Urgent opinion needed on a pretty unique dilemma.

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by Stanley Lyndon, Dec 27, 2011.

  1. Stanley Lyndon macrumors member

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    Dec 27, 2011
    #1
    I have a four year old 13" Macbook running the latest version of Leopard. But it overheats whenever I place it on a cloth surface for more than 15 minutes and has a thermal shutdown. I'm constantly using the computer and I have daily Time Machine backups but I'm paranoid about the laptop failing altogether suddenly cause if it does, I would be without laptop for a long time since I cannot afford a new macbook air/pro now. I only have to hunt around for the best used macbook deal.

    Now, the macbook is almost good enough for all the work that I do. It could be faster when using Lightroom though.

    Now, I have found two good deals. One is a 2008 January 13" Macbook Air 1.1 with 80GB HD in tip-top condition available for my taking at $530. But, I'm afraid it might be underpowered, even as a backup/transition computer.

    The other deal is for a 2008 March 15" Macbook Pro with 200 GB HD, 2GB RAM and 512 MB graphics card available for $680. It is $150 more and also has a DVD drive that does not read or write DVDs. I'm not sure about the battery status but everything else looks good.

    What makes the decision difficult is that I don't really know what I want! On one hand, the air is cheaper and everything just works. I will probably run the faster and "cooler" (myth?) Snow Leopard on both my macbook and air if I get it. On the other hand, the pro would be a significant upgrade and help my lightroom work a lot (plus I could go for Lion) although the fact that the dvd drive doesn't work would nag me.

    Which would be a better way forward for me?
     
  2. mobilehaathi macrumors G3

    mobilehaathi

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  3. Stanley Lyndon thread starter macrumors member

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    #3
    But the MBP would need the DVD drive to be fixed and that would cost a lot of money if done by Apple right?

    Secondly, wouldn't I need to upgrade to at least 4 GB RAM to properly appreciate the performance increase? (while using Lion, that is.)
     
  4. mobilehaathi macrumors G3

    mobilehaathi

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    #4
    Do you NEED the dvd drive? Both of your options have no dvd drive.

    I'd upgrade to 4GB of RAM, but you don't necessarily have to. The MBA doesn't have 4GB nor would you have the option to upgrade it. It just sounds like the MBA is a bit underpowered for what you want.
     
  5. Schtumple macrumors 601

    Schtumple

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    #5
    I cannot understate how easy it is to replace the DVD drive in a MBP, you can easily find guides via ifixit.com :)
     
  6. mobilehaathi macrumors G3

    mobilehaathi

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    #6
    This too. It is pretty easy to replace yourself.
     
  7. Stanley Lyndon thread starter macrumors member

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    Dec 27, 2011
    #7
    Thanks a lot. I guess I will go with the Pro then. Just one more question though. If I'm buying a replacement drive from eBay, say, what exactly do I need to search for and what is the approximate price I should be looking at?
     
  8. mobilehaathi macrumors G3

    mobilehaathi

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    #8
    I guess if you want to buy it from ebay, I'd first look at ifixit to get proper specs and then go from there.
     
  9. Confuzzzed macrumors 68000

    Confuzzzed

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    #9
    I can vouch for that generation MBP, lighting fast but as others said, if I had to chose only one upgrade/repair, I'd do the RAM if I were you. try crucial.com for the right type of RAM if you're not sure
     
  10. velocityg4 macrumors 68040

    velocityg4

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    #10
    You could just get a new cooling fan for the Macbook and pop it in. They are quite cheap on eBay. Just check iFixit.com for the apple part number. The Core Duo to Santa Rosa seem to use the same fan, Apple Part # 922-7372, for $8.

    While you're at it clean up the thermal paste and put on the appropriate amount so that it works well. Rather than gobbing it on like the manufacturers do. You can get a small tube of "Arctic Silver 5" for $7.

    http://www.maximumpc.com/article/howtos/howto_install_cpu_and_apply_thermal_paste

    If your fan is still working crack open the case. Dust everything out and reapply the thermal paste. This works wonders for cooling.

    Thus you can save hundreds of dollars on a minor upgrade. Instead save up that money towards a new computer.

    Also I would steer clear of a 2008 MBP like a dead skunk on the road. The GeForce 8600m will fail. It has a well known design flaw. So much so that Apple even extended the warranty on MBPs with the 8600m.
     
  11. Stanley Lyndon, Dec 28, 2011
    Last edited: Dec 28, 2011

    Stanley Lyndon thread starter macrumors member

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    #11
    Thanks so much! I'm not really mechanically oriented but I'll surely search for an iFixIt guide for thermal paste and fan.

    EDIT: iStatPro shows a varying exhaust fan speed of around 6200 rpm. Does this mean the macbook's fan is working fine? I really can't hear much apart from a very slow hum which I'm not sure is from the fan or the hard disk.

    That bit about the GPU worries me now. I had almost made the deal when I read this. I don't know what to do now. 2009 models are not available in the used market where I live.
     
  12. luke.mac1 macrumors member

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    #12
    I'm surprised you can't hear the fan...mine sounds like a hairdryer when under load!
     
  13. Stanley Lyndon thread starter macrumors member

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    #13
    I let it idle for a bit and now the rpm is around 1800. And the hum has almost completely disappeared. So I guess the fan is indeed fine. So like it was mentioned, maybe it is just the thermal paste then, by the method of exclusion.

    By the way, is the same GPU problem present on late 08 models running GeForce 9600M GT or are they a safe bet? Just found a A1286 MB470LL/A for a little more than $900.
     
  14. rocknblogger macrumors 68020

    rocknblogger

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  15. Juventino macrumors member

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    #15
    do you have a late 2007 macbook?
    just FYI, you can install and use lion on it with no problem. (i think you need as least 2GBs of RAM though)
    the only thing that's missing is the multi-touch gestures.

    and in my own experience , setting the base speed of the fan on something a little higher than the default would make a noticeable difference.just use an app like Fan Control and set the base speed around 2500 rpm.you wouldn't hear any noise and your computer will work cooler.
     
  16. caligomez macrumors regular

    caligomez

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    San Juan, PR
    #16
    I would keep the same MacBook, and try to solve the heat issues..

    Seems to me like the fan is fine if you are hitting 6200 rpm. However, you mentioned that you have heat issues when you place the MacBook on cloth surfaces. Aren't you perhaps blocking the bottom airflow vent? Perhaps you should consider opening up the machine and do a good cleaning of the ventilation system with compressed air and what not.. Also, if you need to work on a cloth surface, then consider spending $20 on a cooling pad.

    I gave my daughter my old 2007 MacBook Santa Rosa (perhaps your same model). I can tell you from experience, that any soft surface will get that particular machine very hot. Especially when playing all those flash games that kids play. I solved the heat issues by giving the laptop a good cleaning inside, and getting a Logitech cooling pad on eBay for $20.

    You might find it useful to know that when I cleaned it, I also upgraded the RAM to 4Gb, with Crucial memory. Wow.. That machine had never been as quick as it is now.. Incredible change, and runs Lion very well.. (BTW, the old RAM cards were so degraded with time, that the contact points where all crusty and just plain old looking..)

    Consider the above, and save your money to get a new MBA when the Ivy Bridge models are released. :)
     
  17. lovish macrumors member

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    Dec 1, 2011
    #17
    Why not have a servicing of ur laptop.. maybe its fan is blocked or something.. it will cost you less then 50 $$ to make ur lappy run... there can be lots of reasons as the fan has become defaulty.. or the air ways are blocked by dust...

    Love is eternal - Albus dumbledore
     
  18. Stanley Lyndon thread starter macrumors member

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    Dec 27, 2011
    #18
    Yes, I think I will do that.

    But still I think it would be better if I invest on a backup as well since I do have some disposable cash now? If not the air, then maybe the MBP for $900. Can anyone confirm if the 8600M GPU problem is present on late 08 models running GeForce 9600M GT as well or are they a safe bet? I found a A1286 MB470LL/A for a little more than $900.

    Thank you.
     
  19. Amazing Iceman macrumors 68040

    Amazing Iceman

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    #19
    Never place a laptop on top of a clothed surface!!!
    This how fires get started no matter what brand it is.
    There's nothing unusual about your overheating issues if these are caused by the surface you place your Mac on.


    Regarding your second option, replacing the defective DVD drive should cost you around $50.00 (Check OWC).
     
  20. Stanley Lyndon thread starter macrumors member

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    Dec 27, 2011
    #20
    Yes, it doesn't overheat if I place it on cold metal.
     
  21. slu macrumors 68000

    slu

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    #21
    Just wanted to add another vote for fixing/cleaning your current machine. Seems like an easy and cheap thing to try and it that doesn't work, then you can get a backup.
     
  22. Hirakata macrumors 6502

    Hirakata

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    #22
    Whoa! What the hell happened? In your first post you said you "cannot afford a new macbook air/pro now", and were looking at a $530 MPA and a $680 (broken) MBP. Now you're thinking of getting a $900 3 year old MBP?

    I'm with the others who are saying try to fix what you have, but if you're willing/can spend $900 on a 2008 MBP, you might as well get a "brand new" MBA/MBP from Apple's refurbished site for the same price. Comes with a warranty and all.

    Just trying to put things into perspective...
     
  23. davidlv macrumors 65816

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    Kyoto, Japan
    #23
    The 2009 MBPs (except the 2.53GHz model I have, with only the 9400M) with a GeForce 9600 GT also had a 9400M GT installed. You have to use the System Preferences/Energy Saver to switch, and log out or reboot to enable either card after switching. The 9400M runs cooler, but is less powerful.
    No MBP with a 9600M installed has the 8600m GPU, so that issue was resolved. The 9600M and the 9400M do not have the problem.
    Apple changed to the 9000 series with the 2009 models, get a copy of the free MacTracker utility to check this out, as I am working from memory!
    http://www.mactracker.ca/
    :cool:
     
  24. Stanley Lyndon thread starter macrumors member

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    Dec 27, 2011
    #24
    Oh no I don't live in US. And the $900 was with the inclusion of about $200 in import duties. A new Pro here costs upwards of $2000 and a 13" Air almost that much. I definitely can't afford that in case the macbook crashes (touchwood), say, tomorrow. And I would really like to have a backup, if nothing, for that peace of mind. And, yes, I will definitely look into repairing the current one to improve its survival chances. :)

    ----------


    I got my info from here: http://www.everymac.com/systems/app...-2.4-aluminum-15-late-2008-unibody-specs.html

    Whoa! Two GPUs? That's just something I never knew about or even thought about. That is just...hmm.. cool!
     
  25. davidlv macrumors 65816

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    #25
    The 2009 MBP had 3 models, 2.53GHz, with only the 9400M GPU and the 2.66 and 2.8Ghz models with both the 9400M and the 9600M GT, so check which one you would be buying for that 900 dollar machine.
    If it is the 2.53GHz model that price seems a little high. (IMO)
    Otherwise, I have been very happy with my 2.53GHz MBP, though it is getting a little old now, and compared with the new models it is about half as fast for intensive jobs. You may be better off buying a refurb 13" from Apple.
     

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