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  1. #1


    Member Since
    Apr 09, 2012
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    5
    2008 MacBook Pro getting on in years: Now what do I replace it with?
    I am a freelance print and web designer. I have a 2008 MacBook Pro (running Snow Leopard), 2.2 Ghz Core 2 Duo, 2GB 667 MHz DDR2 SDRAM, 4MB Cache - has a new(er) video card (part of a recall) and a 1-year-old cd drive (replaced due to liquid accident). I also have an external 21" ViewSonic display that I hook up to my MBP at home.

    Any of my regular activity on my laptop seems to be a strain on it these days. Things are starting to run slower, I've noticed some darkening of the laptop display at the bottom of the screen above the MacBook Pro logo, I get the thinking color wheel for long periods of time when opening, closing, or operating applications (CS5, firefox, Word, itunes, quickbooks). I regularly clean my MBP of trash files, caches, etc. and try to keep all software up to date. Nothing seems to help with the sluggishness and it's starting to affect the speed of my work.

    I think it's time for a new computer, but I'm not sure what to get. I do need to have some amount of portability for my work. I work from home and also at my husband's photo studio, and I occasionally will do some work from a client's office. I have approximately 3K to spend. I'm torn between two options:

    Should I get a new 15" MacBook Pro with the most available processor speed, ram, etc I can afford and continue to hook that up to my second display for at-home use? The monitor I'm using is also probably on it's last legs and will need replaced within the year, but I can swing that without a problem.

    -OR-

    Should I get the most basic desktop Mac Pro (still seems more powerful than the best MacBookPro) with a new (non-mac, for price reasons) monitor for at home and take ye olde 2008 MacBook Pro somewhere to see if it can be spruced up for light duty on the go?

    Worth trying to refresh this thing? I don't know.

    -OR-

    Is there some third option that would be better for my money?

    Help!! Thanks!

  2. #2

    pigoo3's Avatar
    Member Since
    May 20, 2008
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    34,292
    Specs:
    2011 13" MBP 2.3ghz, 8gig ram, OS 10.8.5
    Quote Originally Posted by dedlobster View Post
    I do need to have some amount of portability for my work.
    Obviously if you need portability...getting a Mac Pro would not be a very wise choice...so I would say eliminate the Mac Pro option.

    That leaves you with getting a notebook. So now you need to decide what size display (13", 15", or 17").

    Beyond this...it just depends on how much you want to spend. ANY current notebook you get will be faster than the MBP you currently have.

    - Nick
    - Too many "beachballs", read this: Beachballs
    - Computer seems slower than it used to? Read this for some slow computer tips: Speedup
    - Almost full hard drive? Some solutions. Out of Space
    - Apple Battery Info. Battery

  3. #3

    vansmith's Avatar
    Member Since
    Oct 19, 2008
    Location
    Toronto
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    19,782
    Specs:
    2012 13" MBP (2.5 i5, 8GB)
    My recommendation would be the MBP - it's a stellar machine itself and would probably meet your needs just fine. Not only do you get a fine "desktop" at home (I imagine that, like me, you use it with a keyboard and mouse which gives it a desktop like feel) but you also get a powerful machine for the road.

    Whatever route you go, buy the stock version and upgrade the RAM yourself. Apple charges an arm and a leg for extra RAM. For instance, they charge $210 to upgrade the machine to 8GB which I could get for $90. Actually, I could get it for $42 but even I don't want to buy brands at that price point.

    Oh, and I can sympathize with feeling the age of the machine. My 2008 MB has aged quite a bit in the last few months.
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  4. #4


    Member Since
    Apr 09, 2012
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    5
    pigoo3, you make my MBP sound so old and sad I guess my worry is that the processor speed on the new 15" doesn't look all that faster than the one I currently have (2.4 vs 2.2 ghz). Am I missing something?

    Vansmith, thanks for that tip. I've never opened up my MBP before, but I've installed RAM in PC and Mac towers before - is it just as simple? For some reason I'm kinda freaked out by the thought of getting out a tiny screwdriver and removing the back of my laptop.

  5. #5


    Member Since
    Mar 30, 2004
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    USA
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    4,744
    Specs:
    12" Apple PowerBook G4 (1.5GHz)
    I know you're anxious to get a new machine, but how about tossing another couple of gigabytes of memory into your current one? It'd probably make a noticeable difference in performance.

  6. #6

    pigoo3's Avatar
    Member Since
    May 20, 2008
    Location
    U.S.
    Posts
    34,292
    Specs:
    2011 13" MBP 2.3ghz, 8gig ram, OS 10.8.5
    Quote Originally Posted by dedlobster View Post
    pigoo3, you make my MBP sound so old and sad
    Actually that was not my point at all!

    You're actually the person who said this, "Any of my regular activity on my laptop seems to be a strain on it these days."...so you are actually the person inferring your current MBP is "old and sad".

    I happen to use a 17" MBP from 2008...and I'm perfectly happy with it! But I do realize that others folks daily computer demands can and are greater than mine.

    It's really very simple. Newer computers are almost always faster than older computers. In this case...we're comparing a 2008 MBP to 2011-2012 MBP's...so of course the newer models will be faster.

    Quote Originally Posted by dedlobster View Post
    I guess my worry is that the processor speed on the new 15" doesn't look all that faster than the one I currently have (2.4 vs 2.2 ghz). Am I missing something?
    I'm afraid yes, you're missing many things! The newer MacBook Pro's (compared to a 2008 MBP) have:

    1. A brand new type of processor (i5 or i7 versus core 2 duo)...so comparing cpu speed is not an accurate way to determine performance.
    2. Newer MBP's have better/faster video hardware.
    3. Newer MBP's have faster ram.
    4. Newer MBP's have faster logic board designs.

    Not only are 2011-2012 MBP's faster than a 2008 MBP...the new models can be as much as 3.5x faster (depending on what model is chosen, and what tasks are performed, and what software is used).

    - Nick
    - Too many "beachballs", read this: Beachballs
    - Computer seems slower than it used to? Read this for some slow computer tips: Speedup
    - Almost full hard drive? Some solutions. Out of Space
    - Apple Battery Info. Battery

  7. #7

    vansmith's Avatar
    Member Since
    Oct 19, 2008
    Location
    Toronto
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    19,782
    Specs:
    2012 13" MBP (2.5 i5, 8GB)
    Quote Originally Posted by dedlobster View Post
    Vansmith, thanks for that tip. I've never opened up my MBP before, but I've installed RAM in PC and Mac towers before - is it just as simple? For some reason I'm kinda freaked out by the thought of getting out a tiny screwdriver and removing the back of my laptop.
    It's pretty easy. New machines come with the instructions and Apple has a copy on their support website here.
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  8. #8


    Member Since
    Apr 09, 2012
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    5
    Awesome, vansmith. Thanks!

    Nick, I was just being funny. Obviously I know my laptop is... in his delicate senior years, but thanks for the other information. I'm lacking severely in hardware knowledge (apparently) so all I see is "bigger number = better" and everything else my brain renders as "syntax error".

    I see technologist mentioned adding more RAM. I hunted around the webz and saw that some folks have gotten the early MBPs to work with 6GB of RAM and it seems like switching to a SSD would improve performance as well. All this gives me another idea: I would like to extend the life of my little old MBP, but I don't see the screen lasting more than another couple years before it becomes unreasonable to use it for any serious work. Would it be worth it to buy a new laptop and upgrade the old MBP with new RAM and an SSD - this way I can keep the old one as a backup or use it simultaneously for itunes and email and wordprocessing stuff while I'm busy on my new laptop with Adobe CS5 applications? Or if I choose to keep one laptop at the photo studio and one at the home office (or wherever I am) I should be able to access each laptop remotely from the other as long as both are on and connected to a network, right? These possibilities seem infinitely handy. Thoughts?

  9. #9


    Member Since
    Apr 09, 2012
    Location
    Atlanta
    Posts
    12
    Specs:
    - MB Pro 15" Retina - MacBook Air 13" 240GB OWC - iPad 3 16GB 4g Verizon - iPhone 4S
    Just remember, this month they are coming out with a new 15" MBP with MUCH better resolution. The resolution alone was the reason I went for the 13" MBA vs. MBP. I just couldn't accept 1280x800 its too squishy.

    If I were you, wait until the 15" MBP 2012 is released this month, upgrade to an SSD and never look back. I will be buying the 15" 2012 MBP at the end of the month and give the air to the wife to play with.

  10. #10


    Member Since
    Apr 09, 2012
    Posts
    5
    mmmm... reading up on the new release of the MBP 15" later this month (or early May) it isn't clear to me exactly what they are releasing - higher res screen, no optical drive (sure - I don't need it), lighter - but all speculation. Whatever it ends up being I'm sure it'll be awesome, and I'll totally wait to see what this new release is before I scramble out to by a new model MPB. Thanks for the heads up on that. Didn't know that was happening. Still thinking I should upgrade the Old Man MBP in the meantime. Photoshop and Illustrator are KILLING me with slowness. I just hope they don't slim it down too much. I'll still need video output so I can hook it up to my non-mac display as I'm currently used to doing. If I have to go buy a $900 Thunderbolt screen or whatever, that might break the bank.

  11. #11

    vansmith's Avatar
    Member Since
    Oct 19, 2008
    Location
    Toronto
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    19,782
    Specs:
    2012 13" MBP (2.5 i5, 8GB)
    Quote Originally Posted by sc4r3d View Post
    Just remember, this month they are coming out with a new 15" MBP with MUCH better resolution. The resolution alone was the reason I went for the 13" MBA vs. MBP. I just couldn't accept 1280x800 its too squishy.

    If I were you, wait until the 15" MBP 2012 is released this month, upgrade to an SSD and never look back. I will be buying the 15" 2012 MBP at the end of the month and give the air to the wife to play with.
    That's speculation at best. No one really knows what will be coming (if anything). My advice (and that of others around here): if the machine works now, buy it. If you wait, you could end up in a vicious loop of waiting.
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  12. #12


    Member Since
    Apr 09, 2012
    Posts
    5
    Vicious loop of waiting = story of my life

    Well, I won't be able to make the purchase of a new MBP until at least April 23rd, anyway, so I may as well wait another couple weeks and see what's down the pipeline. Another couple weeks won't kill me. I will only REALLY need something by August (bunch of out-of-town projects in the pipeline that I don't HAVE to travel for, but would like to - the only vacations I get are workations). In the meantime, if upgrading Ye Olde MBP will help I might not be quite so desperate to run out and get a brand new laptop and can wait patiently for whatever Spring/Summer release is happening. And maybe when the new release happens I can get a slightly better deal on "last year's" model... or just get the new release if it fits my needs.

    Thanks everyone for the info, opinions, and advice!

  13. #13


    Member Since
    Jan 17, 2010
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    1,466
    Specs:
    2.8 GHz 15" MacBook Pro OS X 10.7.x & some old Macs
    Quote Originally Posted by dedlobster View Post
    Photoshop and Illustrator are KILLING me with slowness.
    Those two programs like a lot of RAM. I think the 2 GB is your bottle neck performance problem.

    Quote Originally Posted by dedlobster View Post
    In the meantime, if upgrading Ye Olde MBP will help I might not be quite so desperate to run out and get a brand new laptop and can wait patiently for whatever Spring/Summer release is happening.
    That's a good solution because it will also teach you how to upgrade the RAM and hard drive on your old machine rather than experiment on your new computer. They are both easy to upgrade but doing it on your old machine first wil make you more confident to do it on your new computer when you get it.

    It will also keep you from desperately needing to upgrade right now as you have said. I will also make your old computer more worthwhile to keep around to use for other things.

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