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Geek Question about Apple notebooks


Carroll B's Avatar
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01-06-17, 10:37 AM   #1 (permalink)  
Geek Question about Apple notebooks

School me on Apple notebooks. My 3-year old Lenovo desktop running Windows 10 system crashed yesterday. Spent 3+ hours trying to repair and then had to do a restore, another 3 hours. Today I've spent 3 hours reloading most of my programs. Didn't lose my data files, plus I back them up on a regular basis. I have a Lenovo notebook, about 4 years old also running Win 10 but if I get a mac I will give that to my brother. Thinking of picking up a used Apple notebook, but don't know which model and OS will suit my basic needs. Will only use it for email, word, excel, power point, and to drive my VGA projector when I'm using power point for teaching. What am I looking for in the way of hardware and approximate cost, again thinking used/refurbished. Friend showed me one he had just bought used on flea-bay for $600, then he installed a 500 gig solid state drive and 16 gigs of ram. He had about $800 in it and the notebook was about 6 years old. I know nothing of what operating system to look for, what processor, what adapter I will need to drive the VGA projector, if I can use my current mouse with some type of adapter as I don't like using a touch-pad, etc.

 
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01-06-17, 11:01 AM   #2 (permalink)  
Why do you want to switch platforms?

 
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01-06-17, 11:45 AM   #3 (permalink)  
I use Windows on my desktop computers and have Mac for my laptop so I'm always using both. I must admit that I have never had many problems with the Mac. Contrast that to the endless problems I have crop up on one PC or the other every time Microsoft releases a big update. So, I can understand your interest in wanting to try Mac.

I think a slightly used or 2016 new Mac would be a good choice. Make sure you get one that has traditional USB 2 or 3.0 ports and even better if you get one that has a SD card slot. On new models Apple has drastically reduced the number of ports on their laptops and gone with their almost proprietary USB 3.1 which NOTHING fits without a special adapter.

For you a MacBook Air 11" or 13" would probably work well. They come standard with solid state hard drives. My Air 11" new was $900 and used they can be had for half that. The Air models are very light, thin and sexy. You could also look for a used MacBook Pro. They are heavier and thicker but offer more horsepower and more ports. Whichever you choose you may need to get a separate dongle to convert to VGA to drive your projector as it's been a really long time since a computer Mac or PC has had a VGA port.

Don't look too much at the hardware specs for Mac computers. They work differently and magically more efficiently. What by the specs may seem like a low powered Mac Air 11" can handle my heavy photo editing software with ease while it takes a PC with much more horsepower to do the same. RAM also really can't be compared across platforms. About the only internal spec you can compare across platforms is hard drive/solid state drive capacity. For you any Mac laptop made in the past 3-4 years will probably work quite well. Newer is generally better just stay away from the new models without USB 2 and 3.0 ports.

 
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01-06-17, 11:52 AM   #4 (permalink)  
Since apple stopped using Motorola CPUs and switched to Intel CPU they are all basically x-86 computers. They just run different OSes. In fact, at least when they first made the switch, you could run Windows on a Mac. When you buy a Mac you are really purchasing an OS and being forced to buy overpriced hardware to support it. < Opinion>


I can explain it to you, but I can't understand it for you.

 
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01-06-17, 11:58 AM   #5 (permalink)  
To get away from windows at least on my notebook. My notebook drive is partitioned in such a way that the Window's partition is running out of space. I constantly get an error when running power point that says the drive is almost out of space. I know I can buy software that will allow me to increase the size of the partition but I haven't done that. I tried to enlarge it using the Windows tools but it will not allow me to increase the size.

 
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01-06-17, 12:05 PM   #6 (permalink)  
Thanks Pilot Dane, that info is what I am looking for. I will talk with a couple of friends, like the one I saw two nights ago as he likes mac's and in his job he deals with computers and software. Once I find one in my price range I will ask his opinion. I like the size of the Mac Air. My Lenovo notebook weighs about 5-6 pounds. I try to let the battery run down before I plug in the adapter to charge it, but even with a fully charged battery it will only run about 20-30 minutes before I need to plug it in. I have seen the mac adapters to let the mac talk to a VGA, and they run about $30. The one my friend had blows away all my PC's in how fast it will boot from a cold start. He didn't need to drag along an ac adapter like I have to with my PC.

 
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01-06-17, 12:29 PM   #7 (permalink)  
FWIW, you seem to want to switch because you don't have the control over the PC that you would like to have. Be prepared for that to be even worse with an Apple product.

 
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01-06-17, 12:44 PM   #8 (permalink)  
If you want control switch to Linux. It will be perhaps more familiar to use if you use a KDE desktop then Mac and easier than Windows if you use one of the versions for beginners. Slight irony here both the Mack OS and the Linux OS have roots in Unix. The Linux is is just a lot cheaper, as in free. Using Linux it will install with probably no problem on your Leveno so no new hardware to buy.


I can explain it to you, but I can't understand it for you.

 
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01-06-17, 11:35 PM   #9 (permalink)  
Something tells me that Linux is not for Carroll not to mention that KDE doesn't compare to Mac graphics.

 
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01-07-17, 12:41 AM   #10 (permalink)  
Never used a Mac so I will bow to your knowledge.


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01-09-17, 10:15 AM   #11 (permalink)  
A few days late to the discussion, but I would agree with Pilot Dane on what he said. When my parents started using a computer ~10 years ago, I wish I had gotten them on a Mac at the time. Every few months is a new issue that they have (or caused). I've been using Mac pretty much exclusively for work and home for the past 7 years and have run into VERY few issues despite multiple OS updates.

I find the OS is more stable, and certainly more stable between versions. Upgrading from MacOS 10.6 (2009) through today's 10.12 (2015) has been uneventful, works, and most importantly, has never required a learning curve.

The hardware is certainly more expensive, but between the hardware plus the OS being pretty stable, you should be able to keep it working well for 4-6 years (or more).

Good luck with your decision!


Good luck... what's the worst that can happen?

 
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01-09-17, 03:04 PM   #12 (permalink)  
The hardware is certainly more expensive
You can say that again! Below is a quote from the results of a quick search.

How much does a Mac laptop cost?
The word "cheap" isn't in Apple's vocabulary: The lowest-priced MacBook, the 11-inch MacBook Air, starts at $899, while all the other systems are $999 and up.

 
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01-10-17, 05:54 AM   #13 (permalink)  
Appreciate all the replies. Have narrowed my search now to a 13 inch Macbook pro. I like the fact that I can upgrade the ram and hard drive. Looked at a used one yesterday and was going to buy it from a local CPU shop. I ask them to upgrade the ram which they tried to do only to have the computer refuse to boot with the new ram. The tech worked on it for 40 minutes and by that time I didn't have that warm and fuzzy feeling so I walked out. Have seen some nice ones on Craig's list, some with a lot of software already installed. The newer ones are about $300 more then I wanted to spend but yet have a SSD and $2K or more in added software some of which I would have to buy if I got one that had the HD wiped.

 
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01-10-17, 06:16 AM   #14 (permalink)  
I didn't have that warm and fuzzy feeling so I walked out. Have seen some nice ones on Craig's list
Wait a minute! Does craigslist give you "that warm & fuzzy feeling"?

 
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01-10-17, 07:28 AM   #15 (permalink)  
No Craig's List doesn't, but I can take my friend with me who knows Mac computers and I will only meet the seller in a public place like McDonald's. It seems like the ones on Craig's list have a lot more computer for slightly more $ then Amazon or a local computer shops does.

 
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01-10-17, 09:00 AM   #16 (permalink)  
Carroll-

Dont know if you would be interested but they have things like this on ebay:

Apple MacBook Pro Core i5 2.4GHz 4GB 500GB 13.3" MD313LL/A - 1 Year Warranty 885909531653 | eBay

I never bought a refurbished computer so I dont know what the record is on those. Just a thought!

 
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01-10-17, 07:05 PM   #17 (permalink)  
Zoesdad, I bought one from Flea Bay today. It's a 2012 model with 8 gigs of ram, 1 TB sshd, DVD rom, and comes with a software package that should allow me to import my word, excel, and PP files which would save me the cost of buying Office for the mac. It has the latest Apple OS also.

 
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01-11-17, 08:52 AM   #18 (permalink)  
That sounds really good. Maybe someday after you have used the system for some time, and you have some time to spare, you could come back and tell us what you think of the computer and the Apple OS. The more opinions the better in my opinion LOL.

Good luck!

 
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01-16-17, 08:23 AM   #19 (permalink)  
Thought I would give you an update about what I think about the new or new to me anyway MacBook Pro. Setting up something in windows such as email, has always been a hit or miss thing for me. and often takes me 10-15 minutes. Setting up email using the Mac operating system is dirt simple, and took me 2 minutes. You type in the information such as your log in email name (your email address) and your password and you're finished. Unlike windows, in the Mac it works the first time you do it.

The MacBook Pro that I bought used, is from late 2011. You would never consider buying a Windows based PC that was six or seven years old but that is not the case with Mac's. My battery is used, has 752 recharge cycles on it and yet will last approximately 6 to 7 hours compared to 20 minutes on my windows 10 Lenovo notebook. My Lenovo notebook is maybe four years old. According to what I have read the battery will have to be replaced at around 1000 charge cycles but the operating system will tell me when this is required. A new battery will set me back about $30-$50. If you run the battery down to 75% of capacity and recharge it, this only counts as 25% of one charge cycle.

Downloading new software is dirt sample on the Mac. For instance, I went to the Brother site, and downloaded the drivers and software for my multi function printer. Unlike windows the first time I tried to use it, it worked.

My used computer came preloaded with the Apple software called iWork's. If I had to purchase this software it would have cost $20 per module or $60, compared to Office at $149. iWork's is the equivalent of Microsoft office and has in it the equivalent of Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. iWork's is not as sophisticated as office, but for the average home user should be all they need. Importing the files from office to the Mac again is dirt simple.

The thing that really has impressed me about the Mac, is something called Dictation. I turn on dictation with two keystrokes of the function key, and then I just talking to the computer and it types whatever I am speaking. I actually typed this reply using the dictation and only had to correct a about ten words or small errors. It is my understanding as the dictation learns my voice that it will become even more accurate.

All in all I would not hesitate to buy a Mac and in the future and when buying a new computer it will probably be a MacBook Pro. I can see if you were in an office environment and had to share documents that you would be forced to work with something that is Windows-based, but the MacBook Pro and its operating system has all over windows in being easy to learn and operate.

 
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01-16-17, 03:18 PM   #20 (permalink)  
I noticed that you didn't mention the cost of your new/used Mac? Did the price not have that "warm & fuzzy feeling" that the Mac has?

 
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01-16-17, 04:44 PM   #21 (permalink)  
Carroll-

Sounds like a good system. I know the HW is expensive but from what I’ve heard it’s because Apple just doesn’t offer much of the lower end quality HW –it’s not that the HW is overpriced. At least that’s what I’ve heard.

Always wondered about the size of Mac OS vs. Windows OS. Just curious. Always meant to see if I could find out. But I haven’t spent much time at all looking. My understanding is that Mac OS is very stable.

I don’t know which version of Windows it was but supposedly it took 1,000 programmers to develop: it was either 40 teams of 25 people, or 25 teams of 40 people – don’t remember which. IMHO something that big by definition puts an impenetrable ceiling on quality – and I think Windows demonstrates that – LOL.

(I wonder which team was responsible for “Windows Update”, probably all the newbies without a leader and running wild, LOL)

I worked on a Unix Based Air Traffic Control system for the FAA and we had about 80 programmers and took quite a few years to develop – and we had more than 250,000 files during development. I can’t even begin to imagine what a project with 1,000 programmers is like. Windows scares the pants off me-LOL.

That’s why I was thinking maybe Mac OS was built with a higher quality goal in mind and is not as humongous as Windows – and hence is more stable. Just guessing. But I have heard mostly all good things about Mac OS.

 
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01-17-17, 04:04 AM   #22 (permalink)  
Donoli2016, the total cost with $25 for expedited shipping was $673. I thought the price was pretty good considering what I was getting, plus when it arrived you had to look very close for anything cosmetically that said it was used. There was a tiny bit of dirt at the corner of one key on the keyboard. There were no scratches on the computer anywhere.
Zoesdad, if I were using this computer in an office environment I would probably invest in the full MS Office Suite. For my use, the iWorks is fine. I just need to get use to not having some of the formatting commands I had in word, but I still have MS Office 2106 on my desktop PC.

 
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01-17-17, 11:51 AM   #23 (permalink)  
Donoli2016, the total cost with $25 for expedited shipping was $673.
Not bad!
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