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Suggestions needed

Discussion in 'Apple/Mac' started by the_traveler, Dec 3, 2017.

  1. the_traveler


    Mar 22, 2007
    en route
    My grnaddaughter needs a 'new' Apple computer, powerful enough to do rough audio and video editing for her youtube channel.
    Screen quality isn't specifically important, nor is the 'newness' of the machine.
    She would like to spend around $800 if possible.

    Any suggestions would be welcome.


    If there is a specific point wher adding in a few dollars will increase the potential of the machine, I'd be happy with that. (I am the funds backup here)
  2. Lew,
    Any idea on what she needs as far as HD size, processor, RAM, SSD or regular spinning drive?
    I would think it's dependent on her software's requirements.
    There are a number of used Macs listed on Fred Miranda.
    You can also check on Apple's genuine refurbished although they start at around $1100 but probably more piece of mind with Apple Certified.
  3. the_traveler


    Mar 22, 2007
    en route
    I will inquire about that, thanks.
  4. Check the refurbished Apple systems. More for the money, though it will be a challenge to stay under $800.
  5. I assume it has to be a MAC because of SW she's using? I just upgraded my system and with a few additional parts I could put together something pretty good in your price range.
  6. tenplanescrashing


    Oct 15, 2008
    Pretty much anything made in the last couple years would do just fine. My 2012 does video editing just fine, but I do have a quad core w/ dedicated graphics card whereas the integrated versions aren't nearly as good.

    I have a feeling you could get a decent 21" iMac that'll do this just fine for around $800-1000 used.
  7. It's that $800-$1000 on a $800 budget that had me asking about Mac vs PC. A lot of what a saw after a quick look that had at least an i5 and at least 8-16gb of ram were there or above. Though most i saw with those specs were also 27" versions.
  8. tenplanescrashing


    Oct 15, 2008
    I'm sure you could get a PC with better specs for less but i'm also assuming his grandmother asked for a Mac and also that he'll be the "IT" guy if she needs something. I've learned my lesson...if you're going to be the IT guy, give them what they want and/or what will make your job easier. Over the last 12 years, every family member who had a PC was contacting me constantly. Every family member who had a Mac, next to never.
  9. Believe me I know, I've been the family tech support for over 35 years. There is nothing wrong with Macs, unless you're on a tight budget ;) .
  10. the_traveler


    Mar 22, 2007
    en route
    It's my granddaughter whose been a mac user for years and can't use anything else.
    I will inquire if it needs to be a laptop, assuming an iMac is a desktop kind of thing.
    How does one have graphics upgrade with laptop or all-in-one?
  11. Yes the iMacs are the all in ones. They do have some options for upgrades, but as a PC guy I'm not sure of the details there. They are nice, sleek machines.
  12. Growltiger

    Growltiger Administrator Administrator

    I think you will be struggling to get what she wants at that price. Definitely check the Apple refurbished store.
    The other issue is that although she says she is happy with an old one, if you buy one that is old in Apple terms, you start to hit the problems with support. If it won't run new versions of macOS then be aware that Apple only provide security updates two versions back. So check what it runs before you buy it. See here for a list of every version: macOS - Wikipedia In addition some applications need updates depending on the version of macOS. So you could be buying a machine that is really already pretty much at the end of its life, even though the hardware could run for many years more, but running old versions of macOS and applications.
    What I'm saying is that you could spend quite a lot and end up with something that she won't be happy with, or not for very long, and then you get a request for a replacement.
    I would either spend more and get an official refurbished one that is fairly recent, or abandon the idea entirely, or suggest that she think about a PC instead, which is more affordable.
  13. The iMac is indeed a desktop machine, an all-in-one, but there are some caveats, the most significant being that if one purchases the 21.5" size, it is not user-upgradeable at all, and if one purchases the 27" size, it is upgradeable only with regard to adding more RAM at a later time if the user needs to do so. Whatever graphics card is in there is what the customer gets. Older iMacs are more flexible in this regard, actually, but as has been pointed out, getting a machine which is TOO old can bring on a whole set of problems. My guess is that if your granddaughter is a college student that she would want another Mac laptop, which is far more versatile and which can be carried from home or dorm to classes and back, etc.

    You or she will have to up the budget for this purchase, though, as in the Apple world, $800 just is not going to buy much of anything worth using or keeping. She needs to have a machine which is still able to work with current versions of the OS, and so will have to lay out a bit more money. The MacBook Air line is still viable and as things go, reasonably priced, both the current version and one or two generations back. Check out the Refurb store, definitely. If she's been a lifelong Mac user she is not really going to be happy with a Windows machine, regardless of how inexpensive one might be.....and older Windows machines don't seem to last nearly as long as older Macs.
  14. tenplanescrashing


    Oct 15, 2008
    Ha, messed that up. I read it as grandmother. :( 
  15. tenplanescrashing


    Oct 15, 2008
  16. That 1 TB hard drive is going to be S-L-O-W as molasses, though! It's a 5400 rpm, and what is really bizarre is that even now in 2017 Apple is STILL offering that same hard drive in their 21.5 iMacs! Sure, if a customer wants something more, he or she can choose fusion drive (SSD and platter drive combo, but the SSD capacity is very limited) or go whole hog with an SSD in there. When buying new, one would need to order the machine as a CTO (Configured to Order) and have it shipped. Looking around at the refurb store or the used market one might be lucky enough to find a machine that has already been configured with an SSD.....but, sure, it's going to be more expensive.
  17. Growltiger

    Growltiger Administrator Administrator

    I think that would be fine, except that:
    1. It would be hard to do serious editing on a 12" screen. But if she thinks that would be good enough for what she needs, then OK.
    2. That is a small disk for someone working with video files. But an external disk could be plugged in.
  18. The 12" MacBooks are wonderful, and in fact I had a 2016 MB and now have the 2017 MB. They are very lightweight for toting around and they are speedy because of the SSD that is the drive in there. Retina screen is gorgeous. However...... Some people experienced problems with the 2016 keyboards; I never did but saw reports of this on MacRumors.

    The thing to know about the MacBook is that it has only one port, and that is a USB-C port as opposed to either Thunderbolt or USB-A (USB 3). The one port handles everything, which can be problematic for people who need to plug peripherals in. There are adapters available and hubs, and that makes things a lot easier. I have a couple of cables which are USB-C to USB 3 for plugging in my external drives which still use USB 3. I also have a couple of small adapters for travel. I generally don't need to plug anything into the MacBook because my printer is wireless and so is the Magic Mouse 2. Only time I need to, really, is when I'm transferring files and folders from one machine to another.

    The 512 capacity of the SSD is indeed workable if one also uses an external drive or two, and that is what I do. I use external drives not only for backups, but also other ones for what I call "supplementary drives" that contain the stuff I might need to access more quickly.

    The 12" screen is fine for everyday stuff such as documents, forums, email, etc., and I have not had any problems with it for watching short videos, but I've never watched a full-length movie on it since I have other devices for that. I've never edited video or audio so can't really speak to that except that as Richard mentions above, it could be problematic when it comes to capacity of the internal SSD -- an external would probably be needed -- and also because this machine has only one port, that might be a bit of a hassle for her, too unless she used a hub or multi-port adapter in order to be able to keep the machine charging while in use during extensive editing projects.

    Something of which to be aware, too, is that just as with many of Apple's other Macs, what you get is what you get -- there is no way to upgrade either the RAM or the SSD in these machines. Everything is soldered on to the logic board (motherboard).

    My suggestion is that you and she ought to go to an Apple store or Best Buy or somewhere else that sells Apple products and spend a little time so that she can get a hands-on experience with what is available now and that will help inform her as to what the current offerings are, even though she would not be buying a brand-new machine. If she doesn't live near you, she could go on her own, of course, if she has transportation available. She could at least get the feel for the MacBook, the MacBook Air and the MacBook Pro laptops and see which one overall would best fit her needs and usage patterns.
  19. McQ

    McQ Just your average, everyday moderator. Moderator

    Another thought is to ask Apple about their school student discounts. I didn't see anyone recommend that yet. It's not advertised very loudly by Apple, but it exists, or at least did when my kids used Apple computers recently for school.
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