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Ask Slashdot: Best Laptops For Fans Of Pre-Retina MacBook Pro? 477

Posted by timothy
from the daddy-what-were-batteries? dept.
stigmato writes "Once upon a time the MacBook Pro line was well-regarded amongst IT professionals for their quality, performance, serviceability & upgradeability. As appealing as the new Retina displays are, I don't want a device I cannot upgrade or repair. Glued in batteries and soldered in RAM with high prices have made me look to other manufacturers again. What are you buying, /. community? System76? Dell? Old article but still rings true with the latest models. I post this from my 2010 MBP 13" with a 256GB SSD, 1TB HDD in the optical bay, 8GB (possibly 16GB soon) and a user replaced battery."
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Ask Slashdot: Best Laptops For Fans Of Pre-Retina MacBook Pro?

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  • Lenovo. (Score:5, Informative)

    by squisher (212661) on Tuesday November 26, 2013 @12:20PM (#45527987)

    I really like my Lenovo T-series laptop. Sure, it may not live up to the legendary build quality back when it was an IBM, but it is still pretty good. It has all the user replacement options that are standard, a good keyboard and screen. It's not getting an award for its looks, but well, who cares.

    • I'm typing this on an Lenovo e-430 with an added mSATA SSD boot drive - you can add one if you get the Centrino wireless option. I got the slowest i5 with AES-NI and VT-d to maximize battery life.

      The T-series are nicer, but I can upgrade this one twice as often for the same money.

      Oh, and it has a matte screen, which was my #1 criteria.

    • by tapspace (2368622)

      T420s owner here. Sure, it's got all the processing power of a MBP and a robust chassis, but the battery life, audio and screen quality are all terrible.

      • T420s owner here. Sure, it's got all the processing power of a MBP and a robust chassis, but the battery life, audio and screen quality are all terrible.

        A T410 got me 12hrs of use on an intl flight with 9-cell battery and ultra-bay lipoly. While I don't care enough about audio to comment the screens are all TN only very lately has Lenovo transitioned to IPS for T-series.

        My problem recently with Lenovo and T-series they effectively killed it off in recent iterations by "Appleizing" it. Slimming it down, getting rid of the ultrabay replacing with an internal non-removable battery. I use my ultra bay heavily for archiving to DVD, second battery on long tr

    • Re:Lenovo. (Score:4, Interesting)

      by jellomizer (103300) on Tuesday November 26, 2013 @12:26PM (#45528093)

      I went with a Lenovo Think Pad too.
      They are good professional systems. They just have the opposite aesthetics that apple does.

      Black Matted Rubberized Plastic, the same that they had for 20 years.
      But it is a solid design. A good keyboard even though the new version has a chicklet keyboard, it is still very nice, and feels good.

      If you are actually using Windows 8, you may want to get an X series with touch but it comes down to what you want.

      However unlike Apple where there is a few to choose from there is a good selection of Think Pads to choose from.

    • by gsnedders (928327)

      Compared with the MBPs, though, it's a brick. My T410 is almost double the thickness of my older MBP.

      And in the UK, the T410 was only available with a 1280x800 screen --- which is crazy low for a 14.3" laptop. I don't know if that's changed since, though.

      • "Compared with the MBPs, though, it's a brick. My T410 is almost double the thickness of my older MBP."

        Yeah, that's why they started gluing things down and making them hard to repair. It's a tradeoff. The OP doesn't care so much about thin and light.

    • Even that I had my problems with lenovo (Thinkpad Tablet bootloader locked [lenovo.com]). I think that the Thinkpad brand is still a good choice.

      Something that I really like from the technical point of view is that they always (almost) publish the "Hardware Maintenance Guide", so you know exactly how to disassembly the machines to add more card, replace screen, change/update hdd and RAM.
    • by nahpets77 (866127)
      I've got a Lenovo T530 with Linux Mint 15 installed and it works great. It even works well with my docking station and dual-monitor setup... very happy with it.
    • Indeed. The only laptops I buy are Lenovo. They last longer, are easier to upgrade, and you can still download the service manuals for free from the manufacturer if you are so inclined. And to top it all off they have pointing devices that are usable instead of ones that get in the way of productivity, which Apple certainly can't claim.
      • You prefer the clit mouse to a multitouch trackpad?
        • For some people, it's the only clit they'll ever touch...

          Personally, I do quite like my Lenevo X230 (with all the options maxed out). It should last me another five years at least.

        • You prefer the clit mouse to a multitouch trackpad?

          Yes, I do. I can move that with my finger without moving my hands from the keyboard. Furthermore, I never move it by accident with my thumbs or wrist when they are resting at the bottom of the keyboard. I can also push it once and get as far across the screen as I need with whatever resolution I need. I cannot say the same about any touchpad ever made.

    • I have owned several T (& W for work) series Thinkpads starting with the IBM T21. I am very satisfied with them, and I plan to replace my current T400 next year with a T440. I have ran Linux pretty much exclusively on the T line (early Fedora Cores and eventually Gentoo since 2004 on the T21, exclusively Gentoo now), and because they use mostly Intel parts, I have never had much trouble getting everything to work.

      The features that keep me coming back are:
      Availability of decent resolution (1440x900) mat

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 26, 2013 @12:22PM (#45528013)

    I bought a MacBook air a year ago. The first one exploded to blew my hand off. The next one killed my dog. It wouldn't run DR-DOS at all. The wifi screwed up and sterilized my nuts.

    Overall I was left with a really bad feeling about all Apple products, which obviously must all have similar defects. Anecdotes by unverifiable semi-anonymous internet posters prove that to be true.

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by yurtinus (1590157)
      But you got a new one this year, because despite those flaws they are just so *cool*!!!
  • by QuantumBeep (748940) on Tuesday November 26, 2013 @12:22PM (#45528017)

    I like having a slim laptop (mine's a non-Apple ultrabook, but same build tradeoffs). The specs are adequate, it's fairly cheap, and failure rates are acceptably low.

    I'm not firmly against the end of upgradability/repairability for laptops. It was always kinda spotty anyway.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by h4rr4r (612664)

      They are still repairable. He acts like having to remove some screws and glue is anything new.

      Displays fused to glass are the normal for tablets and phones, but those seem to get repaired fine. Ungluing a battery might mean some customers would need to get apple to do a replacement, but a self respecting slashdotter should be able to do it himself.

      • Fused glass display is fine. It is the soldered in RAM, proprietary SSD, and glued in battery that are totally unacceptable. Ordinarily, I'd double the RAM in a year for a pittance, but now Apple forces you to pay a hefty premium for a limited amount of RAM up front, obsoleting the machine that much sooner. Replacement SSDs are available eventually, but with few options at high cost. Finally, who wants to take/send in their machine for battery service every two years? Batteries are consumables, and sho

        • by h4rr4r (612664)

          Soldered in ram is standard.
          What proprietary ssd? Is it not just mini-pcie?

          Glue is not hard to remove. Any self respecting slashdotter ought to be able to do this.

          All ultrabooks are like that.

          • by cdwiegand (2267)

            Soldered in RAM is so NOT STANDARD. Before my current job, I worked for almost 6 years at a place where, if we could afford it, we got Lenovo Thinkpads. I could upgrade every single one's memory. Shoot, even my MBP (pre-Retina) can be upgraded. My old Acer laptop, Gateway, shoot even the old Toshiba one (1998?) could all have memory upgraded. Soldered in RAM may be standard in smart phones and tablets, but not laptops.

            • by h4rr4r (612664)

              It is for ultrabooks.

              Thinkpads are not ultrabooks. In 1998 ultrabooks did not exist.

        • Apple forces you to pay a hefty premium for a limited amount of RAM up front, obsoleting the machine that much sooner.

          just bought a MBP. I bought the maximum amount of ram. Apple clearly had me over a barrel here and i had no other option (aside from the obvious not buying a MBP). I get what you are saying about Apple forcing customers to pay a lot up front. I don't get your claim that it's going to obsolete the machine that much sooner. Generally when you buy a notebook, it can accept a maximum amount of ram. That maximum stays constant over the life of the product.

    • I'm skeptical about repairability, at least home repairability -- but as long as the cost of, and demand for, RAM and disk continue on their current trajectories, buying what you need now and upgrading over time makes a lot more sense than buying now for your needs two or three years down the road.

      I bought a 2011 MBP 17" partly because I wanted the larger screen, but largely for upgradeability. I put 16GB of RAM in it for under $100 (although I see prices have gone up since then). I've deferred putting in a

      • Re:Cost vs. Benefits (Score:4, Informative)

        by tlhIngan (30335) <.slashdot. .at. .worf.net.> on Tuesday November 26, 2013 @01:00PM (#45528683)

        I'm skeptical about repairability, at least home repairability -- but as long as the cost of, and demand for, RAM and disk continue on their current trajectories, buying what you need now and upgrading over time makes a lot more sense than buying now for your needs two or three years down the road.

        Well, even the retinas have a removable SSD so that can be upgraded quite easily.

        Memory, not so much - by the time "a few years later" comes around, memory can be hard to find especially in the denser modules as everyone migrated to the new memory standard. If you buy the laptop that's using cutting edge memory, then yes, it makes sense to wait (e.g., DDR4). But if' it's using mainstream memory modules (e.g., DDR3) then buying now means not having to hunt for it when DDR5 is mainstream and DDR3 is now horrendously expensive. (Try finding DDR modules that are denser than 1GB per DIMM for any reasonable price. Even DDR2 - I have a laptop that's got 4GB of RAM, to upgrade it to 8 requires spending serious money. Even back when it came out it was expensive, and it's not much cheaper now years later).

        Batteries are controversial - you get people claiming one thing and another, but the sad reality is, save business laptops, 99.99% of consumers don't not replace the battery at all. Once it dies, it's dead and sits there in the battery bay while the PC may still be in use. Sure they could re-cell them or buy a new battery or whatever (though new is iffy - given the speed of which new models come out). but most people don't give a damn or care.

  • by h4rr4r (612664) on Tuesday November 26, 2013 @12:24PM (#45528049)

    If I can fix sealed phones surely this laptop is repairable.

    This sounds like hyperbole. Ungluing a battery is not impossible. If the ram goes, sure you are out a mobo, but that is pretty normal for ultrabooks. Either you want it small or you want it easy to repair.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 26, 2013 @12:44PM (#45528403)

      I think the point is repairing sealed phones is - for most people, even IT folk - a non-trivial and risk-filled task. Likewise with newer MBPs.

      Generic Wintel laptops, while not entirely user-serviceable (though I've replaced several screens and keyboards without incident and of course RAM and hard drive upgrades are trivial), are much, much easier to upgrade than sealed MBPs. Of course it can be done but generally it's done by "professionals" who have done it a hundred+ times and have the right tools for separating plastics, un-glueing (is that a word? De-glueing?) without cracking screens, cases, etc.

      Likewise a car engine is "user serviceable" if you know what you're doing but I've tried doing relatively minor repairs on my engine (spark plugs and such) and did some real damage because I am just not that great mechanically and had to take it to a mechanic.

    • by Jethro (14165) on Tuesday November 26, 2013 @01:03PM (#45528717) Homepage

      It's not just about being repairable.

      With previous generation Apple laptops, I could put all the money into the machine with the best CPU and pay extra for the hires matte screen, and just get 4gigs of RAM and the cheapest, slowest HDD they had.

      Then I could pay an extra $100 to upgrade it to 16gb of RAM on my own (rather than pay Apple an extra $400 or $600 or whatever) and buy and install my own 1tb harddrive or my own SSD or whatever, again, for a fraction of what Apple charge for that. And, to be clear, that'd be my plan no matter what laptop I bought. Always has been. Every laptop manufacturer charges those insane prices for extra RAM or better HDDs.

      With the RAM (and harddrive!) soldered on, you can't do that anymore.

      It's not just about fixing broken stuff. It's about getting a better deal and potentially saving hundreds of dollars to get a phenomenally better computer.

      • by h4rr4r (612664)

        That is a totally different subject.
        Surely from Apple's point of view this is a huge gain. Most customers are just going to pay.

        This is a valid way to save money, but these days I don't bother either from laziness or just the PITA it makes warranty claims.

        • by Jethro (14165)

          It's a different subject, but it's really one of the big problems the OP and I are running into with buying new Apple hardware.

      • 1. The Apple upgrade to 16gb cost me $320NZD ($260 USD) on my rMBP.
        2. The hard drive is not soldered on.
        3. You can still get the old style MBP from Apple so what the fuck are you bitching about right now?

        On a side note, people on slashdot think they are the norm. You're not.

        • by Jethro (14165)

          First, I don't think I'm the norm in computer usage at all. Not even close. That doesn't mean I don't have a point of view, and it doesn't mean I can't be sad that my preferred hardware platform is changed in ways I don't like. Again, I'm just expressing my opinion on the matter, I'm not trying to make you agree to it. There is absolutely no need for you to get upset or jump into profanity...

          Now, as to your points:

          1. I can get 16GB of RAM for US$140 (which google tells me is NZD170). And that's a full 16. I

    • These MacBook Pros hold their value surprisingly well. They're also rock solid on reliability. Just plan on replacing it with a new one every 2-3 yrs rather than 4-5 yrs and you will be fine.

    • by AmiMoJo (196126) *

      If you are not obsessed with shaving a few mm off each year then you can get pretty slim laptops with socketed RAM and CPUs from Lenovo, Acer, Toshiba, NEC and many others. They are hardly bricks in comparison to an ultrabook.

      If they are available to the OP I suggest looking at some Panasonic Let's Note models, some of which are marketed as Toughbooks outside Japan. Thin, light, lots of features and nearly indestructible, just a bit expensive. Thinkpads are hard to go wrong with as well.

      If you want cheap Ac

    • by Jesus_666 (702802)
      I don't want it small. Apple does but I'm perfectly fine with the old MBP's size and weight. It's a price I gladly payed for being able to upgrade the RAM and storage myself and for not being forced to use a comparatively tiny, yet expensive SSD. For me, Apple notebooks are great becuse of their build quality and because I like OS X (although it's gotten less enjoyable since Lion). I don't need a razor-thin design object, I need a reliable notebook that is known to run some flavor of Unix well.

      Of course t
  • Next Version? (Score:4, Informative)

    by jythie (914043) on Tuesday November 26, 2013 @12:26PM (#45528091)
    Since I have a really slow upgrade cycle, I am mostly just holding out hope that Apple releases a more maintainable MBP again sometime over the next few years. I found my 2006 MBP to be surprisingly maintainable, with parts easy to get and swap out, but nothing was glued in place. Every once in a while I poke around to see if there are any others that I like but so far not much luck.
    • Computers are taking queues from cell phones and becoming cheap, commodity, throw-away items. There are even desktops from the likes of Dell and Toshiba with soldered on CPUs that simply can't be upgraded or replaced. Add to that Intel and AMD saying that the age of year over year performance increases are over for x86. GPUs are seeming to be the only area where massive performance growth will continue. The road maps for the next few years are on power savings, not performance. As such, upgradable component
      • Computers are taking queues from cell phones and becoming cheap, commodity, throw-away items.

        Calling them "throw-away" items is stupid. There is unrepairable; that's throw-away. There's user repairable, which in practice means I have to fix it in my family. And there's the huge and growing middle ground where you have to pay someone to repair it.

        Things like glued-in batteries are easy to replace if you work at a place that has the right tools.

  • by BoRegardless (721219) on Tuesday November 26, 2013 @12:31PM (#45528163)

    I will make the argument these devices are mostly tools and professional quality ones should be ordered loaded with CPU & RAM that works on the factory warranty & the hard drives can still be easily changed out. Our time is worth a decent amount of $s per hour, after all, and we do NOT have unlimited time.

    A professional laptop recently seems to retain its usefulness for at least 3 years, so these laptops remain functional for a long enough time to justify ordering them loaded with options to make our life and work easier.

    • Have you *seen* how much Apple/Dell/IBM etc want for RAM? They're charging double (or more) what it costs to get the equivalent stuff elsewhere.

      I can save a hundred bucks getting 16GB of RAM from elsewhere, it's absolutely worth the 10 minutes of my time spent ordering and installing it.

      Similarly, if I want 5GHz wifi but the manufacturer doesn't offer it in the specific model I want, it's only about $25 to buy a wifi card and minutes to install it...assuming the machine uses standard parts.

  • by wjcofkc (964165) on Tuesday November 26, 2013 @12:32PM (#45528185)
    If I had the money, I would go with a 17.3" Bonobo Extreme from System 76 - It's beefy as is and you can crack it right open for upgrades. The display is very nice, however I really don't know if it goes so far as to meet your Retina requirement. My first order of business would be to wipe out the hard drive and install elementary OS Luna - if you've never used it I promise you will fall in love pretty damn quick. I used Macs exclusively from 2005 until two or three months ago when I gave up OS X for a full migration to eOS after getting hooked on it - something I would have otherwise never believed possible.
  • by deviated_prevert (1146403) on Tuesday November 26, 2013 @12:33PM (#45528207) Journal

    Apple has realized that making serviceable devices is a dead end when the processor hardware is good enough to be future proof. And their solution is the same solution many sectors of the economy face. Our automobiles are disposable consumer oriented devices, our kitchen appliances are as well, washing machines, you name it all service and repair departments are being down graded to expedite product end life.

    Obsolescence is not just planned it has become a manufacturing industry mantra. With essentially slave labour doing the recycling of these goods, either that or illegal at sea dumping operations turning over the used goods we are headed down a technical path to environmental and consumer driven stupidity!

    • by armanox (826486)

      Cars are disposable devices? I am sure my 95 Saturn and 88 Ford would love to be told that (with 255K and 150K miles on them, respectively. I drive ~80 miles on a work day).

      • Cars are disposable devices? I am sure my 95 Saturn and 88 Ford would love to be told that (with 255K and 150K miles on them, respectively. I drive ~80 miles on a work day).

        Now they are. I have a 2007 with 150k that is just falling apart. But the dependable car is the 1988 Toyota with over half a million miles on it. When the 07 dies, I am getting a pre-2000 car so that it will last.

  • by Virtucon (127420) on Tuesday November 26, 2013 @12:34PM (#45528219)

    Asus still makes some great laptops but I still miss 1200P res!

    • Asus still makes some great laptops but I still miss 1200P res!

      I too like Asus laptops and tablets and have had a good experience and good reliability with them.

      However, every time that I post about how good Asus laptops are today, there tend to be a number of post saying just how bad they are. I can only guess that most of those who hate Asus had older models. Asus had a lot of crap in the past, but they have improved the quality of their products by quite a bit.

  • by Kagato (116051) on Tuesday November 26, 2013 @12:37PM (#45528281)

    As far as the RAM, meh. It's not windows, there's not a lot of cases when you would upgrade the RAM for OSX.

    Battery on the other hand is a real issue. Yeah, the "new batteries" aren't supposed to have recharge issues, but PC makers have been using that line for over a decade.

    It's not like Apple spends it time having a Seance to talk to Steve's ghost just to figure out how to piss people off. You want an ultra-thin notebook and you're going to sacrifice serviceability. You look at windows based ultrabooks and the serviceability is better than Apple, but not by that much. It's still a hassle to fit a battery into that space and an even bigger hassle to replace the battery. You start making the laptop more modular and a few things will happen. 1) You'll compromise on size and weight. 2) You start getting flex issues issues in the case (like it or not the glue on apple products has more to do with durability and case flex than it does with repairs). It become even more pronounced with plastic cases. 3) You end up with design compromises that make the overall experience horrid.

    So where does that leave the IT professional? Well, if it's for work there's likely a service contract. The glue is the problem for some guy at the referb factory. For home? Either put up with it/get applecare contract, or hackintosh one of the cheaper ultrabooks out there and live with what that entails.

    • by PaddyM (45763)

      TC1100 had no such compromises. It is small, upgradeable, and serviceable. I can see where soldered-in-RAM may improve performance at the cost of upgradeability, but everything else could be smaller without such compromises.

      I haven't found out how to move on from the TC1100 either. I was thinking an ipad mini with VNC-related software and keyboard (forget about upgrading), but the whole itunes gateway is just ridiculously impractical.

  • The SSD is the ONLY internal storage option, and the extra bay previously available for expansion drives has been removed. If you want the storage professionals are accustomed to and require on these macs, you won't be able to have a standalone laptop. It will all be external drives and network storage. This is simply not viable, functional or ergonomic for graphics professionals. It is a typical Apple move to take away functionality and feature in a new device, to then slowly reintroduce it as "new" at
    • by AvitarX (172628)

      As a professional with a MBP I completely disagree.

      I use Windows, and my work isn't graphics, but the performance of the SSD is well worth the trade off.

      1) the SSD has more storage than the laptop I replaced.
      2) with USB 3, and thunderbolt, I can get gret performance from an external drive, bonus if it's SSD
      3) I ALWAYS carried 2 external drives that I sync daily, I rapidly outgrow the built in storage anyway doing my work (ever since they started not needing external power, before then I used to use the comp

  • I don't think that being able to upgrade really matters. In fact, even if you can upgrade, you will soon run into barriers.

    I've upgraded my 2007 MacBook Pro to a 500 GB SSD and 6 GB RAM. The CPU and GPU or everything else can't be upgraded.

    So where is a Retina MacBook Pro worse with respect to upgradeability? The SSD can also be swapped - and it's probably much easier than swapping the SSD on a 2007 MacBook Pro, which has the disk deep inside. Well, the RAM cannot be upgraded on the new model... but wait, I

    • by Splab (574204)

      I'm a bit confused by the poster, I have a MBP 13" retina in front of me, and on the back I can see 10 screws, granted, I haven't tried taking them out, but I'm pretty sure you can service it, if you wanted to.

      Personally I'd just load it up with whatever is needed, the machine will (hopefully) run for 3+ years, and we have an upgrade cycle of 2 years, so it should work out just fine.

      • by SengirV (203400)

        define "service" it. There is no way to upgrade the RAM, as that is soldered in. The Battery is glued in, and I don't know of anyone who sells a replacement. And the SSD has a proprietary connection - OWC is the only outfit I see that offers the ability to upgrade the prior generation's SSD(for a markup of course). But so far, no one is offering a way to upgrade the new generation of MBP's SSD. You see, apple reworked it again to make it even LESS upgradable.

        That is why I have the last generation 15"

  • is a Thinkpad 540p. Great laptop. Battery pops off the back. There's a port to access the ram. It's also a lot less expensive than a MBP.

  • because a) they're cheap b) fit into backpack c) don't overheat. d) fullhd e) fast enough for gaming for at least two years. (though I guess now most 15"'s are fullhd?) refresh every 2 years or so(1000-1200 bucks).

    of course, not ultra slim or anything like that but if you want something that doesn't have everything soldered down... the second hdd bay was a bit of a bitch to access on this though. as for size, I just think 13"'s are not that good to work with and getting decent performance in that size te

    • by gl4ss (559668)

      and oh.. I guess the question wasn't for me since I wasn't exactly a fan of the pre-retina macbook pro... I did have one for a while though, even if it was from the period when they practically just renamed macbooks as macbook pro's(I mean fuck, there was nothing pro about it, no extra connectors, no extra nothing, 1280 crap screen, crappy gpu.. 2011 model).

  • Apple is quite succesful in marketing their thin computers, first the popular Macbook Air, now the Macbook Pro is nearly as thin. And thent here is also the slick ipad Air. I notice that most of my friends love the slick, thin design of these devices, rarely if every people wonder about repairability.
    In this case, i am not sure it is such a big issue in practice. I would recommend to buy the machine with enough RAM to begin with, and despite the battery being glued I understand that Apple can easily exchan
  • Dell Latitude e6430 with Intel graphics. Ubuntu certified. I run Linux Mint that works perfectly too. Everything "just works". Highly configurable. Excellent service manual and easily serviceable without voiding your warranty. Standard parts. Docking station that, again, "just works" with Linux. Built like a tank. Available on refurb from Dell outlet. It's not the smallest or lightest or prettiest cheapest but those are not priorities for me. It's the corporate fleet laptop. I've yet to find something to co
  • The r question is (Score:5, Informative)

    by Registered Coward v2 (447531) on Tuesday November 26, 2013 @12:47PM (#45528455)
    "Do you want to stick with OSX or are fine with a different OS?" If the former you are stuck. If the latter then decide on a feature set must haves and price point and buy what meets those needs. Dell, HP, Leveno all make good machines so it really comes down to what meets your needs.
  • My problem... (Score:4, Informative)

    by Jethro (14165) on Tuesday November 26, 2013 @12:47PM (#45528463) Homepage

    I'm in the same boat as you. I have the same year MBP as you, but I have the 15" and I went out of my way to get a matte screen on it. And THOSE are no longer available, which is MY biggest problem. Those retina screens are all glossy.

    I could almost live with the non-upgradable stuff.

    Here's my problem, though.

    I need OS X. And no other laptop will give me that.

    Now technically the apps I use can be run on Windows, too, but I am NOT using Windows as my daily driver. Sure, I can get a Lenovo or Alienware (both of which have matte screen options) and dual-boot, but I don't want to do that. I often leave Photoshop open for days (or weeks!) while working on stuff, while I do other things. I do not want to have to shuffle.

    So, for me, the choice is really no choice at all. Apple have kind of taken away some features we've become used to, but I am a little bit tied to the platform.

  • The battery is non-removable. But it is rated for 1,000 charge cycles, which should last for many years if you know what you are doing. (Some people don't. Apparently there are people who put their laptop on the desk, remove the charger, work until the battery is empty, then plug in the charger). The battery isn't cheap, but batteries aren't cheap - unless you get one from eBay that looks exactly like the original but isn't an original.

    RAM and hard drive are user upgradeable on the non-Retina MacBook Pro
  • This is the non-ultrabook style that is very easily upgraded.

    http://store.apple.com/us/buy-mac/macbook-pro [apple.com]
  • Very high quality build, excellent specs, battery life that makes going mobile reasonable. Spend $1700+ and you have one hell of a laptop. Dual SSD, great display, gobs of ram, massive video card... The Linux support used to require some optimus tweaking, but these days it should "just work." There was a bug that cause the light sensor in the camera to generate keystrokes, but you can put a smiley sticker on top.
  • http://www.eurocom.com/ [eurocom.com]

    Best fully upgrade-able workhorses out there. Not sexy like a Mac, but damn good machines.

    Ex-MacBook user. Written from my Eurocom Racer.

  • by mveloso (325617) on Tuesday November 26, 2013 @12:59PM (#45528661)

    My i7 MBP with hard drive and DVD is chugging away, and will chug away forever - or as close to forever as possible.

    If you need the old ones they're still on Apple's refurb/clearance page. The only thing you can't get is the widescreen glossy display, which most people hated (though I have one and it's great).

  • by Ralph Spoilsport (673134) on Tuesday November 26, 2013 @01:05PM (#45528733) Journal
    Small
    Cheap
    Easy to repair
    Pick two.
  • by Arkh89 (2870391) on Tuesday November 26, 2013 @01:10PM (#45528815)

    Clevo is the barebone manufacturer behind System 76, Eurocom, PC-SEX, Malibal, Xotic, Deviltech, and others...
    http://www.clevo.com.tw/en/products/index.asp [clevo.com.tw]
    They don't come with all the software layers you can have on Asus, Dell & co and you can upgrade them to your needs..

  • Came looking for Apple fanbois to basically tell the OP to shove off and deal with it.

    Am not disappoint.

  • I am a HUGE fan of the Dell Latitude series. Extreamely easy to work on. I picked up a older refurbished d630 about 2 months ago - even though its an older model, came with dual-core 2.4GHz processor and 4 gig of ram for $239 at KMart. I picked up an external Blu-Ray drive for $30, and replaced the network card with a 802.11 N for $10. These things are STUPIDLY SIMPLE to take apart.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zTPebVcfKRs [youtube.com]

    The newer Latitudes are just as easy to take apart and work on:
    http://www.youtube.com [youtube.com]

  • When the first retina models went to soldered-on RAM, it was obviously that all MacBook Pros would ship this way in the future.

    I miss the upgradability, but I ran the numbers on my non-retina 15" into which I installed two 512GB SSDs and 16GB RAM (the max you can do with two SODIMM slots due to current DRAM density and JDEC standards). It turns out that an equivalent retina MBP with 1TB SSD and 16 GB RAM is roughly the same price (within 10% of the cost).

    Not having swappable batteries and RAM means you don'

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