If the time has come to purchase a new computer, here are some thoughts about things to consider in terms of performance and capacity…
- Many of Apple’s current computers aren’t (or aren’t easily) upgradeable after purchase. This means you’ll need to buy the machine with as much memory (RAM) and internal storage (SSD) as you will ever need.
- MEMORY: Depending on what you do with the computer, I recommend starting with at least 16GB RAM. If you use the machine for heavy photo retouching, video editing, 3-D modeling or rendering, I would consider going to 32+GB if you can afford it.
- STORAGE TYPE: Back in the day computers had mechanical, spinning hard drives. By comparison to today’s “solid state drives” (a.k.a “flash storage”), spinning hard drives are very slow – avoid these in base-model computers. If budget is tight, opt for Apple’s “Fusion Drive” models, where they cleverly marry a spinning hard drive with a small SSD to gain a ‘best of both worlds’ balance – high capacity at a reasonable price and additional performance of the SSD.
If you can afford an all SSD model, the performance will far exceed that of a spinning hard drive or Fusion Drive; SSD IS HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.
4. STORAGE CAPACITY: You’ll want to purchase a computer with enough storage to hold your current data, plus plenty of room to grow. To determine how much data you currently have on your drive, follow these steps:
a. Click on the Desktop (this switches you to the Finder application)
b. Choose “Computer” from the Go menu
c. Select (click once on) the name of your hard drive (named “Macintosh HD” by default)
d. Choose “Get Info…” from the File menu
e. Note the “Capacity” and “Used”. It should look something like this:
When purchasing a new computer, make sure it has enough storage to hold your current “Used”, plus some extra space. For most users, I recommend *at least* 2x your current “Used”, if not significantly more.
For example, let’s say your current laptop has 200GB worth of data. That much data won’t fit on a base model with 128GB storage. The next storage capacity is 256GB, which only provides 56GB of free space to grow for the entire life of the computer. In this scenario, I would consider going to the next capacity available, 512GB. Remember; you can’t upgrade the internal storage after purchase – you need to buy the machine with all the storage you think you’ll ever need. If you’re into photography, music or editing video, always opt for as much storage as you can afford.
Feel free to contact me if you have questions about anything above.
And, here are some important reminders of things to do before you recycle or sell your old computer: