Want to upgrade from 15'' MBP L2008 to 15'' rMBP M2015, how to justify the cost?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by urbanracer34, Jun 3, 2015.

  1. urbanracer34 macrumors member

    Jun 1, 2010
    Here's where I'm having a problem:

    I have a Late 2008 15 inch MacBook Pro. 2.4Ghz Core 2 Duo, NVIDIA Geforce 9400 + 9600M GT 256MB, 1440x900 display. I feel it's on the way out. I upgraded it to 8GB RAM and a 750 GB Hard drive. I've had to replace the MagSafe charger 3 times (at least) and likewise for the battery, the left hinge has already been replaced DIY by myself and it is starting to bend up towards the screen on that corner. It feels too slow and I want to upgrade. I'm accustomed to a 15 inch so I want to stay with one with dGPU.

    I want a 15 inch Mid 2015 MacBook Pro with Retina Display. 2.5GHz Quad-core Intel Core i7, Turbo Boost up to 3.7GHz. 16GB 1600MHz DDR3L SDRAM. 1TB PCIe-based Flash Storage. Intel Iris Pro Graphics + AMD Radeon R9 M370X with 2GB GDDR5 memory.

    My problem is the justification of it. 3672.90 CAD to be precise at the current price. I have to either borrow the money from my parents (they think they can fix it, I feel they can't, this machine is becoming a money pit) or save the money over a couple years and get it outright. The way my current machine is, I'm afraid it will die before I can save the money needed to replace it!

    If I want to get any money from my parents, I need to justify the performance and benefits. With the metrics in hand, I hope I can make it work with my parents.

    So spill the raw data: How much of a performance increase and battery life will I get going from my old beater to a new machine?
  2. cruisin, Jun 3, 2015
    Last edited: Jun 3, 2015

    cruisin macrumors 6502a


    Apr 1, 2014
    You could get last years refurbished version, you save a bit and the jump from 2008 will still be quite large. Or you could save up and wait for the CPU refresh. Skylake will be released in a month so the usual fall refresh will likely have the new CPUs, and maybe a few minor things.

    Do you really need 1 TB of storage? Do you need the 2nd GPU? If you don't need these things then you can save a bit. What do you currently use your 2008 model for?

    As for performance, the biggest upgrades are the SSD and better battery life. A SSD is the best upgrade if you feel your computer is slow, it feels like a new machine. The retina screen is a big improvement for me but for some they cannot see the difference. The CPU upgrade is useful if you actually use it. If Activity Monitor shows your current CPU at low usage then you will not see the performance. The Intel is quite capable on its own, and unless you plan on doing some gaming then you might get away with just the single GPU.

    Without knowing more about your situation I would say wait for the refresh, and maybe swap the optical drive for a 128 GB SSD. This way you get the speed benefit plus you have the extra space. Hopefully this will tide you over till the fall.

    Here is a rough comparison: https://browser.primatelabs.com/mac-benchmarks
    It only has the 2014 model, but the geekbench score for 32-bit single core is roughly double for the 2014 vs the 2008 version.
  3. Samuelsan2001 macrumors 604

    Oct 24, 2013
    A) If you can't afford it there is no way you can justify that spec.

    B) what do you use your computer for??? If your 2008 still works fine for your apps then anything will be a massive upgrade.

    I would reccomend a base 2014 15 inch rMBP, it'll blow that 2008 away for about half the price of the one you want.

    C) If your parents were asking me I would tell them you don't need that massive spec at all and that they should lend you CAD 2000 maximum and tell you to get the best you can for that price.

    D) Anything newer than 2012 will be a massive upgrade on your old macbook so don't sweat it, buy what you and they can afford to spend.
  4. markfrautschi macrumors member

    Jan 6, 2004
    Rockville, MD
    I actually just did this upgrade when the barely improved 15" rMBP with the new trackpad was released a week or two back. I got the BTO 2.8GHz 1.0TB 16GB variant. My 2.8GHz L2008 15" MBP had been upgraded with 8GB memory and a 1.0TB Crucial M550 SSD. Going to a non-Apple SSD with Yosemite requires modifying the parameter ram to enable TRIM support. This means that care must be exercised not to reset the parameter ram or the machine will not boot. (You then have to restore from another drive. A pain if you are in the field.)

    Since I seem to run a lot of single-threaded apps (sadly, I spend most of my day in Microsoft Office 2011 SP3), I do not notice much of a difference in performance. If someone had secretly swapped the machines, I might not have noticed a change based on performance. (I do see a difference running Parallels Desktop for Mac, where I now have more cores to give to Windows 7. But that was only a test. I don't need Windows 7 at the moment.)

    After I moved in to the new rMBP, I updated the DYLD shared cache, ran FSCK on the drive (which explicitly mentions TRIMming under Yosemite), repaired permissions, reset the parameter ram, rebuilt the directory etc. I did NOT defragment, since this is counterproductive for SSDs.

    I still get spinning beachballs. Fewer of them, but I still get them. The new machine runs cooler, but I still hear the fans run from time to time. So there seems to be more horsepower there, but the apps I live in seem largely not written to access all of it.

    I miss the IR port and the Express 34 slot.

    I use my MBPs at a desk with an external Apple display, so, I cannot comment on improvements on screen performance or battery life yet.

    I am considering returning the rMBP to Apple and waiting for six months when a new generation of Intel processors will become available.

    My suggestion to you would be to see if you can find an SLC SSD of the 1 TB class and that you install it and enable TRIM support with https://gist.github.com/return1/4058659. Do a parameter ram reset first, since that option is off of the table after you enable TRIM support. Such a drive cost around $US 500 last year, so, perhaps it is less, performs better or both now.

    Perhaps that will allow you to run out the clock a little longer.
  5. RebelScum macrumors 6502

    Aug 15, 2007
    You had your last machine for 7 years. Assuming the same will be true for this one, you're looking at the equivalent of $537.43/year for the privilege of upgrading.

    Do you feel what you'll need it for is worth $540 a year?

    Also, buy a refurbished. I saved a full grand that way.
  6. Meister Suspended


    Oct 10, 2013
  7. markfrautschi macrumors member

    Jan 6, 2004
    Rockville, MD
    At the end of June, Apple supported TRIM with non-Apple SSD drives. (http://www.macrumors.com/2015/07/01/os-x-trim-ssd/) On my late 2008 MBP, I was able to remove the earlier TRIM support and enable Apple's (https://gist.github.com/return1/4058659. had excellent instructions to remove this support). Everything works fine, and now the risk of the machine becoming temporarily bootable through a Parameter RAM reset is gone. This was one of the "last straws" that had me finally upgrade instead of waiting a further six months for a Skylake rMBP.

    I also want to say that I have largely (the back up systems still need work) completed my "move in", which included running TRIM (fsck_hfs in single-user mode), and updating the shared dynamic library cache (update_dyld_shared_cache also in single-user mode), resetting the Parameter RAM, and so on. For whatever reason, now the machine seems faster. It takes "one bounce" (in the dock) to launch Microsoft Word 2011 SP3. I have the late 2008 machine to compare, and I can see the difference.

    So, if I had known that Non-Apple SSD TRIM support was coming, I probably would have delayed the upgrade, on the other hand, there is a perceptible difference, even with all or my single-threaded apps, so, there is some return on investment.

    Applying my experience to your question, I think I agree with the consensus here, that getting an SSD and enabling Apple's TRIM support would be a good thing.


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