Time for a new Mac for work - suggestions?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by danny_w, Mar 17, 2011.

  1. danny_w macrumors 601

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2005
    Location:
    Austin, TX
    #1
    I currently have a late 2007 24" iMac (first aluminum model) that has just gone out of warranty so my manager has said I can get a new machine and has approved up to $3000 (about $1000 more than I had expected TBH). I do software sustaining for a small company, but do very little real brute force work on my comp (any heavy compiling is always done on Linux servers). I very occasionally travel for work, and previous to this iMac was always required to have a laptop. As much as I love this iMac I have been lusting over the new MBA and MBP models, so my quandary.

    Most people in customer support have been getting the 15" MBP, and several in development have the same. Some of the managers have the 13" MBA but I have not talked to any of them about their experiences. I went and spent some time with the MBA and MBP models at the Apple store a few nights ago and was really impressed with the 13" MBA (I am afraid that the 11" would seem to small after a while). I know that the MBP models are a better buy, but the MBA is just so small and light and FAST!

    I guess what I am asking is would the 13" MBA 1.83 with an external monitor be enough for me at work? The only external peripherals that I use are USB, so it would probably be OK there. I expect that management would balk at $999 for the 27" monitor, but it barely all fits within the $3000 budget already approved. Am I crazy for thinking this way?

    EDIT: Until recently we were an all Windows shop, but the tide has been turning of late, I think partly because the top executives saw the MBA and had to have it!
     
  2. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2008
    Location:
    Finland
    #2
    What apps do you use? 3000$ is quite a lot of money and actually, it's enough to buy you a 27" iMac AND 13" MBA (from refurb store).
     
  3. danny_w thread starter macrumors 601

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    Mar 8, 2005
    Location:
    Austin, TX
    #3
    I mostly run Safari, Mail/iCal/AddressBook (for MobileMe and Exchange 2007), BBEdit, Terminal (for ssh and telnet primarily), MS Office, Preview (for PDFs), and RDC to a Windows laptop (there are still some Windows apps like ClearCase/ClearQuest that I must run form time to time). IOW nothing too taxing. And you and I know that refurbs are fine (or even better than new), but I don't think management here would go for it. Whatever I get I also have to get MS Office and Applecare, so include that in the price. What I came up with so far is this:

    13" MBA 1.83 4GB/128GB/MS Office Business Ed. ($1599)
    Applecare ($249)
    27" ACD ($999)
    Wireless Keyboard/Magic Mouse ($138)

    TOTAL $2985
     
  4. Consultant macrumors G5

    Consultant

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    Jun 27, 2007
    #4
    For development you don't need the Apple display. I would look into getting maxed out MacBook Air with third party display.
     
  5. danny_w thread starter macrumors 601

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    Mar 8, 2005
    Location:
    Austin, TX
    #5
    Any recommendations? I currently have the iMac 24" and I love the display on this thing, but certainly don't need anything larger. Unfortunately they don't make the 24" ACD anymore.
     
  6. NorCalLights macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2006
    #6
    Get a Dell display. They're all superb. You might need an adaptor to connect your laptop to it, but there's really no reason to spend $999 on an Apple display (even if it isn't your money...)
     
  7. milbournosphere macrumors 6502a

    milbournosphere

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2009
    Location:
    San Diego, CA
    #7
    I like my HannsG. It's their 27.5" monitor. Only 1920x1200 resolution, but I have found that I actually enjoy the larger type for long coding sessions. I bought it for $250 from newegg. The price was definitely right. If you're not doing graphics work, I can't see any problem with this monitor.
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16824254052&Tpk=hanns g
     
  8. Barnzee macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2010
    Location:
    Oak Harbor, WA
    #8
    have you looked at the 17" Macbook pro? the screen is massive plus you can take it anywhere and be future proof for a while.
     
  9. danny_w thread starter macrumors 601

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    Mar 8, 2005
    Location:
    Austin, TX
    #9
    Being future proof is a consideration, but my company replaces computers when the warranty is out in 3 years anyway, plus I could never work from a laptop screen for everyday use. I have gotten so used to the 24" screen on my iMac, and I like things large (I am 58 and my eyesight is nowhere near perfect, I sit very close even with a 24" monster screen). I just thought it might be nice to have a laptop again for occasional portability, but the 17" seems hardly portable to me. OTOH perhaps not, my manager might get the idea I can take it home and work nights! ;)
     
  10. skate71290 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2009
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    UK
    #10
    low end 15" at $1799 + ACD at $999 plus $200 accessories, Apple Keyboard,Mouse and Trackpad at $210 - sorted
     
  11. tobenisstinky macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2002
    #11
    From Experience

    My company does the same as yours; so I have had a 15" Powerbook, 17"MBP, 15"MBP, and MBA(original) and now I have a late 2009 15"MBP. I travel regularly, and spend only few hours at my desk a week; the rest of the time I am at client sites. What you gain in portability with the MBA you loose in functionality. I really missed the optical drive. If you want one you can get the external optical drive, but that negates the portability feature. You are correct the 17"MBP is a monster if you move around a lot like I do. The 15" is a really nice compromise; lots of power (I run Windows in a virtual box) battery life for a whole day's work; decent screen real-estate. I agree with the other posters that $999 for the Apple display isn't really worth it; I've had a 23" LG display for 5 years; and I think it was only $199 at the time.
     
  12. danny_w thread starter macrumors 601

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    Mar 8, 2005
    Location:
    Austin, TX
    #12
    You are probably right that the MBA is not the proper laptop for me, since it does necessarily have compromises; a 15" MBP (or even a 13" since I will be using it with a monitor most of the time) is probably a better solution, although I really like the quickness of the MBA's ssd (it really did seem much faster during my brief time at the store). An external optical drive doesn't bother me, since the internal often don't last very long anyway, and I don't use it very often at work. I know the MBP units are a much better buy in the price/performance realm, but something about the sleekness and quickness of the MBA just keeps drawing me back...
     
  13. Mav3067 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2009
    Location:
    Canada
    #13
    I just received my 2011 17" MBP for work and am currently connected to a 23" Philips monitor that I had previously. I was originally skeptical of getting a 17" MBP because I thought it would be heavy and cumbersome. However, I hardly notice the difference in carry weight compared to my 2006 MBP once it is in my bag. I have to say that I have grown to love the size of the screen in addition to the external monitor and the fact that they both run 1900x1200 is great. I think if I didn't require the extra power of a MBP I would likely get the MBA as well though. Just my 2 cents.
     
  14. danny_w, Mar 18, 2011
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2011

    danny_w thread starter macrumors 601

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    Austin, TX
    #14
    After going to Best Buy at lunch to look at the models and much flip flopping I think I have finally settled on the base 15" MBP, Apple Wireless Keyboard/Magic Trackpad, and HP ZR24w monitor. The total on CDW with Applecare and Office Mac came to $2899.97, barely under the $3000 limit.

    EDIT: Actually I think I will hold off until Monday to give it some more thought. Although I know deep down that the 15" at $1799 is probably the way to go and is the better price/performance choice by far, there is still something about the 13" MBA that is calling to me. And the base 13" MBA at $1299 would save the company $500, which is also something to think about.
     
  15. jahala macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2008
    #15
    You said earlier that your eyes are not what they used to be. How do they fare with the higher resolution of the 13" MBA and its consequently smaller text?
     
  16. danny_w thread starter macrumors 601

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    Mar 8, 2005
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    Austin, TX
    #16
    I did think about that and is why I spent some time at Best Buy today. Although it is difficult to get a feel for what a machine willb e like in everyday usage it seemed to me that although the text was of course smaller that it was extremely crisp and easy to read. I did not have an editor open with code to look at so I don't know how it would fare under normal conditions though. However most of the time I would use it at my desk with an external 24" monitor so the smaller fonts would only be an issue when I travel, which is not often. One reason I am contemplating the MBA however is so that I can take it home with me on weekends, and the small highly portable frame would be nice around the house. I will think about it some more and probably go back to the store also.
     
  17. danny_w thread starter macrumors 601

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    Mar 8, 2005
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    Austin, TX
    #17
    OK, the weekend is over and it is time to decide. Although the MBA would be nice in some ways, I think it would be too limiting in too many ways, including the high-res screen. And although the base 15" MBP is the price/performance winner I don't need that much horsepower. So to get roughly the same performance that I have now (perhaps a little more) and to be fiscally responsible, I have decided on the base 13" MBP and the HP ZR24w display. All told this saves $600 over the price of the base 15" MBP (including the $100 savings on Applecare). The total now comes to $2199.97, which is slightly more than my iMac originally but slightly more powerful and infinitely more portable.

    Thanks for all of the help everybody!
     

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