I upgraded from a 2006 MBP (the original 2Ghz Core Duo) to an almost brand new iMac in 2009 (2-3 months old 2.66 C2D) for only $250-300 out of pocket.
  11. crzdcolombian macrumors 6502a


    Nov 16, 2010
    I have been lucky that people on craigslist are kind of dumb. I buy a new macbook pro almost every year with a free printer/ipod and student discount. Sell everything but the computer and get it for $850-900. Then when the warranty is about to end I sell it on craigslist for $900-100 bucks ;)

    Usually the updates are kind of not noticeable but then again I always get the base model 13
  12. Young Spade macrumors 68020

    Mar 31, 2011
    Tallahassee, Florida
    Well I've recently been thinking about upgrading but I can't really bring myself to do it. What I did (and I'm sure you can to) is bring your mac into an Apple store, set it up against a Mac on display, and open some programs and see how they run right next to each other.

    I have an upgraded Blackbook at 2.2ghz, 4 GB ram. Setting it up to the new (iCore for both) iMacs and MBPs,mine loaded things like iTunes and Safari maybe, half a second to a second slower, and that's on my machine that's loaded with widgets, applications, and large media file. Not to mention the slower RAM speed and older processor.

    But if you don't want or can't do that, think about how well your computer performs right now and what you want from it. Right now, I don't think that you'll get "that' much of a performance boost if you aren't doing any heavy use. You'll shave tenths of a second off of everything but if money is somewhat of an issue I don't think it would be worth the money to get a new one.

    Meh, just my 2 cents. I think I'll be waiting a year or two before I think about upgrading my MB; either that or until the machine gives out on me.
  13. ' r i S e n macrumors regular

    May 15, 2011
    I have recently been involving myself with this exact idea - wanting to upgrade my RAM and HDD. I have decided that not only is it not necessary for what I want to use my laptop for and it will save my money for other things relating to the laptop (peripherals, software, applications, etc) ... my machine works more than well as is in my opinion.

    It's just not worth it unless the things you do with your laptop warrants an upgrade. There is no sense in paying all of that money to upgrade parts that won't be utilized.

    Just my .02 cents and personal insight.
  14. Black.Infinity macrumors 6502


    Apr 17, 2010
    Apple tree-Toronto
  15. LastZion macrumors 6502a

    Apr 13, 2006
    I get a new MBP every year... I just sell the old one and pay around 300-500 for the model, in my mind its like Apple Care cost and I always have a new computer covered under warranty.

    I just ordered a quad core refurb beast, can't wait!
  16. kajitox thread starter macrumors 6502a


    May 2, 2007
    It's funny, a few of you guys have mentioned that now, and it seems so wise... I'll have to try it next time. I mean, it would seem that if you sell it smart and only take a 200 or so loss each time, then you're looking at 600 per computer every 3 years. It just relies on the fact that a computer's value is still pretty high in the first year, especially while covered by AppleCare...
  17. Young Spade macrumors 68020

    Mar 31, 2011
    Tallahassee, Florida
    Yea it does make perfect sense. All it requires is your ability to sell the Mac at a good price and be able to fork over the remainder. Granted it's a great idea but it just takes a bit of effort and funding.

    It's great to see how well the retail value of these computers hold up though, if i had the money and a reason to upgrade I'd probably do it as well.
  18. plumosa macrumors regular


    Mar 17, 2007
    You've already said it does everything you need it to do, so keep what you have. Its a bad idea to buy anything beyond a car or a house on credit if you're not going to pay it off entirely at the end of the month.

    compound interest sucks, avoid it at all costs!
  19. kajitox thread starter macrumors 6502a


    May 2, 2007
    I just wanted to update you all on what I went through with. I ended up taking the suggestion to just get an iPad. My reasoning was that I have enough money to get one, and it will both curb my desire for a new device as well as take the brunt of the load off my laptop, increasing it's longevity. Since getting the iPad, I have found I can do 95% of things I used to do on my laptop and I use the latter only for my photo editing with Lightroom and Photoshop. As such, I haven't used my laptop for more than 15 minutes in the past week.

    Great suggestion, guys. I think this will keep me from needing a new computer for a good while as I save up.

  20. Vantage Point macrumors 65816

    Mar 1, 2010
    New Jersey
    If you don't have income and if it ain't broke then...

    If you have deep pockets then it is nice to update your hardware every year or two/refresh or two. If you don't have deep pockets and are on the fence then the question should be, 'what do I want or need to do that you can't do now?'. If the answer is nothing then wait. I use this method for my photography needs - I must be able to articulate a tangible or useful benefit before spending.

    Also, investing in a reburb is a good way to hedge your bets. Your computer is getting old so the day may come soon when things will wear out. Money is tight for me these day but I should have sold my car when last year when it had about 80,000 miles on it (5 years old). It is now 6 years old and 93,000 miles and in the past few months I had to replace tires, front and rear breaks and now my exhaust and catalytic converter died so that is another $750 repair. There is wisdom in selling while there is life left but little reason to spend when money it is tight.
  21. 7thMac macrumors 6502

    May 10, 2010
    Financial discipline is a good thing, whether or not you are an undergrad. Don't upgrade for the sake of upgrading. Upgrade when you have a compelling reason.
  22. malman89 macrumors 68000

    May 29, 2011
    I'm kind of in the same situation, but I'm leaning a little more towards "broke" than not.

    I've got a little over 4 year laptop:
    13.3" White 2.0 GHz C2D MacBook
    1GB RAM
    500 GB 7200rpm
    8x SuperDrive
    OS 10.5.8
    Intel GMA 950 graphics

    That last bit is the killer. I'm a semi-enthused gamer, I was just too busy in college to game much. I play an ancient MMO (Anarchy Online), Portal, and some classics (all in WinXP via Bootcamp), but there's been plenty of games I'd want to check out that my rig can't run. I've just had to settle.

    However, I recently graduated as well, but found a job. So part of me wants a new laptop, but part of me has dealt with an inadequate machine (GPU) for so long, part of me just wants to hold off for another year. $2k is a lot of coin to drop on a new laptop (15" MBP with the 6750 graphics). Been tempted by cheaper options - an iMac or a spec'd out HP laptop with the Microsoft free Xbox deal. So many options, so hard to choose :p
  23. ThomasBoss macrumors regular

    Jun 12, 2011
    If you have the money, why not?? Of course I really do not see why you should upgrade when a new refresh comes out if all they add is a faster processor...if it's a major refresh (like many people suspect the 2012 will be) then why waste your money?
    I do not plan on getting a new computer for at least a few years...
  24. Santabean2000 macrumors 68000


    Nov 20, 2007
    I would rather plan and budget for a new machine. Avoid the possibility of a machine falling over on you just at the wrong moment and having no funds to step up.
  25. cluthz macrumors 68040


    Jun 15, 2004
    The SR MBPs was real performers for their time.
    They perform just as good as the 2010 13 inch MBP.
    The 8600M GT is actually as fast as the 320M and faster than the Intel HD.
    Only problem is that they are prone to die. (I had 3 logic board swaps on my SR)

Share This Page