10 Replies Latest reply: May 22, 2013 11:12 PM by John Galt
sheerpoetry Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

Hello, wonderful Mac community! I'd like to ask your opinion, if you don't mind.


I have the 2009 white MacBook. It's held up really well (except for a crack in the shell at the Ethernet port and having to replace the charger--both things I've read happen with this series of laptop). The only thing I've updated on it is the OS--I loved the iOS 6 update and decided I wanted my computer to run more like my iPhone, so I updated to Mountain Lion. My poor baby's run pretty slowly since then. I have a pretty good bit of free space on my hard drive and am usually only running Chrome and maybe one other program.


Within the next 6 months, I'll most likely be starting online classes in a master's program. They're live with video and audio--one option requires the same from the students and the other just has the students participate in typical typed chat while watching and listening to the lecture. I'll also be doing LOTS of research and small video projects and probably even HTML/CSS and picture editing. (I do have Photoshop on my MacBook now, but I've never really done much with it and have no type of markdown program.)


I was thinking of adding some RAM to my MacBook, but it's only upgradable to 4GB (I think), but now I'm wondering if I'd do better to get an iMac? I'm mainly looking at the refurbished 21.5" base model, due to price.


I'm thinking this would be a good option because it would be completely updated, the keyboard would be easier to work with (non-elevated keyboards are so difficult!), it would be stationary (and private), and I could use speakers (I have sensitivity to headphones, apparently).


Any and all advice would be helpful! Thank you!



(Oh! If I did decide to go with the iMac, would all my ~programs transfer with Migration Assistant?)

MacBook (13-inch Late 2009)
  • mende1 Level 10 Level 10 (91,320 points)

    The iMac will do much better this work. Can you post a link here to the refurbished Mac you want to buy?


    Recent iMacs have got hardware much better than the MacBook and, in the case of the Mid 2011 iMac (because you want to buy a refurbished computer), it has got a quad-core processor, it supports 32 GB of RAM and it has got a dedicated graphic card that will work better with heavy apps. Also, it's made of aluminum, that keeps the iMac cool

  • John Galt Level 8 Level 8 (41,045 points)

    A 2009 MacBook can address as much as 6 GB memory, so try that first. You may have only 2 GB and Mountain Lion will not run comfortably with that amount.


    Adding more memory is the easiest and least expensive way to prolong the economic life of any Mac. A new iMac will run exceptionally well for your needs, but you can wait to buy one when it is convenient for you. On the other hand if you need an iMac with a Superdrive then don't wait - when the refurbished stock of 2011 iMacs runs out, they will be gone for good. At the moment I can't find a single 2011 21.5" iMac on their Special Deals page.


    Purchase memory from OWC or Crucial.


    There are many reports of Chrome causing repeated problems on many Macs. Use whatever browser works best for you, but Chrome may be responsible for poor performance.


    Use Setup Assistant to transfer your MacBook's content. Any program that runs with the latest version of Lion will run even better with Mountain Lion.

  • sheerpoetry Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    The first one I came across is this one:

    http://store.apple.com/us/product/FD093LL/A/refurbished-imac-27ghz-quad-core-int el-core-i5


    I imagine the refurbished stock will probably change by the time I purchase one in the fall, so I didn't want to get too locked on a certain model. I'm sure the basics will work because I shouldn't be doing too much video or image editing, but I definitely want to get one that still has the CD drive.


    Wow, 32GB of RAM?! I can't even imagine that much!

  • mende1 Level 10 Level 10 (91,320 points)

    That's the Late 2012 iMac. In this case, the hardware is better than a Mid 2011 iMac, but you can't upgrade anything without voiding the warranty. For example, it comes with 8 GB of RAM, and if you want to install more, you will have to unmount the Mac and void your warranty. Also, it doesn't come with a SuperDrive nor FireWire. However, you can buy an external DVD drive and connect it to your Mac.


    In this case, you might consider the option to stay with the MacBook, but note that the SuperDrive won't return

  • sheerpoetry Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)



    Somehow, I don't think my MacBook has any RAM? It says my slots are empty. I can't believe I didn't think about the new OS actually running on my computer!


    This is the iMac I was looking at:

    http://store.apple.com/us/product/FD093LL/A/refurbished-imac-27ghz-quad-core-int el-core-i5


    Uh oh, I didn't realize the October 2012 models in the refurbished store were the new super thin ones. I had it in my mind that those started in 2013, for some reason. I unfortunately DO do a fair amount of CD/DVD burning and watching on my laptop at the moment and I imagine that would continue were I to move to a desktop.


    Really, people have had issues with Chrome? I've had problems with web pages not loading, but I always figured that was my poor Internet.


    Thank you for the info!

  • mende1 Level 10 Level 10 (91,320 points)

    I haven't heard any problem in iMacs, but it could be possible that Chrome fails in some iMacs. If you need the SuperDrive, you can stay with the MacBook or when you get the iMac, buy an external DVD drive that will work correctly

  • sheerpoetry Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    I just realized that one lacked the SuperDrive from John's comment! I don't know why I was thinking those were 2013 models. USB drives would probably service just as well, I imagine?


    (Obviously, I'm not a super computer tech. I only do basic blog HTML and CSS at the moment, so all the things I'll be learning are definitely new!)


    Is 8GB a good bit of RAM? I currently have none and I'm not a gamer nor will be doing any graphics-intensive work, other than what is required in the master's program. I'm mostly an Internet and app kind of person, but I've also never really had a computer with the capacity to do more or a private, stable area to do it in!

  • mende1 Level 10 Level 10 (91,320 points)

    This iMac has got USB 3 ports, but your USB disks will work correctly.


    8 GB of RAM are good now, and if you are a home user, they will be enough for a very long time. However, note that OS X and apps might start consuming more memory and 8 GB may not be enough soon, but Mountain Lion works with 4 GB of RAM, so I don't think you have memory problems. However, note that it doesn't hurt more RAM, but note that refurbished iMacs can't be modified, so you have to get it with 8 GB of memory

  • John Galt Level 8 Level 8 (41,045 points)

    Check the amount of memory you have installed by clicking the Apple () menu > About This Mac.


    6 GB is not an abundant amount, but depending on how much you have now it may make the difference between "running pretty slowly" and running acceptably well. 8 GB is a very comfortable amount for Mountain Lion.


    If you are adventurous you could consider replacing your MacBook's hard disk with a SSD, but at higher capacities the additional expense will start to approach that of a new iMac. SSDs go a long way toward masking the effects of limited RAM. Watch this OWC video: SSD Boot Test - MacBook Pro 15 2006 Not an exact comparison to your MacBook but fairly close.


    If you prefer Chrome stay with it, but I suggest you try Safari or Firefox to determine if they perform better on your MacBook.

  • John Galt Level 8 Level 8 (41,045 points)

    Wow, 32GB of RAM?! I can't even imagine that much!


    it is a bit much:


    Screen Shot 2013-05-23 at 2.11.29 AM.png