Finally delving into the Mac World. Any advice welcomed.

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by matt24041980, Sep 6, 2013.

  1. macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2013
    #1
    Hi all. After some careful consideration I have finally decided to delve into the world of Mac's. Ive always owned windows based PC's and due to the recent death of my windows laptop I wanted to see what my options are. So basically I have been looking at mac mini's. I dont have a huge budget unfortunately (£300gbp) and was looking for
    something I would be able to use to edit photos on photoshop, browse the net, watch iPlayer etc and possibly run football manager/sim city etc! Obviously I am new to this
    and Im a little puzzled with OS systems, compatibility, specs etc. If anyone could give me any guidance on what would be suitble for my needs I would be really pleased.

    Thanks in advance.

    Matt.
     
  2. simsaladimbamba

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    #2
  3. macrumors 68020

    RedCroissant

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    #3
    Sim is correct for the most part, but depending on what you actually want, you will actually have more options.

    Are you looking to replace your dead Windows laptop with another laptop or just a small computer? Your interest in the mini leads me to think that you wouldn't mind a desktop(especially since with a mini you would need to purchase a monitor as well).

    If a desktop is not out of the question, then I would recommend looking at the Mac Pros. The reason is because they are still great machines. Yes, the ones that you would be able to afford are older, but still powerful. as an example, there is the original quad core Mac Pro on eBay right now with a bid of 291(shipped from the U.S.). It runs OS X Lion, and is customizable to the point where you could get your own graphics card(at a later time), your own HDD/SSD, more RAM(up to 32GB), and the monitor of your choice.

    It's also Intel-based which means you could always put Windows on it as well and play Windows games.

    This might not sound appealing but I recently purchased a late 2005 PowerMac G5 quad and it's performance is comparable to the late 2009 iMacs.
     
  4. macrumors member

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    Nashville
    #4
    One of the neat things about Mac is that you can run Windows as a virtual machine. Whenever you encounter a major problem you can simply drag it to the trash and pull in another backed up copy. No more hardware to struggle with!

    Now if you do plan to use a virtual machine, you should have at least 8GB of memory and a good robust CPU. At least 250GB of storage is advisable. I personally use "Parallels", but others prefer VMware. There's also Oracle's VirtualBox for free.

    How much "CPU horsepower" you will need depends on what you want to do, so keep that in mind before your purchase. It's better to get more than you need than to have later regrets (budget permitting}.

    I have sucessfully run virtual machines on MacMini 2009, 2012, and Macbook Air 2011 (I5 with 128GB storage and 4GB RAM which is really tight).

    I think you'll like your Mac once you get used to the new environment It has been said "Once You Go Mac..You Never Go Back". That's certainly been true for me :)
     
  5. thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Sep 6, 2013
    #5
    Thanks for your helpful replies. Yes, I am definitely looking for a desktop. I have a tablet for general browsing around the home etc. Looking at pro Macs on eBay and they look appealing. One thing I have noticed on several listings on eBay is people saying things along the lines of "THIS MACHINE HAS A MAXIMUM OPERATING SYSTEM OF 10.7.5 LION" does this mean I wouldn't be able to upgrade the OS ever, or I wouldn't be able to upgrade with current specs? Again, sorry for my vagueness, but this is a whole new world to me!

    ----------

    Thanks for your helpful replies. Yes, I am definitely looking for a desktop. I have a tablet for general browsing around the home etc. Looking at pro Macs on eBay and they look appealing. One thing I have noticed on several listings on eBay is people saying things along the lines of "THIS MACHINE HAS A MAXIMUM OPERATING SYSTEM OF 10.7.5 LION" does this mean I wouldn't be able to upgrade the OS ever, or I wouldn't be able to upgrade with current specs? Again, sorry for my vagueness, but this is a whole new world to me!
     
  6. RedCroissant, Sep 7, 2013
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2013

    macrumors 68020

    RedCroissant

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    #6


    Yes, it means that you won't be able to upgrade the OS any more and that OS X 10.7.5 is as far as you will go as far as official and legitimate OS upgrades with Apple.

    This doesn't mean that there aren't other options as far as hardware and software from other vendors. Software especially from Microsoft, and don't forget Linux either.

    However, I can speak from personal experience that not being able to upgrade the OS isn't the end of the world. Visit the PowerPC Mac forum here and the most recent OS that any of the PPC Mac users can run is OS X 10.5.8(Leopard) that was released in 2009. That's the position that I'm in with using my PowerMac G5 and my machine works great!


    ***EDIT****

    OS X Leopard was RELEASED in 2007 and last UPDATED in 2009. That makes the OS even older and still incredibly usable. I do everything on my PPC Mac and I love it.
     
  7. thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Sep 6, 2013
    #7
    Thanks for your advice. What is PPC?
     
  8. macrumors 68020

    RedCroissant

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    #8
    PPC is the acronym for PowerPC-based Apple computers. These were the CPUs used before Apple made the switch to Intel. The PPC CPU was designed by IBM and was more powerful than the Intel CPUs for a while until Intel started to incorporate some aspects of the RISC architecture(which is what the PPC CPU used).

    Intel at this point isn't always necessarily more powerful per se(the new Power 8 looks pretty awesome but not for personal computing at this point), but Intel machines have much more support because of the architecture.

    That's not always very important to me though because I got my PowerMac G5 quad,m with 23" Apple Cinema Display, keyboard, and mouse(also with unsupported hardware and software) for $200. Maxing out the RAM only brought my total cost for the machine to $450 and I can dod everything that I personally ever did on Intel machines. Sometimes you just have to find interesting or alternative ways to do them that take slightly longer.
     
  9. thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Sep 6, 2013
    #9
    Thanks so much for enlightening me. I'm learning!! I used to love playing football manager on my old pc, but looking at the Mac version you need minimum specs which I'll list below. Guessing I wouldn't be able to run this on a Powermac g5??


    OS: OS X 10.6.8 (Snow Leopard) 10.7.x (Lion) 10.8.x (Mountain Lion) or higher
    Processor: Intel Processor
    Memory: 1GB
    Graphics: Nvidia Geforce 7300 GT or greater; ATI Radeon X1600 or greater.
    Hard Drive: 2GB

    ----------

    Obviously not being able to run such a game wouldn't be a deal breaker. I'm a keen photographer so my main use for my Mac would be running Photoshop nice and smoothly!
     
  10. matt24041980, Sep 7, 2013
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2013

    thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #10
    .
     
  11. macrumors 68020

    RedCroissant

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    #11
    You definitely could not run that game on a PowerMac G5, but luckily, Intel Macs that are running OS X Snow Leopard and Lion can be easily purchased in many places. Those Mac Pros on eBay for example can run Snow Leopard or Lion and would be great machines. And if you only need a 2GB HDD, I have NO DOUBT that you'll be able to find something.
     
  12. thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Sep 6, 2013
    #12
    Thanks. Guess I need to get some overtime booked at work ;-)
     
  13. macrumors 68020

    RedCroissant

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    #13
    You're welcome. Sure if you are looking for a high powered Mac, but there are also other options since the games that you seem to be into playing aren't exactly very demanding on the graphics. A Mac mini from 2009 would probably be just fine,and since that has the same internals for the most part of other 2009 Mac machines, you should be able to save some money there. If you also happen to have usb peripherals and a monitor, then you'll save even more.

    Anyway, good luck with your search and I hope that you find something you like.
     
  14. Kyles3399, Sep 7, 2013
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2013

    macrumors newbie

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    Jul 1, 2010
    #14
    Hi Just chiming in.

    A really good place to buy mac mini's in the apple referb store.

    apple.com >> store >> shop mac >> (scroll the ribbon) Referb.

    They often have mini's but they sell quick. usually about $500 US.
    The new ones are Soo much faster, save up a bit more, Think hard about buying an i7 model (quad-core, hyper-threading, turbo-boost). The integrated HD4000 should handle most steam games, especially with upgraded ram. You get the full apple warranty, which can be extended. all of that easily worth every penny you would have "saved".

    Don't buy an older Core2D intel mac mini. Forget about PPC, They are all way old, way slow, and for not much more you can get a very fast mac.
     
  15. thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Sep 6, 2013
    #15
    Cool. The game with the specs I listed above is the ONLY game I would ever wish to play as I own a console for gaming. Apart from that game I would only be Photoshopping, surfing, watching streaming video etc. Money really is an issue at the moment. I do have everything else I need such as monitor, keyboard, mouse etc.
     
  16. macrumors newbie

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    Sep 6, 2013
    #16
    This might be an odd thing to say in an Apple forum but if money really is an issue then I'm not sure I would recommend switching from the Windows world to Macs. I bought my first Mac two years ago - a 13" Macbook Pro - I got it with 30% off the list price via the online refurbished Apple store and it was still £850 which is nearly twice as much as I'd ever spent on a computer before. I don't regret it but the Apple OS user interface isn't massively different from Windows 7, it does some things better and I love the big multi-touch touchpad on my MacBook, but Apple OS is basically a 1970s UNIX core with a fancy shell written round it and there are all sorts of weird, frustrating limitations and complexity (I had to write a CSS script to get the screen magnification to default to 120% when I turn it on. WTF?) so if you're switching from a Windows environment in which you've learned all the shortcuts it might simply piss you off without giving you much benefit in return.

    With Apple you're mainly paying for design and customer service; Apple are pretty much neck and neck with Lenovo and Asus in desktop computer reliability so as a price-sensitive consumer you will probably get better value for your £300 with a Windows machine and then, when you've got a bit more money, invest in something Apple does really well like a laptop or tablet.
     
  17. macrumors member

    Sanatogen

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    #17

    If money is an issue I wouldn't recommend buying a Mac.
     

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