Apple - First Steps

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by oldvictor, Jul 5, 2012.

  1. oldvictor macrumors newbie

    Jul 5, 2012
    Hi All,

    First of all apoligies about all these questions but this looks a damn friendly forum so I hope that this first post is welcome.

    I have come here in hope of some advice for somebody that currently does not have MacBook Pro, but the "need" and "want" to get one is seriously eating away at me. I have now walked out retailers two of three times before nearly pulling the old credit card out!

    The only thing that really stopped me was I was worried the shop keeper would try to sell me the world, when I don't quite need all of it!

    For the past 20 years I have been a Windows user. I have always hated Mac's and such until I got an iPhone. It was not long before the iPad came along and I just fell in love with the interface and the way everything works. I did dip into the Andriod market but it just felt wrong and hurried compared to Apple's products so quickly left it alone. So in a nutshell, I am not a fanboy but do apprichate the Apple product.

    Ideally my needs to help judge and I would apprichate any hints here as to apps etc would be as follows. These are what I can't do without above and beyond standard internet applications.

    1. Office
    2. A Good Accounts Package
    3. Gaming ( to football manager / mame levels - not interested in 3D etc )
    4. Would like to be able to run some old Windows programs that I know are not available on Mac's

    My uses would really fall into the following groups.

    1. iTunes
    2. Office
    3. Internet
    4. Gaming
    5. Photo management and editing ( and possibly very basic video )
    6. I would like to get a Dev Apple account to get latest IOS and try my hand at programming.
    7. VMWare for some work related stuff.

    I know that these devices don't have large hard disks so I would need some kind of external disk to use as well, but from a Mac point of view I have no idea on the type that I would need or how it would connect.

    Data is very important to me. I presently on the PC have a Western Digital World Book that I backup across the network to. I would hope I can see that via the potential new laptop. Has anyone got any experince of Good Sync on the MAC ?

    In the Windows world, hard disks seem to fail at an alarming rate in my life ( once per year! ). I am unlucky.

    Is there a way to backup the hard drive image like you can on Windows if you needed to roll back / restore everything ?

    I have been also wondering if a refurb is the way to go direct from Apple.

    Sorry for all these questions but if anyone with a good head would help an old boy like myself, it would be most welcome to avoid me making a terrible mistake as I can only afford to do this once!

    Thank you.
  2. mohsy90, Jul 5, 2012
    Last edited: Jul 5, 2012

    mohsy90 macrumors 65816


    Feb 4, 2011
    New York
    A MacBook Pro will be a good fit for you. It is more than capable of handling the things you have mentioned. As for gaming, you may want to consider a 15" so you have a higher performance discrete graphics card. It's not a gaming laptop by any means compared to some customizable PC laptops but it can handle it.

    It is definitely a good laptop for editing photo and video. You'll come to love applications like final cut pro and aperture.

    Aside from the retina MBP, all the other models can easily be upgraded with larger hard drives. You can either do it yourself or just stick with the external hard drive you have. Most external hard drives they sell on the market are just fine. All you have to do is format it for Mac. Disk Utility in mac provides an easy way to format external HD for Mac or Mac/PC use.

    Hard drive failure among macs is very slim and is covered for a year from date of purchase. I would still highly recommend AppleCare warranty to extend coverage to 3-years. Apple's customer services is excellent and will replace the drive if it does fail within the warranty period you have.

    Backup: Apple does have a backup utility called time machine. You can backup all your data using this onto a external hard drive. You can then restore your device from time machine.

    As far as restoring goes, all hard drives form Apple come with a recovery partition that is used solely to restore your entire device back to original state.

    Refurbs are indistinguishable from new products. They definitely will save you some cash. Personally i use my education discount + gift card Apple usually gives so I settle for new MBPs whenever I buy.
    Hope that helps.
  3. squeeks macrumors 68040


    Jun 19, 2007
    apple uses the same OEM harddrives as everyone else. Hitachi is their choice at the moment as that was what was in my 2012 MBP before i switched it out for SSD. I would suggest you not go overboard and either stick with a base model 15" or a higher end 13" If you're not going to do 3d gaming then an $1800 laptop is overkill for the things you want it for. Unless you really want the 15" screen.

    I'd even say go for the higher end MBAir

    best buy has them for $75 off right now
  4. oldvictor thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 5, 2012
    Many thanks for your help here, this has answered a good few questions for me.
  5. saytheenay macrumors member

    Jul 6, 2012
    I have came back to Mac in 2010, primarily due to iOS. My first mac was a Rev A iMac (OS 8.6)--loved that thing, but as a CIS and business major in college, it wasn't practical (virtualization was not then what it is now--anyone remember Connectix VitualPC?)

    1. iTunes is a pretty good music and content management system, though YMMV.
    2. For office programs, Microsoft Office 2011 (for Mac) works pretty well, provided you are content with just using Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Outlook. Remote Desktop Connection and Communicator work well too. Another good (and free) option is LibreOffice.
    3. I use primarily Chrome or Firefox, but Safari usually does a pretty good job.
    4. I don't usually game on Mac--mostly PS2 (old school) or iPad.
    5. Try iPhoto--it comes with your new Mac, organizes photos well, and if all you want to do is light touchup, may be all you need. iMovie is a great way to get started with video too, and also comes free. Both are part of the iLife suite, along with GarageBand (my personal favorite).
    6. I returned to the Mac in order to get into iOS development, and just completed an enterprise iPhone app for work, which was a lot of fun. Check out You can download Xcode (the Mac and iOS IDE/development tool) from the Mac App Store for free and get started with the included iPhone/iPad simulator. Check out the Stanford development class on iTunes U--free and excellent!
    7. VMWare is great, but I really like VirtualBox ( free. Other than gaming, I find virtualization software a great way of having Windows without having to setup Bootcamp.

    You can use any external hard drive with both Mac and Windows, and if you need to use the same hard drive on both platforms, I suggest you format it as exfat ( provides the compatibility of fat32 but with the robustness of NTFS and HFS+. You can use Disk Utility to format an external hard drive as exfat, and best of all, it will be writable from both platforms without any additional software/drivers. I dual-boot OS X and Windows 7 on my 2010 Macbook Pro (yes, in addition to virtualization), and I use a third partition formatted as exfat to share data between the two, and it works great.

    I use SynKit to backup my data partition to two 1tb hard drives. I don't mind reinstalling OSes or software, so I use this to backup everything I can't reinstall/recreate. If you want a clone of your whole machine, you can use Time Machine, which comes preinstalled on every Mac. I am not into cloud backup, primarily because I like to keep my data private. Also, for the amount of data I have, it is cheaper for me to buy external hard drives than "rent" them from cloud providers--plus, my connection isn't very fast.

    Refurbs can work out great, however, I suggest you only get one from Apple--you can get AppleCare with them in case anything goes wrong. The 15" Macbook Pros or an iMac can do what you seem to be looking for quite well.
  6. oldvictor thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 5, 2012
    Again thanks for the info...

    I am looking at this though the refurbs...

    Refurbished MacBook Pro 2.2GHz Quad-core Intel i7
    Originally released October 2011
    15.4-inch (diagonal) LED-backlit glossy widescreen display, 1440-by-900 resolution
    4GB (2 x 2GB) of 1333MHz DDR3 SDRAM
    500GB Serial ATA @ 5400 rpm
    8x double-layer SuperDrive (DVD±R DL/DVD±RW/CD-RW)
    Intel HD Graphics 3000 and AMD Radeon HD 6750M

    ...when it says Oct 2011 model, is this just a processor difference from all I can see?

    Also will I be able to upgrade the memory on this as well as run the latest OS when released?

    Thanks again.
  7. Benbikeman macrumors 6502a


    May 17, 2011
    London, England
    Yes and yes.
  8. NewbieCanada macrumors 68030

    Oct 9, 2007
    Just processor difference from earlier. The latest models have USB 3.0, but you won't see them in the refurb shop for 2-3 months.

    Yes, you can upgrade the memory yourself (going up all the way to 16 GB will cost around $100, yoo-hoo!). It will run Mountain Lion when it's released later this month ($20 upgrade)

    You might want to hold out for a high-res one, with a 1680 x 1050 screen and you may prefer a matte screen to glossy. Both of these will cost you extra.
  9. Dwhite78 macrumors regular

    Jul 30, 2010

    You can upgrade the hard drive and memory on that machine, as well as upgrade to mountain lion later this month. As for the refurb, as your first machine why not go for the latest model and get the more current processor and discrete graphics? The price difference is not that much. I'd also suggest the high res display over the 1440 display. (not telling you to buy retina, I'm saying the high res version of the cMBP)
  10. oldvictor, Jul 12, 2012
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2012

    oldvictor thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 5, 2012
    All, than you for your help here - all sorted now.

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