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PC shopping for 2023?

Michelle Pena

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Hey Brian,  I read the article " Buying a PC in 2021" has much changed for 2023?

I'm currently using an iMac desktop and have been for the past 15 years. My cart at apple.com is sitting at over 7 grand...nope!

We have spoken before about this but just curious if anything has changed, thanks! 


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Not much, except the prices. What's really changed is how the current Adobe Products really-really-really utilize the Video GPU and dedicated Video Memory in order to function. Choosing a decent video card IS NOW MORE IMPORTANT THAN CHOOSING THE CPU SPEED!!

Your budget in 2023 should be around $2500 or so. About $1800-$2000 for the computer, plus $300-$500 for the display, give or take. More since you will need at least one decent external to move your images from your Mac over. Remember, Apple makes it easy to switch from a PC to a Mac, but not the other way around. You will need special translating software on your Windows Computer in order to read Mac-Formatted Drives. Switching back is do-able, but a real pain in the ass.

7 Grand...what the Hell are you buying? Let me go configure a Mac for you, and I own a D850 so I "get it." That stupid 45.7MP sensor costed me so much money. :/

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I'm at $4841.02. I didn't add an extra keyboard and magic mouse so that saves some money. But I'm going to go the "Full Monty" and add them. BRB...


OK, I'm back. The Subtotal before Sales Tax is: $5,113.00. Here are the particulars:





If I was buying this today, I'd have this shipped to the closest Apple Store and not deal with it being shipped to my house. It's also free if you do it that way. Otherwise, I'd have it held at a UPS Station or FedEx Ship Center, both of which are staffed by employees. I'm not going to have $5200 worth of equipment sitting outside waiting to be stolen.

To save money, just use your current keyboard and mouse. Unless you are hyper-anal about things matching or really need a new Keyboard & Mouse, use the one you have now. Doing this save you close to 400 bucks, plus tax.

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No worries; thank you for taking the time. I've had the keyboard and mouse for about 3 or 4 years. They are both blue tooth.

That was the next question which display could be calibrated? Thank you! 

My nearest Apple Store is two hours away! 

Now off to do some thinking lol! 

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10 minutes ago, Michelle Pena said:

That was the next question which display could be calibrated?

ALL Displays that are used to edit photos on need to be calibrated.

Which Calibrator do I recommend with Apple's current products? 

Calibrite ColorChecker Display Pro (CCDIS3) $279. 

Do not use a SpyderX Series on today's Modern Macs. Especially the new MacBook Pros and Mac Studio Displays.

Oh, side-note: I'm moving this thread to the Macintosh User's Group, since it's all Mac Talk.

A 2 HR Drive is worth it to me to keep a Porch Pirate from stealing a Five Thousand Dollar Computer. Make a whole day out of it. :)

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The word / phrase "Cheaper" and Macintosh can no longer be used in the same sentence. :D 


Here is what I would purchase right now, if I had an unlimited budget and wanted a Mac. It is similar to the configuration above, except we replace the Mac Studio with a Mac Mini M2:

  • Start with the most expensive Mac Mini, which is the one on the right. In the US, this is $1299:

  • Click Select and let's change a few things. Keep in mind, when it comes to Apple's products in 2023, THERE IS NO UPGRADING AFTER THE FACT AS EVERYTHING IS BUILT INTO THE M2 CHIP!!! Not only the CPU, but the RAM, HD Controller Chip, Video Card/GPU, etc. are all built into the M2 Processor Chip. If you want to "upgrade" anything down the line, you are buying a new computer.
  • Upgrade the Processor to the "Apple M2 Pro with 12‑core CPU, 19-core GPU, 16‑core Neural Engine"
  • Upgrade the RAM to 32GB 
  • Upgrade the HD to at least 1TB SSD Storage

    If there are ANY plans to upgrade your Internet to a 10GB Plan, then update the Ethernet to 10 Gigabit Ethernet for $100 more. This will require other things than just a computer upgrade, like a new Switch/Router, New DOCSIS 4.0 Modem, Cat 6 wiring, etc. 10Gig Internet really won't take hold until at least 2025 and even then it won't be available in most Markets. Chances are, you will leave this at the default, which is Gigabit Ethernet. I'm just letting you know so you can make an informed decision. For now, we will leave the Ethernet configuration alone. For Nerds like me who want this sort of thing, it's a no-brainer. But for the average person, 300Mbps Down is more than fine for today's Internet. Some parts of the world cap out at 50Mbps down, like Damien's Internet speed!
  • So for now, the configuration looks like this:
  • The Price for this Configuration in the US is $1899, before AppleCare and Tax. We will click Continue...
  • Add the Apple Studio Display with Standard Glass and the basic "Tilt-adjustable stand."  If you need your screen to be that adjustable, I'd rather you purchase a VESA Mount Adapter / VESA Arm and go that route than fork out the $400 for the over-priced Apple Stand.
  • Be sure to Add AppleCare and choose the standard 3 Year Plan. No sense in getting the Annual subscription; it's the same cost either way...$49/year vs a flat $149. Just fork out the cash and get it over with.

  • Click Add. Then Click Add to Bag.
  • Select the Three Years of Coverage of AppleCare+ in the left column! This is for the Mac Mini. The other AppleCare was for the Display. You must make sure you ADD BOTH!

  • Now, if your Apple Keyboard and Magic Mouse are working fine, you can save a little money here, about $298. If you want to go the "Full Monty" and get everything new, add the Keyboard and Mouse. I'm going to add both since this comment box will end up being the What Mac to Buy in 2023. If adding to bag, make sure you choose the color that you want. For me, I like the White Keyboard and Mouse so that's what I'm adding. 
  • Now it's time to review your bag. Here is what it should look like:


  • The Sub-Total should be $4004.00 if you added everything that I recommended.
  • Then you have to add your local Tax. Shipping should be free.
  • I would HIGHLY RECOMMEND shipping your new Mac to a local Apple Store if possible. No sense sending $4000 worth of computer items to be stolen by Porch Pirates. I'd also have a store employee walk you to your car for added security.
  • When it's all-said-and-done, my final cost in my part of the World comes out to be $4244.44. Depending on your local Taxes & Fees, yours might be a little different. So let's round up to $4300-ish. This is cheaper than a current MacBook Pro AND the Mac Studio Configuration that I recommended above for a total of $1109 in Savings!!

$1100 in Savings!! That's a little easier to swallow and just a tad bit more than what I paid for my fancy 2017 27" iMac, which was around $3800. With Inflation and the ongoing Chip-Shortage, plus with everything else, things just cost more and it sucks. The good part is, with the External Apple Display, all you need to worry about in the future is just replacing the Mac Mini; in the long run, you will save money. Unfortunately, you spend a chunk now to have options down the line.

Before you ask, YES!! IT IS WORTH GETTING THE APPLE DISPLAY. Apple changed the way the video signal comes out of the computer and to get the "Full Macintosh Experience" that people are used to, you need to fork out the extra cash and get the Apple Display. (As much as it pains me to type this. That Apple Display is way over-priced for what it is.)

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Hey Brian! I think I'm about a few hundred dollars away from getting a new Mac , just curious if the new mini Mac is still the way to go instead of the Mac studio? Has anything changed or any info you have come across? Thank you.

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I just did a minor update to “Buying a Mac in 2023” that now includes the Mac Studio! Give it a read:

Spoiler Alert: Unless you have $6000.00 burning a hole in your pocket, the tricked out Mac Mini with Apple Studio Display is FINE. 

Honestly, Photoshop won’t run THAT much faster on a Mac Studio. 

Now if you were a Wedding Photographer who had multiple assistants shooting, that shot video, including Drone Footage, in addition to stills, then I can see someone investing in a Mac Studio over a Mac Mini. Otherwise, the upgraded Mac Mini is fine for the rest of us. 

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With photoshops updates, how long do you think this Mac  will last? The Mac I am on now is still going but can't do any updates just about on anything and its only 4 or 5 years old :/ 


Do you still recommend the Colorbrite color checker display pro ? 


Thank you! 

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I build my Macs with a 7 year time-frame in mind. That's why I don't configure things with the default choices. At the speed that AI is happening, it seems that "all bets are off" and I can't give any guarantees, but you should get at least 5 years. My 2017 27" iMac is currently running the latest versions of Photoshop and it's starting to show its age performance-wise. That's 6 years since I bought this computer in the Spring of 2017. I think I can keep this computer going for at least another year or so, provided I don't blindly update Photoshop, because things are only going to get worse with all of this new AI Technology.

The problem is, you didn't buy enough Mac, you bought what you could afford at the time. There is a difference between those two worlds. Also, if you didn't get the better video card, more storage, better CPU AT THE TIME OF PURCHASE, you will automatically shorten the lifespan of your Mac, which means you are replacing things sooner-rather-than-later. There is a reason that I don't tell people to buy a Mac from a Big Box store and to configure it on Apple's website! That reason is you get more for your money and it lasts longer; even though it seems like you are paying more up-front, you are in reality saving money on the back-end by not having to purchase a new computer every 4-5 years. Sure, things like a Display, Keyboards and a Smart Mouse are fine to purchase wherever, but the computer itself? It better be a custom configuration from Apple's Website and not off-the-shelf.

You will never-ever-ever win the catch up game. I've been dealing with computers in one form or another since 1981. I sold them professionally in the 1990's. Been a Service Tech for 30 years. Things are just moving so quickly now and things don't last. Hell, our Washing Machine, which is only 11 years old just died and we needed to replace it. The Dryer my Wife and I have? It was bought new in 1984 and still works perfectly today!!

Or to put things another way, people sometimes fall for the "Last Camera Syndrome." It can also apply to Computers. It's the, I just spent THOUSANDS on this new ___________ it better last for years!! I don't want to buy another one for a long time. Things unfortunately these days are not built to last. They aren't meant to be repaired, either. Companies want you in the market sooner-than-later and we live in a throw-away society. You have to remember, Photography has NEVER been a "Poor Man's" Hobby. It's just with the advent of Digital have the prices come down so the masses can afford things. With the camera manufactuers also wanting you in the market sooner-than-later, they keep upping the MegaPixel Counts and Raw File Sizes, which ultimately affects what sort of computer do you buy.

For example, I bought a Nikon D850 a few years ago. I wanted something "Smaller" than my big D4s and once you shoot with Professional Bodies and Lenses, anything less and it feels like you are shooting with a Toy Camera. Ultimately, that D850 was the absolute worst purchase that I ever made. Why? Because of that damn 45.7 MP Sensor and 100MB Raw files. (I don't like using any compression with my files. I want my Raw Images to be "Untouched and Unspoiled." So that means Raw files that are just below 100MB each on the average. So that camera caused me to buy a new iMac. Then upgrade the iMac to 64GB because 32GB wasn't cutting it. Then came the 12TB Hard Drive to store the files. Then I had to replace two lenses because even though the ones I had for my D4s worked perfectly fine, the Image Quality SUCKED when using them on my D850. So that was another 24-70 lens AND another 70-200...on top of all the other crap I purchased like XQD Cards and such. So I feel your pain. This shit is expensive. Even more so when you don't buy "Enough Computer" or better yet, way more than you think you'll need.

As far as the Calibration Device, the Colorbrite Color Checker Display Pro is fine. Mac Screens don't have a lot of choices so you don't need to go nuts with a Calibration Device. I'd save your money.

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Haha great, I have a Nikon d850 ! I don't have  issues with storage because I store all raw files from sessions on an external.Only the session I am currently working on stays on the Mac's hard drive. Now I wonder if 32GB will be enough :/  So frustrating, I don't think I will be using anything AI because I have mixed feelings about it. I don't think I love it for so many reasons!

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The M1 & M2 Macs treat RAM a little differently. 32GB on a M2 is like 64GB on a Intel Chip. If you want more RAM, you will need to buy a Mac Studio.

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OK, so this is what I may purchase instead of the mini Mac; a possibility, though. I want the 64 GB, I think.  I know you mentioned the 32 GB on a mini Mac is as powerful as the 64 GB. So do you think this is more powerful than the mini Mac figurations above? If it's about the same then of course I will go with the mini Mac. Sorry. I'm just so overwhelmed lol 



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The Mac Studio is definitely more powerful, and even though the M1& M2 chips treat the RAM differently, programmers will take advantage of this and make their software more bloated. So give it time…64GB will be the new Norm just like 64MB was once upon a time  

64GB is decent, but you can never have enough. ;) could you afford 96GB? Or whatever the next step is? Remember, everything is built into one chip, no upgrading after the fact. 

That said, your configuration is fine. 

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So, I purchased the Mini Mac with all your configurations instead. I'm happy, but I'm dreading the PS reload and all the recommended settings for Bridge and PS ...blah.. I know Damien has the instructions for it all.  I remember using his instructions at one point, and I think I may still have the bridge class. Do you happen to know if I can download PS CC on the new Mac but still work off the old one until everything is set up?  And what version is better to download 2022 or 2023 ...My apologies for all the questions! But I only trust you guys and this community!

 Also, I'm assuming with the Apple ID, it should transfer over Safari websites and passwords?  I can maybe look that up on youtube.


I do still need to purchase a new calibrator for the new display. Have you heard of any new recommendations for this specific display of Apple's? 


Thank you for everything!

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7 hours ago, Michelle Pena said:

Do you happen to know if I can download PS CC on the new Mac but still work off the old one until everything is set up?

You should be able to. Adobe has always supported two copies with the same license key, BUT! YOU CAN ONLY BE SIGNED INTO ONE "MOTHERSHIP" PHOTOSHOP CC APP AT A TIME.

So, if  you were thinking of running both computers side-by-side and comparing things, it won't work.

From Adobe:

Install Creative Cloud apps on a new computer

With any new Mac, it's always best to go with the latest-and-greatest version of Photoshop CC. ESPECIALLY WITH THE M1 & M2 MACS! 

7 hours ago, Michelle Pena said:

Also, I'm assuming with the Apple ID, it should transfer over Safari websites and passwords?  I can maybe look that up on youtube.

I would. Apple has a pretty good "Migration Assistant." You might also want to contact Adobe, maybe there is a file somewhere in a folder that you can copy from one computer to another.

Here is my Article on Setting Up Photoshop. There are a few more things I need to add to that article, but the bulk of that document for configuring Photoshop is still the same.

7 hours ago, Michelle Pena said:

I do still need to purchase a new calibrator for the new display. Have you heard of any new recommendations for this specific display of Apple's? 

How old & which Make/Model? If it's like a Spyder5 Series or one that is like 5+ years old, I would go ahead and get a current model. But if it's a Spyder X Series, or a current model, i.e. purchased after 2020, then all you need to do is make sure you have the latest Calibration Software to make things compatible with Ventura. Give Damien's Article a read on which monitor calibrator to buy.

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