How to choose a MacBook
I wrote the following to a friend who wanted to upgrade his ageing MacBook, but wasn’t sure which of the new models to get…
128gb storage is the minimum you’ll need to do serious work. Questions to consider…
How much space do the following take up on my current computer?
- Mac applications
- Apps for iPhone plus backup
What do you plan to actually DO with your notebook?
Battery life is longer on the 13-inch models compared with the 11-inch models.
If you plan to do a fair amount of movie rendering or other processor intensive work, consider paying extra to upgrade to a faster processor.
I own a MacBook Pro 17-inch which I upgraded in the checkout on Apple’s Online Store to 512gb of SSD storage for the much faster loading and saving speed, 8gb of RAM and the faster processor. I justify this investment as this MacBook Pro is my workhorse for producing videos for YouTube, etc.
MacBook Air SuperDrive: useful if you have files or movies on CD or DVD you want to access.
Carrying case: You can get these at a much lower cost on ebay. Decide if you want a front pocket to hold the charger and any cables you may own.
How will you get your data from your current notebook to this new notebook? Your new device will come with very clever Migration Assistant, but you’ll need to know which sockets you have on your current notebook so you can connect to this new one. For example, you could use an Ethernet cable to move the data across. In which case you’ll need this cable. (Borrow one or get one very cheap from ebay.) If you get a MacBook Air you’ll need an Ethernet Adapter which costs £25. You may find a cheaper ‘copy’ one on ebay. Bear in mind that moving the data can take a couple of hours, and you’ll want to do this as soon as you get your new notebook.
Backup storage: It’s useful to backup your entire notebook from time to time. My advice is, if you get 256gb of flash storage on your new notebook, to buy a 512gb hard drive with at least a USB2 connection or, even better, a FireWire 2 or Thunderbolt connection for speed. Then use the free Carbon Copy Cloner software to clone your internal drive and then do incremental backups every week or 2. This procedure isn’t so important now that iCloud has been launched, but personally I’d rather have a clone of my MacBook Pro on an external drive than rely on the cloud completely. For a start, a full recovery from a hard drive will be faster than downloading from the cloud!
If you have any questions about this quickly put-together guide, let me know!
Chris Payne helps people triumph over the challenges in their lives: one-on-one, by phone, and via video calls. He also creates websites like this one for people, and teaches them how to earn a part- or full-time income from their website. See this page for more about him.