Another what to buy question

Discussion in 'Buying Tips, Advice and Discussion (archive)' started by nicolap99, May 28, 2005.

  1. nicolap99 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    May 28, 2005
    Location:
    South Wales, UK
    #1
    Hi Guys (and gals)
    Complete newbie here, and another doubting pc user asking the eternal question.

    I have an ageing laptop which is on it's last legs in terms of processing and ram capability.I still intend to use the laptop to cope with work related issues, excel, visio, word, spc xl etc..

    I've discovered the world of digital photography with a Canon G5 off ebay , and I'm hooked. Trouble is the laptop is simply not up to it.

    Considering a move to either a mini mac or the new iMac G5. Space is an issue here, I use the laptop in our bedroom.


    I want the mac (which ever one, or other recommendations) to do the following.
    Email, browse the net,use with Photoshop for digital images. Not much more than that really.

    But.....there always is.....how will it network with my sons pc? we have ntl broadband ...is this an issue?


    Thanks in anticipation, I've always admired the different approach, just need some confirmation before I take the plunge.

    My preference is for the cheaper mini mac , can I use other manufacturers mouse and keyboard. Just don't like the look of the mouse in particular.

    Regards

    Denis
     
  2. Mitthrawnuruodo Moderator emeritus

    Mitthrawnuruodo

    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2004
    Location:
    Bergen, Norway
    #2
    Welcome to the boards. :)

    The Mac mini with a cheap 17" LCD (like this one) would probably suit you just fine. Get the 1.25 GHz version with standard HD (and get an external USB2 and/or FireWire disk when you need it) but get at least 512 MB RAM.

    (If you want 512 just get it BTO from Apple, but if you want 1 GB get a 3rd party chip from i.e. Crucial (the most recommended brand here at MR) or TwinMOS (which I have in my iBook) and either install it yourself (you need a putty knife and a bit of a nerve) or get an Apple Service Provider to install it (if they do it fairly cheap)).

    Get an Apple keyboard (you can use any but I think Apple's is better, and you get two easy accessible non/low-powered USB-ports on the keyboard which comes in handy since the mini only has two USB ports on the back, and at $29 at AppleStore it's quite affordable) but you can get any two button USB scroll wheel mouse. (Don't opt for wireless, that's a waist of money, initially.)

    This is the setup we got for my father-in-law and he's more than happy with it. (He actually has his in his bedroom ;).) He uses it for digital images and draws some work related drawings in Illustrator. The mini is dead quiet. You really have to push it before the fan even considers starting...

    I don't think you get Visio for the Mac, but OmniGraffle pro should do much the same, and you may import/export from/to Visio.

    MS Office for Mac is actually better than the PC, so Excel and Word is just the same, only a bit better... :p

    Also, if you have a Photoshop license for PC Adobe usually lets you transfer that to Mac. Contact their support and ask.

    Networking with PC's work just fine, just go from the Mac to the PC, that's easier than the other way. ;) If both are connected to the same router/hub/switch the PC (if set up correctly) should appear in the Networks list on the Mac (I think).

    If Mac OS X catches on, and you later want more Power™ you can always ebay the mini and get an iMac/Power Mac somewhere down the road.
     
  3. nicolap99 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    May 28, 2005
    Location:
    South Wales, UK
    #3
    Thanks Mitthrawnuruodo
    i live in the UK and have just been down to PC World with my 18 year old son to have a better look and the touchy feely thing of using the mac's.

    I'm pretty sure I'll get the mini mac as you suggested, bought a router on the advice of my son.

    I'll let you know my final decisions, but this is just the sort of advice i need. Daresay you get alot of pc users who are nervous about the switch, but from what I've read once they switch over they rarely go back through choice. Compatibility for business is a different issue :)

    Regards
    Denis
     
  4. Abstract macrumors Penryn

    Abstract

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    Dec 27, 2002
    Location:
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    #4
    Yes, get the Mini. You really don't need more than that. However, I'd get 1GB of RAM. Its not that you need 1GB of RAM. I suggest this because you need (may) need more than 512MB, and with only 1 RAM slot, there's no in-between. ;) Its also better than upgrading to 512MB, only to throw it out and buy a 1GB stick 6 months from now "if" you realize that 512MB is not enough.

    Buy the RAM and get another retailer to install it for you. Apple charges too much for RAM, unless you're just going to upgrade to 512MB.
     
  5. Mitthrawnuruodo Moderator emeritus

    Mitthrawnuruodo

    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2004
    Location:
    Bergen, Norway
    #5
    Ok, then you can get the link for the £19 keyboard in AppleStore UK instead... ;)

    And the above mentioned YuSmart monitor can be found at £139 here (but look around, there might be even better offers ;)).
     
  6. Nickygoat macrumors 6502a

    Nickygoat

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2004
    Location:
    London
    #6
    PC World? Bleurgh :p Not sure where in South Wales you are but try at computers or Western. First ones in Cardiff, second in Bristol but both are Apple resellers who'll be able to give you a lot of correct advice, and fit your RAM for you if don't want to do it yourself. PC World will just try and take your money and get you out of the door. They rarely have anybody with a knowledge of Macs.
    NTL support Macs so you'll have no problems with the router and the PC if you follow the advice above.
    If your son is a student - use the education store.
     
  7. nicolap99 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    May 28, 2005
    Location:
    South Wales, UK
    #7
    Hi Nicky
    Thanks for the reply. I live in Neath, not too far from Cardiff, but I could buy online from Apple UK.

    My son has used macs in college and is familar with them,he'll br my IT man for all things connected to software etc. He likes them but says they are poor for gaming (so that suits me, no games for me).

    Any advice on buying direct from Apple?
     
  8. Abstract macrumors Penryn

    Abstract

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    #8
    Yes, don't upgrade RAM from the Apple Store. ;)

    Otherwise, you should be fine.
     
  9. Nickygoat macrumors 6502a

    Nickygoat

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2004
    Location:
    London
    #9
    Your son is right - they are pretty poor for games, but you won't care ;) , and his IT role shouldn't amount to much.
    As far as buying from Apple UK (online) they're generally very reliable, but the shipping times can be wildly optimistic, but if you want to use the edu store online is the best way to go. You can use the edu store in an Apple Store (not a reseller ie. Birmingham or London) but only for Apple hardware, not software and it doesn't include third party stuff (hardware or software). Resellers have no flexibilty over pricing, nor do they offer edu discount but they can, and do, offer free extras like extra RAM, or upgraded hard drives. If you wanted a BTO (Build To Order) machine (like a bigger HD, BlueTooth, printer or whatever) then the online store is probably the way to go. They might ask for proof that your son is a student - something like a uni enrolment form or a student ID number. If you want a standard machine, maybe with just the extra RAM go to one of the local resellers - help your local economy ;) . Flicking through the online store for the two I listed doesn't bring up very much - better to give them a call and see what they offer.
    HTH
     
  10. CanadaRAM macrumors G5

    CanadaRAM

    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2004
    Location:
    On the Left Coast - Victoria BC Canada
    #10
    Hey Denis, welcome.
    For the Mini, I'd go with 1 GB RAM as mentioned, and I'd pay a smidgen more and go for a LCD screen with a DVI (digital) input. The VGA (analog) output from the Mini may not be as good.

    Or the iMac G5 is a brilliant machine, if you have the cash you couldn't go wrong with that either.

    For networking the two, you'll want a "4-Port Cable/DSL Router" which will share your Internet connection, set up the network, and provide some hardware firewall protection.

    Even if you get the iMac, get an optical 2 button USB scroll mouse anyway, It'll ease the transition, and OSX has lots of time saving shortcuts under the right button.
     
  11. Applespider macrumors G4

    Applespider

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2004
    Location:
    looking through rose-tinted spectacles...
    #11
    Just to cause trouble... depending on how much photo editing you're doing and the size of the images you're processing, you might want to just look at the iBook (if they ever get round to updating them!). It probably doesn't work out all that much more expensive than the Mac mini plus monitor/keyboard/mouse. Swap the router you've got for a wireless one and the lack of room isn't an issue since you can use it anywhere.

    Equally, if you're buying the monitor/keyboard/mouse combo in any case, the iMac might be the better purchase. It's faster than the mini, has a bigger, faster hard drive and won't be out of date as quickly as the mini. Should you discover a cheap camcorder on eBay in a year's time, it will perform much better than the mini would.

    The education discount is probably the way to go in terms of buying the Mac direct from Apple. If you do end up going to a reseller, it's worth checking John Lewis at Cribbs Causeway since they give you an extra year's guarantee. Useful if you're not planning on buying Applecare.

    You definitely can't get Visio for the Mac but as Mith pointed out above, Omnigraffle Pro (about to go to version 4) is very similar (and much more usable IMO). It does do basic importing/exporting of Visio XML files. I haven't had any problems transferring files between them.
     
  12. deebster macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2004
    Location:
    Olde Englande
    #12
    "Any advice on buying direct from Apple?"

    Yeah, get your son to do it, or explain to Apple that you are buying the Mac for your student son who doesn't have a credit card ;)

    I'd say go straight for 1GB of RAM if you can. The prices are pretty good, even in expensive old Britain, and Photoshop loves RAM, as does OS X.

    Sure 512 MB will work, but the more the merrier. My iBook was maxed out a couple of years ago and at first it felt fast, but with the newer OS (10.4 Tiger) it sometimes feels like it isn't enough anymore. Not that I get the option to add more, but since you do I'd recommend it.

    You could always hang fire on an Apple keyboard / mouse and use any old USB ones at first. Windoze keyboards have the alt/option and windows/apple-command keys swapped around, but you can easily reverse the mapping of them via Tiger's System Preferences. Other than that, except for the lack of extra USB ports they work fine.
     
  13. Mitthrawnuruodo Moderator emeritus

    Mitthrawnuruodo

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    Location:
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    #13
    I don't necessarily agree.

    The Mac mini with 512 MB RAM (£369) + cheap 17" LCD (£129) + Apple keyboard (£19) + any scroll wheel mouse comes (without any EDU discounts) to about a total of £525.

    The baseline 17" iMac (which comes with 512 MB RAM keyboard and mouse) starts at £899.

    So even if the iMac G5 will outperform the G4 mini, there's quite a gap in the price... ;)
     
  14. Applespider macrumors G4

    Applespider

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2004
    Location:
    looking through rose-tinted spectacles...
    #14
    Was thinking more of the comparative systems in 12 months time if you're planning on keeping the Mac longer or start using video etc. And with the edu discount, since you won't get the edu discount on the cheap monitor or mouse, the extra discount on the iMac might cut the difference down a bit.

    But yeah, if it's the price that's more important, it's mini all the way.
     
  15. Mitthrawnuruodo Moderator emeritus

    Mitthrawnuruodo

    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2004
    Location:
    Bergen, Norway
    #15
    The OP indicated that he was leaning towards "the cheaper mini", and since he obviously has no problems using ebay, I was thinking the cheap alternative was a good entry point, and in six months or a year or so, if the mini starts holding him back, he could offload it and get something more powerful... :)

    (You know, the most important thing is to get them hooked... ;) :p :D)
     
  16. nicolap99 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    May 28, 2005
    Location:
    South Wales, UK
    #16
    Thanks for all the advice.

    After reading all the comments it's down to this.

    Mini Mac 1.4GHz
    1 Gb of ram
    LCD with DVI input monitor
    Apple keyboard ( i've got a USB mouse)


    I will see what the local resellers can do in terms of price, I'm glad you told me about the high extra RAM prices charged by Apple UK.

    Does anyone know of a good online seller that could do a good deal?
     

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