Good to Know: Customizing Your Mac
Choose a topic:
What is a customized Mac?
What is Mac customization anyway?
Because everyone’s needs are different, the Apple Online Store lets you build the Mac you want with the options you want. Some people need a bigger hard drive while others want the fastest graphics. With the ability to choose the ideal combination of features, you get a Mac that’s perfect for you and your unique needs.
Why would I want to customize my Mac?
The value of customization.
Out of the box, every Mac can let you run iLife, work with email, surf the web, and do lots of other everyday — and not so everyday — tasks. So why would you want to change it? It depends on what you are planning to do.
Some software packages — such as professional video or image applications — may recommend or require more memory and faster processors. Hard-core gamers may want to max out the memory or graphics capabilities.
In addition to helping you meet software requirements, maxing out your Mac can also help to make you more productive. For example, additional memory can let you do more things simultaneously — and have the computer work faster — when you get busy. People with large media collections will want the largest hard drives available.
Our recommendation: Think about how you want to use your Mac. Then check the system requirements of the hardware, applications and games you’ll be running to make sure you get all the Mac you need.
What are the configuration options?
Depending on which Mac you choose, you may have many configuration options or just a few.
- By far the most customizable Mac is Mac Pro, whose roomy, tower-style design lets you add up to four hard drives, two optical drives, and multiple workstation-grade graphics cards.
- iMac gives you the flexibility to specify your screen size, memory, drive capacity and type, and even system and graphics processors on some models.
- Because of their extremely compact size, notebook computers have fewer customization options, though you are still able to upgrade memory, hard drive or flash drive capacity, and processor speed in many cases.
- Mac mini lets you upgrade memory and drive capacity.
- Some Mac systems can be ordered with select pre-installed software, such as Pages, Keynote, and Numbers. This option is a convenient way to get apps loaded onto your new Mac without waiting to download them later.
What does this extra stuff really do for me?
RAM: the power to work quickly.
RAM (Random Access Memory) is the memory your Mac uses to run software applications and store frequently accessed data. Adding RAM improves the performance of your entire experience: opening and working with large files; using the Finder and other elements of Mac OS X; and running graphics, audio, video, and scientific applications. In addition, more RAM speeds up your computer when you have lots of applications open at the same time.
Storage: room to work and play.
The hard drive or flash drive is where your Mac stores all your data when you’re not using it. The capacity of a drive, measured in gigabytes, or GB, tells you how much room you have to store your files and applications. A typical application today may take 10 to 50 megabytes (MB); photos may take up about 2-4MB each; graphics files can occupy more than 100MB; and video files are often many gigabytes in size.
The standard hard drive or flash drive in every Mac offers enough space for average users to store their documents and digital media. If you’re a photo, music, or video aficionado who likes to collect media files, a larger drive will give you room to grow your collection.
Processor: the high-speed engine of your Mac.
The processor is the brains of your Mac. Every second, it completes the billions of calculations needed to perform every computing task. Most Mac models feature the Intel Core 5 or i7 family of processors, with two or four processor cores that pack more power than a standard processor in the same space.
With many Mac models, you can upgrade the processor to a faster speed. If you plan to do processor-intensive tasks such as video rendering, gaming, and working with large, multi-track audio files, a faster processor can improve the performance of your Mac.
Graphics processor: your world in high resolution.
A graphics processor is simply a processor dedicated to turning huge amounts of data into graphics and video output. By taking this task away from the main processor, a graphics processor also makes the entire system faster and more responsive.
If you’re getting a Mac Pro, you can select a higher-performance card for more advanced graphics work, or add up to four separate graphics cards to power an array of displays simultaneously for visualization projects and large display walls.
Does it take longer to get a customized Mac?
Since Apple builds your custom-configured Mac to order, we need to build it before we can ship it, which takes a little extra time. In most cases, it only takes a few days to build your Mac and a few more to ship to your door.
What else can I get with my new Mac?
Internal components and software aren’t the only options you can add to your Mac purchase. The Apple Online Store makes it easy to include external displays and accessories such as video adapters and a USB SuperDrive.
In addition, you can enroll automatically in the AppleCare Protection Plan.
About the AppleCare Protection Plan
Your Mac is protected right out of the box. Every Mac and all included accessories are covered against defects for one year from the original purchase date by a limited hardware warranty. In addition, your Mac purchase comes with 90 days of complimentary telephone technical support. And you can always access online support 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, for knowledge, resources and more.
Whether you’re new to the Mac or an experienced user, the AppleCare Protection Plan helps you get the most from your Mac. For three years from your computer’s original purchase date, you’ll get direct telephone access to Apple's experts for questions about your Mac, the Mac OS, iLife, and iWork. And you’ll get global repair coverage — both parts and labor — through convenient service options.