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You are here: MacNN Forums > Hardware - Troubleshooting and Discussion > Mac Notebooks > How long do you normally keep your Mac notebooks?

How long do you normally keep your Mac notebooks?
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TribeLeader
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Jan 26, 2009, 11:54 AM
 
I'm just curious how long you keep your Mac notebooks.

I bought my first (and only, so far) Mac notebook (a G4 PowerBook) over 5 years ago. I'm planning to replace it with a new MacBook Pro in a few months (maybe after the next revision and the release of Snow Leopard). On the one hand, I'm ready for a new one *yesterday*, but on the other hand, I like to wait as long as I can.

How long do you normally keep yours before upgrading/replacing?
     
Koralatov
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Jan 26, 2009, 01:09 PM
 
I still use a 466 Clamshell iBook quite frequently, which is about eight years old now, My main machine is a 2.2 Santa Rosa MacBook Pro. Performance -wise, I couldn’t be happier, and I think it’ll be more than capable of running Snow Leopard. As such, my upgrade plan is a new MacBook Pro in three to four years time.
     
solofx7
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Jan 26, 2009, 02:34 PM
 
I have ugraded waaaaaay to fast, too many times.
Anytime there is a new "major" revision, i upgrade.
Not because I have to, bu because I want to.
If I see a big enough benefit of the increase or case change, to fix issues I have, I do the upgrade.
Me personally, if I can justify the money, I have no problem upgrading.
Mostly because with mac, you know what you are getting unless you get a dud, but those are few and far in between.
Generally speaking I use the mac side of my computer for everything that the PC side for just gaming.
That being said, the hardware sometimes pushes the purchase for gaming/screen stuff.
The mac side can generally run a long time/5 - 6 yeats without an upgrade.
the mac software that I use has not "needed" to be upgraded until the os/ilife/or iwork can take advantage of it.
I think that the last time that happened was ilife 08 taking much better use of the intel chips, and or better videocards.
so i would say 4 - 6 years possibly.
As you can tell people generally get longer.
Sorry to ramble, but there is a lot that goes into a purchase for me, though mac purchases are generally easy.
iMac 27inch 3.4 i7 16gb ram, MacBook Air 11 inch i5 128gb, iMac 27inch 2.8 i7 8gb ram, MacBook Pro 17 inch 2.66 i7, 4gb ram 500gb HDD Seagate XT,
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darkmatter
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Jan 26, 2009, 03:05 PM
 
Originally Posted by TribeLeader View Post
How long do you normally keep yours before upgrading/replacing?
cool thread!

Mac notebook = Pismo, main mobile computer.
Time used yet = 8.5 years
Upgrade candidate = current Macbook Air.
Replace dream = Macbook Air 15" no glossy

Best Regards
     
Maflynn
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Jan 26, 2009, 03:27 PM
 
Normally i keep my laptops around two years. I find that by selling after 2 years I get a fairly decent amount which I use towards my next purchase. I'm probably going to hold onto my mbp for a bit longer this time
~Mike
     
B Gallagher
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Jan 26, 2009, 04:14 PM
 
I keep my computers until they die, or until my circumstances change so that I need a new one. For example, my first computer was a desktop (PC unfortunately). I then switched to a PB when I went overseas on exchange for a year. The the backlight on my PB died, and I used it as a desktop replacement with an external monitor for a year. Then I went overseas again for research, and needed a new laptop. So I got a MBP.

Like Maflynn, I'll probably be keeping my MBP around a while longer this time.
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JKT
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Jan 26, 2009, 04:24 PM
 
5 years and counting so far... however, my 'upgrade' was to an iMac about a year and a half ago, but I keep both running together.

When I first got it, my Powerbook was much faster than my desktop, and now my iMac is much faster than the Powerbook. Once the iMac starts showing its age, or if my Powerbook dies on me, I'll 'upgrade' to a new laptop and run it in parallel with the iMac again until it's time to replace that with a new desktop. For the new laptop, that'll probably be in the next two years*. By that time, perhaps laptops really will just be desktops in a smaller shell rather than underpowered, underspec'ed siblings.

* Assuming, of course, that my world has not already collapsed into a murky puddle of economic ruin beforehand.
     
fisherKing
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Jan 26, 2009, 04:33 PM
 
i do about 2 years as well; like to sell my notebook with a year of applecare left, increases it's value.
i started with a 2400c (one of my faves), then a pismo, another pismo, a 12" 1.33g, a 12" 1.5...and now a 2.4g macbook. unless the next revision macbook has a better screen and firewire (no, am not holding my breath), will continue the 2-year plan...
"At first, there was Nothing. Then Nothing inverted itself and became Something.
And that is what you all are: inverted Nothings...with potential" (Sun Ra)
     
Voch
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Jan 26, 2009, 04:48 PM
 
Now that I rely on my MacBook more than ever I'm starting to keep them as long as I have AppleCare...so that's three years.

This weekend I gave my Rev. A MacBook 13" to my dad with a few months of AppleCare left on it and plan to keep my current unibody MacBook 13" for three years from, well, last Monday. My machine before the white MacBook was a TiBook 667/DVI which I used for almost four years before selling it to my cousin.

The last few upgrades I've been lucky enough to hold out for major updates before purchasing: G4->Intel and plastic->unibody. The TiBook purchase was because I found a buyer for my previous iBook/500/DVD and the excellent refurbished deal I got on it ($1599 if I recall correctly).

Voch
     
iREZ
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Jan 26, 2009, 05:16 PM
 
after a few calculations my avg has been about 2.5 years and regrettably sold every notebook to purchase the following notebook with exception to my most recent purchase (previous mbp i had took a spill and wont make me anything if i sell it so i keep it to goof off in ubuntu 15 minutes at a time before it overheats due to a busted heat sink or something...:shrug: ).
NOW YOU SEE ME! 2.4 MBP and 2.0 MBP (running ubuntu)
     
Simon
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Jan 26, 2009, 05:38 PM
 
I usually buy every generation of every MB and MBP. I keep the old ones around when I buy a new one, but I usually switch my main work Mac to the new generation shortly after every update.

The only reason I held on to my current 2.4 GHz MBP is because the Early 2008 models didn't offer any incentive to upgrade and I decided to hold off getting the rev A unibody. The unibody is incredibly tempting and I will get myself one as soon as rev B is released.
     
ajprice
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Jan 26, 2009, 06:30 PM
 
This MacBook is my first laptop, I've had it nearly 2 years now. First Mac was a Performa 6400 for Uni in 1996 and kept til 2001, I've still got my dead G4 QS in my bedroom gathering dust and waiting for me to decide what to do with it (dead PSU). No plans to upgrade at the moment.

It'll be much easier if you just comply.
     
BigBadWolf
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Jan 26, 2009, 06:36 PM
 
I have bought (well received as a gift from my dad) a new laptop about every 3 years. He buys himself a new laptop and desktop about the same. Also, he replace my mom's and sister's desktops every three years as well. He keeps all of the old machines too, so his office's closet looks like a Mac museum.
     
sdilley14
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Jan 26, 2009, 06:40 PM
 
I usually switch machines every year or so. I just get itchy and want to try something different. It has never had anything to do with lack of performance or anything like that. Every machine I've had has been quite adequate for my needs. I went from a 12" PowerBook (awesome machine), to a BlackBook, to a CD MBP, to a white MacBook, to my most recent machine, C2D MBP. Aaaaaand of course I'm dying to get the new rev. MBP. Ahhhh, the grass is always greener...
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EndlessMac
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Jan 26, 2009, 07:29 PM
 
It depends on whether I think my computer is too slow for the softwares I am using. Some of the newer software do require a faster computer for an enjoyable experience. Having the minimum computer requirements usually doesn't make for a pleasant experience.

So I guess how fast I upgrade depends on what softwares I'm using. For example, when I was younger I used to play a lot computer games so I upgraded my computer almost every year but I did some of the upgrades myself so it was cheaper to do so. I definitely don't upgrade that often anymore.

Originally Posted by Maflynn View Post
Normally i keep my laptops around two years. I find that by selling after 2 years I get a fairly decent amount which I use towards my next purchase.
That is a good point. After about 2 years a computer's resale price goes way down. If a person knows they are going to upgrade then it would be good to sell off their old computer before the resale value goes down. It makes buying a new computer that much cheaper.
     
Michael Jolly
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Jan 26, 2009, 07:47 PM
 
for a laptop around two years

my ibook lasted three 2004-2007

Macbook 2007-2009

its now been replaced by the air,

I find two years is normal for a mac laptop
Macbook Pro 2.4GHZ 13inch, LED Cinema Display, Iphone 4G 32gb and Ipad 64gb Wifi

Apple addict Since 2004
     
gudrummer
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Jan 26, 2009, 07:56 PM
 
Two years,depending on what's being released... right now i have a 2.4 17" from mid 2007 that does exactly what i need.I'm personally waiting for the Quad core chips,even if it takes one more year to happen,although the 8 gig of RAM option makes a lot o difference for some of the Shake stuff i do......
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ibook_steve
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Jan 26, 2009, 08:01 PM
 
I worked at Apple and "got" one of the high end machines of what I was working on, so during that time, I was replacing machines about every year. In case anyone is curious:

Wallstreet 233MHz: 1998-2000
iBook (neon green!) 466 MHz (I think): 2000-2001
original white iBook 500 MHz: 2001-2002
white iBook 1 GHz (I think): 2002-2003
12" PB G4 (1 GHz; I think): 2003-2004
12" PB G4 (1.33 GHz): 2004-2007 (now used by my wife)
15" MBP (2.33 GHz): 2007-present

And I couldn't be happier using any of them!

Steve
Celebrating 10 years and 4000 posts on MacNN!
     
EndlessMac
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Jan 26, 2009, 08:12 PM
 
I would like to add that it also depends on how much the performance has been improved. If it's a worthy upgrade then I might just do it anyway, but if it's just a minor performance update then I'll usually pass.

Usually waiting 2 years will give me that leap in performance I'm looking for but if not then I'll just wait longer. Other reasons for early buying are for new worthwhile features such as the LED screens, etc or other things that don't necessarily relate to speed improvements. I don't care about gimmicky new features that I don't have much use for.
     
calverson
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Jan 27, 2009, 05:16 AM
 
I had the last-revision Prismo from 2001 - 2005, (with an 20" iMac purchased in-between), and then I got the Original 15" MacBook Pro (1.83 Yonah), and about 4 months ago I got the 17" Penryn MacBook Pro.

This is something I was actually going to post a thread on... At my office there are two people using icebooks, and they are really happy with them. I love the fact that I still see people in coffee shops with 4+ year old Macintosh portables, and they still look "cool" - whereas I rarely see people with any other notebooks of that age.
     
cbrfanatic
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Jan 27, 2009, 05:17 AM
 
Since 2005 i have bought 3, kept 2, and gave 1 away.
I am going to turn my 1.67Ghz 15" G4 into a makeshift Apple TV or some other cool project, havnt figured it out yet.
MPB 2.8GHz, 4GB Ram, 320GB HDD
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slugslugslug
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Jan 27, 2009, 09:00 AM
 
I had a Lombard (G3 400 MHz, same form factor as Pismo, but with SCSI and no FireWire) and the last Ti model (1 GHz, SuperDrive), each of which I kept until they were unbearably slow (to me, at least) and malfunctioning enough that I just gave them away.

Now I have a MacBook that's about a year old. I'm hoping to actually sell this one while it's still covered under AppleCare. If I do it while the Duke computer store has a back-to-school special, I can get their 3-year warranty that's better than Apple's, covering drink spills and whatnot.

I used to always just buy more computer than I needed and keep it 'til it died, but I'm starting to realize that buying in the midrange and selling before too long is a way better idea.
     
Atheist
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Jan 27, 2009, 10:09 AM
 
I keep mine until they are stolen or damaged beyond repair. Which happens much too frequently.
     
calverson
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Jan 27, 2009, 10:19 AM
 
Oh I usually keep mine even once they have been stolen.
     
jaskets
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Jan 27, 2009, 04:52 PM
 
In the past I have always bought the most Mac that I could afford so basically one step below the top of the line. Of course things have changed in the past 7 years since I bought my last Mac (Power Mac G4 with mirrored doors) . This is usually about the time that I find my system is getting too out dated to run some software that I need. If I upgraded my OS I could probably get a few more years out of it and I think I am about ready to do that. Though I think I will not buy a G5 or whatever is the latest "Power" model. I might go the laptop route if I can easily use the large monitor and keyboard/mouse I have on my desk or I might go the Mac Mini route. I am a graphic designer/illustrator and while I use Creative Suite I just don't tax my processor that much.

So, to sum things up. I keep my Mac until it dies or I completely out grow it which usually is about 7 years.

Tony
     
Gavin
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Jan 27, 2009, 06:55 PM
 
I got 5 years out of my iBook before it really was getting too slow to run the latest stuff, then I gave it to my mom who got another 2.5 years out of it before the "Lemonade Incident"

Current Macbook is going fine about 3 years in. The latest laptops look nice but there is nothing about this one that is a problem yet - nothing is at all slow, etc.

My dad has a PowerBook 1400c sitting in the garage that still works fine, It's just too slow to be useful. On the other hand a couple of months ago we were able to use it to fix a neighbor's windows data problem because it had a built in floppy drive. Not bad for a 13 year old computer.
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Ted L. Nancy
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Jan 28, 2009, 10:53 AM
 
Pismo- 6 months; TiBook- 12 months; iBook G3- 7 years (still own it); 15"MBP- 1 year; 17"MBP- 10 months; Unibody- since they came out..
10.7.1 on Mac Pro 8x2.8
     
magicbumone
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Jan 28, 2009, 01:45 PM
 
I upgrade way to often! But I always get a great deal on my Mac. So, when I am ready to upgrade I usually make money off of my old Mac (If you can call it old, less than a year old) computer. Just thinking back now. . . I bought a MacBook Pro little less than a year ago, then got a Black MacBook (free from Apple) 8 months ago, then just last month I got a 2.53GHz MacBook Pro, and I should be getting a new Aluminum 2.0GHz MacBook (free from Apple) in the mail in the next few days. It's great working for Apple!
     
EndlessMac
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Jan 28, 2009, 06:08 PM
 
Originally Posted by magicbumone View Post
It's great working for Apple!
Well your case is different and I would be surprised if you didn't get an update often since you are working for apple. I would love to get a free computer.

I would also expect an apple employee to have the most recent stuff so that if I need help they can give me their personal opinion based on hands on experience. I'm still jealous though.
     
SpaceMonkey
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Jan 28, 2009, 06:26 PM
 
I've only had one Mac notebook so far (PowerBook G4), but I've stuck with it for almost 4 years now.

"One ticket to Washington, please. I have a date with destiny."
     
Jens Peter
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Jan 29, 2009, 12:10 PM
 
I'm also holding on to my 12" Powerbook, but it will soon be replaced by a Macbook.
     
Pomar
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Jan 29, 2009, 12:53 PM
 
I got my PowerBook G4 17" five years and one month ago and I'm still using it! Great screen. Wonderful machine... (only 4 % of original battery left, though).
     
Rolando_jose
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Jan 29, 2009, 11:32 PM
 
iMac graphite: 9 years

Color Classsic: uhhh...

Powerbook 1400: 11 years
     
TribeLeader  (op)
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Jan 30, 2009, 03:26 PM
 
Thanks for all the replies!

I *could* prolong the life of my PB IF I maxed out the RAM and upgraded to Leopard. But, at this point, rather than putting money into RAM and a new OS, I'd rather put it into a new computer.

Plus I LOVE the new MBPs!
     
bodhimind
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Jan 31, 2009, 10:41 PM
 
Generally until the applecare runs out or until I can't stand it anymore and just have to have the newest model.
     
dblankenbaker
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Feb 2, 2009, 12:43 PM
 
I wonder if there is a difference based on a user's career? My degree is in Computer Science and I've been working in IT for 25 years, but I milk my HW as long as I can (5-7 years). When it finally dies or gets too slow for my liking, I replace it with the best bang for the buck. On the other hand, my non-techie mother and sisters buy the latest and greatest Macs at least every other year.

I currently have a PowerBook G4 12" that I love! I maxed out the memory and bought a new battery last year, but now the trackpad button is acting flaky. I just ordered a faster hard drive to install when I take it apart clean the trackpad.

Whenever I find a Macbook 13.3" Unibody, 2.4 gHz w/128ssd under $2,000, I'll probably pull the trigger and relegate the Powerbook to a life of retirement.

David
     
Brien
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Feb 2, 2009, 01:51 PM
 
I upgrade about every 2 years. I started with an iBook G4 in 2004, replaced that with a BlackBook in '06, and now have a unibody MBP.
     
RMXO
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Feb 2, 2009, 08:49 PM
 
i also tend to upgrade every two years on avg. Check my sig for my current Mac.
MacBook Pro 15" Unibody | iPhone 16GB 3G
     
Drakino
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Feb 3, 2009, 03:31 PM
 
I'm averaging almost 3 years between my two Mac laptops. I had a Powerbook G4 that I sold during the Intel transition, and bought a MacBook Pro. The MBP served as my only computer, where as the Powerbook was just a supplement. I ended up buying a Mac Pro last year, so the laptop is once again a supplement. I currently don't feel a strong need to replace it yet, so I'll probably just wait till it either breaks, or doesn't do something I want it to.
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ajprice
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Feb 5, 2009, 11:10 AM
 
I know the chipset, graphics, case etc. are different, but my Macbook is a 2.16GHz Core 2 Duo. The current Macbook is 2.0 or 2.4GHz. My Macbook is good for a while yet, if I do get a new Mac anytime soon it would be a desktop.

It'll be much easier if you just comply.
     
maxx9photo
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Feb 11, 2009, 11:02 AM
 
About 3 years,my first powerbook 12 served me from 2004-2007 and I do still have it. I upgraded the MBP 2.2 ever since, my next purchase will be 17 MBP (lusted for the batt life and non glossy option).
     
angelmb
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Feb 11, 2009, 12:49 PM
 
I started with a PowerBook Pismo 500MHz, then a PowerBook 17" 1.0 GHz and now a MacBook Pro Unibody 2.4 GHz. All of them revision A models, oh the jitters.
     
TheoCryst
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Feb 11, 2009, 02:22 PM
 
I started with a G4 iBook about four years ago, which got sold to my sister after I upgraded to a white MacBook about a year later. Now the iBook's going to my mother, my sister got the MacBook, and I'm on a new MBP. I'll be keeping this one for much longer, though.

iBook G4: 1 year
White MacBook: 3 years
Unibody MacBook Pro: we'll see...

Any ramblings are entirely my own, and do not represent those of my employers, coworkers, friends, or species
     
Trygve
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Feb 14, 2009, 04:47 PM
 
I do software development and normally keep them 2 years. Right now I have a 17" (late 2008), a 17" 2.33 (purchased January 2007), and a 15" Unibody. I'll keep the extra 17" for testing with Snow Leopard, but it is not a primary machine any longer.
     
0157988944
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Feb 14, 2009, 05:27 PM
 
My numbers are really skewed given that I spent last year swapping out Macs to find the right fit, but:

White MacBook: 4 weeks
Other white MacBook (alongside an iMac): 3 days. really.
MacBook Pro: 11 months, no plans to upgrade so far.
     
nickw311
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Feb 16, 2009, 03:27 PM
 
MB 2.0 bought in June of 2006 and has been my only computer that whole time.

Upgraded the RAM and HD

Plan on either replacing it in 6 - 9 months or buying an iMac desktop to supplement it.


EDIT: my "career" is a full time law student. My computer goes with me everywhere; class for notes & tests, vacations, visit family, etc. It has been used hard. I'm graduating in 3 months and have a job where the computer will be provided. My need to have a good laptop will not be as high anymore.
27" iMac C2D
     
TailsToo
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Feb 16, 2009, 09:33 PM
 
iBook 300MHz - 2 Years.
iBook 500MHz Dual USB - 3 years.
PB G4 Ti 1GHz - 2 years
PB G4 AL 1.67GHz - 1.75 years
MPB 2.33GHz - 2.5 years and counting.
     
jogi
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Feb 16, 2009, 11:43 PM
 
About once every year and a half. Went from a MBP 2.16 C2D (1.5 years) to an MBA (1 year) and looking at the new MB/MPBs now..
Macbook Pro Unibody 2.4Ghz
     
Cold Warrior
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Feb 17, 2009, 12:45 AM
 
Wallstreet PowerBook G3 - 3.5 years
Titanium PowerBook G4 - 2.5 years
12" PowerBook G4 - 3.5 years
MacBook Pro (late 2006) - Oct 2006 to present

I plan on replacing it with a MB unibody in the fall if the 2nd gen models are out by then.
     
ginoledesma
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Feb 19, 2009, 02:55 AM
 
iBook G4 12" - 4 years (logic board failure)
PowerBook G4 12" - 3 years (stolen)
MacBook 13" - 2 years (gave away as gift)
MacBook Pro 15" - 2 years; currently used, this replaced all other computers I had

No plans on replacing mine. I usually switch only out of necessity.
     
 
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