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Buying MacBook! HELP!!

Discussion in 'Off Topic [BG]' started by joel, Dec 29, 2013.

  1. joel

    joel Supporting Member

    Sep 21, 2002
    Any suggestions on what I should be looking for in a new MacBook. It will be used for regular Internet use, storing photos and music and I want to get into Recording music.
    I honestly have no idea what I'm looking for so any help would be great!
    Looking to spend 1000-1400
  2. For most day to day stuff, you don't need the power most MacBooks have.

    If recording, how many tracks and what kind of interfaces are you looking at, if any? That'll really start to dictate what you want to look at.

    I have a 13" macbook pro with retina display, very pretty but mainly to use some software at work.
  3. tplyons


    Apr 6, 2003
    Madison, NJ
    First things first, are you a student in high school or college/university? They offer decent discounts for students.

    Secondly, the MacBook air is good for media consumption, not media creation due to their small size and not much storage. The MacBook Pro is decent for this... I'm typing from a 2-year old MBP right now. Unless you're into photography and processing, I wouldn't spring for the Retina display right now though... too expensive and the standard screen is still surprisingly adequate.

    The only thing to keep in mind, the current generation of MacBook Pro is almost two years old... I would expect to see new ones released in the Summer. If you can hold off for a bit, it's good to wait, but if you can't don't sweat it, the current generation is still very good.
  4. joel

    joel Supporting Member

    Sep 21, 2002
    Ill just be dabbling with recording. Adding drum loops etc.
    what is adequate as far as hard drive, and processing speed?

    It's pretty sad I've been using my iphone for all my electronic needs and I'm getting fed up!
  5. (Edited) Lots of variables here, but your price range is going to take you into used I think. Any 2012 or newer MacBook Pro with an i7 processor (I recommend looking for the QUAD core i7), 8+ GB RAM, and a 500+ GB hard drive will be decent. Retina isn't necessary, and there were some concerns or issues regarding Retina screen reliability on some of the first MacBook Pro Retinas ("some screens," from certain parts suppliers for the first 2012 models, but it seems Apple seriously fixed the quality woes since then in all their current new products). Again, that's per your price range, and my idea of a robust enough machine to keep you happy for a while.

    Older/lesser specs will work, but you can quickly outgrow that, and not really save $ by going there anyway. I'd gladly use less/older if I already had it, got it cheap from friend/family, etc but wouldn't buy in below that. Also, there are additional gear costs to make it work, I.e. software, a hardware interface.

    It's possible to use an iPad, but can't advise you there yet... Just got one and haven't geared it up yet. I see lots of options though, might meet your needs, maybe check that out... About to check out the Line 6 stuff for iPad soon.
  6. BioDriver

    BioDriver A Cinderella story

    Aug 29, 2008
    No matter which route you go, look at a refurbished Mac. You'll save hundreds and it will be just as good as factory-fresh products.
  7. tplyons


    Apr 6, 2003
    Madison, NJ
    Less customization options, but if you can find the right machine, you'll save a ton.

    However, savings are comparable to a new machine with a student discount. If you're not a student, this is the best way to go. If you are a student, I'd recommend buying new.
  8. MakiSupaStar

    MakiSupaStar The Lowdown Diggler

    Apr 12, 2006
    Huntington Beach, CA
    Depends what you're using. Macbook Pro is best for processor intensive software (Video, Music). If you're recording, take a look at your needs. Are you recording an entire band at a time 16 or more tracks at a time, or are you just recording a few tracks at a time. If you're only doing a few tracks at a time, take a look at your basic macbooks. They're pretty robust and can do a lot of stuff. With either solution you'll need an external HD for backing up your recording though.
  9. You would be surprised what you can do with the Air, I have one and it is fantastic. If you are concerned about storage, just buy an external harddrive for storing movies, music and photos.

  10. I've got a 2010 15" MacBook Pro, I've done everything from playing video games to editing HD video (real-time rendering as well!!), and I've also recorded a full band mix with 14 individual tracks live with no hiccups. I'm also running on the original install of Snow Leopard, but I have upgraded the hard drive a few times for more storage - the tools built-in make it pretty easy.

    In short - any recent MBP should work for you.

  11. 4Mal

    4Mal Supporting Member

    Jun 2, 2002
    Columbia River Gorge
    I've recorded 16 tracks, 3 hours of music on a 2008 macbook... I replaced the HD with and an SSD drive and maxed the memory to 4 gig. The interface was my Presonus SL board, firewire 400 to the mac and Presonus Capture was the recording software.

    Oh yeah, that same mac book was also hosting my iPad interfaced to the board...

    You can record successfully with a lot less than is often though... I would like to upgrade to an MBP with the monster bid display one day, mostly for the display.
  12. Bipslapper

    Bipslapper Well Ahoy, Paloi Supporting Member

    Sep 20, 2009
    Cape Cod, MA
    Agree completely. The external HD's are cheap and you can also check out cloud storage. I have both for my MacBook Pro.
    My wife and I bought our youngest daughter a Macbook Air and it works great. The external CD Rom was only $30.00 and she only uses it to load older CDs for music and older software installations; so much is online now that we use the CD drive less and less.
  13. BioDriver

    BioDriver A Cinderella story

    Aug 29, 2008
    Aside from the processor, you can upgrade the RAM or hard drive yourself for a fraction of what Apple charges to do it.

    But yeah, if you can use a student discount then go for it.
  14. MJ5150

    MJ5150 Terrific Twister

    Apr 12, 2001
    Lacey, WA
    Get the one in the classifieds. A little beyond your budget, but it's a good deal.


  15. I haven't ever needed an external CD Rom for my Air. Everything is downloadable through the App Store. We have the 13", but that was my wife's choice, I would have been happy with the 11".

  16. MJ5150

    MJ5150 Terrific Twister

    Apr 12, 2001
    Lacey, WA
    Do people still use CD-Roms?

  17. I just bought a MBP w/ 15" retina, 500GB drive, quad core something and IIRC, 16mb of memory. Dude said it was the current generation release of everything except the battery, which was one gen. older, meaning I won't get up to 8 hours of battery life (NBD for me). Basically he said it was a maxed out MBP that should have been about $2,800 new in box.

    Open box discount, $2K out the door.

    Somebody please tell me I didn't get screwed. I had no idea (well, little idea) of what I was doing. Made a quick decision as I needed to spend the money this year for the tax write off.

    FWIW - I know (I think) it's way more machine than what I need. It's for my business, I'm a realtor. But - I wanted the large retina to minimize eye fatigue (I'm 48, the eyes are fading quite a bit). I demoed between retina and non-retina over and over again the past few weeks, and it really made a difference to me. I need to have multiple applications running simultaneously, lots of web based database stuff, internet searches, map functions and so on, and I HATE waiting for pages to load, screens to refresh and so on. Lots of documents and hi-res pictures, video home tours as well, so storage was important.

    I think I might have over reacted and over bought - kind of a knee jerk reaction, I don't know.

    Do you think I'll know the difference compared to my 11" XP running Dell Inspiron circa 2004 w/ 40GB drive and who knows how much memory?
  18. You did well on that, good deal. Not just for a MacBook, but for a laptop in general. If you need windows for anything, don't hesitate to make a partition and duel boot, MacBooks are the best windows laptop out there.

  19. Really? Good to know.

    I had one guy tell me I was an idiot. He had spec'd out a Toshiba deal for me for like $500 bucks. Said it was more than I need. He also hates Apple though. He's not speaking to me now ;-)

    I have grown to hate windows, one of the reasons I went Mac. I have grown into an apple guy over the past year, having gone iPhone from blackberry, and then getting an iPad, which has changed my life. I use it as the ultimate personal organizer and reader. I also keep all my active contracts on it, no more paper for me.

    So anyway, I figured I'd just go full on Apple and live more or less in the same environment at all times.