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Choosing the right Mac for you

Here's everything you need to know if you're planning on buying a new Mac.

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Topic: Apple
MacBook
1 of 6 Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNet

MacBook

This is the portable Mac for people who don't want to have to make too many decisions. First you choose the color - silver, gold, or space gray - and then you choose how much storage.


256GB MacBook:

  • 12-inch 2304 x 1440 resolution LED-backlit display
  • 1.1GHz dual-core Intel Core M processor
  • 256GB of PCI-express storage
  • 8GB of RAM
  • Intel HD 5300 graphics
  • Single USB-C port (for charging and connectivity)
  • 9-hour battery life


512GB MacBook:

  • 12-inch 2304 x 1440 resolution LED-backlit display
  • 1.2GHz dual-core Intel Core M processor
  • 512GB of PCI-express storage
  • 8GB of RAM
  • Intel HD 5300 graphics
  • Single USB-C port (for charging and connectivity)
  • Weighs in at 2.03lb
  • 9-hour battery life


Price:

  • 256GB model: Starting at $1,299, to $1,549 fully upgraded (processor upgrade)
  • 512GB model: Starting at $1,599, to $1,749 fully upgraded (processor upgrade)


The MacBook is ideal for: General-purpose computing.

MacBook Air
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MacBook Air

The MacBook Air is a step up from the MacBook. There are more options to choose from, more connectivity options, more battery life on the bigger version, and yet this comes in at a cheaper price.

Here are the models:


11-inch MacBook Air

  • 11.6-inch 1366 x 768 LED-backlit display
  • 1.6GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 or 2.2GHz dual-core Intel Core i7 processor
  • 128GB of PCI-express storage
  • 4GB of RAM
  • Intel HD 6000 graphics
  • 2 x USB 3, Thunderbolt 2
  • Weighs in at 2.38lb
  • 9-hour battery life

Price:

  • 128GB model: Starting at $899, to $1,149 fully upgraded (processor and RAM upgrade)
  • 256GB model: Starting at $999, to $1,649 fully upgraded (processor, RAM and storage upgrade)


13-inch MacBook Air

  • 13.3-inch 1440 x 900 LED-backlit display
  • 1.6GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 or 2.2GHz dual-core Intel Core i7 processor
  • 4GB of RAM
  • Intel HD 6000 graphics
  • 2 x USB 3, Thunderbolt 2, SDXC
  • Weighs in at 2.96lb
  • 12-hour battery life

Price:

  • 128GB model: Starting at $1,099, to $1,249 fully upgraded (processor and RAM upgrade)
  • 258GB model: Starting at $1,199, to $1,749 fully upgraded (processor, RAM and storage upgrade)


The MacBook Air is ideal for: General-purpose computing. Small screen favour portability, but the larger screen allows the owner to get more done. The Core i7 processor allows this diminutive system to pack quite a punch. Also, the Air is Apple's cheapest portable system.

MacBook Pro
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MacBook Pro

We're now into the realm of a portable system that offers desktop levels of performance. These systems can handle pretty much anything you care to throw at them.


13-inch MacBook Pro

  • 13.3-inch 1280 x 800 LED-backlit display
  • 2.5GHz dual-core Intel Core i5
  • 4GB of RAM
  • Intel HD 4000 graphics
  • 500GB hard drive (SSD upgrades available)
  • 2 x USB 3, Thunderbolt, FireWire, Ethernet, SDXC, and optical drive
  • Weighs in at 4.5lb
  • 7-hour battery life

Price:

  • Starting at $1,099, to $1,999 fully upgraded (processor, RAM, and storage upgrade)


13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display

There are three models:

  • 2.7GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 with 128GB of PCI-express storage
  • 2.7GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 with 256GB of PCI-express storage
  • 2.9GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 with 512GB of PCI-express storage

Apart from these differences, they are identical:

  • 13.3-inch 2560 x 1600 LED-backlit display
  • 8GB of RAM
  • Intel Iris 6100 graphics
  • Force Touch trackpad
  • 2 x USB 3, 2 x Thunderbolt 2, HDMI, SDXC
  • Weighs in at 3.48lb
  • 10-hour battery life

Price:

  • Starting at $1,299, to $2,699 fully upgraded (processor, RAM, and storage upgrade)


15-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display

There are two models:

  • 2.2GHz quad-core Intel Core i7 with 256GB of PCI-express storage Intel Iris Pro graphics
  • 2.5GHz quad-core Intel Core i7 with 512GB of PCI-express storage and combination Intel Iris Pro and AMD Radeon R9 M370X graphics

Apart from these differences, they are identical:

  • 15.4-inch 2880 x 1800 LED-backlit display
  • 16GB of RAM
  • Intel Iris 6100 graphics
  • Force Touch trackpad
  • 2 x USB 3, 2 x Thunderbolt 2, HDMI, SDXC
  • Weighs in at 4.49lb
  • 9-hour battery life

Price:

  • Starting at $1,999, to $3,199 fully upgraded (processor and storage upgrade)


The MacBook Pro is ideal for: Users who want a portable system that offers desktop levels of performance, and where portability isn't high on the agenda.

iMac
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iMac

Apple's premier desktop offering. Power, performance, and an awesome display, all in one sleek package.


iMac 21.5-inch

There are three models:

  • 1.6GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 with Intel HD Graphics 6000
  • 2.8GHz quad-core Intel Core i5 with Intel Iris Pro Graphics 6200
  • 3.1GHz quad-core Intel Core i5 with Intel Iris Pro Graphics 6200

Apart from these differences, they are identical:

  • 21.5-inch 1920 x 1080 LED-backlit display
  • 8GB of RAM
  • 1TB hard drive
  • 4 x USB 3, 2 x Thunderbolt 2, Ethernet, SDXC

Price:

  • Starting at $1,099, to $1,928 fully upgraded (processor, RAM, storage and peripheral upgrade)


iMac 27-inch

There are three models:

  • 3.2GHz quad-core Intel Core i5 with 1TB hard drive and AMD Radeon R9 M380 graphics
  • 3.2GHz quad-core Intel Core i5 with 1TB Fusion drive and AMD Radeon R9 M390 graphics
  • 3.3GHz quad-core Intel Core i5 with 2TB Fusion drive and AMD Radeon R9 M395 graphics

Apart from these differences, they are identical:

  • 27-inch 5120 x 2880 LED-backlit display
  • 8GB of RAM
  • 4 x USB 3, 2 x Thunderbolt 2, Ethernet, SDXC

Price:

  • Starting at $1,799, to $4,228 fully upgraded (processor, RAM, storage and peripheral upgrade)


The iMac is ideal for: Ideal replacement for a PC and where portability isn't a factor.

Mac Pro
5 of 6 Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNet

Mac Pro

Apple's monster workstation Mac. These systems can handle anything you care to throw at them!


Quad-core

  • 3.7GHz quad-core Intel Xeon E5
  • 12GB of RAM
  • Dual AMD FirePro D300 graphics
  • 256GB PCI-express storage
  • 4 x USB 3, 6 x Thunderbolt 2, 2 x Ethernet, HDMI

Price:

  • Starting at $2,999, to $4,228 fully upgraded (processor, RAM, storage and peripheral upgrade)


6-core

  • 3.5GHz quad-core Intel Xeon E5
  • 16GB of RAM
  • Dual AMD FirePro D500 graphics
  • 256GB PCI-express storage
  • 4 x USB 3, 6 x Thunderbolt 2, 2 x Ethernet, HDMI

Price:

  • Starting at $3,999, to $9,728 fully upgraded (processor, RAM, storage and peripheral upgrade)


The Mac Pro is ideal for: Those who want the ultimate OS X workstation.

Mac mini
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Mac mini

Apple's smallest Mac.


1.4GHz Mac mini

  • 1.4GHz dual-core Intel Core i5
  • 4GB of RAM
  • 500GB hard drive
  • Intel HD Graphics 5000


2.6GHz Mac mini

  • 1.6GHz dual-core Intel Core i5
  • 8GB of RAM
  • 1TB hard drive
  • Intel Iris Graphics


2.8GHz Mac mini

  • 1.8GHz dual-core Intel Core i5
  • 8GB of RAM
  • 1TB Fusion drive
  • Intel Iris Graphics


Price:

  • Starting at $499, to $2,199 fully upgraded (processor, RAM, and storage upgrade)


The Mac mini is ideal for: Those who want a small desktop Mac without the huge displays. Ideal for those upgrading from Windows PCs had have their own monitor and peripherals. Apple's cheapest desktop system.

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