Best bang for buck, Mac Mini, new vs refurb, help me pick

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by solchitlins, Nov 16, 2009.

  1. solchitlins macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2009
    Location:
    Michigan
    #1
    just bought this monitor :
    http://www.staples.com/AOC-2236Vw-22...P2000:CL142219

    for $115

    and before it arrived my PC totally broke.

    I wanted my next computer to be a mac but can't afford anything expensive right now.

    I'm a broke college student.

    Ok so I have decided on getting a Mac Mini.
    but can't decide on what one to get for the best bang vs price.
    I'm using the student discount so,

    1.
    New basic mac mini, Mac mini
    2.26GHz : 160GB
    * 2.26GHz Intel Core 2 Duo
    * 2GB memory
    * 160GB hard drive1
    * 8x double-layer SuperDrive
    * NVIDIA GeForce 9400M graphics
    * Mac OS X Snow Leopard
    $550

    2.
    Refurbished Mac mini 2.0GHz Intel Core 2 Duo
    1GB memory
    120GB hard drive
    8x SuperDrive (DVD±R DL/DVD±RW/CD-RW)
    NVIDIA GeForce 9400M with 128MB memory
    $430.

    3.
    Refurbished Mac mini 2.0GHz Intel Core 2 Duo
    2GB memory
    320GB hard drive
    8x SuperDrive (DVD±R DL/DVD±RW/CD-RW)
    NVIDIA GeForce 9400M with 256MB memory
    $500

    4.
    Refurbished Mac mini 2.26GHz Intel Core 2 Duo
    2GB memory
    320GB hard drive
    8x SuperDrive (DVD±R DL/DVD±RW/CD-RW)
    NVIDIA GeForce 9400M with 256MB memory
    $600

    5. I could get this Compac PC for $225 on clearance from my local Staples and throw a cheep graphics card in it. I have a copy of win 7 already.
    http://h10010.www1.hp.com/wwpc/jm/en/ho/WF06b/12454-12454-3329737-89304-89304-3942817-3978597.html

    I rather stay as low priced as possible but if it's a situation where a hundred dollars gets me a way better machine that will last longer...etc...
    also I don't mind installing extra ram myself as long as the extra ram is figured into the price comparison.

    please help me decide asap
    Thanks
    Greg
     
  2. Serif macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2008
    Location:
    UK
    #3
    Ditto, #3 looks to be the best bet. Remember Macs have decent resale value which you need to take into account. Good luck :)
     
  3. slu macrumors 68000

    slu

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2004
    Location:
    Buffalo
    #4
    I would go for 3 for hard drive space alone. Add in the fact that you won't have to put in any RAM right away and that seems like the best bang for the buck to me.

    The performance difference between the 2.0 and 2.26 will be basically not benoticeable for daily use/tasks.
     
  4. solchitlins thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2009
    Location:
    Michigan
    #5
    hmm..
    only new and #2 are left, those went quick!
    but I don't mind waiting, I'm sure they will get more in a few days.

    Anyone know if refurb Mini's from the apple store come with all the software the new mini's do? And if I buy a refurb I don't think I can get the free $99 printer.

    I already have a deskjet f4240, will that work with the mini?
     
  5. sjinsjca macrumors 68000

    sjinsjca

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2008
    #6
    Yes. If you look on the HP site for that printer, they have OS X drivers available. But I'd bet it'll work with Leopard or Snow Leopard without installing anything. Do ensure that you're running the latest version of whatever OS X version comes with your Mini... click on the apple icon at the upper left corner of your screen and choose "software update." Let it run, voila. You're updated. Then, plug the printer in. Go to System Preferences, click printers, click the + button on the screen. It'll search, and should load right up. If not, then and only then do you need to go to the HP site and download anything.

    But first, do check with Apple to see if you'd get the free new printer with a refurb. As you say, maybe not, but it's worth a question.

    You'll be glad you got your mini rather than some crappy discount Compaq. Especially since the very first thing you'll need to do with the Compaq is spend hours removing the crapware that comes on it (and subsidizes its low price). Don't forget to add a decent anti-virus program. And a firewall. And a backup utility, which you'll probably have to pay for. Oh, and if you have a problem or questions, enjoy spending 40 minutes on hold to get Mujibar in Bangalore reading a script. By comparison, if you ever have a problem or a question about your Mini, just go to any Apple Store and talk with knowledgeable, English-speaking people who have a clue.

    One word of advice: whatever you get, as soon as you can afford it, hie thee hence to Costco or something and buy a big USB hard disk for backing up your new machine.
     
  6. cubefan macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 16, 2009
    #7
    printing with Mac mini

    It works with Leopard and Snow Leopard over USB

    See http://support.apple.com/kb/HT3669#HP

    For printing and scanning :)
     
  7. spice weasel macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2003
    #8
    Where are you getting this refurb? Every time I check the Apple Store for a refurbished mini they are out of them.
     
  8. solchitlins thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2009
    Location:
    Michigan
    #9
    They had the ones listed above this morning but they sold quick.
     
  9. ClassicII macrumors 6502

    ClassicII

    Joined:
    Sep 21, 2009
    Location:
    Chicago, IL
    #10
    I know you just bought a monitor but have you thought about a Core 2 Duo white iMac? You can get a nice early one for around $500.
     
  10. Shake 'n' Bake macrumors 68020

    Shake 'n' Bake

    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2009
    Location:
    Albany
  11. macrumorsMaster macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    May 20, 2008
    #12
    they've shown up recently. I was considering that too. I've seen older ones go for around that on ebay...:eek:
     
  12. solchitlins thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2009
    Location:
    Michigan
    #13
    now they have these:

    6.
    Refurbished Mac mini 1.83GHz Intel Core 2 Duo
    1GB memory
    80GB hard drive
    Combo drive (DVD-ROM/CD-RW)
    Intel GMA 950 graphics processor with 64MB of DDR2 memory
    $399.00

    7.
    Refurbished Mac mini 2.0GHz Intel Core 2 Duo
    1GB memory
    120GB hard drive
    SuperDrive (DVD±R DL/DVD±RW/CD-RW)
    Intel GMA 950 graphics processor with 64MB of DDR2 memory
    $419.00

    8.
    Refurbished Mac mini 2.26GHz Intel Core 2 Duo
    2GB memory
    320GB hard drive
    8x SuperDrive (DVD±R DL/DVD±RW/CD-RW)
    NVIDIA GeForce 9400M with 256MB memory
    $599.00

    I was looking for #3 but #8 is tempting too.
    But also think I should wait for black Friday to see what is offered.

    also whats the general feeling on bumping up the ram?
    It seems like the biggest bang for buck would be to find a 2.0ghz., Intel Core 2 Duo, NVIDIA GeForce 9400M, 120gb harddrive.
    and take the savings and put it into a ram upgrade kit and an external hd? or am I missing something here?
     
  13. savoirfaire macrumors 6502

    savoirfaire

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2003
    Location:
    New England
    #14
    To me, #2 seems like the better option since you should be able to add an extra 1gb of RAM and upgrade the hard drive for less than $70 + tax.
     
  14. solchitlins thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2009
    Location:
    Michigan
    #15
    yeah that's what I'm starting to think, I was editing my post while you were posting. :)

    is the memory on the graphics tied to the ram as a whole?
    Like on #2 it says NVIDIA GeForce 9400M with 128MB memory.
    after the upgrade of ram that number would go up to 256?
     
  15. iAlex macrumors member

    iAlex

    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2006
    Location:
    FEMA District X
    #16
    Yes, the 9400M scales up to the full 256vram with 2GB of ram, With 1GB of ram is scales down to 128vram.
     
  16. solchitlins thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2009
    Location:
    Michigan
    #17
    sorry I keep rehashing this but I can't make up my mind.

    what's the difference between the (#3) 2.0 ghz and the newer 2.26 ghz models?

    Just the processor or is the 2.0 a few years older?
    I'm torn between getting the new base mini and a refurbished #3.
     
  17. angemon89 macrumors 68000

    angemon89

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2008
    Location:
    The place where Apple designs stuff
    #18
    There is little difference between 2.26 and 2.0. Just make sure you get one with the Nvidia graphics. That's way more important than the processor because any Mac Mini that doesn't have the Nvidia 9400m has the GMA950 (which is EXTREMELY outdated).

    The difference between 2.0 and 2.26 will be unnoticeable.

    I would go refurbished 100%.
     

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