We’ll be updating this as we go… but here are our first thoughts.
Mac: M1 Chip 100%
(there are M2 chips out now too… but for most people / we’re going to say that the M1 Air is all you need)
No matter what laptop you buy, we’re going to demand that you also take care of your body and mind.
You’ll need an external keyboard and a mouse. This way – you can put your computer at eye level when you’re at a desk. You also need a mouse because other people have them and you need to be able to test things with track pads AND mouses. You’ll also need it for finer details in graphics and things.
A stack of books will do. No fancy stand needed — but these extra accessories/periferals are an added cost to factor in.
Magic Mouse is $80-100 bucks. (you can get black now too) (sometimes cheaper or faster delivery through Amazon)
Magic Keyboard is more like $200 : / but it has a fancy touch ID on it. You might be able to find the older version for less money – (But the touch ID is kinda nice…)
If money isn't an issue
Either way – you are a student / so – check out the discounts on Apple’s website. If you aren’t forced to use a special credit card at BestBuy or Costco or something — then go straight to the source (Apple themselves).
The best setup you could get right now would be
- Apple 13″ Macbook Pro (Mwhatever chip) (laptop) 512mb hard-drive and 16mb memory
- and then an additional external monitor
- Apple has a new monitor: Which is the nicest one
- LG (these are a good runner up / but the stand is a bit wobbly)
- Apple has a new monitor: Which is the nicest one
- In that case – also an external mouse and keyboard (we like the keyboard with the 10-key)
→ They just came out with a M1 Pro and M1 Max chip… and now and M2 chip – – but if you are in the market for one of those… you probably already know more about it than us. That’s for people who are planning on heavy video editing and 3D rendering. We made the whole course on a 13″ Macbook. We think that a monitor – would be a better purchase than a faster computer / or a 1″ bigger screen.
If you aren't already rich ; )
Apple 13″ M1 chip (laptop) (latest) 256 hard-drive and 16mb memory
You can always add a monitor later. (the whole course is filmed on a 13″ monitor – to prove that you can do all this stuff on that small of a screen)
We think the memory is more important than the hard drive (but you can’t add more of either later – because it’s soldered in!)
So, it’s up to you to figure out how much hard drive space you need. If you are going to be doing any video editing or something else – we don’t know about – just talk to Derek about it and he’ll help you choose. If you are a digital file hoarder – (and you can afford it) get a 512 hard drive – and there are these really great/fast/cheap new external hard drives where you can store all that stuff.
Also – customizing it – means it’ll usually take a lot longer to ship. If you buy at apple / or amazon – with the stock specks / it might even show up at your house later that day.
What can I get away with?
You know what – it’s WAY better than just getting away with the bare-bones: The M1 MacBook Air – is really really great. It is more than powerful enough – and you can always trade up later.
900/12 months – is about as cheap as you can ask for. https://www.apple.com/us-hed/shop/buy-mac/macbook-air, Amazon for $899
The MacBook Air is PLENTY FAST. But – hold it in your hands first. The only reason Derek doesn’t have one – is that he’s afraid he’ll bend it because it’s so thin! We recommend holding it in your hand first at a store. But also it can only power 1 monitor. We don’t recommend more than one monitor, so – that shouldn’t be an issue.
I have a mac already
Some people have a Mac Mini – or an older computer – and it’s going to vary. So, ask Derek.
But – we’ve found that MOST people who went with an older computer ended up buying a new one a month into the program – and wished that they have bought one at the beginning. (Even the Linux people).
Some people actually bought mac minis or iMacs – and then turned them back in for a laptop after the first month — so, — this class is going to cost money – and your TIME is going to cost — and so, don’t skimp on things out of fear. Choose something that is going to get you pumped and excited for a new era of your life.
I really really don't want to use a Mac
In some cases, we have allowed students to use their regular ol’ PC computers (those not Apple computers).
This has always resulted in a lot of frustration on their part.
Is it the computer’s fault? Or is it just a red flag that the student is starting out on the “I think I know better than the instructors” foot? We aren’t sure. Sometimes it’s the OS that’s the problem. How new is the computer? Microsoft has made a lot of improvements – but its operating system interface is still pretty crappy. And we’ve had some Linux lovers too- who have always regretted not buying a Mac – and who often end up buying one a month into the course.
So – can you use a PC? No.
You can sell your Mac after the course if you don’t like it. You’ll probably be using one at work – so / you’re going to have to get used to it.
(Buy a nice new computer. It’ll get you pumped for the course.)
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