Should I get a new computer?

So, I have a macbook that I bought in August 2007. I use it basically all the time, and I’ve roughed it up a few times (dropped it, etc).

Overall, it’s still performing pretty well. However, I’ve had to replace the hard drive and CD drive (part of which I was reimbursed for), I’ve had to buy a new power cord, and recently the CD drive stopped working again. In addition, it’s pretty slow and Acrobat crashes frequently (Safari as well). It only has 1 gig of RAM and I only have 17 gigs of hard drive space left. Also, the battery life is low.

My dad insists that the smart thing to do is just to replace components that fall apart, which is ultimately cheaper. I could get up to 2 gigs of RAM and replace the internal hard drive, and a new batteyr would be cheaper. If I buy a computer it’s going to be a macbook pro, which I could probably get for about $1000.

Also, I use my computer for pretty much everything. All my school stuff. When I’m awake, it’s on.

I’m personally conflicted because in a way my dad’s right: I don’t use the CD drive and I could just replace everything cheaply, and I don’t NEED a new computer. I don’t want to be a spoiled brat about it (all my money right now is their money and loan money).

On the other hand, my life would be about 3-5% easier if things worked fast and didn’t crash and so forth. And it is, like, the main thing in my life.


It would be really cheap and easy to replace the 1G of ram with 2G. Might as well just go ahead and do that. You can replace the HD pretty cheaply also, but it’s harder to access on that model and I wouldn’t do it unless pretty comfortable with taking your laptop apart. Make sure you’re backed up! If you go for a new MB, wait until March or April when they refresh their line up.

Being on the budget you are I would replace things. That being said… A 2007 computer is pretty outdated. How big is your hard drive? With only having 17gig left I would say you need to purge some stuff. Or you could come over to the dark side and run a windows computer that works and doesn’t cost a arm and a leg.:smiley: (Sorry, my little jab a Macs)

Your father has your best interest at heart. He figures you are hard on everything and will just break a new computer anyway and be fixing that, although under warranty at first perhaps for non-negligent damage.

Since the computer is so indispensable to you, I would feel uncomfortable not having back up in the form of another computer. Perhaps you do have other computers. If not, I would keep my old and also buy new or used. Around here a refurbished laptop costs only $220, a new one is $400. If you have to have a Mac, that’s your deal.

To the Mac bashers: TCO.

Should you get a new computer? Your current machine is on its last legs after 3.5 years. What do the next 3.5 years hold for you? A RAM/HD upgrade will probably give you another year on the current machine.

If you’re just starting school, I’d consider a new machine. If you’re near the end of school, I’d stretch the existing machine.

If dad has no special computer savvy, I’d take his advice with a grain of salt. I’ve set up plenty of computer users with well configured replacements and they’ve absolutely thought it was worth it once they found out how a modern computer performs.

I still do most of my work on a 5+ year old Mac G4 with slightly more RAM and free HD than your machine. There is a quad core Win7 box with a TB of disk and 8GB of RAM right next to it.

There’s a lot my Mac can’t really do anymore that a modern machine can. But if you don’t need those things most of the time for the next year or so, bandaid it. If you do, IMO, replace it with a MacBook.

Obviously, you are too rough with the machine, which is what is causing all your issues. Until you learn how to treat high-tech electronics (or your life calms down a little so you don’t have to bang it around so much, I imagine you have to run around a lot, catch buses, carry the laptop with it bumping the book bag, etc.) you might as well just repair it as cheaply and as best you can.

My general advice is buy several cheap computers instead of investing in one expensive one. After a year or two, throw away the old one and buy a new cheap one.

For example: My budget is $1200. Instead of buying 1 macbook, I buy a cheap toshiba laptop for 400. After 2 years, I buy another toshiba laptop for $400, but this one will have better stuff and more upgrades. After 2 years, I buy another one for $400, and it will again be better than my previous one for the same price. I got 3 computers for the price of 1, and the last computer, purchased 4 years after the first, will be near the top of the line. I won’t be stuck with a 6 year old computer at the end.

Just for the record, I’m not a Mac basher. The last Apple computer I owned was a IIe for about $3,000. I have only heard wonderful things about the ease of use and advanced technology. I have no direct current experience with them beyond the prices I see. I can live with the cheaper, lest trendy, PC.

I further realize that school age kids today can’t be concerned with price. I think it’s great, just not for me.

Thanks very much for the suggestions, everyone.
Ultimately I’ve decided to stay with this computer and just upgrade components, for several reasons.

  1. I don’t want to be a spoiled brat. The display and the processor are fine on this machine, no reason to get a whole new one. If something that truly isn’t replaceable wears out, then I’ll get a new one.

  2. Don’t want to buy a fancy new thing just to wear-and-tear it out. I need to port my machine around a lot, and inherently that will cause damage.

  3. Macs are expensive and I like the OS enough to want to only buy a mac.

Do you have any specs for your Mac? My ex has a three year old 15" MacBook Pro that is still going strong.

I always found that a computer is just as useful as it was the day you bought it. If the UI is feeling sluggish, maybe some tweaks or a digital cleaning is in order.

FWIW, 2.5" hard drives are very reasonably priced. Buy one, get an external enclosure, clone the drive, and replace the existing drive with the cloned drive. Monolingual, a free utility that trims unused languages and PowerPC binaries, will also free up a few gigs of space that could tide you over until you get a new HD.

A followup post: budget about $80 for a new hard drive, $20 for a hard drive case, $60 for a new battery (eBay), and $20 to $40 for RAM.

Monolingual: download it here -
Other free utilities that could help -