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FORUMS General Gear Talk Computers 
Thread started 22 Nov 2014 (Saturday) 10:10
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Help me choose an Apple workhorse

 
XxDJCyberLoverxX
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Nov 22, 2014 10:10 |  #1

My 13" Macbook that I do everything on is getting old, but still alive and kicking. It's the late-2008 (first full body aluminum model) upgraded to 4GB of RAM. I've recently started researching about simple upgrades and have ordered a Samsung 840 EVO 500gb SSD drive. Excited to take apart my Macbook and install it to increase its longevity and speed.

So the situation is, I am looking for a stronger workhorse laptop/computer, preferrably Mac, to complement my current 13" Macbook (until it dies).

I don't want this to turn into a PC vs Mac war; I just prefer the interface of OSX and I don't know nearly enough to build my own computer.

1.) I was bent on buying a 21.5" iMac and upgrading the RAM to 16gb and buying a Thunderbolt external HD to store my work. It'll provide me with the biggest screen to work with, but it's not portable. It's the most cost-effective option, I think. Or, I can hold my breath until a Retina version comes out in the 21.5" version.

2.) Then I entertained the idea of buying a new 15.4" Macbook Pro Retina and using Thunderbolt external HDs to store my Lightroom photos and separate the storage/data, and the programs. The thing is, I can't upgrade the individual parts myself, and this is the most costly option.

3.) In the last few days, I came across the idea of buying a used 2011-2012 17" Macbook Pro and upgrading it. It needs to be that year because they have the Thunderbolt port. I can upgrade the hard drive to a 512gb or 1TB Samsung SSD drive and 16GB of RAM (if I update the OS, it'll allow 16gb I heard), and that'll still be cheaper than a new 15.4" MBP. I'm only worried about the parts failing and it's not covered under warranty.

I'd want this computer to work with me for the next few years without problems.

Is there anything I'm not aware of? Any advice would be greatly appreciated.


Daniel
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Kolor-Pikker
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Nov 22, 2014 13:18 |  #2

Well, if I had to edit on a laptop, then I'd go the Retina/TB route, the retina screen is a big boon to working on photos and I don't really care if laptops can be upgraded or not. you can put your Samsung SSD into an external TB enclosure.

How important is portability to you anyway? My iMac I can reposition around the studio fairly easily, unless you travel a lot.


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XxDJCyberLoverxX
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Nov 22, 2014 19:42 |  #3

Kolor-Pikker wrote in post #17287218 (external link)
you can put your Samsung SSD into an external TB enclosure.

...

How important is portability to you anyway? My iMac I can reposition around the studio fairly easily, unless you travel a lot.

Thanks and good point. I never though of having an SSD as an external hard drive. Is there any benefits of using that as opposed to a real USB3/Thunderbolt external HD like the ones from LaCie or G-Technology?

Portability is fairly important, but not the deciding factor. I guess I want a one-device-for-all situations. My current Macbook is portable, but one of these days it'll also die.

Do you prefer to edit on a Retina screen, or do you like your bigger iMac for editing photos?


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Kolor-Pikker
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Nov 24, 2014 03:29 |  #4

LaCie and G-tech basically use the same 3.5" drives you can buy for any PC, usually HGST drives because they have a high level of proven reliability, especially the Ultrastar series.

OWC offers enclosures similar to G-tech and you can put any drives you want in http://eshop.macsales.​com/shop/Thunderbolt/ (external link)

For editing photos I'm pretty used to 27" and 1440p, and have an NEC display hooked up to mine as well, but if the screen were smaller, I'd want a higher resolution to compensate. Having a big screen just makes editing and viewing photos much better.


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ekinnyc
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Dec 01, 2014 16:24 |  #5

i was in a similar position as OP - have a 13" late 2008 aluminium macbook that i upgraded to 4GB & SSD. even with these updates, it was getting long in the tooth, so i grabbed a late 2013 15" retina MBP. i got the 2.3/512gb/16gb ram with the nvidia. i know it isnt upgradeable, but i figure this config will last quite a while. these can be ordered refurb from apple for about 2k


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tbrass
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Dec 01, 2014 23:39 |  #6

On the road I have an Air. Unfortunately no retina... But, my first all solid state system and without question it is the fastest machine I have ever owned! As a min, any Mac I buy will be fusion drive (or SSD)

As for refurbs, have seen several of them and they are indistinguishable from new. Great value there.

Thunderbolt. Yes it is fast, but I'm thinking that USB 3.0 will be more than enough bandwidth, unless you are pushing HD/4K video through that pipe as well.

As far as failing parts. I have two teenagers that have been fairly hard on their school MacBook pros. Repairs at the Apple store have been very reasonable (coffee spill resulting in top case replace $180, failed fan $40, failed hard drive cable $40; all including labour).

Brass




  
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SkyBaby
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Dec 01, 2014 23:59 |  #7

I had a 2008 15" MBP, just a few months older than yours, OP. It was 2 years old when I got it. Served me very well and only replaced it last year. It was still working quite well when I sold it to fund my next purchase. Got a 2010 15" MBP with 500GB 5200RPM hard drive and 8 GB RAM. I plan on updating that to a 1TB SSD soon as I can. I paid $480 for the computer and my dad (a Mac expert and who I get my computers through) tells me a 1Tb SSD will be around $500 if purchased now. The cost of memory is always falling. A new MBP is just not in the cards at all for me so used it is and I much prefer OSX to PC, too. I do plan on getting a brand new MBP some day but that won't be any time soon. I'm happy with used, and Macs are designed to last.

I would love a 27" iMac, but a 17 inch MBP would be just right short of that. I got a 15" because that was what was available to me, but I'm thinking my next purchase will be a 17 inch. i suggest the 17 incn MBP around 2011-2012 with all the upgrades you want to do with it. I think that machine will serve you very well. If you still want to get that iMac later, then do so! If 8GB RAM and an SSD would be a blaze of glory, well, I can't even imagine what 16 GB RAM and SSD would be like.


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Fransee
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Dec 02, 2014 14:26 |  #8

Thanks for the info. Helped me to pick out my Mac.




  
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AlFooteIII
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Dec 02, 2014 14:51 |  #9

Just to throw another idea out there, I've got a new Mac Pro (yes, the trashcan) and for a recent gig I threw it and an HP U160 portable LCD screen in a bag. Not as portable as my old MBP, but a lot more portable than an iMac.


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Adam403
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Dec 02, 2014 15:39 |  #10

Not sure if you ended up getting a new computer, but ill post my $0.02 regarding buying an apple product here incase others stumble upon this thread.

In all honesty, it would be extremely wise to buy mac's from their refurbished section of the site. The computers are all in new cases, and even have warranty. I recently bought my new iMac from them, as well as my airport/timecapsule and apple tv at previous dates.

There are also sites that allow you to get notifications when certain items come back on the store, as the inventory is constantly fluctuating.
I really don't think people talk about this section of the site, but saving a few hundred dollars on a mac that comes WITH warranty is a good deal to me.


I also will point out that i too was between a 13" air and mbp, i ended up swaying towards the retina mpb mainly because I use this computer for minimal graphic design work (i use my iMac for the extensive stuff); and also for on-the-go web coding. If you can get the best of both worlds, get a 27" iMac and a mbp in 13". If you can only have one, i would personally go with a 15"mbp.

Hope some of this helps!




  
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Dec 02, 2014 17:30 |  #11

If portability is something that you're looking for, then 15" MBP with extra hard drive. I've loaded up on SSD with 512Gb, and that really is more than enough for me. Also, a fast home network would help you back up to NAS and offsite. I have a windows desktop that I backup to, and it automatically backs up offsite via CrashPlan. I keep my MBP clean, and move photos back and forth the storage if I need them. I've been used to carrying an external hard drive with me in the past, and really don't miss dealing with wires. This was because I was using 256Gb Samsung Evo 840 SSD in my previous windows laptop. Now, I don't miss it a bit. And usually, 300Gb free memory is more than enough to edit most of my photoshoots, before I offload them onto the bigger storage and backup.


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Dec 02, 2014 23:11 |  #12

i've got a late 11 MBP with the ODD taken out and 128gb SSD installed, Upgraded the RAM to 16gb and have to say it works flawlessly :-)


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Dec 02, 2014 23:49 |  #13

What did you end up going with, OP?


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XxDJCyberLoverxX
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Feb 13, 2015 20:31 as a reply to  @ SkyBaby's post |  #14

This is about a few months!

Finally decided to keep my old Macbook, installed a 500GB Samsung SSD and upgraded the RAM to 8GB. I breathed new life into it while saving up for the new 27" iMac with Retina display.

I think I added at least another few years to this old dog. Thinking about replacing the CD/DVD drive with another Samsung SSD.

When this laptop dies, I'll maybe get a 11" Macbook air and use it's Thunderbolt drive to store my photos on these Samsung SSDs when I'm traveling, then dump it all on my iMac when I get back home.


Daniel
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Help me choose an Apple workhorse
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