My computer...died. :(

About two years ago, I made a New Year's Resolution to redo my website. I finally started on that resolution about 2 months ago. Better late than never, right?

My computer is a MacBook Pro, circa 2011. I special-ordered this computer directly from Apple, and ordered the hi-res matte screen, the faster spinning 500GB hard drive and the maximum amount of RAM, which at the time was 8GB. To expand my workspace, I added a 24" external monitor, for a two-screen work experience.

Over the years, my computer started to show its age, so I started upgrading the parts inside. First came the RAM upgrade, to a new maximum of 16GB. Next came the replacement of the internal hard drive with a much faster 240GB SSD drive. The old hard drive was relocated to the space once occupied by the internal Apple DVD burner. (Who uses DVDs anymore? Exactly.) I did however, take that DVD burner and put it into an external enclosure, just in case...you know...you needed to do something with a DVD.

For years, everything was going great, until the weekend I was actually building my new website. I was in the middle of updating a photo gallery, when the laptop screen went on the fritz. The external monitor went black. Knowing this was a bad situation, I wanted to document it in the event I had to explain the problem to someone, so I took out my iPhone and took a photo of the screen. A trip to the Apple Store was now in order.

The screen of death.

The screen of death.

The Genius Bar

Shortly after I arrived at my local Apple Store, I was greeted by a very informative and friendly nerd, who quickly diagnosed my issue as a "fried video card." This card is unfortunately soldered to the motherboard and any attempt at repair would be very costly. The Apple store was unable to fix it, due to not having parts on hand. After an Apple product has been out in the wild for 5 years, Apple takes back any parts needed for these "legacy" computers. Since my MacBook Pro was 6 years old, there would be no fixing it.

Bummed out, I left the store. I now have to buy a new computer. On one hand, I like getting new tech tools, on the other hand, I don't look forward to the money it costs for something like a new Mac laptop. The current MacBook Pro was released in late 2016, and it didn't receive the usual accolades by the Mac community. The new design, while sleek and very well-built, lacked essential features that novices and pros alike demand for their daily workflow. Things like, oh I don't know...USB ports? How about an SD Card reader? Nope. Those items were gone, replaced with 4 USB Type C (aka, Thunderbolt 3) ports. I was about to enter the world of bleeding edge tech. Ok, more like an "early adopter" of tech.

After some searching with the Apple Store app on my iPhone (I have no computer to web surf, remember?), I found out that the new MacBook Pro would cost me about $2,800 USD for the model I was interested in. That's not horrible, but it's not the usual "$2,500 MacBook Pro" price that I was accustomed to seeing. I took a look at the Refurbished Items listing, and found the same exact computer I wanted, for about $420 less. Fortunately, the "refurbished" label doesn't mean that someone bought the machine, took it home for a few weeks and ate cookies over the keyboard, and then returned it to the store. A refurbished machine is just a machine that didn't pass muster somewhere in the production process and had to go back for some extra attention to bring things up to snuff. They can't sell them as "new," so they are branded as "refurbished," but they are essentially new, with full warranty, and eligible for the Apple Care extended warranty. I ended up buying one of these refurbished MacBook Pro laptops with a slight upgrade from my initial spec, for LESS than $2,500 before tax! I find it amazing that my 2011 MacBook Pro cost me $2,500 back in 2011, and now I can get this current technology for less money, 6 years later! Way to go, Apple!

My New MacBook Pro specs are as follows: 

2.7GHz quad-core Intel i7 Processor, with Turbo Boost up to 3.6 GHz
512GB PCIe-based SSD
Radeon Pro 460 with 4GB RAM

So far, the machine is working great! Stay tuned for a more detailed review after I've had some time behind the keyboard.

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Thom BriggsComment