Best lap top option to replace my current old Mac desktop?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by bluebird3, Jul 1, 2013.

  1. bluebird3, Jul 1, 2013
    Last edited: Jul 1, 2013

    bluebird3 macrumors regular

    Jun 29, 2013
    I currently have a Power Mac G4 MDD (mirrored drive doors) 250 MB RAM,2GB with a 17" Apple Cinema Display. I bought them used on ebay from a graphic designer came with CS3, the software I like to use. I also have purchased iSight to Skype chat with my family and friends with. I'm only using this computer from home for a personal applications such as eMailing, Web Browsing (Amazon, eBay, live sports, you tube, paying bills, etc), and editing and organizing personal photos, and also importing music CDs and digital purchased music from Amazon/iTune music store onto iTine. I often burn CDs from iTune library or transfer music to my iPod. I also watch DVDs sometime.

    Yes, it's an ancient system and I want more portability and up dated machine. So, I've been thinking of getting me a lap top ( Mac of course ) to replace my current system.

    I'm aware of some options. cMBP, rMBP, or MBA. I'm really not sure which model is the best way to go. I'd like for it to last a long time. I'll also be transferring all my documents, files, music, and photos from the current ancient G4 (not exactly sure how to do it) and need for more storage space for the future usage.

    I like the 15" screen size. I think 13" would be too small but more comfortable to use it in bed, travel or if you carried it around a lot. I'll mainly be using it at home and occasional air travel. I can connect the 13" to a bigger monitor but that means more to worry about ( price, protection plan, up date, etc. ).

    My budget limit is $2k which should include Apple Care. I guess as I was being suggested even tho I had never need one before on any of my older Macs I have had.

    I wish cMBP would come up with new Haswell model, then it would be perfect...

    Any suggestion to what to buy? I asked something similar but realized it was in a wrong? section, I thought I may get more feed back here please.
  2. RedCroissant Suspended

    Aug 13, 2011
    The fact that you want to be able to transfer your information over to the new laptop should guide you to the cMBP models. If you're going to keep your PPC Macs, then you're going to want your new Mac to be able to connect to them via Target Disk Mode. Since you'll need firewire to do so, the 15" cMBP should be the perfect machine with all the necessary I/O ports that will most likely work with your current peripherals that are also most likely FW400/800 and usb 2.0. They're also less expensive and you can get some great deals now looking at Apple's refurbished section.

    And I can tell you from experience dude...that the 15" screen size is not as big or unwieldy as it sounds and I used that comfortably in bed on numerous occasions before I had to sell it for financial reasons(hence the PPC Macs in my sig)

    If you're going to be using it mostly at home, then the Haswell low power CPU is not really going to be an issue since you're going to be close to ac pretty much at all times.
  3. macs4nw macrumors 601


    That $2000 budget precludes a new 15" rMBP, but there's no reason you can't be looking at a 15" used rMBP. You've apparently had good luck with that PowerMac G4 from eBay. If you decide you want new this time, and portability doesn't necessarily trump processing power, then what's wrong with an iMac. Unless you want a maxed-out one, you can do a nicely upgraded 21" unit, with AppleCare, for under 2K. In the store, next to a 27" model, they look puny, but at home on your desk, they look decidedly bigger. Also with iMac's discrete graphics, and battery life not being an issue on desktops, two major advantages of Haswell for the new laptops, will be moot for you on an iMac.

    If however you got you're mind set on a laptop, why not save a little extra between now and the fall, when the upgraded rMBPs with INTEL 5000 graphics, in addition to discrete graphics, will hopefully make their appearance, and will give you the choice of better graphics or ultimate battery life.

    Personally, I have a maxed-out 13" 2012 MBA in addition to my desktop, and while being light and a dream to use, it does everything I throw at it with great aplomb. It will do everything you described in your first paragraph, beautifully, and you can have the maxed-out 13" 2013 version with Haswell and fantastic battery life, including AppleCare, for just under 2100, now. Good luck with your choice!
  4. bluebird3 thread starter macrumors regular

    Jun 29, 2013
    Thank you for the reply. I'm liking the cMBP a lot except the fact that it's already one year out dated and I feel like I'll be purchasing something that are already old but not so great price. I guess the price won't be coming down even in the refurbished section. mmm I like the fact it's upgradable. I thought they came with USB 3.0. ?
    So, in order to be able to transfer files, the both machines has to have both / either firewire and 2.0 USB ? Can 3.0 USB be connected to 2.0 USB port? I guess not..

    so... the cMBP refurbished 15". how long will it last I wounder? My current G4 of course won't support any OS that's newer than 10.5 I believe...
  5. RedCroissant Suspended

    Aug 13, 2011
    Sorry for the confusion! When I said usb 2.0, I was talking about your PPC Macs, not the new MBP.

    The fact that it's upgradeable is another reason why I recommend it. If the RAM goes out on either the MBA or rMBP, then you're screwed as far as replacing it goes(if you even can). the same goes with the battery for either of those.

    Target Disk Mode will not work with usb(especially not when you're trying to export the files from the PPC Mac which requires Firewire). You can do this with a rMBP, but you'll have to buy a TB to firewire adapter for it.

    And yes, the technology is over a year old now but I can tell you that I would LOVE to have either my early 2009 20" 2.66GHz Intel C2D iMac or my Late 2011 15" MBP 2.7GHz Quad Core i7 back. Those technologies are "old" but they are amazing machines. I wouldn't get too caught up on the assumed age of utilized technology because if that were the case that age determines usability and/or longevity, then my 2005 iBook G4 would be useless/worthless right now; and it isn't.

    I have no idea how long it will last but it will support at least the next two iterations of OS X. In fact the 2009 iMac I sold would have supported Mavericks as well(which means it supported Tiger, Leopard, Snow Leopard, Lion, Mountain Lion and now Mavericks). 6 OS versions is an amazing amount of support for a machine and I don't see that changing too much in the future.

    And you're right, OS X 10.5.8(Leopard) is the highest you'll ever go with a PPC Machine.
  6. bluebird3 thread starter macrumors regular

    Jun 29, 2013
    yes, I'm set on the lap top. I'd like to be able to take it along with me if I ever traveled otherwise iMac would be great!

    Battery life is important to me especially if I traveled. I also like to be cable free even at home. My only concern is there is no optical drive. I don't know if I like the idea of having an external drive but may be..... I know I'd want to import/rip music CDs. With DVD movies, can I import the entire movie into the lap top then watch it that way rather than having the external drive hanging out (especially on the go)?

    oo, how about the ease of up grading the computer ? I've read it somewhere it's not a easy anymore? I wasnt sure why.
  7. bluebird3, Jul 1, 2013
    Last edited: Jul 1, 2013

    bluebird3 thread starter macrumors regular

    Jun 29, 2013
    Are SSD better than HDD as far as reliability and performance goes ? What about hybrid SSD ?

    I'm seeing tons of upgraded cMBP new on eBay by few Sellers who has great reviews on them.
  8. macs4nw macrumors 601


    SSD, in a nutshell, is solid state memory, and has no moving parts. It is far superior in read/write speed, and is also more reliable than HDDs, although not impervious to failure. Hybrids are basically a combination of an HDD with an SSD, where oft accessed files are stored on the SSD, for maximum speed advantage, and less frequently used files, or files that have mostly sequential access, i.o.w. files that would benefit less from the speed advantage of the SSD, are stored on the larger, and less expensive, but slower HDD.

    Finding a laptop that is 100% perfect for you, is a concept you may have to give up on. Finding one that ticks most of your boxes, is the most realistic approach. There's the optical drive, the upgradability, price and so on.

    If battery life is near the top of your list, the MBA, with 12hrs, just can't be beat. Similarly the upcoming rMBP with Haswell, although not as spectacularly so, due to discreet graphics in addition to the integrated Intel 5000 graphics, should have much improved battery life as well.

    Yes, you could rip movies, but with both the MBA and the rMBP, you'd need an external drive to do so beforehand. They can be had for as little as $30.

    Upgradability: forget it! Get the most you can afford when purchasing; RAM is soldered on, and to upgrade your SSD, unless you were really good at it, you'd probably need an outside company like OWC to do this and that can become pricey. Also, you then void your APPLE warranty, and subsequently have to deal with such third-party entity for your entire warranty, not just the purchased SSD.
  9. RedCroissant, Jul 2, 2013
    Last edited: Jul 2, 2013

    RedCroissant Suspended

    Aug 13, 2011
    SSDs are better than HDD on both reliability and performance because of the lack of the need for a spinning head that actually: decreases the read/write speed, increases the amount of heat(which in turn further decreases the read/write speed), and can be broken or severely damaged by a fall. The SSD does not suffer from those three things.

    Of all of the computers/tablets/iPods/and other devices that I have owned, I have only had 1 HDD fail. Yes, only one. All of the drives that I own are also Western Digital drives. I was lucky and purchased AppleCare for my iMac and that qualified me for an in-home repair. I later replaced that drive with a 3TB HDD for the iMac(that I ended up selling) and that 320GB drive that Apple replaced in 2010 is still working and being used as a Time Machine and iPhoto storage on my wife's imac.

    Do not get a hybrid drive. You'll end up with a small bootable partition that is fast, but then you'll be stuck with a slower RPM rive that is still negatively affected by the issues I previously mentioned that will result in negative impacts on performance of the flash portion of the drive. Either go with a full HDD or a full SSD(in my opinion).

    I would not go through eBay for a Mac laptop. Look in your area for CERTIFIED resellers of Apple computers, look online for other resellers, visit the Apple online store and refurbished section of the store, and as a last resort use Craigslist(because you can physically touch and test the computer before you buy it).
  10. RedCroissant Suspended

    Aug 13, 2011
    The problem with the battery life claim is that the new MBA has a low power CPU with a more powerful GPU(which still relies on system memory) to handle it and give it a turbo boost for other tasks. If you begin to use graphics intensive tasks(which ripping DVDs would become) then the GPU no longer supports the machine but instead starts to assist in its drainage and the CPU has to work harder as well. I would not recommend it unless you rip all the movies first and then load them on there and use a lower power app to ply the videos.

    This I completely agree with and why I recommend the cMBP models almost exclusively. The HDD, ODD, RAM are also classes as user upgradeable parts and will not void the warranty(as far as I know). If you have a failure of any of these parts, the machine isn't dead to you and can be fixed for reasonable sums of money(+/-$100 for 16GB RAM, +/-$200 for HDD, +/-$120 for an ODD). Those expenses are very reasonable when faced with almost a total loss or a very expensive repair for the MBA or rMBP if either the RAM or HDD?SSD fails.
  11. bluebird3 thread starter macrumors regular

    Jun 29, 2013
    Are you all sure that Apple is discontinuing with the base model cMBP ? I keep hearing about it over and over, but for a some reason, I feel like ( my strong hope ) there will be a new release....

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