Which Mac for me?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips, Advice and Discussion (archive)' started by virtuapimp, Apr 4, 2005.

  1. virtuapimp macrumors member

    Joined:
    Apr 4, 2005
    Location:
    Shropshire, UK
    #1
    Hello. First time poster.

    I'm due to start a graphic design course in September at Coventry uni (UK) - looking to buy a mac. Waiting for Tiger and it'll be a few months yet before I buy one. The first year of the course should be pretty easy going so a powerful mac shouldn't be essential from the start.

    Currently a Sony Vaio desktop user - PC is awful and in the last few weeks has really started to struggle with basic photoshop requests.(i'm currently on a foundation art and design at coventry uni - I've been doing basic graphic design projects for the last few weeks)
    Currently have a Hercules 15" TFT screen - its a ok screen would like to upgrade though, Those apple cinema screens look pretty tasty as do the iMac screens.

    Portability isn't a big thing. Mac will be at uni house for 10 -12 weeks then brought home for a month or so, then taken back to uni etc. Looked at powerbooks/ibooks, nice but I would be paying extra for portability I probably wouldn't use.

    Budget of around £900 -1200 (sorry you seem to be more US based so sorry for the old sterling) but should be able to spend another £1000ish in about three years for upgrades/replacement. (if I have to) I'm also get a student discount around 7%.

    Considering mac mini ( full spec but no bluetooth) with 20" apple display but thats the same price as a iMac with 20" screen, but would allow me to upgrade to a powermac and still keep the screen in a few years but would rather have a Mac which would serve me through all 4 years with out having to buy a new machine. The iMac looks great, 17" would easily be big enough for me (love a 20" though) and I would have the power of a G5 now (plus with at least a 1gb of RAM) but no separate display in 4-5 years. Also airport extreme is a must as my uni house has wireless broadband. iMac 17" 1.8ghz (airport, 1gb RAM (2X512mb) - £1000. A 20" iMac with airport, 1gb of RAM would be pushing £1200) looks like the prime contendor at the moment.

    oh software is provided by the uni so I don't have to budget for this.
    Photoshop, illustrator etc.

    Thanks in advance for any replies and advice. I'm having a hard time deciding on which mac is for me, I must want every single mac even looked at getting a powermac g4.
     
  2. numediaman macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2004
    Location:
    Chicago (by way of SF)
    #2
    If the price of the Apple display does not put you off then I say go ahead with your mini and 20" option. That is exactly what I have -- and I am also waiting on new G5s. My guess is that I'll be waiting a long time (I've already been waiting since December 2003).

    Ultimately the question is not "which Mac for me?" -- it's should I jump to the Mac OS? And the answer, of course, is "yes". Then, whether you buy a mini or an iMac is not that important. Once you have freed yourself from Windows you can buy whatever Mac you want -- change your mind a buy something different. It's the leap that is the important thing.

    Of course, it's eay for me to say -- I've been an Apple customer since 1982. The hard part was that jump from DOS.

    By the way, the 20" display is absolutely awesome (and I hate that word). Match your mini and display with Soundsticks and you really have something going.
     
  3. wnameth macrumors 65816

    wnameth

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2004
    Location:
    Canada
    #3
    I think you would be much happier with the 17" imac G5. Compared to the mini, one reason is because even though both aren't extremely expandable. The imac at least has two ram slots, and can have a nice 250GB HD (mini only an 80)

    plus the imac will presumably have a SD (superdrive) and you could get a nice BT mouse and keyboard with it. I would say that instead of getting the 20" (if you were at all thinking of it) you should instead put the money into at least a Gig of ram (possibly 2GB). I would get the 160GB HD, because that is above most peoples standards, or the 250, if you think you need it, otherwise put that extra money into ram.

    that is my 0.02$.

    Good luck (i hope the mac brings you joy, like so many other apple fanatics)
    :) :) :) :) :)
     
  4. macbaseball macrumors 6502a

    macbaseball

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2005
    Location:
    Northern California
    #4
    I could go either way. Heres the way I look at it. At first look the first iMac G5 makes sense, especially when they come out with the new ones. But then after thinking about it, you could just buy the Mac Mini and a 20 inch Apple display, and then when you need the extra power, buy a Powermac, and you'll already have an extra screen. The Mac Mini will likely hold its value. Hopefully that didn't make the decision even more difficult.
     
  5. CanadaRAM macrumors G5

    CanadaRAM

    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2004
    Location:
    On the Left Coast - Victoria BC Canada
    #5
    The thing I get is that your Sony is too slow for you. This implies that you are already using Photoshop heavily, so I'd be more inclined to go with the G5 processor in the iMac. By the time you add the Airport, keyboard mouse and RAM to the Mini, the price gap narrows, and it's still a G4.

    You can put one stick of RAM in the iMac and keep your existing one. Plus as others have said, the larger, faster hard drive helps.

    Flog the Sony, get the iMac G5. In 3 years, there'll be a whole raft of newer, cheaper display options to go with your G6 quad-dual-core with OS XII. Don't try to second guess the market that far out. Sell the iMac at that time and get what you need for your career.

    Thanks
    Trevor
    CanadaRAM.com
     
  6. eXan macrumors 601

    eXan

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2005
    Location:
    Russia
    #6
    I agree with CanadaRAM. You should get iMac 17", and then when you finish uni get a Power Mac with new display for your career. Displays would be much cheaper by that time, so go with iMac!!! :D
     
  7. Mitthrawnuruodo Moderator emeritus

    Mitthrawnuruodo

    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2004
    Location:
    Bergen, Norway
    #7
    I think the idea of getting a Mac mini with a 20" Apple display and to get a PowerMac in a years time is a good idea.

    But you could go the other way: Buy a PowerMac when the next rev is released, use your old screen (or even better: get a 3rd party 17" LCD), and then buy the Apple display later (although maybe not if it has to go 3 years with an old 15" TFT).

    The PowerMac starts at £999, and a fair 17" is about £150 (I recommend this YuSmart screen which I got for my father in law's Mac mini), spend the rest of your budget on 3rd party RAM...

    The PM is higly upgradable and will last you right through school with only minor RAM upgrades and an additional HD and maybe a graphics card replacement when and if you eventually buy an Apple Display...
     
  8. VespR macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2004
    #8
    I won't comment on "what mac to buy", but I will say, DON'T BUY IT TILL YOU'RE AT UNI! (Wait did I just read you're already at Uni?)

    Erm, regardless or not, the edu prices on the website when you enter the "education store" are not the same prices you get if you phone up and actuall tell them you are a University student. I'm pretty sure I got like a 14% save when I bought my gear 6 months ago (at Bradford Uni). I shelled out for a 12" pbook with a 23" display, and I think I saved like £600 coz the further education discount.

    Anyway, to sum up, give em a call and tell em you're a Uni student and you'll get a lot different results than what the website states. Enjoy your mac, they're loooooovely :)
     
  9. GodBless macrumors 65816

    GodBless

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2005
    #9
    Considering you are dealing with graphics and you are on a budget; I'd say go for the iMac. You can't go wrong with a good monitor and a fast computer all in one.
     
  10. JzzTrump22 macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2004
    Location:
    New York
    #10
    I would say the iMac or PowerMac. But i would lean towards the iMac because it's an all in one deal. And the price is very reasonable.
     
  11. virtuapimp thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Apr 4, 2005
    Location:
    Shropshire, UK
    #11
    Thanks for all the the responses. Great help, all of you. Great advice about the apple store. A for switching to OS X i've been ready to switch for a while after using my schools eMacs and my bothers ibook. Stupidly three years ago I had a choice between a G4 iMac and my Vaio and I choose the Vaio so I could play games. :eek: I was a stupid kid then.

    Probably be the iMac for me. Now I just have to save my money. I'm planning a regent street apple store visit next week.
     
  12. Platform macrumors 68030

    Platform

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2004
    #12
    Go for the PowerMac :rolleyes:
    Lots of power....duh.... and it is very upgradeable for the future ;)
     
  13. VespR macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2004
    #13
    i love that store, it's like a free internet cafe, everyone is just in there browsing and checking their emails. plus it's pretty cool taking your laptop in if you're in the city and just going upstairs and chilling in the comfy chairs and enjoying the airport :D
     
  14. andrewfee macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Aug 29, 2004
    #14
    I would definitely go with the Mac mini, and the 20" ACD. (or you could look at Dell's 20" Screen, it's cheaper and is a better display, although it's uglier)

    A maxed out Mac mini will be about 15% slower than a 1.8GHz iMac G5. (I'm basing this on my 17" 1.67GHz Powerbook being around the same speed, if not faster than my old 20" 1.8GHz iMac, and the Mac mini's 1.42GHz processor is 15% slower than the 1.67)

    Personally I found the iMac to be too noisy, too hot, and it means that when you want to replace the machine, you also need to get a new screen, which I hated about it.

    A mac mini with a cinema display is a much nicer looking setup as well, in my opinion. (although it'll be harder to hide the cabling; that was one thing I loved about the iMac)

    And, if you ever did have to upgrade, it would be cheaper to do so, as you'd already have a display.
     
  15. 840quadra Moderator

    840quadra

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2005
    Location:
    Twin Cities Minnesota
    #15
    Remember you can buy Apple referbished goods direct form apple at considerable savings. I would strongly consider getting a single 1.8 G5 with an external display as opposed to a Mini. The chances for upgrades are better, and the PM WILL hold it's resale value.

    I don't and wouldn't under estimate the power of the G4. Photoshop will run better on a G4, as compared to your Pc. It won't be as gast as a G5, but remember the G4 has Atlivec, just like the G5. Photoshop is coded to take advantage of atlivec, and can give great performance.

    I remember when they had a demo at my school with the same version of Photoshop running on a G3 450, and G4 450 powermac. Both were configured with the same amount of memory, and were setup with the exact same image of OS 9. They ran a batching program performing some filters, sharpening, and size changes of over 100 photos, and kicked them off remotely on both computers at the same time. The G4 completed the task 5 minutes before the G3 was completed. This version of PS was the first to take advantage of Atlivec (I can't remember the exact version), and was used by the Adobe software engineers to show off their product, and the advantages of using the new G4 systems.

    Either way you look at it, the Apple is better coded, built and prepaired to run PS then almost any PC.
     
  16. virtuapimp thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Apr 4, 2005
    Location:
    Shropshire, UK
    #16
    I don't think I can justify getting a powermac. The iMac 17" (1.8ghz) is only £20 than more the powermac, plus you get a screen. Ok you lose the ability to
    upgrade as much but 2GB of RAM is more than enough, I'm not a professional yet. Hopefully will be in 4 years though. Also If I really need to do something my iMac can't manage I can go into to uni and use there Macs (which may just have been upgraded to G5s.)
     
  17. andrewfee macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Aug 29, 2004
    #17
    You have to remember that at a lot of tasks (most/all?) the G4 processor is faster than the G5, clock-for-clock. This is why my 1.67GHz Powerbook G4 is faster than the 1.8GHz iMac I had, even though it's got a slower fsb/memory etc. Yes, the G5's memory was fast, and of course the hard drive was faster (but it doesn't make much difference in "real-world" performance) but the Powerbook was faster in Photoshop when it had 512mb RAM, and the G5 had 1gig. (the Powerbook now has 2gig though; Apple forgot to install the 2gig with the machine)
     
  18. virtuapimp thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Apr 4, 2005
    Location:
    Shropshire, UK
    #18

    Woah. Thanks for that. Certainly food for thought. As long as it runs photoshop and other applications ( I did have a list somewhere detailing all the software I'll have to use during the course) Certainly considering getting a mac mini and display now, hell I'm even considering a powerbook* and display (keep the old display for while before buying a new ACD or Dell Display)

    *what for the next update -whatever that might bring.
     
  19. feakbeak macrumors 6502a

    feakbeak

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2003
    Location:
    Michigan
    #19
    I would think working on graphics a lot you'd really want to be able to upgrade your GPU. It would be nice if Apple allowed you to upgrade the GPU for the iMac. The GPU on the Mac mini is pretty weak for graphic-intensive work. The iMac is better in that department, but not great. If I were in your situation I would consider the single-proc PM and a third party LCD. I'm a fan of Dell's 2001FP/2005FPW models.

    I'm not sure of your current needs with the graphic projects you are working on currently but if you can hold off the PMs and iMacs are due for new revs and possible price drops. If you need to buy now, buy now, otherwise I would wait and see what the next revs hold. The iMacs might get a better GPU or maybe the low model PM's will get a price drop. And of course there will be speed bumps across the board.

    Still, I would think an entry level PM and third party LCD would fit your budget with the edu discount - might be a little squeeze. You can always upgrade RAM and GPU later. It's nice to leave yourself room to grow though. Some people like buying, selling and trading their machines, I don't. I like to buy the best I can get for my money allowing expandibility, flexibility and longevity.
     
  20. virtuapimp thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Apr 4, 2005
    Location:
    Shropshire, UK
    #20

    A PM would be pushing it budgetwise.

    I'm up for upgradeabilty and a powermac would be great but my wallet isn't up for it.
    Oh and yeah It'll be a few months before I purchase my Mac. Would love one now but I might as well wait a bit, no rush.
     
  21. Eevee macrumors 6502a

    Eevee

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2004
    Location:
    New Haven, CT
    #21
    Get the G5 iMac. You'll love it! If possible, the 20" :D


    Not a big fan of the mini...
     
  22. 840quadra Moderator

    840quadra

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2005
    Location:
    Twin Cities Minnesota
    #22
    Remember that code changes. I am not sure what version of PS you were using, but it is highly possible that the next version of PS will favor the G5 arcitecture over the G4.

    I don't doubt what you say at all, it is a well known fact. It is just something that can change.
     
  23. XNine macrumors 68040

    XNine

    Joined:
    Apr 7, 2005
    Location:
    Why are you wearing that stupid man suit?
    #23
    Get a PowerMac G5. Then, in a few years when portability is an issue, get a powerbook G7 or whatever is out then, and use the PowerMac as a server for all of your content like Art/Photo Samples, movie clips, etc. That would be my advice. I have a Quicksilver G4 PowerMac, and I'm getting it ready for when I buy my powerbook at the end of the year so it can be my server, in case I'm at a coffee shop and a client or co-worker asks for a sample, I can VPN or FTP right in, and download the content quicl and easy.
     
  24. virtuapimp thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Apr 4, 2005
    Location:
    Shropshire, UK
    #24
    Yeah I want one of the DELL 2005fpw displays. Perfect for me -allows me to hook up my consoles to it meaning I don't have to drag my TV (I rarely watch TV) to my uni house back and forth each term. Ok ugly as sin when compared to a ACD - Now I just have to decide on which Mac. Mac mini or powermac to go with it (or even powerbook?)
     
  25. virtuapimp thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Apr 4, 2005
    Location:
    Shropshire, UK
    #25
    Thought I would update everyone on my mac situation.

    Finally Brought one!

    iMac 20" 1.8ghz (Rev A)...but it came in well under budget at £800 as a local shop was selling them off cheap. Very impressed so far. Just need to up the RAM! :D
     

Share This Page