Jim

Sites I Like: Low End Mac

Low  End  Mac  was one of the very first sites I ever came across way back when,  and has been a favorite ever since and you will find that this is a very useful resource for the Apple community.

It’s especially fun to check out their Mac of the Day feature and see how the older Apple computers have aged.  There are other sites that highlight older computers, but like the name suggests Low End Mac does this very well and has information you can’t get or find any more for the older Apple computers.

They offer technical specs to pretty much every mac you can think of  which can be handy when you need to know how much ram  your older mac can  take for an example. :) .  Also be sure to check out the articles for some great stuff on how to get the most of your older Mac.

I think that even more so now than in the past  – despite all the hoopla about the latest and greatest computers like the new MacBook, etc – you can still get very good mileage out of some older computers. Personally, I have posted blog posts for this site from a ten year old PowerBook G4 so  I’m a fan of Low End  Mac, (as well as being cheap) :)

There are a lot of resources on the web about new macs and all the rumors and headlines, but Low End Mac is one  of the  few sites to help you be happy with what you’ve got.

Here’s  a few of my favorite articles recently:

The  New MacBook and the iMac Effect

Radius Displays, Video Cards, and Clones

Umax SuperMax Clones

How Much Does RAM Cost?

Expect to pay about $75.00 for 16GB of RAM and $45.00 for 8GB of RAM

Prices may change over time, but you should expect to pay that much for ram you buy and replace your old ram that came pre-installed when you bought your computer

The good news is you can sell your old ram t to recover some of the price of the new ram by trading in your old ram.

You won’t get a whole lot for your old ram trade in, but you will get some money back when you send in your old ram for trade in. According to Other World Computing you could get $37.00 for 8GB of MacBook Pro ram from either Apple or their own OWC brand.

This trade in value would get your cost for 16GB of MacBook Pro RAM down to under $100 to double your ram in your Apple notebook from 8GB to 16GB, and as I have stated before, unless you are doing very CPU intensive work then **16GB of RAM will be all the RAM you ever need. **

Apple Memory RAM Costs

The bummer with Apple memory is that replaceable memory modules are going the way of the Dodo bird. If you have a MacBook Pro newer than 2012 you had better have upgraded it when you bought it because otherwise you are out of luck and stuck with your current amount of RAM.

This holds true for Apple MacBook Air models that have **never been able to accept a ram upgrade **and on the desktop front, this applies to the 2014 Mac Mini too. The only Apple computers you can upgrade are the Apple iMacs and Mac Pros, and I would not be surprised if you will soon not be able to upgrade the iMacs much further either. I think that in the future iMacs will come preconfigured with RAM upgrades just like the notebooks and that just leaves the Mac Pros that can accept a memory upgrade.

Windows 8 RAM Upgrade Costs

If you’re in the market for a memory upgrade for a windows or PC notebook you might have better luck with getting a ram upgrade for your Windows notebook but even this is changing over time. Some of the most popular windows PC’s like the 2015 Dell XPS and the Asus X305 notebooks cannot take an upgrade as like the Apple notebooks the RAM is soldered onto the motherboard.

The minimum memory requirements for Windows 8 is just 2GB but I think that is being a **little optimistic **in how much ram your notebook needs to run Windows well. I would think that you would want to have double the memory in a Windows notebook with at least **4GB of RAM. **

If you check the minimum ram on the Apple website it will too state that you need just 2GB of RAM for Mac OS but like the Windows 8 requirements I would not think about using a computer from Apple with at least 4GB of RAM, and preferably 8. Even the newer Apple MacBook ships with 8GB of RAM, but the MacBook Air models come with just 4GB so in 2015 I can suggest your computer come with at least 4GB of RAM.

This 4GB minimum of RAM really isn’t that hard to meet as there are many Windows notebooks under $400 that ship with at least 4gb of RAM, and if you spend more you get 8GB as the default so it’s not too hard to be sure you have 4GB of RAM in your notebook or desktop when you want to run Windows OS.

And if you have an older Mac or Windows machine you are really going to benefit from an upgrade from 2GB to 4GB if your machine can support it. It’s a great way to get some more mileage out of your older Mac or PC and yet the upgrade willcost very little.

Does Different Memory Types Cost More?

This really depends on the memory type you are looking to upgrade. If you are looking for the best prices for modern memory technology like DDR3 1600Mhz so-dimms or sdram for desktops then the prices for most brands with comparable sizes cost pretty much the same.

Where the costs do change is if you are looking to upgrade the RAM to performance memory for those that demand the best and fastest RAM you can buy and the extra cost is worth the extra performance. Gamers and Photographers are two groups that might prefer to have faster ram.

But if you’re the average user, just find a good brand of RAM like Crucial, Kingston, OWC and other brands and you’re all set to go. Here’s a few examples of good prices on RAM for Mac or PC, desktop or notebook:

To summarize, ram for Mac, Windows and Linux should not cost you a lot of money and with some shopping and trading in your old RAM you might be able to get all the ram you need to buy for $100. Just be sure to check with the memory manufacturer to be sure you can upgrade the RAM in your computer.

Is it Worth it to Upgrade the RAM on a 2015 MacBook Pro to 16GB?

picjumbo.com_IMG_4893

<code>The MacBook Pro should be upgraded to 16GB. [ check price ](http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B008LTBJFW/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=B008LTBJFW&linkCode=as2&tag=ramseeker-20&linkId=RAUAQLS6NUZDS4NX)
</code>

I was just pricing out a new MacBook Pro (the 13 incher) and noted that they really aren’t that expensive and also even though the RAM is not upgradeable on this model you can order it from Apple with 16GB vs the 8GB and I have to tell you: the prices Apple charges for RAM really isn’t that bad!

It was not too long ago that if you wanted to upgrade to 16GB from 8GB you could expect to pay a very pretty penny when you buy the ram directly from Apple, and for older Macs like 2012 MacBook Pros – one of the last MacBook Pro models that could take a user installable memory upgrade – this still seems to be the case, where Apple is currently charging over double what they should for a comparable memory part. 

But if you buy a 2015 Apple MacBook Pro and  then when you go to check out and bump up the ram to 16GB from 8GB at time of purchase, the ram price upgrade from 8 to 16GB is just $200, which is not outrageous like Apple RAM prices once were. At one time you would pay  a whole lot more money for 16GB of ram for the MBP if you were to buy it from Apple.

Take a look at the memory chart above: To upgrade to 8GB on an older 2012 and later model MacBook Pro, you will see that places like OWC  and Data Memory Systems are currently charging about  $140-$180.00 for the  16GB memory upgrade kit , but Apple charges $200 for half the amount of RAM at 8GB.

Is a 16GB RAM Upgrade from Apple Worth It?

So the question I need to ask is is it worth it to upgrade a 2015 MacBook Pro to 16gb when you buy it directly from Apple, and I have to say that this is the very first year I can say this with any sort of confidence, but yes it is.

Sure, you pay  a bit of Apple Tax on the ram upgrade compared to a 16GB kit for an older upgradable machine, but for the newest  MacBook Pros (and others) the only way to get to the maximum ram allowable for the Mac is to buy the ram at time of purchase from the Apple Store so you really only have one option anyway, and $200 for a 16GB ram upgrade is currently not that bad of a price.

The  True Cost of a $200.00  16GB RAM Upgrade from Apple

But, then there’s the question of whether a ram upgrade of 16GB is worth it for a MacBook Pro vs the 8GB they ship with for the stock configuration, and  I think the answer is yes, and Ithink that the  $200 price increase is a worthy upgrade, and here’s why:

Let’s choose the 2015 MacBook Pro with 2.7Ghz  and Retinal Display: 

Out of the box this model ships with 8GB of RAM and is priced at $1299.00, say $1300 for a round number. Add the 8GB upgrade to 16GB total and your new MacBook Pro  now costs $1500.00 with the more memory pre-installed.

Let’s assume you keep the MacBook Pro for 2 years. I think this is a very reasonable time to consider that you will stay with the same Apple computer. A 2017 MacBook Pro might be something completely different and will no doubt be faster and lighter than your once new 2015 model, but it should run most programs still and the latest operating system with ease. Unless you need to be on the bleeding edge of technology there’s no reason why you couldn’t get even more than 3 years out of it.

The Math: What a 16GB MacBook Pro Really Costs

Apple will happily finance the base model to you at $61.00 and change a month (on approved credit, etc). If you add the $200 option you are now raising  the financing cost ten dollars a month over the course of the term, which is in this example 24 months.

If you keep the MacBook Pro for 3 years, you’re paying  $500 a year to own your MacBook Pro. But that assumes your notebook has zero value at the end  of the 3 years and we know that’s not true and  it would not be hard at all to get a 50% trade in on your old Mac. This brings your costs down even further to $250.00 a year for 16GB 2015 MacBook Pro, or just over $20.00 a month for the 16GB model.

This is a current notebook with much more than three years of life in them, and all it costs is about $20.00 a month. I think this is a pretty good deal for a MacBook Pro. If you’re a professional you can easily realize more than $20.00 a month with your notebook, and  even if you’re a student or a mommy blogger you can also get twenty dollars of value with a fast portable MacBook with a full amount of memory that just works.

This is why I suggest to always, always add the maximum amount of RAM you can to your computer. Even with the cost Apple charges for the upgrade, if you keep your computer in good shape it will have a very high resale value even a few years later and the true cost of owning your maxed out MacBook Pro will really only cost about the same as a few lattes from Starbucks every month.

Buy the MacBook Pro on Sale Now

Buy RAM for your older MacBook Pro

2015 MacBook vs MacBook Pro: Pros and Cons

fastest Apple notebook

<code>The 2015 MacBook Pro is the fastest Apple notebook computer [ check price ](http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00UGBMRQ8/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=B00UGBMRQ8&linkCode=as2&tag=ramseeker-20&linkId=7HAPUCOZNQT6RO3F)
</code>

It’s been some time since I wrote about the product MacBook as the last models were about 2010, but after half a decade of discontinuation, Apple’s announcement changed all that and now if you’re going to buy a new Apple notebook computer in 2015 you have to ask your self – MacBook or MacBook Pro?

2015 MacBook Pros

Less Weight

The benefits of the 2015 MacBook are more than a few, but the most obvious change for this brand new notebook from Apple is the size and weight of the notebook compared to other notebooks in this class. At just 2lbs in weight, this is the lightest notebook you can buy today from Apple, aside from buying an iPad and using it with an Apple Keyboard, but that’s really a different story compared to the MacBook because the iPad runs on a completely different operating system and as such is not really a fair comparison and some would argue that even with a keyboard the iPad is not a real computer (some would argue differently).

Less Ports

So with the release of the Apple MacBook we have not only lightness compared to the MacBook Pro but also a completely different design that removes almost all the ports. Unlike the MBP, the MacBook Air offers just two ports – one for power via a USB-C connector and a headphone jack. That’s it. This could be considered a pro or con depending on the user but for my needs, which is mostly writing articles just like this one – I don’t need to connect anything to a computer other than perhaps a wireless mouse, but if I really needed to I could buy a bluetooth mouse to use.

I am going to call the lack of ports a pro because with the advent of dropbox and Google Drive and other cloud computing hosts, there’s no real need for external hard drives and usb flash sticks. One thing I might miss would be a SD card reader, but a lot of the higher end and even enthusiasts cameras now include wi-fi, so that’s not even a big deal. And, if you do need to hang some accessories off the 2015 MacBook there are dongles you can buy. that will allow you to work with memory cards and other USB 2.0 and USB 3.0 legacy devices

Better Keyboard

The keyboard. I have not been able to test the keyboard of the MacBook but I think that after getting used to the new design with the butterfly keys vs the scissor style keyboards that have been around for a decade or more, this should be a better designed keyboard, assuming you can get used to the less travel than traditional keyboards

Better Battery Life

The new MacBook is rated at up to 9 hours of battery life, which is not as good as the ten hours of life the MacBook Pro is spec’d at but for a small computer that weighs just 2lbs this is really good all day battery performance on this new 2015 Apple notebook.

Better Display

The MacBook offers a 12 inch retina display, but is a bit deeper (or taller) than the MacBook Pro’s thanks to the 16:10 ratio vs the 16:9 ratio of the MacBook Pro models. You might not think this would be a big deal, but if you’re like me and spend pretty much all your time in a document or web, you will appreciate the deeper display for less scrolling that allows you too keep your hands on the keyboard vs the mouse or trackpad.

2015 MacBook Pro Pros

 

The 2015 MacBook Pros have a few advantages over the 2015 MacBook:

Bigger Screen Sizes

Even the smallest MacBook Pro has a 13 inch display vs the 12 inch display on the MacBook, and if you want to go bigger you can even buy a 15 inch MacBook Pro too. Of course, these MacBook Pros are heavier than Apple’s new light netbook, but if you need a bigger display in a portable from the fruit company, then your only options are MacBook Pro models.

Faster Processors for More Speed

The MacBook is not designed to be the fastest Apple notebook you can buy and features a pretty lightweight Intel Core M processor vs the Intel Core i5 and i7 options on the pro. If you do heavy duty stuff with your computer than the Pro is the computer you want to buy.

Bigger Battery Life

It’s not much, but the MacBook Pro Battery life is rated at 10 hours vs 9 for the MacBook. It’s not a big difference and in some cases might not matter at all but if you need every bit of portable power you can than the MBP is the notebook from Apple you need for all day portable power.

More Ports

The MacBook Pros are equipped with the ports we exepect on a professional computer like USB 3.0, HDMI, SD card readers, thunderbolt ports and so on. If you have stuff you want to connect to your MacBook Pro and hate the idea of dongles hanging off your MacBook you need to spring for the Pro version of this computer.

Mag Safe Power

One of the best ideas Apple ever had was the Magsafe connector that disconnected if the cable was pulled. This has saved countless accidents from people tripping over power cables and has saved my bacon on more than one occassion. I hope the omittance of Mag Safe connector on the new MacBook Pro is just a temporary thing.

Summary

To summarize, both of these portable Apple computer lines offer different things for different people. If you need the lightest computer from Apple you can possibly get, then the Apple MacBook is for you, assuming you can live with the less ports and power. But if you’re a power user the MacBook Pro is only 3.5lbs, which is still a considerable weight loss compared to older models. If you need speed, a bigger screen size and all the ports you could ask for then the MacBook Pro is the computer to buy.

Where To Buy Refurbished Apple Computers

best refurbished apple computers

<code>The first place you should check for a refurbished Mac is [Apple](http://www.apple.com)
</code>

 

One of the best ways to get deals on an Apple computer is to buy an Apple Refurbished Model vs buying a new Apple computer because you will save money on an Apple notebook or desktop and in most cases you will not be able to tell the difference between new or refurbished Apple computers.

This also applies to iPhones and iPads and even Apple accessories too because just because it’s not new doesn’t mean you can’t get a great deal on a previously Apple item regardless of what that may be. Here’s a few places to look for refurbished Apple computers.

Apple

This one is pretty obvious I think and in most cases I find that for the newer models especially or even the just discontinued Macs and iPads that the Apple Store itself tends to have some of the best prices on refurbished computers and you can be sure that these computers that ship from Apple are rerfurbished correctly. Heck, Apple even calls these Certified Refurbished and they come with free shipping and a one year warranty too making these the best deals on Mac products.

The savings depend on the model but expect the savings to be in the area of 15-20% off. Some examples of current refurbished deals are:

Refurbished 13.3 inch MacBook Pro for $929.00

Refurbished Mac Mini 2014 for $419.00

Refurbished MacBook Pro 15.4 inch for $1489.00

These deals come and go all the time but the three above are discounted about 15% off and still have a full one year warranty from Apple. It’s really hard to beat buying a refurbished product directly from Apple.

 

Amazon

Amazon is also a good source for refurbished Mac computers due to the sheer size of the Amazon marketplace. Unlike Apple that tends to sell refurbished models that have been just discontinued or even current, the Amazon refurbished models are available on an entire lineup of Apple products regardless of year and are available from a vast array of vendors. If you need an older Mac and want to buy refurbished Amazon is a good place to check for deals.

Other World Computing

OWC has been in the business of serving the Apple community for over 25 years so there’s no hesitation on my part to suggest you check out not only their memory and ram upgrades for both new and used Apple products but also their selection of refurbished Apple products. At the time of writing this, Mac Mini models start at under699 with MacBook Air refurbished models available at just $519.00 and up. Inventory changes all the time at OWC when it comes to refurbished and used Macs so be sure to check regularly for the most current deals.

Mac of All Trades

Mac of All Trades is another store worth checking out if you’re in the market for a refurbished Mac to buy. In business for over 20 years this vendor specializes in used and refurbished Apple products and current examples of pricing include factory sealed MacBook Pro models for400.00

Mac Mall

MacMall is another place to check for refurbished Apple Macs and other items and like the other vendors above has been in business for years and years so you know you can get an Apple product you can save money on from a store you can trust. In addition to refurbished products MacMall always has a deal or two on new Macs too so be sure to check this out too

eBay

Of course, there’s also eBay and you might be able to find a deal on a used Mac that might be refurbished by either the factory or more likely sold as seller refurbished, meaning that the vendor bought the Macs in bulk and then cleaned them up or made any needed repairs . The disadvantage of the eBay vendors is that the experience can vary greatly between vendors and you really have to do your homework on buying used or refurbished Macs at auction. But, you can get some good deals and most every product is protected by eBay’s money back guarantee.

To summarize, I would check with Apple first to see if I can buy the Mac I want as a refurbished model, and if I could wait I would wait until the model I wanted to buy was in stock. Some refurbished models tend to sell very quickly – like Mac Mini’s so you might be out of luck when you want to buy one but if you are patient the products usually tend to show up again on the certified refurbished page so you still might be able to save about 15% or so on the Mac you want to buy.