How to decide on your next purchase

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by smallcoffee, Mar 31, 2018.

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  1. smallcoffee macrumors 65816

    Oct 15, 2014
    North America
    A lot of people have the same concerns about what to buy. They start a thread that is based on emotion "should I wait, should I buy this, will it fit my needs" and usually there is no process to it, I think there is a process and I'd like to lay it out:

    1. Why do you need/want XYZ. Example: I need a small device for travel, I'm considering the MacBook.
    2. What is your current set up? "I have a 2011 MacBook Pro on it's last legs"
    3. What do you actually need to do? "I want to play games, or I want to do 5k video editing". What specific software would you like to use?
    4. What is your budget? How much money have you set aside to make this purchase? Are you looking at financing options like the Barclay Card? Can you actually afford to purchase a new computer right now?
    5. How long can you wait?
    6. Have you already narrowed the decision down to a couple of items? If so, what have you narrowed it down to and what are the pros/cons of each?
    7. Do you really need to buy a new machine to do these things? Can you upgrade the ram or put in a new battery instead and last longer?
    8. Is there external hardware you need to interface with? External hard drives, eGPU support, etc.

    Here's an example
    • I need a new everyday laptop to take with me to photo shoots and some of my other work sites.
    • I currently have a 2011 MacBook Air and the battery is shot and there are some dead pixels in the screen
    • I am a graphic designer, I take pictures with my awesome camera and then edit them in Photoshop for my clients and family. I keep backups on my Google Drive.
    • I'm thinking for a new laptop my budget is around $2,200/$2,500. I'm considering financing through the Barclay card because there's no reason to pay cash up front if I can just make payments at 0% interest. Can somebody else that has gone this route tell me more?
    • I can probably wait a month or two, but at this point I'm just ready to purchase.
    • I'm looking at a 15" MacBook Pro because of the screen size. I'm interested in the Touch Bar, have any other graphic designers worked with it or incorporated it into their workflow?
    • Yes
    • Mostly just my camera. I see that the 15" MacBook Pro has USB-C. Can somebody explain to me what this is? (don't start a flamewar) and how it differs from regular USB in terms of performance and connectivity? I don't mind buying an adapter, as is the life of a graphic designer.
    • Thank you!
    Ok so you don't have to write something like this bullet-by-bullet, but if you're making a buying decision, is it easier to get help/advice if you follow a framework like this, or is it easier to do something like this:

    "Hi everyone I'm looking at the 15" MacBook Pro for my camera business do I need the RAM and what does the Touch Bar do? Oh I have a MacBook Air and it's sloooooooww"

    This second version (contrived, I admit) ends up with multiple back-and-forths with people asking for requirements and use cases so that they can suggest a device to the OP. It's ok to do that, it's a forum, but if you're looking for advice I am going to be able to help you out a lot better if you follow the framework.

    I hope this helps people, and if somebody else has a comment or something to add to this please let me know.
  2. Clix Pix macrumors demi-goddess

    Clix Pix

    Oct 9, 2005
    8 miles from the Apple Store at Tysons (VA)
    A few years ago in late 2015 there was a very helpful thread on buying a MBP vs buying an iMac, which I and others used to each arrive at our own decisions about which solution would work best for us. Indeed some of the considerations which are mentioned above come into play, and it really is important for a prospective purchaser to seriously think about all aspects before actually taking the plunge, especially if money is an issue. This could certainly prevent some "buyer's remorse" later on.

    In my case I had seen the specs on the newly-announced (autumn 2015) iMacs, specifically the first 21.5" iMac with retina screen, and was disappointed. I'd been all set to jump into one of those, but the specs weren't going to meet my needs unless I did a CTO (Configured to Order). I started looking at the MBPs available at that time and comparing specs and prices. I probably overanalyzed the situation to death, figuring out all the angles and the what-ifs and the changes in my work flow that might be necessary, etc., etc. Bottom line after all that analysis was that I walked into the Apple store one day in December and came home with the 2015 15" MBP and have been very happy with it ever since. This machine has done exactly what I needed and wanted, and more. Would I have been as happy with a CTO 21.5" iMac with retina screen? Maybe, maybe not, but the bottom line here is that at the time of purchase I knew what I was getting, what I would be doing with the machine and what to expect from it, and two an a half years later I definitely consider that my money was well spent.
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