Advice sought on buying desktop computer

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by Lyanna, Jan 5, 2012.

  1. Lyanna, Jan 5, 2012
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2012

    Lyanna macrumors newbie

    Jan 5, 2012
    Hello All,

    Firstly, apologies for what I'm sure is one of many of these types of posts, and thanks in advance for anyone who reads and responds.

    I'm after some advice in purchasing a desktop computer. I havent used a mac before (my current computer is my boyfriends old gaming machine - uses windows, about 5 years old now, not sure on its other specs but the c drive is almsot full at 75g). However I like the look of the imacs, and i do feel drawn to them especially, although im not sure if i really need one or if a regular computer might be just as good.

    Basically, I use the computer primarily for;
    Games (World of warcraft, and diablo 2 when it comes out, old starcraft, nothing else really)
    surfing internet
    scanning/cleaning (raw) manga (currently use gimp but will probably buy photoshop eventually, not sure if this is relevant)
    also would like to make mmv (manga music videos - good baseline movie software a big bonus, probably not mandatory though)

    So yes, kinda nerdy stuff. But I dont need it to be the best ever at this stuff, just to perform at a 'pretty good' level.

    I dont know much about computer hardware, and I dont want to be bothered with upgrading stuff or things not working. I'm looking at spending up to AUD$2500 (in mac terms, this is a 27 inch upgraded to 8g, or 21.5 inch with 8 g and solid state drive if necessary). Want something to last 3-5 years (i know this is probably ancient in computer lifespans)

    Suggestions very welcome!
  2. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere


    May 16, 2008
    If your primary needs are gaming, you'll likely find a better configuration at a lower price with something other than a Mac.

    Also, you may have better success in attracting responses to your thread, and you'll make your thread easier to find for those browsing the forum for the same answers, if you follow this tip.
  3. simsaladimbamba

    Nov 28, 2010
    Any of the current iMacs, be it 21.5" or 27", will do what you want, though I don't know about Diablo 2 and its specs.
    You also get iMovie for free when purchasing the Mac.
    And also have a look at Pixelmator as a cheaper alternative to Photoshop.

    PS: Don't get any RAM from Apple, the charge five times what you would pay for via third parties. Example: 8 GB via Apple = 200 USD, 8 GB via Newegg or some other source = 40 USD.

  4. Lyanna thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 5, 2012
    Thank you for the information. I have changed the thread title, hopefully that helps.

    I had the feeling that a PC might still be better value than going for a imac, and my boyfriend (whos been in to computers and games since he was a kid) says I should get a regular computer, and definitely i think that would be cheaper. But on the other side, I like the lack of clutter with the imac and with the PC I have to buy extra programs and it just seems like such a hassle. The apple store in Australia has a printer promo at the moment ($130 cash back), and I already need to get one (for a better scanner) so suddenly a imac seemed like the best option. But I dont want to pay more and get less out of it. I guess if I knew the best mac for me (within my budget) i could compare it with something similar but I get lost when going through all the options.

    Thats interesting about the ram. I dont really know what it is. But I can buy this online and not configure it when buying the imac? Does it need to be installed in to the computer manually or is it not something tangible?
  5. simsaladimbamba

    Nov 28, 2010
    You can install the RAM yourself, the instructions are inside the User Guide you get with the Mac. It is very easy, takes only one tool to unscrew one screw and should last less than five minutes.

    It is up to you, if you get a Mac, but the less clutter you get with that and the simpler OS is worth it. You only need the base iMac for 1399 A$.
    Maybe look at the Refurbished Section every day to find better deals.
  6. Lyanna thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 5, 2012
    Thanks for your very valuable help Simsaladimbamba.

    I had a look at that Pixelmator and I think it would do everything i need, better than gimp and soo much cheaper than photoshop.

    I reckon I'm sold on the imac now. I will get the 4g and upgrade ram through another source as you suggest.

    Do you have any insight on 27 inch vs 21.5? And what about the hard drive (regular tera byte vs 2 terabyte vs solid state harddrive (which i can really only afford with the 21.5 inch)??
  7. simsaladimbamba

    Nov 28, 2010
    I prefer SSDs now, as I equipped my 2007 iMac and 2009 MBP with one, and they feel like new machines.
    SSDs allow you faster application and document opening, less hangups due to RAM being copied to it (swapping/paging = if more RAM is needed by an application than is available, some content is copied to the HDD or SSD), less waiting time, more reaction.
    I can't really describe the difference between SSD and HDD in other words, but if I would be in your position, and as not to void the warranty, I would get the SSD iMac and one or two external FW 800 HDDs to store my data and backups on it. But as I am already accustomed to external HDDs, it is an easy choice for me.
    The 27" has 77 % more pixels though, which can be nice for graphic creation.
    What resolution do you currently use with that PC? Is that okay for you, or would you like more?
  8. Lyanna thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 5, 2012
    Im not sure what I currently have (I'm not at home either to check). But whatever it is it isn't an issue for me at the moment, and that computer is quite old-ish, so i dont imagine the pixels would be an issue. I might have a look in the store and compare the two, but I think the 27 inch is quite large and if for me the solid state drive is worth it I think I'll stick with the 21.5 and get that instead.

    Your help has been really great, thanks for all the information.

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