Best MacBook for my needs w/o breaking the bank?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by 0wls, Jul 12, 2015.

  1. 0wls macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    May 24, 2014
    #1
    I am looking to buy my first MacBook (first laptop, actually). I am a front-end web developer and usually have the following running all at once:

    - iMessage
    - Firefox with a few tabs open
    - Chrome with a few tabs open
    - Sublime Text
    - iTerm2
    - Dropbox
    - iTunes

    I also use programs like Sketch 3, Inkscape, and Gimp, though usually not while running all of the above programs.

    I do not have an income where I can afford to always get the latest technology, so I am looking for a laptop that should hopefully last me 3 years without lagging, but I also don't want to overspend. $1,300 is my absolute limit. I am definitely open to a refurbished model.

    As far as battery life, I'd like to get at least 6 hours with my use, but it's not a dealbreaker since I will mostly be using it from home. I want to start attending coding meetups, so weight is something I worry about. I also would like to use it from time to time to stream HD content. I'm not sure how the quality of an Air's screen is for such purposes.

    Which model should I look into getting? A new Air? A refurbished 2014 Pro? Will an Air be enough to handle what I do without much lag? I'm currently using a 2012 Mac Mini and getting the dreaded beachball way too often and it's slowing me down.

    I would appreciate any insight! I have to "get it right", and I'm nervous about making the wrong choice.
     
  2. imaccooper macrumors regular

    imaccooper

    Joined:
    May 29, 2014
    Location:
    North Carolina
    #2
    I believe the air and the pro would do what you are talking about doing. With that said, the 13" pro would probably be the smarter choice as it does have much more power, more ports for connectivity and the retina screen.

    The 13" pro will definitely get 6hrs of battery and is surprisingly light and compact despite it being the larger model.

    I would absolutely suggest a refurb as they are just like new for a good discount. Right now, Apple refurb has multiple 13" pros for under 1300 one of which is a 2015 model.
     
  3. 0wls thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    May 24, 2014
    #3
    Thank you very much! I'm wondering, do you know if there is any real difference in performance with the 2014 and 2015 MBPs? I ask because that 8gb/256gb HD for under $1,300 looks tempting, but it's a 2014 model. I could get away with the 128gb 2015 model if I use an external drive for some things, but it would definitely be cutting it close.
     
  4. imaccooper macrumors regular

    imaccooper

    Joined:
    May 29, 2014
    Location:
    North Carolina
    #4
    I just looked again and I believe they have just put up another model (I don't remember seeing it when I looked before) which is a 2015 with the same specs.

    There are a few differences between 2014 and 2015. Force touch trackpad is one which may or may not matter to you but it is an improvement. The graphics are definitely better. It has a little better battery (claimed as an extra hour). The type of flash storage is new and is supposed to be faster (not a huge deal for most people but it is still faster). In the specific case of these two models you get a small processor bump.

    I can't confirm this for sure, but I believe I read somewhere that the new MacBook can drive a 4k display at 60hz which is important if you are considering or think you could in the next couple of years buy a 4k display for use at home (a purchase I would also recommend when you have the money available).

    I've never had a problem staying within the 128 ssd, but most people can't fathom doing it and judging from your stated workload it would probably be smart to go for the 256 model. Assuming you have the 1300 available now, I would recommend the 2015 model for $1,269.00.
     
  5. 0wls thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    May 24, 2014
    #5
    Thank you very much! That's incredibly helpful and just what I needed to make my decision. It's a lot (I was originally hoping I could get away with a refurb Air, but with the specs I need, it's not a huge price difference with the Pro), but I am hoping to have a machine that runs fine for years to come, so it is worth investing a bit more and not having to upgrade as soon. Thank you for the help!
     
  6. imaccooper macrumors regular

    imaccooper

    Joined:
    May 29, 2014
    Location:
    North Carolina
    #6
    No problem. That machine will easily last 3 or 4 years and will likely still do quite nicely for a few years after that if needed. Hope you enjoy your new computer.
     
  7. 0wls thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    May 24, 2014
    #7
    Do you believe Applecare is worth it in that case? I would probably buy it at the very last minute since this will tap me out, but I've never done an extended warranty before. I know if something breaks on the Macbook, it's very expensive to have repaired and sometimes not possible, so that concerns me. But that makes me so happy to know this machine should easily last 3-4 years! It makes it a lot easier to swallow the initial investment.
     
  8. Dark Void macrumors 68030

    Dark Void

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2011
    Location:
    Cimmerian End
    #8
    I'd recommend the 13'' MacBook Pro. I feel that it is a lightweight notebook to begin with and it has ample power to support what you will be using it for.
     

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