Which laptop should I buy?

Hello, I’m studying graphic design at the moment, so I don’t want to give a lot of money for laptop. With a budget of 1200, what macbook pro can i buy without getting stuck or another computer company?
(because I have bought MacBook Air and it’s not suitable for graphic design.)

How much memory does your MacBook Air have?

If it’s 8 gigabytes, the memory quickly maxes out when running graphic design software, such as the Adobe CC apps. Unfortunately, your computer can’t be upgraded (a big problem with Macintosh laptops).

Since you’re a student and probably on a limited budget, if I were you, I’d get the next thing up with 16GB of memory and probably, a half gig of storage space on the SSD.

No matter the configuration, a MacBook Air is at the low end of the Mac lineup, but I’ve known designers to use them when running 16GB of memory and connected to a desktop display. At my last job, I supervised a design intern who actually preferred a MacBook Air because she could easily carry it around in her backpack.

There are also good, less expensive machines if you’re open to Windows.

1200 would get you a very decent window laptop.

Where do you usually buy from?

Base model M2 MacBook Pro is selling on Apple site for $1,299. This might not have enough RAM so shop around for an M1 (performance etc. very similar) or think about Finance to get the model you need.

You can use a bigger external monitor and add a USB drive for extra storage, and you can add more RAM, but this might be tricky so make that a priority. 8Gb might not be enough so look for 16Gb.

Wouldn’t be sure 16gb is enough these days. I’d be aiming higher at 32gb.

Thing is when buying Mac is upgrading the RAM when buying is extremely expensive.

And once you purchase there are zero upgrade options. You cannot update the hard drive, the ram or the graphics card.

On a PC you can update at least 2 of the 3, ram and hard drive graphics card (and even ram dependent) .

But it’s a lot cheaper. And the apps work exact same.

That being said I bought 2019 Mac book pro with 32gb ram and it was ok price wise, but could have bought brand new PC laptop with better specs for cheaper.

Unfortunately I needed a Mac to keep with procedures that needed it so best to stick with what all use.


Not sure if you’re on board for a PC or not.

But if it has to be Mac you might get a decent refurb like I did.

My bad - I saw instructions online for adding RAM but not for the newer models. The hard drive you can add an external SSD and the graphics card in a MacBook Pro (or any Mac) is unlikely to need upgrading.

Yeh all very true and relevant.

If you’re on a budget - adding RAM to macs is not cheap.

I have always bought 13 inch to 17 inch MacBook Pros to run applications but connect a separate hard drive to keep my client files along with a separate 23” or larger screen attached. This keeps my computer clean and running faster (as well as keeping client files safer)

Other World Computing (www.OWC.com) is a good source for these as well as Best Buy. (Always be careful when buying a used or refurbished product.) You can use cheaper PC large screens and external HD’s, but I have always preferred Apple products for reliability.

At this budget with Apple I would go for an M1 Air with 16 GB in the Edu Store $1,079.00 256GB or $1,259.00 512 GB

Refurbished they come even more affordable $1,189.00 256GB

I don’t know if one can get edu discount in the refurb store. If you don’t mind using Windows you maybe would get more power for less money at other brands but I don’t know much about that.

(After decades of using Mac Pro Macs for the first time I use a MacBook as a work horse and I like it so far. It seemed to have ruined my main display though as I wasn’t aware that it charged my MacBook Pro M1 max 16" which was too much power draw for the BenQ PhotoVue SW271C. Bad smell then black. New one arrived today within warranty. :sweat_smile:)

I would recommend you to get MacBook Air, the older 2013 version. All the new 13 inch MacBook Air comes with 1.3 GHz processor, which is not fast enough for graphics designing, while old one comes with 1.7 GHz which is more than enough. So, you can save $300 to $500 by getting the old one. However, if you are a student and Apple provides you a discount, then go for the new one. Nothing wrong with that.

Don’t get a 2013 anything. It’s already 10 years old and the highest OS it will run is Catalina. It will fall on it’s face if you try to load anything above OS10 and someday soon Catalina will no longer be supported.
Not to mention that Adobe software is being ported over to the mac M1-2 operating system.

As for 16g ram on an M1 or M2 machine, the ram is integrated into the processor chip. There is no real human discernable difference between a 32 or a 16 machine. The clocking I’ve read was done using high end motion production software. If you are running standard designwares, it will be fine for some time to come. That may change some day in the future, but I’m betting you can get a good 7-10 years from an M1 or 2 before the bloatware that is Adobe takes it down a notch. :slight_smile:

Yes I got a refurbished Mac and it’s fine it’s from 2019.

Like anything second hand, you’re buying someone else’s problem.

Closing this up. It’s been answered and is now attracting spammers.

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