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Which Mac should you buy?

Roman Loyola | June 18, 2015
If you're reading this article, chances are you're thinking about buying a new Mac and may be in need of a little guidance. Fortunately, we're quite familiar with Apple's Macs, and we're happy to help you choose the right Mac for you.

If you wish to connect to an ethernet network, you'll need a USB ethernet Adapter.

How fast is it? The Retina MacBook Pro's processors, flash storage, and 8GB of memory combine to produce impressive performance. The 15-inch models can keep up with the stock configuration of the $1299 iMac with a 2.7GHz quad-core Core i5 processor and a hard drive. Both the 13- and 15-inch Retina MacBook Pros are faster than the stock configurations of the Mac mini, Apple's affordable desktop computer. And the Retina MacBook Pros offer a significant performance boost over their non-Retina counterpart (see below).

The 13-inch MacBook Pro and 13-inch MacBook Air is an interesting comparison. In multi-core tests, the 13-inch Retina MacBook Pro has a significant advantage--well over 20 percent faster--over the 13-inch MacBook Air. If you use professional apps (Final Cut, Logic Pro, other production apps), you're better off with a MacBook Pro instead of a MacBook Air. The story is a little different with single-core apps--the software most people use everyday, like a web browser, email, or even iMovie and GarageBand. The MacBook Pro is up to 20 percent faster. You may not notice a difference in speed in your browser or writing app.

Macworld's buying advice: For the most demanding mobile Mac user--someone whose work requires a lot of processing power--the Retina MacBook Pro is the ticket. If you're looking at a 13-inch model, the $1499 Retina MacBook Pro hits a sweet spot for price and performance. The money that separates the two 15-inch Retina MacBook Pro models is a hefty chunk of change; the $2799 MacBook Pro is the top-of-the-line Mac laptop, offering the strongest performance. If your work mostly involves Internet access and other productivity tasks, however, go for a MacBook Air.

MacBook Pro

What is it? Before the MacBook Pro with Retina display existed, there was the MacBook Pro. This laptop has a standard, non-Retina display.

Who's it for? The standard MacBook Pro is for the user who wants a portable computer that doesn't sacrifice a lot. The MacBook Pro isn't as fast as an iMac desktop system, but it can be faster than the MacBook Air at certain tasks.

What are the specifications? There's only one model. That laptop is a $1199 13-inch model with a 2.5GHz dual-core Core i5 processor, 4GB of memory, a 500GB 5400-rpm hard drive, and an integrated Intel HD Graphics 4000 graphics subsystem. You can customize your order with a faster processor, more memory, a larger hard drive, or a solid-state drive.

The standard MacBook Pro is the only Mac laptop with a built-in SuperDrive. If you need to burn or read optical discs, and you'd rather not use an external drive, the standard MacBook Pro is the laptop for you.


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