Welcome to the MacNN Forums.

If this is your first visit, be sure to check out the FAQ by clicking the link above. You may have to register before you can post: click the register link above to proceed. To start viewing messages, select the forum that you want to visit from the selection below.

You are here: MacNN Forums > Hardware - Troubleshooting and Discussion > Mac Notebooks > Needing to buy a new Macbook Pro, buy now or wait?

Needing to buy a new Macbook Pro, buy now or wait?
Thread Tools
macfantn
Mac Elite
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: Nashville, TN
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Oct 17, 2011, 11:02 PM
 
I here rumors of a spec bump, my current mac is still running but it's a little long in the tooth 4 yr old white macbook. Should I wait a few weeks or just pull the trigger now on amazon?
"I'm sick of following my dreams. I'm just going to ask them where they're goin', and hook up with them later"
     
imitchellg5
Posting Junkie
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Washington + Colorado
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Oct 17, 2011, 11:04 PM
 
I think it's a pretty safe time to buy right now if you're replacing a Mac of that age.
     
chabig
Addicted to MacNN
Join Date: Jun 1999
Location: Las Vegas, NV, USA
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Oct 17, 2011, 11:06 PM
 
It really depends upon what you want and what you want to pay. Any current Mac will be a great improvement over a four-year old white MacBook. You'll be amazed. Also, since the MacBooks just began to use the Sandy Bridge processors I think any current machine will be viable for a long time. The Core Duo family lasted 5 years, for example.

If cost is an issue, there are refurbished models of the current machines. And if new machines do come soon, there will be more refurbs.

If you decide you want the very latest, then by all means wait a bit. The white MacBook that has served you well for four years will easily get through the next few months.
     
Waragainstsleep
Posting Junkie
Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: UK
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Oct 18, 2011, 04:29 AM
 
Current machines are good but there appears to be a speed bumped MBP due soonish. Also there are chances of them being a little constrained since a factory making the casings just got shut down.
I have plenty of more important things to do, if only I could bring myself to do them....
     
SierraDragon
Mac Elite
Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: Truckee, CA
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Oct 18, 2011, 09:16 AM
 
IMO the expected bump will not be that big of a deal, because all the 2011 Sandy Bridge Macs are excellent boxes at their various price points. Current Mac Pros I would avoid as they are not Sandy Bridge and are under-value.

However one tech area that has advanced rapidly since the Sandy Bridge MBPs were first released has been solid state drives (SSDs). Unequivocally you do want an SSD in your new MBP and possible new choices/value IMO mediate in favor of waiting to see the speed bump MBPs.

Note that we may not like what the new choices are. E.g. Apple might make a CTO option of replacing the optical drive with SSD or HDD, but make it so only Apple drives work (it can be done now via third-party).

Overall IMO it is worth waiting a few weeks just to see what the new choices are, and prices of existing 2011 MBPs might drop a small bit. After all, tech marches on...

HTH

-Allen Wicks
     
dennett
Forum Regular
Join Date: Jun 2001
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Oct 18, 2011, 10:05 AM
 
I'm in the same boat, about to buy the new base model 13" MBP, I'd hate to order this week and then see new models next week. But what sort of changes are expected, just a slight speed upgrade and a new USB or BT? If that's it, then for my uses, Safari, Office, Pages, and e-mail, then I see no real reason to wait???
     
Big Mac
Clinically Insane
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Los Angeles
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Oct 18, 2011, 10:14 AM
 
If you need a new computer now, get one. Something newer and better will arrive after you buy no matter what. But if you are buying close to an expected refresh, don't get upset if your computer soon isn't as minty fresh as a result.

This time the community is expecting only mild speed bumps, so even if you buy now it's not likely you'll be missing a major redesign. It sounds like the redesign will be coming with Ivy Bridge next Spring.

"The natural progress of things is for liberty to yield and government to gain ground." TJ
     
imitchellg5
Posting Junkie
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Washington + Colorado
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Oct 18, 2011, 10:31 AM
 
Originally Posted by dennett View Post
I'm in the same boat, about to buy the new base model 13" MBP, I'd hate to order this week and then see new models next week. But what sort of changes are expected, just a slight speed upgrade and a new USB or BT? If that's it, then for my uses, Safari, Office, Pages, and e-mail, then I see no real reason to wait???
There won't be a new model next week, that's for sure. I'd expect an update to be three months off or so. The current MacBook Pros have the latest Bluetooth (4.0), and Apple's not going to jump on the USB 3 bandwagon.
     
OreoCookie
Moderator
Join Date: May 2001
Location: Hilbert space
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Oct 18, 2011, 12:39 PM
 
What's your reasoning to pick a 13" Pro over a 13" Air? (I'm curious.)
I don't suffer from insanity, I enjoy every minute of it.
     
SierraDragon
Mac Elite
Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: Truckee, CA
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Oct 18, 2011, 12:48 PM
 
It gets to how badly one needs a new MBP right now. If you are still functional on existing hardware, wait a bit to see new options and pricing. If you need it badly buy now. 2011 MBPs and MBAs are great boxes. I bought a 17" 2011 MBP in February and love it.

Reminder: Include an SSD in your plans no matter what apps you use. 2.5" notebook HDDs are lame.

HTH

-Allen
( Last edited by SierraDragon; Oct 18, 2011 at 01:12 PM. )
     
SierraDragon
Mac Elite
Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: Truckee, CA
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Oct 18, 2011, 12:51 PM
 
Originally Posted by OreoCookie View Post
What's your reasoning to pick a 13" Pro over a 13" Air? (I'm curious.)
I have the same question. If I wanted a small display (which I definitely do not) and only ran Safari, Office, Pages, and e-mail I would go with a MBA.

Note that I consider an SSD absolutely mandatory in a laptop, so when you price compare SSD-MBP against SSD-MBA the MBAs show good value.

Plus IMO MBAs are very cool. Their _huge_ downside (in addition to integrated graphics that the low end MBPs also suffer from) is the 4 GB RAM for anyone expecting that they may want to run heavier apps in the future. RAM deficiencies however are often ameliorated by the SSD quite a bit. E.g. Aperture chokes HDD laptops with 2 GB RAM while similar SSD boxes simply slow down.

-Allen
( Last edited by SierraDragon; Oct 18, 2011 at 01:14 PM. )
     
OreoCookie
Moderator
Join Date: May 2001
Location: Hilbert space
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Oct 18, 2011, 12:52 PM
 
Originally Posted by SierraDragon View Post
I have the same question. If I wanted a small display (which I definitely do not) and only ran Safari, Office, Pages, and e-mail I would go with a MBA.
Even for many other workloads, they're fine. Given that they include a faster cpu than I currently have. (Although in my case the bottlenecks, »hard disk« and RAM capacity, are clear.)

BTW, I second your suggestion to get an SSD.
I don't suffer from insanity, I enjoy every minute of it.
     
And.reg
The Mighty
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: With the seagulls and the lobster rolls
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Oct 21, 2011, 05:09 PM
 
Originally Posted by imitchellg5 View Post
I think it's a pretty safe time to buy right now if you're replacing a Mac of that age.
Not sure about your budget, but I don't have $1000 to spend on computers every 3-4 years. I used to want a new computer every 3 years, but now I don't bother. The whole world seems to, but I think that you should be able to go 6-10 years before really needing to upgrade, especially since it's just a small MHz upgrade and the computers from 2009 forward are already very fast.
     
OreoCookie
Moderator
Join Date: May 2001
Location: Hilbert space
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Oct 23, 2011, 08:38 AM
 
Originally Posted by Andrej View Post
Not sure about your budget, but I don't have $1000 to spend on computers every 3-4 years. I used to want a new computer every 3 years, but now I don't bother. The whole world seems to, but I think that you should be able to go 6-10 years before really needing to upgrade, especially since it's just a small MHz upgrade and the computers from 2009 forward are already very fast.
That's a very weird attitude, like insisting that your new car has to run for 25 years after purchase. Just that a 10 year-old computer is less useful than a 25 year-old car. A computer is a tool to get work done. And that means I need to upgrade every 3-5 years (depending on the circumstances). On my old machine (a 2 GHz 15" first-gen MacBook Pro with 2 GB RAM) using Aperture was a pain. The machine was limiting me. Then I upgraded to a 2010 MacBook Pro with 8 GB RAM which is a lot better.

Also, the speed increase between the 2010 and 2011 incarnations is a lot, lot larger than clock frequencies suggest: the slowest 2011 MacBook (yes, I'm talking about the MacBook Air) is actually faster than the fastest 2010 MacBook (15" or 17").

Although I do support the sentiment to upgrade when you need to (that's what I do, I don't have the type of money to blow €2.5k each year on a new machine), I think it's silly to expect that a machine is useful for 6-10 years. 10 years ago, I had a 500 MHz G3-based iBook with 384 MB RAM (I think) -- the cpu and gpu in my iPod touch runs circles around that hardware.
I don't suffer from insanity, I enjoy every minute of it.
     
Nick McEnjoy
Fresh-Faced Recruit
Join Date: Oct 2011
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Oct 23, 2011, 03:28 PM
 
The company I am working for is using Windows XP Pro, meaning a 10 yo Windows box can get the jobs done.

I am using a 4 yo Thinkpad X61 that does not present any signs of deterioration. With this X61, I run Windows 7, MS Office 10, and Visual Studio Express 10 without any problem.

I like to have a MBP but my Windows boxes are still running so well. However I promise to myself I will get one of the next MBP generation no matter how well my old Windows machines perform.

The point is I get the machine when I need. Unless, for some reason, one needs to use brand new software and/or hardware when they are released, one does not need to get a new computer every 3 years.
     
CharlesS
Posting Junkie
Join Date: Dec 2000
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Oct 23, 2011, 05:27 PM
 
Normally I'd agree with Oreo, but my 3-year-old late 2008 MBP is still chugging along great and really not showing any signs of needing to be upgraded. It's just a really good laptop. If anything, Thunderbolt will probably be what eventually gets me to upgrade, once devices for it are more widespread.

Ticking sound coming from a .pkg package? Don't let the .bom go off! Inspect it first with Pacifist. Macworld - five mice!
     
OreoCookie
Moderator
Join Date: May 2001
Location: Hilbert space
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Oct 23, 2011, 06:00 PM
 
@CharlesS
You should upgrade when you need to upgrade. I would have kept my first-gen MacBook Pro for another year (I originally wanted to upgrade to a Sandy Bridge quad-core) if I hadn't poured Apple juice over the keyboard which in turn slowly killed the electronics (the external screen went blank 2 months after the incident).

But I object to the expectation that you should be able to keep your computer for at least 6, if not 10 years. That's unrealistic (like you expecting your car to work for 25 years without significant repairs), unless you have very, very low needs and you're lucky in terms of hardware.
I don't suffer from insanity, I enjoy every minute of it.
     
polendo
Mac Enthusiast
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: Monterrey, Mexico
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Oct 23, 2011, 08:06 PM
 
My Peugeot will turn 10 years old next March. I can´t sell the darn thing.. I love it. My iBook G3 700 MHZ gave it away (as in gave it for free) to a friend since though it was working, I was not being productive at all... in other hand I was being slow.

If a piece of hardware is going to make you more productive, on a significant way, just go for it. You will notice when is time to do so.
     
polendo
Mac Enthusiast
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: Monterrey, Mexico
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Oct 24, 2011, 09:52 AM
 
OP: check it out.. new MBPs!
     
SierraDragon
Mac Elite
Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: Truckee, CA
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Oct 24, 2011, 02:17 PM
 
Originally Posted by Nick McEnjoy View Post
The company I am working for is using Windows XP Pro, meaning a 10 yo Windows box can get the jobs done.
The question is what jobs need to get done. In large enterprise where a few specific applications are run with an IT department making it all work there is huge benefit to not changing. In 2001 once IT gets everything tweaked to run on a 2001 OS and 2001 hardware, why change? When hardware fails just replace it; easy.

New OS versions always cause headaches, especially in large groups where everyone has to march in lock-step, so most IT worldwide stayed with XP until 2011. IT is now shifting to Win7 because MS has scheduled the end of XP support. Those enterprise users of Win7 will again avoid upgrading as much as possible - maybe even another decade - because it is most efficient to maintain largely stagnant usages. If MS does not revise its business model look for poor Win8 and maybe even poor Win9 movement into the enterprise space.

E.g. I put in a number of Point Of Sale Systems. The software costs and user training costs to the enterprises were huge while the underlying OS and hardware were meaningless. Once it is working, of course enterprises prefer to stay on the same OS, forever if possible.

Note that a key issue is that those software apps are largely unchanging, or have their changes force-fitted to meet the old OS.

I am using a 4 yo Thinkpad X61 that does not present any signs of deterioration. With this X61, I run Windows 7, MS Office 10, and Visual Studio Express 10 without any problem.
Agreed. Like described above, running nothing but Office and MS freeware developer apps a box may go for at least a decade without upgrading.

The thing is, some folks do things other than run 10 year-old in-house apps, Office and MS freeware. New hardware and OS capabilities are of huge benefit to anyone creating or even running anything to do with photos, music, graphics, video, etc. Productivity for those folks usually falls off dramatically in the 2-4 year time frame.

And (my personal mantra) it can be a case of you don't know what you don't know. Meaning (one example) you may not even dream up the action until the capability to do that action is in hand every day stimulating thought.

MS built Windows tablet PCs a decade ago. But it took modern hardware and Apple UI to stimulate millions of users (including in enterprise) to make tablets really productive.

-Allen
( Last edited by SierraDragon; Oct 24, 2011 at 02:45 PM. )
     
Mojo
Mac Enthusiast
Join Date: Apr 2000
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Oct 25, 2011, 03:45 PM
 
A well-mainained vehicle can last for many years. I have a 1994 Toyota 4X4 extended cab pickup that still runs like a top. I paid it off in 1997. There is no compelling reason for me to spend around $28,000 for a comparable vehicle...

On the other hand, computers tend to "age" a lot faster than a car, depending on how you use the computer. If you stick to the basics and don't feel a need to continuously upgrade software, a Mac can last for years before you need to upgrade. Upgrading becomes necessary when the operating system, RAM, CPU and GPU limits what you want to do with your Mac. Until that happens, enjoy your Mac and the money you are saving by not upgrading.

BTW, Apple currently has refurbished previous-generation 13" MBPs for $929. It's a great deal on a Mac that is comparable to the new model. Unless you need a 100MHz speed-bump and a 500GB drive, it's a good way to save almost $300.

Refurbished MacBook Pro 2.3GHz dual-core Intel i5 - Apple Store (U.S.)

I consider SSDs to be a fad of sorts among Macophiles. It isn't absolutely necessary by any means... If cutting your boot-up time by around 30 seconds and opening apps faster is worth $300+ to you, have at it. My 13" MBP starts up plenty fast running Lion on a standard drive, especially when compared to my Core2Duo Macs running Leopard and Snow Leopard.
     
SierraDragon
Mac Elite
Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: Truckee, CA
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Nov 1, 2011, 08:01 PM
 
Originally Posted by Mojo View Post
...I consider SSDs to be a fad of sorts among Macophiles. It isn't absolutely necessary by any means... If cutting your boot-up time by around 30 seconds and opening apps faster is worth $300+ to you, have at it. My 13" MBP starts up plenty fast running Lion on a standard drive, especially when compared to my Core2Duo Macs running Leopard and Snow Leopard.
I fully disagree. Buying a new box without SSD (or planning for an SSD) is a big mistake. SSD is not some cutesy new feature. SSDs impact overall daily performance more than typical CPU or GPU improvements do, and Apple laptop SSDs have been successful since 2008. They are not bleeding-edge technology.

Note that I do not disavow folks with limited needs or money to spend buying used non-SSD boxes at good prices. Just saying that for new laptops SSDs typically provide more performance value add than stronger CPU, etc.

Performance is a key component - perhaps the key component - of a new computer purchase. And for people with limited funds who do not need top performance an SSD provides HUGE real-world performance enhancement cost effectively.

Real-world, SSDs can literally change workflows:

• When Photoshop, or a browser or other app boots in 3 seconds it is no longer necessary to have a plethora of apps open all the time sucking (sometimes leaking) RAM and system overhead.

• When RAM is topped, page outs occur to the SSD, which is orders of magnitude faster than page outs to a lame 2.5" laptop HDD. E.g. HDD laptop users of Aperture with 2 GB RAM often crash the app, while SSD users of Aperture with 2 GB RAM just experience slowdowns.

• A MBP with SSD takes under 20 seconds to start up. The quick startup allows folks to routinely turn off and restart instead of sleeping. That workflow change routinely clears memory leaks, saves battery, etc.

Every app operates "snappier."

For folks considering larger MBP sizes, the fact that it only costs +$100 to add SSD is a large value-add for the top boxes.

-Allen
( Last edited by SierraDragon; Nov 1, 2011 at 10:34 PM. )
     
Nev
Fresh-Faced Recruit
Join Date: Oct 2011
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Nov 1, 2011, 09:14 PM
 
Originally Posted by Mojo View Post
A well-mainained vehicle can last for many years. I have a 1994 Toyota 4X4 extended cab pickup that still runs like a top. I paid it off in 1997. There is no compelling reason for me to spend around $28,000 for a comparable vehicle...
Definitely true for cars, not so much for computers. Cars haven't changed that much between 1994 and now (yes, cars today are more fuel-efficient and have extras like heated seats, satellite radios, etc. but the engines themselves aren't radically different than they were 17 years ago). If you look at a processor from 1994 (or even 2005) and compare it to a processor now, it's completely different.
In 2005 the top of the line proc was the Intel Pentium 840EE, which was 90nm and based on netburst. It was dual core with HT and ran at 3.2ghz stock. It had approximately 376 million transistors on-die.
In 2011 the top of the line proc is the Intel Core i7-2700K. It's 32nm and based on sandy bridge. It has 4 cores with HT and runs at 3.5ghz stock, 3.9ghz turbo boost. It has approximately 1.16 billion transistors on-die.

Additionally, as your car ages the roads you drive on aren't changing and becoming more challenging and demanding on your hardware, but that is exactly what happens with a computer. Software is constantly updated to keep up with hardware changes and add new features, so if you don't upgrade your computer you won't be able to run new software effectively.
     
And.reg
The Mighty
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: With the seagulls and the lobster rolls
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Nov 9, 2011, 12:49 PM
 
Originally Posted by OreoCookie View Post
That's a very weird attitude, like insisting that your new car has to run for 25 years after purchase.
It damn sure better! I see poor college students who are still using cars from the 80s and they get 30-40 mpg.
I think it's a normal attitude to have.

Originally Posted by OreoCookie View Post
Just that a 10 year-old computer is less useful than a 25 year-old car.
Why are you comparing cars to computers?

Originally Posted by OreoCookie View Post
A computer is a tool to get work done. And that means I need to upgrade every 3-5 years (depending on the circumstances). On my old machine (a 2 GHz 15" first-gen MacBook Pro with 2 GB RAM) using Aperture was a pain. The machine was limiting me. Then I upgraded to a 2010 MacBook Pro with 8 GB RAM which is a lot better.
Well then it would've been better to wait another 3-6 years for the much faster computer to come out so that you don't drop $3000 every few years. As I said, money.
     
Waragainstsleep
Posting Junkie
Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: UK
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Nov 9, 2011, 01:14 PM
 
I think you'll find that modern car engines are much more dependent on their engine management computers than they were in 1994.
I have plenty of more important things to do, if only I could bring myself to do them....
     
SierraDragon
Mac Elite
Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: Truckee, CA
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Nov 9, 2011, 01:45 PM
 
Originally Posted by Andrej View Post
...Well then it would've been better to wait another 3-6 years for the much faster computer to come out so that you don't drop $3000 every few years. As I said, money.
Like Oreo said, "A computer is a tool to get work done." It makes no sense to intentionally use inadequate tools. "...wait another 3-6 years for the much faster computer" means lost productivity (like you said, "money") and added frustration (which decreases creativity, IMO also money).

Often one does not realize how significantly productivity and/or creativity are being compromised until after upgrading, at which time upgrading becomes an "oh wow" event.

Obviously some basic tasks allow long life cycles (like an insurance clerk running a DB on Win XP, for instance; or someone who only does Office-type tasks). But for most folks doing anything modern, or involving images, video, compiling, graphics, etc. it is way cost-effective to run higher end hardware and upgrade regularly (~2-4 years is common for MBPs, ~3-5 years for MPs, but cash flow also impacts).

If one is not using a computer as a tool to get work done then the computer is just a toy, in which case the totally arbitrary life cycle of toys applies and could either be change out with every speed bump or change out when it fails, depending on how one feels about one's toys.
( Last edited by SierraDragon; Nov 9, 2011 at 02:02 PM. )
     
OreoCookie
Moderator
Join Date: May 2001
Location: Hilbert space
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
Nov 9, 2011, 03:03 PM
 
Originally Posted by Andrej View Post
It damn sure better! I see poor college students who are still using cars from the 80s and they get 30-40 mpg.
Yeah, I've sat in those and I've owned one (and I doubt they get a gas mileage of 40 mpg). Most of them were in desperate need of repair, they wouldn't pass an inspection in Germany -- for good reason, they're a danger to yourself and others. I do the same with my bike (I just invested another 450 € in it to replace components that have been worn down).
Originally Posted by Andrej View Post
Why are you comparing cars to computers?
Because both are tools to me, and my tools need to be sharp and in good condition to work reliably.
Originally Posted by Andrej View Post
Well then it would've been better to wait another 3-6 years for the much faster computer to come out so that you don't drop $3000 every few years. As I said, money.
You can't expect most components to last that long. Even if they did, I'd be severely limited with a 2003 machine: I couldn't make the wedding book for my best friend as a wedding gift, watch TV online or do a lot of my work (which relies on up-to-date versions of a lot of *nix tools, in particular LaTeX). So no, it wouldn't be better.

Also, if I don't save up money for a replacement in time, I won't be able to buy the machine that I need. So instead, I know what my update cycle is like from experience and when it's time, I can plunk down the cash for a new machine. Which is the machine I want and not the best I could afford at the time. I no longer have the strong urge to upgrade every time a new generation of MacBook Pros are released, but I do feel the urge when my current machine limits me (my old first-gen MacBook Pro had only 2 GB RAM, way too little for Aperture; my new dslr spits out 20 MB RAW files instead of 8 MB RAW files, they'd kill the poor thing).
I don't suffer from insanity, I enjoy every minute of it.
     
   
Thread Tools
 
Forum Links
Forum Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts
BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Top
Privacy Policy
All times are GMT -4. The time now is 04:40 PM.
All contents of these forums © 1995-2017 MacNN. All rights reserved.
Branding + Design: www.gesamtbild.com
vBulletin v.3.8.8 © 2000-2017, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.,