How to buy a Mac: 10 things you should know

“I recently got a request from a reader. His kid is going to college for media production and needs to get a Mac. He wanted to know what to buy and how to configure a Mac to best suit his child’s needs,” David Gewirtz writes for ZDNet. “I get questions like this a lot, so in this article I’m going to answer the more general question: what should you think about when buying a Mac?”

“There are a number of choice vectors you’ll need to balance,” Gewirtz writes. “The first is cost. New Macs range from $799 up to over $13,000. There are also used Macs, and while I won’t discuss them here, most of the configuration factors I’ll be discussing apply to them as well.”

“My Macs have lasted quite a long time. I gave away a ten year old iMac that was still running when I moved,” Gewirtz writes. “Up until last month, my main machine was a still very functional four year old iMac. Our fleet of older Mac minis are six and seven years old. They’ll probably only go out of service when Apple stops issuing OS updates for them, and then relied upon applications also stop doing updates. You should expect that the Mac you’re buying today will be in active use for at least three years, and possibly five and six years.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: With Macintosh, you might pay a bit more upfront, but you’ll end up spending less, often far less, over the life of the machine.

Don’t believe us? Ask IBM.

SAP: Apple’s Macintosh is key for any modern enterprise – February 4, 2016
IBM: Every Mac we buy is making and saving us money – October 28, 2015
Now we know why IT support hates Macs (hint: Windows PCs = job security) – October 19, 2015
IBM: Corporate Mac users need less IT support than those stuck on Windows – October 18, 2015
Just 5% of Mac users at IBM need help desk support vs. 40% of Windows PC sufferers – October 15, 2015


    1. #1 addendums for Gary —

      1.a: Unless the Mac Pro is from 2010-2012 and the user is prepared to install the upgrades necessary to perform the functions he needs

      1.b: Unless the user cares nothing about connectivity, has money to burn, loves to use Thunderbolt 2 peripherals, and thinks the 2013-2019? trashcan is good enough.

      1.c: Unless the user doesn’t really need high performance but does get a screaming deal on a trashcan for relatively low-performance tasks like a home media server or playing Civ on massive large screen displays or whatever.

      1.d: Unless the hobbyist is into antique computer collecting.

      1.e: Unless the Hackintosh builder is willing to make a custom processing array from several donated trashcan Mac Pros

      1.f: Unless the user intends to use the Trashcn Mac Pro in its most effective purpose: as a projectile from an air cannon

      1.g: Unless George Lucas needs to make an R2D3 for the dark side.

  1. Using MacBook Pros and Razer Blade Pros on a daily basis, its still my observation that MacOS is by far a more versatile environment than Windows. I don’t hate Windows anymore. It’s just an awkward platform compared to MacOS.

    1. Windows 10 Pro is by far the best version of Windows yet. I have been using Windows in the work environment from early days and Satya Nadella’s MS seems to be fixing stuff long ignored. Apple seems to be on a mission to dumb down and cripple the Mac slowly.

      What I observe is that Macs are becoming less stable and capable and Windows PCs are becoming more stable and capable. That is what neglect does to a platform.

  2. One of the problems with “Macs” is that they age well. I’m putting a terabyte SSD and 32GB of RAM into a 2013 27 inch iMac today. When done it will run like a new machine, and the guy it’s going to won’t realize that he’s just been given a 6 year old computer on his first day at the new company.

    1. My main work machine is still a 2011 27″ iMac. Years ago I installed SSD and 32 GB RAM, like you are doing. It so reinvigorated the sluggish machine that only now, eight years into owning this iMac am I beginning to yearn for something new. Praying for something good enough from Apple in the coming months to allow me to feel good about another desktop Mac purchase.

  3. New Macs are made to fail inside a few years.
    Cook’s Apple Care is no guarantee you won’t be out hundreds.
    All components are permanently soldered.
    Ram un-upgradeable
    HDD un-upgradeable
    In 2019 we still have a Mac with a 5400 rpm HDD
    Screens have peeling and display issues
    The keyboards are shit
    Cook exited the monitor business
    Cook killed magsafe so you can more easily break your device

  4. I have a Mac Pro. It’s fast but it’s a stupid design leading to a very cluttered desktop. It’s becoming unreliable, mostly because it gets hot and the innards are inaccessible even with compressed air so it’s quite dusty. The 27” monitor cable (as with all Apple cables) is deteriorating and Apple wants an arm and a leg to replace it. When it gives up I will replace it with a Windows tower and enjoy a clean desk,

    My MacBook had its hopeless keyboard replaced by Apple, for free, a few months back. To be honest I hardly used it for the last 2 years because the keyboard was so awful. It was better, slightly, with the replacement keyboard but, already, the space bar only works sometimes. Apple wanted an arm and a leg to replace the battery which is well beyond its use-by date. I told them not to bother because the MacBook was so awful to use I never relied on the battery.

    My advice to the parent is not to buy a Mac at all. There was a time when Macs were way better than the competition, but Steve died and Apple changed from a company focused on the best solutions for users, to a company focused on the wallets of users.

    My wallet is now closed to Apple permanently.

  5. The best Apple a student can buy is a Mac mini and an iPad with LTE. The laptops are overpriced and underpowered throwaway devices that no longer hold their value. The iMacs sold today are as well.

    If you need areal workstation, buy a BTO H-P Z2 mini which can be configured from an i3 to a Xeon CPU and can be ordered with a discrete NVIDIA GPU. It can be opened without tools and user upgraded for storage, memory and wireless. It also includes a 3 year onsite service warranty and they cost no more than a Mac mini.

    The world runs on LINUX servers, Windows PCs and Android cell phones. That may not be a popular thing to say, but it is true.

Reader Feedback

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.