My five year old MacBook Pro hard drive just bit the dust. Wondering what I should go with next. My budget is in the $2000 (or less) range. I use the computer only for photos and photo editing because I have an iPad and an iPhone as well. I am a Grandma with 12,000 photos to play with. Just recently I subscribed to the Adobe Creative suite (jury still out on keeping it). Any thoughts would be appreciated.
You have a lot of options, if you want to stick with a MacBook Pro.
One option is replacing the hard drive in your existing computer with a greater capacity hard drive or an SSD. If you are the least bit handy with tools, and you have fine motor skills (dexterity), well-corrected close vision, and patience, AND can follow instructions to the letter, this would be the approach I would take. At least, you should consider exploring it.
Other World Computing, AKA OWC or http://www.macsales.com
, has all sorts of options you might choose. They also have SUPERB, free installation instruction videos, and kits with all the tools and parts you might need to crack the case and swap components. Another great source is http://www.ifixit.com
Depending upon the exact make and model of your Mac, your options may be quite attractive. I recently upgraded my iMac with double the RAM and an SSD with twice the storage space. This was a job Apple says can't be done by users, but OWC's instructions and parts kits made it possible. It was slow going, and a bit tricky, but TOTALLY worth it.
If you take this route, you can restore your last backup of the old drive to the new one. The path I would take is to format the new drive and install a virgin system 10.14.3 on it. OWC has instructions for that. Once you have the new system (or a new computer), you can use the Migration Assistant Utility in Mac OS to move your old User Profile (and all your data) from the backup to the new drive or Mac. In my case, building a new system with all virgin software installations took about a day and a half. But now, my computer SCREAMS. The extra RAM and the SSD make a tremendous difference.
OWC and many other Internet retailers sell used Macs. These are usually tested, reconditioned, and may be upgraded to your specifications. I bought two 2012 MacBook Pros from OWC for my twins a few years ago, and they still work flawlessly, despite rough handling by college students.
New MacBook Pros are expensive, but if you want to keep a machine for 5-7 years, may be your best choice. You probably don't need the high end, loaded models, but bear in mind that the LATEST MacBook Pros are either not upgradable at all, or only partially upgradable, so you want to get all the SSD drive space and RAM you can afford, right up front. The 13" models are more limited than the 15" models, but the 15" models are much more expensive.