Which Mac for My Needs?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by Patron_Saint, Nov 18, 2016.

  1. Patron_Saint Suspended

    Jun 10, 2016
    So I'm at a bit of a loss here, and could use some recommendations.

    Some basics:

    -I live off grid in a tiny house.
    -power usage is a concern, as is space.
    -I have a workspace that works well for a notebook, but isn't ideal for an iMac. However, I have a VESA mounted TV that could be replaced with an iMac. The TV is 40", 1080p, and could work as a monitor as well.
    -I will use a Mac 1-2 times a week.
    -current setup = iPad Pro 12.9", 256GB, LTE and iPhone 6S Plus 128GB


    -occasional gaming (World of Warcraft, Minecraft, Terraria, similar)
    -photoshop/RAW photo editing
    -web design (Rapidweaver)
    -Xcode/iOS Development
    -media management
    -occasional (very light) audio work and video editing.

    I'm open to just about any Mac available - new or refurbished. Budget is $1500 max, but the lower the better.

    I formerly had a 15" 2015 MBP, and found it to be a bit overkill for my needs. I also have a 2006 Mac Pro that I received for free. It's dated and power hungry, but could be updated to be usable (and decently powerful)for about $400-500.

    Any advice to help steer me in the right direction would be appreciated. There are a lot of options, and I'm a bit lost on this!
  2. Tomorrow macrumors 604


    Mar 2, 2008
    Always a day away
    You mentioned gaming, Photoshop, etc. I wouldn't get less than a MacBook Pro if it were me. A 13" midrange model should work nicely. Get an external monitor, keyboard, and pointer if you want a "desktop" feel when you're not going portable.
  3. A.Goldberg macrumors 68020


    Jan 31, 2015
    The Mac Pro 1,1 is still a very capable computer for its age, albeit very power hungry. It's NOT worth dropping $400-500 into at alll. You'd be better off trading it in and buying at least a 3,1 model (runs up to El Cap w/o hacking). You can get it to Run El Cap or even Sierra but honestly it seems like way more trouble than it's worth. Mac Pros across the board are very power hungry, granted they are useful as a space heater.

    I think the iMac is the best value in terms of the desktops. Unfortunately you're stuck with 21.5" or 27". The 27" is great but the price point is steep and new out of your price range.

    Next best would be the Mac Mini, but you're very limited with expandability- everything is soldered in now so you best max out the specs off the bat. Power efficiency is a huge plus here. You could connect it to your 40" LCD, but with 1080p resolution I doubt you'll be very happy, especially doing Photoshop work. I think you'd go crosseyed and get a headache very quickly. I suppose the benefit of the Mini is that you can pick whatever size monitor fits your desk space, and you can always pickup a VESA mount compatible monitor. You can always run both the TV and Monitor off the Mini.

    If you found the 15" MBP to be overkill, I suppose the step down would be the 13". The retina screen does allow for very high resolution if you alter the settings. I have a 13" rMBP, I've owned an older 15" uMBP. I find the 15" too big and 13" too small, I wish they made a 14". In this case though, it sounds like 13" would be a better fit. As others said you can always do an external monitor.

    Keep an eye out on the Refurb selection on Apple's site- easy way to save a few bucks and get the same benefits of buying new (same warranty, AppleCare options).
  4. robgendreau macrumors 68040

    Jul 13, 2008
    Yeah, with your emphasis on media I'd go fastest 13". The camera files you encounter and media apps are just gonna be more and more processor hungry over time, and with the HDTV perhaps all you need to sacrifice is a bit of screen size with the MBP.
  5. Patron_Saint thread starter Suspended

    Jun 10, 2016
    I ended up scoring a deal on the base 2016 13" MBP.

    Really loving it so far. No issues as of yet, and seems to be handling my needs very well.

    Thanks for the input!
  6. MRrainer macrumors 65816

    Aug 8, 2008
    Zurich, Switzerland
    I think the only gripe I would have with the base 13" is that it has just 8GB of RAM.
    Everything else (lack of GPU, lack of touch-bar, a couple of other minor things missing): not really a problem.
    For that price, it should work six years at least - and rather fast till the end.

    Ah, and the good thing is that the SSD is not soldered on this one.
    So, it may be a very wise choice.

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