Another "What should I buy" post

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by Nordicexpat, Jan 14, 2014.

  1. Nordicexpat macrumors newbie

    Nov 12, 2013
    HI everyone,

    I know there are lots of posts asking this question, but I would be interested in hearing people's opinions. This is a typical first-world problem, so I apologise in advance.

    I've just got a grant for purchasing all sorts of equipment, and I'm trying to decide whether I should use some of it for upgrading my computer system. Currently, I have an early, high end 2011 MBP (i7, 5400, upgraded to 8GB), a 2013 MBA (i5, 256, 8GB), and a 24" Cinema Display. I don't do anything that is computationally demanding (and no gaming): probably the most demanding is I use Windows 7 on a virtual machine on the MBP to operate some e-learning software (how I wish there were more native Mac applications for this purpose, but that is another story). I'm not really happy with the performance of the virtual machine on the MBP: it works, but feels really sluggish. I had access to a PC for this purpose, so I tended to use it instead of the virtual machine, but I've lost that access. Hence the feeling of upgrading (combined with money falling from the sky).

    Here are some possibilities I've been considering (and there is the possibility of combining some options):

    1. Put an SSD in the MBP and increase memory to 16GB
    2. Put a virtual machine on the MBA
    3. Purchase a thunderbolt display (after the next refresh)
    4. Purchase a 15 rMBP (probably low-end, 16GB)
    5. 27 inch iMac (fusion? SSD? and 16GB)

    I'm leaning towards the 15 rMBP. Upgrading the 2011 MBP will obviously make it feel like a new machine, but a new one would obviously be better. The only reservation with rMBP I have is that I use an external monitor quite a lot. For that reason, I was wondering whether purchasing a thunderbolt display and putting the virtual machine on the MBA would be good. However, I'm not entirely sure the MBA is the best machine to be running virtual machines. Given my propensity to use external displays and the fact that I have MBA for portability, I could go with the iMac. However, I really don't want to go back to spinning hard drive, and I'm not sure how much I really trust fusion. An SSD then might be the solution, but what I don't like about iMac is that the display will last much longer than the internal components, and it feels like a waste having that large a display to get rid of because the internal components feel dated. Getting the rMBP and a Thunderbolt display would probably take me over the budget.

    As I said, this is obviously a first-world problem, as many people could barely afford buying a computer. Still, I would appreciate any advice anyone could give.
  2. ohbrilliance macrumors 6502a


    May 15, 2007
    Melbourne, Australia
    You've over-complicated your options (the first world problem you're referring to?). Try to refine your choices and you should get some helpful advice.
  3. Nordicexpat thread starter macrumors newbie

    Nov 12, 2013
    Yeah, I was probably thinking out-loud while composing the message.

    Does anyone know how virtual machine performance (running Windows 7 or Windows 8, no games) is on an 2013 Macbook Air (i5,256, 8GB).

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