Need Advice on 1st & eventually 2 Mac purchases pls.

Discussion in 'Buying Tips, Advice and Discussion (archive)' started by Supa_Fly, Apr 27, 2005.

  1. Supa_Fly macrumors 68030


    May 30, 2002
    Toronto, Ontario, Canada
    OK I've been saying Im gonna buy a Mac for the past 2 years. Between daily travelling between my last job & 5 family birthdays, I finally within reach of purchasing my first family mac.

    Ok I'm currently looking at a Mini - low model with, 512MB RAM, WiFi, Bluetooth, and Superdrive. I dont use more than 40GB of HDD in my current PC (entire family). I'm gonna be faced with purchasing a wireless keyboard & mouse, as my current keyboard is PS2 only. Add-ons will be 250GB External-HDD, and USB Midi-Keyboard.

    Here is my question. My 11 yr old daughter will be using this computer with a Wacom tablet for all art picture drawings & colorings. Is there a decent program, thats not too challenging to learn to use thats compatible with the tablet? Also as she advances before year end, will the 32MB of Video RAM be sufficient for creating DVD's & high contrast of pictures that she'll be drawing? I want to encourage her to be a happy & productive artist, but I dont want to have limits in the beginning.

    Or would it be better to get an iMac G5?? Will the iMac G5 & Mac Mini be able to be left on for say 3 days without worrying of internal heat & screen damage on the iMac? Also can the iMac G5 turn off its monitor in a sort of sleep mode when left on?

    Many thanks to everyone. Also, what is the lowest PowerMac G4 that I should purchase that can support Panther efficiently?
  2. R.Youden macrumors 68020


    Apr 1, 2005
    PowerMac G4. I am running a PowerMac G4 and it runs Panther fine, and I can't invisage any problems with Tiger. Any PowerMac more than 1Ghz will do fine.

    I would go for the iMac, it has a monitor, keyboard etc that a mac mini does not. I still think the best bargin is for an eMac. Check it out, they are due for updates soon.

    As for graphic stuff anything by Adobe will do you fine. The graphics card in the iMac is OK, not great but that should be upgraded soon. If you get a PowerMac you can always upgrade the graphics card. Not sure if this has been any help!

    My main point - check out the eMac <- BARGIN!!!!
  3. Ashapalan macrumors 6502a

    Apr 17, 2005
    In your situation i would personally go for the imac.

    It will be a great family computer and is more suited to your needs.
  4. nagromme macrumors G5


    May 2, 2002
    Either one - but go G5 if you can

    Check out the new external HDs from Micronet (Minimate) and Macpower (M9)--they match the Mini, stack underneath it, and add a bunch of USB and Firewire ports as well. (Although you may have plenty of USB already if you're going wireless.)

    Also, I really like my M-Audio Kestation 49e USB music keyboard. I researched all options and it's the best out there for the price. Great with GarageBand. There's a 61-key semi-weighted version too, if you're a little more serious about getting closer to a real piano feel.

    Corel Painter is GREAT with tablets, but Photoshop works too and so I expect PS Elements will as well. (ANY program will support the tablet, it's a question of how nicely the pressure-sensitivity is support for artistic effects. Painter is king.) If you don't already have a tablet, the Graphire line is great (I recommend small--the big ones actually annoy me because they tire me out with bigger motions) and they come with Painter Classic. Painter is a bit complex to use because it's so powerful, but Painter Classic should be a bit simpler--not to mention cheaper. (Or just ignore a lot of what Painter does and enjoy painting with just the preset tools.)

    The VRAM--and other specs--of any Mac will be fine for making DVDs and printouts. (Just make sure to get a SuperDrive--otherwise you can burn CDs and read DVDs, but not burn DVDs.)

    Well since you mentioned it, your Mini config sounds great, but an iMac WOULD be even better :) A G5 will respond more smoothly when drawing for instance (at least with more complex tools), and the speed will have SOME effect on everything. And you'll probably find you use your Mac for more than you plan, so more power is ALWAYS a good thing. (So is more than 512 MB if you can afford it--but 512 is acceptable.)

    A G5 processor is better than a G4, and will give you a longer user life out of the machine. You won't need to replace it as soon, and that tends to mean savings in the end, if you're willing to pay a bit more now. Also, the Mac Mini has a faster hard disk, and more expansion connectors (optical audio out/surround sound, for instance) and a built-in mic and speakers.

    BUT wait for new iMacs to come out! It should happen within weeks if not days, and they'll be a better deal. Some rumors say Bluetooth will be standard on them--so that's some savings.

    If cheap is more important, the Mac Mini is fine--I run my whole business off a PowerBook with a 1.25 G4.

    They can be left on 24/7/365. People use them for web servers, and for Folding@Home :) The screens on all Macs (internal or external) will sleep after whatever time you specify. And typically, the rest of your Mac does too (but that's your choice). A sleeping Mac wakes nearly instantly, so you may as well save power (or better yet... did I mention Folding? ;) )

    We're now at Tiger, a big leap forward from Panther which was already a great OS. And Tiger will run on a G3, much less a G4. The more the better, but anyt currently-sold Mac will do fine with Panther or Tiger. The main thing is having more than 256 RAM. (More than 512 wouldn't hurt.)

    In the end, I'd recommend the higher option--iMac G5--if you can afford it. Simple, elegant, FAST.

    Welcome aboard--you're in for a treat! Let us know what you end up with.
  5. Supa_Fly thread starter macrumors 68030


    May 30, 2002
    Toronto, Ontario, Canada
    Wow reply's so soon. awesome

    My birthday is May 24, funny how I'm looking mostly for presents for the family, but their most definately worth it. ;)

    Nagromme, thanks for your recommendation of the Wacom Graphire line-up. That is actually what I'm looking to purchase in 4 weeks along with a Mac Mini (just 1 week before my birthday). And now that you mention it the M-Audio Kestation 49e USB music keyboard is what I'm after, mostly my birthday present, but for the whole family. Music makes children smarter.

    Ashapalan & Richard, thanks for the iMac G5 suggestion. Looks like it'll be a better deal. Funny though, by the time I can afford one in early June, I'm hoping that Bluetooth 2.0 EDR will be incorporated. Bluetooth is highly important to me as my Nokia 6620 will be an EDGE modem until September for internet. Glad to see Tiger will fully support syncing with it.

    Why is it the PowerMac G4's are selling so high used, and hardly upgraded on ebay? Even college's want an arm & newborn child for them??

    So the Mac Mini is no longer a consideration .... but a desperate decision if I cant wait longer than 4 weeks. I doubt I'll find a used PowerMac G4 733mhz or more under $700 Canadian (it'll be going to a good home & kept till it dies and cannot be repaired - if anyone wants to sell). And for eMac, its great value but if my kids (7 yr old boy & 11 yr old girl) use the computer more like I do; which I think they will, cathode ray screens will kill their eyes. eMac though is still a consideration.
  6. nagromme macrumors G5


    May 2, 2002
    I like my old eMac a lot--but new ones of those are due soon too (probably) so wait and see how good vs. inexpensive they may be.

    I'm guessing they'll still be G4, but a decent choice if you don't already have a screen for the Mac Mini. I agree that LCD is better, but check an eMac out at a store. If you're looking to save money and give up the G5 chip, you may find the eMac screen is actually pretty good. I have no complaints about the eMac screen OR the speakers.

    And it sounds like you won't need any art software beyond what comes with the Graphire. BTW, there's a new Bluetooth Graphire just out! But it costs more of course--and only comes in the larger size. 4x5" is perfect I think, while 6x8" is tiring. (But you can use just a portion of the 6x8.)

    Good luck!
  7. Supa_Fly thread starter macrumors 68030


    May 30, 2002
    Toronto, Ontario, Canada
    nagromme, thanks again.

    I've decided that for my girlfriend/wife (common-law) proposal is late this year, that I'm gonna get her the iPod Mini 4GB in pink on Mother's Day along with the Wacom Graphire3 4 x 5 model. Bluetooth model looks cool but this will do just fine.

    The eMac isnt on display at my nearest Apple reseller, but I'll be travelling to Toronto on Mother's Day so I'll take a look then while hunting for fresh Lilacs. Its something to consider; I prefer the lamp G4 iMac to the eMac - desk space concerns. Mine is pretty small and needs replacing so I'll reserve full judgement.

    But the best value right now, new, is the iMac G5 17" 1.8Ghz. I'm sure the family will be on that more in a week than the Dell PC once we have it. Then the PC will be used in 5 months for trade-in on a 12" PowerBook G4 rev D.

    God I'd just love the G5 PowerMac; saw one in the store early this afternoon with the wife. She said its so big! Our Dell (P4 @ 2Ghz) is a slim-client with limited upgradeability so an iMac G5 would crush it! Ho-Hum.

    Funny I really didnt like the iMac G5 when it was released, its grown on me lately.

    Thanks again.

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