Computer Upgrade

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I've been doing almost all of my computer work on a 15-inch MacBook Pro (2015) with a 2.8 GHz Quad Core i7, 16GB RAM, and 2TB SSD for the last couple years. I do have a fairly powerful Windows PC, but it is quite a nuisance going back and forth between operating systems (on many levels), so my entire photography workflow is on the laptop, even while at home. I do use GoodSync to maintain my LR catalog and raw files on multiple locations (MBP, Windows machine, and an external drive), and I am familiar with sharing a LR catalog between computers, but don't do so at the moment because of the different file structures used on Win and MacOS computers.

Frequent travel makes the laptop a must, so I'll keep the old MBP for that, but it would be nice to have a bit more capability while at home, so I'm considering the purchase of an iMac (and retiring the Windows machine) so I can seamlessly switch from laptop to desktop. I'm seeking advice and suggestions from people who hand off their work between a laptop and desktop on a regular basis.
 
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I've sure been seeing a lot of great reviews on the new Mac Mini with the M1 chip. It might be worth considering. Of course, you would have to purchase a monitor, keyboard and mouse as well. But it is out performing iMacs and even the base model mac pro in some of the reviews I have been watching. Just something to check into. I know that I need to upgrade my iMac sometime in the fairly near future so I am exploring all my options.
 
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I've sure been seeing a lot of great reviews on the new Mac Mini with the M1 chip.
The M1 Mac mini is an amazing machine.
Thanks Terri and Morty. Definitely adding the Mac Mini as a possibility; I had not really considered it an option before. I especially like that it runs on less wattage and therefore more quietly since the fan does not come on as much.
 
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How about just upgrading to one of the new Macbook Pro machines? Couple that with an upgraded monitor and you will have a great system when you work at home but also a new and improved machine when we can return to travelling.
 
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upgrading to one of the new Macbook Pro machines? Couple that with an upgraded monitor
This was actually my first thought. But it turns out to be quite an expensive option, and my 2015 MBP is still getting the job done, though somewhat slowly with more demanding tasks. Nonetheless, it is more than sufficient for traveling.
when we can return to travelling.
Unfortunately, I never stopped.
 
For me the combination of MBP and external monitor, with keyboard and mouse, works very nicely and I prefer this setup to an iMac. It offers much more portability and flexibility and my 2018 MBP is quite speedy, with 32 GB RAM, i9 processor, Vega 20 discrete graphics and 1 TB SSD. Most of the time she lives on the desktop, but whenever I do want or need to take the machine somewhere else it's simply a matter of unplugging her and away we go. I first started doing this in 2015, when instead of buying an iMac that year I went with a 2015 15" MBP, set it on a stand, used the two peripherals with it and found that I liked this system very much. When time came to get a machine in 2018 I didn't even bother looking at iMacs. I knew what I wanted.... When I"m ready and they are on the market, my next machine will be an Apple SOC updated version of my beloved 2018 one. The new M1 machines are so enticing, but I prefer having four ports and other features which aren't available on the first group. Rumors are that there will be new redesigned MBPs coming in 2021, presumably more powerful than the M1 machines being shipped now. No idea of when they might offer an M- version of the iMac.

For travel, which of course I'm not doing these days, I have a 2017 12" MacBook, lightweight and slim, which works out well for when I am away from home. If I'm going to be taking photos while away, I have a Samsung T5 1 TB external SSD that goes with me, and images are put on both the computer and the external SSD as well as kept on the memory card for safekeeping until I've returned home.
 
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Connie, that sounds like a great workflow. If my 15-inch MBP were a little more up to date, I would do something similar. But since it is growing weary, I'm thinking I will carry it for the less demanding kind of work I do while traveling and go with something more robust to stay on my desk at home. When I look at the cost of upgrading to the latest generation MBP, the iMac and Mac mini seem to offer more performance at a similar or even lower cost.
 

Growltiger

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Given you are going for a Mac, think carefully before buying a Mac with an Intel processor. The whole lot have basically been made into legacy devices.
It isn't clear how long their fully supported life will be, given that software suppliers are switching their efforts to working on versions native to the ARM processors. For how many years will they continue to produce updated versions for the old Intel based machines?
I have no doubt that the M1 chip will be followed by an M2, and if you are in no hurry you might want to wait a year and see what becomes available.
 
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Given you are going for a Mac, think carefully before buying a Mac with an Intel processor. The whole lot have basically been made into legacy devices.
It isn't clear how long their fully supported life will be, given that software suppliers are switching their efforts to working on versions native to the ARM processors. For how many years will they continue to produce updated versions for the old Intel based machines?
I have no doubt that the M1 chip will be followed by an M2, and if you are in no hurry you might want to wait a year and see what becomes available.
That's what I'm hoping I can do. Keeping my fingers crossed that my older computers keep working for another year or so.
 
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I have no doubt that the M1 chip will be followed by an M2, and if you are in no hurry you might want to wai
Yes, the M chips are the future of Mac computing, and it would be wise to wait for the second generation. However, I am in immediate need of a usable desktop solution. Thanks to the responses above, I have committed to a mini with M1, 8GB RAM and 512GB SSD. I don’t even have the time to wait for a 16GB and 2TB mini. If the reviews I’ve read are accurate, the entry level mini may have plenty of capability for my intended usage. If not, I’ve been assured by Apple that it can be returned for full credit towards the purchase of a custom build.
 
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I just bought a new iMac since I could still get a good trade-in on my five year old iMac. Looks like it will be about two years before the ARM chips get into the iMac and I didn't want to wait that long. I think I can get at least five years out of this new machine.
 
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I just bought a new iMac since I could still get a good trade-in on my five year old iMac. Looks like it will be about two years before the ARM chips get into the iMac and I didn't want to wait that long. I think I can get at least five years out of this new machine.
My current MBP is the first Apple computer I've owned in a long time, and lasted nearly six years from its manufacturing date (it was four years old when I bought it refurbished). My experience convinces me that Apple laptops last two to three times longer than comparable Windows machines. I know that iMacs similarly outperform similarly equipped Windows desktop machines and have high hopes for the Mini in that regard too.
 
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My current MBP is the first Apple computer I've owned in a long time, and lasted nearly six years from its manufacturing date...My experience convinces me that Apple laptops last two to three times longer than comparable Windows machines.

Not to get into an Apple vs. PC debate, but consider that Richard always plans on his PCs lasting at least ten years. I've never had a PC last less than six years. My computers aren't laptops but I don't know about Richard's computers. I do know with great certainty, however, that he likes chocolate. :ROFLMAO:
 
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The iMac I traded in last month was a 2015 and was still running fine. I have a 2012 iMac in the basement which has a failed hard drive but still runs o.k. booting from a USB attached SSD. All anecdotal, of course. But we're a meeting friends for a hike in a few minutes whose two-year-old MacBook Pro is in the shop for its second motherboard replacement.
 

Growltiger

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Not to get into an Apple vs. PC debate, but consider that Richard always plans on his PCs lasting at least ten years. I've never had a PC last less than six years. My computers aren't laptops but I don't know about Richard's computers. I do know with great certainty, however, that he likes chocolate. :ROFLMAO:
Since Mike has raised the question, here is my thinking. I have both PC and Mac. Nowadays there is very little difference in the internal components and their intrinsic life. Both have highly reliable operating systems that do what is needed - i.e. allowing one to run a wonderful range of software.

People who think PCs have a short life usually are thinking back to their experience many years ago when each generation of Windows took more computer power. And you do get what you pay for - the cheapest under-spec machine won't last long.

For the last 20 years all my PC computers are required (by me) to run for at least 10 years and that has always been achieved, although over 10 years ago in one case a new power supply was required and in another case a new graphics card. That's the four desktops. My Acer laptop is coming up to its 11th birthday. It has been all over the world with me, and like the others, runs the latest Windows version and the latest application versions with no problems.

The issue with Macs, other than high prices, is the limited time that older models can run the latest version of macOS, so they get left behind and are called "legacy" by Apple. In some cases hackers have got those old machines working with new versions of macOS, demonstrating that Apple has simply allowed them to become obsolete - this upsets me as we should be trying to keep things running and not just throwing perfectly good stuff away - and I'm far from being a green extremist. Without running a recent version of macOS they lose security updates and in some cases other software companies introduce updates which require a version of macOS they cannot install. Of course how important this is depends greatly on the type of user. For some an old machine doing emails and web browsing is perfect for a very long time, and I'm sure there are Macs running that are 20 years old. Macs are not good at backward compatibility, whereas PCs can run pretty much all software published since 1995.

If you can afford it, Macs are beautiful and fun, and with a new machine every few years you will have regular improvements to enjoy.
 
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all my PC computers are required (by me) to run for at least 10 years

You're lucky.
Intel spec's their processors for 7 years based on electro-migration rates.
ROHS solder used in everything is not rated to last beyond 10 years.

If these computers are at all "mission critical" you're making a mistake.
 

Growltiger

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Does that include laptops (the type of computer Andy mentioned)?
I don't feel that 10 years is realistic for all, but it is possible with a bit of luck - plus care when it is in a rucksack. As you saw my little Acer laptop is coming up to 11 years. My official target for laptops is just 7 years.

My somewhat ambitious target for phones is also 7 years. At the moment one is 6 years (Samsung S5) and one is 3 years (Samsung S8+). I have every reason to believe both will meet that target, although I admit I am beginning to look forward to binning the little S5. (Putting large memory cards in them extended their lives, the S8+ has 64GB plus 256GB microSD).
 
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