Insider Tips for Buying Your Next Mac
by James Mason, on Jul 13, 2021 7:35:56 AM
I understand your hesitation in regards to reading about this topic. Buying a computer can feel expensive and stress-inducing. Let’s talk about it together.
Buying a computer should be a wonderful event. Get excited! This is something that you will, most likely, be using every day. So here comes my first piece of advice:
It is important that you enjoy what the computer looks like.
This, fortunately, is made easy with the styling that Jony Ive imparted both the software and hardware of Macs. There is something to be said about having a congruence and well-stated design philosophy that allows you to focus less on non-coordinated design elements and more on how you actually want to use the computer.
Before we can talk about anything, we need to define some terms that are important:
CPU- Central processing part of a computer
M1- Apple’s new System on Chip Processor
GPU- Graphics Processing Unit
RAM- Memory. Think of this as the size of a desk.
SSD- Solid state drive. The standard in what you would call storage space in a computer.
THE FIRST DECISION
Are you a desktop or laptop person? Do you have a specific place you always want to use a computer? The trend for mobility, especially now that hybrid working environments are starting to become more prevalent, is undeniable. So here’s the easy way out:
MacBook Pro 13 inch with the M1 Processor.
If you are ok with the screen size, this laptop is honestly the large percentile of computers that are going to be purchased. Allowing one additional screen, with the fast M1 System On Chip would most likely fit your needs. There are a few considerations, though, with the specifics of the model.
- M1 System on Chip
This is, honestly, a huge leap to the cutting edge of technology. By removing the space and combining multiple components, such as the CPU and RAM on a chip, Apple has created an efficient and powerful architecture. This is different than Intel chips on the previous generations of Apple computers, where CPU and RAM are different components on a logic board.
Whenever you buy a computer, relatively small amounts of investment will pay dividends in performance and late-stage quality of life on a computer. You should buy as close to the top of the range with a few things to consider:
- RAM standards are 16 GB for Intel MacBook Pros.
- CPUs standards are at least Quad-core.
You are really buying to give yourself time to adapt to new technologies. There will always be more demanding applications, so a few hundred dollars for the next processor might give you an extra year or two before the computer starts showing it’s age.
I hate laptops.
So you hate laptops. I understand. So what do you want out of a computer? Do you want your own monitor or would you prefer looking at an Apple display?
The Bad Desktop
There is no secret that the entry-level Intel iMac is underpowered. The same can be said about the Intel i3 in certain versions of the Mac Mini. The M1 Mac Mini should be considered above most all of the other range of Mac Minis with intel chips until you get to the i7 processors. The movement from i3 to i5 to i7 processors is significant because the speed of multiple cores compounds the processing power difference between these models.
The Good Desktop
A Mac Mini M1 is so inexpensive. Just get it. For most all tasks, this computer will blow you away with the responsiveness of the hardware and software. If you need things like an external GPU, or more than two screens, you need to know that these features are unsupported on the M1 platform. If you really, really need a bargain on a desktop and want a single device contained within a screen, please just get the M1 iMac and do not allow yourself to settle for less than the speed you would get.
The Great Desktop
iMac screens have always been stunning. With the color accuracy and the 178 degree viewing angle of the displays, we truly are spoiled when it comes to the 27 inch iMac. If you can find them, you will honestly experience a complete paradigm shift with the iMac Pro and server-class processing power in a single screen form factor. These, though, have been discontinued.
There is a tier above consumer that I can regale you, computer buyer, about peak performance and where you cannot compromise on workflow. You have two options:
MacBook Pro 16 Inch
The MacBook Pro, with the core i9 architecture, is incredible. This is a large screened end game laptop. You can even benefit further with an external graphics processing unit and dramatically reduce rendering times in professional editing applications.
The Mac Pro is an enthusiast machine. This is a non-compromising workhorse where the sky is the limit for adaptability. After Apple sought to make a revolutionary Mac Pro 6,1 (the trash can), they have now created a modular design that resembles the older Mac Pros and that has ease of use features for opening the case and exchanging components. If you want the computers that Pixar or South Park use, these are it.
Be A Sponge
This is a lot of information, so I will attempt to condense everything to a few simple points:
- Get a M1 Mac if you do not need to worry about multiple displays.
- Get a MacBook Pro.
- If not a MacBook Pro, get a Mac Mini if you can also get a professional display.
- iMacs are an incredible deal when you consider the quality of screen and form factor.
- Mac Pros are if you absolutely cannot compromise on any component.
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