Resolved Need buying advice and misinformation corrected.

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by iKeith, Oct 1, 2016.

  1. iKeith macrumors member

    Sep 22, 2015
    I currently have a mid-2007 iMac that's in dire need of replacing and I'm trying to hold out for the (possible) new iMac and MBP releases later this month. (Another 2-3 weeks is going to be tough because this thing is driving me mad.)

    I'm not a tech person at all. I'm also a perfectionist who's a bit obsessed about making the "right" choice. If there's a patient soul who will look at each of the points below advise/correct me, you'd help set my mind at ease. I plan to spec it out to the best my budget will allow which, right now (and this took a lot of time and saving) is around $2,000.

    1. I want a computer that will last as long as my current one has. I over-bought for my needs at the time. Did this help my current computer to last as long as it has? I don't upgrade when the next new thing comes out, so I'm looking for my next computer to last me many years. How long do MBPs usually last with proper care?

    2. Is choosing between the new, upcoming iMac and MBP really just a matter of portability?

    3. My needs are very simple: basic browsing, streaming (not downloading) videos and, shortly, video editing for a new YouTube channel. I'll start with iMovie but would like to soon graduate to either FinalCut Pro X or Adobe Premier. Speed is the most important feature for me. I want to click and be there. And no video buffering, stalling, etc., So, just considering the actual computer guts themselves (and not their desktop/laptop-ness), which Apple computer is best for me? I'm definitely going with 256 SSD and nothing less, if this helps influence your advice. And I want to upgrade (not by Apple) to 32GB. I think this will help my next computer run better and longer in the coming years of updates.

    4. Do I need portability? Immediately, no. In the future, possibly. It would be nice but not absolutely necessary. I'm hoping to go from being a homebody to getting out more. Being able to get out of the house, even just to edit a video, would be nice. Maybe having a MBP would encourage me to get out more? At the same time, having a 27" screen would be great! My iMac sits on my desk while I'm sitting back in my recliner with my wireless mouse and keyboard. (See pic below.) I'm comfortable with desktops. But, in the future, I would guess I'll be using my new computer as a home computer 75% of the time. The other 25% is when it would be really great to take it with me. And I have no intention of buying a larger monitor to hook a laptop up to. I like living simply and owning little. I haven't even owned a TV since 2000.

    5. I've never had a laptop. The battery life (compared to other things that take batteries) seems ridiculously short. (Keep in mind, I'm not a tech person whatsoever.) Also, the way laptops heat up. This is the most annoying thing to me. (Again, I don't understand technology, so this would naturally be annoying.) I also can't see a laptop lasting as long as a desktop... even with proper care. Am I wrong?

    6. I don't like having one port on a laptop. Who wants to carry around adapters? More stuff to buy and lose and replace. I have an Android phone and a camera that need USB ports. Along this route, if the MBP gets rid of the headphone jack, it's an automatic deal breaker anyway and this post will be a waste of time... mine and your's.

    7. To be honest, I like Dell computers. (For $1,249! Do you know how much that would cost with Apple?! It would be insane!) They're spec'd out better for much less money. But, the deal breaker for me with Dell was Windows 10. N.E.V.E.R. I'd go without a computer altogether before I use Windows 10. Apple isn't a saint either. Republican/Democrat? Apple/Microsoft? Both are a matter of choosing between two egotistical evils. Now, if I could get a Dell computer (and price) with Apple's OS...

    8. If I save money and go with a 2015 model, I'm thinking that's two years of future use that I'm missing out on (because it's almost 2017). That's two years closer to that model not being supported with upgrades. This is why I resent Apple. Not that they won't support them forever, but because they won't discount older models. Apple's ego and arrogance over their pricing is nauseating and prevents me from being an Apple Only customer.

    9. So, the new iMac or MBP? Or... am I so misinformed in my thinking that I'm way over-thinking, over-buying, and over-spending for what I'm actually going to be doing with a new computer? Could I spend far less on something else and still get everything I need and have it last me at least five years without frustration? I have $2,000. It doesn't mean I'm looking forward to parting with it foolishly.

    With all sincerity, thanks for your time and patience. I'm just trying to find some peace of mind in my choice. But, when you're a perfectionist, especially when it comes to an area you're not proficient with, it's not easy. Desk 2 copy.jpeg
  2. monokakata macrumors 68000


    May 8, 2008
    Hilo, Hawai'i
    I think the best course of action for you would be to wait until new hardware shows up (or doesn't) in the next month or so. Only then can you see what your circa $2000 budget will buy you.
  3. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    I have a 2012 MBP going strong, though I need to spend 200 dollars on replacing the battery at this point


    I'd probably opt for something larger then the 256GB SSD, if you're going to be going into video editing, an external drive may suffice

    People in the MBP forum tend to upgrade their laptops sooner then what I've seen in the iMac forum. Additionally, from what I've experienced in the real world, the wear in tear that a laptop incurs does shorten its lifespan.

    Don't buy an Apple then, or at the very least a MacBook

    The XPS models are excellent computers, you definitely get more computer for your buck, the design is on par with Apple and I think they out Apple'd Apple. I use Windows 10 all the time, and its as good if not better then OS X.

    I don't get that logic, if you buy a 27" iMac today, its going to be on the Skylake processor. If you buy the soon to be released iMac next month, its going to be on the Skylake processor. The only differences is that it will possibly have a faster GPU, USB-C and thunderbolt 3.

    If you're needs have portability in them, then get the MBP, if you don't need a portable machine, get the iMac. imo, you get more computer in the iMac, i.e., Larger screen, faster processor/GPU, upgradeable ram (in the 27" model), larger storage options.
  4. theluggage macrumors 68040

    Jul 29, 2011
    (A) its pretty clear that you don't want a laptop: you're talking yourself out of the idea at every turn and you don't have any clear idea of how or when you'd use one.

    (B) The golden rule still applies: if you need a new computer now, buy one now from what is available - otherwise wait until you see something that tickles your fancy. (OK, maybe don't buy when an Apple press conference or keynote has been announced). If you can't bear the idea that a better model may appear shortly after you've bought, maybe take up wood carving, mediaeval re-enactment or collecting pressed frogs instead.

    If you're going to wait - be prepared to wait at least until the new year. Sure, Apple might launch new models at any time, but first priority will have to be the MBPs which are the most out-of-date. Then you might want to wait for Apple to patch the (inevitable) software problems on day 1, while making sure that all of the software you use has been updated for the new OS.

    Have you considered blowing a couple of hundred bucks to get a SSD fitted to your current iMac? It won't make it as fast as a brand new machine, but it will certainly give it a new lease of life.

    (C) The 27" iMac was updated late last year, and so its pretty up-to date and wouldn't be a bad buy. The main features of a 2016 update are likely to be a better graphics chip (which might help video editing, but probably isn't going to make a night-and-day difference) and a switch to USB-C/Thunderbolt 3 ports (which is good for the long term, but might mean a certain amount of new cables & adapters in the short term).

    (D) Yes, Apple has a problem with tardy release of new models but - at least with the MacBook Pro - people saying that they're 18 months+ old are exaggerating: its more like 4-6 months since the appropriate Intel chips were released. Intel are causing a huge problem in that they are launching their next generation of chips before they've finished rolling out all of the promised/needed models of the last generation. Manufacturers like Dell (who offer a huge, bewildering range of models) throw together systems around the new chips as and when they appear. Apple tend to wait for just the right chip for their planned model to appear. (OK, then there's the Mac Pro and the Mini which are spectacularly old, but that's a whole different can of worms).

    Meaningless question unless you can find someone with a 10-year-old MacBook that they bought in 2015.

    I'm using a 2011 MBP - they had a known manufacturing fault that caused them to fail: that happened to mine 18 months ago, and it was repaired free-of-charge. Apart from that, its going strong and performs well - but only because I was able to replace the hard drive with an SSD that brought the performance up to modern standards. The newer models are less upgradeable.

    No - unless Apple dumbs down the new models, the 27" iMac can accommodate faster processors and graphics than a laptop, and there's not quite the same pressure to remove ports. Also, the 27" 5k screen on the iMac is a thing of beauty.

    The trouble with that reasoning is that you don't have a "use-case" - e.g. if you're going to be carrying it around continually, and/or working on trains or park benches then weight and battery life are paramount (you might look at a 12" MacBook, an Air or even an iPad in addition to a home desktop). If its just "commuting" from home to work desk once a day in the trunk of your car, and is rarely in use away from a mains socket, then you just want max power & a nice large screen., in the absence of any 27" laptops you can use from 10' away, you don't want a laptop.

    If, when the new MacBook Pros appear, they only have one port, Dell will be doing good business that week.

    If Apple, as expected, moves to USB-C/TB3 then you'll just need to replace the existing microUSB-to-USB-A cable(s) with microUSB-to-USB-C ones.

    Dell do offer more bangs-per-buck, and they're offering newer processors & wider choice, but you need to be careful with price comparisons: Check things like the screen resolution (you need an "ultra HD" screen to be comparable to the current rMBP, and I don't think Dell make a 5k all-in-one that would compare to the iMac screen) and the actual model of processor ('i5' vs 'i7' are meaningless Intel marketing labels and don't tell you much). if you see a Dell for "half the price of a Mac" it's probably not a like-for-like comparison. 20% less - or closer to your perfect spec because of more options, then maybe.
  5. phrehdd macrumors 68040


    Oct 25, 2008
    To the OP, what applications do you expect to use? Are you aware that MacBooks etc. are not up-gradable as far as memory is concerned (so if you buy 8 gigs of RAM that is what you will have for the rest of that laptop's life). Also the laptops max out at 16 gigs of RAM (unless the new models are different but unlikely).
  6. iKeith, Oct 2, 2016
    Last edited: Oct 2, 2016

    iKeith thread starter macrumors member

    Sep 22, 2015
    Thanks for responding, monokakata (fantastic name!). I'm starting to think you're right. My life is in a transitional stage right now and aspects of it seem to be changing almost daily. While my current iMac is nothing short of a headache right now, I may end up putting up with it for awhile.


    I can't thank you enough for addressing each of my concerns specifically, Mike. You have no idea how much that helped me. I keep wavering back and forth because it seems my goals keep changing. What that tells me is that I have time to solidify some choices before buying my next computer to make sure I'm getting what I really need.

    Annoying, but nothing I would see (personally) as a deal breaker.

    Today, the portability matters more to me than it did when I started this topic. Again, I need to nail down my needs better.

    Then I need to learn the full differences (especially size-wise) when it comes to SSD and a Fusion Drive. I know SSD is faster and that a Fusion Drive is a combination of a hard drive and SSD. I also know that the hard drive still has moving parts and that concerned me when it comes to moving a laptop around so much (longevity).

    I think I'm going to drop my concern for a shorter lifespan. Life is changing and I'm starting to think that even my plans for changing things up are going to require more portability, too. Besides, I take exceptional care of my things. I've never once dropped any of my phones. Not once. No scratches, dings... nothing.

    This is where Apple pisses me off. Their innovation lately stems from their ego and greed instead of the needs and wants of their loyal customers.

    I'd like to talk to you more about this, if that's okay? Here are my concerns about Windows 10:

    1. I hate their EULA. It's dictatorial. They've taken away all control from the computer owner over what gets updated, when it gets updated, and even which apps/programs get automatically shut down and deleted at Microsoft's whim. You can't even put off updates until later! They choose when they're going to automatically download them. They even say in their EULA that basically everything you do is recorded and can be used by them however they see fit, including the content of your e-mails. That's concerning. It's very New World Order.

    2. I've been spoiled by Apple's security when it comes to hacking, viruses, etc., I've not had to concern myself about it once. What's all involved with making Windows safe, secure and private?

    3. Are there apps/extensions for Windows like there are for Safari and Firefox? (AdBlock Plus, etc.,) Remember, I'm not a tech person in the least and I haven't even touched a Windows computer since 2007. I have no idea how they've changed/evolved. Right after speed, privacy and security are massive to me.

    4. I'll take every tip, advice, warning, must-do, must-have, don't ever's, link to helpful articles/videos, programs, applications, set-up tips, etc., that you can offer.

    So, the new models aren't all that new in their hardware? Just slight differences? Then I don't have to worry about this now either. My logic here was faulty, stemming from not being technologically inclined.

    This is the big factor I need to nail down.
  7. iKeith, Oct 2, 2016
    Last edited: Oct 2, 2016

    iKeith thread starter macrumors member

    Sep 22, 2015

    You're right. I didn't. However, since I started this thread, things have changed. I'm much more open to it. So much so that I'm actually leaning towards it.

    Have you considered blowing a couple of hundred bucks to get a SSD fitted to your current iMac? It won't make it as fast as a brand new machine, but it will certainly give it a new lease of life.[/QUOTE]
    You're right. And I've already decided to get what I need when I need it. I have too much going on to worry about the timing of when to buy. As far as getting an SSD fitted to my current iMac. Nope. I'm not putting any money into a dying machine, especially one that doesn't support upgrades anymore.

    Now that I'm leaning towards a laptop, I'm not going to quibble over a few new chords or adapters. Life's too short to sweat that.

    It's only meaningless if you take my concern too literally. It's possible to gauge the possible longevity of a laptop based on past models.

    That's encouraging to know. But that's also what pisses me off about Apple. They don't listen to consumer wants/needs. They're tight-fisted when it comes to giving but greedy when it comes to taking.

    Buying a computer is choosing between to evils.

    - Microsoft: The evil dictator who wants to control their customers in a New World Order fashion.
    - Apple: Self-absorbed, self-important, egotistical, greedy and arrogant jerks.

    Exactly why I
    haven't ruled out a new iMac. :::sigh:::

    It's definitely not just for commuting. I'm looking at making my entire life more portable and simple. (People already ask me if I'm Amish for how simple I live!) Laptops take up less space and you can grab-and-go. But, you give up comfort, power and beauty. Desktops... not so much. But, you get comfort, power and beauty.

    *Excellent reminder. Very true. Thanks. What I don't like about the Dell laptop I linked to earlier is the screen size/resolution. I didn't know there was a difference between "Full" and "Ultra" HD. I will definitely be researching all the specs individually before I buy anything.
    --- Post Merged, Oct 2, 2016 ---

    Honestly, I don't know what apps I expect to use. If I go with Apple, I'll start with iMovie and upgrade to either FinalCut Pro X or Adobe Premier later. Photoshop, too.

    Yes, I realize I'm stuck with the RAM I buy on a laptop. Again, part of what I hate about Apple. Not cool.
  8. iKeith thread starter macrumors member

    Sep 22, 2015
    NEW QUESTION: Being that my internet needs are really very basic (general browsing, streaming video and watching YouTube), what could I get away with if, for video editing, I stick with iMovie? What about if I forget about making videos altogether?

    I'm considering getting something that will fit my basic internet needs (without being slow) for a year or so, and then going all out on one later. (Just considering all options!)
  9. RCAFBrat macrumors 6502

    Jul 10, 2013
    Montreal, QC
    An iPad.

    Its the most popular computer in our household (I'm typing on it right now) plus I opted for one with SIM card so I can use it away from home every now and then!

    Second most popular is my son's iMac (highest spec 2012 21.5" with i7 CPU, 16GB RAM but only 1TB HDD) which he uses for video editing, 3D animation and more mundane stuff like surfing the internet and homework. While a MBP is portable and capable enough for video editing, the display is quite small if that's something you're going to be doing a lot of (maybe check out a YouTube video on FCPX to get an idea of how much would be packed into a relatively small screen).

    Also, if MBP then consider that the high spec model you think you need might be well beyond your budget since storage needs can be high for video (my son has some external 250 and 500 GB SSD for scratch disks). Here in Canada the 15" MBP with 1TB SSD (no option for Fusion and 16GB RAM is standard) range from $2800 to $3300 CDN before taxes, depending on CPU.

    That's my two cents!
  10. Samuelsan2001 macrumors 604

    Oct 24, 2013
    Your modest needs can be adequately filled by almost any current computer you can buy. There's is nothing you mention that cannot be done on any computer currently for sale. How fast it happens is a different matter but your needs weren't even heavy 5 years ago.

    You are purely choosing on portability, do you need it or not, if you do it's a MacBook Pro I think as you want it to be fast with a good screen and easy connection to peripherals.

    If you decide you don't need portability it's the iMac any one with a 2tb or bigger fusion drive or a full SSD is fine for your use case I doubt you'd ever tell the difference.

    If you go MacBook Pro wait for the new ones if you are going iMac buy one now, maybe a refurb or a deal from a third party vendor.
  11. theluggage macrumors 68040

    Jul 29, 2011
    ...not really. My 2011 MBP had user-replaceable hard-drive and RAM, which is one form of longevity now gone. As I mentioned, that generation also had a known fault and I think the free fix offer has probably expired now (so I wouldn't recommend a second-hand one today). The current physical 15" design has been around since 2012, the 13" slightly less (it got slimmed down) but its gone through several different circuit board designs, so they haven't really had a chance to prove themselves over the sort of 5-10 year timescale you're thinking of. The rumoured 2016 rMBPs are going to be even thinner - so, yes, Apple could mess up the cooling design and introduce a fault. I don't think that you can extrapolate, except that Apple do actually do well in user satisfaction surveys.

    Full HD = 1920x1080 pixels (or "1080p" - that's the resolution of the old 21.5" iMac)
    iMac 27" (old) = 2560x1440 (1440p - much better than full HD)
    rMBP 13" = 2560x1600
    rMBP 15" = 2880x1800
    Ultra HD = 3840x2160 (sometimes, debatably, called "4k")
    iMac 21.5" (new) = 4096x2304 (proper 4k)
    iMac 27" (new) = 5120x2880 (5k - drool!)

    The cheapest 2/3 of Dell's products have Full HD/1080p screens - not in the same class as Apple's "retina" screens and, quite frankly, not acceptable for anything more than a 13" laptop these days. Also note that Full HD and Ultra HD are 16:9 ratio or "TV shaped" - more rectangular c.f. the rMBP's squarer 16:10 screens. 16:9 is great for watching TV, 16:10 is better for everything else (e.g. displaying an A4/Letter document). Once you get to 27" screens that's not a big deal, but on a smaller laptop screen I'd strongly prefer 16:10 (counts against the 16:9 21.5" iMac, too).

    That said, the higher end Dells are still attractive, just not quite the bargains C.F. Macs that some people claim.

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10 October 1, 2016