Forum Question: Needing Help With Configuring/Making Sure I Order Everything I Will Need

(I know it is much better to keep things short and sweet, but I do not know how to do that in this situation and make sure I am all set to go once I get the full equipped rMBP) I am a professor with the online division of a university back East. I have been using the same fully configured MBP for the past 5 years, but dues to numerous problems with my current Machine, I have decided to get the rMBP. I need to make sure that once it arrives I will be able to set it up, plug it in, and it will be good to go (especially ready to get on the WebCT platform and teach the courses I have this semester). I reviewing the rMBP on Apple’s website, I see that there are several areas that I am unfamiliar with. My expertise is NOT in technology, so I am turning to my long-time friends at MacMost to help me make sure I get the rMBP configured with all the correct cables to go online, use the printer, use the ethernet cable connection if for some reason my wifi is down, etc. In looking at the various options for the rMPB, I want to make sure I have all of the cabkles I might need, but after looking at the various ports on the new rMPB, I realized that I do not have the knowledge to know what cables do what and what the thunderbolt, charger (the latest computer charger) HDMI, etc. are used for and how these all differ from what my 5 year old MBP uses. Althought the MBP I am using is ready to die any minute now, it will be a big change for me in using the rMBP and making sure I have all that I need to first of all run the courses online and secondly use the Machine, Canon printer, etc. to their fullest capability. I see that it also uses USB 3.0. If anybody can help me make sure I understand what all the cables/ports are for that I will be using, what additional cables to buy so that I can set-up the Machine completely before the first night of courses. I have configured the rMBP (even know I am not able to request the Samsung display) and upgraded the Machine so that I have the most advanced configuration possible on the website. Will I be able to take the rMBP out of the box, plug it in, set up the printer, make sure I have the right charging adapter and other connections done properly, and hopefully I am good to go. Just to make sure I am asking for some help since my tech skills are much to be desired, especially since I am going to a rMBP, which appears after looking at the various cable options to be a different game then I have been playing with my MBP I have been using for some time now. what is the difference between the Flash drive and the SSD? What connections can I use the USB 3.0, the thunderbolt cable, what will I need to connect the 27″ thunderbolt display to the rMBP. Will I need the thunderbolt to ethernet adapter will I need the 85W MS2 Power Adapter or the MagSafe to MagSafe 2 converter and on and on and on. I really appreciate any help you can give me. I feel like I have gotten in over my head, but I will say that I have done as much research as I could, but I just do not have a knack for tis technology stuff. I try, but it just does not come naturally. Thanks! (I might seem beyond help, but I usually can make it once I get up and running after knowing what I need and what is going to be different fro the current set-up I have which is just a 5 year old MBP hooked up to wifi for an internet connection and a Canon multitask PIXMA Machine. I usually end up hooking up this Machine via USB cable because the wireless connections most always fails me.

Comments: 9 Responses to “Needing Help With Configuring/Making Sure I Order Everything I Will Need”

    12/8/12 @ 9:05 am

    USB: The new rMBP comes with USB 3.0, but that is backwards compatible with USB 2 and USB 1. So any USB devices you have will work with it the same as your old Mac.
    Power: It comes with a power adapter. If you want a second one, you will need to order a new one that is specifically compatible with the new MacBooks.
    Screen: The new MacBook uses the Thunderbolt port for that. You’ll need an adapter if you wish to hook it up to an external monitor. Look in the Apple Store for the adapters and match it to the connection on your screen (DVI, for instance).
    But if you are buying a Thunderbolt display, then you can connect from your Mac to the display with just the Thunderbolt-to-thunderbolt cable. Not sure if a the display comes with one, so check and order one if needed.
    Ethernet: There is no ethernet connector on the rMBP. So you’ll need to buy the Thunderbolt to Ethernet adapter, as you suspected.
    Oh, and an SSD (Solid State Drive) IS a type flash drive. But a “flash drive” is a term also used to describe those little USB thumb drives you can carry around. The term SSD is used to describe the internal hard drive of a Mac when it is a large flash drive as opposed to a standard rotating magnetic disk hard drive.

    John M. Hammer
    12/8/12 @ 1:29 pm

    Gary- Apple’s Thunderbolt Display comes with a Thunderbolt cable to connect the TDisplay to a Mac. And note that if Kooler does have a Thunderbolt Display, the TDisplay has ethernet, FW800, and USB2 that all feeds to the Mac through the one Thunderbolt cable that comes with the monitor.

      12/8/12 @ 1:43 pm

      Good point. If you only need ethernet when connected to the Thunderbolt display, then you have it through there. But if you also need it at times when the MacBook is away from the display, you’ll need the adapter too.

        12/8/12 @ 8:03 pm

        Thanks for the help. I appreciate it. I forgot an important question. (I know my post was way to long, but I tried to make it as short as possible.) I also will need the SuperDrive and the rMBP does not come with an internal drive. if I get the external SuperDrive, would I connect that to the rMBP with the USB? Would I get the USB 3.0? I have talked to several sales reps but their knowledge in many of my questions was lacking. I was surprised, but that is why I made the post here. I want to make sure that I have all that I will need so that I will be able to use the new rMBP when it arrives. Of course there is the back up drive and what I will need for that, but I should be able to get those answers when I call to order the rMBP.

        12/9/12 @ 5:45 am

        One reason why I was confused with the drives is on they describe the drive in the rMBP as a “flash drive.” For the MBPs they describe an upgrade drive as a solid state drive (SSD). Confused me why they would use different terminology for the rMBP drive (flash drive) and the MPB (SSd drive) which if you get the largest it can add $900 to the price of the MBP. With the rMBP there are no options other then the size of the flash drive. This i why I assumed they were a different drive.

          12/9/12 @ 11:11 am

          The rMBP is much thinner. There is no room for an SSD (a box that contains the flash memory arranged in such a way as to be the shape of a standard hard drive). So Apple uses a series of chips instead, so the new rMBP can be thinner.

        12/9/12 @ 5:51 am

        I am just now getting the new thunderbolt Display to use when I am teaching. I am concerned that since I have a bad internet service/unreliable there are times when I might need to get the internet by the ethernet cable because my wifi set up for some reason has periods of down time. I want to be ready if this happens when I need to be online to teach, and with the rMBP I am not totally clear on what I will need if I lose my wireless internet and have to resort to the ethernet. I realize somebody addressed this topic for the rMBP but not sure I understand what I will need if I do have to resort to a ethernet cable to get online when I am using the rMBP. I hopefully will also have a thunderbolt display, and it sounds like the cable comes with this display if I have to resort to the ethernet cable to get online.

          12/9/12 @ 11:10 am

          You have two options: The first is to get the Thunderbolt to ethernet adapter. The second is to plug into the Thunderbolt display, which has ethernet on it. You see, the cable from your Mac to the Thunderbolt display carries more than just the display. It also carries USB, ethernet, camera, firewire and other data. So it is like “docking” with the display — but just over one thin cable. You’ll see when you get it.

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