17" laptop options?

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Hello-

My old MBP is on its way out after 8 years, and I'd like to stay with Apple. However as we all know, they got rid of the 17" MBP that was so popular with those of us who do graphic work and/or coding. But the higher DPI of the 15" retina is no substitution for a bigger screen. Not to mention fewer ports, etc.

What are my options? How does a 17" 2011 maxed out on RAM and an SSD compare to a new 15" retina today?

And dare I ask, are there any 17" PC laptops that are worthwhile?

Thanks.
 

pigoo3

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2011 17" MBP 2.2ghz, 16gig ram, OS 10.11.6
- Same max ram @ 16gig.
- 2014 2.8ghz 15" retina MBP a little bit more than 20% faster cpu
- 2014 15" retina probably has faster graphics

Top end 2014 15" retina MBP will cost you $2699. 2011 17" MBP will cost you less than half of that at about $1200.

Like you said…if you REALLY like a 17" display…then you got to get a 17" display.:)

So you have to decide…are the benefits of a 15" retina MBP worth 2x the price of a 2011 17" MBP? And of course remember…a 17" MBP will still be a heck of an upgrade from your 8 year-old MBP!:)

- Nick
 

chscag

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The newer fully loaded rMBP 15" machine is faster and has better graphics than the 2011 17" model. But if you're looking for screen real estate, why not buy an iMac? Fast, great graphics, just not portable.

As far as 17" PCs go, in my opinion, only Dell makes one that's worth while buying. Go to the Dell website and look around if you're interested.
 

pigoo3

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Wanted to mention two things:

1. If you like the Mac OS…then switching to a Windows laptop isn't a solution.
2. If you don't NEED a 17" laptop display when "on the road"…you really don't NEED a 17" MBP. You could get a 13" or 15" MBP…then use a large external display with the laptop/notebook when you are at a desk.

- Nick
 
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Thanks for the replies!

I feel like there's a major refresh right around the corner, as it seems Apple has been neglecting laptops in favor of ultraportables recently. Then again who knows.

My workspace isn't really conducive to a desktop, even as one as pretty as an iMac, and portability is nice.

I like the cost savings of a 2011, but purchase options concern me. eBay I assume, but that feels so sketchy - if it dies a month later it's money out the window. Where else is there? None on the official refurb store.

And most of all, I went through crap with my MBP's GPU soldering - had to have the MB replaced a few years ago under the class action thing. I'm shocked and saddened to read it's happening so much again on the 2011's that there is a new lawsuit starting up. This makes me not want to take a chance...unless I know for sure Apple will stand behind the pseudo-recall.

What about USB 3.0 on the 2011? I saw cards for it, but lots of problematic ones. I know from experience - I could never find any that had Mac drivers for my old MBP - and yes, I know they couldn't fully handle it, but it would have been a little faster than USB 2.0.

What were the specs on the last 17"? Wikipedia says "2.4 GHz quad-core (2760QM) (15" and 17" only) Intel Core i7 Sandy Bridge with 6 MB on-chip L3 cache
Optional 2.5 GHz (2860QM) with 8 MB on-chip L3 cache (15" and 17" only)"

So that'd mean i7 2.5 GHz Sandy Bridge was it?

Thanks again!
 
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The 2.5ghz was the fastest they got. Those are still unusually expensive on ebay.

I have the last 17" MBP. It has typical 2011 specs. It is USB 2.0. I put 16GB RAM and a 256GB SSD in it and I'm happy.
 

pigoo3

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I feel like there's a major refresh right around the corner, as it seems Apple has been neglecting laptops in favor of ultraportables recently. Then again who knows.

I don't think that your "feelings" are very accurate.;) The last MacBook Pro refresh was July. There are some rumors that there may be a "major" refresh of the MacBook Air's. But with a 12"-13" display…this is not what you're looking for.

If you're concerned about eBay…and buying used. Then logically there is no need for you to consider ANY 17" MacBook Pro…since they will all be used…and will need to be purchased used. You also mentioned a bunch of problems with 2011 17" MacBook Pro's.

With all of these concerns...this mainly leaves you with two options:

1. Buy a brand new or refurbished Apple notebook (13" or 15").
2. Get a Windows laptop.:(

- Nick

p.s. I don't necessarily agree with all of the concerns…but then that's why everyone is different.:)
 
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chas_m

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Personally I think the "need" for a 17" screen is overblown. First, such machines aren't really portables ... They're "luggables."

Second, battery life on them is crap.

Finally, any Mac portable can be attached to a 30" monitor or an 85-inch HDTV quite easily on the occasion you need more screen real estate than a 15" Retina provides ... Which is probably a LOT less often than 100 percent.
 
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Thanks for the replies again.

I wasn't trying to be impossible by asking for a used laptop, and then saying I wouldn't buy one. :p I was just wondering if you guys knew of availability that I didn't.

Really it's the GPU that concerns me - I see plenty of people saying they spent almost $1,000 on a new MB, only to have it fail again, etc. I see some 17 inchers on eBay have Applecare until mid-2015 - how does Applecare work in that respect? Can it be renewed or extended?
 

chscag

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Apple Care can not be renewed or extended. If you purchase a 17" MBP that has Apple Care until say... June 2015, that's when it expires. And yes, Apple Care goes with the machine. It's recorded by serial number and goes into effect the day the machine was purchased from Apple.
 

pigoo3

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I wasn't trying to be impossible by asking for a used laptop, and then saying I wouldn't buy one. :p I was just wondering if you guys knew of availability that I didn't.

Nope. Pretty much any 2011 17" MacBook Pro's that are available will be used. Unless someone…somewhere (a non-Apple store) has one hidden/lost somewhere!;)

Buying used is buying used. You just got to know how to check a used computer out (not different that doing things someone might do with their own used computer). Just make sure everything works.

And there's really not a big problem with eBay. You pay with a credit card via Paypal. You get the computer…ensure that everything is working properly. If not…contact the seller…and return the computer. If they don't agree…open a dispute with Paypal…and get your money back that way (just takes longer).:)

Really it's the GPU that concerns me - I see plenty of people saying they spent almost $1,000 on a new MB, only to have it fail again, etc.

Yes this can happen…nothing is 100% guaranteed. This is why a used 17" 2011 MacBook Pro is around $1200…and a brand new top end 15" retina MacBook Pro is $2600 (with Applecare).

Same thing can happen when purchasing a used car (or anything used). But honestly…most Apple computer owners take care of their computers. And if the majority of Apple computers (or any computers on eBay) were all junk…then no one would buy them. And BELIEVE ME…lots & lots & lots of computers are sold everyday on eBay!!! And the buyers are HAPPY with them!!!:):)

I see some 17 inchers on eBay have Applecare until mid-2015 - how does Applecare work in that respect? Can it be renewed or extended?

Standard Applecare is 12 months from time of purchase. Extended Applecare is 3 years from time of purchase. So if these 17" MacBook Pro's on eBay have Applecare until mid-2015…then they were purchased in mid-2012…and the owners purchased the 3 year extended Applecare. There are no further extensions possible for Applecare.

There are some other 3rd party computer insuring folks out there…try a search online for them…and see what the details are regarding their warranties.

- Nick
 

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