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You are here: MacNN Forums > Hardware - Troubleshooting and Discussion > Mac Notebooks > What is the best Mac to start off fresh with?

What is the best Mac to start off fresh with?
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strontiumAE
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May 23, 2010, 10:14 AM
 
I am kinda new to the world of Apple (except for my iPods) and intend to put my laptop out to pasture, since Windows is causing me more and more frustration day by day. Anyway after i get an iPhone and iPad I intend to get a basic iMac or Macbook... but my friend suggested i get a MacBook Pro, but I am thinking that maybe something more 'entry level' would be better? After all, I have been using Windows for just over 10 years and switching to a new operating system seems a bit daunting...

Any suggestions, thoughts comments or blah blah...will be appreciated.
Totally obsessed with Apples, but not so much with Blackberries...
     
ghporter
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May 23, 2010, 10:24 AM
 
I don't see anything "entry level-related" with what Mac you choose to start with. I'd base the decision on where you plan to use the computer and what you want to do with it. If you ONLY will use it at home on your desk, then an iMac is a good way to start. Otherwise, I'd look at the features mix of the MacBook and MacBook Pro lines. If you want to do things that require the power of the MBP, go for it. There really isn't a down side to going for a more powerful machine except perhaps deciding which one you should get. Otherwise it's hard to go wrong transitioning from a Windows laptop to a MacBook.

Glenn -----OTR/L, MOT, Tx
     
strontiumAE  (op)
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May 23, 2010, 10:59 AM
 
I intend it to be my work horse. For home use, internet, games, networking, films, music etc and for work... which includes a lot of word processing, and at times some light design and movie editing, so I guess we are talking laptop for portability. If I hav the cash to spare later on, a desktop as well (today I only just realize the price differences between PCs and Macs).

Yeah but everyone pretty much says moving from Windows to Mac is a smart movie.
Totally obsessed with Apples, but not so much with Blackberries...
     
vmarks
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May 23, 2010, 11:04 AM
 
Originally Posted by strontiumAE View Post
I am kinda new to the world of Apple (except for my iPods) and intend to put my laptop out to pasture, since Windows is causing me more and more frustration day by day. Anyway after i get an iPhone and iPad I intend to get a basic iMac or Macbook... but my friend suggested i get a MacBook Pro, but I am thinking that maybe something more 'entry level' would be better? After all, I have been using Windows for just over 10 years and switching to a new operating system seems a bit daunting...

Any suggestions, thoughts comments or blah blah...will be appreciated.
(a) switching doesn't have to be daunting. You can always stick with Windows via bootcamp (dual booting) or virtual machine (vmware, parallels, virtualbox.)

(b) get the machine that fits your budget and performance needs, balanced by how long you intend to keep the machine.
If this post is in the Lounge forum, it is likely to be my own opinion, and not representative of the position of MacNN.com.

     
strontiumAE  (op)
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May 23, 2010, 11:10 AM
 
And what is the average shelf life of a Mac machine (i know a lot about Apple but not everything. Still learning lol). Most laptops last for 3 or 4 years..in my experience. But they really start to degrade in performance within the 3rd year...
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ctt1wbw
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May 23, 2010, 12:25 PM
 
I had a G3 Wallstreet version of the Powerbook that lasted me 6 or 7 years before I sold it on eBay. I find that Macs last longer than Windows boxes.

And I would consider an iMac as your first purchase. Your best bet is to shop at the refurb section on Apple's website and get one of those. Just like new except cheaper. And don't fall into the waiting for next model phase otherwise you'll never get one.
     
mduell
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May 23, 2010, 03:02 PM
 
Originally Posted by strontiumAE View Post
And what is the average shelf life of a Mac machine (i know a lot about Apple but not everything. Still learning lol). Most laptops last for 3 or 4 years..in my experience. But they really start to degrade in performance within the 3rd year...
3-4 years. By that time they're so far behind the current performance levels it's time to move on, and component damage/failures (logic board, LCD) are prohibitively expensive out of warranty.

Some morons cling on to them forever, like they're some kind of precious, but anyone doing real work takes advantage of the ongoing performance/feature improvements and upgrades them like any other computer.

Compare a 3-4 year old machine to now and the CPU is half the speed, the GPU is probably a quarter, it holds a quarter the memory, etc. If you're browsing the web and using Word that's fine, but if you're managing photos, editing video, running Windows apps, etc that's a significant limitation compared to modern hardware.
( Last edited by mduell; May 23, 2010 at 06:41 PM. )
     
Spheric Harlot
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May 23, 2010, 03:05 PM
 
Mine's at 3.5 years and still handles everything I throw at it with relative ease.
     
ghporter
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May 23, 2010, 07:53 PM
 
My first Mac, a 2006 MBP (the original version with a Core Duo processor) is still a great machine today, though I use my first version 20" aluminum iMac more. They CAN remain viable and useful as long as you don't beat them to death, behave stupidly with them and bevarages, and understand that some software just won't run the way you want on an older, slower machine. That's the way these things go. For that matter, I have a late 2002 Dell Inspiron 8200 that still runs XP just fine thanks so much...I don't try to do Win7 stuff with it, obviously, but I also haven't poured booze on it or used it to bash in any doors - though it did fly around with me a whole lot for a while.

Glenn -----OTR/L, MOT, Tx
     
strontiumAE  (op)
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May 24, 2010, 04:58 AM
 
I have a two year old Dell inspiron that so hot, if you touch its sides...your likely to get a 10% permanent disability in your hand :-p I am hoping for better durability with a MacBook.
( Last edited by strontiumAE; May 24, 2010 at 01:06 PM. )
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cubedubbie
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May 24, 2010, 10:36 AM
 
I just bought a Macbook Pro and it seems great for business use, though I do not play any games on it yet. Seems like it is made very well and should be highly durable. Though I have the one that shares ram with the video card, that does not seem to be that big a deal.
     
is not
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May 24, 2010, 01:16 PM
 
Originally Posted by ghporter View Post
My first Mac, a 2006 MBP (the original version with a Core Duo processor) is still a great machine today
Your first Mac is from 2006 and you joined in 2001
     
turtle777
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May 24, 2010, 01:20 PM
 
Originally Posted by is not View Post
Your first Mac is from 2006 and you joined in 2001
Getting his first Mac was a well prepared, multi-year plan

-t
     
Big Mac
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May 24, 2010, 01:45 PM
 
Originally Posted by turtle777 View Post
Getting his first Mac was a well prepared, multi-year plan

"The natural progress of things is for liberty to yield and government to gain ground." TJ
     
cubedubbie
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May 24, 2010, 04:15 PM
 
Well I picked up a Macbook Pro 13 inch on Saturday and I would assume that or the 15inch would work for you, especially with an external monitor. From what I seen so far the Pro is a great laptop, though the13 inch may well be skimpy on the graphics card as it also uses system memory for greater graphics capabilities.
     
ghporter
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May 24, 2010, 09:22 PM
 
Originally Posted by is not View Post
Your first Mac is from 2006 and you joined in 2001
Yup.
Originally Posted by turtle777 View Post
Getting his first Mac was a well prepared, multi-year plan

-t
Precisely!

Actually I couldn't afford MY OWN Mac until after '06; the VA bought me my MBP for school. We got my wife an iBook in '03 or '04 for HER school. I got my iMac on my own in '07 because my home-brewed PC was acting like I'd need to brew up another one and I just decided to lay down the cash and get the iMac.

Glenn -----OTR/L, MOT, Tx
     
SierraDragon
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May 25, 2010, 01:06 PM
 
Originally Posted by strontiumAE View Post
...after i get an iPhone and iPad I intend to get a basic iMac or Macbook... but my friend suggested i get a MacBook Pro, but I am thinking that maybe something more 'entry level' would be better?
Choice of box should be dependent on your planned usage: "home use, internet, games, networking, films, music etc and for work... which includes a lot of word processing, and at times some light design and movie editing, so I guess we are talking laptop for portability." "Entry level" just means cheaper and less competent, not somehow better for entry; actually more difficult entry to the Mac OS because one must learn to deal with the specific weaknesses of a lower end box. To the extent that graphics-related work (still images, video, games) are indeed "light" a lower end box is ok, but be aware that the integrated graphics of MBs are much less good for anything handling graphic images, especially games.

Personally in a portable box I like and use the 17" MBP (the extra screen real estate and pixels are a huge plus) unless one is a daily airline laptop user. The 15" size is good too if one considers 1.5 extra pounds too much to trade for much, much more display size. Avoid the 13" size as too graphics low end and too much encroaching on the iPad usage space.

If graphics usage is light and you are happy with the small glossy display a Macbook can be a good choice.

-Allen
( Last edited by SierraDragon; May 25, 2010 at 01:18 PM. )
     
Eug
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May 25, 2010, 01:34 PM
 
Re: Movies and music - Do you need Firewire?

If no, then pretty much any machine will do, including the white MacBook. (I went for the MacBook Pro since I have a lot of Firewire drives, and a Firewire camcorder. My primary machine is actually an iMac though - which also has Firewire.)
     
ghporter
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May 25, 2010, 08:18 PM
 
I agree with Eug-I had forgotten how important my MBP's, and later my iMac's firewire connections were for downloading video from my digital camcorder. Be aware of what your hardware needs are and plan your purchase accordingly.

Glenn -----OTR/L, MOT, Tx
     
   
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