21 Comments

Summary:

Following Apple’s MacBook Pro refresh, users are faced with a choice between buying, selling, upgrading or just sticking with their existing computing solution. As it turns out, a quick look at the numbers shows you could get a new machine for relatively little.

macbook-pro-feature

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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  1. I look forward a machine which has MBA’s weight + MBP’s power. Feel disappointed this time. Why does the 13″ MBP not follow the MBA’s design?

    1. Hamranhansenhansen JC Friday, February 25, 2011

      The 13-inch MacBook Air is a stripped down 13-inch MacBook Pro in every way. They have exactly the same design language and Unibody construction. These MacBook Pros are based on the MacBook Air. I have both of them, they are like brother and sister.

      When they make the Air that small, they have to lower the processing power, because there isn’t space to fit the bigger CPU’s from the Pro, and especially no space to cool them. An Air has a surprising amount of power, but if you peg the CPU’s for a half hour it will slow down to avoid overheating. Most people will never encounter that, and the Air is perfect for them. However, apps like Final Cut Pro or Logic Pro assume they can peg the CPU’s every second of every minute for a 12 hour day, and they assume you have ports (e.g. FireWire is essential for pro audio work) and they really benefit from a really big CPU and 8GB of RAM, and with Final Cut at least, you benefit from the better screen on the Pro. And both of those apps ship on like 10 DVD’s, so an optical drive and 250GB storage minimum are a great benefit. And they burn pro CD and pro DVD masters also.

      So basically, the Pro can’t get any smaller or it wouldn’t be able to run pro software effectively.

  2. I find that I can get a good used MPB for 5 0r 6 hundred.

    1. The prices listed here are today’s pruces online for the top of fhe line MBP 15″ models over the last four years.

  3. I’ve been upgrading my Mac every two years for the past six years. Economical and keeps me in the latest toys. Also, I will never own a Mac w/o Applecare on it. I always end up using it at least once.

    1. Hamranhansenhansen ephany Friday, February 25, 2011

      That is a good strategy. I always get AppleCare, too, but I keep each machine for the full 3 years. But once any potential breakdown becomes my problem, off they go to eBay. I like knowing the worst that can happen is a Mac spends a few days at the Apple Store.

    2. Agreed.. I always use my Apple Care for each Mac. I recently just had to get the Logic board replaced and would have cost me $900, but was covered by Apple Care. A month before that was my DVD drive. Plus the peace of mind counts for a lot in those first 3 years.

  4. Im trying to see if it’s worth buying the 2011
    model instead of getting a cheaper 15 inch 2.4hrtz 2010… I’d need it to be cheap, but for professional video editing

    1. From what I have seen, the premium is $500 when looking at the top of the line MBP 15″ models. That’s comparing Apples to Apples. Changing specs between each years model would be a valid purchase decision, but not useful for a true comparison.

  5. No, not being tempted this go around, although I was fully prepared to be! Will be holding out for at least one more cycle…

  6. Apple’s discounts are always slight. They know that the really savvy Mac/iPad/iPhone shoppers are going to go to MacMall, MacSales, and others. There are deals to be had out there, and Apple’s not going to compete with them, ever. If they do, they’re shooting their resellers in the foot.

  7. Hamranhansenhansen Friday, February 25, 2011

    I would never buy a used Mac. To me, AppleCare is what I’m buying, because it means I can expect to have 3 years of computing time from a machine, with the exception of a few days it might spend in the shop.

    A new MacBook Pro is -$1199 and AppleCare is -$249, and I can expect to get +$500 when I resell it after 3 years. That is -$948 total or -$316 per year. I know a lot of people who spend more than $316 per year on the I-T consultant who cleans viruses off their Windows machines.

    Also, since I am always under AppleCare, I get to plan that $316 per year, it’s not coming as a sudden repair expense, or emergency purchase of a replacement machine.

    I always have 2 Macs, also, so there is never a time when I’m without one.

    These are my professional tools, and they always easily pay for themselves. For a home computer, I use an iPad. The math works the same on that: -$499 and -$99 for 2 years of AppleCare, +$200 resale, so it’s -$199 per year. And again, totally worry free. If you have an issue, the Genius swaps you a working iPad.

  8. where is the best place to sell my old model of macbook pro so I can get the new release??

  9. Hornet Montana Friday, February 25, 2011

    I’m not upgrading from my Spring ’08 MBP 17″ 2.6 GHz until they change that black slate of chiclets that again calls itself a keyboard. Why are there ZERO aesthetic choices like that available? And I’m not going to go blow over $600 for Colorware to paint it.

    1. Are you going to sit and stare at your computer as if it were a picture or are you going to use it?

      1. Yeah!

        I prefer the FEEL of the silver bezel keys to the black chiclets, too. So that’s me using it!

  10. Well I’ve been with a MBP 17 model 2,1 (maybe 5 yrs old) and was looking forward to this refresh. I wanted the 13″ MBP. I too was somewhat disappointed with the refresh but my 17″ was just starting to get to me – wonderful machine but too slow, too heavy, etc.

    So I decided to pull the trigger after all. I just bought the 13″ base MBP with i5 processor. Wow … very nice. I’m very happy and not looking back!

    And yes!… it is fast!

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