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Question: Which year is best for used MacBook Pro for music production?

Hi everyone,

I can see from an extensive search that this question has been asked repeatedly over the years. However, with each new software upgrade and individual needs, the answers greatly vary. I'm hoping the community here can help me narrow down my search! Here is my background:


- Mostly music production, with some rare work in video (Final Cut Pro). Main operating system is Sierra running Logic Pro X 10.3 and Ableton 9. I do record audio, although not more than 4 tracks at a time currently. I make extensive use of software instruments and plugins, especially sampling.


- must be a Mac (already invested too heavily in Apple ecosystem to switch now)

- must be portable (hence MacBook Pro)

- Minimum specs of 16 GB RAM, 256-500 GB SSD, and am leaning toward a 15" for the screen real estate and quad-core where applicable.

Budget: $1,200

Currently using an early 2015 Macbook Air that my job has loaned me, and it honestly works pretty well. However, it does choke occasionally, and some processing is a bit slow. Not to mention the HD is way too small, and I will be losing it at the end of the year due to a layoff.

I do own a late 2008 unibody MacBook Pro Core 2 duo which I maxed out with 16 GB RAM and an SSD, however it is on loan to my in-laws at the moment.

Ok, so main question is:

Will my old 2008 be powerful enough for my needs and hold me into the next few years? I'm not even sure if my current software is supported. I seem to remember some plugins being very slow with LP9.

If not, which year tends to be the best for my needs? I was thinking a 2015 15" would suit me well, but do they have issues I should be concerned with? Also, I understand all the retina screen models are not upgradeable, which might be a problem, but surely a high spec machine from 2015 will last a while? Should I go older? How about a 2012-2013? I've heard 2012's have some issues, but I've also heard about issues from 2015.

There are not a ton of great options for purchasing a used MBP. The refurb section at Apple is really slim right now, and mostly too expensive. Ebay, while not preferred, does have some sellers with returns and/or warranties, so I'm considering it.

Thanks all for any help you can provide!


Logic Pro X, macOS Sierra (10.12.6)

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Nov 16, 2017 2:49 PM in response to jddeleon In response to jddeleon

For that price range?

I would not go for anything older than a 2012—a real work horse. Has USB3, SATA 6G, User up-gradable RAM and SSD storage. The faster the processor the better (2.6 GHz,) with the i7 Quad core.

Newer the better, but you lose up grade options.

Nov 16, 2017 2:49 PM

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Question: Which year is best for used MacBook Pro for music production?