My First MacBook Pro

Selvin Ortiz / March 22, 2015

My love for gadgets and the want to have the latest in tech is not nearly as important as finding the best deal and getting the best value for my hard earned money. That’s why when it came time to buy a new laptop for working on the go, the process was arduous.

I had been a life long Windows/​Linux dual booter until mid 2014 when I replaced my dying laptop with a Mac Mini 2012 Server. Since then, my love affair with OSX has grown and my productivity has increased.

When I decided that it was time to buy a new laptop, I didn’t make up my mind right away that it should be a Macbook. I was open to buying a laptop with Windows or even Ubuntu if it made sense.

After setting the budget and defining the specs, it was time to begin searching for my next mobile workstation.

The budget #

I am a frugal freelancer, I did not want to spend a huge amount of money and I didn’t mind if a used or refurbished model was my only option.

The budget I decided to allocate for this purchase was $1,200 or less. This was a very optimistic number according to many apple users I talked to but it was big enough for me and I really couldn’t afford much more than that.

The specs #

I’ve gotten to know my hardware pretty well over the years and that knowledge along with some additional research, eventually led to the following, somewhat, optimistic baseline specs.

  • Intel i7 Processor
  • 8 GB+ RAM
  • 500 GB+ HDD
  • USB 3
  • Bluetooth 4
  • Illuminated Keyboard

These specs are not next gen but I knew they would be enough to get me started. I really needed the major components such as RAM and HDD to be upgradeable though.

Two weeks later #

After two weeks of research, all the Windows laptops had failed to win me over and the only remaining Macbook competitors I was considering were the Dell XPS 15 and the Lenovo Yoga Pro 3, the latter of which was almost within my budget if purchased new.

Four weeks into it #

At this point, the Windows/​Linux/​Mac discussion was over, I knew I needed to focus on finding a used or refurbished Macbook Pro and not be distracted by anything else.

Finding the right deal #

I spent over a month crawling Craigslist, checking on Apple Deals, and browsing Ebay daily. I was specifically looking for the MD104LL/A model because this is the most powerful and most recent Macbook Pro that can still be repaired and upgraded with ease.

I spent a huge amount of time patiently searching until March 12th, 2014 when I was able to find a good deal on Amazon.

A proud owner #

I am now a proud owner of a Macbook Pro 2012 with the following specs.

  • Intel 2.6 Ghz i7 Processor
  • 16 GBRAM
  • 500 GB+ Samsung EVO SSD
  • USB 3
  • Bluetooth 4
  • Illuminated Keyboard

This baby is fully set up for graphic design and web development. It boasts serious processing power and lighting speeds, faster than my awesome Mac Mini even.

Overall, I’m very pleased with my purchase and feel that it was a solid investment.

I will admit, making a purchase like this one doesn’t have to be this involved but I find that the harder I work for something, the more I care about it.

A few tips #

If you own an older MacBook Pro and would like to get a performance boost, keep a few things in mind.

  1. There are many models that only support 8GB of RAM (officially) but can handle 16GB with no issues or overheating at all.
  2. Replacing your spinning hard disk drive (HDD) with one or two solid state drives (SSD) will make a clearly noticeable difference and will give you a really nice increase in boot time and read/​write speeds.
  3. If you can’t afford to buy more RAM or an SSD, your next best option is to do a clean install, as painful as that may sound.

Fin #

That’s about all I had to share, I hope you feel inspired to breath new life into your old MacBook/​Laptop or take your time during your next purchase.