What laptop would you buy with $1200? (Selling my 17" incher)

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by Sherman90, Nov 8, 2012.

  1. Sherman90 macrumors newbie

    Jan 7, 2009
    I've really enjoyed using my mid-2010 2.6ghz 17" MBP. I've paid so little attention to laptop refreshes and advances in processing technology since getting it that I'm now completely out of the loop. In fact, I'm surprised to see that my 2.6ghz processor looks stodgy next to today's current 1.8ghz!

    So let's say I can get $1200 for the macbook pro. If my goals are a) greater performance, and b) more portability (the Air looks tempting, and I'd even consider a Windows machine), where would you re-invest that money?

    Could be new, refurbished, or even used. Current gen or previous.

    (Note: I might be able to squeeze another couple hundred, but would prefer not to).

    Thanks so much!
  2. dagamer34 macrumors 65816


    May 1, 2007
    Houston, TX
    The problem I see is that Apple is clearly in transition. I see spending good money on any non-Retina Pro Macs as a waste of money, but the current Retina MacBook Pros, especially the 13" are kinda expensive for the value they give you if you aren't fully taking advantage of them.

    As such, I'd wait until mid-2013 if you can. If not, only the 15" Retina is really worth buying. Everything else is too expensive for what you get, or not worth buying at all.
  3. NewishMacGuy macrumors 6502a


    Aug 2, 2007
    Keeping the budget in check leaves you with either a current MBA-13 or cMBP-13 in near base configs if you need to buy new, and only slightly better off in config terms if you venture into Apple refurbs, and the MBA wouldn't be upgradeable. Given that, I'd opt to hit CL and shoot for a 2011 cMBP-15 with quad-core i7 in the $1000 range and upgrade it to 8GB and put a Momentus XT in it. That'll get you to Sandy Bridge, Thunderbolt, and SDXC and should give you a good speed boost all around at the cost of Ivy Bridge and USB3, but you'll get to keep a dGPU.
  4. mohsy90 macrumors 65816


    Feb 4, 2011
    New York
    15" rMBP is $2200, way out of the your range, so avoid the first reply. As far as your question goes. It all depends on what you need it for. Do you want a larger size (15") MBP, do you want more storage. Is portability a big factor? Also, what are you using it for, do you need a discrete GPU?

    All important questions that I suggest you answer before making a decision.
  5. filmbuff macrumors 6502a


    Jan 5, 2011
    I think for $1200 the 13" MBA with 8gb is pretty much the best laptop you can get. That was my budget and I spent months researching various laptops before I picked one :apple:
  6. Sherman90 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 7, 2009
    Thanks for the feedback guys. My primary uses are:

    1. Work - word processing/emails/web surfing.
    2. Photography and a small amount of film/video editing.
    3. Music storage (I have a large library).

    I think a 13" display would be enough. I don't need retina, but higher PPI would be nice. I'd like at least 256gb of hard drive space, although 512 is probably more realistic.

    - Is there any difference between the current-gen (Oct '12) processors and the ones from June '12?
    - And is the SSD in the MBA upgradeable? If so perhaps I could swing for a base model and upgrade the SSD.
  7. mohsy90 macrumors 65816


    Feb 4, 2011
    New York
    There were no updates to the MBA or MBP in October. It was only the new release of the 13" retina, which is overpriced and out of the question. I would say that both the 13" MBA and MBP are both suitable for your needs. The higher end 13" MBA comes with 256GB SSD. The SSD will be a huge improvement as far as speed goes compared to the 13" MBP and the intel HD 4000 graphics will suffice for your needs. The ram is soldered, so if you want to upgrade to 8GB you would need to do at the time of order. The SSD are upgradable (only from OWC) but are very expensive. Overall, it will be a very fast computer and the SSD will account for the lower processor speeds compared to the 13" MBP. The biggest plus is the weight and portability. But you're looking at a price of $1499.

    Now the base 13" MBP is also a very good option. It is heavier but it does have a faster processor than the air and much more upgradable. The benefit of the 13" MBP for you is that it comes with a 500GB HDD, which you can then upgrade to any size SSD and even use the HDD in an optibay if you dont use your optical drive. Also, the ram is upgradable at any time and is fairly cheap and easy to do. Overall this is the cheaper option ($1199) and much more upgradable which may benefit you if you need to add performance if need be in the future.
  8. T5BRICK macrumors G3


    Aug 3, 2006
    Nope, still the same processors.

    Yes, they're upgradeable, but you have pretty limited options. OWC sells a few different models or you could go with an original Apple drive, new or used.

    Anyway, in your situation I'd go with a brand new base model 13" MBP, upgrade the HDD to a SSD yourself, and move the HDD to the optical bay so you have the storage you're looking for.
  9. pgiguere1 macrumors 68020


    May 28, 2009
    Montreal, Canada
    1) No
    2) It's upgradeable but since you can only use OWC Aura Pro SSD which is as expensive as Apple's BTO options there's no real gain in doing that except if you want to use the SSD that shipped in your computer as an external drive.

    I can suggest a refurbished 2012 13" MBA with 256GB SSD. The CPU is going to be slightly more powerful than what you currently have but the real gain will be portability, and SSD if you don't have it currently.

    Otherwise if you want a little more power you could go for a refurbished Late-2011 15" MBP for $1,359 which will obviously be less of a drastic portability change.

    You probably won't find much used MBAs with more than 256GB of storage as the 512GB option has only been available since a couple months. Your best bet in the used market might be to buy a 2011 15" MBP with quad-core i7 and install aftermarket SSD in the optibay yourself. That's what I would personally do with your budget if a 2012 MBA didn't have enough power/storage for my needs.
  10. Sherman90 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 7, 2009
    Thanks so much, everyone. I'm going to zero in on the 13" MBA with 256gb SSD from June 2012. I'll also keep my eye out for any local deals on the latest 13" MBP.

    - I understand the latest 13" cMBP is slightly thinner/lighter than previous gens?
    and lastly,
    - I've come across a couple 2012 MBAs with the upgrade 2.0ghz processor and 8gb RAM? Do you think either of these upgrades is good future-proofing "insurance"?

    Many thanks.
  11. mohsy90 macrumors 65816


    Feb 4, 2011
    New York
    I think you might be referring to the 13" retina which is thinner and lighter, but the classic MBP are still the same thickness and weight as far as i know.

    As far the upgrade options go. The upgrade to 2.0 ghz likely wont be noticeable at all. If anything, go for the 8GB ram. That will surely future proof the laptop. Newer software is starting to use more memory, so its better to be safe than sorry. And as suggested above, i would check out the refurbs, you can get them for much cheaper and they are basically new.
  12. brentsg macrumors 68040

    Oct 15, 2008
    If you happen to use Discovercard you can use their cashback for 10% right now. It's the usual Apple 5%, plus a Q4 promotion for online shopping. I just did this to get the 2012 Air 2.0 / 8GB /256GB unit from the refurb store. It looks perfect and was $1305 after cash back.

    I view both of the upgrades as worthwhile. The RAM is just a must have imo, and the CPU upgrade was like $76 after the discounts I got. Why not..
  13. gpat macrumors 6502a

    Mar 1, 2011
    Pump your 17" Pro with 8GB RAM and a SSD. You can even install an Optibay so you can get a small (128GB) SSD for the system while you keep your HDD for storage.
  14. Rhinoevans macrumors 6502

    Oct 5, 2012
    Las Vegas, NV
    What a stupid comment. The guy said he wanted performance, not just a pretty screen. The non retina computer is just as good as the retina, if not Better in some ways. Same processor, same GPS, same OS.

    Actually in some case the retina robs you of performance.

    If you need a pretty screen, then get the retina, but if not the cMBP, is just as capable, if not more give its upgradability for ram and ssd!

    For what it's worth, I have the retina ipad, sure the picture is a little better, but not revolutionary. I am truly amazed how good the screen is on the non retina MBP, would not trade my cMBP for rMBP even if they were the same price!

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