Upgrading from 2007 MBP

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by NextMemory, Jun 12, 2012.

  1. NextMemory, Jun 12, 2012
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2012

    NextMemory macrumors newbie

    Jun 12, 2012
    ON, Canada
    I'm looking to upgrade from my 2007 MacBook Pro (2.2 GHz Core 2 Duo) as it will be turning 5 years old later this month. These are the three different models that I'm currently looking at:

    1) Refurbished MacBook Pro 2.5GHz Quad-core Intel i7

    Originally released October 2011
    15.4-inch (diagonal) LED-backlit Hi-Res antiglare widescreen display, 1680-by-1050 resolution
    4GB (2 x 2GB) of 1333MHz DDR3 SDRAM
    750GB Serial ATA @ 5400 rpm
    8x double-layer SuperDrive (DVD±R DL/DVD±RW/CD-RW)
    Intel HD Graphics 3000 and AMD Radeon HD 6770M

    2) 15-inch: 2.3 GHz Retina display

    2.3GHz quad-core Intel Core i7
    Turbo Boost up to 3.3GHz
    8GB 1600MHz memory
    256GB flash storage1
    Intel HD Graphics 4000
    NVIDIA GeForce GT 650M with 1GB of GDDR5 memory
    Built-in battery (7 hours)

    3) 15-inch: 2.3 GHz

    2.3GHz quad-core Intel Core i7
    Turbo Boost up to 3.3GHz
    4GB 1600MHz memory
    500GB 5400-rpm hard drive1
    Intel HD Graphics 4000
    NVIDIA GeForce GT 650M with 512MB of GDDR5 memory
    Built-in battery (7 hours)
    UPGRADE to Hi-Res antiglare widescreen display, 1680-by-1050 resolution

    The main differences that I'm looking at:

    - Processor: 2.3 Ghz i7 Ivy Bridge (Lowest option from this year) vs 2.5 Ghz i7 Sandy Bridge (Highest option from last year)?

    - Graphics: GT 650M 512MB vs. HD 6770M 1GB? and GT 650M 1GB vs. HD 6770M 1GB?

    - Price: are the differences between the three worth it for the performance ($400 from 2011 Refurb to 2012 Retina)? Since I'm upgrading from a 2007 MBP I'm sure that any of these would be a huge leap though.

    Any knowledge and advice is greatly appreciated, thanks! :)
  2. danetello macrumors 6502

    Dec 23, 2010
    London, UK
    If you don't mind the price different, I would probably go with the 15" retina MBP. The flash memory will be much much faster than the 5400RPM hard drive and will noticeably speed up performance.
  3. CrapperJohn, Jun 12, 2012
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2012

    CrapperJohn macrumors newbie

    Jun 12, 2012
    I was contemplating the exact same thing believe it or not. (upgrading from a 2007 MBP) I was able to purchase a NiB Oct 11 MD385LL/A (like your refurb, except this one has the 7200RPM drive) for $1800, or the other two options you have.

    However, for my low end 2.3GHz Ivy Bridge option, I opted also for the 750GB-7200RPM drive which brought it to $2050 (+TAX - 10% in IL), the 2.6GHz Ivy Bridge, with same upgrades was $2350 + TAX, or the RETINA display stock, $2200 + TAX (from what I can tell, is NOT user upgradeable!!).

    Not being able to upgrade the Retina display version on my own kinda killed that option for me. Not that I would need to upgrade the memory to 16GB anytime soon (however, I use VMware Fusion and the extra RAM would be useful), but from what I was reading, the SSD may not be upgradeable either (pure speculation at this point) and since it will sit at my desk connected to a 24" monitor, the retina display wasn't the driving force behind my purchase.

    So, to be able to *save* $550 (not including the savings on SALES TAX @ ~$200) to get the last gen "maxed out" version for $1800 sealed the deal for me. However, my only concern is the performance of the AMD 6770M graphics compared to the new nVidia chip... but since this isn't my primary gaming machine, I think the savings outweighed everything else... Good luck with your choice, let me know what you decide.

    EDIT: I just wanted to add that the newer Ivy Bridge CPU's have the "turbo mode" that increases the frequency to 3.6GHz (for the 2.6GHz chip) wile the last gen doesn't.

    Also, I really want to get the aftermarket kit at some point that let's you add and additional HD (SSD for me) in place of the optical drive.
  4. NextMemory thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 12, 2012
    ON, Canada
    Glad to see that I wasn't the only person with a 2007 MBP who was thinking the exact same thing, CrapperJohn. :p

    Being able to upgrade the memory and hard drive is definitely important. I upgraded my 2007 from 2GB to 4GB around 2-3 years ago and it made a huge difference. As long as it comes with 4GB and I can upgrade it to 8GB later, I'll be very happy.

    While I can't deny the speed of SSD the size just isn't really there yet. My 2007 has a 120GB hard drive (I'm an idiot for not upgrading it) so the Retina would have double the space, but even if you could upgrade it yourself to a 500GB SSD it would still be way too expensive (even without Apple markup).

    I feel like I'm going to see a huge difference either way going from a GT 8600M 128MB. I don't play as many games as I used to on my MBP mainly because of how awful this video card is now. Even Minecraft (which I thought it would have low requirements) could only get a smooth frame rate by putting it on the lowest settings (view distance is like playing N64 again.)

    I thought that they did have turbo boost. I checked a few articles and the Google Cache version of the old MBP specs page to try and see and it does mention turbo boost. It looks like just the 13" didn't have it, but I could be wrong though...

    Thanks for all of your input, it really helps that you had the same laptop and were looking at the same ones! I feel like after reading your post and while writing my own that I've obviously made up my mind: 2011 Refurb.

    Do you have your new one yet or are you still waiting on it? I'd be very interested to hear how you like it and how much of an improvement it is over the 2007! I won't be able to order until I get paid next week so I hope that they aren't sold out by then, but that will give me a chance to see 2012 reviews.
  5. CrapperJohn macrumors newbie

    Jun 12, 2012
    YES! I've been looking for a while. Almost pulled the trigger on a 17" for $2400 a month ago, and this week I saw the 15" for $2200 on Amazon. But wanted to see what the new ones were like...

    Well, a Corsair 8GB kit on Amazon is $45 at the moment. :) As well as a 16GB kit for $95!

    Mine had a 120GB drive, but I updated it to 160. Was enough as long as I had a WD Passport with me, heh. That said, these are easily ugradeable once prices on SSD's fall. But I'm also interested in the adapter to add and SSD in place of the optical drive.

    True, Although not my primary gaming PC, it would be nice to throw a game on it and play if I'm on the road.

    You are correct!! My bad, I guess they do! Seems odd that Apple is advertising it on the new ones heavily, but they didn't one the last generation. I found this on Anandtech about the 2011's:

    "There's also a new 2.5GHz quad-core option that can run at up to 3.6GHz with a single core active. That's an absolutely insane frequency for a notebook. Notebook-as-a-desktop users will appreciate the flexibility here."

    No probs. I think the price to performance ratio is much better with the last gen at this price.

    I'm sure you'll be fine. I hadn't realized the refurbs were that low on Apple's website. I have not gotten mine yet. I just pulled the trigger on it today on ebay!! :) should have it by Friday hopefully. Will post again with my thoughts, but I'm sure I'll like it.
  6. aaronw1986 macrumors 68030

    Oct 31, 2006
    I'm thinking of upgrading my 2007 MBP as well. Retina is what I am looking at. That seems to make the most sense. The SSD will be a huge improvement. You can always use a portable USB 3 drive if you need storage space.
  7. thuchu1 macrumors regular


    Oct 16, 2010
    Auburn Hills, MI
    If the retina display and 25% thinner body aren't a huge thing for you, I would go with either the refurb or the new original form MBP and add an SSD in the optical bay. Best of both worlds.
  8. G5isAlive macrumors 6502a

    Aug 28, 2003
    a faster version of what you have

    Before buying anything I would go into an Apple store and check out the Retina. I have read a number of reviews from people with hands on experience who essentially ask the question, which Macbook Pro to buy, the upgraded standard version or the retina version (a similar question to yours). They all said the Retina display is a game changer and they would pony up the extra money and go that way.

    Put another way, your refurb is just a faster version of what you own. I am all for faster, but sometimes the numbers don't tell the whole story. I actually use a macbook air and all the numbers will say its slower, less hard drive, etc... but the fact that its so easy to carry, so light, is a game changer for me. And I never ever feel that it is slow. The SSD makes it feel zippy and actually faster than a regular Macbook pro feels to me.

    Likewise, I expect the retina to be a totally different beast. I don't know if it is light enough for me to give up my Air, but I am sure its not just a faster macbook pro. I hope to see one today.

    So, step back from the numbers. Go into an Apple store and play with both. My guess is your choice will be clear then. Otherwise, you might just get a faster version of what you have, and then experience envy when you actually see something different. Its about the user experience.
  9. NextMemory thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 12, 2012
    ON, Canada
    All good points, thanks everybody! The closest Apple store is an hour away but I'll be going past it this weekend so I'll definitely stop in and play around with everything to get a better idea.
  10. edenwaith macrumors 6502a


    Aug 7, 2001
    How does the IL tax come out to be 10% for you? Are you buying directly from a store in Chicago? Otherwise, when I've purchased items from Apple.com, I've only been charged the state sales tax of 6.25%.

    Or one can go the Amazon.com route and forgo paying sales tax...but then tax time comes and IL expects one to remember everything they might have bought outside of IL and didn't pay state tax on. The state needs to get more money some how!
  11. Andy348 macrumors 6502

    May 18, 2009
    I had the exact same choice to make, and I chose the $1859 2.5GHz MBP on the Canadian refurb store.

    It's now confirmed by iFixit and Gizmodo that the battery, RAM, and hard-drive are not user replaceable. This was the biggest no-no, as a 256GB hard drive is too small for me, even as an SSD. Also, the lack of an optical drive was a big deal for me.

    I'm planning on keeping this machine for over 5 years, and the only way to do that is to be able to upgrade the RAM and hard drive in the future. What I would recommend would be to buy the same one that I did, and save the extra money to put towards both an SSD and a larger hard drive when the time comes, eliminating the optical drive.

    Finally, I think that the anti-glare screen is really great, and I didn't feel like throwing up the extra $$$ to get that, along with 16GB RAM (since it's not upgradeable after the fact). Next thing you know the $2039 (w/student discount) pricing becomes much larger.

    Good luck choosing! It's not an easy decision, and I hope I've made the right one!

    Gizmodo article: http://gizmodo.com/5918021/retina-display-macbook-teardown-its-locked-up-like-fort-knox
  12. NextMemory thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 12, 2012
    ON, Canada
    Thanks for the input and the link to the article!

    The MBP Retina is really starting to look like it's not for me the more I look at it and the more info that comes out. I also plan on keeping my next machine for 5 years as I did this one and being 100% locked in to the RAM and SSD hurts it.

    I definitely plan on upgrading to at least 8GB in a year as CrapperJohn mention they are only $45. I don't see myself changing the 750GB but I would probably swap the optical drive for an SSD once it becomes even less useful after a couple of years.
  13. CrapperJohn macrumors newbie

    Jun 12, 2012
    Yeah, I think I would be compelled to go the the Apple store for sure. I didn't know apple.com only charges the state rate. Cool to know. As far as amazon, I'd definitely order one from them, but not sure when the new ones will be on sale there.

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