Buying Worksheet - Mac Desktop & Notebook

Christopher Cole -

A new workstation is an important tool and a significant investment that should (with proper care) last at least 3 years (length of the AppleCare warranty). Planning and preparation is recommended (see our Buying Tips article) to ensure you get an appropriately configured machine. Below are questions we ask our clients prior to building a recommendation.

  • Is the workstation for a new user or an upgrade for a current user?
  • Who will use the workstation? Non-Designer, Designer, Video Editor, or Principal/Owner/CEO? Each of these positions require differing amounts of computing power, specifically RAM. We currently recommend a minimum of 4GB of RAM for all workstations.
  • Is portability required? It costs more, so don't buy one just for your desk. If it is required, then is a monitor, keyboard and mouse needed for the desk?
  • What screen size is desired and will a second display be connected?
  • If this is a new user, is software available or are new purchases or upgrades required? TIP: It's often tempting to upgrade software for a single user, but it's better in the long run to upgrade the entire office at once to keep everyone on the same version.
  • What software is needed? Examples include:
    • Adobe Creative Suite
    • Microsoft Office
    • Final Cut Studio
    • OmniGraffle and OmniOutliner
    • FastTrack Schedule
    • Daylite/Now Up-To-Date & Contact
    • Font management software, i.e. Suitcase Fusion/FontAgent Pro/UTS
    • Parallels/VMware (requires a copy of Windows as well)
    • other specialized software (web, print, audio editing, video effects, drafting software, Windows software, etc.)
  • Are you using a volume license, or would you like to move to a volume license?
  • Is external storage required (for video/audio editors)?
  • When does the workstation need to be fully operational? Ordering early saves money with shipping (especially custom configured machines) and allows for Flat-Rate implementation for Pro Support clients.


Buying a new computer often requires you to start using the newest OS. Mixing "old" technology with a modern OS can cause problems. It's best to keep hardware and software up-to-date to avoid conflicts.

  • Are there specific fonts required to run on the new workstation (i.e. corporate identity fonts, or fonts for an important client)? OpenType fonts may be required to work with modern operating systems (such as Mac OS X v.10.6 Snow Leopard). If users need offsite access, does the office VPN/firewall work with the newest OS?
  • Are there specific security considerations?
  • Do the workstations connect to an APC Smart-UPS (or equivalent) with Automatic Voltage Regulation (AVR) to ensure good clean power?
  • Are peripherals, such as printers, external drives, scanners, and input devices up-to-date and compatible?
  • Are there other considerations we've not mentioned here?

As always, please contact us with ANY questions or concerns.

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