buying new computer after the holiday

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by biggiet4jets, Dec 7, 2014.

  1. biggiet4jets macrumors member

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2013
    #1
    Hi everyone,

    I am going to be in the market for a new/refurbished/used computer after the holidays this year and wanted to get some advice.

    I currently am running a 13" C2D late 2009 MBP. I have upgraded the ram to 8GB and the HD to 320GB 5400rpm. I use my Mac for college, so I use Microsoft office, pages, keynote, nunbers, iweb, and I also do some things with logic pro. My computer can handle it but it does get bogged down at times.

    I'm also currently running a Toshiba i3 17" laptop with 6GB of ram and a 500GB HD. I use this laptop for school as well but run all Microsoft apps on this computer such as access, visual studio, notepad++, eclipse, SQL server, and database compare 2013, and offce.

    I have a brand new 21" external monitor, a magic mouse, and a wireless keyboard.

    I don't really know if I want another laptop since I already have 2 lol but I need a new computer so I can hopefully maybe sell one of my laptops after I purchase a new one. I do use my laptops now with my external monitor to have dual screens which I like for programming and databasing.

    I have roughly about 2 years left in college and want this computer to last me at LEAST until then. I do unfortunately have a budget since I am a college student and that is $800. I don't mind upgrading things myself on any of my computers since I have in the past, if that helps.

    I hope I provided enough information and look forward to what people suggest!
     
  2. robgendreau macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2008
    #2
    What are your priorities?

    You aren't gonna be able to hit a winner on all of them, so you need to focus on what's most important.

    Without knowing more, I'd say that the most important step up is an SSD. It won't help with stuff that requires processor power, but in everyday use it is the best value for speeding things up. You could drop one in your existing machine.

    If you do go used or refurb or new, get something with at least a Fusion drive. It's a waste to get a new computer that runs off a HDD, at least for multipurpose use as opposed to say file serving or something.

    The other big bump is a retina screen; looking at those is a big change in your user experience no matter what you do. But this is probably out of your range unless you get a used bargain.

    Processor speed and going from say dual core to quad core is also a bump, but not all your chores seem to require this. A good bet is if you can find a used quad core 2012 mini, but they are very popular. If you go new or refurb on the mini, make sure you get a SSD or Fusion drive.

    Hate to say it, but it might make more sense to bump up the PC side of things. There are some machines with SSDs and faster processors that run Windows that are better values than the Mac laptops.

    All in all, I might just go with an SSD in the existing machine, and continue to save for something better later, or in case a great bargain in a used machine pops up.
     
  3. biggiet4jets thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2013
    #3
    So you honestly think I should just buy an SSD for my MBP? Right now it struggles with osx Yosemite but I honestly Dont know if its because of my computer or the software. My computer freezes when using the touchpad in safari and opening more than 2 or 3 programs. As of right now my I cloud still doesn't work on my MBP every since I upgraded to Yosemite and am currently in the process of formatting my entire hard drive and reinstalling snow leopard from factory settings.

    I know I do a lot with Microsoft programs but I love my Mac and I love the ease and simisticlity it brings. I have an apple TV and and iPhone so I like how everything works well each other(not at this very moment, but in general lol)

    My windows laptop I have now will be my main computer for doing microsoft programming just because of the big screen, portability, and I have everything already installed on it. Like I said I do plug this info my external monitor which is helpful when running multiple programs and windows.

    I just want a new Mac and hopefully can run windows 7 in a virtual machine with it. I do use an external HD so space on my actual machines isn't a problem. I also have everything backed up consistently with time machine hooked up to my network at home.

    Hope this helps

    ----------


    If I did stick with one computer so i could run windows what do you think it should be? I Dont know much about all the options out there for a windows computer and I know this isn't the right forum at all lol but just would like some guidence .
     
  4. rigormortis, Dec 7, 2014
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2014

    rigormortis macrumors 68000

    rigormortis

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2009
    #4
    the greatest feature about the mac is you can just buy another one, and connect the new computer to the old time machine and it will just transfer all your stuff and you don't have to go digging around for product keys like you do with windows. i moved from a 2006 snow leopard machine to a 2014 yosemite machine recently. i had to copy the photo library manually though, it wasn't very smooth.


    based on that i would get a newer mac, and sell the old one, but keep the windows one, because its a pain to move programs off of it

    even though the base $499 2014 Mac mini 1.4 has a very slow hard disk and 4 gigs of ram ( you really want 8 gigs, yosemite seems happier with 8 but 4 is really all you need ) the processor itself is 2x faster then the old c2d even though the 2011 has a faster clock speed., this is the same for a macbook pro i5 vs the c2d macbook pro



    i heard if you put your windows laptop into a VMDK file you could run your entire windows machine virtually with vmware fusion. maybe you could sell your windows machine , and run it virtually!!!

    http://www.vmware.com/pdf/migrating_physical_pc_to_fusion.pdf

    soemthng to think about SSD i want to mention is that if you spend the $250 to buy a samsung 512 SSD for your 2009 mac, and you do eventually buy a new mac, your not going to be able to use that drive in some of the new MacBooks because of their newer blade style ssd slots
     
  5. biggiet4jets thread starter macrumors member

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    Dec 30, 2013
    #5
    Ya I think I am going to buy a desktop either a Mac mini or an iMac if I can find a good used price. I want an sad or fusion drive in my main computer because like I said I will be using an external drive and I want to check out that VMware you should me
     
  6. tdhurst macrumors 68040

    tdhurst

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2003
    Location:
    Phoenix, AZ
    #6
    Last year's Mini or iMac

    Used or refurbished Mac Mini or iMac with at least 8 gigs of ram.

    As long as it's an i5, it will run everything just fine for a while and most of the innards are upgradeable.
     
  7. John.Lynn macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2014
    #7
    To keep things on the cheap side seeing that budget is a concern, I would highly recommend installing an SSD. I'm running a 15" mid-2008 first gen unibody and that was a game changing upgrade for me. Maxing out the RAM is helpful too but the SSD is the most important. I'm an EE major and run lots of CAD/other design as well as lots of simulation software using a VM with Parallels and it handles everything I throw at it. Just wanted to give a testimonial if you were hesitant to upgrade instead of getting a new machine, it's been very worthwhile for me!
     
  8. gooser macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2013
    #8
    biggie, if i were you the first thing i would do is ditch yosemite.
     
  9. Altemose macrumors G3

    Altemose

    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2013
    Location:
    Elkton, Maryland
    #9
    Programming does not usually require a lot of CPU power. Aside from Logic, there is nothing on your list that should require anything faster than a Core 2 Duo. In your situation, depending on the condition that your Pro is in, I would throw in a good yet affordable SSD and a data doubler. This would allow you to have the speed of a basic SSD and the storage that the 320 GB hard drive affords you. Yosemite does run well on even older hardware, so I do think you should try doing a full clean install from scratch on a freshly wiped hard drive.

    If you want to go the laptop route, I would sell the 2009 Pro and try to afford a Retina MacBook Pro with at least 8 GB of RAM. The reason that I say this is due to the fact that you program and work with text a lot and the quality of the Retina display is fantastic. They also feature HDMI and multiple Thunderbolt ports which allows you multiple monitors.

    If your existing Pro is pretty beat up, then maybe it is time to just let it go. Otherwise, you may be able to get some more life out of it by upgrading it at under $150. If you want a desktop to compliment your laptop, then try to go for a mid 2012 Mac Mini or late 2009+ iMac.
     
  10. biggiet4jets thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2013
    #10
    That is aware that your machine is still running strong. I think I am going go at least try a fresh install of Yosemite or mavericks on a brand new SSD. Thanks for the comment!
     
  11. biggiet4jets thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2013
    #11
    I actually just downloaded VMWare to try it out for 30 days and run a couple virtual machines. I will let you know what I think.

    ----------

    I think I will get a brand new SSD and put that into my MBP and see the difference. If it doesn't work or is still slow I will use the SSD in a new mac I purchase ie. mac mini. I do love that you can upgrade the older machines, which makes it a lot easier than having to go through apple for everything.

    ----------

    I am going to buy a new hard drive but does anyone recommend a SSD or a hybrid drive? There are 2 I was looking at one Amazon,

    1) Kingston 120GB SSD for 59.88 with free shipping

    2) Seagate 500GB Hybrid Drive for 61.84 with free shipping

    Suggestions?
     
  12. rigormortis, Dec 9, 2014
    Last edited: Dec 9, 2014

    rigormortis macrumors 68000

    rigormortis

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2009
    #12
    the seagate drives seem to boot up as fast as a real SSD. its a great compromise between the cheapness of mechanical storage vs the cost of SSD

    the seagate drives seem slower to write to. then a regular ssd or hd

    seagate only has 8gb of storage of flash storage, uniformly across the board.
    seagate figures out what to put in flash storage and what to keep on the mechanical drive. their is no way to separate them as two drives

    i don't know if thats true for western digital. but i want to point out that WD drives like the WD BLACK 2 offer 128 GB of flash and a 1 TB hard disk for $150. i think other companies making hybrid drives are including more flash then seagate does


    i don't know a lot about other companies hybrid drives so i don't know if its 1 disk or 2 disks

    the only real problem i have with hybrid drives that i want to complain and troll about is don't put them in usb enclosures. usb can't power them reliably. if you buy a hybrid drive , for the purposes of using it externally make sure you get a good usb enclosure with its own power supply. the enclosures they sell at stores no longer have their own power supply. i haven't tried usb 3 that much. but i think usb 3 would be capable of powering the drive reliably as long as the interface board is designed to pull usb 3 power


    buying hybrid hard drives is the same as buying a regular hard disk. it is very important that you buy a "retail box". if you buy a "retail box" you get the manufactures warranty. if you buy a "bare drive" you don't get a warranty and your only recourse is to take it back to the store

    i dont know about pure SSDs and warranties.

    my seagate hybrid hard drive crashed , and i found out the hard way that they wouldn't replace it. because they didn't like the serial # because it was a bare drive or a component. i wrote an angry letter to seagate and they made an exception and replaced the drive
     
  13. biggiet4jets thread starter macrumors member

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    Dec 30, 2013
    #13
    Thanks for the feedback rigor mortis, I ended up purchasing a samsung 250GB SSD from Best Buy for $130. The speeds of that drive and all the great customer feedback was my deciding factor. I can't wait to get it tomorrow and throw it in my MBP and boot up yosemite on it. Its going to feel like a brand new computer!
     
  14. rigormortis macrumors 68000

    rigormortis

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2009
    #14
    congratulations!

    i have a mac mini 2014 base model. and i just bought it in October and i really should get a different drive for it too! but i am holding till OWC sells a kit

    i didn't want to spend too much money on a new mini. i just use that mini for syncing and backing up my iPhone and holding my library


    since i have written about the WD BLACK 2, i looked into it

    it is a 128 gb flash drive plus hard disk
    it is NOT mac compatible
    the hard disk does not show up unless you install WD's drivers
    the hard disk shows up a 2 hard drives, and not as 1 hard drive as Seagate's drives

    i was window shopping for a hybrid drive / ssd for my mac mini 2014 but did not find out if 9.5 mm would fit or if it requires slimmer drives
     
  15. biggiet4jets thread starter macrumors member

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    Dec 30, 2013
    #15
    Well I just got the drive in the mail today so I will put it in my MBP as soon as I get home and will make a video/photos to show how fast the SSD is compared to the 320GB HD I currently am running. I also looked into the black 2 drive and noticed it wasn't for Mac. But I am glad that I purchased a true SSD because I ahem external drives hooked up to my router and my computer so space isn't really a concern for me which is great!
     
  16. biggiet4jets thread starter macrumors member

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    Dec 30, 2013
    #16
    Samsung SSD Update

    So, last night I put the new samsung SSD drive into my computer and installed a fresh new version of OSX Yosemite 10.0.1 and everything so far is working great. The drive is super fast and it makes my late 2009 MBP feel like new again.

    Here are some numbers
    Old WD HD start-up...2 minutes and 41 seconds
    New Samsung SSD start-up...31 seconds
    Old WD HD shut down...3 minutes 46 seconds
    New Samsung SSD shut down...28 seconds

    A HUGE difference in start up and shut down from the old HD! So impressed.

    I did run into a few problems when installing the new SSD which was fixed by holding down the option, command, P and R buttons I believe it was to fix the VRAM. The bliss tool couldn't be set on the new drive until I did that on the restart heard the second "chime" and it booted up awesome! Haven't had a problem since!
     
  17. Altemose macrumors G3

    Altemose

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    #17
    Just so you know, TRIM on Yosemite is a bit of a mixed bag due to new Kext signing process. Which Samsung drive is it?
     
  18. biggiet4jets thread starter macrumors member

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    Dec 30, 2013
    #18
    The samsung drive was a 840 evo 250 sad SATA3
     
  19. Altemose macrumors G3

    Altemose

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    #19
    I have the 120 GB model and it is fantastic! I do use TRIM Enabler to keep it in tip top shape!
     
  20. biggiet4jets thread starter macrumors member

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    Dec 30, 2013
    #20
    Can I download that from samsungs website or what?
     
  21. Altemose macrumors G3

    Altemose

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    Mar 26, 2013
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    Elkton, Maryland
    #21

    It is a software from Cindori though you should read the information about Yosemite compatibility.
     

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