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Old Nov 21, 2012, 09:49 PM   #1
Mark D
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Here We Go

Been saving for a Mac this year (first ever), trying to figure out the right time. I just found out about the sale on Friday so I think the moment is here to finally pull the trigger. As a paranoid college student on a relatively tight budget, I just wanted to get some additional opinions.

At first I went with the iMac as the best option, most power for the money I guess. But after more thought I just can't give up portability. I've owned some laptop for the past 4 years and probably used them in every room in my house at some point. Not to mention school, traveling, etc. I'm not rich enough to have a desktop and laptop both, so my style of usage really dictates the latter.

What I'm set on now is a laptop and then in maybe 4-6 months getting a monitor + docking station. It is a much more financially effective way to have both experiences in the long run, which is important because this is in all likelihood a 3+ year investment. I want the most inexpensive Mac I can get that is portable and has an SSD. This is why my plan for Fri is to choose the 13" Macbook Air. 11 inch is moronic and I'd sooner get an iPad. After reading around the internet (more than I'd care to admit) I must say I'm still a little skeptical about the practice of having the Air as one's only computer. But after studying the specs, watching videos, trying it out in person in the store etc., it quite honestly seems more than powerful enough. My biggest, or at least most challenging, use for the computer is photography, and Adobe Lightroom. This is why the SSD at the expense of a slightly more powerful processor is so attractive. There are really no excessively intensive tasks but I desire the drive I'm working from to have a lot of responsive prowess. I'm also worried about screen size (you know 13 is not exactly ideal for photos) but I can't afford anything more in a laptop so I don't even know why I'm mentioning it. Just might be a little cramped until I get the extra monitor.

Anyway, does the Air sound like a good fit for me to do enthusiast photo editing, occasional short HD movie clips, music, internet, and word processing? Mind you - this will be the one and only machine. But no software developing, games or anything like that. And I'm coming from a comically abysmal 1.4 GHz AMD processor. I plan to go with 8GB of RAM as well, again to maximize its life.


P.S. - sorry to anyone who recognizes me and is thinking to themselves just ******** choose something and be happy. I have such a hard time with financial decisions, and this site has been helpful thus far.
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Old Nov 21, 2012, 09:55 PM   #2
blevins321
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Your choice sounds perfect for your needs. Check out macmall or bhphotovideo for cool deals and tax savings. The Air is perfect for anything except constant video transcoding and gaming.
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Old Nov 22, 2012, 03:17 AM   #3
HarryWarden
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Originally Posted by blevins321 View Post
Your choice sounds perfect for your needs. Check out macmall or bhphotovideo for cool deals and tax savings. The Air is perfect for anything except constant video transcoding and gaming.
How does the Air handle the playback of 720P and up video files such as HD movies?
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Old Nov 22, 2012, 06:23 AM   #4
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How does the Air handle the playback of 720P and up video files such as HD movies?
No problem at all. The 4000 is a big upgrade from the previous version and it will play anything that you throw at it video wise.
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Old Nov 22, 2012, 11:58 AM   #5
Mark D
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Thanks! Most of the other places look like they only have big discounts for base configurations, and B & H has no return policy on computers. Judging from the front page it looks like I'll be able to get $100 off from Apple.
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Old Nov 22, 2012, 01:08 PM   #6
HarryWarden
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Originally Posted by blevins321 View Post
No problem at all. The 4000 is a big upgrade from the previous version and it will play anything that you throw at it video wise.
Thanks, good to know. Playing HD files is one of the main uses for me.
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Old Nov 22, 2012, 03:11 PM   #7
designs216
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For price comparison, start with the spec you want at EDU pricing on Apple.com. Then see if you can find that machine in the refurb bin, which carries the same warranty but at a steeper discount. I used refurb.me recently to notify me when the machine I wanted hit the bin so I didn't have to constantly check.

In addition to the sites others mentioned previously, which are great b/c they don't charge sales tax, check out Amazon as well. Both Apple and Amazon have good return policies, in my experience.
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Old Nov 23, 2012, 11:12 AM   #8
Mark D
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Signed into the education store just for the hell of it. Even though the discounts don't stack and the Air is still $101 off - I can still save $10 on the RAM upgrade. Not a huge difference obviously, but the whole machine is now 1188 vs the normal 1299.
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Old Nov 26, 2012, 08:30 PM   #9
Mark D
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One More Thing...

Just for lack of wanting to start a whole new thread, are there any opinions regarding screen protectors? In particular the iVisor one they have on the Apple site. I have read scattered accounts of it causing clarity and contrast to drop some, but I shudder at the thought of smudges on the screen.
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Old Nov 26, 2012, 08:32 PM   #10
BRyken
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If you don't want smudges go with an anti glare screen protector. They mess with clarity a bit but they work wonders at keeping fingerprints off the screen.
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