Which desktop Mac should an exchange student buy?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by mrploddy, Sep 23, 2006.

  1. mrploddy macrumors member

    Aug 19, 2006
    This time next year I will be in Japan as an exchange student and I'm looking at some point soonish (maybe in Japan) to buy a desktop machine.

    My current desktop is a self build Athlon Sempron 2800 with 1.25GB of RAM and 300GB of hard drive space.

    My uses for this new desktop machine are -
    - Video encoding in windows using xvid / x264 with multiple 5 - 10GB lossless raws (need 50 - 100GB for lossless raws)
    - Light games?
    - Internet
    - Productivity applications

    The video encoding is one of the key uses.

    My options are pretty obvious

    A) Mac Mini - However the stock mac mini is a bit on the limited side and especially so for video encoding which can be very RAM hungry. It's also very limited on disk space HOWEVER I'm intending on buying external storage maybe network attached storage or one of those firewire drives. The advantage of this being that I can carry it in my hand luggage with my laptop and not worried about it getting damanged.

    B) More powerful but the disadvantage of this is that if I bought it in Japan I'd be worried about shipping it back home at the end of my time in Japan because of the screen.

    C) My ideal piece of love but again it's a bit on the expensive side for being trasported home.

    So is my solution a Mac Mini with very specific upgrades to allow me to use it for encoding video and buy a mac pro when i get home or suck it up and buy an iMac / Mac pro. I'm just worried about spending money on a mac mini when after i've upgraded it it's almost the cost of an Imac.

    Your thoughts appreciated


  2. FFTT macrumors 68030


    Apr 17, 2004
    A Stoned Throw From Ground Zero
    I would check with Apple about getting the appropriate voltage for what ever machine you're using over there.

    A MacMini would cover you for basics as long as you have a display, but
    the iMacs have the best overall configurations for your money.
  3. bearbo macrumors 68000


    Jul 20, 2006
    is there specific reason why you wouldn't get a macbook pro and bring it to Japan? anything aside from mac mini is extremely difficult to transport and i should strongly advice you against getting, and mac mini isn't the ideal machine for video editing.. and depend how intense of video editing are you doing, perhaps mac pro is the ideal solution.

    how ever given your situation, i'd say macbook pro is a better choice for you exchange period
  4. generik macrumors 601


    Aug 5, 2005
    A macbook pro costs as much as a Mac Pro, so depending on how high portability ranks in his list of priorities I'd consider the Mac Pro too if I am in his position, still shipping is a bummer, maybe take a Macbook and get it over and done with :p
  5. miles01110 macrumors Core


    Jul 24, 2006
    The Ivory Tower (I'm not coming down)
    There are plenty of Apple stores in Japan, and the transformer in the adapter will take care of the voltages/frequencies.
  6. BettyWoo macrumors newbie

    Sep 12, 2006
    Japanese keyboards are QWERTY-based, aren't they? Aside from some rearranged punctuation and non-letter mark keys?

    So I don't think the keyboard will be a problem... but how much Japanese do you actually read and write 'cause won't any software and operating systems sitting on a Japan-bought Mac be in... um... Japanese:confused: ?

    One of my first iMacs had a French operating system and a couple of French applications I had running just threw me a bit all the time (especially the French-Canadian keyboard... which is different from the French-French keyboard that I'd been using in France). I finally had to reinstall everything in English when I got fed up with the French spellcheckers telling me almost every single word I typed was 'wrong' and I was becoming linguistically dyslexic with the mix of different languages of my applications, OS and browsers :)

    Which is something to ponder when mixing up such different languages in the same unit. Personally, I think it a better idea to get a MacBook Pro in the US, load it up with all the applications you need and head off to Japan since you'll only be there for a year.

    A quick look at the Apple Japan site shows that the MacBook Pro's are slightly higher in price, too, for what it's worth.
  7. ricgnzlzcr macrumors 6502a


    Jun 7, 2005
    If you do encoding then the macbook's cpu should be just fine for you. Just take an external hard drive and you'll be ok. I just can't imagine having to ship a mac pro to and from Japan. If you run out of screen space with the macbook then you can just buy a screen when you get back.
  8. 2ndPath macrumors 6502

    Feb 21, 2006
    Mac OS and the Apple software shouldn't be a problem. OS X is multilingual and can just be switched to another language like english. Although not all of them have all languages, they all should have english for sure. There might be some bundled apps in Japan, which are japanese only, but that I don't know.
  9. Abstract macrumors Penryn


    Dec 27, 2002
    Location Location Location

    You'll need a fast processor for encoding, but that's all. The MacBook can do that.

    Also, if you buy a Mac Mini, the AC adapter included isn't doesn't have a transformer to step the voltage up and down, and Japan uses a sliiiiightly lower voltage than North America (100 V rather than 120 V). My girlfriend is from Japan, and she told me that, so you'll need to double-check that. :p

    On the other hand, all Mac laptops have a transformer inside the AC adapter, so you're set.

    If you bring a Mac Mini to Japan, buy the screen while you're there and just dump it or sell it afterwards. No worries. ;)
  10. mrploddy thread starter macrumors member

    Aug 19, 2006
    Would this work?

    I have my Macbook so thats fine. I'm maxing out the ram etc.

    Buy a Mac Mini but up the ram on it to maybe a GB and buy one of those external hard drives designed to sit underneath the mini but which is connectable to the Macbook as well.

    When I get back to the Uk THEN buy a Mac Pro just before my access to HE Student discount runs out ?


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