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What is the realistic lifespan of a MacBook?


49 replies to this topic

#1 Moneypenny2014

Posted 28 July 2019 - 06:36 PM

My 18 year old daughter has just enrolled in a full time Creative Design course at TAFE and needs a laptop. I have paid her course fees which were just on $2000 but she only has $600 saved up for the laptop. We have found a second hand MacBook Pro for $750 where we know the previous owner (a middle aged lady so it is in excellent we’ll kept condition) but it is 5 years old.
Wondering whether it still has another good 5 years life in it or whether we are better to wait until she can save up $1200 and just buy a brand new base model Air? Advice anyone? $750 seems a lot of money on a second hand item to me

#2 NastyGal

Posted 28 July 2019 - 06:44 PM

I have a MacBook Pro that I bought in 2010 that is still working. I had to have the hard drive replaced last year, cost appx $400, and the battery life is not great anymore, but otherwise it works fine.

Having said that, I think it would better to save and buy a new computer, given that it's only $450 difference. I agree that $750 is a lot to ask for a five year old computer.

#3 iwanttosleepin

Posted 28 July 2019 - 06:55 PM

I probably wouldn't buy a 5 year old computer.  Not unless it was given to me for free.

We have a MacBook Air that was purchased about 7 years ago.  It's still working but we've replaced the damn charging cable 3 times.  the kids use it mostly for youtube.

we had a Mac Desktop computer and it was about 7 years old too.  when it broke it was not repairable at all as we couldn't get the parts for it.  We had to buy a new one.

#4 Coffeegirl

Posted 28 July 2019 - 06:56 PM

You may want to check that the second hand MacBook will have the processing power to run the graphics software that your daughter will be using.

The school should be able to provide you with the specs required.

Both my kids have MacBooks for school and while the Air works okay for basic programs, I don’t think it would be grunty enough to run Adobe creative suite without an upgrade in RAM

#5 Ayr

Posted 28 July 2019 - 06:57 PM

I have had them last well over 5 years. Last one was 8 when I replaced it even though it still worked.

$750 for 5 year old technology is an insane price though. I'd pay it and more for a second hand apple refurb through apple with warranty but I'd never pay close to that for old tech as a private sale. I never actually buy second hand electronics myself as I want the warranty and history but I'd be advising anyone looking to do so against it. That's a crazy price.

#6 JoanJett

Posted 28 July 2019 - 06:57 PM

I think the biggest issue is what sort of programmes she will be using, and I would have thought that with creative design, she will be using a lot of graphics and videos.  Those types of programmes often rely on processing speed, RAM and hard drive capacity.  If she's mainly using her computer away from home, I would think she's better to save for a newer model, and not just the basic Air.  The other option to consider is a desktop - much more value for money.  But not practical if she mainly needs it away from home.

#7 Mae55

Posted 28 July 2019 - 08:04 PM

My first MacBook pro battery died when it was about 5 or 6 years old. My second one is 4.5 years old and heavily used and the battery life is going but otherwise ok.

I think I’d save up and look at Apple refurbished (that’s how I bought my first one that lasted 6 years). It was cheaper than educational pricing by a fair bit.

#8 Caribou

Posted 28 July 2019 - 08:53 PM

I have a 2015 MacBook Air. I just replaced the battery $189 at Mac store! But otherwise it’s powering on strong and still perfect for word processing and basic graphics. (Social
Media using web apps)

#9 dadwasathome

Posted 28 July 2019 - 09:32 PM

DS16 has had the same MacBook Air throughout high school and it is still fine for what he uses it for.

But I wouldn’t be starting at more than a couple of years old.

#10 Sui-yat

Posted 28 July 2019 - 09:50 PM

I have a five year old MacBook Pro and it is dying. The trackpad and keyboard frequently stop working and I have to log out and in again to bring them back to life. I have also just replaced the charging cable at a cost of $109. I am going to replace it with a new model soon. I definitely wouldn’t buy one that is five years old. I think my previous MacBook Pro lasted about five years too. It eventually needed a new battery and then the screen suddenly died.

#11 nom_de_plume

Posted 28 July 2019 - 10:01 PM

My first MacBook lasted just over 8 years. I had to upgrade because the system requirements weren’t adequate for the software I needed. The battery life wasn’t as good as it was when it was new (could still get a couple hours out of it though) but there was nothing else wring with it.

The MacBook Pro I replaced it with is now 6 years old and hasn’t skipped a beat.

#12 Moneypenny2014

Posted 28 July 2019 - 10:02 PM

Thank you everyone for your honest feedback. I am going to talk to her teacher about the best model to buy and we are going to wait for a few more weeks and buy a new one. Thank you again everyone!

#13 Moneypenny2014

Posted 28 July 2019 - 10:05 PM

Incidentally does anyone know how much a new screen for a MacBook costs (roughly?). I’ve never heard of a screen breaking on a HP but it seems that they’re fragile on the Macs from what I’ve heard

#14 ExpatInAsia

Posted 28 July 2019 - 10:33 PM

I purchased DD a MacBook Pro about 3 years ago and it is still fine. It cost over 2k but I would not expect to get $750 for it now as laptops are superseded so quickly.

#15 WaitForMe

Posted 28 July 2019 - 11:25 PM

My last two lasted about 6ish years, but I never tried to fix them - I was happy to get a new one at that point.

My last one died because DD1 knocked a glass of water over it.

My current one is 5 years old and going strong, never had an issue, but I'm saving for a new one just in case.

#16 ERipley

Posted 28 July 2019 - 11:35 PM

My MacBook Air has lasted about 8 years but it’s in a state now. I think it will be beyond repair in a month or two.

#17 Froggilicious

Posted 28 July 2019 - 11:57 PM

View PostMoneypenny2014, on 28 July 2019 - 10:05 PM, said:

Incidentally does anyone know how much a new screen for a MacBook costs (roughly?). I’ve never heard of a screen breaking on a HP but it seems that they’re fragile on the Macs from what I’ve heard

Depends on exactly what is broken, but mine cost $1300 recently. Very grateful for insurance.

#18 123tree

Posted 29 July 2019 - 09:31 AM

View PostMoneypenny2014, on 28 July 2019 - 10:05 PM, said:

Incidentally does anyone know how much a new screen for a MacBook costs (roughly?). I’ve never heard of a screen breaking on a HP but it seems that they’re fragile on the Macs from what I’ve heard

We have had macs and we are not particularly gentle. Kids have knocked them off the table a few times but we have never broken a screen.

#19 Dadto2

Posted 29 July 2019 - 10:44 AM

Put it this way, I work at a uni, laptops have a 3 year life cycle, the Macbooks go to auction and are sold for $500+, the Dell laptops either go to charity or go in the bin. After 3 years, they are virtually worthless. Macs hold their value.

#20 red_squirrel

Posted 29 July 2019 - 11:21 AM

Three years is the life expectancy of all devices.
Even if people use them longer than that.

Three years is the time when things start no longer being supported or the functionality is no longer good enough.
Check with the institution what the minimum specs are for the course.

#21 Moneypenny2014

Posted 29 July 2019 - 03:15 PM

Thanks everyone a new one it is :)

#22 Caribou

Posted 29 July 2019 - 03:48 PM

View Postred_squirrel, on 29 July 2019 - 11:21 AM, said:

Three years is the life expectancy of all devices.
Even if people use them longer than that.

Three years is the time when things start no longer being supported or the functionality is no longer good enough.
Check with the institution what the minimum specs are for the course.

Where did you get this info? I mean, most of my computers last a good 8 years for work, and apple supports old computers.

#23 Dadto2

Posted 29 July 2019 - 04:12 PM

View PostCaribou, on 29 July 2019 - 03:48 PM, said:

Where did you get this info? I mean, most of my computers last a good 8 years for work, and apple supports old computers.

yeah not sure what she means? You would still pay over $500 for an 8 year old Macbook.

#24 Cimbom

Posted 29 July 2019 - 04:27 PM

I paid $850 for a brand new MacBook Air from d*ck Smith in 2013. They had surplus stock and a new model had just been released so they wanted to get rid of them.

#25 WaitForMe

Posted 29 July 2019 - 05:21 PM

View Postred_squirrel, on 29 July 2019 - 11:21 AM, said:

Three years is the life expectancy of all devices.
Even if people use them longer than that.

Three years is the time when things start no longer being supported or the functionality is no longer good enough.
Check with the institution what the minimum specs are for the course.

Apple software is supported on its hardware beyond 3 years.

Mines 5 years, running the latest OS, free upgrades since I bought it, and is still pretty zippy for what I use it for, albeit not grunty graphics software.



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