Buying a new MacBook

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Buying a new MacBook

Post by cpeck » Mon May 25, 2020 1:12 pm

My early 2011 MBP is still kicking, but I’ve started thinking about getting a new laptop. It will generally be an email machine and will occasionally be used for recording. I use ProTools, have a silver UA Apollo (with Thunderbolt) and would like to have the option of recording up to 16 tracks simultaneously at 48/24. It won’t be my primary machine (I have a 4,1 Mac Pro for that), but I would like to consider this a solid machine should it be needed.

It’s been a long time (well, 9 years) since I bought a new computer. Which MacBook am I looking at? I don’t play video games or do any real video work. Only looking at laptops and only looking at Apple. TIA!

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Re: Buying a new MacBook

Post by pad » Mon May 25, 2020 1:32 pm

Id check for good prices for a new mac book air?
i think thats the best option, it is fast and is propper for Audio/Adobe CC.
Well and its the most reasonable priced one!

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Re: Buying a new MacBook

Post by Larry Mal » Mon May 25, 2020 2:33 pm

I disagree about the Air. While it's gotten a lot better lately, it still comes in at a measly 1.1 GHz processor (quad core now, though) with "Turbo Boost" up to a higher speed.

And the i5 comes in a $1300, which is right where the 13" MacBook Pro lives. There is an i3 but I would not consider that.

The current lowest MacBook Pro comes in at $1300 also, but you start off with a 1.4 GHz processor so you already have a performance boost. If I was spending $1300, it's no question that I would choose the low end MacBook Pro over the Air.

Neither really impresses me much. It's a lot of money for not a lot of computer. It'll probably serve you well, though.

If you spend $1800 on the 13" MacBook Pro, you finally get up to a 2.0 GHz processor i5 quad core.

The 16" MacBook Pros are where things start cooking, the $2400 puts you up to a six core i7 clocking in at 2.6GHz, that's going to be a great machine. Even better, the $2800 model you hit an 8-core God damn i9 processor. That'll handle anything you throw at it, still, I would never spend that much on a laptop for any use.

If I wanted a computer with that kind of specs for studio use, I would buy a desktop computer. Laptops break easily and go missing, and I am not going to carry around three thousand dollars worth of super high performance to check my emails at the coffee shop, you know?

I am underwhelmed by everything about Apple these days. I'm not trying to talk you out of it or anything because I would like to stay with the platform also, but Apple's view of the lower cost machines does not correlate with my own, and I think they might have priced me out.

If I was going to buy an Apple right now to replace my aging 2010 12-core Mac Pro, it would be the new 6-core i7 Mac mini, and I would just use external disks for recording and sampling and look into an external GPU option.
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Re: Buying a new MacBook

Post by somanytoys » Mon May 25, 2020 3:56 pm

Good info, and I think good advice. Now that I’ve made somewhat of the switch with 2 Apples (and have always had an iPhone since like the 3) , I’ll always have a functional Apple computer.

I've always been a windows person, since. 3.1. Nobody had macs back then except for graphics places and studios that I recall. I still have a pc laptop from around 2014/2015, that works pretty well, even after upgrading from 8.1 to 10 Pro, but I have a lot of shit on it.

Another good thing is that with the Apple, I could just run Parallel (I think it is) and run windows in a window on the MBP. I may or may not get another pc computer at some point later, I’ll have to see where I am with windows at that point. But I think with the Apple, I’d rather the desktop version than the laptop next time.

I know and read about a lot of people like Larry, that are still cruising along with 10 year old+ Apples. I have a 2009 iMac and a 2014 MBP, and have no real complaints. I only push the iMac so hard, but it’s no slower than my pc laptop. How many people do you hear about being happy with a pc/windows based computer 8-10 years down the road, without upgrading parts along the way? Okay, Alienware maybe, but not that much else.

Apple does make good stuff, and it remains very functional for a long time, but their stuff is most definitely expensive. And like it or not, they do have the better software, always have.
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Re: Buying a new MacBook

Post by Larry Mal » Mon May 25, 2020 4:34 pm

Nah- you get something like a Dell business class computer, you'll have something that will last a decade. The only reason Apple is rated to last longer is because the statistics include a bunch of garbage computers like the Toshiba Satellites, if they still make those pieces of shit, that crap out in a couple of years and are designed to. But they only cost a few hundred bucks.

Under the hood, Apple is better in some ways and not so good in other ways. They usually try to slip pretty underwhelming video cards past you historically, for instance.

I'll agree about the software- they give you that stuff almost for free, in order to keep you on the platform. Logic Pro is fantastic, Final Cut is great, even Pages is a great alternative to Word.

And of course the OS is better, still, I wish Apple would quit baking so much security hassles into the software.
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Re: Buying a new MacBook

Post by Singlebladepickup » Mon May 25, 2020 6:07 pm

Currently using a 2012 Macbook Air. Thing has never let me down. I had a dell before that, which lasted a decade but only worked well for half that. I also had an HP that fried its own motherboard after less than 2 years. I'm done with iphone, but I'd buy another mac computer

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Re: Buying a new MacBook

Post by eskmsaul » Mon May 25, 2020 6:13 pm

I've heard that there's keyboard problems in lots of the new MacBooks for a while now, but I think some models just got new and improved keyboards. You should check to see if the model you're getting has one.

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Re: Buying a new MacBook

Post by burpgun » Thu May 28, 2020 7:02 pm

I've been buying Macs for going on 25 years and my company even finally ended its PC only world and gave those of us that wanted it MacBook Airs. And Airs are great computers for basic stuff, but no, they are not ideal for music except as a unit to maybe capture recordings to mix elsewhere.

Something has really gone off the rails at Apple in recent years with laptops. Any amount of power and the machine is just wildly, wildly expensive. It's like they're trying to steer you to an iPad Pro or something, which also feels overpriced. On the other side of the ledger, I've got a quad core iMac from 2017 that I paid $1500 for and it's perfect for music. Haven't stressed it to the limit yet, and Ableton Live is my main jam. I guess what I'm saying is if you can go desktop, do that.

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Re: Buying a new MacBook

Post by adamrobertt » Fri May 29, 2020 5:09 pm

I have the 16'' MacBook Pro and it's a fantastic machine. It did cost $2300 though, so it's all about what you want to spend. But I probably won't need a new computer for a long time.

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Re: Buying a new MacBook

Post by dc » Fri May 29, 2020 6:12 pm

i won't claim any expertise on current specs, but my experience is that spending more up front for a top-of-the-line MacBook pays for itself with the longevity of the machine. my last week of grad school in 2014, while writing my final paper in the cafe at Getty Villa, i dumped a latte all over my MacBook .... %^$^$#@$!!!!!! :wtf: :fp: :squint: it's a genteel establishment, and with my "reaction" they were glad to see me go - :ph34r:

predictably it had fried the board in a nanosecond. i raced into Santa Monica and found a repair shop that (thank god) could salvage the hard drive; while the geeks were working their magic, i went over to the Mac store and picked up what was then a top machine, a mid-2014, 13-inch MacBook Pro with a 3Ghz dual-core i7. it cost $2K, but six years later the machine still performs flawlessly and has adapted to every OS update etc. without a hitch. i fully expect to have it for another few years, which will make it by far my longest running laptop. stretched over these six years, that's an investment of what, a little over $300/year? i'd do it again -
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Re: Buying a new MacBook

Post by PorkyPrimeCut » Sun May 31, 2020 2:16 am

I replaced my old, faithful late '09 MBP with a refurbished mid '17 MBP - 2.9 GHz Intel Core i7, 500GB SSD

I love it. Even the weird touch strip that's replaced solid F keys is great, once you understand how to customise it. I'm constantly impressed by how it integrates with apps like Photoshop & Illustrator. Very cool but probably not for everyone.

I just wish it wasn't entirely USB-C. I'm mean, OK, it's supposed to be the future but a single USB 2 port would have been useful. Instead I've had to buy a couple of adapters. No biggy but kinda typical Apple behaviour.

Oh, check the specs of the built-in "FaceTime" camera too. Mine is 720p (when you'd really expect to get something that's 1080HD). Some smaller models even come with 480p cams, which is appalling.
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Re: Buying a new MacBook

Post by adamrobertt » Sun May 31, 2020 4:44 pm

dc wrote:
Fri May 29, 2020 6:12 pm
i won't claim any expertise on current specs, but my experience is that spending more up front for a top-of-the-line MacBook pays for itself with the longevity of the machine. my last week of grad school in 2014, while writing my final paper in the cafe at Getty Villa, i dumped a latte all over my MacBook .... %^$^$#@$!!!!!! :wtf: :fp: :squint: it's a genteel establishment, and with my "reaction" they were glad to see me go - :ph34r:

predictably it had fried the board in a nanosecond. i raced into Santa Monica and found a repair shop that (thank god) could salvage the hard drive; while the geeks were working their magic, i went over to the Mac store and picked up what was then a top machine, a mid-2014, 13-inch MacBook Pro with a 3Ghz dual-core i7. it cost $2K, but six years later the machine still performs flawlessly and has adapted to every OS update etc. without a hitch. i fully expect to have it for another few years, which will make it by far my longest running laptop. stretched over these six years, that's an investment of what, a little over $300/year? i'd do it again -
Yeah - that's something that a lot of people skip over when they bitch about Mac pricing. Is $2300 a lot for a laptop? Yes - but I've never had a MacBook that didn't last 5+ years, usually closer to 10. Never had a Dell last that long.

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Re: Buying a new MacBook

Post by bah humbuck » Sun Jun 07, 2020 4:13 pm

I spent something like $1500 on a 13" MacBook Pro in late 2013. When it died three years later, I spent $250 on a Lenovo Thinkpad T440p. Couldn't be happier. I swapped out the drive for a 1tb SSD, all the other parts are also user serviceable so if something breaks I can replace it. Not the case with the MacBook.

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Re: Buying a new MacBook

Post by PorkyPrimeCut » Sun Jun 07, 2020 11:08 pm

bah humbuck wrote:
Sun Jun 07, 2020 4:13 pm
I spent something like $1500 on a 13" MacBook Pro in late 2013. When it died three years later, I spent $250 on a Lenovo Thinkpad T440p. Couldn't be happier. I swapped out the drive for a 1tb SSD, all the other parts are also user serviceable so if something breaks I can replace it. Not the case with the MacBook.
How did it die?
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Re: Buying a new MacBook

Post by burpgun » Tue Jun 09, 2020 6:09 am

Just to make the situation murkier, Bloomberg reported today that Apple is going announce soon that they're moving MacOS computers to the same chips they use in the phones and iPads. I've been buying Macs for 25 years. I've gone 68K to PowerPC to Intel, from Mac OS 7 all the way through to Mojave. I can see how this transition would be fine for a person who just does the basics but anyone with power needs and specialized software is going to hurt bad. Hell, I've still got enough legacy stuff tied up in 32 bit stuff that I can't go beyond Mojave, even though the set up I use to record daily is now finally fully 64 bits. I'd have to keep a machine around just to get access to older songs.

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