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PostPosted: Tue Jan 08, 2019 11:32 am 
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What should I buy?

Mr H’s MBP 2007 continues to be slow on Google maps - he’s a trooper, but I’m tired of his sighs and wasted time. An upgrade to El Cap and maxed out RAM hasn’t helped.
We are recently back from autumn foliage Japan and he is busy planning a cherry blossom trip.

I’m thinking to get him a used Macofalltrades MBP. Macofalltrades is where we got the traveling MBP and they offer a 2 year warranty purchase which allays somewhat my fear about buying used. (You might recall that the first 13” MBP they sent was DOA but they replaced it [with free shipping] with a great working machine)

If I recall from what I’ve read here, the Retina unibody MBP’s have glued in batteries which aren’t the best option if they can be avoided. Is my memory right?

I looked at 15” MBPs here:
https://www.macofalltrades.com/shop/app ... t=priceasc

My iMac is a 2011, bought new, as is the MBP 13” traveling MBP. All now run El Cap but I have to update these 2 to High Sierra, their final destination.

I see 2 2011s
It looks like the main choices are between
15.4-inch LED-backlit Hi-Res antiglare widescreen TFT display, 1680x1050 resolution
and 15.4-inch LED-backlit glossy widescreen TFT display, 1440x900 resolution

And 2.4GHz
OR 2.5GHz
Intel Core i7.

It looks like I can add this cheaply to either - is it useful? In what way beyond the 750GB serial ATA HDD? (sorry to be dumb on this info)
120GB Solid-State Drive (LIMITED-TIME: $19)

But I don’t see how to get either of them with more than 4GB of memory and I can’t find that macofalltrades will do that for me.
I know we tried increased RAM in his current MBP, but it didn’t really help, though it allowed us to install El Cap.
Is 4GB OK/enough with a faster processor?

It’s mostly Google maps - and sometimes some sites on Firefox- that get Mr H groaning and twiddling his thumbs. He's tried the iMac and there is no comparison to the speed of Google and internet between the 2 - tortoise and hare I guess sums it up. We are both on the same internet connection in the house, though I am ethernet and he is WiFi.

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 08, 2019 2:11 pm 
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With an eye on keeping systems as far into the future as possible, we know that Mojave requires a minimum of a 2012 system. This means that once High Sierra is off life support in 2 years it will be unsafe to continue using a 2011 system, or at least any built-in software on a 2011 system (e.g. Firefox OK, Safari not). Who knows what 10.15 will require but there's a chance you'd have compatibility with it too.

I'm really not a big fan of the Retina MacBooks which were introduced in late 2011 or early 2012 (I forget). However 2012 was a special year because they made both Retina MacBooks and non-Retina MacBooks in all flavors (barring 17 inch, which was discontinued in 2012). After 2012 they essentially discontinued all non-Retina MacBooks except for the 13" model which continued to be available all the way up to 2016 (though still labeled 2012) thanks to Educational and Enterprise customers putting their foot down.

Unfortunately the only 2012 MacBooks on that site are Retina MacBooks. They have faster flash-based storage at the downside of costing more, especially for larger capacities. The upside is that the RAM and storage are still upgradable in 2012, later Retina MacBooks took both away (so if anything fails you have to visit a brick & mortar Apple store to have the motherboard replaced).


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 08, 2019 4:56 pm 
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I'm pretty happy with my 13" 2015 retina model. It's very tough, has a familiar keyboard, is very light, is quite fast (i5 version), and the SSD is very nice provided you don't need to store too much. The RAM is soldered, but the SSD is replaceable. The battery isn't easily user replaceable, but should last several more years. Apple did a good job on engineering long lifetimes on these batteries. When it needs to be replaced it will be more work than on an older system, but meh, I can handle it: heat it up a little bit, pry it out. (I've heard you can dissolve the glue, but have never tried.) The screen is fantastic. It should support contemporary versions of OS X for several more years.

My housemate has a 2017 13" MBP...and I think I like mine better. Hers weighs less, but I always worry about problems with the keyboard, the touchbar is a gimmick, and there still aren't enough USB-C devices that those ports are actually beneficial. Plus the whole "replace your motherboard if your drive dies" issue is a bit galling. Oh, and it costs more.

- Anonymous


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 08, 2019 7:24 pm 
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Thank you both.
I am glad I didn't rush out and buy either of the 2011s after reading what you say.

I hadn't really thought this through. Having 2 2011s that I know will be obsolete soon, why did I think getting another 2011 was smart??

After High Sierra runs its course, (even though we are still running El Cap - my bad,) we'll be needing to upgrade it seems.
Though it sounds like if we continue to use Firefox we more secure than we would be with Safari which we never use - We do use Chrome sometimes when Ff jut won't work on a site.

Is Chrome safer than Safari also?

Retina with glued battery troubled me - esp since I remember reading critical comments about it here. I assume my mac house call doc could put in a new battery if need be. Small dog and best buy are my only brick and mortar choices here - both are slow.

Does it look like 2015 is the year to look at? Or 2012 non-Retina if they ever show up as used.
Retina is the only choice now beyond the 2012's mentioned by MB?
What about SDD - is that the only/best choice?
RAM - soldered? So what is comes with is what it is?
Since the whole thing is much faster than anything we have now, how much RAM is enough/necessary - aka what should I be looking for?

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 08, 2019 8:02 pm 
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On the RAM for 2011 MBPs it easy to do yourself, Install Video...
https://eshop.macsales.com/installvideo ... ookPro8-2/

RAM...
https://eshop.macsales.com/upgrades/mac ... ghz/memory


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 09, 2019 11:49 am 
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Yeah, on all the retina models the amount of RAM it comes with is the amount it shall forever have. No upgrades. The solid state drives can theoretically be replaced, but it's probably not something you should plan on doing. The right amount of RAM depends on what you do. I future-proofed my machine by getting 16 GB, but for many people 8 GB will be fine. My rule of thumb is "more than you have right now" to be on the safe side.

I'm much more familiar with the 13" retina than the 15" since that's the one I've got. I'm still nearsighted enough to comfortably run the 13" screen at its native resolution, so the larger screen seemed unnecessary. Most people can't believe I can read anything at 227 pixels per inch, but I think it's great since a) I can, and b) that's the same pixel count as an old 30" monitor.

A 2012 non-retina MBP is a tolerable choice, and will be much cheaper than a 2015 retina model, but they're a lot heavier and bulkier, with a worse screen (lower resolution and not IPS based, so colors will shift depending on viewing angle -- just like your current systems), and a bit slower. You can, however, easily replace the hard drive and upgrade RAM to 16 GB.

Be sure also to check Apple's refurb site. They have a full year Apple warranty and may be priced similarly to the used market, but selection is very spotty and varies day-to-day and hour-to-hour.

- Anonymous


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 09, 2019 12:36 pm 
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I bought my daughter a 2012 MBP without the retina display back in 2012. She used it through college and still uses it daily. It has been relatively problem free with the one exception that I had to replace the data cable to the hard drive. That is a fairly common issue and the solution is easy and quite inexpensive. At the time I replaced the cable I also swapped out the HD for an SSD and maxed out the ram. That made a very noticeable difference. This model is the 13 inch mid 2012 (9,2) model. It is kind of a tank, solid and heavy. Easy to get into and repair. I believe it was the last of it's type to still include a Slot-loading 8x SuperDrive (DVD±R DL/DVD±RW/CD-RW). That may or may not interest you.

The model she has also has a 2.5 ghz core i5. I would go for the 2.9 ghz core i7 version if available. She is currently running Mojave with no noticeable issues, but it's hard to know what the useful lifespan on this unit will be going forward. I like the 13" display aand it is very clear and bright although not as nice as the retina display.

Even though I really like this laptop and it has been a good choice for us, if I were to buy a used one now I would have to consider the 2015 model Anon mentions as it should have a longer supported lifespan. Hope this helps!


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 10, 2019 2:11 pm 
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I don't know about your eyesight, but with mine the Retina would be a compete waste unless I was viewing the screen with reading glasses. I've seen one and it doesn't look more vibrant or amazing than the normal screen to me. IPS is nice but meh if I'm mobile I'm not exactly going to be viewing it from a huge range of angles, just sitting in front of it, typing away, which the non-IPS screens are certainly capable of handling. I looked at a 4K TV next to a 1080p TV during the latest holiday season and honestly aside from colors (the 4K was a manufacturer I would never buy, the 1080p was one I would consider, which was the real difference) I couldn't really tell when standing a few feet away. If I got close sure but who the hell is going to plant their face that close to a ginormous TV?

I guess the Retina MacBooks are non-RAM upgradeable, only the storage is upgradeable in older models, with the newest ones being a complete goddamn travesty that nobody should ever buy for any reason whatsoever. Huh. I think my memories of the MBP got confused with the redesigned iMacs, which have soldered on RAM now but in their initial incarnations had upgradeable RAM... although you need a glue kit because they're no longer held together with screws & magnets because zomg they have to be thinner at the edge - too bad they're actually thicker in the middle than the old models while simultaneously managing to have worse ventilation. Apple. (heavy sigh) What happened to you? You used to be cool. (and not so figuratively)

Still, given that there's limited upgrade options for Retina MacBooks I would stay away from them. With the 2012s you can ditch the optical drive and stick two SSDs or SSD + HD inside the system plus 16GB. Only real downside is the battery life is going to be worse, but that's a use case. Do you need extreme runtimes without plugging it in? Or do you normally plug in with only brief stints on battery? The entry level 2012 i5 CPU is quad-core, whereas on all but the latest models the CPUs are limited to dual cores, even with an i7 (which is part of why they last longer on battery).

As for what you were thinking, Mrs. H, I bet you didn't pay much attention to Mojave, which is when they announced they wouldn't support pre-2012 systems anymore. Up until High Sierra you were generally okay if you had late 2009 or later, but end of next year will come awfully fast for a newly purchased system. Though you could always put Linux or Windows on it and use it for another 10+ years because they don't have a vested interest in forcing you to buy a new system for no goddamn reason. (/grumpy)


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 16, 2019 7:19 am 
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Sorry it's taken me so long to get back.
We are still pondering and did nothing.

Waterfox solved the deathly slow problem with Google maps for Mr H and we had to turn our attention elsewhere for the time being.

Maybe later this spring I'll try to sort out something new for him.

For now - thanks all - keep tuned in.
I'll be back with further pestiferous questions on this before I get it solved.

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PostPosted: Tue Mar 19, 2019 3:53 pm 
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In case I wasn't clear before, 13" Mid-2012 MacBook Pros w/ optical drives were manufactured not just in 2012 but all the way up to 2016. This model being made for so many years is part of why Apple hasn't put it on their "vintage/obsolete" list like the other 2012 models, and won't for another 4 years.

If the RAM is upgraded to 16GB and you stick an SSD inside it's quite competitive with current models in every aspect except battery life, but I almost never use mine on battery. It isn't as thin as the others, but there's some pretty respectable conversations going on that laptops have become too thin to be used for much other than web browsing, since they've lost the ability to exhaust enough heat to be used for more complex tasks, leading to thermal slowdowns and shutdowns after a couple years when their exceedingly thin passages are choked with dust. And that's partially Apple's fault for choosing form over function, but also other manufacturers fault since so many of them are following Apple into thermal hell.


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