An Unsolicited Advice on MacBook Buying

I am typing this down on a 13-inch MacBook Pro (MBP) that’s got the Intel HD Graphics 4000 specs. This is the only MacBook Pro model now that retained the built-in superdrive. I got this dream machine for NTD37,900. Do the math and I know, I know. It is a bargain. And for me, it is a bargain considering its stellar specs.
 
Most people these days go after the Retina and the Airs for aesthetic reasons. I don’t blame them. In the year I spent contemplating this MacBook move, I also found myself lured into the wonders of those models. Up until the time I have decided to purchase a MacBook, I still looked wistfully at the Retina model and thought about altering my budget a bit for that baby. In the end, the practicality won me over plus the many underrated things that people overlook about this model.
 
Built-in Superdrive – As I’ve said, this is the only MacBook Pro model that retained the built-in Superdrive hardware. True, this day and age somehow made CDs and DVDs close to passe, but not exactly. When installing software, you will still need to have a CD drive to accommodate the installation process. Unless you opted for a torrented .apk but seriously, can you stomach feeding your Mac with a fake?
 
Expandable storage slots – On the weight department, Airs easily win over Pros. But what’s often overlooked is that the Pros brush off this slight because these models are not heavier due to bad design. They are heavier because you can actually take the bottom cover off by yourself and tinker around. They are heavier because they have expandable slots that can be upgraded and if anything goes wrong, you can deal with your MacBook Pros for FREE (all by yourself!) armed with some tech know-how.
 
My MBP came with a pre-installed 4GB of RAM – I upgraded it to 10GB of spanking, flawlessly smooth-sailing goodness of RAM memory. RAM or Random-Access Memory is the memory that the computer uses to make your apps work onscreen while you continue to browse the internet, open tabs, create spreadsheets, and just multi-task like you’re on fire. It only uses the HDD of your computer once the RAM gets maxed out and once it’s maxed out, that’s when your computer becomes a hellishly slow pain in the A**. So this RAM upgrade I did? Best. Decision. Ever.
 
Expandable storage slots means customer care independence – Honestly, I have never appreciated the power of having a memory slot module or a removable HDD slot module until I became a manual writer. The MBP has a bottom side that can be removed and once you do, you will see the magnificent parts that make your computer work. Because this MBP model allows you to open that part, you can easily tweak your memory needs all by yourself. You can make repairs on your own if you know your way around computers. I upgraded my DIMMs all by myself and I will post that on a later blog. I only looked up the compatible DIMMs with my MBP model then fixed the rest by myself. Apple Service Center, you say? Sorry, I don’t own an Air. No need.
 
Intel HD Graphics 4000 – At a glance, it’s easy to understand why falling in love with a Retina screen is just unavoidable. But if you try to pry yourself away from its apparent charms, you would realize that it’s not all hearts and flowers and unicorns. Thing is, you are the only one who probably has the Retina screen. If you are using your MBP for video/photo-editing work, you will need a screen whose pixels are more visually encompassing when printed once the principles of CMYK is applied. When your prints get passed on to another computer, Retina’s power would cease to exist. Bear in mind that the reason why the Retina is more expensive is mostly because of the display technology. But because of that, you have to cut back on storage and repairability as well as power-consumption for ports and dedicate those things instead to making the Retina technology work. 
 
i5 versus i7 Intel Chip – Like the Intel Iris graphics, on paper it’s so cool to see that you’ve got the fastest processor currently introduced by Intel. But in reality and on actual use, i5 and i7 doesn’t really have that much of a difference. Granted, the number of cores (dual core vs. quad core) does have a bearing in terms of processing capacity but in reality, it’s your RAM that mostly gets all the hard work done. Also, you need to remember this: the higher the processor, the more power it needs to fire up your machine. i5 is more energy-efficient than the i7. 
 
More ports on the left and right side – This MBP model has more connectivity ports on both sides. I can enjoy 2 USB ports on the left side plus a built-in memory card reader and a LAN port. That means I don’t have to worry about connecting to an old-school ethernet cable if there is no Wi-Fi available. 
 
UNIX-based – I really disliked Microsoft for the necessity of an anti-virus software. It’s like, are you freaking playing a game on me? Linux, just laughs off the idea of needing an anti-virus. Months after using Linux, I now fully understand how those open-source purists tend to have such bad blood against Windows. I can’t blame them. It’s free to run Linux and the graphical user interface is also very close to that of Mac’s OSX. That said, Mac’s OS is also UNIX-based. This is why I feel like my Linux-powered Samsung is still a very relevant machine with this purchase. Now I don’t need to deal with the bloatwares of Microsoft. What bloatwares? Oh, the programs and applications that are not named Windows Media Player, Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel, and Microsoft Powerpoint, but I need to live with anyway because they are already pre-installed with my Windows OS. 
 
There you have it. These are my own personal take on the underdog that people usually overlook on Apple stores. While I was still researching on which Apple MacBook to buy, I came across an article before that says the 13-inch MacBook Pro non-Retina may just be Apple’s hidden gem. Now, I can say that it truly is. It’s a lean machine that packs everything that made Apple “Apple” when it comes to laptop technology. Plus, it stays true to what computers should be—tweakable and customizable all by yourself. 
 
I think that if you are purchasing a MacBook for work and if you want to experience the real value behind Apple machines, you should go for the Pro models. Airs, to me, are for people who want something lightweight and trendy. So before you make that MacBook move, don’t let the glitzy cult-like charm of Apple products woo you. Think first, acknowledge logical reasons for buying one, and don’t let Apple outsmart you. Be the smart-ass who purchases the Apple machine for very good reasons other than it’s cool. 

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