Renovating a MacBook Pro


Let’s face it, Apple products are not cheap — especially the MacBook Pro — but it a popular choice among consumers.

According to Gartner, Mac sales jumped 28.5% in the fourth quarter of 2013, bumping Apple to 13.7% of U.S. PC vendor shipments while the PC market declined 7.5%.

Not everyone can afford to shell out thousands of dollars for a MacBook Pro, though. So, how can you land yourself a quality MBP that will last for years to come without breaking the bank?

You can save money and get top performance out of a computer by reviving a used MacBook Pro.

Let’s take the current base 15″ MacBook Pro model to use as a price point for comparison. The machine comes with a 2.0GHz Quad-core Intel Core i7 processor,  8GB of DDR3 RAM, 256GB Flash storage, and a Retina display for $2138.93 (after tax).

Based on a search of completed eBay listings, a used but working i7, 15″ MacBook Pro can be purchased for roughly $700.

Let’s use this completed listing for example. It is a 15″, mid-2010 MacBook Pro with a 2.66GHz dual i7 processor. It sold for $690. It has 4GB of RAM and a 500GB hard drive but we are going to disregard that for a minute because these are the components that we are going to upgrade.

You can go to Crucial’s website to find what RAM and hard drives will work with your machine.

While RAM is an easy and obvious upgrade, upgrading to a solid state drive will really give your machine a huge boost. For $360.58 (after tax), you can swap out the current hard drive with a 512GB SSD. A solid state drive improves the read/write capability of your computer and will even improve the battery life.

For an additional $98.43, you can double up the memory with 8GB of DDR3 RAM.

If you decide not to keep the old 500GB hard drive as an external drive to give you over 1TB of storage, you could sell it on CraigsList or eBay for roughly $50.

Naturally, all of these numbers are rough estimates. Not every MacBook Pro listing will sell for the same price. Nevertheless, $700 is roughly around the current average price and we’ll stick with that for the sake of this discussion.

When we add everything up (and then subtract the resale of the hard drive, the total cost of your newly renovated MacBook Pro would run $1099.01, or $1039.92 less than the cost of a new MBP. That’s a 51% savings and you get double the memory and hard drive space. Not too shabby.

Maybe it does not have a Retina display. Maybe a Dell is cheaper. Maybe you’ve accrued so much debt on your credit card that you can get yourself a new computer without putting any money out of pocket. These options are outside of the scope of this article, though.

As far as we are concerned, the bottom line here is what counts and getting a 15″ MBP with a SSD for less than $1100 sounds pretty damned good to us.

Marcello C. De Feo

Founder and CEO at Untied Magazine
Marcello De Feo started blogging in 2002 as a way to promote his band and stay in touch with friends back east when he lived in Colorado. Over the years, he has owned and run many blogs, the most notable of which was FlyersFaithful.com. Untied is his most expansive effort to date and he is ecstatic to have so many brilliant writers on board from the get go.

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