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Which Mac computer option do you recommend?
  
 
bs kite
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · Which Mac computer option do you recommend?


Nearing a time where I will be forced to make a move. Have been relying on a MBP for the last several years. For several reasons I have decided to stick with Mac.

The only things I am sure of are:

Now have 16 GB RAM and want to continue with that at least.

Money IS a consideration. Not sure of limit I will spend though. Thinking of an iMac and sticking with this old MBP too. No...I have no intention of buying any of Apple's super performance and super priced machine. Seems to me that iMac is a sane choice. But I do not know.

Need a very comfortable keyboard because I write a lot and fingertips sometimes become sore (seriously). My nature writings become large and difficult to manage. Breaking into pieces is something I do but it is not enough. I need a big screen I think.

Would like a super piece of dictating software and a recommended version of Word for Mac (currently at 10.11.6 (El Capitan).

Do you have experience with either/both of dictating software and/or Word for Mac?

i would love to be able to dictate effectively....but only if is effective. Have heard that Dragon Dictate is not that great for a MAC.

Thank you.

Robert

Edited on Jul 24, 2017 at 02:53 AM · View previous versions



Jul 23, 2017 at 06:15 PM
Dustin Gent
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · Which Mac computer option do you recommend?


So i take it your current MBP is getting old and time for an upgrade?
From 2008 to 2011, i had a 15" MBP. great machine. In 2011 when the then new iMac came out, i sold my MBP and bought an iMac. Sold that last summer, and bought my current computer i use, which is a mid 2015 mid-level MBP.

It is a great machine. However, i am thinking of selling it and maybe getting a new iMac - since i don't really travel with my computer; however i most likely will keep my MBP for the time being.

As far as programs go, microsoft has office for mac, and you can do a cloud based subscription service if you want. Apple also made iWork free this past spring, if you don't want to spend any money. Google also has some sort of programs, but i think office is probably the best on the market?



Jul 23, 2017 at 06:27 PM
bs kite
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · Which Mac computer option do you recommend?


Thanks Dustin....

I am in similar boat as you right now. I do not want to give the impression that I am unwilling to spend a significant amount of money. I can and will if I have to. And of course, we get what we pay for. Just want to make the right choice and unwilling to go the real expensive Mac route.

One of the reasons I am sticking with Mac is durability. The other is that I am done with malware.

Yes, I love Word. Currently use Scrivener but want Word too....nothing else. And I think that cloud option might be good. I just do not yet know.




Jul 23, 2017 at 06:36 PM
rw11
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · Which Mac computer option do you recommend?


refurb store


Jul 23, 2017 at 06:42 PM
bs kite
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · Which Mac computer option do you recommend?


Have looked at all of them and I do like that idea. I think this the route I will take when purchasing. Thanks

Now I need input/advice on which computer.



Jul 23, 2017 at 09:03 PM
Dustin Gent
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · Which Mac computer option do you recommend?


for an iMac, i would get the best you can afford. Something with an SSD and i would go for 27". You can upgrade the RAM later, so i wouldn't worry about the RAM right away.


Jul 24, 2017 at 04:50 AM
CanadaMark
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · Which Mac computer option do you recommend?


Are you dead set on a mac? I only ask because you said money is a consideration, and you can get a much better spec'd computer for far less money if you are willing to look elsewhere.


Jul 24, 2017 at 05:03 AM
Norm Shapiro
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · Which Mac computer option do you recommend?


You might also think about upgrading your hard drive on the MBP. I have an early 2011 MBP and recently swapped out the hard drive with a solid state one. I use several external drives for all my photos so I basically just have my OS and other software on the hard drive now. With the new hard drive my MBP boots up in 10/15 seconds! You should be able to convert over for well south of $500. A friend did mine and it's really a simple process, they basically take out your hard drive, put it and the new solid state drive in a machine that copies one to the other, which took a couple of hours. Put the new one on and your good to go.


Jul 24, 2017 at 05:53 AM
melcat
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p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · Which Mac computer option do you recommend?


Just on the keyboard: I'm writing this on the recently discontinued aluminium wired extended keyboard from Apple and I love it. It has actually been in the box from new for around 6 years because I hated the smaller tenkeyless version from Apple and assumed this one would be the same. I had a real problem with sore fingers on the old one, but this design is somehow different.

And perhaps the new (unfortunately more expensive) Lightning cable/Bluetooth one is even better. What I suggest you do if you have an Apple Store you can get to is to just go in there and spend a decent amount of time trying it out.

Before I switched to this keyboard I was using the "Happy Hacking Pro 2" keyboard for around 5 years. This is specially designed for software development, with a nonstandard layout. It uses Topre capacitive switches, a kind of quieter mechanical switch. Topre is short for Tokyo Press, and as the name suggests these keyboards were originally designed for journalists. They are also available in the standard extended layout, but unfortunately only with the Windows key instead of the Command keys. Topre (PKU Fujitsu) keyboards are very expensive and you'll have to buy them online.

However, as my touch-typing has improved I find I now prefer the standard layout.

There is a whole world of mechanical keyboards with different kinds of switches. The Topre is regarded as the Rolls-Royce, but many people like the Cherry switches made by a company in Germany. They come in different types, colour coded. World-wide, there's enough of a market to keep these specialist manufacturers going, but it's unlikely you'll be able to find any or try them out in your local mall. Sometimes computer gaming shops stock mechanical keyboards, but it's usually with the type of Cherry switches specialised for gaming rather than text typing. You might be able to get a general idea from one of these keyboards, but you'll be researching and buying online.

As I said, the Apple store is a good place to start and for most of us, to end. But keyboard preference is a personal thing, and it's well worth getting the right one for you even if it requires hunting down.



Jul 24, 2017 at 07:58 AM
starlights
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p.1 #10 · p.1 #10 · Which Mac computer option do you recommend?


Just to throw out another option - you could consider a high spec Windows DT and run Mac OS X in Virtual mode. Its just another option that will give you the best of both worlds.

Virtual machines are the way to go with the increased security (malware, ransomware etc) risk to almost all platforms now

I use two Desktops with 4 different OS es on each. Keep a copy of your installed VM handy on a secondary disk if you need to wipe out and reinstall - a 5 minute process to get back up and running or to get back to saved configuration.



Jul 24, 2017 at 09:11 AM
 

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melcat
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p.1 #11 · p.1 #11 · Which Mac computer option do you recommend?


starlights wrote:
Virtual machines are the way to go with the increased security (malware, ransomware etc) risk to almost all platforms now


It's also double the patching, that is you need to apply software updates for both the host and guest operating systems. I'm not convinced it's worth it, or indeed that you mightn't actually be reducing security. In fact one of the virtualization products (not the one Microsoft themselves ship) had a serious security hole in it recently.

I see a fair few photography vloggers using iMacs so I'd have thought one of those was adequate. But I wouldn't buy one with a hard drive or "Fusion" drive; instead I'd get one with an SSD using build-to-order. Note also that normal iMacs are not height-adjustable. There is a very well-concealed option on Apple's site to order one with a VESA mount instead of the standard unergonomic silver tilt stand.



Jul 24, 2017 at 11:09 AM
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p.1 #12 · p.1 #12 · Which Mac computer option do you recommend?


Dustin Gent wrote:
for an iMac, i would get the best you can afford. Something with an SSD and i would go for 27". You can upgrade the RAM later, so i wouldn't worry about the RAM right away.


+1, the iMac 27" late 2015 is a great choice. One point, I personally would suggest getting one with only an SSD and not one with fusion drive setup. My earlier iMac had it and the fusion never impressed me in regards to speeding up app access and since the two drives are 'fused' if one dies you are SOL regardless. Better to have a 512gb SSD and then attach an external storage array. BTW have you thought about a viable backup solution?



Jul 24, 2017 at 01:01 PM
starlights
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p.1 #13 · p.1 #13 · Which Mac computer option do you recommend?


melcat wrote:
It's also double the patching, that is you need to apply software updates for both the host and guest operating systems. I'm not convinced it's worth it, or indeed that you mightn't actually be reducing security. In fact one of the virtualization products (not the one Microsoft themselves ship) had a serious security hole in it recently.



Do you really apply patches manually to your home based computers? Whats wrong with auto updates? Virtual Machines are the easiest way to sandbox, but thats another security related discussion and i don't wish to derail OPs original topic. I just pointed out this option as another low cost means to get multiple OS's.

SSDs without a doubt are the best way to go forward, especially for applications - for large storage needs, spinning platter based HDDs would be the best option. Having a backup or RAID would enhance safety & recovery even further.



Jul 24, 2017 at 04:22 PM
ShotByTom
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p.1 #14 · p.1 #14 · Which Mac computer option do you recommend?


CanadaMark wrote:
Are you dead set on a mac? I only ask because you said money is a consideration, and you can get a much better spec'd computer for far less money if you are willing to look elsewhere.


Never fails...geez. Go back and read the first paragraph!

I would agree on the iMac recommendation. RAM and Hard Drives are easily upgraded very reasonably. If you want to same money, go with a larger Fusion drive rather than an SSD. You can get the newest iMac for $1799, not sure what your budget is though.

The newest MacBook Pro's are really small, the 13" is almost too small for my liking.



Jul 24, 2017 at 04:58 PM
CanadaMark
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p.1 #15 · p.1 #15 · Which Mac computer option do you recommend?


ShotByTom wrote:
Never fails...geez. Go back and read the first paragraph!


I did - and that is why I specifically asked about it given a major consideration seems to be cost. No need to get salty- we're all just here trying to help out a fellow FM-er make the most informed decision possible.



Jul 24, 2017 at 05:26 PM
15Bit
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p.1 #16 · p.1 #16 · Which Mac computer option do you recommend?


starlights wrote:
Just to throw out another option - you could consider a high spec Windows DT and run Mac OS X in Virtual mode. Its just another option that will give you the best of both worlds.

Virtual machines are the way to go with the increased security (malware, ransomware etc) risk to almost all platforms now


I would say this is not an idea for the layman. Aside from the complexity of trying to remember which OS you use for what, there is the cost overhead of additional software licenses and the performance penalty for virtualised OS's. And whether hardware GPU acceleration will work for software running in the VM is very questionable. And how does colour management work for a virtualised OS that is running all your photo editing software?

I would certainly recommend using a Linux VM to sandbox all your internet browsing, but hard number crunching should be done on the host operating system, not a guest. So if the OP wants a Mac, he should buy a Mac - OSX in a virtual machine isn't a great alternative in my view.



Jul 24, 2017 at 07:29 PM
15Bit
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p.1 #17 · p.1 #17 · Which Mac computer option do you recommend?


ShotByTom wrote:
Never fails...geez. Go back and read the first paragraph!

In fairness to Mark, who i know can be a little evangelistic at times, he posed a completely reasonable question in clear terms. I don't think this rebuke was warranted.

For the OP. The big question is whether you want a laptop or not. If you want that portablility, it is entirely possible to have a home "docked" environment with keyboard mouse and large screen that you just plug in. You make some performance compromises to do this (slower CPU inevitably, and higher cost), but you get portability as a trade off. You can also have the screen of your choice.

If you don't want a laptop, or the option is too costly, then an iMac is really the only option you have. Buy the most expensive you can afford. If you are lightroom-centric, bias your money towards a faster CPU at the expense of RAM and graphics. If you are photoshop-centric and editing big files, bias your money toward more RAM at the expense of CPU.

I am not a fan of Fusion drives - they always seem like a bad compromise to me. And given that an iMac is inherently limited in the amount of storage you can install, you are always going to end up with external drives of some description to hold your data. Best to accept that fact early, buy the iMac with an SSD large enough to hold files while you edit and then move them out to the external once you've done the edits.

Keyboards - i just got a Coolermaster Masterkeys L with Cherry MX brown keys. I like it. It's not as good as the IBM Model M that i had for many years (before my daughter decided it really needed a large cup of coffee pouring into it), but its pretty good.



Jul 24, 2017 at 08:10 PM
ShotByTom
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p.1 #18 · p.1 #18 · Which Mac computer option do you recommend?


15Bit wrote:
In fairness to Mark, who i know can be a little evangelistic at times, he posed a completely reasonable question in clear terms. I don't think this rebuke was warranted.

For the OP. The big question is whether you want a laptop or not. If you want that portablility, it is entirely possible to have a home "docked" environment with keyboard mouse and large screen that you just plug in. You make some performance compromises to do this (slower CPU inevitably, and higher cost), but you get portability as a trade off. You can also have the screen of your
...Show more

A little evangelical?? OP said he's already decided on Mac....He's just looking for another Mac vs Windows argument. When he shows me an all-in-one with a 5K display that runs Mac OS, then he'll have a valid point, until then, he needs to get off his soap box.

I would disagree about the Fusion drives, in my experience, they work very well. Mine is only a few seconds slower opening Photoshop than my friends with an SSD. Once open, I don't see a noticeable difference between the two. The Fusion drive is very fast. If you change your mind, you can easily replace the hard drive. I had an SSD installed in an iMac for $125 + the cost of the drive.

I wouldn't mind getting an SSD, but I felt the extra cost was better spent on a faster processor.



Jul 24, 2017 at 08:30 PM
15Bit
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p.1 #19 · p.1 #19 · Which Mac computer option do you recommend?


ShotByTom wrote:
I would disagree about the Fusion drives, in my experience, they work very well. Mine is only a few seconds slower opening Photoshop than my friends with an SSD. Once open, I don't see a noticeable difference between the two. The Fusion drive is very fast. If you change your mind, you can easily replace the hard drive. I had an SSD installed in an iMac for $125 + the cost of the drive.

I wouldn't mind getting an SSD, but I felt the extra cost was better spent on a faster processor.

My concern with the Fusion drives is that they are a compromise that gives you less than the sum of the parts. For everything that fits on the SSD part, performance is great, but for anything that doesn't you are stuck at HDD speeds. And you need to be very diligent about what you buy, because the "SSD" capacity is extremely variable depending on model and year. So a 2015-2017 model 2TB or larger would be a good choice, because it has 128GB of SSD. Which means that pretty much the whole OS + programs will fit on the SSD, and it will zip along nicely. But if you buy the 1TB, you only get 24-32GB, and then there is a compromise and the performance will be affected.

Reliability is a big part of the compromise. I'm pretty sure Apple implement "Fusion" as separate SSD + Hard drive, but format them as a single drive. Which means that the loss of either may well lose you the data on both. Now i have very positive experiences with SSD's in terms of reliability (never had one fail since buying an X25 years ago), but not so much spinning drives. I view them as a point of weakness in the Fusion drive. Which is why i would recommend an SSD over a Fusion.

There is also the question of space requirements - anyone with a lot of images and a large MP camera is not going to be able to live with just 1TB of storage. So a hard drive upgrade is going to be necessary. The option of a 3TB Fusion upgrade is $300. The option for a 256GB SSD upgrade is $100. For the $200 difference you can buy a 5 or 6TB external drive.

They are not so easy to replace you know - the screen needs to be carefully removed from the casing, breaking some seals in the process, and the drive mounted in behind. I am pretty sure you invalidate your warranty when you do this too.



Jul 25, 2017 at 05:35 AM
butchM
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p.1 #20 · p.1 #20 · Which Mac computer option do you recommend?


15Bit wrote:
The option of a 3TB Fusion upgrade is $300. The option for a 256GB SSD upgrade is $100. For the $200 difference you can buy a 5 or 6TB external drive.


In total agreement with this philosophy.

On the subject of Fusion Drive vs SSD, I will never buy another computer with a spinning drive as the internal startup drive. Especially in a computer of an all-in-one design or laptop. Spinning drives simply generate too much heat by comparison. It's well worth the extra cost to avoid that issue not to mention the improved performance.

Keeping RAW photo files and video footage on external Thunderbolt or USB3 external drives more than sufficient for even demanding professional workflows.



Jul 25, 2017 at 06:00 AM
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