General Question

TheNakedHippie's avatar

What's the life expectancy of a MacBook or MacBook Pro?

Asked by TheNakedHippie (470points) November 23rd, 2008

I’m going to be in the market for a Mac in the next 6 months to a year and I was wondering if I’d get more use out of it than my PC. This is only its third year and it’s already about to go. It was about 2k, so it wasn’t cheap and I’ve taken great care of it… Any thoughts?

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14 Answers

skabeep's avatar

I still have an old iBook from late 90s when they came out with the colorful ones. It still works like new. A bit slow compared to my new MacBook but it’s had a long life. I hope my new one turns out to be so durable

wilhel1812's avatar

In Norway its a 5 year warranty, so i guess it’ll be fine that long.

eambos's avatar

In terms of how long it will be current generation, under 1 year.

missingbite's avatar

I still have in daily use a Powerbook G4 with the 1.25 GHZ processor and 1.25 GB RAM installed. I travel for work so it travels as well. I am just careful with it at the x-ray machine. I just replaced it with a Macbook after about 5 years. The Powerbook still runs great I just needed more HD space. Just make sure the RAM is high and the machine will last a long time.

jaredg's avatar

I do think Macs have a longer lifespan than PCs. I got an old PC laptop at work not too long ago, a similar model to one I was given when it was brand new about five years ago. I probably would have been running Windows XP even then. It takes so, so long to boot up and log in. I can’t imagine I would have waited that long (well over a minute) for a machine to be ready for use, even five years ago. It may be the modern anti-virus stuff takes more CPU power now than it did back then and that’s what causes the delay.

My 2002 Powerbook G4 was still quite usable until I retired it last year, and that was because I’d dropped it one too many times. My girlfriend’s mom uses the girlfriend’s hand-me-down computers that date from 2000 and 2002, and they’re still usable for web browsing and word processing if you use the older versions of software.

Batteries are a different story. Two years out of a laptop battery if you discharge and charge it regularly is a good run.

sndfreQ's avatar

I have a PowerBook G4 (2nd gen titanium) from 2001 that still runs and works…just slow in comparison but that’s to be expected.

simpleD's avatar

I’ve run Mac labs in a university setting for about 9 years now. Apple’s hardware is built to last – I have working machines from 1997. We usually replace our lab machines every three to four years, because we have to keep up with the latest software upgrades. Each new version of an app uses more processor and video power, and require more RAM to run well. If you don’t expect the way you use your Macbook to change drastically, you can probably get a good 5 or 6 years our of it. If you want to keep up with all the latest software upgrades, you might finf that after 3 or 4 years things start to run too slowly for you.

TheNakedHippie's avatar

@Simple: Wow, that’s impressive. It seems the general consensus is that Macs are just stronger machines.

glawrie's avatar

We have been running Macs only since 2002. Our experience is that Mac Laptop hardware is considerably more robust than the PC laptops we had before (mostly Sony Vaios, but some HPs also). We run our laptops for about 30 months – to ensure we change them before the AppleCare runs out. We’ve got some old G4 Powerbooks still working fine that are older, and we’d be confident to run them longer if the need arose.

But our decision to move to Mac only was not just hardware based. We justified the move on the substantially lower maintenance costs of Macs. On average we were doing a Windows rebuild every six weeks – for a firm with less than 15 computers that is a lot (we’d expect to have to do a ‘format c:’ reset of each machine at least once a year). With Macs this simply doesn’t happen – the time freed up is worth much more than the slight premium on Mac hardware vs. PC equivalents.


jtvoar16's avatar

I am as most everyone else. I have an old G4, first generation, and I had to replace the screen on it once, cause I through it threw a wall. But, ya, These things (with the exception of the MacBook Air, which was intentionally made as “disposable” as in, the battery will fail after a few years, but you can cover that with an apple care plan) just don’t die. My friends are all using really old Macs, some are using the old iMacs that had different colors and looked like marshmallows.

maccmann's avatar

I still have a G3 Pismo Powerbook that runs OS 10.3 (Panther) pretty well! 60 GB Hard Drive and 512MB of RAM. A little clunky at times, but overall for a Web/Mail/Chat/Office 2004 user it’s great. My kids use it and it was my wife’s Mac for a few years. The only thing that I ever had to do was replace the hinges in the top cover, which was actually pretty easy. I found a Howto online for it and just followed the instructions there.

Now, I also have an older G4 Digital Audio 466Mhz Powermac which is beginning to show it’s age. It was used daily for 8 years though and remained on for much of that time. The Firewire died on it a few years back and remarkably enuf, I got a Firewire PCI card from Radio Shack(!) and got it to work in it for a replacement!!! It still has USB 1.1 (constipatory, indeed) and has to be hacked to use any UltraATA drive over 160GB in size on the internal ATA bus, but it has room for 4 UltraATA devices on the bus internally, and I have an UW/UF SCSI adapter with a chain of four 50GB drives in it. Yes, IN it. (and yes, it’s louder than modern Powermacs because of the SCSI). And of course, I can use the external Firewire for even more drives!

So, guess what I use it for? SERVER! It has Gigabit ethernet and sits in my basement, humming away and helping to offload files till they can be archived onto external/removable media, and store stuff like my massive collection of mp3s (which I have backed up, of course), as well as movies and TV shows which I have recorded.

I still have an olde G3 Beige 233 which I had Yellowdog Linux on and used as a firewall/Gateway between my Cable modem and router. It’s still configured for that and I could fire it up and use it today if I needed to!

(the following is copied from another post I had here and is something which I feels needs to be added)

…my advice to anyone with a Mac is that they just buy the Applecare protection plan because it’s always worth it!...

Yes, it’s like almost $300. But, just on mine alone which I purchased in 2006 I have:

-Replaced 2 AC adapters: $158
-Replaced the Mainboard: $600
-Replaced Screen (15” Had too many dead pixels…they actually replaced the entire top assembly, so bye-bye dents and scratches!): $550 (screen); $250 (top case)

That’s a total of $1558!!! Thus proving that a less-than-$300 addition to my purchase was well worth the cost! And just for the record, I only paid about $1500 for the thing when purchased with the Applcare plan attached.


(and on a final note, I also own a Mac IIsi which I rescued from the dumpster when I worked for a mid-sized university years ago. This mas originally cost $3,800 new and was one of the most powerful consumer models out there in its day. AND IT STILL WORKS!!! I just keep it for posterity! And did I mention my Mac SE? Yeah, that still fires up too!)

benseven's avatar

@Eambos – I love how you pick others up on dissing windows, even in jest, but look past the question i.e Life Expectancy not ‘current most up-to-date model’ so you can make PCs look better?

The life expectancy of the Macbook generation I bought into depends really on what you’re using it for. I’m finding the 2GB RAM limit on this one and integrated graphics not powerful enough for work to last more than another year. Beyond that, it’s bound to last a lot longer functionally, but after a certain point the requirements for RAM and so forth for OS and apps mean it’s worth retiring a machine to kiosk or web browsing.

For instance, we had a few G3 iBooks in the house for a while – they were great for everything until YouTube / video streaming became more popular, and their 802.11b Wifi and aged graphics chip really struggled with that.

TheNakedHippie's avatar

Thanks everyone! We just bought our first Macbook Pro and it’s Love. ;]

dannyc's avatar

Well, I come late to the query, but I have never really turned off my 5 1/2 year old Macbook G-4 laptop, and it is still working unbelievably well. I have always thought that an analysis of a Mac’s price must be based on its longevity, ease of use, and ability to make me money. As a graphic professional, it is a no contest end result..I put through 2 million bucks of business through this machine. I love it..though looking to finally upgrade!

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