Luddite new computer recommendation

DukeSox

absence hasn't made the heart grow fonder
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Dec 22, 2005
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I currently have a desktop computer (hooked up to a large monitor) that is like 10 years old that I primary use to log into work remotely (like 1x a week), do my taxes, or any time I want to browse the internet on a screen larger than an iPad (trip planning, etc.). I don’t use it much. I previously used it for photo storage and stuff before everything went into the cloud, although some documents I keep there.

It has gotten really slow. I don’t know if it’s the hardware, if the Windows version is old, or what, but given how cheap hardware is I was thinking of just getting a new one.

I don’t have a laptop but another option would be a laptop that can connect to the monitor to create two screens, and then I would have a laptop as well.

Clearly this doesn’t need to be high performance, but would like something reliable that can last without needing to worry about replacing it for a while.

Any suggestions for something that might fit the bill? Asking here seems like a better option than wandering around Best Buy.

And if there is something obvious I can do to the current one like upgrade Windows or something, if the specs below are still decent, open to giving that a whirl first.

Thanks!

Here is what I have:
Item: Acer Veriton VX2631-UR12 Desktop PC - Intel Quad Core i5-4440 3.10GHz, 4GB DDR3 Memory, 500GB HDD, DVDRW, Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit - DT.VKCAA.003

Note: I may have upgraded Windows at some point in the past, I will look later today.
 

luckiestman

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Jul 15, 2005
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If you use an iPhone, get a MacBook unless you need a pc. I switched years ago and it’s just easier to have all my shit on laptop/phone/ipad
 

Caspir

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Jul 16, 2005
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If you use an iPhone, get a MacBook unless you need a pc. I switched years ago and it’s just easier to have all my shit on laptop/phone/ipad
Yes. I was never an Apple guy, but once I got an iPhone, I made the migration to all the other products. I could not be happier with my MB Pro, especially compared to a Windows laptop. If you don't need the M3 power, there are great deals on M1/M2 devices. You could even grab a Macbook Air and be fine. I just wanted the extra power that came with the Pro. The refurbs are also great (I've heard) if you wanted to save a few more bucks.
 
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ColdSoxPack

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Jul 14, 2005
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Agree with MacBook advice if you have an Iphone. They integrate easily and you don't need a degree in computer science to use them.
 

Scott Cooper's Grand Slam

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Yeah, if you're already using an iPad and iPhone get a Mac. The integration between Apple products is the reason to use them. I copy something from my Mac and paste it on my phone (or vice versa) at least twice a day.

Want a laptop? Get one of these: https://www.nytimes.com/wirecutter/reviews/best-macbooks/. You can hook it up to an external monitor.
Want a desktop? The Mac mini at $599 is blazing fast and an incredible value. You'll need to supply a keyboard, mouse/trackpad, and monitor.

Macs with Apple Silicon ("M series" chips) will last forever. The M1 MacBook Air I bought in early 2021 runs as good as the day I got it and doesn't break a sweat. M2 and M3 chips are ludicrously fast.
 

Curtis Pride

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Jul 25, 2005
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When getting a new computer one thing to consider is your monitor. If it has an HDMI port, then hooking it up to a new laptop is doable with just an HDMI cable. If your monitor has just a VGA port, then you may need a VGA-to-HDMI adapter to connect it to any new computer. Computer manufacturers are building computers without VGA ports because they can't support monitors with high resolutions (i.e., the 4K HD monitors out there at the moment).

Also every Windows computer nowadays ship with Windows 11, which looks a bit different from Windows 7. The biggest difference you'll notice is that Windows 11 doesn't use a Control Panel anymore. Instead it uses Settings, so there's a bit of an adjustment to find the various system controls that you may need to adjust. It still has the Start menu, but I think it's a bit more streamlined.

The other thing to consider is your keyboard and mouse. Your desktop is probably old enough to still use PS/2 (round, usually with pink and green labels) connectors. If your keyboard and mouse are both PS/2 versions, you'll have to replace them with USB versions, because today's computers only offer USB ports for input devices.

For a Windows laptop 8 GB RAM is usually enough for the kind of computing you do on it. For storage I recommend an SSD of 512 GB, just to match your current disk space. HDDs often carry the risk of disk failure, which can make your day very unpleasant, especially if you don't make a habit of backing up your files.

So a brief checklist before shopping:
Current Monitor: __ VGA ... __ HDMI
Current Keyboard/Mouse __ PS/2 ... __ USB
If VGA or PS/2, consider replacing them with newer units
Then, consider where you will put your new computer (on the desk, to the side, or on the floor) To visualize how much space a laptop would take, take the current desktop and put it on its side where you'd put the new laptop.
How RAM do you want? __ 8 GB ... __ 16 GB
How much disk space? __ 512 GB SSD ... __ 1 TB SSD ... __ 500 GB HDD ... __ 1 TB HDD

The shop at Acer or Dell and find one that meets your specs. Or go to Best Buy and see what they have.

* * *

Several people have suggested getting a Mac. One thing to consider is the RAM. Most Macs come standard with 8 GB of RAM, but they often turn out to be slow because system often needs more than that to run smoothly. So they upgrade to 16 GB, and they find out that they can't do it themselves, so they take it to the Apple Store to install the upgrade. The 8 GB Macs have a max of 24 GB, and the Mac Pros start with 16 GB and max out a 32 GB. My recommendation is to max out the RAM and start with 500 GB of SSD storage if plan on light-to moderate usage or 1 TB for moderate-to-heavy usage. Such a configuration can ensure a long lifespan for a Mac.

Also, Macs don't come with VGA ports. They haven't for a long time. HDMI has been the most compatible standard. Apple wants people to use Thunderbolt connectors for better performance, but that tends to drive the monitor price up.

I had a Mac Mini with 4 GB RAM and a 256 GB SSD, and that lasted me 11 years. It still works fine, but it hadn't been getting updates for 3-4 years. I was running the risk of having an app stop working because it was written for newer OSes and the Apple Silicon chips instead of the Intel Cores. So I got a new Mac Mini M2 with 24 GB RAM and a 1 TB SSD, and I feel pretty confident that I won't have to buy a new one for 10 years.

This is probably more info than you're looking for, but I hope you find this helpful.
 

Comfortably Lomb

Koko the Monkey
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Feb 22, 2004
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I... don't think 8GB RAM is enough in 2024. Chrome will chew that up with a bunch of tabs. It's absurd Apple is still sticking that in its base models regardless of whatever their PR team says about the system being more efficient. And I say this as someone who likes Apple.
 

Max Power

thai good. you like shirt?
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Jul 20, 2005
8,159
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My home computer and work computer both have 8GB of RAM and they're fine. I don't struggle at all with a browser, Office apps, remote admin tools, and other small utilities under Windows 11. Regular photo management and manipulation is fine, too. If you're a heavy Adobe user or into video editing you'll have trouble with 8, but standard computer use doesn't require more.

There are some noises that AI functionality will require 16GB. I don't care much about that now.
 

SumnerH

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Jul 18, 2005
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My home computer and work computer both have 8GB of RAM and they're fine. I don't struggle at all with a browser, Office apps, remote admin tools, and other small utilities under Windows 11. Regular photo management and manipulation is fine, too. If you're a heavy Adobe user or into video editing you'll have trouble with 8, but standard computer use doesn't require more.

There are some noises that AI functionality will require 16GB. I don't care much about that now.
Yep. I'm a programmer who often has Firefox and Chrome open with 20+ tabs in each as well as all my software development tools, and 8GB is plenty for my work laptop.

My desktop has 16GB because I do a lot of video work on that, but OP has minimal usage and is moving off of a 4GB machine. Obviously more is better and will buy you more longevity, but 8GB shouldn't be a deal breaker.
 

mauf

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Jun 22, 2008
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I currently have a desktop computer (hooked up to a large monitor) that is like 10 years old that I primary use to log into work remotely (like 1x a week), do my taxes, or any time I want to browse the internet on a screen larger than an iPad (trip planning, etc.). I don’t use it much. I previously used it for photo storage and stuff before everything went into the cloud, although some documents I keep there.

It has gotten really slow. I don’t know if it’s the hardware, if the Windows version is old, or what, but given how cheap hardware is I was thinking of just getting a new one.

I don’t have a laptop but another option would be a laptop that can connect to the monitor to create two screens, and then I would have a laptop as well.

Clearly this doesn’t need to be high performance, but would like something reliable that can last without needing to worry about replacing it for a while.

Any suggestions for something that might fit the bill? Asking here seems like a better option than wandering around Best Buy.

And if there is something obvious I can do to the current one like upgrade Windows or something, if the specs below are still decent, open to giving that a whirl first.

Thanks!

Here is what I have:
Item: Acer Veriton VX2631-UR12 Desktop PC - Intel Quad Core i5-4440 3.10GHz, 4GB DDR3 Memory, 500GB HDD, DVDRW, Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit - DT.VKCAA.003

Note: I may have upgraded Windows at some point in the past, I will look later today.
Do you need your own PC, or do you really just need a docking station where you can plug in your work-issue laptop and have a full screen, a real mouse, and so on?

I ask because I’m setting up a new home office, and I’ve opted for the latter. I have a shitty MacBook Pro I bought four years ago that I could use if I was going to work on my resume or something, but for the most part I just use my work PC for the occasional personal thing and don’t worry about privacy. (I realize that’s not a good option for everyone.)
 

DukeSox

absence hasn't made the heart grow fonder
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Dec 22, 2005
11,771
Do you need your own PC, or do you really just need a docking station where you can plug in your work-issue laptop and have a full screen, a real mouse, and so on?

I ask because I’m setting up a new home office, and I’ve opted for the latter. I have a shitty MacBook Pro I bought four years ago that I could use if I was going to work on my resume or something, but for the most part I just use my work PC for the occasional personal thing and don’t worry about privacy. (I realize that’s not a good option for everyone.)
I don’t have a work computer so need my own thing :-(

otherwise I agree I would do your solution
 

gtmtnbiker

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Jul 15, 2005
1,937
When getting a new computer one thing to consider is your monitor. If it has an HDMI port, then hooking it up to a new laptop is doable with just an HDMI cable. If your monitor has just a VGA port, then you may need a VGA-to-HDMI adapter to connect it to any new computer. Computer manufacturers are building computers without VGA ports because they can't support monitors with high resolutions (i.e., the 4K HD monitors out there at the moment).
I would strongly encourage getting a new monitor if the old one only has VGA. They’ve come down in price enough so it’s easy to get a decent one for under $200. If the old one is a flat panel, it should have DVI. I would stay away from VGA as it’s an analog connection and not digital (hdmi/dvi)
 

sezwho

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Jul 20, 2005
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This is all good advice, I’m a techie-nerd and still taking notes :)

If you want it stay w/Mac OS that seems covered, as does the Chromebook option, which definitely represents the best value (maybe not the forte for Mac), just want to express a middle road value wise…

A $250-350 8gb RAM 14” Asus (or whatever) plus a $150 for a 27” monitor (I’m with @gtmtnbiker ) and you’re good for another 10yrs.
 

bankshot1

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Feb 12, 2003
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My 2016 Asus 2-1 (i-3) is becoming a problem, and I fear is not long for this world. My computing needs are modest at this point in my life, that is to say little computing but lots of web browsing, streaming, emails.

So I've been hunting. I'm using a 32" HP monitor so I can get away with a smaller portable PC.

LSS, I came up with this:

HP Envy x360 2-1 14" (Intel i-5 8/512) for under $500. The 2:1 design feature works for me, space wise but I hardly ever use the tablet function.

https://www.bjs.com/product/hp-inc-envy-x360-14-fhd-2-in-1-touchscreen-laptop-core-i5-1335u-processor-512gb-ssd-8gb-memory---silver/3000000000004933771

This seems like a decent trade off of performance/budget.

Any advice, etc would be greatly appreciated.
 
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Max Power

thai good. you like shirt?
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Jul 20, 2005
8,159
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The 2 in 1 form factor is nice even if you don't use it as a tablet. You can flip the keyboard back when it's siting on your desk and it works better as a second monitor if you're using an external keyboard and mouse.
 

luckiestman

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Jul 15, 2005
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Bigdogx

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Jul 21, 2020
184
Yep. I'm a programmer who often has Firefox and Chrome open with 20+ tabs in each as well as all my software development tools, and 8GB is plenty for my work laptop.

My desktop has 16GB because I do a lot of video work on that, but OP has minimal usage and is moving off of a 4GB machine. Obviously more is better and will buy you more longevity, but 8GB shouldn't be a deal breaker.
Anything with 8gb of memory today is going to be pretty terrible to use. I dont get why people would buy something new that is barely on the threshold of working today, that is wasting money imo.
 

bankshot1

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I just bought a 8GB/512GB HP Envy 2-1 (see above) about a week ago and it performs beautifully for my decreasing PC needs. It is very fast and even if it were marginally faster at 16GB, I would never detect it. The equivalent HP machine with 16GB was about $250 more.

IMO wasting money is buying something you will never use.
 
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luckiestman

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Jul 15, 2005
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Anything with 8gb of memory today is going to be pretty terrible to use. I dont get why people would buy something new that is barely on the threshold of working today, that is wasting money imo.
To do what task?
 

Bigdogx

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Jul 21, 2020
184
I just bought a 8GB/512GB HP Envy 2-1 (see above) about a week ago and it performs beautifully for my decreasing PC needs. It is very fast and even if it were marginally faster at 16GB, I would never detect it. The equivalent HP machine with 16B was about $250 more.

IMO wasting money is buying something you will never use.
Future proofing is wasting money, lol ok......
 

bankshot1

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Future proofing is wasting money, lol ok......
Have you considered my future needs may not be the same as yours?

LOL

LMAO

I have a half-decent handle on what my needs will likely be in the 5-10 years.

My assumption was paying a 50% premium ($500 to around $750) for a technology that had little present value was throwing money away.
 

Bigdogx

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Jul 21, 2020
184
To do what task?
For a windows based pc 8gb will be enough to handle windows 10, not great but would be useable. For windows 11 though the recommended minimum specs double, i wouldn't go lower than 16gb if it was me. At the very least imo make sure you can upgrade the memory if needed, to extend the life of the computer. I have been using computers for a solid 2 and half decades now and not a single time have i ever said i dont need anymore power with a pc. With every new piece of software the requirements only increase which is why future proofing a pc is never a dumb or wasteful idea!

Apple is a different story as anything over 8gb bumps the price considerably.
 

Bigdogx

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Jul 21, 2020
184
Have you considered my future needs may not be the same as yours?

LOL

LMAO

I have a half-decent handle on what my needs will likely be in the 5-10 years.

My assumption was paying a 50% premium ($500 to around $750) for a technology that had little present value was throwing money away.
You are clearly a non power user, to surf the internet and answer emails sure.

But perhaps you need to actually read the original posters request here...

" Clearly this doesn’t need to be high performance, but would like something reliable that can last without needing to worry about replacing it for a while. "
 

luckiestman

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Jul 15, 2005
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For a windows based pc 8gb will be enough to handle windows 10, not great but would be useable. For windows 11 though the recommended minimum specs double, i wouldn't go lower than 16gb if it was me. At the very least imo make sure you can upgrade the memory if needed, to extend the life of the computer. I have been using computers for a solid 2 and half decades now and not a single time have i ever said i dont need anymore power with a pc. With every new piece of software the requirements only increase which is why future proofing a pc is never a dumb or wasteful idea!

Apple is a different story as anything over 8gb bumps the price considerably.
Ok, I was thinking about Apple. I do not use PCs anymore so have no idea. I’m also not pushing the machines like I did back in the day.
 

bankshot1

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You are clearly a non power user, to surf the internet and answer emails sure.

But perhaps you need to actually read the original posters request here...

" Clearly this doesn’t need to be high performance, but would like something reliable that can last without needing to worry about replacing it for a while. "
Your comment was addressed to SumnerH, who supported the sufficiency of 8GB.

Perhaps...

LOL
 

SumnerH

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Anything with 8gb of memory today is going to be pretty terrible to use.
That's not my experience, nor is it Max Power's, nor bankshot's, nor a few other people in this thread. Granted I'm not doing video editing on this machine, but I am a lot more of a power user than most people are and do run a database server, web server, application server, software development tools, etc along with web browsers, remote connections to work, and the usual desktop crap.

Remember OP said “I primary use to log into work remotely (like 1x a week), do my taxes, or any time I want to browse the internet on a screen larger than an iPad (trip planning, etc.). I don’t use it much.”

There's nothing particularly strenuous there memory-wise.
 

Scott Cooper's Grand Slam

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That's not my experience, nor is it Max Power's, nor bankshot's, nor a few other people in this thread. Granted I'm not doing video editing on this machine, but I am a lot more of a power user than most people are and do run a database server, web server, application server, software development tools, etc along with web browsers, remote connections to work, and the usual desktop crap.

Remember OP said “I primary use to log into work remotely (like 1x a week), do my taxes, or any time I want to browse the internet on a screen larger than an iPad (trip planning, etc.). I don’t use it much.”

There's nothing particularly strenuous there memory-wise.
Just to add to this: It's been a few years since I've used a Windows PC or Chromebook, but 8 GB of RAM on an M1 chip (the lowest-end "Apple Silicon") absolutely screams for most tasks. I do stuff similar to Sumner. I occassionally do photo editing and video editing. I push code. I always have Safari, Youtube, and Apple Music open. 8 GB on a Mac with Apple Silicon is plenty. And the battery life and heat management is great.

Three years ago I was using a PC running Microsoft Office, Visual Studio Code, and Dragon NaturallySpeaking (the latter of which is very, very resource intensive) and got by fine on 8 GB of RAM.

If you're doing pro-level video editing, graphics rendering, or working with AI then yes - get all the RAM! Otherwise, 8 is fine.
 

AlNipper49

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My main laptop is a ThinkPad x220. You can get them for like $100 on eBay. I could shoot that thing into a moving car and then drop it off of the roof and it would still work. 4GB RAM. I don’t upgrade because I don’t need to.

As Windows bloats it does get slower, but at this point Ubuntu/Gnome/whatever is basically the same for folks who do mostly web stuff.
 

Bigdogx

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Jul 21, 2020
184
Lol ok well we will agree to disagree, seems like i'm only talking to the basement bin pc types here, i'm not telling the OP to go buy a 3 grand gaming rig, just be smart and overbuy a bit so it doesn't become a paperweight 3 years from now. And I was using 8gb of ram in my windows xp box over 2 decades ago but go ahead, i mean 16gb of ram is all of 50 bucks today.....
 

Curt S Loew

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Lol ok well we will agree to disagree, seems like i'm only talking to the basement bin pc types here, i'm not telling the OP to go buy a 3 grand gaming rig, just be smart and overbuy a bit so it doesn't become a paperweight 3 years from now. And I was using 8gb of ram in my windows xp box over 2 decades ago but go ahead, i mean 16gb of ram is all of 50 bucks today.....
81970
 

TrapperAB

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Nov 25, 2002
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West Hartford, CT
Jumping into this RAM convo seeking advice:

Boy is off to college in the fall. Campus is an Apple ecosystem. Will be producing/editing music and probably film. Hoping to future proof for the four-year ride. Not overly worried about budget (various family members are chipping in), just want to be reasonable.

Suggestions//advice much appreciated.
 

Max Power

thai good. you like shirt?
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Jul 20, 2005
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Boston, MA
Lol ok well we will agree to disagree, seems like i'm only talking to the basement bin pc types here, i'm not telling the OP to go buy a 3 grand gaming rig, just be smart and overbuy a bit so it doesn't become a paperweight 3 years from now. And I was using 8gb of ram in my windows xp box over 2 decades ago but go ahead, i mean 16gb of ram is all of 50 bucks today.....
I think the issue you're having is that you're overtaxing your spelling and grammar checkers and they're consuming all your system resources.
 

Scott Cooper's Grand Slam

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Jumping into this RAM convo seeking advice:

Boy is off to college in the fall. Campus is an Apple ecosystem. Will be producing/editing music and probably film. Hoping to future proof for the four-year ride. Not overly worried about budget (various family members are chipping in), just want to be reasonable.

Suggestions//advice much appreciated.
I'd get the base-level M3 MacBook Pro. Comes with 18 GB of RAM. $1,999 sticker price, but you might be able to save some $$ through Apple's education pricing or through retailers' back-to-school savings. MacBook Pro because the extra RAM is useful for video production, but even moreso because the speakers on the Pro are better than the Air for music. If you reeeeaallly want to future proof it, bump the processor up to the next level for $200 and double the RAM from 18 to 36 GB for $400, but that shouldn't be necessary. The M3 Pro chip is a beast.

Edited to add: I don't know your boy, but don't forget Applecare. If his college experience is anything like mine, many-a-Mac were ruined by spilling beer on them.
 
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OfTheCarmen

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Not sure if it's still a thing or if it's still as good as it was, but the products offered from the Apple refurb store were always bulletproof and generally a good chunk cheaper while still coming with a decent warranty. Just a thought if you're looking to potentially save a couple bucks,
 

Bigdogx

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Jul 21, 2020
184
I'd get the base-level M3 MacBook Pro. Comes with 18 GB of RAM. $1,999 sticker price, but you might be able to save some $$ through Apple's education pricing or through retailers' back-to-school savings. MacBook Pro because the extra RAM is useful for video production, but even moreso because the speakers on the Pro are better than the Air for music. If you reeeeaallly want to future proof it, bump the processor up to the next level for $200 and double the RAM from 18 to 36 GB for $400, but that shouldn't be necessary. The M3 Pro chip is a beast.

Edited to add: I don't know your boy, but don't forget Applecare. If his college experience is anything like mine, many-a-Mac were ruined by spilling beer on them.
I know i specced an air M3 model with the better 10 core proc with 24gb of memory and a 1tb hard drive for under 2k. Not sure how much beefier those pro chips are but i think either or would work well for the next 6 years easy.
 

Scott Cooper's Grand Slam

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I know i specced an air M3 model with the better 10 core proc with 24gb of memory and a 1tb hard drive for under 2k. Not sure how much beefier those pro chips are but i think either or would work well for the next 6 years easy.
Pro is the better call for Trapper. The M3 Pro is better suited for video editing and, again, the speakers on the Pro are much better than the Air. Important for everyday listening? Nope, especially when most people use headphones. Important for music editing? Yup.
 

Bigdogx

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Jul 21, 2020
184
Pro is the better call for Trapper. The M3 Pro is better suited for video editing and, again, the speakers on the Pro are much better than the Air. Important for everyday listening? Nope, especially when most people use headphones. Important for music editing? Yup.
Won't get any argument from me, as you can see above my thoughts are always buy as much as you can afford.
 

TrapperAB

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I'd get the base-level M3 MacBook Pro. Comes with 18 GB of RAM. $1,999 sticker price, but you might be able to save some $$ through Apple's education pricing or through retailers' back-to-school savings. MacBook Pro because the extra RAM is useful for video production, but even moreso because the speakers on the Pro are better than the Air for music. If you reeeeaallly want to future proof it, bump the processor up to the next level for $200 and double the RAM from 18 to 36 GB for $400, but that shouldn't be necessary. The M3 Pro chip is a beast.

Edited to add: I don't know your boy, but don't forget Applecare. If his college experience is anything like mine, many-a-Mac were ruined by spilling beer on them.
Thank you for this! Hadn't heard about the speakers on the Pro -- that's incredibly useful info. Will see what the bumped up version will cost with educational // dads & grads pricing -- if he sticks with music production and film, the boy will want/need a machine that can still grind it out senior year (and beyond).

And Applecare is 100% a given. He's a careful kid, but he's also a teenaged boy about to be on his own for the first time. Shenanigans will be afoot.
 

Scott Cooper's Grand Slam

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Thank you for this! Hadn't heard about the speakers on the Pro -- that's incredibly useful info. Will see what the bumped up version will cost with educational // dads & grads pricing -- if he sticks with music production and film, the boy will want/need a machine that can still grind it out senior year (and beyond).

And Applecare is 100% a given. He's a careful kid, but he's also a teenaged boy about to be on his own for the first time. Shenanigans will be afoot.
So, just to further complicate things: I never thought I'd say this, but consider an iPad Pro.

Apple just announced a new iPad Pro today. It's ridiculously thin and light. It has the new M4 processor, so it's absurdly fast and efficient. But more importantly: they just announced redesigned, touch-friendly versions of Logic Pro and Final Cut Pro. Logic Pro 2 on iPad looks like a portable music studio.

By the time you add the (just announced, redesigned and very Mac-like) keyboard case to it you're looking at a comparable price (and form factor) to a MacBook Pro. Generally, I'm of the opinion "an iPad is not a Mac, stop trying to make it one" -- but it might be there now.
 

TrapperAB

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So, just to further complicate things: I never thought I'd say this, but consider an iPad Pro.

Apple just announced a new iPad Pro today. It's ridiculously thin and light. It has the new M4 processor, so it's absurdly fast and efficient. But more importantly: they just announced redesigned, touch-friendly versions of Logic Pro and Final Cut Pro. Logic Pro 2 on iPad looks like a portable music studio.

By the time you add the (just announced, redesigned and very Mac-like) keyboard case to it you're looking at a comparable price (and form factor) to a MacBook Pro. Generally, I'm of the opinion "an iPad is not a Mac, stop trying to make it one" -- but it might be there now.
Innnnnnnteresting

Might need to bring the boy to the Apple Store to try out a few devices…
 

bohous

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SoSH Member
Jul 21, 2005
4,619
Framingham
Piling on as I'm also looking for a Macbook for my new college student, although his needs wont be as demanding as Trapper Jr. How big of a difference between M1, M2, M3 processors? Better to prioritize memory or processor? It looks like the jump from M1 to M2 is greater than M2 to M3, correct?
 

cgori

Member
SoSH Member
Oct 2, 2004
4,114
SF, CA
Piling on as I'm also looking for a Macbook for my new college student, although his needs wont be as demanding as Trapper Jr. How big of a difference between M1, M2, M3 processors? Better to prioritize memory or processor? It looks like the jump from M1 to M2 is greater than M2 to M3, correct?
Check this out (side note: jfc Apple, way to proliferate the number of chip variants). About 2/3's of the way down there is a bar graph, for non-intense workloads (Word, Excel, email, etc) the "geekbench 6 single core" tab (the middle one) is basically the one that matters. (Some things benefit from multicore but not as many as you would hope - mostly multimedia stuff). The M3 is a good chunk faster than an M2.

The M2 is in both the 13" MacBook Air (2022) and the 15" MacBook Air (2023). The 2024 MacBook Air (announced in March) laptops have M3 processors (both 13 and 15 sizes). Note that Apple has educational discounts for current models, not sure how you get them (university bookstore?) so maybe check into that. A 13" Air M3 is supposed to be $999 starting price for educational buyers ($1199 for 15").

You might be able to find some clearance/discounts on the 2022/2023 models at bestbuy/etc but unless it's an absolutely smoking deal I would think the M3 ones would be the way to go and should last through 4+ years of school.

I am personally a fan of the MacBook Air form factor as it's nice and light. Unless someone needs the extra power from a MacBook Pro, the Airs seem like a slam dunk to me.
 
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