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Early 2015 model: 1.3 GHz / 8GB / 256GB SSD + Parallels Desktop VM software
Upgrading Ergonomics and Efficiency
How you interact with the Mac can have a large impact on your productivity, regardless of how fast the Mac itself is.
A solid state drive makes a nice improvement to any MacBook Pro or Mac Pro: without spinning hard drive(s), these machines become whisper-quiet, and reduce power draw for the drives. For modest data storage needs and/or a robust budget, an all-SSD system is very appealing. Realibility should be higher too.
Get a larger screen, (or two), and stop guessing at color!
A 27" or 30" display will do wonders for your ability to assess and work on images or large spreadsheets, etc. You’ll spend a lot less time scrolling, moving things out of the way, etc.
Working in Photoshop? Move all those palettes and dialogs onto a second monitor, so you have an unobstructed view of your images.
If you’re trying to make color accurate prints, the first thing to get is a calibrated and profiled monitor. The NEC 27" LCD or similar model makes that easy.
Ideally, get a display that comes with a bundled calibrator that actually calibrates the monitor internally in 12 or 14 bits. A display with an add-on calibrator that tweaks the video card in 8-bits is a marginal solution.
Get a mouse, and get a wired one
I’m amazed at just how inefficient it can be to work with a trackpad or trackball, or a wireless mouse that regularly glitches-out. I sometimes observe other Mac users working so slowly, and I’m amazed— I couldn’t get half the work done that I do if I had to work in such an inefficient manner.
I can’t stand trackballs, but if they work for you, that’s what counts.
People love to hate it, but the Apple wired mouse works great for me, though I have to buy several of them per year as the small round scrolling button wears out. This is annoying, but given the thousands of hours of use, it’s just like buying tires for my car.
A wireless mouse can be OK on systems where the mouse is very close to the computer and there is no RF interference, but stutters frequently when used with a Mac Pro positioned on the floor.