Poor Writer; which 2nd Hand Mac To Go For??

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by AlexandraMassey, Jul 7, 2015.

  1. AlexandraMassey macrumors newbie

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    Jun 8, 2015
    #1
    I'm a writer and I'd like to buy a Mac because I hear it's dictation tool is fantastic. I also want some USB ports so I can plug things in. But don't need to play CD's. I won't be playing games on it but I love the iBook software so I can format books. I think a Mac Book Pro is what I need. However, I'm also a poorly paid writer so I'm looking for a 2nd hand model. My budget is about $700. Can you tell me which model I should go for?
     
  2. yjchua95 macrumors 604

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    #2
    First, what country are you from? Prices vary from country to country.

    I'll assume that you're in the US.

    Looking at the Apple refurb store for the US, it's impossible to find a MacBook (Air or Pro) that is below $700.

    Your best option would be to buy a refurb Mac Mini and a cheap external display, plus USB keyboard and mouse.

    If you can push a bit more, you can spring for this one: http://store.apple.com/us/product/G0R70LL/A/Refurbished-Mac-Mini-26GHz-Dual-core-Intel-Core-i5

    This one is fairly powerful and should last you for 5 years or more.
     
  3. AlexandraMassey thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #3

    OK, a mini Mac. I never thought about that. I'm in the UK but posted in $ because I assumed most people on here would be in the US.
     
  4. T'hain Esh Kelch macrumors 601

    T'hain Esh Kelch

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    #4
    Why would you need a Macbook Pro to write? I would highly recommend a Macbook Air for writing.

    And they come really cheap second hand.
     
  5. AlexandraMassey thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #5
    Thanks for the info on the Mini Mac. Just seen one on Ebay. Is this any good:
    Item specifics
    Condition:
    Used: An item that has been previously used. The item may have some signs of cosmetic wear, but is fully ... Read moreabout the condition
    Type: Desktop
    Processor Type: Intel Core 2 Duo Brand: Apple
    Processor Speed: 1.83GHz Product Family: Mac mini
    Memory: 1GB Release Year: 2007
    Hard Drive Capacity: 80GB
     
  6. AlexandraMassey thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Jun 8, 2015
    #6
    OK thaks for that. What's the minimum year of model I should get to use dictation and iBook? Thanks
     
  7. AlexandraMassey thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Jun 8, 2015
    #7
    Just see this one on Ebay. Is it any good:
    Item specifics
    Condition:
    Used: An item that has been previously used. The item may have some signs of cosmetic wear, but is fully ... Read moreabout the condition
    Type: Desktop
    Processor Type: Intel Core 2 Duo Brand: Apple
    Processor Speed: 1.83GHz Product Family: Mac mini
    Memory: 1GB Release Year: 2007
    Hard Drive Capacity: 80GB
     
  8. yjchua95 macrumors 604

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    GVA, KUL, MEL (current), ZQN
    #8
    It's pretty bad and elderly. No point buying an 8 year old computer that can't run past Lion.

    If you want to keep your budget below 450 quid, that's bloody hard, unfortunately.

    I'd suggest this want instead: http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Apple-Mac...241?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item463d92e2e9

    You can also upgrade it with your own SSD further down the road. Besides, it's got USB 3 and should be future-proofed for quite a while
     
  9. Zxxv macrumors 68040

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    UK
    #9
    For writing i'd buy a second hand macbook air either 11" or 13"

    The 11" is more portable but eye strain can happen, though with writing you probably won't notice or pay much attention to, but editing you may, only you can say for sure.

    optional extras that you can buy in time to give more variety.

    apple TV - so you can mirror or extend desktop to your tv

    hdmi cable (cheap on amazon) - so you can mirror/extend desktop or use in clamshell mode to tv , but...

    ...clamshell mode would require an apple bluetooth keyboard and mouse/trackpad which bumps the cost up, though adding these bit by bit would ease the price.
     
  10. zhenya macrumors 603

    zhenya

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    #10
    What can you get a Macbook Air for from the Refurbished section of the UK store? In the US, you can often get them for about $800 which is just above your budget, but you get a brand-new computer with a full warranty. That seems like a MUCH better deal to me than buying something used which has all sorts of risk. I would also think that maybe a laptop would fit the needs of a writer better as you can bring it with you if you want to work somewhere else or need to travel?
     
  11. T'hain Esh Kelch macrumors 601

    T'hain Esh Kelch

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  12. AlexandraMassey thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Jun 8, 2015
    #12
    I guess I'm thinking 'portable' - and - 'write anywhere'
     
  13. AlexandraMassey thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #13
    OK thank you. I have an old Apple Mac all in one. Can I use that screen with the Mini?
     
  14. zhenya macrumors 603

    zhenya

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    #14
    Exactly why the Macbook Air is such a great choice. Highly portable, battery life that will allow you to work anywhere all day long. You don't need the Pro for writing.
     
  15. yjchua95 macrumors 604

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    #15
    Nope. I'll assume that your old iMac doesn't have a Thunderbolt port.

    The new Minis from 2011 and onward can only be put into target display mode with another Mac that has a Thunderbolt port.

    If you want portability, your best way is to go for a MacBook Air. As mentioned, the 11" can give you eye strain. So the 13" Air would be more suitable for you. But then, there's the question of budget.

    At your budget, it's pretty hard to get one from official channels.

    Anyway, here's a pretty decent one: http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Apple-Mac...362?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item35ed1ca5ea

    This one would also do you fine, and has AppleCare protection until May next year: http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Apple-Mac...Domain_0&hash=item25a91f4ea7&autorefresh=true
     
  16. zhenya macrumors 603

    zhenya

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    #16
    I fail to see how the 11" gives eye strain? Given that it operates at a relatively low resolution, the size of elements should be pretty much exactly the same as on the 13", just with less overall space to work.
     
  17. James Craner macrumors 68000

    James Craner

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    #17
    Most of the replies here are focused on options for a reasonably priced Mac - I just want to give you my thoughts on the main reason you are looking at a Mac in the first place.

    While Mac OS dictation has improved a lot in recent years, it's primary use is more for short quick data entry. If you are a writer, you will probably see more benefit in looking at a dedicated dictation tool for long form text entry like Dragon Dictate. I believe there is an equivalent product for Windows.
     
  18. Zxxv macrumors 68040

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    #18
    In that case the 11" macbook air. I have the 13" and I wouldn't want to take it out in the situations I'm thinking you live. i.e. small backpack sometimes?

    11" air I'd take. I wouldn't want to take my 13" as it adds to much weight and size to a light journey and looks big for just writing in places you may stop. Hills, coffee shops, park benches etc

    11" second hand would meet your budget.
     
  19. Zxxv macrumors 68040

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    #19
    you sound very young ;)
     
  20. zhenya macrumors 603

    zhenya

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    #20
    Older than you might expect (you can see I've been here for more than 10 years - just with this username.) The fact is that the 11" uses a lower resolution than the 13" with the end effect being that elements are sized nearly exactly the same on both devices, but the 13" provides a bit more work area with the higher resolution. My wife wears glasses and has never complained about eye strain in 4 years with her 11" Air.
     
  21. Zxxv macrumors 68040

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    #21
    see theres the difference, she wears glasses. Poor eyesight already being corrected by glasses. If she did complain all she'd do is go to the optician and upgrade her specs. For someone who doesn't wear glasses the upgrade spec/option is generally a bigger screen.
     
  22. zhenya macrumors 603

    zhenya

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    #22
    She rarely wears her glasses when working on the computer.

    The 11" at 1366x768 is going to have actual text and ui elements nearly the same size as the 1440x900 resolution of the 13". The pixel density is 135ppi vs. 128. Virtually indistinguishable.
     
  23. Zxxv macrumors 68040

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    #23
    Lots of vagueness in your posts.

    OP I think you will enjoy the 11" air for writing and especially for out and about writing. I think you will start to struggle if you use it for lots of other stuff regular and then you will be best to plug a HDMI cable (see link) into it and plug it into your tv for a bigger screen (or have two screens)

    http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00965EM...lid=1VGHQ12HKZUBK&coliid=I2ECN7M9ILEFRZ&psc=1

    later when budget allows you could add a mouse/trackpad and keyboard and shut the 11" air and run in clamshell mode.
     
  24. zhenya macrumors 603

    zhenya

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    #24
    It's not vague, it's an acknowledgement that they are not precisely the same, just close.
     
  25. Rusty33 macrumors 6502

    Rusty33

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    Australia
    #25
    This is a really important point that the OP should consider... I am a writer and I have used OSX's dictation feature about 2 times. I use a 5 year-old MBP and a 15 year-old iMac to churn out my prose.

    The reality is, that for writing, you really don't need a whiz-bang machine. You would be wise to purchase a machine that suits software you want to actually want to use. What are the minimum software requirements? Do you need iCloud/syncing? How much screen real-estate do you need for the software to run optimally?
     

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