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I want to buy a "new" MacBook to replace my white MacBook 13" (Mid 2007), which makes me mad especially because of its limited RAM (only 3 GB possible).

I want to buy a MacBook Pro 13" and I'm not sure if it is worth taking a really new model (13" or 13" retina) or maybe buying a used one which might be much cheaper.

I saw a MacBook MC700LL/A MacBook Pro 13" Early 2011" 2.3 GHz (8 GB RAM, 1 TB SSD built-in later) and I wonder how much it is different from the current "normal" 13" MacBook Pro which seems to be nearly unchanged since 2012.

My question

I can compare the technical specs, but I am not sure

  • how much difference they will make in my daily life and especially if I could maybe regret to buy a MacBook with an older USB/Airport/Bluetooth standard...
  • if there are other differences / disadvantages of the older model
  • How much "better" the smallest current MacBook Pro 13" Retina model would be compared to the 2 of them - which use cases would justify buying this one?

Use case

I'm currently using my MacBook mainly for

  • E-Mail and Web-Browsing (the latter makes my old MacBook nearly unusable, as Safari with some open Tabs regularly blocks all my RAM after a short while and I have to close it)
  • Office Applications and LaTeX
  • working with large databases (file size many GB)

In the future, I'd also like to do (private) graphics and video editing and "multimedia stuff".

Differences from my point of view between used MacBook Pro Early 2011 and current MBP 13" 2012:

  • new MacBook is really new, has warranty and a new battery
    (the used one is already nearly 4 years old)

  • the technical specs (see screenshot below) seem to be very similar to each other, differences are mainly CPU speed, USB and Bluetooth standards

source: http://www.everymac.com/ultimate-mac-comparison-chart/?compare=all-intel-macs&highlight=0&prod1=MacBookPro043&prod2=MacBookPro057

rows with differences in specs are highlighted in blue!

enter image description here enter image description here

Comparison between all 3 models:

source: http://www.everymac.com/ultimate-mac-comparison-chart/?compare=all-intel-macs&highlight=0&prod1=MacBookPro043&prod2=MacBookPro057&prod3=MacBookPro080

enter image description here enter image description here

closed as primarily opinion-based by Ruskes, nohillside Jan 8 '15 at 7:21

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

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In my opinion, I'd get the newest Mac, especially if you get a warranty with it. The newer the computer, the more OS X updates it can handle. As far as graphics go, I'd go with the one that has better specs. If you do end up buying a new one, upgrade the RAM, and if you plan on working with video editing software, definitely get the i7 processor instead of an i5. I currently use a Mid 2012 MBP (Non retina) and it functions pretty well, however, there are times when rendering videos gives me the "Spinning Wheel of Death". The new one is going to be better, even if it's a little more. And as far as your statement about the "Macbook Pro hasn't changed much since 2012", the new ones are lighter but don't include disc slots, so keep that in mind. The new MBP is definitely an improvement, and although the looks haven't changed much, it'll (most likely) run smoother and gain more support for future updates.

EDIT If you can (I haven't bough a new Mac in a while so I'm not sure you can do this with laptops), upgrade your graphics card to the Nvida (whatever model they have). It helps a lot with 3D animation and graphics.

  • thanks for your help! With "MacBook Pro hasn't changed much" I meant the non-retina model which indeed has only some improved specs. But sure (I noticed that) the Retina model has some major changes like no built-in optical drive and on-board RAM (no slots for upgrading) – MostlyHarmless Jan 24 '15 at 11:41

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