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Author Topic: Using a MacBook as a desktop  (Read 1182 times)

sevenlayermuddle

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Using a MacBook as a desktop
« on: July 04, 2017, 12:49:25 PM »

Anybody tried using a MacBook long term with a external monitor and keyboard, as if it were a desktop?

What I really want is a new Mac Mini but as Apple only offer a 3 year old design, I'm beginning to wonder if a MacBook Pro might be an option.  Cpu and other specs seem fine for what I want, which is building Apps & testing with Xcode, and my other hobby, photo editing.  Currently using Affinity Photo for the latter.

Pros would be that on a nice day like today I could bring it out onto the garden table and still get on with useful work.  Might have to resist the glass of Pimms that normally goes with sitting outside, mind. ::)

Cons would be much higher cost, and the fact battery replacement might be needed within the life I usually keep things, at least 6 or 7 years as long as Apple keep supporting it.   I'm also not sure if the battery would even be happy, on a device spending 99% of the time plugged into mains.

Thoughts welcome?
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speedyrite

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Re: Using a MacBook as a desktop
« Reply #1 on: July 04, 2017, 01:02:45 PM »

My mid-2012 MacBook Pro (blimey, it's 5 years old already!) spends 99% of its time desk bound and connected to the mains.

From System Information > System Report, Hardware > Power > Battery Information tells me (amongst many other things) that tells me that Full Charge Capacity (mAh) is 5589, Cycle Count is 73 and Condition is Normal.

I have no concerns about that, at the present time!
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sevenlayermuddle

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Re: Using a MacBook as a desktop
« Reply #2 on: July 04, 2017, 01:39:22 PM »

Thanks.  So far as I understand Apple suggest a battery cycle count of 1000 is expected, so a count of 73 after five years does indeed bode well, in fact it might well outlive me.

I'm of course assuming that it is fair to assume that a MacBook and Mac mini, with similar specs, will have similar performance.  After all, when you take a Mini to bits, it's essentially got laptop bits inside.

Definitely feeling tempted.   Problem would be justifying the expense not just to myself but to better half who, I am told, has more sense than me.  Or maybe I just need to hide the packaging and, when she first sees it claim...
"That old thing? Nah, had it for years."  ::)



« Last Edit: July 04, 2017, 01:41:29 PM by sevenlayermuddle »
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parkdale

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Re: Using a MacBook as a desktop
« Reply #3 on: July 04, 2017, 06:35:49 PM »

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sevenlayermuddle

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Re: Using a MacBook as a desktop
« Reply #4 on: July 04, 2017, 07:28:50 PM »

Nice to see a cat that enjoys a challenge.   :)
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petef

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Re: Using a MacBook as a desktop
« Reply #5 on: July 04, 2017, 11:42:32 PM »

My MacBook Pro is coming up for its 9th birthday soon. Most of the time I use it with just an external mouse but if I am doing serious work I add a second monitor. It is usually plugged into the mains.

These are the main bits of maintenance or upgrades I have done over the years.

  2014-05 RAM 4 GiB (was 2 GiB)
  2015-05 Diagnostics (no system DVD)
  2015-05 Video controller fix
  2016-03 SSD 500 GiB (was HDD 130 GiB)
  2016-09 Battery replaced
  2016-10 SMC fix
  2017-01 Video controller fix (again)

I needed to pay once for an OS upgrade, £19 for Snow Leopard. Others were free but El Capitan is the end of the line for this vintage. It still gets updates and I can live without Siri.

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sevenlayermuddle

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Re: Using a MacBook as a desktop
« Reply #6 on: July 05, 2017, 12:46:08 AM »

My Mac Mini is also limited to El Capitan.   I'm perfectly happy with that, but I urgently need to re-release an old App asap, that I only ever released a 32 bit build, as it seems iOS 11 will only support 64 bit apps.   I'll build for a target of iOS 9 which is easy enough with El Capitan, but it obviously needs to be tested with current iOS too, which would seem to require XCode 8.3 for the iOS 10.3 simulators, and that Xcode requires Sierra.   :(

That said, I have found a suggestion that might overcome above and allow me to release using existing system.  Nothing nasty, no breaking of encryption, just copying some files around. I'll be trying it tomorrow and if it works, the urgency for a new Mac will be reduced, my 2009 Mini will enjoy a new lease of life, and my wallet will breathe a big sigh of relief.  :)

edit:  corrected iOS 10 to 10.3.  It is very late and I deny all responsibility for other numerical slips.
« Last Edit: July 05, 2017, 01:05:59 AM by sevenlayermuddle »
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sevenlayermuddle

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Re: Using a MacBook as a desktop
« Reply #7 on: July 05, 2017, 11:10:48 AM »

To clarify, the problem was that I had updated most of my devices to 10.3, and that rendered them incompatible for debugging with the older Xcode.  But the problem seems to have been overcome. 

So it looks like my faithful old Mac Mini has a stay of execution.   I still want to upgrade, and still sorely tempted by a Macbook pro, though I'll probably wait a few months and see if a new Mini comes out in the autumn.

I did try this morning, just as better half was rushing out the door to work,  "By the way, is it all right if i buy a Macbook Pro today?".  Unfortunately she wasn't in too much of a rush to consider the question, and response was as I anticipated. :D


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roseway

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Re: Using a MacBook as a desktop
« Reply #8 on: July 05, 2017, 11:14:02 AM »

She sounds like an intelligent lady. :)
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  Eric

vic0239

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Re: Using a MacBook as a desktop
« Reply #9 on: July 05, 2017, 11:50:09 AM »

Yes, but that will be just the opening salvo. My usual plan of attack it to plant the seed, just as you have done, then surreptitiously bring the subject up until the other half either agrees itís a good idea or gives in in disgust. Itís a win win.  ;D
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Pwiggler

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Re: Using a MacBook as a desktop
« Reply #10 on: September 12, 2017, 03:44:25 PM »

... legend !
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Paul

sevenlayermuddle

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Re: Using a MacBook as a desktop
« Reply #11 on: September 12, 2017, 05:13:11 PM »

I may have to test the water again quite soon, see if resistance has weakened.   There's an Apple launch event today and if (as expected) there is still no mention of a new Mac Mini, the MacBook will become very tempting.... :blush:

Or maybe I'll give them a few more months, they sometimes bring in new products October-ish, but I am long since fed up waiting. :(
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roseway

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Re: Using a MacBook as a desktop
« Reply #12 on: September 12, 2017, 06:24:43 PM »

Returning to this subject, I glanced at the title and thought at first that it said "Using a MacBook as a doorstop".
I make no comment. ;D
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  Eric

sevenlayermuddle

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Re: Using a MacBook as a desktop
« Reply #13 on: September 12, 2017, 07:36:23 PM »

 :whip:

 :D
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sevenlayermuddle

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Re: Using a MacBook as a desktop
« Reply #14 on: September 16, 2017, 05:35:16 PM »

Well last week came & went, and no new Mac Mini. :(

So I'm ready for an alternative, but wavering from the Macbook Pro.  Now to my own surprise, contemplating an iMac.

Thing is, Macbook connectivity is limited - just a couple of USB-C ports (one of which would be 'lost' to the charger), and no ethernet.   I need ethernet, plus a few USBs, so I'd need extra hardware from day 1.  Then there's my monitor, currently a 20" LG, 1680x1050.  Pretty good in 2009 when I bought the old Mac, but won't show a modern machine at its best, so that'd want replaced too. Cost will soon rack up from the basic retail price of the machine.

Today, I looked at the iMac with 27" 5k display.  I'd heard good things about Apple's 5k displays, and WOW, that thing looks good!  I'd actually challenge the forum's Apple sceptics to go and take a look at one and see whether, hand on heart, they can deny that the display is utterly amazing.

Another big draw towards the iMac is that RAM can be upgraded later, vs the soldered-in RAM on the MacBook.  So I'd be happy to start with the basic 8GB and the option of upgrading in a few years, whereas the MacBook I'd want to upgrade to 16GB from the outset just to cover the risk that I might need it one day.  The most basic disk size of 128GB would also want upgrading.   

Bottom line, the iMac on its own, with that incredible 27" 5k display, will probably cost about the same as I'd spend on a MacBook, to the spec I want.  With the Macbook, I'd be looking at least an additional £400, maybe much much more,  for extra bits and bobs, and a monitor anywhere near the equivalent of the iMac.

Never liked the idea of an "all in one" system, but maybe the iMac might make a lot of sense.  Comments welcome.    :)
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