The New MacBook Pro — Buy, Sell or Upgrade?


With each new product announcement from Apple, users are faced with a choice between buying, selling, upgrading or just sticking with their existing computing solution. For the most part, the design of the new 2011 MacBook Pro is the same as it has been since 2008.  And while the recent announcement of the new MacBook Pros may have seem a little underwhelming at first, there are some other factors to consider.

Comparing the key differences of the top MacBook Pro 15-inch (with no modifications) over the previous four years, one can make a well-informed decision of whether or not there was any value added:

Looking back, the release of the 2011 MacBook Pros does appear to be the most significant annual update since the redesign was first introduced.  Don’t be so quick to discount the processor upgrade this time around, either.  Early results popping up on Primate Lab’s Geekbench are proving Apple’s claims at being twice as fast as last years model are true.  When compared to purchasing a used 2008 model online today, you’ll find that you can get twice the memory, three times the processing speed, Thunderbolt and an updated HD camera for only about $500 more.

Macs have historically retained their resale value really well compared to Windows PCs.  So I went online shopping for 15-inch MacBook Pros from late-2008, mid-2009, mid-2010 and 2011 at Apple’s Refurbished Store, Amazon and PowerMax.  For the most part, a 15-inch MacBook Pro used sells for about $1,500, and that includes the late 2008 model. Provided this used market holds up, you could, in theory, sell your current MacBook Pro and end up paying just $500 for a brand new machine. Anyone tempted to try it?

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