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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.

Apple used to offer a 17-inch standard MacBook Pro, but phased it out in favor of the 15-inch Retina MacBook Pro.

How do I connect stuff? Like all Mac computers, the standard MacBook Pro has built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. But unlike other Mac laptops, the standard MacBook Pro continues to offer ports that Apple has phased out of the MacBook Air and the Retina MacBook Pro.

If you have FireWire 800 drives that you use regularly, you'll be happy to know that the standard MacBook Pro comes with a FireWire 800 port. None of Apple's other laptops have FireWire. If you don't want to carry an adapter for your FireWire drive, the standard MacBook Pro is your only choice.

The standard MacBook Pro also has a gigabit ethernet port, which you can't find on the MacBook Air and the Retina MacBook Pro.

Like all Mac laptops, the standard MacBook Pro has two USB 3.0 ports.

How fast is it? The 13-inch standard MacBook Pro is slower overall than the 13-inch MacBook Air--blame the performance hit on the MacBook Pro's hard drive, which can't keep up with the MacBook Air's flash storage. However, the MacBook Pro has a performance advantage over the MacBook Air on tasks that are processor intensive (such as video editing) and don't have to read or write to the storage device much.

Macworld's buying advice: The standard MacBook Pro is for the mobile user who doesn't want to sacrifice a lot of features. The hard drives create a performance bottleneck, so if you want to get the best performance, consider customizing the laptop to replace the hard drive with an extra-cost SSD. If you want a laptop for travel and can't decide between a standard MacBook Pro and a MacBook Air, go with the MacBook Air unless you really need built-in FireWire; you might also consider a Retina MacBook Pro.

Mac mini

What is it? The Mac mini is Apple's entry-level desktop Mac. It's slower than Apple's other desktop computers--the iMac and the Mac Pro--but it remains fast enough for general-purpose use.

Who's it for? Apple targets first-time Mac users with the Mac mini. If you're switching from a PC, you can use your PC's keyboard and mouse with the Mac mini. The Mac mini is also ideal as a secondary Mac in your home, and it can integrate into your home entertainment center.

What are the specifications? What makes the Mac mini stand out is its small size. It doesn't take up a lot of desk space.

Apple sells three Mac mini models. The $499 model has a 1.4GHz dual-core Core i5 CPU, a 5400-rpm 500GB hard drive, 4GB of memory and an integrated Intel HD Graphics 5000 GPU. The $699 model includes a 2.6GHz dual-core Core i5 processor, a 5400-rpm 1TB hard drive 8GB of memory, and Intel Iris Graphics. The $999 model has a 2.8GHz dual-core Core i5 processor, a 1TB Fusion Drive, 8GB of memory, and Intel Iris Graphics.


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