If the time has come to purchase a new computer, here are some things to consider:
Update 9/2022: ALL of Apple’s laptop and iMac models use the new “Apple Silicon” chip. These “M1” or “M2″ processors beat the pants off any previous Mac. Therefore buying a Mac laptop comes down (mostly) to screen size (13″, 14″ or 16″), how much storage and how much memory. The iMac is currently available in a 24” screen, so storage and memory are the main things to consider. See below for details…
- 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 RAM (Apple calls this “Unified Memory” these days) 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, which is usually an upgrade of a few hundred dollars from the 8GB base configurations. 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.
- KEYBOARD/TRACKPAD: Apple’s current laptop keyboards feel somewhat different. If you’re near an Apple Store (list here), I recommend stopping in to try the keyboards of the different models. Sometimes this makes the decision easier, as you may strongly prefer the feel of one keyboard over another.
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 Mac has 400GB worth of data on it now (that’s the “Used” in the screenshot above). That much data won’t fit on a base model with 256GB storage. The next storage capacity is 512GB, which only provides 112GB of free space to grow for the entire life of the computer. In this scenario, I would consider going to the next capacity available, 1TB (1000GB). 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: