With the back-to-school season well underway and the holidays just around the corner, it's one of those common times of the year when one asks themselves “Do I need a new MacBook, or can I just upgrade the MacBook that I already have and wait until next year?” There are a number of pros and cons involved with upgrading your existing MacBook, MacBook Pro or MacBook Air and hopefully after reading through this article you'll be able to make the best decision for your personal situation.
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There are quite a few factors that go in to the decision to upgrade or replace your MacBook. Age, damage, usability and speed are the main issues that most users cite when replacing their MacBook with a newer MacBook Pro or MacBook Air model. Each of these issues can be overcome somewhat with an upgrade, but eventually you will need to break down and replace your MacBook before it becomes a hindrance to your productivity instead of adding to it.
In regards to age, one can look at this pretty objectively. If you purchased your MacBook Pro or White MacBook within the past two years, you can probably get away with a couple of inexpensive upgrades that will help refresh your computer and speed things up considerably. If your MacBook has less than 4 gigabytes of RAM memory, consider purchasing another stick of RAM. Memory is one of the least expensive upgrades and moving from 1 or 2 GB to 4 GB can greatly improve multitasking performance and performance when using intensive software programs like Adobe Photoshop. If you have a MacBook or MacBook Pro with a standard hard disk drive, upgrading to a solid state drive can offer a massive improvement in performance for an investment of around $200. Solid state drives have significantly improved in both reliability and performance over the past couple of years, and are far faster than regular hard drives.
If your MacBook or MacBook Pro is between two to four years old, you can base the decision to upgrade on your budget and how much you want to invest in your older computer. If you are close to being able to afford a new MacBook Pro or MacBook Air, it's probably worth it to wait and just purchase a completely new MacBook. If you know you can only commit a couple hundred dollars to your MacBook over the next couple of months, upgrading is going to be your only option. Purchasing a new battery, some RAM and a solid state drive will set you back about half the cost of an entry-level MacBook Air, but will allow you to breathe another year of life into that older MacBook or MacBook Pro.
If your MacBook is damaged, you'll need to decide whether it's something that impacts your ability to use the MacBook on a daily basis. If the screen is cracked or something about the MacBook is getting worse over time, it may just be best to replace it with a new MacBook Pro or MacBook Air, and purchase AppleCare to help protect your investment. Cosmetic damages are just that; don't worry about minor issues like scratches or anything else that doesn't impact your ability to use the MacBook for whatever tasks you require.
Usability and speed go somewhat hand-in-hand and can be considered like this for all intents and purposes. If your MacBook is slow, it's probably impeding your productivity and investing a small amount in upgrades could really spruce things up a bit - especially if your upgrade allows you to also upgrade your operating system to OS X 10.7 Lion. Speed can easily be increased by adding the above-mentioned solid state drive and additional RAM, however if you own an original MacBook Air you won't be able to upgrade these and you'll need to purchase a new MacBook Air model to refresh things.
Deciding on whether or not to upgrade your MacBook or MacBook Pro really does come down to how much you can afford. If you have the budget available and your MacBook is more than a year or two in age, it's worth picking up a new MacBook and selling your old one to a friend or family member. If you have just purchased a MacBook in the past year, hang on to it for at least another year or so and spruce things up by investing in more RAM memory and a faster solid state drive.
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