Which mac to go with?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by Luc1300, Nov 23, 2013.

  1. Luc1300, Nov 23, 2013
    Last edited: Nov 23, 2013

    Luc1300 macrumors newbie

    Nov 23, 2013
    Hello there! How are you? I'm new to this forum, so I might use this post to also introduce myself. My name is Luke and I am 16 years old.

    I'm a windows user, and I am considering buying a mac in a few months. I have used macs and do know OS X. I know the OS well, but I am not used to the hardware as much, so I don't know which mac to go to, according to my needs, so I would like a few tips on what to buy. I'd like a machine that I could use to finish up secondary school and go to college with, so that I don't have to buy a computer every two years.

    I am planning to spend around from 1500€ to 2000€ (or lower, if it's good) (Mac + Accesories (HDD, bag, etc)) (Not sure how much that is in USD, I think 2000 euro is over 2700 dollars)

    I am a student, and here are the things I am planning to do on my mac:

    - School related things and writing (Pages documents, numbers spreadsheets and keynotes)
    - Listen to music (I use deezer, which is like spotify, so I don't need any storage for that)
    - Watch movies and TV shows (Which I store on iTunes, but might consider external HDD for that, because collection is huge)
    - Store some personal photos (probably on iPhoto, even though I have an attrocious experience of iPhoto)
    - Communication (Skype, facetime, iMessage, etc)
    - Movie editing and making (I use iMovie, but might consider FCP)
    - I travel a lot, abroad especially (Plane and train), so size and battery life can be important (But 11' is a bit too small though)
    - Might do some programming, but very little (maybe a few HTML files, but that's all)
    - No gaming (or very little). I have PC that I will only use for gaming. Might do a little softcore gaming (Minecraft, online games) during travels

    I currently own an iPod Touch 5 and an apple TV, if that helps in any way

    From what I've gathered, the MBPs are very powerful laptops, great for movie making, but I have a severe crush on the MBAs, very small, so great for travel, powerful for it's size, and great battery, and SSD rocks! However I'm afraid the MBAs might be too weak for movie making, but that the MBPs will be too massive. I might consider a small iMac or a pimped mac mini.

    Thank you in advance,

  2. raniel macrumors regular


    Jan 2, 2011
    since your a student a laptop would be very useful. MBPs might give you a better experince because it is faster and offer great screen than the current MBA. Other option would be get a mac from refurb store: MBA + mac mini combo

    MBA for travel and the mini for the heavy tasks specially when you are at home. you can also plug dual monitors
  3. Kevclark1985 macrumors member

    Jul 2, 2013
    I think the 13" rMBP 8gb/2.4 i5/256gb SSD is the one I would recommend for the following reasons:

    -11" is too small for you, which leaves the 13" models as you travel and 15" would be too big.
    -So your options are 13" air or rMBP
    -The 13" rMBP actually has a smaller footprint than the air, so better for using in smaller spaces such as planes and trains (it's slightly heavier but still very light machine)
    -Video editing will be better on the rMBP and having the better screen will help.
    -Watching movies/tv shows will be much better on the rMBP
    -Still gets very good battery life (I get around 10 hours) although not the highs of macbook air's battery life (upto 15 hours) but most people do not need that and as you never stated battery life is important, I assume up to 10 hrs is more than enough.
    -SSD is faster on rMBP as its PCI-e hard drive (so read and write speeds are faster, worth noting that the speeds are faster on the 256gb than the 128gb which makes going for this a more obvious choice as it's double storage and faster).

    This machine, assuming your needs don't change and you look after it, could last you the 6 years I assume you are looking for (2 years of high school and 4 years of uni?). It might be a little bit sluggish near the end of that cycle for video editing etc (hard to predict really) but would def still be fine for office tasks and uni work.

    I disagree with the poster above's idea of a MBA/Mac Mini combo, you want everything in one place as you travel lots and will be a student at uni (halls, small flat etc), 13" is fine for using at home, if you need a bigger screen use the apple tv and mirror the screen onto your tv.

    I got the 13" rMBP with student discount for £1074 with 3 years Applecare (not sure on exact conversion rates but it's about the low end of your budget I believe). Add in £50 for a 1TB USB 3.0 external drive for movies and you are sorted.
  4. Kevclark1985 macrumors member

    Jul 2, 2013
    after re-reading this I noticed you did actually mention battery life may be important, but still think the battery life of rMBP is more than you would need :)
  5. Luc1300 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Nov 23, 2013
    Dear raniel and Kevclark1985, thank you so much for your replies! There was some helpful advises.

    I does look like a nice model. I'm a heavy computer user and I do need the power of a MBP, while needing the portability of an air. I think that the 13" MBP do bring the two best part of both computers, power and size, and would be a computer that'd suit me. If I was going for the air, it would have been a 13" anyway. I am currently on the computer's order page (It's not on the education page) and the basic config of the 13" rMBP 8gb/2.4 i5/256gb SSD is sold at 1499.00€. I can upgrade the mac to:
    • bi-core i5 2.6GHz for an extra 100€
    • bi-core i7 2.8GHz for an extra 300€
    • Update ram to 16 for 200€
    So my possible configs are: (The prices come from the French online Apple store, so USD price is approximate)
    • 13" rMBP 8gb/2.4 i5/256gb SSD @ 1499€/2023$
    • 13" rMBP 16gb/2.4 i5/256gb SSD @ 1699€/2293$
    • 13" rMBP 8gb/2.6 i5/256gb SSD @ 1599€/2158$
    • 13" rMBP 16gb/2.6 i5/256gb SSD @ 1799€/2428$
    • 13" rMBP 8gb/2.8 i7/256gb SSD @ 1799€/2428$
    • 13" rMBP 16gb/2.8 i7/256gb SSD @ 1999€/2698$
    My total budget will be around 1906€/2572$ (I need to speak in dollars more. It makes me look richer :))

    I did mention battery life, and I'm a PC user, so anything over an hour and a half is a major improvement for me! Yeah, I guess ten will suffice me.

    To be honest, I liked the idea of a combo, but money wise, I prefer using my money on one pimped machine than two ok computers.

    I don't think I'll be entitled for the education price, as I'm still in high-school.

    I'll try the 13" rMBP and airs next time I'll visit an Apple Store (Not until this summer, because I still need to work to earn money and as I live in Ireland, I need to wait until I visit my family in France to go to an apple store). I'll will probably ask the guys at the store some questions.

    Also, moving from a PC background, would I miss the "lack" of ports on macs? The fact that there is few USB ports and no DVD drives (I haven't used a DVD drive in ages to be honest, as I'm kind of a geek, I do everything online, but my family is pretty anti-mac and will still be using DVDs and other older technologies. Will it bother me?). The only USB devices I really use are a graphic tablet on my desktop (Which I'll rarely need on a laptop), a mouse for my laptop (but having used macs, the trackpads are MUCH better, and not using a mouse doesn't bother me at all) and charging phone+iPod. And for the DVDs, I'd rather buy a PC/Mac external drive than apple's superdrive, even though it looks quite cool.

    What are your opinions on it?

    Many thanks!
  6. Kevclark1985 macrumors member

    Jul 2, 2013
    Personally I don't think upgrading the processor is worth it unless you make the jump to i7 processor. And for your uses you don't need an i7 for your uses.

    I don't think you need 16gb ram for your uses either, some will argue that if you are keeping it that long you should 'future proof' it. But I tend to think by the time that extra ram MAY be needed the processor etc will also be at a point where it struggles as well.

    All that said though, it' your money and sometimes you want to buy things you don't need! But I don't think you will get value for money from the upgrades is what I mean.

    I'd go for 13" rMBP 8gb/2.4 i5/256gb SSD @ 1499€/2023$ as I previously said.

    Also if you do some searching on google about education store, you should be able to find links to access the education store and order (3 years applecare and cheaper prices). Lots of people order like this and apple never check (as long as it's ordered online).

    Save some money, use it for accessories and or backup solutions. I don't think you need to spend €1900 on your machine for your uses.

    DVD drive - I'm the same, not used one in ages and you can buy an external one for cheap to use at home those very odd times.

    Ports - I find the ports are sufficient, if you need more ports then prob just buy a usb hub for home use, you shouldn't need more ports when out and about I would imagine.
  7. Daedalus65 macrumors newbie

    Aug 29, 2013
    one more thing....

    Throw in a copy of VMWare Fusion and you'll also have the best windows machine in the house.

    BTW, I'm still toting around a 13" MBP. The lack of a built-in DVD kept me from jumping to a 13" air (not saying I use it frequently, but it's there if I want it). And it's the fact that I "goofed" and put an SSD into the MBP (non-retina) that keeps me from moving to a new 13" retina MBP. With an SSD, this 4-year-old machine is still running far too well and far too fast to justify spending money on another laptop.

    When you consider the longevity of mac hardware, I think the "apple tax" is a thing of the past.
  8. Luc1300 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Nov 23, 2013
    I just did some further research on the French education store. The mac is around 90€ less (1409€) which will make it 1583€/2136$ with the three year applecare and VAT (a tax, do you have VAT in the US?)

    What I plan to get:
    • 13" rMBP @1583€/2136$
    • Case (a 13" or 15" case came free with my schoolbag) @ 0€
    • 1TB Hard-Drive @ 100€/134,99$
    I don't think I'll need anymore accessories (maybe some stickers, some are quite clever!). I know the rMBP will fit in the case, I managed (somehow) to fit my huge 17" PC into it once. 100€ is the cheapest you can get 1TB HDDs for here.

    Total: 1683€/2271$

    I'll try to shop around, macs are sold everywhere in France (Big brands store, not thrift shops). Apple loves the place for some reason.

    I excepted it to be more expensive to be honest. The advices here are great! It's so hard to speak about macs to people, online or in real life.

    I saw a comparison between the 13" rMBP and 13" MBA. The MBA is bigger and the rMBP doesn't look that much heavier (compared to my PC), so portability is gonna be great with it.
  9. Luc1300 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Nov 23, 2013
    Daedalus65, I didn't see your post when I was writing it, so I did not take any consideration of your post! Having a 4 year old working machine is already making me happy! I never heard that until I started going onto mac forums. I'll probably use bootcamp, and I'm keeping my PC to play games I bought physically (mine craft and steam will work on my mac, but not CD games), so I'll still use windows.

    I've heard loads from bootcamp. One of my IT teacher is a mac users, and she is forced like the rest of us to use windows machine. But she uses bootcamp and office for mac in order to be more integrated with the school's system. However, for school, I don't think I'll need it. I can save iWork files as PDF and print or save them as office files.

    One thing bothering me with the rMBP are the two thunderbolt ports. Is it just for display or can I plug in peripherals? And if it is just for display, will it only work with the over priced apple cinema display?

    Thank you
  10. Luc1300 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Nov 23, 2013
    Some news,

    I went to a local PC shop (currys) and I could try on of the 13" rMBP. It was one with lower specs than the one I'm going for, but it's amazing! Size is just perfect, the screen is gorgeous and it's tiny! There was an expert there and I could ask him a few questions. I definitely saving for this model. It is just great. Thanks!

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