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Help in choosing a computer

  • # February 25, 2013 at 10:35 am

    Hi,
    I always worked with the computers that my employers gave me.
    Now I’m using a big iMac which is perfect in developing websites but I would like to buy a laptop to be able to experiment/work from home, I’m just really confused about what I should buy.
    I think going for a mac is the right choice, but I don’t know which one.
    I will carry around that thing nearly every day, so I think a light macbook air is the right choice, but then I realize that a macbook pro with retina display would let me work for retina ready websites easier and then I go “it’s so expensive that if I add another little bit of money I get the top-of-the-line macbook pro, should I go for it?”. But then again, it would be bigger and heavier..
    tl;dr: I’m confused. I don’t know which computer I should buy, so I though I’d ask the community for personal experiences or advices.

    Thanks

    Jonas

    # February 25, 2013 at 10:38 am

    I toyed with this very question recently. I’m currently on a XP. I chose to go with the MacBook Pro retina and then when I have the money I’m going to get a 27 inch monitor to plug my MacBook into when I’m at home. Then I have the best of both worlds. Retina – mobile – and large display.

    # February 25, 2013 at 10:40 am

    Would a high-end Air might do the trick?

    # February 25, 2013 at 10:42 am

    One dislike I have with the Air is that it is really small. I don’t think I could work daily on a screen of that size.

    # February 25, 2013 at 10:43 am

    >Help in choosing a computer

    Read: Which Mac should I get? :)

    # February 25, 2013 at 11:04 am

    > One dislike I have with the Air is that it is really small. I don’t think I could work daily on a screen of that size.

    I wouldn’t buy an Air for myself due to the lack of power but it sounds as though portability is a specific concern here and it certainly has a good hold on that market.

    # February 25, 2013 at 11:08 am

    I would say the Air was made for simple portable use (email, light browsing, etc) rather than daily work use. This is the difference between the Air and Pro.

    # February 25, 2013 at 11:11 am

    Personally, I work on a maxed-out late 2011 MacBook Pro 15″, and I love it. I got mine about two months before the Retina models came out, and I’m happy that I did, as I actually occasionally use my disc drive. :O

    I will say, save any RAM/HDD upgrades for after you get it home. The Apple Store charges ridiculous prices for RAM and storage. I put 16GB of RAM in mine for less than the price of upgrading to 8GB in the Apple Store, and SSD prices keep coming down.

    Oh, I forgot to add: I highly recommend springing for the anti-glare screen, if it’s still available on the newer models. It makes a huge difference in design work, and it’s just plain easier to use than the glossy screens, because they reflect light horribly in my experience, causing lots of glare. If you plan on ever working from a coffee shop, your front porch, or near a window, you’ll appreciate the anti-glare screen.

    # February 25, 2013 at 11:24 am

    > I would say the Air was made for simple portable use (email, light browsing, etc) rather than daily work use.

    To an extent, that’s true. I think though, in terms of normal web development tasks (coding, Photoshop etc.), the moderns Airs are more than competent with reasonable Core chips, up to 8GB of RAM and reasonable solid stage memory. I don’t see the processor being a huge problem unless super-high bitrate footage is being crunched all the time. The one bottleneck I do foresee is lack of storage capacity. Arguably however, the amount of storage in the machine itself ought to be circumvented by the fact that people should be backup up important media on external devices to begin with. The screen size may be a problem I suppose, but one will always have to make a few compromises to get the portability.

    # February 25, 2013 at 11:48 am

    I disagree that the MacBook Air is not suitable for daily work. I spend 50% of my time on my Air (the screencasts I do over at Codeboxers.com as well).

    It can handle photoshop/illustrator and web development with ease.

    I do have the 13″ version though because the 11″ was just too small screen space wise.

    # February 25, 2013 at 1:00 pm

    I wasn’t saying it couldn’t be suitable for daily work, I just don’t think that’s what it was created for. Personally, I couldn’t work on a 13″ screen let alone an 11”. I would go with a 15″ Pro if it’s within your budget.

    # February 25, 2013 at 3:17 pm

    I have a Sony VAIO SVE1712C5E, added 8GB PC12800 Corsair Vengeance myself (they didn’t have high speed memory option at the time) and a Samsung 830 series 256GB SSD. It’s lightning fast, fully boots in 10 seconds, has a 17″ 1080p screen and very nice designed.

    Oh… you want to pay twice as much for a Mac with equal specs :P

    # February 25, 2013 at 3:41 pm

    Let me just suggest [Dell Outlet](http://www.dell.com/outlet). Look at the Latitude & Precision (more expensive) line. I’ve got Latitude 6420 (older model) for about $500, since I’ve only maxed out memory at 8GB’s and installed Linux. For me this is plenty when I’m on the go. If I’m working on some hi-rez graphics I’m on my desktop workstation (Win 7) anyways.

    If you decide to go with MAC buy refurbished. You do not need to spend lots of money for latest and greatest. You can produce great work from non-retina display. As for what you should get. I don’t know. Go to the Apple store and use some of the devices they have there. See what feels most comfortable to you. Then make your decision. If I had to suggest, nothing less than 15 inch MacBook Pro. (non-retina).

    Hope that helps,
    -Alen

    # February 25, 2013 at 3:50 pm

    @chrisburton – Oh absolutely, I agree it’s not intended for hardcore usage, if I was to buy a portable primary machine I’d stump for the Pro, maybe not Retina though. I appreciate that the screen is super high quality but it’s a lot of cash for a prettier display.

    As for me, my 3.4ghz, 27″ iMac is my primary machine, the Air is like a portable alternative (read, coding when on the couch watching TV!)

    # February 25, 2013 at 7:07 pm

    My recommendation would be to get a 13″ or 15″ MacBook Pro and a monitor that you plug it into at home. That way you have a large screen when working from home, and a portable laptop when travelling.

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