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What Type Of Mac Do You Need?

In The Market For A Mac? Find Out Which One Best Suits Your Needs!
Last Updated on July 2, 2024
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You the kind of person who likes to go against the grain? If so, an Apple computer might be the way to go. You might even be using an iPhone to read this right now, and if so it probably is the right choice for you as your going to be able to connect your devices and computer together via your Apple ID, making everything very streamlined.

So, if you are in the market for a MacBook, iMac, or iPad this article should help you figure out exactly what type of machine is perfect for you, depending on what you are looking to do with your computer!And I don’t want any talkback about me referring to these as computers. That’s what they are, that’s how they are used, and I don’t care what Apple’s stupid adverts say. Just grin and bear it.

The Best Apple Products To Browse The Web

If you are looking to buy yourself a new desktop, laptop, or tablet for the express purpose of browsing the web then you can rest assured that anything in Apple’s line-up is going to suit your needs.

Right away I can tell you that if you aren’t married to the idea of a desktop or laptop then an iPad is going to suit your needs down to the ground. You will be able to connect to the internet via your WiFi connection or even just through a SIM card connected to a network.

Once you are tethered to the internet you are going to find that you are able to use all of the apps you would usually associate with internet browsing – Instagram, Facebook, Chrome, Reddit, pretty much any site or app you can think of. You will also be able to rely on the iPad for your everyday media needs – you will have Spotify, Audible, Netflix, Amazon Prime Video – all the popular media apps you know and love are ready to download on the iPad, so if its literally just everyday usage you want from your device, then the iPad is a great, lightweight and portable way to go.

In fact, if you aren’t too bothered about using the video apps on your iPad you could even downsize to an iPad mini – the smaller screen won’t bother you too much and you will even save a little bit of money by choosing a smaller Apple product.

The Best Apple Product For Work

It’s no secret that a lot of people prefer to choose Apple products for their work, and that because they have proven time and time again that they are dependable products that can stand up to most tasks with ease – and when it comes to work, that’s no exception.

Let’s look at the advantages of Apple’s products from a software point of view first, and see what they bring to the world of work for the everyday user. Firstly, you have Apple’s iWork productivity suite, which comes with Pages, Numbers, and Keynote. Respectively, these are a document management/word processor, a spreadsheet application, and a presentation application.

Simple stuff, but lots of people argue that Apple’s different applications offer a greater level of customization and ‘user-friendliness’ than the Microsoft Office suite offers But, if you are a die-hard Microsoft Office Fanatic, then you can rest assured that the entire Office suite has been made available to Apple users with versions built specifically for use on Mac software.

One other interesting asset that Apple has working for it on Mac systems is the iCloud – a cloud-based data management system that in the unlikely event that you fill up your Mac device’s hard drive, you can save your work and progress to the cloud just so that wherever you go your work is ready. Pretty handy if you are going to be traveling a lot for your work.

That about covers the software side of things for most people’s everyday working lives – and yes, Macs can connect to printers, networks and other third party made outlets just as easy as windows based machines can.

So now there are two options: Laptop or desktop?

Well, if you are dead set on getting yourself a desktop-based Mac for working, then your best bet is going to be the Apple iMac. You are never going to have to worry about performance thanks to the iMac’s hefty Intel-based processors offering exemplary multi-core performance, and the display is incredible – plus you are going to have access to all of those applications I mentioned before on a machine that is going to have no trouble running them – and more, depending on what your work calls for. Plus, you can always save your work to the cloud if you need to go mobile and take your work into an office.

However, this option might be a bit of overkill if you are looking for a machine that you can work on and take into the office. If that is the case, then be sure to check out the MacBook Air – it’s Apple’s lightweight laptop option that comes priced at a lower entry point than some of the other laptops in their range – but don’t be put off by that if you think it means your getting a lesser product.

The MacBook Air is going to be capable of running all of those work-based applications I mentioned before comfortably, and its got a drastically improved keyboard over the version of its previous incarnation too so you can work easily on it from wherever you are. It’s packed with a 10th generation Intel processor as well, so you can expect good all-round performance on it as well, making it a great little workhorse if you need one for bouncing around from office, to meeting to home.

Realistically here I would suggest the MacBook Air as it comes cheaper than the iMac, offers good performance on work-based applications and has the added bonus of being easily portable, making it a great option if you are looking for a Mac for work.

The Best Mac For Gaming

Bet there are Windows fans reading this who are thinking ‘you can’t play games on a Mac’. These people are wrong – in fact, its never been easier to get into gaming on a Mac than now.

Now, that statement comes with a little bit of an asterisk, because most Apple products don’t ship with a graphics card included that will be capable of running 3d games – but that isn’t a problem thanks to the existence of external GPUs.

An external GPU is exactly what it says on the tin – a graphics card powered and ran externally to your MacBook or iMac that provides graphical processing power to your device despite not actually being housed within the machine itself. Think of an external hard drive, translate it to being a graphics card, and that’s basically what we are talking about.

Pretty much every external GPU runs to the machine it’s working with via a Thunderbolt 3 cable – so the first thing you will need to do is make sure you have one of them handy, and that you are going to be running a machine capable of supporting that cable – don’t worry, any recommendation I make in this section will have that compatibility built right in.

The second thing you will need to be aware of is that most Apple products only support certain types of graphics cards, rather than the myriad that PC allows. So, if you are committed to playing games on your Apple machine then be aware you will need an AMD based graphics card. It’s not a big issue – the Radeon range is great and is going to offer brilliant gaming potential, but be aware just so that you don’t go off half-cocked and buy a Nvidia graphics card because its what all the cool internet kids say you need for gaming – it won’t work.

Check out the Razer Core X for your actual external GPU – it’s a solid product that plays well with Apple product, and offers a roomy housing for whichever graphics card you end up choosing.

Having said all that, let’s talk about the actual Mac product you want to choose for gaming. Again, your choice comes down to two options, and these are desktop or laptop. If you want to go for a laptop to play games on then we would recommend the 2019 MacBook Pro with the 16-inch screen. This is mainly thanks to its 9th generation i7 processor from Intel, which is a gamer favorite across brands, as well as its 16gb of DDR4 RAM, Thunderbolt 3 port and its larger display.

Sure, this MacBook Pro comes equipped with a Radeon Pro 5300M discrete graphics option – but ignore that and plug in the external GPU and you are going to be good to go – making this the best MacBook for gaming you can choose.

Otherwise, if you are interested in fixed location desktop gaming then its probably better for you to go for the iMac – it’s got eight and ninth gen processors built-in together, which are capable of handling gaming, spacious hard drives, but its biggest selling point is its display; with its true to life colors and general…bigness. Plus it can connect to that external GPU, so you are going to be good to go when it comes to upping the onboard graphics.

So, depending on what you are looking for from your machine, you should really be choosing between the MacBook Pro and the iMac. If you want better display options then go for the iMac, but if you want a portable machine you can use outside of gaming then go for the MacBook Pro.

Or if you want a more versatile gaming machine, go for a PC. I’m not saying that as some kind of weird brand-fanboy loyalty, but a matter of practicality. A Pc offers more versatility and customization when it comes to putting together a PC build specifically for gaming, and you are going to find that Windows-based OS games are much more plentiful than Apple ones.

The Best Mac For Video Editing

Apple iMac Pro

It’s no secret that Mac has been the long preferred system for creative professionals out there, with Apple’s selection giving a lot of choices when it comes to creative suites – so first let’s have a quick run through what’s available on a Mac when it comes to video editing.

Obviously, Apple has their own video editing applications available to use, namely Final Cut Pro, and Apple iMovie, which are great for editing home movies if that’s what your main concern is – but if you are looking for something a bit more professional then you can rest easy knowing that the Adobe Creative Suite is available for use on Mac, with Premiere Pro CC being one of those programs – a staple of any editors toolbox.

So, with the fact in mind that a Mac is a pretty reliable source of software for video editors (and that it can play well with Windows-based systems in terms of file compatibility) you are again going to have to ask yourself ‘Desktop or Laptop’?

If you want a straight-up answer in what’s better for video editing, then you want to look at the iMac Pro. Right away you are going to notice the price tag attached to this machine, but it’s there for a reason – this is the go-to machine for when it comes to accurate creative endeavors.

It’s got a 27-inch 5K display and the most powerful components out of any Mac device on the market today, making it perfect for working with higher spec, higher capacity, and higher performing video files than anything else that Apple offers today. Realistically, if you’re a professional in the world of video editing then this is the machine that you need to choose in order to get consistent and high caliber performance out of your finalized cuts. Bear in mind though, I am talking about professionals who work on the likes of television and movies here.

However, if you need something a little lighter (and easier on the wallet) then the MacBook Pro is still a great option that is going to offer all the same software options without the expensive and color accurate screen included. If you aren’t heavily invested in video editing, but still enjoy it – or you need something to work with as your travel then this is probably your best bet when it comes to the best MacBook for video editing.

The Best Mac For Music Editing

The same rules apply here for music editing as they did for video editing, with the only caveat being that if you are hoping to hook up a lot of different instruments or midi devices to your Mac, then you may be better off with an iMac Pro than a MacBook Pro just because of the amount of connectivity options available to you.

Both the iMac Pro and MacBook Pro are going to offer a lot when it comes to music editing software. You’re going to have the beginner’s favorite Garageband ready to go, with more heavy hitters like Ableton, Logic Pro, and others all ready to work on your Mac once they are installed.

One thing I will say about the choice between an iMac Pro and a MacBook Pro is that when it comes to music editing the sheer amount of plugins and connected devices to your machine can play hell on its capacity to run smoothly and quickly, so with that in mind, the iMac Pro is going to be the better option thanks to its enhanced processors, letting you run your different DAWs and plugins easily.

Plus, the enhanced screen and sound is going to be much easier to work with when it comes to editing the frustrating, smaller scale sections that can be harder to work with on smaller-scale machines. Basic fiddly stuff that can take a lot of time and patience is made much easier when you have more expensive and better-performing hardware.

On the other side of that coin though is the price – and if you aren’t making your money from music editing then a MacBook Pro or even a MacBook Air is going to be able to handle entry and mid(ish) levels of audio editing easily.

The Best Mac For Watching Movies

When it comes to watching movies, pretty much every Mac out there is going to be capable of putting out a decent display and audio with minimal effort. However, let’s say (for argument’s sake) that your chief concern when it comes to running your Mac is watching movies.

Chances are that you don’t want to drop a load of cash on an iMac Pro or an iMac, and that the iPad doesn’t really cut it when it comes to actually watching your films.

Well, the 16-inch MacBook Pro might just be your best bet. Its lightweight, portable, and its screen is wide enough to offer a great viewing experience if you are up close with it in bed, on a train, or wherever you get a close range with a laptop.

Plus, you can easily cast your MacBook to a smart TV or monitor, meaning that if you do want to watch your media on a bigger screen, the option is available and easy to take advantage of.

And that just about wraps up us helping you figure out what kind of Mac you need. If you have any other questions though, or want to buy a Mac for a reason that isn’t included in this list, just leave a comment below and we will do our best to get back to you with an answer as soon as possible!

Mike's gaming, writing and tech passions have combined across content for PC Guide - in buying guides, CPU and GPU coverage.