About to buy first ever Mac... would like some help with what to get within budget :)

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by DarrenCarnall, Oct 29, 2010.

  1. DarrenCarnall macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2010
    #1
    Hi guys :)

    I've had windows PCs all my life, but my current one is getting slower and slower (and noisier!) - it's an AMD Athlon 1800 (single core... before dual cores were invented lol), with 1Gb of ram and a few hard drives. I run two 19" widescreen monitors from it.

    I've been on disability benefit here in the UK for the last 14 years because of my epilepsy (I used to be a financial advisor beforehand), but I finally got sick of not being able to earn my own money, so I'm in the process of turning my sculpting and painting hobby (1/6 figures) into a business! And I've just signed off benefit a couple of months ago and am now self employed. yay me! :D

    (heres an example of what I do)
    [​IMG]

    Anyway.... I was initially going to replace my old XP box with a new Windows 7 machine using the £500 GBP I have available, but I've just managed to up my budget to £700 (but not a penny more!! lol) - so I figured I'd have a look around at macs... which i've ALWAYS wanted.

    in the last two days using ebay and this forum i've learnt a LOT about the history of mac machines, whats available, what OS's they run etc... but I'm still a massive noob.

    I could get a 24" iMac. core 2 duo up to 3Ghz, 250 HDD, 4Gb RAM
    or
    Intel Mac Mini, 2.53Ghz, 320 HDD, 4Gb RAM
    or
    (just about) a Mac Pro two dual core 2.0 Ghz, 160 Gb HDD< 2 Gb RAM
    or Power Mac, Power PC G5 Dual core 2.7 Ghz, 1 Tb, 8 Gb RAM

    now I'm aware I may have some of those processor speeds or other numbers slightly wrong, but thats roughly what I remember what my hunting.

    I have two monitors, so the mini, pro or PM would work straight away for me, or I could go with the iMac and sell one of my screens. My difficulty comes in choosing what would be the best option. (I don't often come into money so this is THE time if I'm gonna move over to mac)

    my wife is worried about the imac having its own screen that could fail making it more of a loss if it died, are they replaceable? and I'm aware that the pro, PM are more upgradable, and that the PM only goes up to leopard. Also that pretty much any of them would be a bazillion times better than what I have now :D

    I use my PC for surfing, photo editing, a little video editing (with some HD now from a pocket camcorder than my comp can't even play), blogging... usual stuff.

    I'm aware that any would probably do.. but im curious about things like... if I went with the powermac.. how frustrating would it be being stuck on leopard? are there things in snow leopard or Lion that would frustrate me not being able to get?

    how long do you think a mini or imac would last before they became unusable, with them being so limited in upgrade parts.

    I wish I could add more money to it and get a more powerful Pro, what you get for the money seems less than you can get on the iMac or even mini sometimes... but I guess yo'ure paying for upgradability?

    ANY wise words of wisdom from you mac users/buyers would be massively welcome. I'd like to get this sorted within a couple of weeks... but I kind of get panicky that whatever choice I make would be the wrong one lol

    Be fabulous and give me some pros & cons.... cheers!!! :D
     
  2. mrkramer macrumors 603

    mrkramer

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2006
    Location:
    Somewhere
    #2
    I'd probably go with a mini if I were you, any of those machines would work, I'd be sure to stay away from the G5 though. I think that the model you mentioned was one of the ones with liquid cooling that had some issues with leaking, plus PowerPC macs are not that useful for anyone besides collectors as software is or already has dropped support for them.
     
  3. AdeFowler macrumors 68020

    AdeFowler

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2004
    Location:
    England
    #3
    Hi Darren and welcome,

    First off, nice work and I really hope that you make a living from it. ;)

    Personally, I’d steer clear of the PowerMac. Apple don’t support it anymore, and fewer and fewer developers are writing their software for PPC machines. So that leaves Intel Macs.

    Being that you already have the screens, I’d get the Mac Mini. I think you’d get a four or five years use out of it based on what you do.
     
  4. dXTC macrumors 68020

    dXTC

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2006
    Location:
    Up, up in my studio, studio
    #4
    I'll join the Mac mini chorus. The current version will handle light video editing, even HD, rather well, especially the higher-end one you've mentioned-- and it's still cheaper than an iMac.

    (By the way, OP, nice work on Spock.)
     
  5. DarrenCarnall thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2010
    #5
    Thanks for answering guys. I think part of me was leaning towards towards the iMac because I wanted some 'visible maccyness' for my money lol.... and a nice new shiny iMac on my desk sounded just about right for that rather than a hidden away mini (or even pro) using my same old crappy cheap 19"ers

    BUT

    I take your points on board.... makes sense. So, with the minis... I know that by using adapters they CAN do two screens.... but does a mini really have enough power to do it without slowing down? My current resolution is 1440 x 900.... I think.

    I suppose I could live with the software being the 'visible maccyness' part :D
     
  6. ECUpirate44 macrumors 603

    ECUpirate44

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2010
    Location:
    NC
    #6
    Yes, the mini would be perfect for you
     
  7. DarrenCarnall thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2010
    #7
    cheers :)

    I've just been looking, and maybe you could help me with the differences between the old shape and new shape mini.

    i could get an old shape:
    2.53Ghz
    4Gb RAM
    320Gb HDD

    for £525

    or I could get a new shape:
    2.4 GHz
    2Gb RAM
    320 HDD

    for £580 +

    now going by that, you get more power & speed etc for less money with the old shape. Is that purely because it's the 'old model' and people want whats new and shiny? or are there other advantages to the new one that maybe I'm not aware of?

    thanks!! :cool:
     
  8. dXTC macrumors 68020

    dXTC

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2006
    Location:
    Up, up in my studio, studio
    #8
    The new Mac mini has a significantly more powerful graphics chip than previous generations, which helps with video rendering and can make up for the difference in CPU clock speeds. It also has HDMI, so you'll be able to upgrade to a HDMI-capable monitor down the road.

    The new mini is also much easier to upgrade yourself as far as RAM is concerned; I would recommend you bump it up to 4Gb RAM yourself when you can afford it, rather than pay the rather high RAM upgrade price from Apple.
     
  9. ActionableMango macrumors 604

    ActionableMango

    Joined:
    Sep 21, 2010
    #9
    Congratulations getting off disability. Based on what I've seen from a friend of the family, your life will improve once you get that sense of self-worth and usefulness back.

    I was once on government support for 6 months. It was bleak and depressing. I felt useless and dead. I don't understand how so many can make a lifestyle out of it.
     
  10. DarrenCarnall thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2010
    #10
    Thanks, it wasnt too bad for the first while when there was literally no other option but before too long I just started to go crazy... I'm just glad I literally stumbled onto something that I'm good at, I enjoy, and there seems to be a market for. (and importantly that doesnt affect my epilepsy) it's good to feel productive again.

    Some people try their hardest to GET on benefit when there's nothing wrong with them, and that just bugs me... :mad:

    aaaaaanyway lol... thanks for the help guys, I Just ordered a mac mini, should be here next week.... REALLY looking forward to my first (and I'm sure not last) Mac :D:D:D

    (can't believe I got to 38 without having owned one lol)
     
  11. iWright macrumors member

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2009
    #11
    Nice choice, enjoy your mac :D

    and +1 for the McCoy and Spock :)
     
  12. DarrenCarnall thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2010
    #12
    :eek: thanks!!! :eek:
     

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