The Mac upgrade conundrum

MacRumours has an interesting article dealing with buying a new Mac. With upgrades increasing incremental, yet periodically interspersed with occasional leaps, buying a new Macintosh can be a perilous experience.

I still haven’t upgraded to Intel Macs. Shame on me, I know.

The thing is, I still haven’t hit any bottlenecks with Mac OSX Tiger. I don’t process any graphics on my iBook, and it has plenty of RAM, so it’s a perfect machine for my needs. While I dabble in photography, I’m primarily a writer, so my G4 suits my requirements perfectly. I have a browser, a word-processor, iTunes, and an email client.

If I need to process photos I use my Desktop PC, and while I’d love a MacBook Pro, I can certainly hold-off for another 6-12 months. The truth is that a new MBP would be a significant outlay. At £1,600 (more if I want the full 4GB of RAM), it would mean no-more geek toys for a while. Olga’s patience with my tech-habits is already stretched, so if I can just drain a bit more life out of my iBook, I’m sure she’d be more receptive to an upgrade. Surely?

However, there may be even better reasons to wait… The MacRumours article points to both a major aesthetic redesign to the Mac notebook stable and to a significant improvement of the Intel chipsets inside. I’m not going to replace any new Mac for several cycles, so my best return on my investment, would be to wait until the platform makes a significant jump (trusting I can be confident of the new technology’s stability).

The MacRumours post also noted how many buyers have saved money buying de-listed models at discount. If an update offers only meagre improvements, why not save a bundle by picking up a model from 6-months ago? Increasingly on forums, users are recommending buying this way, especially on photography sites where other equipment outlays are always around the corner.

But, alas… When I buy a new Mac, I want at least a few months knowing I’m back at the sharp-end of Apple’s technology. So I’m afraid I’ll be suckered by Apple.com’s marketing spiel and benchmarking comparisons. But that suckering won’t be for a while yet.

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