Should I wait for Sandybridge MacBook Pros? Yes and no

Everyone has been eagerly awaiting the newest update to the MacBook line who have been teased by rumors and speculation. Unfortunately, Intel recently announced a massive recall of all Sandybridge CPUs due to a chipset flaw which causes it to break down overtime. While I could quip Intel shouldn’t have initiated a recall in the face of one of the best forced upgrade opportunities in the tech industry, I was left asking “should I even wait for a new MacBook?”

I was conflicted. Supposedly Apple will release a new MacBook Pro with a faster Intel Sandybridge CPU and as suggested by rumors, perhaps an integrated SSD, thinner chassis – essentially a Mac Book Air but beefier. While that would be the perfect laptop as dreamt up but every Apple fan including me, I stumbled upon the question of “would it be worth it?” Apple will release a new generation MacBook Pro with its relevancy reinforced by insightful diagrams that break down how fast you can do a certain day-to-day task whether you’re a consumer or prosumer – that’s a given. What isn’t known is much of a leap up the MacBook Pro will make with a new CPU.

But, there’s a problem: Intel is recalling all defective Sandybridge parts – parts that have already shipped and are in computers. Typically recalls don’t speed up a product launch whatsoever, in fact, a lot of people bet on Intel’s gaf inhibiting the release of a new MacBook Pro and even a new iMac. Sure enough, everyone who guessed a delay was imminent is correct. This pegged a new MacBook Pro – which I was in the market for – with a new release date of June instead of the now hopeful timeframe of Spring.

Should I wait? I want to have the latest and greatest if I can time it right. But, I can’t wait. Today I pulled the trigger and bought a refurbished 13″ MacBook Pro with no buyer’s remorse whatsoever. Will I cringe a bit when Apple releases a MacBook Pro sans optical drive backed by an insanely fast CPU and an even more amazing GPU? Yes I will but I’ll still cringe a little when the next generation after that is released as I’m further reminded obsoletion is another generation closer. While I may cringe and think “I should have waited!” my everyday routine and work won’t; at the end of the day my new purchase is a tool for a job I love doing.

Should you wait for Apple’s new Sandybridge MacBook Pros? The answer to that question and all future upgrade questions is “if you need it now, buy it.” But what about having the newest model? If you can afford to wait, then you have a great amount of patience and flexibility.

I think this is where people become caught up in product upgrade cycles. Today’s quick paced world of upgrades have conditioned us to forget why we use technology. While having the latest and greatest is well, great, the cost of waiting is a hard price to pay. Knowing full well Apple has the next generation MacBook Pro sitting in a vault deep within the depths of Cupertino waiting to be package and sold, I still bought a current generation MacBook Pro. My needs in a computer don’t change when Apple doesn’t release an update in a timeframe that’s suitable for me. If anything, my technical needs are being delayed by waiting.

At the end of the day, our phones, MacBooks and iPods are tools. While they wear out, they shouldn’t be shunned when something new comes out a few months later. Our work and personal lives are impacted by computing devices, don’t allow your needs to be dictated by product release cycles.

About Tanner Godarzi

Tanner is tech-savvy with an eye for great content who is pursuing his Bachelors of Science in Web Design and Interactive Media from the Art Institute of California—Orange County. Tanner has been a freelance Blogger and Social Media consultant for over 4 years and contributed content for O'Reilly's "Big Book Of Apple Hacks." Tanner has blogged for industry notables such as Hadley Stern for Apple Matters, C.K. for Obsessable and gave insight about Social Media for The Blog Herald. Tanner resides in Huntington Beach and is a cycling enthusiast.

Comments

  1. Wow I have the same problem, I don’t know what to do. This will be my first time ever bying a MacBook pro. I need it for school, I would like to know how faster would the new one be to the old one? Cause I’m thinking of buying the mbp ’15 i7 2.88 with the 8 gigs. I’m very in patiant!!

  2. I am in the same situation and while I would like to see a new screen, I can not wait. The yearly refresh cycle has become a slow crawl, and while understandable for specific new features such as possibly a new screen and new GPU, I fail to understand why there can’t be a 6-monthly CPU bump, dictated by the speed Intel releases new processors or bumps CPUs.

    I remember the days Apple would be the first one with new processors and the MB(P)s would effectively be the fastest machine at the cheapest price when comparing specs, sadly these days are over and when Apple when release Sandybridge machines, earliest in June now, the chip will already have been on the market for 3 months at least (which would have the been the case without recall as well since the first PC laptops with SB went on the market in January).

    I really want MSFT to challenge me, catch my attention and manage to hold my attention. At least long enough to convince me to buy a Windows laptop as secondary device. Apple finish has become poor in many ways but it still trumps anything else and nothing comes even near MAC OS X or iOS (I had the _pleasure_ to play with a HTC Windows Phone 7, an abomination to say the least).

  3. The author seems to be confusing the CPU with the complete chipset. The recall affects the P67 and H67 series Cougar Point chipset, regarding the 3 Gb/s SATA ports. Besides these two are mainstream desktop chipsets. See http://www.intel.com/products/desktop/chipsets/index.htm?iid=chipsets_body+dt_all Thus It doesn’t seem likely the recall would delay a mobile series like the MacBook Pro. The MacBook Pro would more likely use the HM67 Express Chipset That would probably go with the new Core i5-2520M at 2.5 GHz or the Core i5-2540M at 2.6 GHz, both 35W TDP parts.

  4. Just a random thought. The new Core i7-2715QE processor with 6MB cache and 2.1 GHz is a quad core/multi-threaded (and Turbo Boost 2) processor. It has a max TDP of 45 Watts which exceeds the max 35 Watts of the current 15 and 17″ model MacBook Pros. With integrated graphics only and no discrete GPU, could that be a possible solution for Apple? Quad core laptop could be a powerhouse. A hot house.

  5. @Willys M,

    If you’re thinking of buying the 17″ MacBook Pro (Core i7 2.88 GHz) i’d say go for it. It’s still a beast of a machine that can handle anything you throw at it. If Apple uses dual core Sandybridge CPUs for the next generation MBP, the speed difference wouldn’t be as massive. Sandybridge really shines in a Quad Core configuration on laptops.

    CNET has a short review/benchmark (http://news.cnet.com/8301-17938_105-20028200-1.html?tag=mncol;1n) of Sandybridge equipped laptops. While the Sandybridge laptops have a massive lead, this the most optimal configuration.

  6. I finally succumbed after the whole Sandy Bridge fiasco became the news and got myself a refurbished 15″ MacBook Pro with anti glare (Core i7 2.66 Ghz, 8 GB ram). It’s great!

  7. Your computer is only as fast as you can type.

    Instead of constantly trying to get the latest, expand horizontally. Get a bigger monitor or a Wacom tablet. Get a faster connection or a better chair. Maybe an application to learn how to type faster.

    You know that the Lion OS is coming out this summer and that’s not going to be for free. If you buy a computer now, put something aside for the upgrade or wait until the OS comes out and get it with the new computer.

  8. I’m going to wait. It should only be a couple of weeks from now. I don’t want to buy the 2010 then two weeks later here’s the 2011 at the same price!! I would be pissed.

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