Move from PC to Mac : Questions

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Hi,
This is my first post on the forums, so please be gentle.

I am planning on moving from PC to Mac, after using PCs for most almost 30 years. I have gotten fed up with the number of crashes, and other issues with Win 8, and want something more stable. I did use the original Mac classic when at uni many years ago, and briefly used a mini for video editing in the PPC days. I had some questions that I hope someone might be able to answer to help me make the right decisions, before buying this weekend.

I am an Acting Depute Head in a school, and according to the girl I spoke to on the apple sales line I would be eligible for the education discount. It is a MacBook Pro with retina display at 13" that I am considering.

1) I was looking at the "one to one" training programme. I am really experienced on a PC, but have limited OS experience on a Mac. Would it be worth paying for this training?

or

2) Would I be better putting the money towards taking the ram up from 8gb to 16gb. I will be doing some HD video editing, initially in I-movie, but would probably be moving to Final cut Pro at some point down the line, as I currently use Pinnacle Studio on PC, which can handle green screen etc?

3) I use Logos 5 Bible software a lot for my Bibles and Theology work, This software indexes its database whenever resources are added, and I am thinking extra ram may help here. I also often have 3 or more bible software programs open at the one time.

4)I do some audio recording and editing work as well. Is there a reasonably cost effective piece of software that will do basic effects and editing like Audacity on the PC?

5) I was looking at the 128gb version in terms of cost, and possibly adding a low profile SD card to increase storage. I know this will run more slowly than the SSD. Can I mount this card as a virtual drive within mac OS, so that I can install anything to the card, and it will be treated like a hard drive. In windows I have done this on my Surface Pro?

6) Am I correct in saying I can buy the Applecare say 6 months after purchase, it doesn`t have to be at time of purchase? Does that give me any less cover during say the first six months, and would you guys recommend the warranty.


Sorry for all the questions, but I wan to make sure I buy the correct machine.
I appreciate any advice.
Thanks
Duncan.
 
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ok for audio recording and editing i would recommend garageband yes buy the applecare warranty you will be sorry if you don't
 
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chas_m

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Hi,
This is my first post on the forums, so please be gentle.

(whispers softly) Welcome! :)

1) I was looking at the "one to one" training programme. I am really experienced on a PC, but have limited OS experience on a Mac. Would it be worth paying for this training?

Yes. I highly recommend this training, since you can ask questions and learn stuff that is specific to your needs.


2) Would I be better putting the money towards taking the ram up from 8gb to 16gb

Do both.


4)I do some audio recording and editing work as well. Is there a reasonably cost effective piece of software that will do basic effects and editing like Audacity on the PC?

There's Audacity (for the Mac), but I find it to be a buggy piece o'crap not worth the free pricetag. I recommend Amadeus Pro ($60), waaaaay better. Download the trial and see if you agree.

You question 5, about SD card expansion, simply will not work. You might want to back up and reconsider if you need the Retina model, as they cannot really be upgraded or modified after purchase, whereas the non-Retina models can (but the SD card idea still will not work).

6) Am I correct in saying I can buy the Applecare say 6 months after purchase, it doesn`t have to be at time of purchase? Does that give me any less cover during say the first six months, and would you guys recommend the warranty.

You are correct. In fact, you can buy AppleCare within the first 364 days of purchase, but I usually recommend buying within the first 90 days because that way you don't lose telephone support.
 
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MacInWin

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If you have to choose between One-on-one and the 16GB, I'd say the 16GB will be the better investment. The learning curve is not THAT steep, and the memory is not user (if at all) upgradable in that machine, so get as much as you can at the start. However, I do agree with chas_m that both is the best way, if you can spring for it.

As for the HD/SSD size, again go as big as you can afford. You can attach external drives, but they are most useful for storing data, not applications, and will always be seen as "external" and not the internal boot drive. USB Sticks are also always treated as external drives. Good for data, not applications.

As for Retina, my MBP is not retina, and I don't really notice it. The resolution is very, very good even without Retina. If you can get to an Apple store, check them out for yourself to see if you value Retina over other features.
 
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Thanks for the replies.

Does anyone now how much useable space there is on the 128gb RMPB, after the space the OS takes up?
Thanks
Duncan
 

chscag

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First of all, a 128 GB SSD is actually only around 120 GB of usable space. After the installation of OS X and included applications, you'll probably have around 100 to 105 GB of free space left. We highly recommend purchasing a larger SSD; the largest you can reasonably afford. At a minimum, I personally would not go any lower than 256 GB.
 
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chas_m

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And since this is not upgradable later, you'll really kick yourself if you don't upgrade that SSD when ordering.
 
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Ok, so it looks like it might be a struggle to afford higher ram and higher ssd,.

So the question is, if it is to be one or the other,

am I better taking the ram up to 16gb from 8gb, or the ssd up to 256gb from 128gb?

I am leaning towards the higher SSD, but how useable will 8gb ram be. Does it meanbI could never go with final cut pro for my editing?

Would an SSD of 128gb be too small for regular use. I assume I could have my itunes library on a usb3 drive. When using at my desk I would be using a plugable usb3 dock with several hard discs connected anyway, and assume I could video edit on the go with footage stored and saves on my portable Usb3 drive.

I'm still crunching numbers to see if there's anyway to afford 16gb with 256gb, but appreciate any more advice on the above.

The 16/256 I've looked at is an i7 and the 8/128 and 8/256 are i5, how much practical difference does that cpu jump make?
thanks
 
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chas_m

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Why not save a ton of money and go with a non-retina 13 instead? Then you should be able to go 16GB and 256GB SSD easily.
 
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MacInWin

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+1 for chas_m's suggestion of non-retina. As I said, the screen is amazing already.
 

chscag

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I also agree with the suggestion from chas_m. His suggestion has merit because you can purchase that particular model stock and upgrade it later on yourself. That's always a good way to save $$$.

But getting back to the retina choice.... The flash drive in the retina can be upgraded later on with an after market drive. OWC sells the upgrade but it's expensive and may require a tech to do the work. The memory in the retina models, however, is not upgradeable since the entire module unit is soldered to the logic board.
 
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chas_m

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Glad to hear that OWC has figured out the Retina storage upgrade issue, but yeah not everyone's going to be comfortable opening that up (since it isn't designed to be opened).
 
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Difference between i5 and i7 is typically 8-10% depending on the software you're using. The i7 only really matters when using software designed to take advantage of it's extra threads and cache, such as video editing. If you're not going to be editing videos on a regular basis then you could get away with an i5 and save a bunch of money.

The non-retina may be a good option for a tight budget but make sure you understand the difference in specs. The processor, RAM, hard drive, graphics and battery are all lower spec and not worth the small price difference in my opinion.

I would personally rather buy the entry level retina than an upgraded non-retina and buy an external drive for extra storage. Although the non-retina comes with a super drive and ethernet port you can find affordable USB plugins for the retina that serve the same purpose.

Whether to upgrade the RAM or HDD depends on your usage, however I'd lean toward RAM as external hard drives are relatively cheap. Doubling the SSD to 256GB doesn't get you much extra space to play with considering an external 2TB drive will cost less than the upgrade. It wouldn't be an SSD but then you don't need one for storage.

On the other hand if your day-to-day files take up around 80GB I'd probably upgrade the drive rather than RAM so I can go places without needing an external drive. Of course, not upgrading to an i7 would cover upgrading both :)
 

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