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Author Topic: Thinking of testing the waters of the Mac - any recommendations?  (Read 1531 times)

Bowdon

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I'm having a growing dislike of Microsoft and Windows 10 at the moment. So I'm thinking of testing the waters with an apple mac computer.

I know they are generally more expensive. But is there anyone with any experience that can point me in the direction of a reasonably priced entry level laptop?

The last time I used an apple computer was in the early 90s in school, after they got rid of the bbc computers, and before they brought in the pc's.

Though I know they aren't as configurable as Windows, they are, especially these days, more reliable. I'm finding Microsofts increasing unreliability, lack of os testings and what seems to be constantly introducing new MAJOR bugs with each update they do to windows 10, I'm getting abit sick of it. I'm currently on version 1803. I believe the latest update being rolled out now is 1903. I've never been offered any of the versions since 1803 via windows update. It's my understanding that eventually windows update would automatically download the latest version eventually without clicking update. But its never been offered. But when I read about the new updates I hear shocking stories of peoples files being deleted, and pc's unable to boot after an update. This is not good enough.

Is there any place I can buy an apple mac, or is it purely tied down to the apple website/store?
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gt94sss2

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Re: Thinking of testing the waters of the Mac - any recommendations?
« Reply #1 on: July 01, 2019, 02:19:35 PM »

Though I know they aren't as configurable as Windows, they are, especially these days, more reliable. I'm finding Microsofts increasing unreliability, lack of os testings and what seems to be constantly introducing new MAJOR bugs with each update they do to windows 10, I'm getting abit sick of it. I'm currently on version 1803. I believe the latest update being rolled out now is 1903. I've never been offered any of the versions since 1803 via windows update. It's my understanding that eventually windows update would automatically download the latest version eventually without clicking update. But its never been offered. But when I read about the new updates I hear shocking stories of peoples files being deleted, and pc's unable to boot after an update. This is not good enough.

There have been two major Windows updates since 1803: 1809 and 1903.

1809 was problematic and MS stopped offering it to people.Stories of deleted files will have come from this upgrade.

1903 is much more stable - with MS having carried our much more beta testing on this version. However, it is only being offered gradually and you will actively have to go to Windows Update and request the update (if showing).

MS are no longer automatically installing major updates unless a customer requests it or the Win10 version they are using is no longer supported.

1803 will still be supported until November 2019. Its only around this point they will start automatically updating people.

I would check Windows Update to see if its being offered to you..

As for Apple machines.. Apple themselves and John Lewis are often recommended.
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toulouse

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Re: Thinking of testing the waters of the Mac - any recommendations?
« Reply #2 on: July 01, 2019, 04:00:59 PM »

Hi there,
I can personally vouch for the Mac Mini, which when purchased new was around £900. However, I recently was thinking about getting a second one and found several for sale on Facebook Market Place. Maybe worth a look if you are a member.

You certainly won't regret it, and as far as I can tell software update JUST WORK.

Good luck

toulouse
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sevenlayermuddle

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Re: Thinking of testing the waters of the Mac - any recommendations?
« Reply #3 on: July 01, 2019, 05:05:54 PM »

I had a Mac Mini from 2009-2017, great little machine.

In 2017, I upgraded to a 27” iMac, 5K display.   A gorgeous machine, that still gives me a “feel-good” sensation  each time I sit down to use it.   Plus points for that machine were...

1) The Ram is user upgradeable (that’s unusual for Apple). After purchase I immediately upgraded from 8GB to 24GB, much cheaper than if I’d had paid Apple to build it that way.   I don’t know if latest iMacs still have upgradeable RAM.

2) John Lewis were discounting Apple’s price, by about 20% iirc.

Only downside that worries me slightly is, apart from upgradeable RAM, the whole thing is sealed.   No other upgrades really feasible unless you are willing to risk wrecking it, and repairs not easy either, without paying Apple to do it.

And of course, there might be some software that is only available for Windows, not Mac.   That has never been a problem for me however.

JL provide a better warranty and very often do undercut Apple’s prices but tread very carefully, as a machine that appears to be a bargain may turn out to be last year’s model.   You really need to dig down to part number levels, to be sure that two identical-looking iMacs really are identical.

I’d suggest always going for the latest model, even if it costs more, as it is more likely to continue receiving OS updates further down the line.   Apple’s recent policy seems to be that existing Mac owners are entitled to upgrade for free when a new OS version is released... but only if the old hardware supports the new OS, there comes a point when it does not.
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vic0239

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Re: Thinking of testing the waters of the Mac - any recommendations?
« Reply #4 on: July 01, 2019, 05:07:16 PM »

I don’t think you will be disappointed with any of the MacBook offerings, but choice will depend on your processing requirements. I personally have a 12” MacBook with 8GB ram which meets my requirements (although I also have a MacPro for the heavy duty stuff).

John Lewis is a good choice as they often offer an extended warranty, but if you need to refine the configuration the Apple Store is best. Get the specification you want upfront as some of the models are impossible to upgrade retrospectively.

Lots of interesting information on the Apple website. https://www.apple.com/uk/mac/
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vic0239

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Re: Thinking of testing the waters of the Mac - any recommendations?
« Reply #5 on: July 01, 2019, 05:16:21 PM »

And of course, there might be some software that is only available for Windows, not Mac.   That has never been a problem for me however.
I think Macs can still run Windows dual booting with Boot Camp. You can also use a VM environment (Parallels Desktop or VMWare) to run Windows. These offer seamless integration of the Windows apps on the a Mac desktop. There is also Crossover which is based on Wine which can run some popular Windows apps if you have something you just can’t live without.  :)
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Ronski

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Re: Thinking of testing the waters of the Mac - any recommendations?
« Reply #6 on: July 02, 2019, 06:24:19 AM »

Have you considered Linux, you could use your existing hardware or buy new, would be cheaper than Apple and best of all you'll be able to easily upgrade and repair it, less so if it's a laptop but still more so than if it's Apple's hardware.
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chazzo

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Re: Thinking of testing the waters of the Mac - any recommendations?
« Reply #7 on: August 21, 2019, 04:04:15 PM »

I think the OP was after a laptop, in which case I'd say shell out for a MacBook Pro and remember that you're getting something that should last for many years. There are no cheap Macs, not even ancient ones, but they are usually pretty durable and Apple has a good record of supporting older hardware (though see below).

I've also heard it said that Macs are scarcely more expensive than Windows machines of equivalent spec. People with Windows experience can judge that better than I.

Watch out for the dreaded "butterfly keyboard" on some recent Mac laptops. The key action feels horrible (that's a personal judgment) and they are prone to breaking.

Some of the slightly older MacBooks have just one USB-C port, so you'd probably need adaptors. I believe the newer ones have more ports.

I have a 2015 MacBook Pro and it's a cracking machine. Two old-style USB ports, HDMI, Ethernet via a £20 adaptor, and power via the excellent MagSafe plug.

For an affordable desktop machine, yes, track down a vintage Mac mini. I’m writing this on a 2011 mini with a DIY SSD upgrade, and my wife uses a 2009 one. Neither of these officially supports the latest macOS (10.14 Mojave), though there’s an excellent installer patch that I’m using to run this on the 2015 mini. I expect the patch will be updated next month to support the forthcoming 10.15 Catalina, but I don’t think I will take it any further.

The mini has a strange history in terms of form factor, specs and pricing. The 2015 mini cost about £500, so it was pretty affordable. It's fiddly to work on (to add an extra disk) but it can be done, and the RAM is easy to get to. Later models were less easy to upgrade. The current (2018) mini is a powerful machine with a price to match – £2000 or so with a big SSD. iFixit is a great resource for upgrades.

I've owned four generations of desktop Macs and most have been very long-lived. The first flatscreen iMacs suffered badly from capacitor rot but I hope those days are behind us now. Still, at least they were easy to work on. The newer iMacs are much harder to dismantle, so personally I'd avoid those.

If you need to compare specs, Mactracker is a wonderful free database of all the devices Apple has ever made. Though you ... err ... need a Mac to run it on.

As others have said, I'm sure Linux is a great alternative if you can find the software you need. The Unix underpinnings of macOS are also helpful if you need to run some Windows stuff. DSLstats runs in Docker on macOS, for instance, and RouterStats runs under Wine.
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dee.jay

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Re: Thinking of testing the waters of the Mac - any recommendations?
« Reply #8 on: August 27, 2019, 01:47:12 PM »

Have you considered Linux, you could use your existing hardware or buy new, would be cheaper than Apple and best of all you'll be able to easily upgrade and repair it, less so if it's a laptop but still more so than if it's Apple's hardware.

+1. You should really look at Linux (which is free) before parting with a LOT of hard earned to buy a Mac.

There are distributions to suit all levels of learning, but you can't go wrong with something like Mint/Ubuntu etc if you are a complete "n00b" to Linux.

Seeing as you already have a PC, it would be free to try it out, just get a USB Live Drive installation! At least try that first, costs nothing to find out and you can do it now!
« Last Edit: August 27, 2019, 02:08:32 PM by dee.jay »
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