What about buying an old MacBook Pro 17 today?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by fierarul, Jul 20, 2016.

  1. fierarul macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2010
    #1
    I have to help buy a 17" laptop soon for a developer.

    The whole reason is that his old HP ProBook is a bit flaky and he would like a larger screen. The old machine is an i5-2430M, 8GB RAM, SSD with a 15" screen (1366 x 768).

    The new machine doesn't have to be faster (but nor noticeably slower). It just has to work fine and have a larger and better screen.

    It just occurred to me that I could just get an older MacBook Pro 17".

    Now, there are a few questions here:

    * is this wise nowadays? The machine would be 5 years old or so already. Would it last another, say, 2-3 years?

    * are there some specific recommended models? I know the 2011 batch has motherboard problems. Which one would be the ones to search for and which ones to avoid? By elimination I assume only mid-2010?

    * they don't seem to be particularly cheap in EU. For $500-$700, which seems to be the price for an i5/i7 variant, I could also get a new, with warranty, PC laptop and put Linux on it. What would be a correct price?

    * any specific old-age signs to look for before buying?

    So, to reiterate, no other Apple laptop fits the bill. It has to be a 17" laptop.
     
  2. chrfr macrumors 603

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2009
    #2
    2010 MacBook Pros also had GPU problems although it was more common in the 15" models.
    At this point, it's foolish to buy either, and anything older is a Core 2 Duo or worse.
    Every 15" MacBook Pro dating back to 2006 has a higher resolution and better quality screen than that HP Probook. What is it about the Probook display that isn't suitable and leads you to think that a 17" laptop is needed? For comparison, the 11" MacBook Air has a display that's the same 1366x768 display as that Probook. 15" Retina MacBook Pro displays can be scaled to the same 1920 x 1200 resolution as the 17" MacBook Pros and have a much higher quality LCD panel than any of the 17" models.
     
  3. robgendreau macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2008
    #3
    Your developer friend apparently hasn't got the memo about improved laptop screens.

    Even the 12" Macbook shows more in its screen than the old 17" wheezer. 2304x1440 vs 1920x1200. Considerably more screen real estate even in that small model. And yeah, maybe you have to sit a bit closer but with a lighter smaller machine that's easier.

    But if it has to be a 17" then sure, buy some used thing. Waste of money since the other stuff is old too, and slow wifi, only USB 2, and probably won't even have an SSD. Real dinosaur; I can't see why people could even get that much for them.
     
  4. keysofanxiety macrumors 604

    keysofanxiety

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2011
    #4
    Don't bother. 2011s are junk, and anything earlier isn't worth the price for the specs.
     
  5. CrystalQuest76 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2015
    Location:
    West Cost A Lot
    #5
    i5-2430M, 8GB RAM, SSD with a 15" screen (1366 x 768) is an older machine but its still a great machine. If it feels like its running slow then its time to do a low level reformatting of the hard-drive. Install Mountain Lion OS 10.8 (not anything newer). Upgrade the RAM on the existing machine. With just those two changes you will see a significant performance improvement and you will save a great deal of money. Take the saved money and put it into a rainy-day or retirement account.

    Unless the developer is producing multimedia that requires long rendering times, the processor that is on that existing machine is just fine.

    Saving money is not a crime.
     
  6. chrfr macrumors 603

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2009
    #6
    The OP's friend has a Hewlett-Packard laptop, not a Mac, and finds the display inadequate. How would putting more money into the existing computer resolve the display inadequacies? 15" 1366x768 laptop displays have never been high quality displays.
     
  7. fierarul thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2010
    #7
    It's not about resolution or DPI, it's about actual screen size. A 12" rMB would have a much better resolution but to work all day with such tiny fonts would be bad for the eyesight.

    Funnily enough, ProBooks are really compatible with OSX. Although this one is running Linux.

    And it is going to be replaced with something else regardless because there are other issues with it, like a dying trackpad and battery, etc.

    So the questions is if we replace it with a mac or a PC.
     
  8. kiwipeso1 Suspended

    kiwipeso1

    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2001
    Location:
    Wellington, New Zealand
    #8
    You'd be better waiting for the redesigned Macbook Pros coming in (September, if announced before the new iPads).
    These are likely to have a smaller bezel for the larger screen size and higher resolution, along with an OLED touchbar & fingerprint scanner for touchID of unlocking the password/using Apple Pay online.
    Additionally, these will have USB C/TB 3 ports and decent SSD performance, with better processor speeds.

    The likely model you would find suitable would be a 16" MBPr which should be around the 4k screen resolution.

    And of course, it would be capable of running mac, windows, bsd & linux.
     
  9. chrfr macrumors 603

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2009
    #9
    If that's the case, Apple simply doesn't have a viable option. It's a bad idea to consider buying a 2010 or 2011 MacBook Pro at this point.
     
  10. kiwipeso1 Suspended

    kiwipeso1

    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2001
    Location:
    Wellington, New Zealand
    #10
    The indications are strong that the bezels at the edges of the (late) 2016 Macbook Pro and (late) 2016 Macbook Air will be reduced to allow an extra inch from the same form factor as current models.
     
  11. Samuelsan2001 macrumors 604

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2013
    #11
    This is a guess they could just keep the scenes the same size and make the smaller and lighter....
     
  12. theluggage macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2011
    #12
    The problem is the known GPU issue that causes some 2011 MBPs to fail after an undeterminable period. There's a free fix from Apple (basically a logic board change) but I believe that is coming to an end in the next year. Also, as I understand it, the "fix" is just another roll of the dice - the fundamental flaw that causes the failure isn't fixed.

    Crying shame, because otherwise these are solid machines with the great advantage that you can stuff two 2.5" hard drive/SSDs into them. Also, there really isn't an equivalent - even the 17" Windows laptops are mainly 16:9 ratio "full HD" rather than the MBP's squarer 16:10, 1920x1200 display.
     
  13. kiwipeso1 Suspended

    kiwipeso1

    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2001
    Location:
    Wellington, New Zealand
    #13
    I think that moving up a screen size allows for more useful resolutions such as 14" FHD MBA, 16" 4k MBP , etc.
    This would hopefully be more of a priority for Apple than merely making it so thin it underperforms.
     
  14. Samuelsan2001 macrumors 604

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2013
    #14
    Making it smaller footprint wise has nothing to do with thinness, they will make them thinner if they can though don't doubt it.
     
  15. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    May 3, 2009
    Location:
    Boston
    #15
    OP,
    at this point in 2016, I'd say look elsewhere for a 17" laptop. I don't think buying a used 17" MBP is best use of your money. Too much time has passed.
     
  16. fierarul thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2010
    #16
    >at this point in 2016, I'd say look elsewhere for a 17" laptop. [...] Too much time has passed.

    Yep, it seems we are not getting a Mac.
     
  17. kiwipeso1 Suspended

    kiwipeso1

    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2001
    Location:
    Wellington, New Zealand
    #17

    I'd say if you are not getting a Mac, check for a 17.3" with FHD, Bluray burner & 16GB ram.
    Also a m2 SSD boot drive + 2TB HDD would make things easier and faster to deal with.

    You should be able to find systems like these with Haswell CPU going cheap.
     
  18. Efrem macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2009
    #18
    I use a late 2011 17" MBP. Got it, maxed out, when the handwriting was on the wall about any future machines with that size screen. I've fortunately avoided the problems with this model. At this point you'd have to pry it from my cold fingers, at least as long as it runs current software (which it does, except for iPhone Handoff). I've taken it to five continents, including a lot of time using it in economy seats. Not ideal, but viable. (I'm not a very large person.)

    Much as I love it, though, if I were buying a computer today I'd settle for 15" with Retina display. The characters are smaller, but they're also crisper. That offsets the size issue to some extent. I might not be entirely happy with that size, but I'd survive.
     
  19. loybond macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2010
    Location:
    The True North, Strong and Free
    #19
    Why not get a desktop? Much better for real work.
     
  20. Samuelsan2001 macrumors 604

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2013
    #20
    Really I would imagine it would be pretty useless for "real work" (whatever that is) on a plane or a train or in a hotel room or on a building site etc etc etc....
     
  21. mtneer macrumors 68020

    mtneer

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2012
    #21
    Its 2016, I wouldn't buy that 17" MBP unless I was starting an antique collection. If you really, really want a large screen size, I would looks elsewhere on the Windows side.
     

Share This Page