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How My 2012 MacBook Pro Aged Like Fine Wine; Time For Upgrade?
MacBooks are always on the expensive side when compared to similarly-powered laptops, hence most people prefer a Windows machine. I purchased the Apple MacBook Pro (13-inch), mid-2012 model in 2014 and it is still going strong in 2020.
So, it has already lasted for more than 6 years and is likely to last at least a couple of more years. However, this doesn't mean that I haven't faced any issues with this laptop. Here is my experience with the MacBook Pro over the last few years.
I Wanted The Most Affordable MacBook And I Got One
2014 was a time when people were skeptical about e-commerce sites to make purchases, especially something that would cost a lot of money. When I decided that I need a MacBook, I window shopped and found out that the same model (13-inch mid-2012) was almost Rs. 15,000 expensive on a retail store when compared to the Amazon pricing.
I was actually confused about the MacBook Pro and the MacBook Air. The Air offered a thinner design and faster SSD, whereas the Pro had a more powerful CPU with an option to upgrade both RAM and storage, hence I chose the MacBook Pro.
Many of my friends and family suggested me to spend that extra 15 thousand and get the laptop from the store to be on the safer side. I trusted Amazon and finally bought my first laptop (MacBook Pro) for Rs. 55,000.
The MacBook Pro that I got was powered by a dual-core four-thread 3rd Gen Intel Core i5 processor with a base CPU clock speed of 2.5GHz with Intel HD graphics. The device offered 4GB 1600MHz DDR3 RAM with 512GB 2.5-inch 5200RPM HDD, which is a bit slow.
One thing that MacBook Pro wowed me is the battery life. It could easily last for five and a half to six hours on a single charge (at least for the first year) and it could easily last for an entire day without any issue.
However, what I really missed on this laptop is gaming. The Intel HD graphics were nowhere powerful enough even to run older games and macOS isn't a great ecosystem for gaming as well. So, this is one big compromise that I made by choosing MacBook Pro and felt sad when my friends were playing CS: Go.
Even though the MacBook had a 720p display that used a TFT panel, the color reproduction is still on point and works well for watching movies and videos even in 2020.
Software Upgrade Makes It New Every Year
Did you know that even after buying an expensive MacBook you had to pay for major software upgrades before 2012? However, with the OSX Mavericks, the company started giving major annual upgrades for free of cost.
My MacBook Pro is currently running on the macOS High Sierra even though it is capable of supporting macOS ElCapitan and I might directly upgrade the laptop to macOS Big Sur, which is coming this fall. So, with every major macOS upgrade, the UI has changed, giving the laptop a newer look.
There Were Issues And I DYI-ed Them
In the last few years, I have faced some issues with the MacBook Pro. Almost after two years of usage, the laptop got sluggish in booting up (it would take two to three minutes) and I knew that the HDD was at fault.
Then I planned to upgrade the storage solution with an SSD (which was damn expensive in 2016) and I went with a 256GB 2.5-inch SATA SSD from Samsung. As soon as I upgraded the storage, my MacBook's boot speed improved drastically and took just around 10 seconds to boot. Even today after almost four years of the upgrade, it hasn't slowed down.
The next issue was the storage itself. Apple uses a custom and a modular SATA cable to connect the storage unit with the motherboard and mine has failed twice. It happened after the warranty period expired, so I took matters into my own hand.
After researching a bit, I found out that it is a common issue with the MacBook Pro model that I have, and going with a first-party repair will cost me a lot of money. Hence, I ordered the replacement part from Amazon (both times) and it costed me around Rs. 1,000 and my MacBook Pro was up and running.
Again, in 2018 I felt the multitasking performance has taken a hit and it was time to give RAM the upgrade it always wanted. The laptop came with two 2GB DDR3 1600Hz sticks and I bought an 8GB DDR3 1600Hz RAM stick from Amazon and upgraded the laptop, taking the total amount of RAM to 10GB.
Though it is not advised to use two RAM sticks with different configurations, I wanted to do this way as I would give me a legroom to upgrade the RAM to 16GB in the future. With this upgrade, I was able to open more than 10 tabs on Chrome (finally).
The Current Situation
Thanks to the premium all-metal unibody design, the 2012 laptop doesn't look aged even in 2020. However, when compared to modern laptops, it does look bulky and a little heavy and these are some things that don't bother me at all.
The charger has started to show its age, where the outer protective casing has started to wear off and I have smartly covered it with some spiral plastic thingy that I got from Amazon for less than Rs. 500.
With over 700 charge cycles, the battery life has taken a serious hit and it now lasts around 2 hours on a single charge. So, I might give the battery an upgrade in the near future.
Will I Buy A MacBook Again?
Hmmm, I don't know. Though my experience with the MacBook has been very pleasing, I no more see a point in getting a MacBook again. Unlike my model none of the modern MacBooks offers a modular design, making it impossible to repair/upgrade.
Not just that, with Apple ditching Intel and moving to its own silicon it doesn't make sense to buy a MacBook with an Intel processor now. Similarly, buying a first-gen MacBook with Apple Silicon is also a risky business.
I have spent around Rs. 20,000 and I am very happy with the performance upgrade I have got for the money. Repairability and upgradability is something that I care a lot while choosing a laptop even to date.
Though I have been a proud owner of a MacBook for more than five years, the latest developments are not letting me choose a MacBook as my next laptop purchase. Windows laptops of 2020 have become really good in terms of looks, aesthetics, and performance when compared to 2014. I could finally come to the Windows side when my MacBook Pro starts giving me more problems or when it completely stops working.