Time to Decide: New MBP or Not?
July 12, 2009 6:02 PM   Subscribe

My current macbook pro has decided to take a leave of battery. That is, I have to run it off the power adapter. *headdesk* Also it's getting a little old, and I have a scholarship that will pay $2500 towards a new computer, soooooooooooooooooooooooo. I was going to wait a year and vest in an iMac, but maybe now would be a good time also?

background info:
• 15" widescreen
• 3.06GHz Intel Core 2 Duo
• 4GB 1066MHz DDR3 SDRAM - 2x2GB
• 500GB Serial ATA Drive @ 7200 rpm
• SuperDrive 8x (DVD±R DL/DVD±RW/CD-RW)
• MacBook Pro 15-inch Glossy Widescreen Display
• Backlit Keyboard (English) / User's Guide
• AppleCare Protection Plan for MacBook Pro (w/or w/o Display) - Auto-enroll

Also, Snow Leopard comes out in september, and I am very excited about that. Right now, it'll cost me $30 to upgrade, but if I get this computer, it will only be $10 to upgrade. If I wait until september to buy, it won't cost me anything, but I will lose two months of AWESOME COMPUTING.

Some cons: I have my software pretty much like I like it. Also I just upgraded the ram and hdd (myself) and have sunk a lot of time trying to resolve this whole battery thing (unsuccessfully). My current mbp is a [refurb] 2006 2.16ghz core duo, with 2gb of ram and a 320gb hdd.

(also no, I dont want a windows laptop. thanks for suggesting it, though!)
posted by rubah to Computers & Internet (14 answers total)
Don't suppose you've got AppleCare on that, do you? I made the Genius Bar eat my old battery and issue a new one when I had the same problem, thus staving off any decision-making on the "is it worth upgrading now" front.
posted by fairytale of los angeles at 6:04 PM on July 12, 2009

Response by poster: nop, noooo applecare :x definitely including that in a potential new purchase though.
posted by rubah at 6:05 PM on July 12, 2009

Response by poster: I had a good battery. I think it was something between the power-supply->DC-inboard<-logic board that kept self-frying themselves. The guys at the computer store (don't have apple stores in AR._.) replaced the logic board once (no effect), the dc-in board twice (successful for about half an hour/3 test reboots/sleeps).

anyways, I'm pretty sure I voided any remaining warranty last summer when I opened it up <3
posted by rubah at 6:19 PM on July 12, 2009

My wife got a new battery from Apple for her MacBook no charge at the Genius Bar and it was beyond the 1 year warranty period. You might want to look up about this as I believe there's a commonly known "problem" with MacBook and MacBook Pro batteries of a certain period (2007-2008ish) and they'll just switch the battery no hassles.

Sadly this second battery has failed within a few months too, but I just can't be arsed to take it back again..
posted by wackybrit at 6:27 PM on July 12, 2009

If I'm not mistaken your specs are going to run more than $2500 I think (including taxes if you pay any). You might be getting additional discounts tho, no idea about that.

I have a similar MacBook Pro, it arrived this last Friday and I really like it, my suggestion is to go ahead and get it!
posted by the_ancient_mariner at 6:38 PM on July 12, 2009

I too got a new battery from Apple for my macbook. It was maybe two/three year old and had died on me several months ago. The game changer came when I was running the computer off the AC when the battery asploded. Well, it just popped a little bit. I think this is the precise issue wackybrit mentioned. There was an exchange period I had missed that ended earlier this year. I don't know if they replaced wackybrit's during this exchange period, or if they only exchanged mine after it exploded. If yours was one of the affected batteries, maybe apple would still replace it if you asked. Or you could just wait for it to explode. They seemed keen on replacing it and getting me out of the store happy.
posted by lizjohn at 6:43 PM on July 12, 2009

Sadly this second battery has failed within a few months too,

I’ve had four MBP batteries for my two MBPs: my April 2006 model had five major issues in the first 18 months and was replaced under Apple Care, but the replacement unit was not eligible for Apple Care according to the Apple Store manager and Apple Care.

That said, the first battery lasted about four months, then was replaced (along with the MagSafe adaptor) and the second one died shortly before my original MBP was replaced.

My first battery in the replacement MBP lasted about two months (after 18 power cycles). The second one, the one I still have, lasts about 30-45 minutes with WiFi on, 50% brightness, and BT off. Coconut battery says it has had 194 power cycles in 18 months.

I am considering purchasing one of these instead of a replacement battery.
posted by vkxmai at 6:45 PM on July 12, 2009

I also got a new battery from the genius bar. I didn't have AppleCare. The problem wasn't the one that caused them to extend some warrantees, but I was outside that time limit as well regardless. And though the problem with my battery wasn't that it had just worn out with age, it was certainly old enough to have done so. The guy didn't bat an eye before opening up a fresh box and putting a brand new battery in my old MacBook, totally free.

If there's part of you that wouldn't mind keeping the MBP a while longer if you could get a new battery, and aren't just looking for an excuse to buy a new computer, (and you'll still have access to the computer allowance next year), then surely it's worth a trip to see if they'll replace the battery? Hell, even if you still want to get the new computer, it's worth a shot.
posted by lampoil at 6:54 PM on July 12, 2009

Some cons: I have my software pretty much like I like it

Just by the way, the Migration Assistant will copy your software and settings over to the new Mac pretty much exactly (you might have to dig up your registration info for some stuff).
posted by nicwolff at 7:09 PM on July 12, 2009

Response by poster: btw, my battery is fine. Just saying. (won't work with known good battery, and bought these after the recall)

it was like $2600 after educational discounts, and I dont' mind paying a little out of pocket.
posted by rubah at 7:10 PM on July 12, 2009

If it's something in the unit and they're not going to fix it for free, shit, just go buy a new one.

(My MBP's battery is now great... and the wifi is complete shit, after a full replacement of the AirPort card and antenna and several reinstalls. I'm pretty much convinced I have a post-10.5.4 driver issue involving the Atheros chipset in the AirPort card, and am eyeing the Broadcom-chipset 13" MBP with some serious lust.)
posted by fairytale of los angeles at 10:34 PM on July 12, 2009

Best answer: Yeah, get the new one now. On a $2500 computer, don't let the thought of a $10 or $30 upgrade in the future worry you.

For notebook computers, I always buy (and recommend) getting the 3 year warranty. The bits and pieces in a laptop are quite expensive, and any one failure will render it a profitable choice.

If you want to shave down the price a little, you can buy less memory from the factory and upgrade later. Memory is much cheaper from Newegg, etc. Same with the hard drive. It's a little more involved to get a replacement installed, but not impossible like say, getting a better screen or a faster processor or graphics card. I would look at the HDD prices and see what the actual utility of having a giant hard drive is. For my own self, I don't need anything but the smallest drive- anything important goes on external storage.

I *would* get the fastest HDD available. Makes a huge difference (IMHO), and again, if you need storage beyond 80gb, you are probably talking about a ton of media files, which don't need to be on fast drives. You can pick up a cheap, slow, large 2.5" hdd and put it into an external USB or Firewire case and dump all your media on it.
posted by gjc at 8:01 AM on July 13, 2009

Can you spend that $2500 however you wish? If so pick up a new 13" MacBook Pro for $1199 and then get a refurbed iMac. As an example there's a 24" 2.8 GHz C2D in the refurbed store for $1199 right now. Then you get the best of both worlds: a more portable machine than the 15" (at least I always found mine clunky) and a big screen for home. Or get a refurbished Air if you want even more portability.
posted by 6550 at 12:16 PM on July 13, 2009

Going off of 6550's suggestion: Unless you really need the 15" display, I'd go with the new 13" MBP and a large external monitor to keep at home. Buy the stock model and upgrade the RAM and drive yourself. You could even switch out the 320GB drive from your current MBP instead of buying a new one.

Also, instead of AppleCare - if you have a credit card that doubles the warranty on purchased items, you can get a total of 2 years coverage (rather than 3 with AppleCare). If your scholarship is going to reimburse you for your purchases you could use that money towards RAM/drive/monitor/cables/etc instead.
posted by Fin Azvandi at 4:56 PM on July 13, 2009

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