Ode to My 13″ Macbook Pro from 2015

13" Macbook Pro 2015

Those stickers tell a story, the above Macbook Pro is a 13″ retina display I bought in 2015. It was my first Reclaim Hosting company computer, and almost 9 years later has continued to prove to be the best computer I’ve yet to own. Things started out rocky between us, for sure. Just a week or so after purchasing the computer, I dropped it on a trip out to BYU and the screen cracked. Sad Panda!

That's no glitch

I waited about 6 months to get it fixed, talk about the challenges of computing with increasingly vanishing screen real estate. But after I finally bit the bullet and got a new screen, this computer has been rock solid ever since. The only reason I replaced it in 2020 was because it was struggling with all the video streaming requirements the pandemic thrusted upon us. It has 8GB of RAM and a 2.7 GHz dual core processor, but when I started playing with OBS it was definitely feeling the resource crunch.

Macbook Pro 13 2015 Specs

I had the unfortunate timing in 2020 of buying the last 16″ Macbook Pro with an Intel chip, that had four times the RAM (32GB) and an 8 core 2.7 GHz chip, but because of  a poor design the machine would continually overheat and the internal fan was like a plane taking off, definitely not ideal for streaming. So in many ways that machine was a total lemon, which led me to buy a M1 Mac Mini with 8GB of memory as my main computer in 2021 at a fraction of the cost of the Intel Macbook Pro.  And to be fair, the M1 chip was as fast as promised. In fact, I wrote a bit about the transition from the lemon Macbook Pro to the M1 already. The Mac Mini has proven to be quite a workhorse in and of itself, but the 2015 Macbook Pro continues to blow my mind, and let me tell you why.

Last week I was heading out of town, and for trips I usually resort to the lowly 16″ intel-based MBP lemon I bought in 2020. But this time that computer was incorporated into a strange streaming setup I am working on at bavastudio, so I needed a substitute. No problem, I can use the 13″ Macbook Air I picked up in New Orleans last Summer in a crunch given my Intel Macbook Pro got fried.*

Macbook Pro 13 2015 Open

However, turns out my son needed that Macbook Air for a school project given it’s that time of year, so I was considering traveling with just my phone—which is doable, but a bit dicey if things go really wrong. At this point it was late evening before a very early flight, so I was almost resigned to the phone until I thought why not try and setup a new user on the 13″ Macbook Pro that Anto uses. I wouldn’t need much app wise, just some basics in the event of a Reclaim emergency, such as 1Password, Slack, Asana, and, oddly enough, Skype. So, I set the machine up in about 30 minutes, and I had the old workhorse ready to go again in no time. It felt good to be reconnected with this “old friend,” and the only issue I ran into was that Slack would only run in the browser, not as a desktop app (which i think is related to it running on an older OS version, namely Catalina).

Slack in Browser MBP 2015

For anyone interested, the ports on each side give you an idea of how old this thing is. The left side has the magnetic power cable, two fire wire ports, a USB 2 port, and a headphone jack.

The right side has another USB 2 port, an HDMI port, and a large SD card port. Turns out I didn’t need access for any server issues that arose given my phone is pretty well equipped for server access, but I did use my dear old 13″ Macbook Pro for some banking and other tasks that are easier done on a laptop.

I imagine everyone working as long as I have with these machines has that one computer that has proven the workhorse you need to get things done, and has lasted well beyond its supposed relevance. That’s this computer for me, not to mention the 13″ form factor is much better for traveling, and when I’m at the home/studio office I have a multi-monitor setup hooked into the Mac mini, so the laptop goes in the drawer.

In fact, I should take a moment to write about my current M1 Mac Mini setup given I did get three screens running off it thanks to an NDI device Taylor shared with me, but that’s fodder for another post. This one is about my all-time favorite personal computer: the 13″ Macbook Pro from 2015, what a crunch chewy bar you are!


*Another story there about how much the 2020 MBP sucks, it got exposed to a touch of water and the whole board fried, and I lost data and everything, luckily it was not my primary machine, but what a cluster. And this forced me to try and use my son’s Macbook Air from 2012 for the trip, but it proved way too slow for even the basics.

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2 Responses to Ode to My 13″ Macbook Pro from 2015

  1. Alan Levine says:

    I love me some old hardware still use stories. I imagine someone could wrangle a metaphor out of that.

    I did get a 2021 M1 MBP for work, and it’s been smooth. But I still rely a lot on my 2013 13″ MBP, it’s been a soldier like yours and was the first one I bought as a self employeed geek. I kept it stubbornly for years on a really old OS so I can still use Aperture for photo editing, but something important made me upgrade the OS. It’s now running Big Sur and does okay if I close apps, and still is viable for web coding, and photoshopping. I did have a battery replacement 3 years ago, but the latest OS upgrade sucks the battery down quickly.

    And the keyboard is so worn, half the alphabet is gone.

    I will use it as long as it goes. Sadly, the 2009 MBP I have used long to play music and do live streaming (when I did, bit wait, I am just getting my radio chops back on for some kind of summer play camp), but it seems to be dead to boot up. I think I kept that one when I left NMC, I had to fight them to take it.

    • Reverend says:

      I have followed your og computer tales, and I appreciate the fact you keep them going. i took some inspiration with this recent revival of the 2015 MBP, and I now thing it is good enough to be my road warrior machine, should that be necessary. That said the M2 Macbook Air is pretty sweet 🙂

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