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Choosing the Right Mac: 3 Common Options

by | Nov 19, 2023 | 0 comments

Are you in the market for a new Mac but feeling overwhelmed by the options? Worry not! This guide will help you navigate through Apple’s offerings to determine what might be your best choice.

To keep things simple, I’ve based the options and recommendations on two primary questions:

  1. Portability Needs: Do you require a computer that you can carry around, or will it mostly stay in one place?
  2. Usage Requirements: What are your primary activities on the computer? Are they basic tasks like email and web browsing, or more demanding tasks like graphic design, video editing, or coding?

Based on these criteria, here are the three main options to consider:

1. iMac – The All-in-One Powerhouse

M3 iMac (2023)

  • Processor: Apple M3 chip, 8-core CPU, 8-core GPU, 16-core Neural Engine.
  • Memory: 8 GB unified RAM, upgradable at purchase.
  • Storage: 256 GB or 512 GB (or higher) SSD options.
  • Display: 23.5″ 4480×2520 Retina 4.5K display.
  • Price: Starting at $1,299​​​​.

The latest M3 iMacs are a good option for those who want an all-in-one, non-portable Mac. The base models with 8GB RAM and 256GB hard drives are good options for the average user who does not have demands for more intensive applications like video editing, high end photography processing, or 3D modeling. Someone with these demands are better served by bumping the RAM to 16GB and a hard drive of at least 512GB.

M1 iMac (2021)

The M1 iMacs are still available at discounted prices. This is an especially good option budget buyers. The M1 iMac still has plenty of power for the average user who want to reduce the price by hundreds of dollars.

2. Mac Mini with External Monitor – Compact Yet Mighty

Opt for a Mac Mini if you seek high performance at a more affordable price point. Considering the additional cost of peripherals like a monitor, mouse, and keyboard, you can still put together a powerful system for less. The latest Mac Mini features the powerful M2 chip, known for its enhanced graphics performance and efficiency​​.

This option gets you more performance at a lower cost. This is especially true if you already a good monitor.

3. MacBook Air with External Monitor – The Best of Both Worlds

The MacBook Air, particularly with the M2 chip, is ideal for those needing portability. It offers a balance between performance and convenience, though it’s more prone to wear and tear due to its mobile nature.

This option is best for the creative who is often on the go. If you combine the MacBook Air with a good monitor for your home base, you have the best of both worlds.

MacBook Air (M2)

  • Processor: Apple M2 chip, 8-core CPU, upgradable to a 10-core GPU.
  • Memory: 8 GB unified memory, configurable up to 24 GB.
  • Storage: Starts with a 256 GB SSD, upgradable to 2 TB.
  • Display: 13.6-inch Liquid Retina display.
  • Additional Features: 1080p FaceTime HD camera, four-speaker sound system.
  • Note: Pricing and further details available on Apple’s website or through retailers.

Pricing Reference

To give you an idea of the costs involved, here are some useful links to Amazon’s pricing for various iMac, Mac Mini, and MacBook Air models:

This is quick guide for 3 options should at least help you get started on your decision to get a new Mac system.


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