Calling all Mac experts...your advice is needed!

Discussion in 'Buying Tips, Advice and Discussion (archive)' started by TIGERmac, Jan 23, 2005.

  1. TIGERmac macrumors member

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2004
    #1
    Did the headline grab your attention? :D Thanks for reading/commenting.

    The situation: I have approximately 2 years left in my undergrad degree program, and almost certainly an additional 2-3 years for graduate or law school.

    The dilemma: I've been eying a 15" PB since Rev. C was released hoping and praying that the next release would be really good (at least the 7448 @ ~2.0 GHz). At this point, it appears the best we can hope for is a 1.7 GHz 7447B.

    My plans were to use my new PB as a desktop replacement--which would ideally see me through the remainder of my academic experience. With the way everyone seems to be degrading the current PBs, I'm becoming less certain that this will be possible.

    Granted, I'm not a demanding user by any stretch of the imagination...mainly word processing/presentations, recreational photo/video editing, internet/email and the like. My current PC is operating at 500 MHz...it's not
    fast by any stretch of the imagination, but it still does most of what I need it to do.

    The choice: Buy Rev. D of the G4 PB (a very mature & reliable machine) and pray that it sees me through college. Or buy a nice reconditioned (assuming they're available) 17" G5 iMac in the meantime and save up money for the next generation 12" PB (smaller screen will be ok if I have a desktop) and purchase when portability is most needed (i.e. grad/law school).

    This will be my first Mac and my first laptop. So this is an area where much help is needed. Do most people have both a laptop and desktop? I've been wanting to get rid of my PC for some time due to the bulkiness, but the G5 iMac solves that problem nicely. I believe the two can coexist quite nicely on my desk.

    As many of you can imagine, cost is indeed a factor. Also, I'd hate to buy a PB now (though they look incredible) and two years from now when I will require it's portability most, the new PBs will blow it away in performance and battery life.

    I know these forums are filled with very experienced and knowlegable Mac users, as I read your posts everyday. Please chime in and give me your advice.

    Thanks in advance for all of your replies.

    TIGERmac
     
  2. wordmunger macrumors 603

    wordmunger

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2003
    Location:
    North Carolina
    #2
    Sounds like you've answered your own question. Buy the 17-inch iMac now; get the 12 PB later when you need more portability. Alternately, you can buy a 12-inch iBook + the iMac now for almost the same price as a Powerbook. Your decision.
     
  3. sjpetry macrumors 65816

    sjpetry

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2004
    Location:
    Tamarindo, Costa Rica
  4. TIGERmac thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2004
    #4
    Thanks for the suggestion. I was trying to sell myself on the idea and just needed reinforcement.

    Any reservations on buying a refurbished iMac? I could buy the new model for $100 more (student discount) and get iLife '05 preinstalled ($75 value).

    Is the $25 savings worth it? I haven't played around with iLife '05 but from what I hear it's worth the upgrade.

    Thanks again,

    TIGERmac
     
  5. Champale macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2004
    Location:
    Chicago, USA
    #5
    Or...

    Or why not buy the Mac mini right now?

    It's cheap, will probably be able to do most of what you need, and you'll have saved enough pocket change to buy a G5 laptop when it comes out. Which, at this rate, may be 2020 for all I know!

    Granted if you don't have a pc you'll need a monitor, keyboard, and mouse. But all of those are a dime a dozen these days and I'll bet you have friends who have extra hardware they probably don't need...
     
  6. Smileyguy macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2004
    #6
    The best thing about buying a Mac is that even though deciding which machine to buy can be agonising, you'll always get a great product.

    I've also got two years left on my undergraduate program, and I plan to do a PhD after that. I bought a secondhand Powermac G5 last year. I paid the extra money for the G5 because I wanted a machine that was going to last a long time. It's a great machine, so reliable, rock solid and hasn't once let me down.

    I'd say not to ignore the ibooks. Until the Powerbooks go G5, there really isn't much difference between them and the ibook. I'd consider buying the iMac (these machines have GREAT specs, there's no better time to buy an iMac) with an iBook. The 1.8GhZ iMac will last you five years. The ibook won't last that long however if you want to keep up to date.
     
  7. wordmunger macrumors 603

    wordmunger

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2003
    Location:
    North Carolina
    #7
    I wouldn't buy a refurb iMac at this point. A lot of people have been having recurring logic board problems, etc., and it's likely that the refurb models were among the ones that had problems. Though I think many of these problems have been resolved, you'd be better off getting a new one that's been fully debugged. Especially if the difference is only $25!
     
  8. ibilly macrumors regular

    Joined:
    May 2, 2003
    Location:
    Boulder
    #8
    If the only thing you need a desktop for...

    If the only quality in a desktop is a screen, get a 12"PB and a nice used monitor. I'm using my Rev. A 12" PB to drive a 17 inch apple CRT from the mid nineties at 1280x1024 (I think, that seems like it's right...) at 60hz along with the built in screen to do photoshop 7 editing. Not only do I have the ultimate in portability, I have the option for expansive screen realestate, which is perfect for applications like photoshop, and even more so iMovie (the extra resolution is like gold.) As far as power goes, this is a 2002 model, and I really started pushing it to its limit about a year ago when I was dealing with photoshop and 100+MB files. Most old monitors are VGA which is no problem for me. I have one of the adapters from the ibook which takes the video-out port to mini-vga. from there I go to mega sized vga for full resolution and accurate color. If I can do more than you want to be able to do on a 3 year old powerbook, a 12" PB (or even the 1.2 ghz iBook) should suit you fine. Oh, and my baby processes words like there's no tomorrow. My only advice beyond the 12" laptop and monitor is buying about $100 worth of RAM from crucial. Lifetime warranty, great quality, rock bottom prices. If you only need it for things like pages, and casual editing (below what I said I do). Here are a couple of eBay links for you on the monitors. (a word to the wise, LCD and flat screen are not equal. glass is still flat if it is stuck on the front of a CRT). I know how attractive sounds, but dell makes medium quality for cheap. links:Ebay LCDs and eBay CRTs (standard, like a TV)

    IN SUMMARY: buy a 12" book, bet ram, and pick up a cheap monitor off ebay. It'll satisfy your needs (most likely) and is much cheaper than buying an interim iMac and then a 'book. A good way to go would to be to ecplore the diff. prices, and post back with a hypothetical setup for critical review.

    -b

    p.s. If you can afford a G5 iMac, why not?

    When buying from apple: Minimize ram, maximize vRam, and maximize hard drive RPM (unless it is something like a towe, where the HD is easily swapped)
     
  9. TheMac19 macrumors regular

    TheMac19

    Joined:
    May 13, 2004
    Location:
    Pitt
    #9
    Well, two years from now, hopefully we'll see a hot fast powerbook on the shelves, but I think you can rest assured that battery life isn't going to get much better. The best Apple can hope to do is hold battery life steady as they build faster systems. We sure aren't going to see a G5 powerbook with a 6+ hour battery life.

    And if Apple would like to prove me wrong, that would be great. Heck, I'll open my arms and wallet to them if they do so today!

    I'd second the notion of getting a mini or better yet, a 12" iBook now - both great, recently new machines. And prices on the iBooks are phenomenal, probably the best machines for the money IMHO. Get the 1.2 12" as your first mac, and you'll have ultimate portability right away, which will be imperative within a week, since you'll want to take it everywhere with you.
     
  10. TIGERmac thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2004
    #10
    Thanks to all who replied...you're advice is very much appreciated.

    After much thought, I placed an order for a 17" iMac G5 (1.8 GHz G5, Superdrive). Portability would be nice right now, but it's not essential.

    I've read some exciting articles about IBM's new "Cell" processor, and I'm hoping to see one of those in Apple's next generation line of notebooks. We'll see, but my new G5 will surely screem in the meantime! Now I just need to order more RAM!

    Thanks again, everyone!

    TIGERmac
     
  11. mischief macrumors 68030

    mischief

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2001
    Location:
    Santa Cruz Ca
    #11
    I'm glad you decided on the Desktop. The arguments over the PB line are a bit lame considering the incredible capability already available. I think it just hurts the ego a bit that the pro desktop and pro laptop are out of sync for the first time since Pismo.

    I just upgraded from a Beige G3 to a Mac Mini and it's SO DAMN REFRESHING. I've been an Apple reseller, a draftsman in an all PowerMac G4 office and I've been troubleshooting for years. I finally have a machine that isn't ten years behind and the irony will keep me smiling for days. Even Apple's low-budget model can do what 90% of users need it to and powerusers with a little patience (who're used to VERY OLD HARDWARE) would be just fine with it.

    I think you'll love the iMac. Don't worry about Mobo issues, they're usually confined to a particular production run.

    BTW:

    For the record: Refurb machines get entirely new mobos and new serial numbers.
     
  12. shuurajou macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2005
    Location:
    Bristol, England.
    #12
    This concerns me a little as I just got my 20" iMac G5. I believe it was manufactured 24/11/04, would this be omitted from the motherboard problems?
     
  13. TIGERmac thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2004
    #13
    This will be the most powerful computer I've ever owned. Period.

    Don't get me wrong, I've had computers that were relatively powerful considering what was available at the time of purchase. Typically, those machines were not of the highest quality...and they also ran Windows.

    I've seen the blue screen far more than I would like, and have had programs crash at the most inopportune times. I eventually came to know it as a "feature" of Windows.

    The sad thing is that I remained oblivious to the fact that a true alternative existed until approximately 6 months ago. It was then that a classmate of mine revealed to me the "joy of Macintosh." I didn't know it at the time, but I was hooked.

    That's right, a G3 iBook grabbed my attention. After a little research, I quickly found out what amazing products Apple offered. I found the G5 to be fascinating, and that eventually led to my decision to purchase a brand new iMac.

    The rest is history.

    Cue the music...

    My name is TIGERmac, and I'm a switcher. :D

    P.S. I've encountered quite a few people who were openly hostile about my considering a Mac purchase. I mean, you'd swear I had insulted them in some way. Oh well, I'm still holding out hope for them. Maybe one day they will realize that your computer doesn't have to frustrate you each day.
     
  14. mischief macrumors 68030

    mischief

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2001
    Location:
    Santa Cruz Ca
    #14
    Glad to hear your story.

    I sometimes wonder, when I encounter digital bigotry, if we Mac users shouldn't lobby for equal protection as an oppressed minority religion or creed.
     

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