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I recently purchased what (I wonder) might be my last "new" Mac for daily use: a mid-2012 MacBook Pro with an i7 CPU, 16 GB RAM, a 2TB SSD, an internal SuperDrive, lots of user-replaceable parts, a ton of useful ports, and a reliable, comfortable keyboard.

While current Mac laptops obviously beat this machine in terms of CPU/GPU speed, Thunderbolt 3, and eGPU, no current Mac laptop is as versatile as the old 2012, and the 2012 is fast enough for what I do routinely. On those occasions when I need more performance, I don't use a Mac.
 


The 2018 Apple laptops supposedly have a sort of membrane designed to protect the butterfly keyboard from the common failures afflicting 2017 and earlier models with this keyboard design.
If that works, it would be most welcome. With my 2017 MacBook 12" I've had to invest in canned air multipacks, and am constantly cleaning out the keyboard.
 



I will say that the new keyboard is definitely going to be a little louder for other people when you type. This may or may not be an issue depending on circumstances.
I know that the butterfly keyboard makes my MacBook Pro unusable in meetings and seminars. I have to take my late 2013 model with me when I go any place where there are other people involved.
 


Yes, the keyboard's a problem, but that's not all that's wrong with the MacBook Pro (and some other Macs). It has faults it shouldn't have. Apple can do better. See this roundup:
<https://www.cultofmac.com/605282/7-painful-truths-about-the-2018-macbook-pro>
 


See this roundup...
Ten-minute ranty-tone videos suck, but I sat through it so I could summarize it for the team and save you all ten minutes of your life. Nothing new if you've been following the past three years:
  1. "It's an impractical computer." Poor choice of external ports. Dongle city.
  2. "The keyboard's not that great." Plus "band-aid fix" for debris issues. Plus any key powers up.
  3. "The touchbar is a gimmick that is not actually useful in any way."
  4. The touchpad "is not as accurate as it used to be."
  5. "They have stolen the heart and soul..." No lit-up logo, etc.
  6. No startup sound.
  7. "It's still a magnificent, superb piece of equipment. [But] it's not as good as it could be."
 


After reading around, I'm still somewhat concerned by the robustness of the butterfly keyboard on the new Apple laptops. So I've decided to try and eke a few more years out of my 2012 MacBook Pro; I've ordered a Mercury Electra 6G SSD and replacement battery from OWC to pep things up a bit.
 


I received a "deal of the week" email today from CDW (a long-standing reseller) that offers a current model MacBook Pro for 31% off list! It states they have 300 available to start.
Basic details: 2018 MacBook Pro 15.4" Touchbar with Intel Core i7 / 2.2 GHz, 16 GB RAM, 2 TB Drive, AMD Radeon Pro 555X

The hitch for most folks will be the base-model specs, including only 16GB RAM. For anyone whose workload puts modest demands on RAM but can benefit from a lot of fast onboard storage, this is a pretty nice deal.
https://www.cdw.com/content/cdw/en/promotions/deals-of-the-week.html​
 



and a discrete AMD Radeon Pro 555X graphics processor (although that looks a lot weaker than a Radeon RX 580 eGPU).
I wasn't too impressed with the CDW listing, which didn't seem to even have Apple's model number or year of manufacture.
Agreed. Though I fear Apple is setting the trend here. I checked the Apple Store before posting to verify the offer was for a current model, so placed a MacBook Pro with matching configuration into the bag (cart) then reviewed the cart and the "details" link, and there is absolutely no mention of a model or sales number anywhere! Amazon seems to be following along, too, as they are showing marketing numbers for older models and refurbs while only stating "latest model" for current/new Macs.

Fortunately, MacTracker and the EveryMac website record this vital data along with the specs to enable differentiation.
 


If you haven't seen a Retina display in person yet, though, you should swing by an Apple Store if you find yourself near one. It may be my age, or my deteriorating vision (will need my first set of prescription lenses next year), but I find a Retina display makes an enormous difference, simply because of the contrast (dynamic range). And of course, your milage may vary.
Discovered something new (at least new to me) on my 2017 15"MacBook Pro screen. I was cleaning it, and there was "a particle" stuck to the screen, so I thought. Apparently, somehow I nicked the screen as the "particle" would not come off. So I looked at it with a strong magnifying glass, and there appears there is a very thin and extremely tough plastic film over the screen. It is slightly noticeable with a white background and much less so with a dark background.
 


Just wanted to chime in here. The issue at hand is indeed a failure of the AMD GPU. Literally every one of them made had a tragic defect. If operating temperatures were at all reasonable, it's likely the defect would have never surfaced, but we all know how that went. The best way to handle this is just to disable the AMD and use only the Intel GPU. Many of the companies that advertise GPU replacement do a terrible job. Most of the time they cook it with a heat gun, send it out, and hope it lasts the 30-day warranty.
I own two 2011, 17'' i7 MacBook Pros, and both have gone in under warranty to Apple to have the logic boards replaced due to the Radeon 6750M card failing. My main MacBook Pro that I use for business and Logic X and FCP X went down again on Sunday for the same reason. It was all fine and dandy when Apple fixed them for free, but now I need to make a decision... and I'm not a fan of anything Apple has put out within the last few years.

Even if I can get the board replaced again for $600, it doesn't make a lot of sense to do so. I can use Adam's EFI and R8911 resistor removal fix to force the OS to only use the Intel 3000 integrated card. This will make it 90% useful, but I still need the ability to edit in FCP X and to run an external monitor when recording in Logic X. It "appears" (I don't know for sure without testing) that I won't be able to run HDMI out to my 4K 50" TV to use as a monitor with only the Intel 3000 graphics.

Here are my thoughts/choices at the moment:
  • Do Adam's $10 fix (great deal by the way) to keep the 17" from becoming a door stop. It will still run everything I need on a daily basis except possibly FCP X, and I lose the ability to run an external monitor.
  • Save the $600 for a new logic board and possibly buy a used 2012 15" MacBook Pro where I can upgrade the RAM and the hard drive to SSD, and it won't have the Radeon card issue. (I'd like to stick with something that I can upgrade myself, replace the battery when needed, and stay on Sierra, so I'm looking at a used 2012.)
  • I saw this at Best Buy: "Apple - MacBook Pro 15.4" Laptop - Intel Core i7 - 8GB Memory - NVIDIA GeForce GT 650M" for $870, but I will look elsewhere also if I decide to go in this direction.
Questions:
  • Any thoughts on used MacBook Pros and where to buy online or offline?
  • Any other ideas other than what I've laid out?
Thanks
 


I own two 2011, 17'' i7 MacBook Pros, and both have gone in under warranty to Apple to have the logic boards replaced due to the Radeon 6750M card failing. My main MacBook Pro that I use for business and Logic X and FCP X went down again on Sunday for the same reason. It was all fine and dandy when Apple fixed them for free, but now I need to make a decision... and I'm not a fan of anything Apple has put out within the last few years.

Even if I can get the board replaced again for $600, it doesn't make a lot of sense to do so. I can use Adam's EFI and R8911 resistor removal fix to force the OS to only use the Intel 3000 integrated card. This will make it 90% useful, but I still need the ability to edit in FCP X and to run an external monitor when recording in Logic X. It "appears" (I don't know for sure without testing) that I won't be able to run HDMI out to my 4K 50" TV to use as a monitor with only the Intel 3000 graphics.

Here are my thoughts/choices at the moment:
  • Do Adam's $10 fix (great deal by the way) to keep the 17" from becoming a door stop. It will still run everything I need on a daily basis except possibly FCP X, and I lose the ability to run an external monitor.
  • Save the $600 for a new logic board and possibly buy a used 2012 15" MacBook Pro where I can upgrade the RAM and the hard drive to SSD, and it won't have the Radeon card issue. (I'd like to stick with something that I can upgrade myself, replace the battery when needed, and stay on Sierra, so I'm looking at a used 2012.)
  • I saw this at Best Buy: "Apple - MacBook Pro 15.4" Laptop - Intel Core i7 - 8GB Memory - NVIDIA GeForce GT 650M" for $870, but I will look elsewhere also if I decide to go in this direction.
Questions:
  • Any thoughts on used MacBook Pros and where to buy online or offline?
  • Any other ideas other than what I've laid out?
Best deals will be on eBay and will range from about $500-$1000 for one that is good quality or higher, depending on RAM and hard drive configuration. Be careful and look closely at photos, check for any screen issues, out of flatness, bottom covers that don't quite fit right. If there are no photos or limited ones be very careful. Small scratches, dents are OK, cosmetic.

I recommend the 2012 MacBook Pro models to my customers, because they are the last Apple laptops that you can easily replace/upgrade the RAM and internal 2.5" drive, also still has a DVD player/burner. I like to find the best price, even if it has less than the maximum 16GB RAM and then order a SSD for its performance and RAM if needed. Also the 2012 models come with USB 3 ports for faster data transfer. I like to set up customers with external backups (1TB drives run about $50-60), one set up as a Time Machine backup and a second as a clone backup - that way if any problems occur, your data files are safe.
 


... Any other ideas other than what I've laid out?
I am unfamiliar with the 2011 17" MacBook Pro, but I do have a 2011 15" MacBook Pro that eventually began having problems with the on-board graphics system. If the problem I had is similar to the problem you are having, it can be easily fixed by having the graphics chip replaced. I sent my computer to "rnrcomputer" in NY; there is at least one other business there that does that work also. Go to eBay/Advance Search/scroll down to "specific sellers" and you will find the listing for 17" MacBook Pro.
 


I have a 15" MacBook Pro with a bad AMD discrete graphics card. As it was an older machine and the "repair" is, indeed, a hit-or-miss thing, I just disabled the card (no hardware mods required) and removed all AMD kexts. This worked for me:

Boot into Recovery partition and run the following in Terminal:
Bash:
csrutil disable
nvram fa4ce28d-b62f-4c99-9cc3-6815686e30f9:gpu-power-prefs=%01%00%00%00
reboot
Note: If Recovery Partition boot isn't possible, boot using an El Capitan USB installer and use Terminal in the Utilities menu.

Remove AMD kexts in /System/Library/Extensions if continued use with macOS is desired; otherwise, install Linux Mint and do not install any extra video drivers!

I've actually done the above with three machines. What you end up with is a 13" MacBook Pro (motherboard graphics only) with a 15" screen.

Do understand that any macOS upgrade will reinstall the AMD kexts that will have to be removed once again. I usually create an extra boot partition without the kexts, so I may boot into the other and make the kext removal a GUI affair.

As for a newer MacBook Pro to replace the old one: I bought a 2014 15" model as that year (and 2015) still had the good keyboard and an easily replaceable SSD.
 


  • Any thoughts on used MacBook Pros and where to buy online or offline?
  • Any other ideas other than what I've laid out?
This was a couple years ago, but the video in my 2011 17" MacBook Pro died. The Apple Store wouldn't fix it, so I bought another from macofalltrades.com. I then found someone who could fix my original one. It cost about $400 - he did a component replacement, he didn't replace the logic board.

Since it is no longer supported by new versions of macOS, I'm not sure I would replace it, if it broke again. It would be hard to give up the many advantages over the new ones, though (ports, user replaceable battery, memory, drive, big screen, etc.).
 


Since it is no longer supported by new versions of macOS, I'm not sure I would replace it, if it broke again. It would be hard to give up the many advantages over the new ones, though (ports, user replaceable battery, memory, drive, big screen, etc.).
You may be able to hack your way around that limitation, should you care to try. Be sure to check things, such as your WiFi, to see if they will continue to work.
 


As for a newer MacBook Pro to replace the old one: I bought a 2014 15" model as that year (and 2015) still had the good keyboard and an easily replaceable SSD.
Thanks for the reminder, I also meant to ask yesterday in my post...

I know I can replace the hard drive, RAM, and battery in my 2011 and the 2012's, but what is replaceable and not replaceable in the 2013, 2014, and 2015 models? I thought that 2012 was the end of the line for all three user replaceable parts. I wouldn't mind a slighter newer model with 2GB video card for FCP X, as long as I don't lose the upgradability.
 


I have a lightly used 15” 2011 MacBook Pro. Basically, I have barely used it since finding out about the graphics issue. I bought a cooler gizmo that can be placed under it when I do use it.

Two years after getting the 2011, I bought a refurb 2012 15” MacBook Pro, maxed the RAM, and eventually installed a SSD. It is a good upgrade from a 2011, since it can run a more recent OS and has Thunderbolt 2 and USB 3. If you don’t need the optical drive, you could look for a 2014 or 2015 Retina MacBook Pro. The display is lovely, and it still has a decent keyboard.
 


Thanks for the reminder, I also meant to ask yesterday in my post...

I know I can replace the hard drive, RAM, and battery in my 2011 and the 2012's, but what is replaceable and not replaceable in the 2013, 2014, and 2015 models? I thought that 2012 was the end of the line for all three user replaceable parts. I wouldn't mind a slighter newer model with 2GB video card for FCP X, as long as I don't lose the upgradability.
2012 was the last model with upgradable RAM.
 



2014 and 2015 MacBook Pros do have replaceable batteries, but, due to Apple's poor design that actually glues the battery into place with w-a-y too much adhesive, it requires some patience and effort (and more patience) to remove the original battery. You may use a small amount of double-faced "cushy" tape in a couple of spots to keep the new battery from sliding around (although any movement would be minimal). As well, the trackpad may be replaced separately from the top case. Should the keyboard fail, DTT Service can replace it for about $195. My intention is to keep my 2014 MacBook Pro running for another 5-7 years.
 


Thanks for the reminder, I also meant to ask yesterday in my post...
I know I can replace the hard drive, RAM, and battery in my 2011 and the 2012's, but what is replaceable and not replaceable in the 2013, 2014, and 2015 models? I thought that 2012 was the end of the line for all three user replaceable parts. I wouldn't mind a slighter newer model with 2GB video card for FCP X, as long as I don't lose the upgradability.
Only the SSD is replaceable. Sort of. it is a non-standard part, only used by Apple. There was a big discussion about it a while back. From what I remember, none of the 3rd-party replacements are anywhere near as fast as a real Apple part. Some have weird issues due to being configured in some sort of RAID configuration. Apple won't sell you one.

RAM is soldered onto the logic board (not user-replaceable). The battery is glued in (only replaced with great difficulty).
 


Thanks for the reminder, I also meant to ask yesterday in my post...
I know I can replace the hard drive, RAM, and battery in my 2011 and the 2012's, but what is replaceable and not replaceable in the 2013, 2014, and 2015 models? I thought that 2012 was the end of the line for all three user replaceable parts. I wouldn't mind a slighter newer model with 2GB video card for FCP X, as long as I don't lose the upgradability.
The Retina models are less upgradable. I believe the battery is glued in on all of them, making replacement an expensive proposition. The weight is nice, and the display is really nice, but the Retina models represent some early steps in what I see as the wrong direction: soldered RAM, glued battery, etc.
 


I own two 2011, 17'' i7 MacBook Pros, and both have gone in under warranty to Apple to have the logic boards replaced due to the Radeon 6750M card failing. My main MacBook Pro that I use for business and Logic X and FCP X went down again on Sunday for the same reason. It was all fine and dandy when Apple fixed them for free, but now I need to make a decision... and I'm not a fan of anything Apple has put out within the last few years.

Even if I can get the board replaced again for $600, it doesn't make a lot of sense to do so. I can use Adam's EFI and R8911 resistor removal fix to force the OS to only use the Intel 3000 integrated card. This will make it 90% useful, but I still need the ability to edit in FCP X and to run an external monitor when recording in Logic X. It "appears" (I don't know for sure without testing) that I won't be able to run HDMI out to my 4K 50" TV to use as a monitor with only the Intel 3000 graphics.

Here are my thoughts/choices at the moment:
  • Do Adam's $10 fix (great deal by the way) to keep the 17" from becoming a door stop. It will still run everything I need on a daily basis except possibly FCP X, and I lose the ability to run an external monitor.
  • Save the $600 for a new logic board and possibly buy a used 2012 15" MacBook Pro where I can upgrade the RAM and the hard drive to SSD, and it won't have the Radeon card issue. (I'd like to stick with something that I can upgrade myself, replace the battery when needed, and stay on Sierra, so I'm looking at a used 2012.)
  • I saw this at Best Buy: "Apple - MacBook Pro 15.4" Laptop - Intel Core i7 - 8GB Memory - NVIDIA GeForce GT 650M" for $870, but I will look elsewhere also if I decide to go in this direction.
Questions:
  • Any thoughts on used MacBook Pros and where to buy online or offline?
  • Any other ideas other than what I've laid out?
We also have two early 2011 17" MacBook Pros, and Apple replaced the motherboards due to failed Radeon 6750M GPUs twice in mine and three times in my wife's. The last time they failed, they were beyond all extended AppleCare/hidden recall/etc. terms and replacing the motherboards be about $1k each.

One of our MacInTouch members had a similar experience and had good luck with MrComputer in Brooklyn NY via eBay. I checked them out, and they seemed to know what they were talking about. We sent ours to them, one at a time, and opted for the GPU upgrade to a 6770M, which did not have the failure problem. Both came back safely but with minor issues that MrComputer said they may be able to fix if we paid for shipping both ways. One was on my wife's, where the ethernet port would no longer hold any cable (I think the motherboard was positioned slightly off), and on mine my right speaker is dead. Annoying but not worth the expense.

However, this discussion brought something to mind. I was not sure that I had checked the System Profile to see if it indicated we have 6770M's now instead of the flaky 6750M's. Will have to do that when I get home from work....
 


I know I can replace the hard drive, RAM, and battery in my 2011 and the 2012's, but what is replaceable and not replaceable in the 2013, 2014, and 2015 models?
2012 was the last model with upgradable RAM.
For the 2015 model, according to iFixit, replacing the battery is incredibly difficult - 74 steps, 2-3 hours. Looks like you need to take the computer completely apart to get to the glued battery:


You can update the SSD pretty easily (7 steps.) The RAM is soldered. So, one for three - a decent batting average in baseball, not so much in computer upgrade/repair.
 


Cool. Can you swap out drives and batteries in the 2013-15 models? If I buy one with the RAM already maxed out, it should be fine.
Hi, Dave G; these links from iFixit might help you:


The SSDs are easy to replace, but the batteries are hard, due to the glue used in production.
 


Discovered something new (at least new to me) on my 2017 15"MacBook Pro screen. I was cleaning it, and there was "a particle" stuck to the screen, so I thought. Apparently, somehow I nicked the screen as the "particle" would not come off. So I looked at it with a strong magnifying glass, and there appears there is a very thin and extremely tough plastic film over the screen. It is slightly noticeable with a white background and much less so with a dark background.
I had something like that happen once. I took it into the local Apple Store and they replaced the screen for free (out of warranty) because they said it came from a bad batch of displays manufactured with a defect that caused the screen to delaminate over time. Apparently it would have become far worse over time. Not sure if that's what you're seeing, but might be worth checking out.
 


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