Advice on choosing the right Mac for University

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by clj7, Apr 10, 2009.

  1. clj7 macrumors member

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    North Wales
    #1
    Hi, I'm hoping that I'll get into Bangor University in September in Wales and I really want to switch to Mac before going there! Anyway, I need a Mac that will be powerful enough to run multiple sessions on photoshop, a word processor and the internet obviously at the same time! So the one I'm planning to buy at the moment is the Mac Mini, and I was wondering if I would be able to run it using my Windows laptop by using the display, keyboard, speakers and touchpad on it. Does anyone know if that would be possible? Because I can't be bothered buying another keyboard and display! Thanks for your time and help :)
     
  2. bjb.butler macrumors 6502a

    bjb.butler

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    #2
    Is price a factor? Do you want a desktop or a laptop?
     
  3. flopticalcube macrumors G4

    flopticalcube

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    #3
    VNC is the way to go. It allows you to remotely connect to a headless mini using another computer. Depending on the OS on your laptop you can install a free VNC player. OSX has a builtin VNC server (just turn on screen sharing) but you will need a screen and keyboard/mouse to set up the mini first.
     
  4. macgrl macrumors 65816

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    #4
    When are you planning on buying as there will prob be a back to school deal:)
     
  5. clj7 thread starter macrumors member

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    #5
    I'll just buy one off amazon or the Apple site (UK obviously :p)

    yeah that could work, I have that on my iPod Touch - but it's REALLY slow. How fast would it be on a Windows Vista laptop?

    My laptop is a: Athlon(tm) 64 X2 Dual-Core Processor 1.80GHz, 1GB RAM, 32-bit OS which is quite rubbish really but I might upgrade the RAM and the Processor!
     
  6. flopticalcube macrumors G4

    flopticalcube

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    #6
    Its really the network connection that determines the speed. The mini has a 1GB ethernet port.
     
  7. clj7 thread starter macrumors member

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    #7
    ah that should do it then, but there's absolutely no way I can the keyboard and speakers on my laptop for the mini?
     
  8. flopticalcube macrumors G4

    flopticalcube

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    #8
    The keyboard will also work via vnc.
     
  9. VPrime macrumors 68000

    VPrime

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    #9
    I run VNC through a gigabit network, it is till pretty laggy. You really can't use VNC to completly replace every thing. That is not what it was intended to be used for.
    Especially if you want to do things like photoshop.. and watching movies is out of the question.
     
  10. BlueRevolution macrumors 603

    BlueRevolution

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    #10
    Yes, VNC has its place, but it's not designed to be used on a permanent basis. Running another computer over VNC for an extended period is an exercise in frustration, particularly if you're trying to do complicated stuff like Photoshop. It will perform better than on your iPod, but it'll still be laggy.
     
  11. GoKyu macrumors 65816

    GoKyu

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    #11
    While the Mac Mini is a powerful little machine, I dunno about running multiple sessions of Photoshop *along with* other stuff at the same time unless you get the most powerful model (2.26ghz and 4 gigs of RAM.)

    At that point though, you're looking at (US$) 974.00 with a max of 4 gigs of RAM.

    For (again, US pricing) $1,149.00, you can get the base iMac with a max of 8 gigs RAM, and get the RAM for much cheaper third party. (Or add $68 for a 640 gig hard drive, which isn't a bad upgrade.)

    For a couple of extra bucks, you can get a more powerful machine that will run Photoshop the way you *want* it to run.

    The prices given were the educational prices off the US Apple store - price differential should be around the same even for Wales, I would assume (although you probably have to add VAT and all that stuff...)

    Hope this helps!
     
  12. yojitani macrumors 68000

    yojitani

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    #12
    Honestly, you'd be better off with an MacBook Pro or an iMac for what you want to do. Minis, in my opinion, are the runt of the litter since they aren't very expandable. iMac's aren't especially either, but more so than the minis.

    Also, you might check in with the educational pricing. As I remember from other members here, apple offers a really good deal on applecare in the UK for students. I don't know if you have to buy from Apple to be eligible.
     
  13. old-wiz macrumors G3

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    #13
    It's far more simple and reliable to just buy a keyboard and display than fool around with VNC on a headless mac. While you can make it work, you won't want to keep doing it on a day to day basis; you would spend more time getting things to work than getting your work done. Actually an iMac is a better idea or a MacBook.
     
  14. clj7 thread starter macrumors member

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    #14
    I'd have to be very lucky if I can afford an iMac, the thing is I'm expecting around £500 to £700 on my 18th birthday next month, and the imacs are £900. I'd have to be really lucky but I'll wait and see. I definitely would prefer an iMac over the mini
     
  15. GoKyu macrumors 65816

    GoKyu

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    New Orleans
    #15
    Tell whoever you're getting the money from about the small price differential with the higher end Mac Mini and base model iMac, and see if they don't think it's a worthwhile upgrade :)

    Good luck!
     
  16. Dark Dragoon macrumors 6502a

    Dark Dragoon

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    Location:
    UK
    #16
    I can't see VNC or really any other remote desktop client being any good for extended periods of time for anything more than system configuration/troubleshooting, even using a gigabit connection.

    It would probably be better if you do get the Mini to try and scrounge an old screen (CRT) from the university or friends, and buy a cheap (non-Apple) USB keyboard and mouse.

    Education pricing wise the Mac Mini costs £449.65 in it's base configuration, and an extra £35.65 to upgrade the RAM to 2GB. With AppleCare costing £34.50.

    Educational pricing for the iMac's start at £834.90, and AppleCare for them costs £43.70.

    I don't think the pricing is different throughout the UK, but these prices (online Apple HE Store) are from another Welsh university which I go to.
     

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