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Time for a new Mac... (maybe)


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#1 janygb143

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Posted 06 January 2015 - 11:10 PM

I think my 2011 MacBook Pro is on the way out :( Still waiting to hear back from the repair shop, and I've backed everything up. In case it's a catastrophic repair, though, what do you recommend for specs for a new Apple laptop? Has anyone had any experience with the new Retina laptops (especially if repairs are needed in the future...)? Where should I purchase (Amazon, directly from Apple, refurbished, local in Arizona)? 

 

Hoping to run: Lightroom, Photoshop/Elements, iMovie, Picasa, iTunes. My LR Catalog is about 200GB, but everything else can stay on my external HD. 



#2 wendyzine

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Posted 07 January 2015 - 12:34 PM

I have had MacBook Pros since 2004, upgrading about every 3 years. My current one is a 2012 MacBook Pro Retina with 500gb solid state drive. I really love it, although would do a couple things differently.

 

1) In the past, I always opted for the matte screen. This time, I got an open box item from Best Buy... a great deal, but I don't love the glossy screen quite as much as my matte screen. The matte screens are only available from Apple directly, so there was no getting a deal on it. In the future, though, I'd probably insist on the matte. The matte used to be cheaper than glossy, but not it costs extra.

 

2) Retina screen... There's no denying retina screens are beautiful when viewing photos and images. However, the biggest frustration I have with it is that in Photoshop, everything is really tiny. It displays everything at actual pixel size. An if you zoom in, things look terrible. Now, if you are working on high resolution, super quality stuff, it's not a big deal, but if you do any work on web-sized graphics, it's a really bad idea. So, I have to set the resolution of my monitor down a setting or two just for my Photoshop work.

 

3) The solid state drive is too small for me. I ABSOLUTELY LOVE the solid state. The speed is exponentially faster. But, because the laptops cannot do the super drives that have a solid state along size a larger storage spinning drive, you can only get a smaller solid state. I think the 500gb was the max I could buy at the time. If they offer a bigger drive now, I'd definitely upgrade it. I do have a 500gb external that I keep my scrapbooking supplies on, but it is a pain to have to drag it out all the time. And, even with that, I'm still constantly running at between 25-10 gb free. That's just not enough to run things smoothly. Things light photos, lightroom catalog and iphone/ipad apps stored in iTunes really kill my space.

 

4) There is no CD/DVD drive, so if that's a need, you'd want to pick up an external CD/DVD drive.

 

That said, I love my laptop. I have a 15" and it's wonderful. It's so light, thin and powerful.The only problem I have consistenly had with my macbooks is that the power adapters almost always fail right after the warranty is up. They tend to fray and they are expensive. $80-$100 to replace. If your older laptop had a mag 2 power adapter, be sure to save it if you can so you have a backup. I haven't had any issues with my display or any reason to take mine in to be fixed so far.

 

I hope this helps! Let us know what you decide to go with. I know you'll love it, no matter what you decide.


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Wendyzine Scraps

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#3 wendyzine

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Posted 07 January 2015 - 12:35 PM

Oh, and I don't think you can add RAM on these new machines yourself. It's built into the control board. So, be sure to max that out when you purchase.


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#4 janygb143

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Posted 07 January 2015 - 03:33 PM

Wendy, 
THANK YOU!!! You addressed a lot of the questions I had.

 

It looks like they only have Retina now, but maybe I haven't poked around enough. 

 

I don't do any web graphic stuff, but definitely lots of digital LOs and zooming in on pics in LR. Any problems there? 

 

Oh, the hard drive space!! That's my hesitation about upgrading, or just fixing my old laptop if it's repairable and hoping it holds out until the SSD storage increases. I have 750GB on my old computer and already feel the squeeeeze. On the new 15" rMBP, 512GB is still the max. My LR catalog alone was about 200GB, last time I checked! However, for all supplies/photos, I'm good. I already keep all of that on an EHD.  

 

16GB RAM is standard on the 15", too, so that's good. Debating between the 13" (8GB RAM max) and 15" just to save a few bucks, but it's probably not worth the frustration. Not sure if LR would run OK with just 8GB? 

 

Do you always buy AppleCare? Would they have replaced the adaptor if it had happened before 3 years?  

 

Oh yeah, and just curious... what do you do with all your old MBPs? (Assuming they still work and you just upgrade to get faster/better etc). 



#5 wendyzine

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Posted 08 January 2015 - 12:41 PM

I've always had maxed out RAM on my machines, so it's hard to say, but I think LR would do okay with 8. Photoshop, for sure, would love you if you got the 16. Screen size is always a big topic here. My old eyes need bigger screens. In the past, I would have gone with the 17" if it wasn't so expensive. But the 15 is more portable and I don't think the 17 is an option anymore. Back to your question... 8gb with a solid state drive will probably still be fast, but if you can swing 16, that is the one upgrade I'd splurge on.

 

I believe there is a way to store your LR catalog on EHD if you want to try that. The other thing I've done is split my LR catalogs by year. Because I scrap by year and for the most part, know exactly what I want if I go back to an older year, it works for me. I can pull previous years off my laptop. That keeps the file size down. I also delete the 1:1 previews when I do that to keep the size of the archived catalogs down. Same with my photos. Once I've finished up a year's albums, I will transfer the photos to the EHD. So I usually only have 2 years of photos on my computer at a time. It would be hard for me to go from 750 to 500 for sure. When I went to this machine, I went from 500 to 500, so I just didn't gain any space.

 

Yes, I always buy Apple Care. I think it's 1 year without Apple Care and 3 years with. And they will only replace the power adapater during the warranty period (either 1 year or 3 years). If you have access to education discounts, you can get a cheaper warranty. I think it's like $50 less. Every bit helps!

 

My old laptops get handed down and eventually sold. My kids get my newest old one and then I wipe and sell their old one. In the past, I've sold at yard sale, or waited for a Best Buy promo where they gave $100 for any laptop brought in, no questions asked, as long as it powered on. But, that said, I'm intrigued by the idea of running my own home network and the next time, I may just use the oldest macbook to set up Apple Server on it and see what it would do for me. I heard on Mac Power Users podcast that I could do stuff like download an app once and push the file out to all devices instead of having to download large apps multiple times. And we have lots of apple devices here! And get wireless access to my EHDs for listening to music and viewing photos.


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#6 janygb143

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Posted 11 January 2015 - 11:07 AM

My computer came back last night, and they said that nothing was wrong! (I'm still a little skeptical) They checked the hardware and everything tested out ok. He ran some software cleanup. I ordered new Mac-specific RAM because the upgrade I did in 2012 wasn't exactly the right item (even though it works) and might be causing the issues. Guess that buys me a little time for Apple to make some bigger HD! Whew. Thanks for all the advice, Wendy!
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#7 wendyzine

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Posted 11 January 2015 - 04:34 PM

I know it might be a little disappointing, but it sounds like it might be a good thing! Hang in there for the next new release and see what it has to offer. If not enough maybe you can get a super deal on this year's model at that time.


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#8 janygb143

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Posted 04 March 2015 - 12:06 PM

It died!!! Two nights ago, I got this crazy graphic distortion, so I backed up my internal HD. Yesterday, my laptop shut down on its own and never restarted. Buuuut... I took it to the Apple Store, and apparently it's a known problem with this model, and just two weeks ago they issued a warranty extension. New logic board, and any other repairs needed, FREE! Whew! It'll be back Tuesday, so hopefully they fix it for good :)
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#9 wendyzine

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Posted 04 March 2015 - 12:15 PM

Lucky you! So glad you got a backup in too!


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#10 mshanhun

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Posted 05 March 2015 - 04:20 AM

Goodness - sounds like you are skating in thin ice!

 

My 3 yo laptop (Asus) has 16Gb RAM and my 2yo desktop has 64GB RAM. Lightroom is so unstable on my desktop I couldn't imagine doing it with 8Gb!! But maybe the Mac version of LR is better?


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:) Melissa
http://DigitalScrapbookingHQ.com

Guest on PRT224  New and Shiny - about novel uses for Project Life

Guest PRT238 - Yellow School Bus - about scrapbooking your homeschooling journey


#11 janygb143

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Posted 05 March 2015 - 08:58 AM

Melissa-
64GB on your desktop?? You must be FLYING! Oh man, I wish laptops went that high. I've run LR on 4GB, and it goes, just lags a little. Definitely not productive to run LR and CS5 at the same time with 4GB, though!
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#12 janygb143

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Posted 23 March 2015 - 08:41 AM

My computer's back, but I have really little confidence in its reliability! I found one on MacMall that's $750 off, but it's the 2013 model. I'm expecting that they'll upgrade the 15" sometime this summer, so maybe the 2014s will be discounted soon (?). Would you buy a 2-year old model, or wait for the new one to come out (anticipating paying $800+ for the same hardware, but a newer model)? I have a love-hate relationship with technology right now :)

 

Hmm… wondering if that's a good strategy… get an older computer, get Apple Care, work it hard and expect it to fail within 3 years, then get it fixed under warranty? 



#13 wendyzine

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Posted 24 March 2015 - 08:49 AM

I would not buy a 2-year old model. They get slow fast! Plus, older software ends up not being supported with newer OS updates. So, I'd go newer if possible. Usually when they release a new version, the price goes down a little, but not a ton. I tend to buy brand new, and look for refurbished. I always get the 3-year warranty, but rarely does my mac end up breaking during the warranty period (and I do work it hard!). However, since it's for my business, I really need the protection of the warranty just in case.

 

Plus, I'd highly, highly suggest solid state. It's a world of difference. Older models may not get you that.


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#14 janygb143

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Posted 24 March 2015 - 11:30 AM

Good to know, Wendy! I was thinking about the software compatibility issue, as well. I cant even run the newest version of Safari on my oldest laptop anymore! I need to look at the AppleCare stipulations to see if it'll be worth it for me. This one didnt start having issues until immediately after 3 years had passed, haha.

The model I'm looking at has a 1TB SSD! But, I think I'm just going to wait to see what the newest model brings... The sale ends this weekend, so that's why I kept wondering if I should just get it. Didnt want to pass up a bargain! ;) thanks for all the advice!

#15 wendyzine

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Posted 25 March 2015 - 09:27 AM

swoon... 1TB SSD!


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#16 mshanhun

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Posted 26 March 2015 - 09:36 PM

Yeah I'm lucky! I'm about to reformat my desktop though as too much tinkering over the past 3 years has got it slowing down!

:) Melissa
http://DigitalScrapbookingHQ.com

Guest on PRT224  New and Shiny - about novel uses for Project Life

Guest PRT238 - Yellow School Bus - about scrapbooking your homeschooling journey


#17 janygb143

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Posted 05 June 2015 - 12:34 PM

Had my logic board replaced *again*, 3 days before the 90-day warranty expired on the first one! So, for my next MBP, which I'm fully expecting to need in the next few months, what should I do about processor speed? I think there's 2.2 (what I have now), 2.5, and 2.8. And better/more video cards? Are the upgrades worth it? Sorry it's such a geeky question, but I trust the opinions here more than the Apple Store salesmen... ;)

#18 wendyzine

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Posted 08 June 2015 - 08:25 AM

I get the best processor I can afford, and then max out the RAM, since newer laptops cannot be upgraded later. An SSD is a must these days. My laptop only has a small one (500GB) so I also bought an external portable drive.

 

Are you looking for a laptop or desktop?


Wendyzine Scraps

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#19 wendyzine

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Posted 08 June 2015 - 08:25 AM

Oh, and I think there's an Apple conference today, so might pay attention to that in case new computers or laptops are announced.


Wendyzine Scraps

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#20 janygb143

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Posted 08 June 2015 - 10:36 AM

Laptop. Definitely going with 16gb RAM (standard on 15"). They have a 1tb SSD option, but I'm not sure if it's worth the jump from 500GB for the $800 increase in price! Everything except my LR catalog (200gb alone) and iTunes already live on EHDs, but 500gb is still a squeeeeeze. The processors are $100 and $300 more for the 2.5 and 2.8. Thanks for the tip on the WWDC!




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