Jim

What’s The Best MacBook To Buy in 2011?

This one’s easy, as when we’re talking about MacBooks and not MacBook Pro’s or Airs, there’s only one MacBook currently on sale that you  can buy and that’s the 2.4GHz Apple MacBook in white with a MSRP of $999. (you can do better on the price)

MacBook White 2011 2.4GHz (see lowest price)

Now if it were my choice and you don’t need to save every penny to buy a MacBook, I would do all I can and buy  the MacBook Pro instead in the same 13.3 inch format as the MacBook but adds a whole lot more features when you compare the two side by side. On the new MacBook Pro there’s a faster processor, more RAM capability and the new Thunderbolt technology that will be the defacto standard when connecting other devices sooner than you’d think.

Best MacBook To Buy Today

13 inch MacBook Pro: Best of  All MacBooks (click to see price)

The MacBook is a nice computer, no doubt but with the last refresh being last year in May 2010, the MacBook is starting to show it’s age, especially when compared to the newer big brother. Unless you need to buy a much cheaper computer, I would stick with the MBP when shopping for a MacBook this year as the MacBook Pro’s are the newest and fastest MacBooks.

Let’s compare:

Processor

MacBook: 2.4 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo

MacBook Pro: 2.3GHz dual-core Intel Core i5

RAM

MacBook: 2GB standard, up to 4GB allowed

MacBook Pro: 4GB standard, up to 8GB allowed (16GB, according to OWC)

Graphics

MacBook:NVIDIA GeForce 320M graphics processor with 256MB of DDR3 SDRAM shared with main memory

MacBook  Pro: Intel HD Graphics 3000

Storage

MacBook: 8x superdrive, 250GB Hard Drive

MacBook Pro: 320GB Hard Drive, 8x SuperDrive

**I/O interfaces **

MacBook: USB 2.0

MacBook Pro: USB 2.0, FireWire 800, ThunderBolt  Port

As you can see, for the added $200 expense the 13 inch 2.3GHz MacBook Pro is the winner here as it adds the same clock speed, (close enough)  but with a much faster Intel processor.

Lightest MacBook

Best Small Apple Notebook 2011

**MacBook Air. The lightest MacBook **(click for best price)

And just to make things even more confusing there’s the MacBook Air, which for those needing the smallest and lightest Apple notebooks, this is the choice you’re looking for. The upside with the MacBook Air is the weight of course, weighing just 2.3 lbs, the 11 inch MacBook Air is the lightest notebook you can buy and they start the same as the white MacBook’s do at $999.

The MacBook Air is stripped of a lot of stuff in order to make it the cheapest and lightest MacBook. Gone are the hard drive and optical drive. For the optical drive, you can buy an extra optical drive that plugs into the MacBook Air. If you need an optical drive, I would  suggest you buy a MacBook white  instead as I see no point in trying to slug around a CD drive, as it negates the portability of the MacBook Air in the first place.  Another thing gone on the MacBook Air is the hard drive, which instead is replaced with  a 64GB or 128GB hard drive depending on the configuration of MacBook Air you buy. There’s also a 13 inch MacBook Air, but I think for any serious work, the 1.4GHz Intel Core 2 processor is back in time, even if the SSD hard drive speeds  up read and writing of data.

So. If you really, really need the lightest Apple notebook you can buy, then grab the MacBook Air, but the best selling and best deal when it comes to MacBooks in 2011 is currently the Apple MacBook Pro 13 inch and with some shopping around for the best price can be had closer to the $999 list price of the white MacBook than you would believe.

Buy the 13inch MacBook Pro as currently, it’s the best MacBook of  the bunch.

Best Notebook Computer Brands and Best Selling Laptops

Well, we all know I’m a big fan of one particular computer brand but there’s others. But not everybody drinks the koolaid and is willing to pay the premium that my favorite computer brand and there’s lots of other brands from major manufacturers of best selling notebooks in 2011. When you’re in the market for a new notebook computer you you’ve got more than one brand choice when you’re shopping for the best selling laptops 2011 has to offer so far.

The Apple MacBook Pro is the best notebook Apple makes

If you haven’t figured this out by now, I am a tad bit biased when it comes to shopping for a new notebook, but lots of you aren’t willing to pay the premium when it comes to the price that Apple demands for their laptops and with their lowest priced or cheapest laptop costing you at least $999 for the best price on a brand new Apple notebook, that’s a lot of coin for some of us (me too) and much cheaper Windows 7 notebooks are available for under $200 if you do a bit of online shopping.

Toshiba

 

Best Toshiba Notebook. About half the price of the Apple notebook above.

Toshiba to me, although perhaps not as well know  as HP or Dell, always seemed to me to make a superior product in my limited knowledge when it comes to Windows OS PC Brands. I have had a few opportunities to shop for a windows notebook, because even though I’ve confessed my love for Apple,  theree’s some things the Mac OS can’t do, and I’ve never had good look running Parallels, software that lets yuu run windows on your Mac and prefer  to just buy a PC notebook and the Toshibas always tended  to look like a higher quality  PC to my admittedly  untrained knowledge when it  comes to notebooks.

And this is where Windows PC’s just beat Apple hands down, and that’s price. Where the best selling notebook from Apple has a street price of about $1100 or maybe a bit more, the most popular Toshiba notebook  sits with a street price of  just over $500, or half the price of the Apple notebook above.

Acer

 

Cheapest Acer Notebook Today

Acer, when compared to Toshiba is a relatively newer notebook  manufacturer (please correct me if I’m wrong), at least when compared to the bigger brand names of  notebooks such as Apple or HP or Dell, but one thing that Acer, and to an extent all makers of notebook computers is price. When compared to the Apple notebook  above, the best selling acer notebook can be had for under $400 online. That’s one third the price of the  Apple MacBook Pro, and depending on your needs you might be better off buying two acer notebooks with one for work and one for  home still costing you  less than what Apple charges.  For $400, you can’t really compare when it comes to performance but for light computing needs an Acer Computer would do just fine.

HP

 

One of the Better Notebooks from HP This Year

Hewlett Packad is a very well known computer maker, not just of latpop computers, but desktop computers, printers in both inkjet and laser format and a host of  other electronics including digital cameras and more. HP have  done really well to brand  themselves as more of a higher end computer maker and although the do make cheaper notebooks they really shine lately when it comes to entertainment PCs as the line between computer and TV are getting more and more blurry. Once, just used for word processing and desktop publishing, modern HP notebooks in 2011 feature stereo built in speakers, fast graphics for video and  in some models, even a remote control is included in the price.

Dell

 

Dell Inspiron is on of the cheaper notebooks made by Dell.

Dell can offer lowest prices on notebooks as this was one of the first computer brands to ship direct to the consumer and although in 2011 there are a few exceptions, your Dell notebook comes straight from Dell, eliminating any costs that resellers add  to notebook computer. This results in some of the cheapest notebooks available today. Over the years Dell has grown to sell everything from dell branded HDTV’s to desktop computers, but some of the core reasons to shop for a dell is for their affordable inspiron notebooks like the 15 inch dell notebook on sale pictured above.

How Should Memory Be Installed in a 27 inch iMac?

Very carefully.

In some ways I joke because as long as you follow the instructions on iMac 27 inch RAM upgrade instructions as provided by Apple that won’t void your warranty in any way and make your iMac run faster for cheaper than you have ever imagined you’ll be absolutely fine as adding iMac 27 inch RAM isn’t complicated or difficult at all.

On the other side of the coin, adding memory to you Mac does require some precautions as there is a slim chance you could zap not only the RAM upgrade you’re trying to install but your Apple iMac too, and that my friends, is not a good idea or something I recommend. The biggest precaution you have to make when it comes to iMac RAM upgrades is to fight against static electricity when installing the memory.

As you will see with the Apple Memory Upgrade Installation  Instructions, upgrading RAM on the 27 inch iMac is pretty easy and once you remove the cover on the bottom of the iMac you have full access to the memory upgrade slots that can accept up to 16GB of RAM using four 4 GB DDR3 SDRAM 133 MHz sodimms.

It’s just a matter of removing the factory RAM from the iMac, which is usually formatted in 2x2GB or 2×4 GB memory configurations and installing more memory in the empty two upgrade slots on the 27 inch iMac. If your iMac came shipped with 8GB of RAM in a 2x4GB configuration, this means you have two more empty memory upgrade slots where you can buy and install another two 4GB imac memory module and effectively doubling and maximizing the RAM your iMac uses.

Where to Buy iMac 27 inch RAM

I monitor ram prices for Apple iMac 27 inch computers from a variety of memory manufacturers and vendors so  I suggest this to be a good place to start when shopping for deals on iMac RAM as the other thing you have to be aware of is paying too much money for you iMac RAM as you  have worked hard for that money and you want to maximize not only the iMac’s RAM but also the savings on RAM.

With that in mind, below are the cheapest Apple iMac 27 inch memory upgrades on sale currently:

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Memory Installations on the Apple 27 inch iMac are cheap and easy to do yourself with common sense and household tools and will make your iMac computing experience a joy for years to come.

What is the Best Desktop Computer 2011: HP Desktop Models

Best Selling HP Desktop Computer. Priced under $500

What is the best computer 2011? (I also get asked what is the best 2011 laptop too)

I get asked this a fair bit, probably just behind what the best computers 2011 offers and what should I buy which is another thing I get asked, so rather than answer this question again privately,  I thought  I would answer your question here and look at the Top 3 HP desktop computers on sale and why they are the best desktops from HP you can buy this year to date:Cheapest HP Desktop

HP Pavilion p6720f

The HP Pavilion currently tops the best selling HP desktops list as it balances the low price that all desktop PC’s are associated with when compared to days gone by but still offers the best performance of any other desktop computer by HP. Featuring an AMD Phenom II 840T Quad-Core Processor with 6GB of RAM standard (expandable to 16GB), a 1TB hard drive for more than enough room for your files, and Windows 7 64 bit operating system installed with a fast ATI RadeonTM HD 4200 integrated graphics card  that offers fast and responsive video – great for movies or gaming, just two applications that require the fastest video card money can buy. Priced at just a touch over $500 this is the best value desktop from HP available today.

HP Pavilion Slimline s5710f PC

The HP Pavilion Slimline S5710f  comes in a much smaller form factor than a full sized PC but don’t let the small size or even smaller price fool you. This is one serious  HP desktop PC and ships standard with an AMD Athlon II 260 Dual Core Processor, 3GB of DDR3 RAM, 640GB hard drive, and Windows 7 all come as standard equipment on this tiny PC from HP that looks stylish on any desk, a perfect solution from HP where space is a consideration when buying a desktop PC, regardless of computer brand.

HP Pavilion p6750f Special Edition

The HP Pavilion P6750 Special Edition is priced with a street price of just over $500 and offers a stylish ocean inspired design for spaces where it matters that your desktop looks as much as it performs. This HP desktop is not all about looks, no this is one of the top 3 computers today from HP thanks to a fast Intel E6700 processor,  Windows 7 64bit pre-installed and 4GB of RAM or Memory  with a big 1TB hard drive as standard equipment and all for a low low price that’s too low to display here it’s such a great deal on a HP Desktop.

HP desktop technology will increase over time, and the desktops will get even faster  with more performance as they always do, but when shopping for a HP desktop this year in 2011 these are the best HP desktops available today.

  • AMD Athlon II 260 Dual-Core Processor

Is AppleCare Worth It for A MacBook Pro?

Cheap Apple Care

 

MacBook Pro Applecare. 

Save on AppleCare for MacBook Pro.

This is a good question, and at $250 for another 2 years of limited warranty and almost 3 years of phone support some may argue that AppleCare is the best value no nonsense Apple warranty you can buy, while others might tend to think it’s the biggest waste of money possible and you would be much better off self insuring your new MacBook Pro yourself.

First off, let’s forget about the telephone support as I think for a professional notebook buyer this is waste of time. You’re buying a pro notebook  from Apple  so I’m going to assume you know how to use the thing, or at very least you know how to use the tools with your MacBook Pro whether  they are Adobe Photoshop  for graphics pros or Microsoft Office for business professionals, it’s highly unlikely you’ll use the phone support. At least I never have and with  every new Mac I have ever bought, I just unwrap or unbox the Mac and get to work.

The limited warranty is the kicker I think.  On  one  hand you could argue that the one year warranty that ships with every Mac is more than enough for finding out if you’ve got a dud of a Mac as that’s a year of bumps and bruises and reboots and restarts and there is going to be a problem with your new Apple notebook, it would have reared it’s ugly head by now.

On the other side of the argument, $250 for another 2 years of warranty is a pretty good deal and assuming this is a business computer the AppleCare might be considered a cost of doing business resulting in tax writeoff or refund and even if it isn’t in your case, ten dollars a month for Apple Warranty seems like a pretty good deal for the additional warranty and when you consider that AppleCare only adds another ten percent to your total MacBook Pro cost, give or take – the AppleCare for MacBook Pro seems like a no brainer.

I’ve never bothered with AppleCare for MacBook Pro, as even though a MacBook Pro should get you through three years  or so before you start lusting for a faster Mac, I tend to just trade my old MacBook Pro in for a newer  Mac notebook. My approach is this:

New MacBook Pro Price: $2500.

MacBook Pro traded in a year later for $1000.

This means I now have a $1000 credit for my brand new next generation MacBook Pro with another year  of AppleCare warranty included without having to buy AppleCare ever. Yes, it costs me $1500 for the year I have the current  MBP, but  I earn much more money with my MacBook Pro than $100 or  so a month, so I don’t care and I get a new MacBook Pro every year without having to buy additional AppleCare and  I would rather put the $125 a year to newer technology which allows me  to work even faster than before, another added benefit of this approach. Buying more insurance does not get my work done any faster.

Essentially, by opting out of buying AppleCare and just replacing my Mac every year when the warranty is up I have no need for AppleCare. The downside  of this approach is I’m losing $1500 per year (estimated) by doing this and keeping  my MacBook Pro for longer than a year would definitely be the more frugal choice, even with the added costs of Apple. Assuming I kept my MacBook Pro for three years – the same length of time as the AppleCare coverage and the MacBook Pro was entirely worthless at the end of those 36 month, my total yearly cost for my MacBook Pro, including the extended warranty of the AppleCare would be about $800 per year

If saving money on your computer purchases is your main concern, then AppleCare is the best deal as it allows you to extend the life of your MBP knowing you’ve got full limited warranty coverage from Apple. The downside to this is approach is that your Apple Notebook will be pretty slow when you compare it to newer models at the time.

If you prefer to use a new MacBook Pro year after year, then buying AppleCare for MacBook Pro is not worth it as it’s not needed. Every year when you buy a new MacBook Pro will come with AppleCare included. The downside to this method is you will be hit with high depreciation costs when it comes time to trade in your MacBook Pro at the end of the first year and your total computing costs will be significantly higher.

You have to decide what route suits your needs best when it comes to buying extended warranty coverage for your Mac.