Sunday, July 17, 2011

Time For An Upgrade

Over the last few months I have been thinking a lot about our computer situation.  We have been busy with iPads, iPhones and all sorts of other devices, but haven't done anything about our computer.  We have owned our late 2006 MacBook since the spring of 2007.  We seemed to have purchased it at just the right time.  It was the first MacBook with the Core 2 Duo chip which is the bare minimum for running Mac OS X Lion.  We have upgraded the RAM to 4GB and also upgraded the internal drive to a 500Gb unit.  Overall the computer is still running very well with a rare hiccup here and there, a battery that doesn't hold its charge and a fan that tends to run all the time.

The two things I would like to improve upon are the amount of storage space on the computer and also some performance improvements.  No matter how well its running it is now over four years old and doesn't run as fast as the latest greatest.  With regards to storage the 500Gb drive is now almost 80% full.  This includes about 60Gb for iTunes (music, movies, tv shows and apps), 150Gb for photos, and about 200Gb for videos.  This doesn't include the 200Gb of videos stored on an external drive.  For some reason I am obsessed with getting all of my media on a single drive, of course I never really go back and look at videos from four years ago, but also don't like the idea of plugging in an external drive in order to do it.

So my current thinking is to purchase a Mac Mini as our central media computer with the iTunes library, and all of our photos and videos.  Its a reasonably priced machine and I can easily leave an external drive hooked up to it for backup and when adding more space.  We would keep the MacBook and remote into it if we wanted to access or manage the media.  Our documents are all stored in DropBox so they would just synchronize regardless of where we keep them.  As for the MacBook I would like to try to attempt one more round of improvements and see how it goes.  I would first replace the slow hard drive we have now with a 64Gb SSD drive.  They have come down in price and since I wouldn't be storing much stuff on it 64GB should be plenty.  I could then use the MacBook for doing work stuff or developing (not exactly sure what this means exactly).  I don't know for sure if the SSD will make things faster, but it is very likely it will be much faster than the 5400RPM drive we have now.  If it turns out that the computer is just too slow still then the next step is to decide if I want a 13" or 15" screen.  If 13" then I would have to choose between the MacBook Air and the MacBook Pro.  That will come down to wanting to pay for performance or not.  If 15" then it means I am going with the MacBook Pro.

Of course all of this hinges on the specs for the new Mac Mini that is expected in the next couple weeks.  Hopefully it comes with some bigger drive options and ThunderBolt. All I can do now is wait...

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