Self-Reward: New Macbook Pro

August 29th, 2011 10 Comments

I finally broke down and bought a new Macbook Pro on Friday.

Since the unibody models were released a few years ago, I’ve been admiring them from afar, but I vowed to run my old white Macbook into the ground first. When I bought it back in 2006, I went for the low end model, expecting that I’d add RAM and disk aftermarket when I needed them.

That’s a solid plan, but the one thing I glossed over was the CPU. For years, the fan has sounded like a jet engine, running madly to cool the old 2.0 GHz Core 2 Duo (Update: It’s a 1.83 GHz Core Duo, so even older than I thought); Anthony (@anthonyslai) told me how to clean dust out of the case recently, but it’s not just loud. It’s slow.

I typically run Chrome with a dozen tabs open, but since I don’t quit it very often, there could be a backlog of 20-30 tabs in memory. When something processor-intensive starts, like Time Machine, the beachball spins and spins. I stopped running VirtualBox on the Mac a while back because there simply weren’t enough system resources to run a VM and Chrome.

I’ve been putting off the upgrade all year, hoping to catch a Macbook Pro refresh. Not because I want the latest and greatest, but because I want the old (but still really nice) model discounted. Apple refreshed the Macbook Air this year, but there doesn’t seem to be a Macbook Pro refresh in sight.

So, I bit the bullet on Friday. I did catch a discount though. I usually buy Apple gear from Best Buy because they discount their inventory. Plus, I don’t really care for the Apple Store experience. I’ve had my eye on the 15″ Macbook Pro; it’s a bit bulky, but I don’t expect to carry it around much. I’d rather have the horsepower.

Aesthetically, I prefer the 13″ version, but given my issues with system resources, I’m willing to give up looks for power.

Anyway, I immediately see that Best Buy has Macbook Pros on sale, and then, I ask if they have any with Snow Leopard installed, guessing these will be discounted now that Lion has been released. Sure enough, they had one left with Snow Leopard, and cha-ching, it’s deeply discounted. Apple’s Up-to-Date program may get me a free upgrade to Lion, so I’m not losing anything really. I haven’t decided yet if I want to make the jump, having heard mixed reviews of Lion.

This is the second time I’ve been able to get a sweet deal from Best Buy on a Mac. I’ve also heard good things about Apple’s official refurbished gear, which typically will save you several hundred dollars. Macs are expensive, but you can find deals if you look.

I’m currently in the middle of a migrating data to the new MBP. One thing Apple gets right that you don’t notice very often is Migration Assistant. Everyone knows what a big pain it is to move data to a new computer, but OS X offers several easy ways to go from Mac-to-Mac. One downside is that it’s going to take most of the day to finish.

I suppose the next time I mention this new MBP may be when I upgrade the RAM and the disk. I also have a blank canvas waiting for stickers; maybe this time I’ll go with a vinyl decal.

Anyway, thoughts on any of this belong in the comments.

Update: So, Migration Assistant looks great until it isn’t.  It failed after a few hours and wouldn’t roll back, so I was stuck with a user account and some files transferred. Now, I’m in the process of doing a wipe and clean install of Snow Leopard. Hoping the next run through with Migration Assistant works better.

Update 2: After nearly 12 hours of data transfer, clean OS install and more data transfer, I finally got into this thing. Turns out it’s a generation old, i.e. a dual-core i5, not quad-core i7, running at 2.53 GHz, so comparable in power to the latest 13″ MBP. Also won’t quality for Up-to-Date. Wow, disappointing. Now I need to decide if it’s worth the effort to scrub it and go back to Best Buy to get the MBP I really wanted.

Update 3: Since the whole point of this exercise was to get big iron, I decided to wipe and return last year’s model and get the current one. I’m happily rocking the “entry level” 15″ MBP with the quad-core i7 running at 2.0 GHz. While peering at the specs, it also turns out that this machine runs slightly faster RAM than the other one. Anyway, happy as a clam now, but so far, I’ve been gun-shy about taking the Lion upgrade.


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10 Responses to “Self-Reward: New Macbook Pro”

  1. uvox Says:

    Good move. I recently got a 17 inch quad-core MBP, another self-reward. Love it.

  2. oraclebase Says:

    How can you even consider putting stickers on the prettiest laptop available? I love how clean and simple they look from the outside.
    CheersTim…

  3. Anonymous Says:

    Nice one Jake.  I picked up my first Macbook last week.  The latest MacBook Air 13″ version.  After years of being on PC I finally had my head turned following my iPad experience. Enjoying it so far, just getting familiar with the non-Windows interface.

  4. Jake Says:

    Wow, the big boy. I quickly ruled that one out due to its monstrous size, great machine tho.

  5. Jake Says:

    True, but very common and easy to lose at nerdy conferences. So, adding some flair makes it both personal and easier to identify.

  6. Jake Says:

    Excellent, welcome. Macs are worth the spend if you have serious computing to do.

  7. topperge Says:

    I picked up a new iMac right before I left big O for the new company.  27″ Quad core 3.4GHz w/ 16GB of ram.  The thing runs just about anything I can throw at it.  The only thing I miss from my MBP is the SSD.  I have to figure out how to crack this monster open and get a 256GB drive in there.  I didn’t believe what a difference it would make but performance is night and day.

    Enjoy the new toy, surprised you didn’t use Oracle’s EEP discount.  It’s 8% on hardware and 12% on the Apple Care plans.  Comes really close to the refurb price I found on Apple.com or MacMall type sites.

  8. Jake Says:

    Yeah, iMacs are really nice and super powerful. Paul did a how-to post years ago on replacing his iMac’s HDD.

    Re. EEP, I got nearly a 20% discount when all was said and done :)

  9. Anonymous Says:

    May I recommend a lmgtfy sticker? http://lmgtfy.com/stickers.html
    Nerdy, subtle and oh so satisfying.

  10. Jake Says:

    Ha, nice one. Good suggestion if I go w the sticker jumble again.

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