Apple Product Lineup

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by Woyzeck, Nov 3, 2012.

  1. Woyzeck, Nov 3, 2012
    Last edited: Nov 3, 2012

    macrumors 6502

    Nov 2, 2012
    Hi, I'd really like to switch over to Apple, but I just don't get Apple's product lineup. There's plenty of choice in it, but I'm unable to find 'my machine' there.
    Don't get me wrong: I love the OS, but the hardware lineup is far from being balanced. Every product line has disadvantages and for the given price it's very difficult to justify a purchase. Even if I ignored the price I couldn't find the best machine.

    I'd like to use it as my one-and-only computer. No or very limited gaming, much office work, much graphics work, some software development. The usual things that you'd do with a PC, though. Mobility is not important, but I could live with a notebook for daily work. Unfortunately nothing seems to fit my requirements.

    Mac Mini - obviously the best value for its price. Limited upgradability (RAM, HDD), but built-in GPU. No buy. No BTO option for a dedicated GPU. Why ?

    iMac - looks nice, but combines the disadvantages of a notebook (weak GPU) with the disadvantages of a desktop (no mobility). Weak upgradability makes it a no-buy given the price-tag. The BTO options are a joke, too. Either choose an obsolete magnetic drive or a 768GB SSD at - i'm afraid - an insane price. Why no 256GB SSD ?

    Mac Pro - best fit for my needs, but obsolete hardware at an insane price. It's interesting that they still sell these dinosaurs.

    Macbook Pro - nice notebook, but soldered RAM and non-upgradable SSD make it a clear no-buy.

    Macbook Air - nice notebook (except for the display resolution) but again soldered RAM and SDD make it a no-buy.

    I already own an iPad, an iPhone and some iPods. Love them.

    I'm really confused now as I waited for over 6 months for the new iMac, and now they roll out a crippled notebook in a desktop chassis. It's understandable from a marketing point of view that Apple wants people to go the BTO way for higher profit, but still the available options make none of their products a 'perfect' machine.
    Buying a new computer has never been that difficult for me. In former times I always knew what I wanted.
  2. bobr1952, Nov 3, 2012
    Last edited: Nov 3, 2012

    macrumors 68000


    Jan 21, 2008
    Melbourne, FL
    Hmm--I hate to say it but it seems like you are really not looking for an Apple product to replace your PC. As many would agree--for better or worse--Apple is very aggressive at finding ways to save space and weight--at the cost of upgradability. I don't ever upgrade components so it is not a problem for me and I am happy with how they have configured the components of my rMBP--but their solution is not for everyone. There are certainly products in the Apple lineup that would satisfy most of your needs--upgradability is not one of them for most newer products.
  3. simsaladimbamba

    Nov 28, 2010

    fantastic user name.

    Anyway, the standard 13" and 15" MBPs without Retina Display can be upgraded to 16 GB RAM for less than 100 € by yourself, and you can add any SSD for much less than Apple wants.

    MacBook, MacBook Pro: Replacing the Hard Disk Drive, transferring data to the new HDD

    the guide includes:
    • 0. Identify your MacBook or MacBook Pro
    • 1. Getting a new HDD
    • 2. Guides to replace the internal HDD with a newer one
    • 3. Transferring data from the old HDD to the new HDD
    • 4. Using the optical disk drive (ODD) slot for placing an SSD or HDD inside the MB/P (OPTIBAY)
  4. thread starter macrumors 6502

    Nov 2, 2012
    I knew that but still, I don't get the reason why a customer should have to choose the older tech (non-retina display) for being able to upgrade basic stuff like RAM and SSD ?
  5. macrumors 6502

    Nov 4, 2012
    I don't want upgradability (in fact I prefer to NOT have upgradability, as I prefer everything to be soldered) but, however, I agree 100% with the OP:

    Mac Mini: Almost perfect (with the 256GB SSD). But no discrete GPU. So sorry, no purchase.

    iMac: No 256GB nor 512GB SSD, and I really want pure SSD. Also, it comes with builtin display, which is a non-Retina display, so it doesn't look like a long-time purchase. So, sorry, I cannot justify this purchase, both for the lack of 256/512 GB SSD, and for it having a builtin display.

    Mac Pro: Really? Do you really mean that somebody how _just_ wants the same performance as a new Mac Mini but with discrete GPU really should look at the Mac Pro? Sorry, but I cannot justify it, so no purchase.

    Conclusion: No purchase possible for current desktop Macs.
  6. macrumors 68040


    You know that there are external GPUs that hook up to the Thunderbolt port like the Sonnet Echo Express Pro, right? :rolleyes:
  7. macrumors 6502

    Nov 4, 2012
    I've read a couple threads about this, but their conclusion is it cannot be used because no drivers for osx
  8. macrumors 6502a

    Jan 23, 2010
    San Diego, CA USA
    If you already have a quality monitor, then I would go with the Mac Mini. You'll want to get an Apple keyboard, but you can probably use the mouse you already have if you really want to. It's the lowest cost of entry and would allow you to "try out" being a Mac user in the easiest way.

    If you don't already have a good monitor, then go for the iMac. If you don't really want the 27" then you can get the smaller one for less cost.

    Either way, I would consider the "fusion drive" to be the most desirable BTO upgrade. It will give you a better overall performance experience. I wouldn't worry about the Intel graphics since you said gaming isn't a priority for you. It's plenty powerful enough for web surfing and photo work.
  9. macrumors 68030


    May 20, 2010
    Los Angeles, CA
    Non-retina MacBook Pro, upgradable RAM and SSD/Hard Drive. Frankly, it's the best machine they make, by far.
  10. macrumors 6502

    Nov 4, 2012
    Thanks a lot, mfram, but, at least in my case, such configuration doesn't meet my needs.

    What I need is 4core i7 + 256GB SSD + Discrete GPU. I really want pure SSD (not fusion), and I really want a discrete GPU, so neither the Mac Mini (lack of discrete GPU) nor the iMac (lack of both 256 and 512 GB SSD) are an option.

    (note that if the Thunderbolt external GPU had drivers for OSX, the Mac Mini would fit perfectly into my requirements)
  11. macrumors 68030


    May 20, 2010
    Los Angeles, CA


    For you, entry level 15" rMBP. Perfect.
  12. macrumors G3

    Jessica Lares

    Oct 31, 2009
    Near Dallas, Texas, USA
    You're expecting too much of the machine, that's your problem right there.

    I have the base model 13" MacBook Pro. I use it for web surfing, reading, writing, web design, the entire Adobe Creative Suite CS6, Autodesk Maya (modeling/animation - It renders very, very quickly), Unity 3D, GarageBand, Eclipse/Xcode, and play the occasional game. I push my machine very, very, very hard on a daily basis and have no problems.

    Does the machine crawl with so much work? Yes, but that's expected when I'm using the CPU at 100%. But I see a lot of people with the same machine doing the same things I'm doing with it.

    And with the use you're describing, you're not going to have any issues. All of the Macs are great for those tasks.

    I too agree that you should go for a non-retina MacBook Pro.
  13. macrumors 65816


    Jul 9, 2009
    375th St. Y
    I just got a used 2011 17" hi-res anti glare MBP, 2.3ghz i7. I maxed out 16gb ram, took out optical drive so I have 256 and 512 SSDs in it now.

    All said, I Spent Just under $2000. A comparably specced 15" rMBP is $3400, although they are thin and light and cool, the cost/benefit, in my case, swung the way of the 17".

    When apple discontinues a product, you know it's good :p
  14. Giuly, Nov 4, 2012
    Last edited: Nov 4, 2012

    macrumors 68040


    I looked into it, and you're right. But what does work is using the ViDock with the Sonnet Echo Pro CardBus/34 adapter.

    At least unless somebody figures out how to unlock GPUs via Thunderbolt, as any other PCIe card works just fine.
  15. macrumors 68030


    May 20, 2010
    Los Angeles, CA
    To be fair, you can't compare the performance of a 15" rMBP (whose first rev shipped with Ivy Bridge) and a 17" cMBP (whose final rev shipped with Sandy Bridge). Nor can you with price given that one was discontinued when the other one was introduced unless the point of the comparison is comparing what the discontinued product could be fetched for today. Jus' sayin'.
  16. macrumors 6502

    Nov 4, 2012
    Thanks a lot. I really have to dig into this, and also need to find experiences from anybody using this with success on a new 2012 Mac Mini. I also need to know what GPU "sees" OSX when you use this setup (ie: does it detect it as a genuine NVIDIA or ATI, or does it run under some "layer" which hides those details to OSX?).

    If it's possible to do this in a successful way, I feel the Mac Mini would be the best choice for me in this moment.

    Btw, if you add the size of the eGPU to the size of the Mini, you really realize what Apple needs in this moment: The Cube needs to be released again.

    And, given Tim Cook excitement about the future 2013 Mac Pro, I wouldn't be surprised if it had a "Cube" form factor. Otherwise, if it comes with its current "dinosaur" form factor... what would make Tim Cook feel so excited about it?
  17. thread starter macrumors 6502

    Nov 2, 2012
    Thanx for all the replies to my question.

    If I'd buy a Mac it'll most probably be a Mini as I can't stand the glossy display (even the new iMacs have that) and the design limitations of the iMac.

    Anyway, I just don't get their product lineup. There's no "best" machine and all have their significant limitations. Limitations that no one would accept in the world of PCs where there's stiff competition and you wouldn't be able to sell products that are so limited.
    Even inside the product lines the offer is way too unbalanced.

    It's just that I love the OS.
  18. macrumors 68030


    May 20, 2010
    Los Angeles, CA
    Non. Retina. Mac. Book. Pro. For a laptop, what limitations does it have? It's easier to service and repair than most PC laptops.
  19. macrumors 6502

    Nov 4, 2012
    Apple laptops are great, but, however, as most laptops, they don't manage heat too well. I mean, if you've the CPU at 100% for 10 minutes, fans go to full speed, and the CPU temperature raises to an scary value (acceptable according to Apple, but scary anyway).

    Now, if you need to do lots of long and intense CPU work (like video encoding for your everyday work, or like gaming, or like renderings which take hours to complete), bigger desktops manage heat in a more convenient way: fans don't need to rotate at such a high speed, and the computer seems to be better suited for doing intense CPU work without affecting how many years your computer will last.

    Which recalls what I said: Apple, bring the Cube back!!!
  20. Woyzeck, Nov 5, 2012
    Last edited: Nov 5, 2012

    thread starter macrumors 6502

    Nov 2, 2012
    Non-swappable battery, glossy display, no broadband. It's a nice notebook, though, but as all Macs it has limitations that I don't want.

    Really, if I want a notebook I'll get another Thinkpad T-model. Half the price, durable, spares available everywhere, upgradable with a simple screwdriver, but unfortunately only available without Snow Leopard...
  21. macrumors 68030


    May 20, 2010
    Los Angeles, CA
    They've pretty much perfected it on the non-retina Unibody models. But you'd hope so after five revs of them. Laptops in general were never great for that kind of long endured heating. Play World of Warcraft on any laptop and after a while, it's a leg warmer. That's largely why I don't recommend WoW addicts use their laptop for WoW.

    That being said, you bring up an excellent idea; I think the next Mac Pro will essentially be the true return of the Cube, albeit larger to accommodate for multiple PCIe cards and hard drives. Especially if Apple's stance on optical media is that it is no longer important and a lame duck feature on all of their Macs (which sadly seems to be the case since the only Macs that come with them feature lame duck designs).

    You can order the 15" model with an anti-glare matte display. Or you can buy a form-fitted screen protector that essentially restores the anti-glare functionality while retaining the protective glass layer. Either way, that option definitely exists. The battery is removable and replaceable and with over-the-counter screw-drivers. I bought a compatible one at Fry's for $3. No, it's not something you'll be swapping out on an airplane, but it's capacity is so large that you never really have a need to unless you had a problem that made flat out replacing (and scrapping the old one) a prudent thing to do. Though if you do, it's seriously two to three tri-lobe screws and a cable to disconnect and it's easily removed. Replacements from Apple cost comparable to the cost of most laptop batteries, including the batteries used in pre-unibody MacBook Pros. Somehow I get the feeling you're confusing the retina MacBook Pros from the non-retina MacBook Pros. If you're talking about the retina models, then I completely concur. Otherwise, I'd have to argue that there's any laptop superior in both form and function to the non-retina unibody MacBook Pros.

    I know very few full-sized laptops that come with Broadband. Actually I don't think I know of any, come to think of it. I've seen Netbooks and Ultrabooks with them, but nothing else. I think that's what MiFis, portable hotspots, and tethering is used for.

    For the record though, ThinkPads are supposedly the easiest laptop to Hackintosh. As for Snow Leopard, while I still miss Rosetta, and while Lion made me really miss Snow Leopard otherwise, I haven't looked back since Mountain Lion.

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