Macbook Pro info required

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#1
I've been thinking about picking up a mac book pro for a while, just because i fancied something different from the Windows world.

Anyway, looking around ebay for a cheap one i notice all the descriptions point out the year of manufacture. Is there a purpose behind that? Do early ones limit expandability or OS version? Knowing nothing about Mac's in general is there anything i need to look out for in particular that would make one version a bad choice over another?

p.s. i don't want this to slide into a "my carrot cake is better than your banana bread" type of thread. :) I have plenty of PC's and Androids and whatever's and love them all, kinda. I just want to try the whole Mac thing.
 
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Andrew Cliffe
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#2
Apple update its MacBook ranges, so people indicate the model year when selling. My MBP is a 15" from mid-2012 since upgraded with 16Gb RAM and a 1TB SSD and still performs well.

MacOS gets updated, and some of the older versions won't run the latest version of the operating system, mine will run Mojave if I so desire, still on the previous OS for time being.

As the batteries are hard to replace, check any secondhand ones.

Click the Apple logo on the menu, then About this Mac for a brief report on the computer, then system report for a more detailed version which includes battery state.
 
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Chris
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#3
The year is important in the way that it identifies easily the model number or spec.

I'm writing this on an Early 2015 MacBook pro. It has features such as Retina screen that the older 2013 model doesn't have.

Anything including and after 2015 models will run the latest iteration of the OS.

The latest 2017 - 2018 models aren't as good in my opinion as the late 2015 model.
 
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Redsnappa
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#4
While a ten year old PC will happily run the latest version of Windows 10 it ain't like that in the Mac world.

The reason why that is why the year is vitally important for Apple computers is that Apple have a rolling program of withdrawing support for older iMacs & Mac books making it impossible to install the latest version of OSX to older Apple computers.

The last thing you want is the security implications of buying a Mac then a couple of years later it will not update to the latest OS.
 

Tori_T

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#5
Unless MacOS is an absolute must, Windows and Linux are still shipping supported 32-bit OS versions that should run on 1st Gen Intel Macs that Apple abandoned eight years ago. Seems a waste to scrap working kit if someone can use it for something.
 
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Jonathan
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#6
While a ten year old PC will happily run the latest version of Windows 10 it ain't like that in the Mac world.
Yeah, I kind of understand that - because although a 10 year old PC will run Win10 (and 11 and 12...), it will do so really badly. Apple of course "knows best" so they physically stop you installing an OS that they don't think will show their machines in a good light :D

I just scrapped a 10 year old MacBook Pro because the battery was bulging out. IIRC I could install Mavericks and no further on it. It was frustrating not to be able to upgrade - but I don't think I found anything more than a handful on indy apps that wouldn't run on it. I swapped it for a £300 MB Air off of the 'bay which runs High Sierra - and I have to say that shooting to tethered to LR is a far more joyful experience than it was on the old pro. My key learning from that is that USB3 really is better than USB2 :D
 
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#7
I'm running several 10 year old MBP's under old versions of OSX. It's frustrating in some respects but my other software works fine and won't be screwed by installing a new version of OSX (as has happened before). Where I have sucked it up is that my iMac for photo editing is only 2 years old and well specced.
 
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Conan
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#8
Another reason it is mentioned and important is due to apple now soldering previously upgradeable parts in place. I upgraded my old mid 2010 13" MBP last year to a 2013 15" i7 retina model. I only found out the RAM was soldered in place now after asking for advice on which model to buy on the Logic Pro forums. On the newer Touch Bar models even the SSD is soldered in place as far as I recall.

It runs the latest Mac OS fine, and I have yet to come to a bottleneck for another hobby, music production- this is even with over 100 tracks and multiple effects on many- I could continue to use this one until it breaks and do not feel I will ever run out of available resources (apart from storage of course, but I have external storage for this).

I am still in my early stages when it comes to image editing, but it seems up to the task so far.
 
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#9
Technology moves on. And it’s sometimes the fact that older machines can’t handle updated os is because the chips that were state of the art years ago are not anymore. I’ve a 2013 machine which still runs the latest MacOS and software. 6 years on and still going strong ( all be it a bit slow compared to its younger machines).
 
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#10
It makes a difference because Apple are notorious for dropping support for older software without warning, and locking new OSX versions to new hardware only. Also as someone mentioned above they solder everything to the motherboard now so you can't even repair it if it breaks without paying a fortune at the "genius" bar.

If you don't mind the hardware limitations and can set yourself up with a clonable, bootable backup (e.g. Carbon Copy Cloner or similar) then it should do you fine until something fails.

Personally having used both for many years I wouldn't touch Macs with a barge pole!
 
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Paul
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#11
2012 MacBooks are the best bang for buck as the price reflects their upgradability. You can put 16 Gig of Ram in those, add a 2nd drive with a caddy and replace the Hard disk with a SSD. the i7 models are the most sought after and demand a bit of a premium price over the i5's. I sold mine at the end of last year for £600 and the person that bought it is very happy, runs Mojave no problem.
 
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AshleyC
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#12
If I were to get a MacBook air and replaced the SSD with a bigger one, how do you install the OS onto it?

Actually I can see on Amazon that you can buy USB sticks with bootable OS installers for various flavours of Mac OS. Daft question I guess, but are they dodgy license versions? Or perfectly usable.
 
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Jonathan
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#14
If I were to get a MacBook air and replaced the SSD with a bigger one, how do you install the OS onto it?
The easiest way is to put the new drive in some sort of caddy (<£10 from Amazon), plug it in via USB and then use Carbon Copy Cloner (https://bombich.com/) to duplicate the boot drive (the trial version should work). When you're done, swap the drives, wipe the originala nd you have a spare drive in a caddy :)

Actually I can see on Amazon that you can buy USB sticks with bootable OS installers for various flavours of Mac OS. Daft question I guess, but are they dodgy license versions? Or perfectly usable.
Tricky one. I don't think there's anything dodgy about buying an installer off of Amazon because the license works very differently from Windows. Apple actually make their upgrades free for OS X users. If you own Apple hardware you are probably allowed to install OS X on it.
 
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Phil Maddocks
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#17
It makes a difference because Apple are notorious for dropping support for older software without warning, and locking new OSX versions to new hardware only. Also as someone mentioned above they solder everything to the motherboard now so you can't even repair it if it breaks without paying a fortune at the "genius" bar.

If you don't mind the hardware limitations and can set yourself up with a clonable, bootable backup (e.g. Carbon Copy Cloner or similar) then it should do you fine until something fails.

Personally having used both for many years I wouldn't touch Macs with a barge pole!
Not sure I agree with that.....Apple are known for supporting hardware long after other companies would drop support. They usually announce on a yearly basis which products will not be supported by new versions of OSX at WWDC. For instance Mojave is available and fully compatible for Macbooks going back as far as 2012 (7 year support...new drivers...). Good luck getting W10 to work well on a laptop that old...
 
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Frank
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#19
Good luck getting W10 to work well on a laptop that old...
I'm running windows 10 1809 on a 10 year old inspiron 1525 and it runs just fine on the stock machine. So I'd disagree with that statement. I just did a straight install and it runs with no problems.
 
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Neil
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#20
Not sure I agree with that.....Apple are known for supporting hardware long after other companies would drop support. They usually announce on a yearly basis which products will not be supported by new versions of OSX at WWDC. For instance Mojave is available and fully compatible for Macbooks going back as far as 2012 (7 year support...new drivers...). Good luck getting W10 to work well on a laptop that old...
It's got nothing to do with the age of the laptop, if you bought a turd of a laptop then don't expect longevity. Pay for a decent device and you'll get the performance for years to come, regardless of the OS.
 
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Gil
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#21
I'm running windows 10 1809 on a 10 year old inspiron 1525 and it runs just fine on the stock machine. So I'd disagree with that statement. I just did a straight install and it runs with no problems.
Some drivers for older components aren't available on Windows 10 and so you may find your laptop doesn't operate properly as a result. For example I think you'd be hard pressed getting an old Windows XP or Vista machine to run Windows 10 whilst getting functionality of all of the components.
 
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Gil
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#22
I've been thinking about picking up a mac book pro for a while, just because i fancied something different from the Windows world.

Anyway, looking around ebay for a cheap one i notice all the descriptions point out the year of manufacture. Is there a purpose behind that? Do early ones limit expandability or OS version? Knowing nothing about Mac's in general is there anything i need to look out for in particular that would make one version a bad choice over another?

p.s. i don't want this to slide into a "my carrot cake is better than your banana bread" type of thread. :) I have plenty of PC's and Androids and whatever's and love them all, kinda. I just want to try the whole Mac thing.
When considering a MacBook Pro I would look at the specs of the various releases on https://everymac.com, Geekbench is also handy to see where it is relative to other MacBooks. Some older MacBooks can be more powerful than newer ones, for example a MacBook Pro 15" 2015 is more powerful than quite a few of the newer MacBook Pro 13" models. Might be worthwhile checking the ports too, just so you don't get surprised by the spec. For me I had to have an i7 and 16GB of RAM. The newer MacBooks are not upgradeable at all, and in general MacBooks are harder to upgrade compared to PC laptops
 
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Neil
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#23
Some drivers for older components aren't available on Windows 10 and so you may find your laptop doesn't operate properly as a result. For example I think you'd be hard pressed getting an old Windows XP or Vista machine to run Windows 10 whilst getting functionality of all of the components.
Considering XP is 18 years old and Vista is 13 I'd be in agreement!
 
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#25
Considering XP is 18 years old and Vista is 13 I'd be in agreement!
You may find the same being true about some less mainstream components on old Windows 7 laptops. The manufacturers may just not have bothered releasing drivers allowing full functionality on Windows 10. The last time I upgraded a windows laptop was when I had a Dell XPS which came with Vista and I remember it being a pain to download each and every driver in order to get the components to work properly with Windows 7
 
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#26
TBH Creative are a pain about drivers, and an 8 YO soundcard that's just plug&play under Linux wouldn't work because there were no drivers for it.
 

Tori_T

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#27
Maybe I'm just lucky...
32bit P4 system; sound, graphics, and CPU are all 20 years old, and it's running Xubuntu 18.04.2 LTS quite happily. OS support ends in 2023.
The audio is a Sound Blaster, too.
 
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Steve
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#28
That's the 2018 one - earlier versions are all upgradeable. Which brings us back to the title of the thread :D
I regularly upgrade MacBook Air's (up to 2017 model) and Retina MacBook Pro's (up to 2015 model) using custom SSD's with devices from OWC, available up to 2TB and they work well. Memory is fixed though.
 
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#29
Some drivers for older components aren't available on Windows 10 and so you may find your laptop doesn't operate properly as a result. For example I think you'd be hard pressed getting an old Windows XP or Vista machine to run Windows 10 whilst getting functionality of all of the components.
It came Vista intalled and runs everything I have, music and photo editing, full microsoft office suite and not surprisingly browsing and all that. All done on the Windows 10 drivers and I've had no problems at all. I'm not expectiong to run the latest games, of course. I was just responding to the comment aout oblder machines running on windows 10. It's amazingly versatile as regards hardware combinations. There will obviously be problems with some hardware but I've found that on the 6 machines of varying vintages I have it hasn't missed a beat.
 
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