Help! I can't decide what Mac to get!

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by Topono, Jul 18, 2006.


Which one should I buy?

  1. MacBook Pro

    9 vote(s)
  2. Loaded iMac

    15 vote(s)
  3. Mac Pro

    4 vote(s)
  4. Lolz, git a dEll!

    6 vote(s)
  1. Topono macrumors member

    Jun 12, 2006
    Hi everyone! I decided to get a Mac a while ago since I was tired of my Windows machine getting viruses. However, I cannot figure out which one to get. I eventually narrowed it down to three options:
    MacBook Pro
    mac pro
    I am an amateur photographer, and right now iPhoto would be enough for me. I would progress into Photoshop and Aperture eventually, though. I also want to work with Logic Express, which might be able to turn into Logic Pro someday. Games are also something I would want to do.
    I know all of my choices would run those, but which one to get? I like the MBP, and portability would be a nice bonus, but the problems it has right now are deterring me away from it. The iMac is the cheapest of the bunch, which is good. However, I don't like the idea of buying a completely new setup after such a time passes that my iMac gets too obsolete.
    Then there is the Mac Pro. I myself can find no faults in this one, except the tremendous amount of money you would be paying for it. It is powerful, almost fully upgradable since it is a tower, and supports a lot of RAM. But, I don't really think I need a Mac as powerful as the Mac Pro, and to drop all that money on it would make me a little nervous of getting the lovely gift known as Buyer's Remorse.
    Right now, I'm leaning towards the Mac Pro. It does cost a lot. I priced a Power Mac on Apple's website and it would cost me $2,600, plus I would want to buy 1 GB or 2 of RAM from OWC for around $180 (that's for 2 GB). However, I could save for it, and the fact I can upgrade is a big plus to me. The MacBook Pro (a 17'' model, since this would be my main desktop, too), with case and mouse (I hate using trackpads), would cost $2,900. A loaded iMac, containing 2 GB of RAM, 256 MB VRAM, and 500 GB HDD would cost $2,200.
    I hope I have given enough light on the subject for some tips on what to buy. I am seriously confused about this whole matter- they all look so good!
  2. j26 macrumors 65832


    Mar 30, 2005
    All are due a revision in the near future, so hang off anyway for a few more weeks.

    Unless you need portability I'd go with the iMac or the Mac Pro. If you need portability there is no question but get the MBP.

    I'd suggest the iMac as while it is not as powerful as the Mac Pro it has one distinct advantage for you - cost. Budget for the Mac Pro, but get the iMac and use the extra cash on software or photography equipment, or a course in photography if you feel you would benefit. The iMac will be plenty fast unless you really depend on speed for your living (and probably even then it would be fine). You could even budget for Photoshop once it goes Universal.

    If you're getting started you don't need the top end machine. By the time you get to need one, there would likely be a new Mac Pro anyway, so you could upgrade then, or it might even be possible to upgrade processor in the iMac.

    I'm not sure about the quality of the MBP screen v the iMac screen, but someone else will. I'd suggest a MacBook (or post update Mac Mini) with an external monitor, but it looks like you need dedicated graphics for your use (Aperture, games etc)
  3. Lorelai macrumors member

    Jul 16, 2006
    Macs never become obsolete, the software just stops coming ;) I would recommend the iMac. We have two of them (the versions that came in flavors/colors) and they are still running perfectly. The only real slowness we experience with them is the dial-up internet connection (and that's not their fault! ;) )
  4. Topono thread starter macrumors member

    Jun 12, 2006
    Well, I do photography as a serious hobby. I make no money off of it (it would be nice to, though). The big reason I want the Mac Pro is because of the fact you can upgrade pretty much anything in the tower. I would be able to keep it up to date and such. When the time comes, I might be able to throw in a Blu-Ray drive! But the loaded iMac sounds like a better deal. Apple is making out the Power Mac/Mac Pro as a work machine. Something only professionals who make their living off of the Mac would buy. Since I'm not making my living from this machine, it might be silly to buy one.
  5. amac4me macrumors 65816


    Apr 26, 2005
    I say get the iMac. Good luck with your decision.
  6. celebrian23 macrumors 65816


    Mar 12, 2006
    Under the sun
    Me thinks the mac pro would be overkill for your needs. And I thnk you should get a loaded imac. Much better deal. Few people need the power of a powermac/mac pro. It is very much a professional computer.
  7. Topono thread starter macrumors member

    Jun 12, 2006
    I'm still sort of confused that people voted for getting a Dell.:confused: It was meant as a joke. Anyways, I think I am going to get the iMac. It will be enough for pretty much any game I want right now, and those games will be few. WoW, Stubbs, Doom and Quake are the only Mac games I'm interested in. That number might increase, but I always have my trusty DS Lite and (next year) PS3 for gaming. Right now, I am concerned with what software to purchase. I will be getting Photoshop the second it becomes a UB, but I can use iPhoto right now. Tried it out at the Apple Store and it's a wonderful little program.:) However, I am thinking about .Mac for it's iLife integration and backup software. Is it worth it? I've read some horror stories from people who don't/forgot to backup their HDD. I've always brushed it aside on my PC, but I want to backup my stuff on my Mac. Should I get a external HDD or can I backup on a DVD-R? Thanks for all of the help so far, you guys!
  8. JosiahPB macrumors regular

    Jun 12, 2004
    After having my PowerBook I would never go back to a desktop machine, unless it was as a supplement to a notebook. MBP!
  9. devilot Moderator emeritus


    May 1, 2005
    That's a great machine; but I am biased since I prefer desktops to laptops and I own an iMac. :p But seriously, it definitely seems as though it would more than meet your proclaimed needs.
    Then why worry w/ that now? Get your lovely Mac, use it a bit, try out the amazing software it comes w/ and if you still feel a need for more, come back here and poke around. There are tons of great apps and software for Mac OS X.
    Whether or not .Mac is worth it varies widely on a person-to-person basis. Do a quick search here on MR and you'll see a ton of different responses. Luckily, there is a 60-day (I think, maybe it's 30 days) free trial of .Mac. Why don't you give that whirl and then decide if you'll actually make use of those services or not?

    As for backing up... I think a good number of computer users do just burn CDs or DVDs, but likewise, as HDs get cheaper and cheaper, a lot of people use HDs to make backups, too. :D
  10. Josias macrumors 68000


    Mar 10, 2006
    Wait for WWDC or Paris for rev. B MBP's and iMacs. Then devide which one to get, considering power, portability and price!:)
  11. 4legsmedia macrumors newbie

    Jun 15, 2006
    I'm in the same situation, I can't choose, it's driving me nuts. 2000 euros is a lot money, so I have to make the perfect decision. I thought of buying both haha. But then I'd have to starve.
    I'd love to get the iMac 20" with 2 gb ram. It has everything I need. I do a lot of graphics apps and some 3D too, so I need the power. The big screen and 7200 rpm is a bonus for me. Plus the 'free' keyboard and mighty mouse.

    I was also thinking about the MBP 15" also with 2 gb ram, because I want to bring my files/settings to my new work. A laptop would be ideal for me, but I'm afraid of the problems of the MBP. And that a laptop would not be enough for me in terms of power.
    If I would indeed get the laptop then I will plug it to an external monitor for sure, plus an apple keyboard. I also don't know if I'm going to like it to bring the laptop with me 5 days a week.
    But I guess if the iMac and MBP (7200 rpm) if both are the same specs they would be equal right? Still, I'd be worried that the laptop is a laptop, so the performance (and endurance, to work all day) will be less.
    If I get the iMac than I'd sacrifice ease of use, that I will have all my files/settings/software everywhere, too convenient. But if I'm getting the MBP, I will miss out on the better performance, keyboard mouse and the faster harddrive.

    A MacPro sounds good too, but that will be for the future. Good luck with your choice!
  12. ironic23 macrumors 6502

    Feb 8, 2006
    I'd say just wait it out till after/during WWDC before you make your purchase. The MacPros could be just what you are looking for but the iMac really does give you a lot of bang for the buck. Get the MBP for portability if you need it.
  13. Topono thread starter macrumors member

    Jun 12, 2006
    Would it be silly to hope that the next Mac mini will have a graphics card? That's what I was going to get originally, but the lack of dedicated graphics turned me off from it.
  14. Topono thread starter macrumors member

    Jun 12, 2006
    Hey guys, I just had an idea- would the low-end MBP+ 1GB of RAM and an ACD be good? The total comes to less than the 17'' would cost.
  15. Ladybug macrumors 65816


    Apr 13, 2006
    I'm a recent switcher but thought I'd put in my two cents anyway :D I am a graphics hobbiest myself and I was a bit nervous about purchasing my first Mac. One of my concerns was, will it be fast enough? I wondered how it would compare to my old pc *3.2ghz P4, 256mb Radion 9800XT, 1 gig of ram*.

    I was completely satisfied with the speed of my old PC, but I was afraid I might be taking a step back buying a maxed out 20' Intel iMac only because I've never used a Mac or OSX before, so I didn't know what to expect. *insert silly chuckles here for my needless worries* :D

    I couldn't have been more wrong. Not only is it noticiably faster, it runs like a dream. I use my windows version of Photoshop inside of Parallels, waiting for universal version before upgrading. In addition I run a windows only fractal program inside of Parallels. Both run noticably faster. I guess my point is, even though the iMac is said to be consumer pc, its not in the least bit slow or bogged down in any way.

    In addition I installed BootCamp to run my windows only games. They all work beautifully, no complaints.

    Concerning upgradability. I too was a bit concerned about that, but then I thought about it. Why not buy it maxed out and just get off the upgrade bandwagon altogether. This computer will meet my needs for a very long time, and by the time it doesn't, there will be something a lot faster on the market. Also computers today are plenty powerful enough to meet most needs.

    I'm not trying to persuade you to buy an iMac, only you know what your needs are...Whichever computer you choose, I know you'll love it.

    Side note: My favorite thing about my iMac is the sound it makes. When I ask people "you hear that" they respond "hear what". This iMac is whisper quiet, bright, beautiful, and I think I'm in love :D
  16. slackersonly macrumors 6502a


    Apr 13, 2006
    Dont forget refurb as an option if you are ok with minimum specs on nonupgradable components and with doing your own upgrades on those items that are upgradable.
    Also, you could time it with your state's tax free school shopping day IF you state has one and it is below their computer limit which varies greatly by state.
  17. Topono thread starter macrumors member

    Jun 12, 2006
    Okay, I think I made my decision. I am getting a 20'' iMac with a 250 HDD, 256 MB ATI X1600, and 2 GB of RAM. After seeing how I can get this iMac, a couple of games, plus Adobe Photoshop CS2 all for a lower price than the 17'' MacBook Pro or a low-end PowerMac and ACD, my mind was instantly made up!:D Now I have to begin the agonizing wait for the Core 2 Duo iMacs...:(
  18. ®îçhå®? macrumors 68000


    Mar 7, 2006
    A loaded imac is a great machine it really is. An all in one also cuts down on space and wires so it gives more space for say, other photos and cameras etc. No one knows the stats of the Mac Pro yet.
  19. jriveractu macrumors newbie


    Jun 28, 2006
    Puerto Rico
    I would wait for Photoshop CS3 if I were you ... first, CS2 won't run natively on your Intel Mac, second, it's somewhat expensive and you want it to last for a while ... of course, you can walways upgrade versions for a minimal price but it's not that long 'till spring 2007 ;)
  20. drummerbooker14 macrumors 6502


    Jul 11, 2006

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