The next MacBook Pro replacement should be...?


Need some suggestions from people more techy than me…

So, on March 31st, my 2012 MacBook 13" goes out of warranty. I’ll be going in to have my R key replaced, and ask about a broken cord wing on my MagSafe connector brick. Now, I’ve kept this in really, really good condition. No scuffs, no dings, no scratches. Nothing. It’s running the max 16GBs of RAM, RAID 0 SSDs, and the 10.13.4 Beta 3 is running even better than 10.13.3 was running. But the one place it fails, I have to be honest, is the screen. Even a year ago the screen didn’t feel QUITE so outdated or small, but I’m increasingly using work and union laptops with tiny bezel, matte finish, higher resolution screens (even if the physical screen size is smaller, often it’s higher resolution). And that isn’t something that be swapped out, obviously. So while I am not planning to replace the MacBook immediately, I think I can finally see the end of the line for my use of it coming, even if it takes a year or two or more.

To that end, I’m trying to evaluate my options. I despise the idea of soldered components. I’m strongly considering a 2011 or 2012 15" or 17", maybe the 15" with the Matte Finish and silver bezel? But I’m also considering looking outside of Apple entirely, and looking at some PC laptops that might be, ahem, friendly to macOS, if you catch my meaning here. Hard budget of around $1200-1300 AU (roughly $1000 US or 100,000 yen).


Avoid the 2011 15" and 17" machines like the plague. It’s not a matter of if the GPU fails, but when, and a lot of those machines are now reaching their time. Even machines that have had a previous Logic Board replacement are equally as susceptible to failure considering Apple was just patching up the replacement boards to last a while longer.

2012" 15" Non-Retina wasn’t anywhere near as failure prone, but this series wasn’t available in a 17" model.


Okay, so I’m looking at the 2012 15" Non-Retina with i7 in 2.6GHz or 2.7GHz with matte display… if I can find one? What am I looking at cost-wise here? I’d be repopulating it with my own 16GB of ram and my own Samsung 850 Evo SSDs.

Like this?


I have one of these. Bought it knowing the issues (having had one die in the past). I wanted it for the screen for a project onsite (for a technical writing short term contract). It’s a great machine, and I run it with the discrete GPU disabled all the time to prolong its life thanks to gfxCardStatus. :wink:

There were still GPU issues with the NVIDIA GeForce GT 650M, but agree not as pervasive. There was a replacement program for them wasn’t there? Or was that just on the retina machines?


What’s one of those worth vs a 2013 Retina 15" model? (which is the model I’m still running).

Sure the RAM is hard soldered, but you can get 16GB anyway and the SSD can be upgraded (although not as cheaply as being able to throw in your own SATA SSD). Mine still has a factory 512GB unit in it which I might update one day… although with a NAS I just store off the bulk of my stuff anyway.

The 2015 Model is the ultimate version of this form factor and the last of the older style keyboards too, although they are still worth a decent chunk of change.


The 15-inch retina would be worth more for sure. Probably in the ballpark of $1400-$1600 depending on condition - in part because the new ones are so bloody expensive. The 17-inch on the other hand, is way heavier, as it’s the old unibody with 2.5-inch HDD and Superdrive + ethernet, etc. I’d class the 2011 as “old world” and the Retina as “new world” in one sense. I reckon the 17-inch I have, which is top of the line, antiglare, etc. would be worth no more than $8-900 these days.

How much more the retina is worth depends if it’s the early or late 2013 model - the latter being much more desirable as it’s got the 750M and better integrated GPU, as well as Thunderbolt 2. If it’s the late 2013 integrated GPU only model it’s probably the best version of that model.


Only the Retina model was included in the repair program. The repair volumes weren’t high though, even for a reasonably small repairer like ours, we serviced perhaps 3-4 for 650M issues in Retinas, 0 for Non-Retinas, and 60-70+ for Early / Late 2011 issues.


Well, I was hoping to keep my current SATA SSD RAID 0 array. I couldn’t do that if I got the 2013 Retina 15"… Also I was going to reuse my 16GB of RAM, too. I couldn’t do that either.

So it’s sounding to me like a 2012/2011 MacBook Pro is not the direction I should go… I might be better selling my 2012 13" MacBook Pro as currently modified and buying an all new unit I think I can live with for at least 5 years or so?


If you want to get 3+ years out of it, new is probably your best bet. Apple still sell the previous generation 15-inch which is a great machine if you don’t need a discrete GPU (often more trouble that it’s worth). The later model SSDs are faster than the SATA bus options in older Macs anyway (as they are on the PCIe bus).


What year is the previous generation? 2015/2016? I don’t need a discrete GPU because I don’t game. I mean, I am sure it would help with video editing, but I currently video edit just fine on my Intel HD Graphics 4000 1536 MB, so as long as it is better than that… Honestly, I am happy with the processor, the RAM, and the SSDs. It’s only the screen that is starting to cramp my style.


It’d be the Mid 2015 model you want. USB-A, HDMI and MagSafe. :grinning:


You mean this:

Holy shit, but those prices. That’s out of my budget, at least for the foreseeable future.


Yeh… not cheap! You could pickup one second hand for a lot less I guess?


Not in Japan, I am looking at used, and we’re still talking like 150,000 yen or more. When I bought this 2012 MacBook Pro 13", it cost me a total of US $1400. That was with the AppleCare that ends this month, and so far has replaced two MagSafe chargers (maybe a third, considering the broken wing), one battery, multiple keys, the harddrive wire/sensor assembly, and the hinge cover. …I might be missing something. I think the base price of the MacBook itself was $1000 and the $400 was for the AppleCare. But I’ve exceeded that $400 in replaced parts and labor so far, so it was definitely worth it.

I think I bought it with 4GBs of RAM and 500GB 2.5" mechanical drive, but I already had SSDs and 16GBs in my 2010 MacBook Pro 13", so I was able to transfer them over. That’s why I was considering a 2012 15" or 17", because being able to swap perfectly decent parts you already own ends up a lot cheaper, even with a new machine.

I dunno, man, probably means I’m going to have to keep using this 2012 13" for a lot longer. But if so, I am definitely going to have Apple do a complete once over of everything and replace anything with uneven, unusual level of wear and tear. Like my R key. There is a definite advantage to my ridiculous level of paranoia when it comes to protecting my Apple products.


And an external screen is not an option ?


No, it’s not. The laptop goes in and out of a bag and is used at my desk or in various rooms hooked up to a TV for keynote. I can’t set up an external at my work desk, trust me. I’d have to somehow take it home with me every night.

I have a Mac Pro wth an 4K monitor at home, but that doesn’t help at my desk at work.