Refurbished macbook pro age, does it matter?
July 15, 2014 11:46 AM   Subscribe

Would there be a big difference between a 2012 refurbished macbook pro, and 2013 refurbished macbook pro?

I'm looking at getting one soon, and the better deal is the 2012. But my current computer was a refurb, and I always felt it missed out on a number of things being a generation or two younger. For example, I got my refurb in 2009, but it was a 2008 model. It could only go up to 8 gigs of ram, but had I bought a new one in 2009, I could have gone up to 16 gigs eventually.

Now, however, you can't upgrade ram. So I'm wondering what else I might be missing out on if I go with a slightly older refurb? Assuming the specs are pretty much the same, will it make a difference? For example, is there a newer chipset that will make the old one obsolete faster?

The 2012 would be the first gen with retina display, were there problems with it I should worry about, or generally worry about being retina display, period?
posted by [insert clever name here] to Computers & Internet (9 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Late 2012 = Ivy Bridge with Intel 4000 graphics; Late 2013 = Haswell with Intel Iris graphics. The first is the "tock" of the Intel tick-tock development cycle (die-shrink of previous year's architecture) and the second is the "tick" (new architecture). Early 2013 models are speed-bump upgrades of Late 2012 hardware.

The benchmarks and battery life improvements in the Late 2013 model are pretty significant, and there's a general view that the hardware for the first generation retina MBP was slightly underpowered, especially on the graphics side to drive the display.

Get the Late 2013. It's the generation of the rMBP where the hardware got up to speed with the ambition of Apple's design. It will last you longer. Also, because Intel's Broadwell schedule has slipped, there's no difference right now between a Late 2013 refurb and a brand new one, and there'll probably be only speed-bump upgrades on new models until 2015.
posted by holgate at 12:00 PM on July 15, 2014 [1 favorite]

The late 2013 rMBP is the first one that supports 4k monitors. If you care.
posted by aubilenon at 12:24 PM on July 15, 2014 [1 favorite]

(I got my ticks and tocks mixed up, but anyway.)
posted by holgate at 12:38 PM on July 15, 2014 [1 favorite]

i wrote a whole screed on how the 2012 one was totally fine, then i went and compared the prices.

For barely $150, just get the new one. I have the old one and it's still totally fine, and the upgrade was pretty much a lateral one... but yea.

Strongly consider that 16gb ram/512gb drive model that's maybe $400 more though. Seriously, i regret not getting that one. 256gb is barely enough drive space, and i bump in to the 8gb of ram fairly often using pro apps(which, if you're not and just want a solid computer with a nice screen, just buy the 13in 2013 but get the 8gb of ram model)

You're not missing out on much, but it's such a small price difference on such a relatively expensive computer that you're kinda shooting yourself in the gonads to not just get the newer one. Also, the newer intel graphics model runs very, very cool. Not that the 2012 gets achingly hot most of the time, but any time dedicated graphics kick in it gets warm very quickly. The new ones never do. I compared them side by side at a clients jobsite recently and was very impressed with how the newer one barely felt like it was on, while mine gets slightly warm in a "oh, somethings alive inside there" way.

You also avoid the screen issues a few people had with the 2012 model. Apparently even when apple replaces the screen if they see it, it sometimes comes back. i never had that problem, nor do any of the few people i know offline who own that machine... but it's something to think about.

You want either this or this.
posted by emptythought at 2:52 PM on July 15, 2014 [1 favorite]

I've been thrilled to death using my Late 2012 Retina MBP 13, with 8GB RAM and 500 MB SSD. Oh it is fast, fast, and quiet. And light. It's never slowed down in the face of anything, but I don't edit videos or do any sort of photo retouching.
posted by Jesse the K at 4:00 PM on July 15, 2014

I love you all, taco humans! This is exactly what I needed to know; and what I wasn't sure how to look up. I used to be a web designer and still do it now and again AND I want to do video editing, but it just cranks on my 2008 MacBook. I'm sure anything I get will seem faster, but over the long all, the late 2013 model seems to be the ticket.
posted by [insert clever name here] at 4:29 AM on July 16, 2014

For $150, definitely get the 2013. I'd also suggest getting the 16GB. I have the 2012 with 16GB, and it is a fantastic machine, but the 2013 is better in important ways.

For what it is worth, My 256GB SSD got cramped a little sooner than I'd expected (it was only half full after I "moved in"), and reasonable 3rd party options have been slow to arrive, but sticking in a stumpy 64GB SD card that lives in my machine full time has allowed me to move my iTunes library and some other files off the main drive and now I have ~90GB free on the main SSD again. Still, I'd love a 512GB.
posted by Good Brain at 1:28 PM on July 16, 2014 [1 favorite]

nthing that 512GB storage is likely to feel less cramped than 256GB (and it'll be my choice when I get a new Mac) even though it bumps up the price a fair bit. I'm slightly less fussed about 8GB RAM vs 16GB, though I'm not doing video/photo work.
posted by holgate at 3:14 PM on July 16, 2014 [1 favorite]

Just to update and complete the the thread, a friend of a friend works at apple, so I ended up going new through the friends and family discount. Had that not been an option, I would have gone with the late 2013 refurb.

Once again, thank you all.
posted by [insert clever name here] at 9:37 PM on July 22, 2014

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