What Do You want for the Holidays?

The Durham Cool team are not the proactive holiday gift shopping planners (see late-birds). This year at Durham Cool we are testing the waters with a much more carefully planned approach to setting our holiday gift intentions early.

Readers of Durham Cool could easily predict that our Durham Cool team list will be top-heavy with consumer electronic and High Fidelity audio gear. Here are our favorites for 2018/2019. A new desktop computer and laptop are on our top 5 list and purchase timing here is critical.

Many of already you know that our Apple purchase timing has been anything but perfect so the new iMac rumored to come out by end of 2018 is definitely on the  list:




Reasons to Wait for the 2018 iMac

Wait for a More Powerful iMac

or what about buying the new Mac Mini today?

Wait for a 2018 iMac with a Better Display
Wait for a Fast 2018 iMac Release Date
Wait if You Keep Your Mac’s for a Long Time

Reasons Not to Wait for the 2018 iMac
Don’t Wait if Mobility is More Important
Don’t Wait if You Find a Great Deal
Don’t Wait if You Absolutely Need a New iMac

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2018 October New Apple products

The new 2018 Mac Mini!  

Higher price for much more hardware inside!

Best value to get into the Mac architecture without breaking your wallet!

Apple Mac Mini review

Simple build….i7 chip, 8gb RAM, 512mb SSD. Buy 16 or 32 gb RAM (not difficult to add RAM, just tedious), get a Razer Core X eGPU with a RX580 for the best bang for your buck or one of the Vega’s if you really need the extra oomph. You now have a system as good as an iMac Pro for half the price that you can upgrade the RAM and GPU later when you need faster graphics.

Geez. Have you heard about the concept of “eGPU” yet? … Mac Mini is the perfect platform for video editing and gaming. That is, if you pay a little extra for something like the Razer Core X and a Radeon Vega. i7 six-core, 16GB RAM, 500GB superfast NVME flash drive, 2K bucks. Core X and Vega 64 on top, another 700 bucks maybe. 2.7K for something as rock-solid, sexy and quiet as the Mini, it’s going to last for ages. If the eGPU card becomes too slow, just swap it out. Need more RAM? Swap it out. Need more superfast storage? Like, faster that internal “regular” SSDs? Get an OWC 4M2 and fill it with NVMe drives, 1TB costs less than 250 bucks at the moment.

Relatively fair review of the Mac Mini, but I wish they acknowledge the i7 option and EGPU expansion. Almost a crime to not mention that the mac mini could reach close to iMac Pro performance for a lot less money. (base model + i7 BTO + Vega 56 + egpu enclosure = $1700). You can add your own RAM and deal with external storage options to cut some cost (as Apple charge a pretty penny for their services).


Apple October 2018

[expand title=”Should you buy the new Imac now-click here to read on”]

IMac for back to school or at home, or should you wait for the 2018 iMac updates before you buy? The  IMac over a year old, and it looks like we will see a 2018 iMac release date in the near future. imac Apple remains dedicated to the iMac all-in-one lineup as the Mac Mini lingers and the Mac Pro upgrade remains a wishful thought. While the IMac Pro arrived late last year with powerful options, it’s out of the price range of most buyers, and overkill for many students and homes users. Read: Best IMac Accessories We’ll help you decide if you should wait for the 2018 iMac release date to buy the new iMac, or if it is best to go get one right now to prepare for back to school or to replace your aging iMac. 2018 iMac Rumors The 2018 IMac release date is likely coming this fall alongside, or right ahead of the macOS Mojave release date. Apple typically upgrades the iMac every year, but skipped over announcing a new model in June, or when they announced the new 2018 MacBook Pro. Ming-Chi Kou says that Apple will upgrade the display and the processors in the 2018 iMac. There is no specific mention of the display upgrades yet, Apple currently sells the IMac with a 1080P display, a 4K display and a 5K display. Apple did confirm it is working on a new display to sell when the new Mac Pro release date arrives, and that could be 5K like the current iMac, or even an 8K display. It would make sense for Apple to put the upgraded display in an iMac first. Apple already supports 10-bit color if you a compatible monitor, so it could be part of this upgrade as well. An early rumor about a new IMac design surfaced in 2017, but we haven’t heard anything substantial a new design since. Wait for a More Powerful IMaci n 2018 Wait for the 2018 IMac if you need more performance. The current iMac is no slouch, but Intel now offers more powerful processors, and there are new GPU options that can supercharge the iMac in 2018. Specifically we could see a 6-core processor option for the 2018 iMac. Apple added these to the 2018 MacBook Pro, and it looks like we will see performance boosts for the new iMac this year as well. Apple includes an Apple processor known as the T2 in the iMac Pro and the MacBook Pro. There is a good chance that we could see this come to the 2018 iMac upgrade as well. From a GPU standpoint, we will likely see Apple opt to AMD Vega GPU offerings, but not to the level of the iMac Pro. Other upgrades include potential support for DDR4 RAM and we may switch all the way from hard drives to SSD storage   Wait for a 2018 IMac with a Better Display Ming-Chi Kou expects a new IMac in 2018. The 2018 iMac display is getting an upgrade according to Ming-Chi Kou. This upgrade is not specifically called out, but Kuo’s track record makes this a very likely change — and as the display is built-in a change worth waiting for.[/expand] We already see 4K and 5K screen options on the IMac Apple still offers a 1080P entry level iMac, and it is possible that screen option will not make the cut, if the entry level GPU can handle 4K. There have been some rumors about an OLED Apple display, or an OLED iMac, but again it is not clear if the capability is ready. Apple is working on a new display for the IMac Pro and we could see that technology come to the iMac first. We saw the 5K iMac as the go to Mac if you want to use a 5K display for a short period. The catch is that an 8K display would likely hit the iMac Pro first. Apple added True Tone to the MacBook Pro, so there is a chance that Kuo’s display upgrade is simply True Tone for the iMac. True Tone is a display technology that keeps the white balance looking the same to you, the user, no matter the environment. While the iMac isn’t portable, lighting conditions change throughout the day. Wait for a Fast 2018 iMac Release Date One of the major reasons to wait for the 2018 iMac release date is that you won’t likely need to wait very long for it to arrive. According to Ming-Chi Kou, Apple is working on a new iMac. This is a good sign that Apple is getting close to the release, which will likely come in the next two or three months. Apple surprised us with the MacBook Pro release date in July, so there is even a chance that new iMacs will simply go on sale in August. It’s more likely that you will need to wait a month until the September Apple Event where we expect that Apple will announce the iPhone 11 and potentially the new iMac. Wait if You Keep Your Mac’s for a Long Time Do you keep your Mac for a long time? If there is a good chance that you will want to use the same iMac for the next four years of school, or for a long time at home or work, you should wait. The current iMac is good, but waiting a few months, will get you a better performing iMac that can meet your needs longer. Even if you are looking at starting school with an old computer, I would wait and see what Apple does with the new iMac models before you buy one. Don’t Wait if Mobility is A Major Factor Now You may be better served by a MacBook Pro today.   If you bought your last iMac three or four years ago, you should take a look at the MacBook Pro to see if that is a better option for you in 2018. Apple’s upgraded the mobile computing power and options significantly in the last several years. You can now get a MacBook Pro with an impressive amount of internal storage, powerful processors and you can power multiple 4K displays or a single 5K display with the MacBook Pro. Don’t Wait if You Find a Great Deal Today   Don’t wait if you like the current iMac deals (see below) One reason to buy the iMac today, instead of waiting for the 2018 upgrade, is to get a good deal on a model today. (See below) Apple is running back to school deals that combine student pricing with a free set of Beats headphones. Don’t Wait if You Absolutely Need a New Mac Is your current Mac broken, or does it take too long to get your work done? If you cannot get your work done, complete your school work or otherwise use your Mac, it may not be worth waiting for the new model. While there is a very good chance that the new iMac is coming soon, Apple may pull a surprise and not start selling it until much later this year. Factor your current workload and commitments into your decision. Why Should You Wait for the 2018 iMac At this stage, most people should wait for the 2018 iMac release date before buying a new iMac. We don’t expect massive discounts on the 2017 model when this happens, but you may be able to find a deal from someone upgrading or from a retailer clearing out older models. You’ll also get a much better performing computer that is going to be suited for handling your computing needs for longer, and it will likely get macOS upgrades for another year. If you wait, you get the chance to decide if the new iMac is the best computer for you right now, but if you buy, you won’t likely be able to return and upgrade to a new iMac if one comes out in a month or two.[/expand]

The best value in 4K tv is clearly 4K TCL Roku TV. When Apple TV 4K was released, I took a close look at 4K televisions and discovered the incredible value that TCL 4K TVs with Roku represent. It made no sense to me that folks were purchasing Apple TV 4K with little to no consideration that they were streaming to a 720P or 1080p monitor or Television.

We’ve got our hands on the budget-friendly, TCL S405, which comes with 4K, standard HDR, and runs on the Roku OS platform. The TCL S405’s bezel is fairly thin, with a glossy black finish that contrasts with the screen, coated with an anti-reflective film to reduce glare. The TV is about three inches deep — so it should look pretty good if you decide to mount it — and about 35 inches from foot to foot, assuming you’re working with the 49-inch model. All the relevant ports and jacks are located on the rear of the TV, near the right side (the left, if you are facing the screen from the front). There are three HDMI ports — one ARC — along with one USB, optical, coaxial, composite, and a headphone/speaker jack. The Roku remote offers shortcuts to a few popular apps on top of all the regular navigation features; it doesn’t have a headphone jack, but you can use the Roku app on your phone if you want to watch that way.


TCL’s 6-Series Roku TV is one of the most anticipated TVs of 2018 due to its promise of high performance at a low price. We explore whether this new set from the up and coming manufacturer delivers on lofty expectations.



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