Help design my new system!

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by kimnjerry, Jul 4, 2011.

  1. kimnjerry macrumors newbie

    Feb 13, 2010

    I am replacing my 2006 iMac 1.8 GHZ, and would appreciate suggestions and/or comments. I am 64, a Mac user since 1985, but a technical novice, and on a limited budget.

    I teach at a university, and am considering a MacBook Pro 13" for portability (classroom ppt projection and use), and backlit keyboard (for night use on the bus).

    For home use, I would add:
    • an inexpensive display suitable for my limited needs (MS Office, internet, minimal iPhoto) and aging eyesight. I understand LG makes Apple displays; however, you might suggest a more cost effective brand or specific display ± 23";
    • a wireless keyboard/mouse
    • a recently purchased Seagate GoFlex 750 for Time Machine
    • my Altec Lansing speakers

    I would house the display at eye level in a bookcase, and use a podium to create a standing workstation.

    And I'm sure I have overlooked something...

    Your comments and/or suggestions are appreciated.
  2. magid macrumors 6502


    Jan 6, 2003
    It looks like you have basically everything covered already.

    If you are at all considering a Macbook Air I would wait until the rumored July updates. I honestly think that it would fit your needs perfectly. I am currently running the top of the line 13" MBA and it more than suitable for everything I use (basic internet stuff, large iTunes library, iMovie, iPhoto, etc).

    I've been a fan of Apple displays in the past, but honestly I don't think they are worth the money unless you really need an LED backlit hi-res IPS display. I would check out Dell and see what they are offering in your preferred size. They are usually a good value for the money.

    As for an external keyboard and mouse I would keep it easy by using that of the bluetooth variety so when you take your computer to class you wont have the hassle of plugging and unplugging them. I would maybe head over to your local electronics store and see what feels good for you and then purchase online, has good prices.

    Hope this helps.
  3. palpatine macrumors 68040

    May 3, 2011
    i also teach at university. i have a 13" mbp pro and it is great for research and writing. it is quite portable and i highly recommend it. the refreshed 11" or 13" mba (coming any day) might also be worth considering.

    have you thought about the ipad? i do a lot of content creation with my ipad. admittedly, this is limited to first drafts, because editing is miserable with it.

    i do a lot of content consumption with my ipad. i have digitized all of my books, and of course most journals are now available in pdf form, and all of my notes are digitized (handwritten on paper and then scanned into pdf form using scansnap). it is a paperless system. i don't have aging eyes, but i read a lot of manuscripts on the ipad, and it is really easy to zoom as necessary. you might find its flexibility actually beats staring at a stationary large monitor in many cases. plus, it is portable, and enables you to read in coffee shops or the library in between classes.

    all i usually carry to campus is my ipad. the mbp stays at home for serious writing, searching through files, etc.

    i hear the ipad can do powerpoint as well, but have not tried this myself. i hope to do that in the fall semester this year.

    everything else you have sounds fine.
  4. FrankHahn macrumors 6502a

    May 17, 2011
    In consideration of the aging eyes, I would like to suggest a monitor with a large pixel distance. The 26" or 27" non-hi-res monitors (1920x1080 or something like that) are pretty cheap now. Both Dell and Samsung have them.

    For convenience of use, a refreshed Mac Mini with a afore-mentioned monitor for home use and an updated 13" MacBook Air on the go may be an option.

    However, a 13" MacBook Air may be hard to the eye because the window titles and the items on menus appear too small. Note that some of them can't be magnified. With this taken into account, a base model of low-res 15" MacBook Pro might be more appropriate.

    The hi-res stuff from Apple is not very friendly to the elderly. I hope that Apple can design some variants of its marvelous products for the elderly or simply provide a setting choice so that the devices can be setup with larger fonts for the elderly.
  5. kimnjerry thread starter macrumors newbie

    Feb 13, 2010
    Thanks! iPad might work well. My understanding re the iPad is that the screen glare can make extensive reading tiring. Do you find that's the case?

    I guess I could keep my old desktop and use the wireless keyboard for an iPad (I tried one briefly and found the "keyboard" frustrating - especially for passwords with characters, caps, numbers, etc.) and forget about spending another $1K for an upgrade to a MacBook.

    I understand the iWork app is basically compatible with PowerPoint (I don't use sophisticated graphics or animation); that might work fine.

    Are most monitors compatible with an iPad?

    Useful suggestions all.
  6. snberk103 macrumors 603

    Oct 22, 2007
    An Island in the Salish Sea
    Don't forget to shop the refurbished section on the Apple online store. It sounds like you have fairly modest needs, and even getting a discounted past year model would suit, if there was a serious discount.

    Unless you are doing colour work (art, photos, etc) just about any decent but inexpensive monitor will work - shop Office Depot, or similar, for the sales.

    The iPad is not designed for content creation. It can do it, but it's not designed for it. And in 3 years whichever iPad you buy now will be obsolete (imho) due to Apple really pushing the boundaries hard on tablets while the technology matures.

    I think you were on the right track with the 13" MBP. It's a solid performer. Has the connection ports you will want to use. And in a couple of years when the iPad has matured you will be able to add to your mix an iPad that will do amazing things compared to what they can do today.

    Good Luck.
  7. kimnjerry thread starter macrumors newbie

    Feb 13, 2010

    Thanks for your message.

    Refurb store would be more useful if I didn't have the educator discount.

    I like the portability factor (i.e., just using the device to show my ppts in class and for internet); however, I would not want to create anything on the iPad, and it may be that the MBP is ultimately a more practical choice - given the age of my desktop, my desire to work on the 1-hour bus ride to work, and my need for content creation. Needing a monitor, and, perhaps, a sheet feeding scanner (as recommended), I can't justify the $ for both.

    Salish Sea...lovely part of the world. Sunshine Coast is a gem, as are the islands.

    Thanks again.

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