Looking for Upgrade from Mid 2012 MacBook Pro

Hey bargain hunters!

First forum post so please be kind 😊

I have had the same mid 2012 MacBook pro since 2012, I upgraded the RAM to 16gb and have had a few repairs done on it such as a crashed hard drive x2 (RIP data) where I've swapped out to an SSD. I have stayed loyal for this long with it as it seems to be the last Mac laptop that you can swap out parts easily (before they moved to the unibody design).

Despite the upgraded RAM and SSD, the laptop still runs really slow, will take forever to turn on and if I sleep it, it'll take a few open and shuts of the lid to get the screen to respond. Recently the laptop has been temporarily losing connection with the keyboard when I log on which is making me feel like it could be time for an upgrade.

Most of my laptop time is spent watching videos, emailing and having documents open. I do occasionally like to edit photos/videos and sometimes play games, but not to the point where I need something that can handle hectic amounts of processing.

I am torn between trying to get another MacBook or to head to another company for something that competes better for specs and price. I currently have a Pixel 4a 5g as my phone so I am not really tied to the Mac family.

Thanks in advance for the suggestions!


  • What MacOS are you running?

    • Pretty sure they are stuck on 10.15.7

  • 13" or 15"?

  • +4


    Unibody refers to the design in general, and your 2012 is unibody.

    Have you tried completely wiping the drive and reinstalling fresh macOS onto it? It's a lot of weird issues piling up, which could be dying hardware all over the place, or just time to wipe a patched upon patched OS and start fresh.

    The new M1 Macbook Air or Macbook Pro 13in are really good choices for your usage scenario. I'd recommend the Pro for better battery life and tiny bit more performance; or the Air if you use it on your lap mostly.

    With the education discount you're looking at $1439 for Air or $1849 for the Pro. For limited time, both come with Airpods which are $250 or so.

    At the Air price point you aren't getting anything better in terms of performance, chassis finish quality, battery life, or experience.

  • +3

    i have the same macbook pro 2012 with an SSD and upgraded Ram.

    This model had a recall whereby the data cable connecting the SSD to the motherboard can be faulty resulting in very slow performance. Replace this. THe part can be had for like $20 on ebay.

    To this day, its zippy enough for movies, streaming and general web browsing. My money is on the SATA cable on its last legs. From memory, you may get a folder icon with a flashing question mark.

    • hey mate!

      I'm pretty sure this was part of the issue at last repair. The cable was replaced when the new hard drive was put in. Sadly the same issues but i'm going to try some of the trouble shooting ideas. Cheers :)

      • I would try replacing the cable again if you are so inclined.

  • +4

    If you're buying a laptop to run for another 9 years you'll almost certainly be disappointed with any of the windows models out there. They don't put the same emphasis on supporting older models as Apple and generally use cheaper parts/cut corners to deliver a lower price.

    The new M1 MacBooks are getting amazing reviews and have had a massive performance increase over Intel based laptops. Unless you feel like waiting for a potential M2 model at the end of the year you should get one of these.

    • +3

      You mean the Apple that solder in ram and storage, glue everything possible together, use proprietary screws, almost invented the non-user replaceable battery and make getting spare parts hard?

      Theres certainly plenty of shitty Windows laptops out there but it's pretty bold to say any of them will disappoint him.

      • -1

        On the other hand as Apple models are extremely popular so you can find spare parts all over the internet. Try finding spare parts for a 6 year old Asus. They won't even exist.

        • That is completely irrelevant when Apple is going out of it's way to make it's products impossible to repair.

      • +1

        I remember a dodgy PC Manufacturer in Sydney used to do similar things 27 years ago. We stopped dealing with them for similar reasons.

    • +2

      If you're buying a laptop to run for another 9 years you'll almost certainly be disappointed with any of the windows models out there

      Lots of Lenovo X240s still going strong. Released in 2013.

      I'd say Lenovo X or T series should last 9 - 10 years or more if you can live with dark grey.

  • I can relate to this. I tend to run my laptops for about 6 years before they start dying.

    Each time a macbook starts dying I look at windows alternatives and the endless options / fear of windows / fear of manufacturer bloatware, plus the superior user experience of macbooks sends me scurrying back to apple.

    I tend to value the user interface more than raw power. So a good screen, good touchpad, good keyboard trumps a faster processor for me. Obviously different story if you are a power user. Of course, Apple dropped the ball during the butterfly keyboard debacle. And some of the things they cut out in a quest for minimalism are alienating (why so few ports? why are your peripherals so expensive?) But the introduction of the M1 macbooks looks like they are a contender again (battery life, performance, screen)

    There seem to be so many compromises with windows laptops, until you get to the $1.5k+ price range, and then they start competing with macbooks.

    So if I were you….

    • If you could repair the hardware issues with your macbook, and you aren't tied to the MacOS ecosystem, I would consider wiping MacOS and running Ubuntu for a while. That could potentially sort out your watching videos, emailing duties.

    • I would also consider the M1 macbook air as it seems to be available for $1.5k or thereabouts.

    • I would also consider one of the Lenovo E laptops that come up on special on ozbargain frequently - although complaints about the screen quality put me off those a little. Apple tends to charge a premium, but they also tend to not skimp on screen quality and interface (although they do skimp on other specs). Then again, the Lenovos are half the price of a macbook. These look like great emailing and video watching screens and maybe you've got more fun things to do with the $700 you'd save. Then again, if you are an avid movie watching on a laptop having a good screen is important - although maybe a tablet is better for this?

    What did I do?

    My 2014 macbook pro started to die so I started researching laptops. In the end I built myself a mid level gaming PC and it was so much more fun than buying a laptop.I never really understood the fun of customisation, but once you embrace it it can be really fun building a system that fits whatever requirements you want. Windows 10 has come along way and is a lot more user friendly than I remember. It also allows you to peek under the hood and customise things a lot more easily than MacOS, although things also seem to break a bit more regularly so a bit more troubleshooting.

    I also find the bigger screen of a desktop more enjoyable. And for me sitting at a desk, with the big screen, and a mechanical keyboard is a bit of a novelty and a lot more fun than using a laptop. Not for everyone, and more expensive than a laptop, but it's also nice to be able to fun some games at decent settings for the first time ever.

    • +1

      cheers mate, food for thought. thanks for taking time to reply

      • I went on a bit of a rant there but your situation resonated with me! Love apple products a lot of the time as their user experience is second to none, but there are definitely other options as I've discovered.

  • M1 Air should feel good as an upgrade.

  • +1

    M1 MacBook Air @$1439 on education store + free AirPods is a great deal. Sell the AirPods for 200-220 rather easily, and bring total cost down to a smidge over $1200 for a rather incredible SoC

    • +1

      I wouldn't say selling airpods for 200-220 is easy, easy is less than $170

  • Good points made above, my only addition is see if you can hold out for an m1 mbp. Based on what Apple did with the air, it's likely to be the same price as the current model but with a massive performance boost. No idea on when it will be released but I'd suspect the first half of 2021.

    Still rocking my 2013 mbp with swapped out 750gb SSD (tried to pull out the disc drive too but accidentally wrecked the screw >.<). Got me through 2 years of business school and now it mostly gathers dust except for doing bills and the like.

    • There’s already an M1 MBP…

      • My mistake I was thinking of the mbp with 4 ports.

  • I also switched from macbook pro 2012 last year because it just had too many problems and it would cost me a lot to get it repaired.

    Just like to you I do game occasionally and I also do a bit of editing along with some data processing.

    I did do a lot of research before purchasing because I wanted a solid laptop that would last me a while (hopefully 8 years + like my previous one) so I ended up getting XPS 15 which has been running smoothly and a year on, I am still enjoying it. I know you are pushing towards a 13 inch but I would highly suggest the 15.

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