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New Mac? Fix old Mac? Options?


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#1 of 49 DaveF

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Posted September 27 2013 - 03:25 AM

My 2007 MacBook Pro might be dead. It is hard locking spontaneously, and requires a soft-reset to reboot. I think the fans aren't working and it's overheating, but I've not really diagnosed it yet.

What are some tools to diagnose a possible thermal-management system failure? I've replaced one fan three years ago, when it stopped working. That's not too or too expensive.

Buying a new Mac is not what I wanted this year. What used to be a new computer every several years is now become two computers, two iPads, and two iPhones in that period. And this is the iPhone year.

I was thinking the mini was now a good fit for my needs. I not much with my computer. The most taxing use the past two years has been the Flash ads on HTF (I wish I were exaggerating). I do a little iMovie, learning to program in Ruby, and light email. Maybe on a new Mac, I'll finally play Starcraft 2.

The entry mini at $599 could work. It looks SSD is still over $1000, which is more than I want to spend.

iMac, too expensive. And I've got an old 20" Cinema Display that works fine for my needs.

A look at CraigsList was disappointing. Haven't tried eBay. Apples refurb store is selling 2011 minis with Core 2 Duo. If I'm going to buy new, I think I want at least an i3 vintage, since that's a good deal faster, and with much better igpu than the C2D?

Thoughts? Is there a way to get an i3 or better Mac with an SSD for under $700? :)

#2 of 49 HDvision

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Posted September 27 2013 - 03:49 AM

I would go for a mac mini and replace the hard drive myself, I've done it twice, but beware, it's a delicate operation. Mac Mini is great because you can travel with your computer.



#3 of 49 EricSchulz

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Posted September 27 2013 - 04:14 AM

I have a mid-2010 iMac.  I know that there will be a point that I will want to upgrade to something more powerful, but my connection at Apple said it was actually a better idea to just buy a new one than try to updrade my current model.



#4 of 49 Sam Posten

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Posted September 27 2013 - 04:57 AM

Don't guess.  Take it to the genius bar and see what they have to say, even and especially if you don't have Apple Care.

 

Re: Flash.  Remove it from your system and install Chrome.


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#5 of 49 Keith Plucker

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Posted September 27 2013 - 02:14 PM

What are some tools to diagnose a possible thermal-management system failure? I've replaced one fan three years ago, when it stopped working. That's not too or too expensive.

 

If the machine runs well enough, you could try installing smcFanControl. You could also try creating a Linux "Live" CD to boot from. It the machine runs fine under the Live CD it might only be a software issue.

 

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#6 of 49 DaveF

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Posted September 27 2013 - 02:39 PM

Thanks. Good input from all.

I'm well beyond my AppleCare. I will check on Genius appt. I'll do that if its free; probably won't pay $75 for a diagnosis.

Smccontrol - that's what I was looking for. I've heard of it, but forgot the name. Will try it.

I need to check 256GB SSD prices. See if I would want to upgrade my own mini. If I have to buy new, I'm hoping there a new mini real soon. I hate to buy new hardware and then see a big bump a month later.

#7 of 49 HDvision

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Posted September 27 2013 - 10:57 PM

Either get a samsung ssd or a crucial. All the others pale to those two. Samsung if you want geek bench speed, Crucial for the best VFM and space ratio. I have a 512 Crucial in the mini, it's a torpedo.



#8 of 49 DaveF

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Posted September 29 2013 - 08:52 AM

I booted into safe mode and it runs stably. I was able to run get my backups current on SuperDuper and Time machine as wells as get my iPhone backed up and synced.

But in normal operation, it locks up within minutes of running.

With smcFanControl, I found the fans do work and operating temps aren't abnormally high.

So I think I've got a corrupt driver or something that's crashing the system in normal use. I may try a system restore from backup and see how that is. I'm wasting too much time keeping this laptop operating, but If I can I will get back to normalcy and eke out the rest of the year. Then next year I'd buy a new mini with SSD.

If I can't get this guy working normally, then I'll probably get an base mini and maybe upgrade the hard drive to SSD next year.

I could set up an account on my wife's iMac, and use migration assistant to transfer everything there. But for the sake of marital harmony, I'd rather not use her computer for an extended duration. :)

#9 of 49 DaveF

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Posted September 29 2013 - 11:01 AM

Re: SSD, for a 256 GB (or bigger) is there specific model to buy or specific items to avoid?

#10 of 49 Sam Posten

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Posted September 29 2013 - 07:54 PM

I like Samsung.

http://www.tomshardw...hmark,3269.html

 

http://thewirecutter.../the-best-ssds/


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#11 of 49 Ted Todorov

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Posted September 30 2013 - 04:35 AM

I've never heard of Genius appointments not being free (I just had one for a 6(?) year old AIrport Extreme) -- Apple Care only matters if you need to have parts replaced. 

 

I'm well beyond my AppleCare. I will check on Genius appt. I'll do that if its free; probably won't pay $75 for a diagnosis.


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#12 of 49 HDvision

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Posted September 30 2013 - 08:20 AM

Crucial M500 480gb is the one I have in the mac mini (along with a 1tb regular hard drive). Combine ssd speed with space for a nice price. Best VFM for the speed/space ratio on the market.



#13 of 49 DaveF

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Posted September 30 2013 - 05:44 PM

I've never heard of Genius appointments not being free (I just had one for a 6(?) year old AIrport Extreme) -- Apple Care only matters if you need to have parts replaced. 

I haven't used it in five years. But a friend posted on Facebook about being charge $79 for some trivial AppleCare solution, and it read like you were charged for having an appointment for out-of-warranty diagnosis. So I was uncertain how it worked currently.

 

 

After beating my head against this problem for a week -- and an OS reinstall that didn't fixe the problem -- I tried again. But this time I first deleted the Mac partition before doing the OS reinstall. I restored my data and apps from my SuperDuper backup. Everything has been working fine since then.

 

So it seems I can hold off on a new computer until next fiscal year :) At this point, I want to get an SSD or Fusion Drive Mac mini early 2014. Another option is to by the base model and upgrade to an SSD like David suggests. A 480 GB drive is more than I need, and would be comparable cost to a BTO mini. I need to see what (if any) refresh there is and if they're reasonably upgraded at home.


Edited by DaveF, September 30 2013 - 05:49 PM.


#14 of 49 DaveF

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Posted October 06 2013 - 03:53 PM

And a hard crash today. And for the first time, in Safe Mode. Ugh.

Still think its a nasty software glitch. I need to run a virus scanner to be safe.

Again restoring, trying to limp along for a bit longer. Visited the Apple store with my wife, and figuring upgrade plans for short term if needed.

#15 of 49 Ted Todorov

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Posted October 19 2013 - 11:26 AM

I haven't used it in five years. But a friend posted on Facebook about being charge $79 for some trivial AppleCare solution, and it read like you were charged for having an appointment for out-of-warranty diagnosis. So I was uncertain how it worked currently.

 

I know they charge for (out of warranty/Apple Care) phone support.  I've never heard of them charging for in person Genius appointments - just for repairs. Not saying it isn't possible - just not in my experience. I've had 3 out of warranty computer repairs, in one case they even gave me a free battery replacement for a 3.5 year old battery.  I have never been charged for other than parts.


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#16 of 49 Steve Tannehill

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Posted October 19 2013 - 12:07 PM

Thumbs up to the fusion drive BTO Mac mini...exactly what I have.

#17 of 49 DaveF

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Posted November 15 2013 - 07:42 PM

The MBP is now freezing on boot or spontaneously shutting off. I could probably bludgeon it back to working (since Safe mode works fine). But I can't keep wasting time on a dying system.

Going to watch Black Friday sales on iMacs. May buy my wife a new computer and take her iMac. I can't bring myself to buy a year old Mac mini. If it were refreshed, I'd probably buy that right now. And I don't want a new iMac for myself.

#18 of 49 Sam Posten

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Posted November 15 2013 - 08:03 PM

Good luck Dave!

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#19 of 49 DaveF

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Posted November 15 2013 - 08:11 PM

Thanks :)
My SuperDuper! Drive failed two weeks ago! I replaced that and have recent backups. I just wish a new mini would get released.

I'm trying to give them my money! Why don't they want it?

#20 of 49 DaveF

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Posted November 16 2013 - 06:34 PM

I prefer buying new, current-gen computers. But how good or bad a deal is it to buy a couple years old, used?

2011 Mac min (2.3 Ghz i5) off craigslist for $350
8 GB upgrade from Crucial for $80
240 GB SSD from Crucial from $180
http://www.crucial.c...6C381BA5CA7304[

Total is about $610, with some driving and at-home upgrades for an upgraded 2 yr old mini. Maybe I can get the craigslist price down $50.

That's about the price for the entry Mac mini with 4GB and 500 GB HD. Getting SSD and 8 GB BTO is $1100 from Apple.

(There are 2012 minis used on eBay, about $100 cheaper for the base model.)

Edited by DaveF, November 16 2013 - 07:01 PM.





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