Best Mac for the Money

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by roland.g, Nov 8, 2006.


What is the Best Mac for the Money? (stock configs.)

  1. Mac Mini

    4 vote(s)
  2. MacBook C2D

    14 vote(s)
  3. 17" iMac (integrated GPU)

    4 vote(s)
  4. 20" iMac

    26 vote(s)
  5. 24" iMac

    5 vote(s)
  6. MacBook Pro C2D

    2 vote(s)
  7. Mac Pro

    4 vote(s)
  1. roland.g macrumors 603


    Apr 11, 2005
    There is fair amount of complaining and whining that goes on around here, so I urge you to keep this thread to the things you like about a product rather than what you think is missing.

    I'm looking to see what people think is the Best Mac for the $$. These choices are all stock configs. Now personally I am a BTO kind of guy, I like things the way I want it. But if you were a regular consumer going in to an Apple store to walk away with a new machine, what would you get. And for the sake of this argument, lets leave the stock RAM part out of it as it is the easiest thing to change.

    Mac Mini (either model)
    MacBook C2D (any model)
    17" low end iMac
    20" iMac
    24" iMac
    MacBook Pro C2D(either model)
    Mac Pro (2x2.66)
  2. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus


    Jan 9, 2004
    Grand Rapids, MI, USA
    Okay, I'm not sure whether you'll interpret this as whining or not, but I'm going to say it anyway.

    This a flawed question. There is no best Mac for the money. There's no best Mac period unless the discussion begins with the goals of the user and the recognition that not all users prioritize aspects of their purchase in the same way.
  3. Eidorian macrumors Penryn


    Mar 23, 2005
    1. Personal Objectives
    2. Software Needed
    3. Hardware Requirements
    4. Purchase Hardware

    We still need your #1. :p
  4. mick4394 macrumors 6502a


    Oct 25, 2006
    Flyover country
    For the money, refurb Rev. A Macbooks. Roughly the same bang for considerably less buck than the C2D Macbooks.
  5. ChickenSwartz macrumors 6502a

    Jul 27, 2006
    For a portable...but if you look at the iMacs, much more powerful at the same price.
  6. roland.g thread starter macrumors 603


    Apr 11, 2005
    This isn't a what is the best mac for me ?. Obviously MacBooks suit portability requirements, and MacBook Pros suit Pro portability needs, such as Photography, Video, etc. The Mini is a great entry level machine, though many will argue that the 17" iMac with integrated graphics is a better priced machine because of faster harddrive, screen, keyboard and mouse. The Mac Pro distinguishes itself from the G5 tower in that it really separates itself from the consumer desktops and that not even the Quad 2.0 Xeons is an affordably priced entry level Mac Pro, especially considering the cost of FB-Dimms. So the question wasn't what is the best Mac considering my needs, as much as it is, in your opinion what is the best Mac for the Money. Which model gives you the best performance per dollar as it relates. Simply is it a low to mid end MacBook because of the power in a consumer level notebook. Is it the Mac Pro because it is a monster and better priced that an equivalent PC, something few other Macs can compete with to the $ for spec user who doesn't add the OS and Apps into the equation. Is it the 17" iMac which at $999 is a great computer for a low price point, or the 20" which for $500 adds so much more in terms of speed, RAM, HDD, graphics card, and of course screen space.
  7. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus


    Jan 9, 2004
    Grand Rapids, MI, USA
    Mmm, if you're going with something like, "Which Mac competes on cost best with other computers at its price level," I'll go with (I don't care) probably the Mac Mini.... But I look down on people who shop on cost. :D
  8. bearbo macrumors 68000


    Jul 20, 2006
    if you want to know the performance/$$ on each machine, you have to then define performance... graphic, 3D? 2D? clock speed? portability?

    heck, you should elimiate mac mini and mac pro, because without a display, none of which have any performance.. but if you add display, which one?
  9. Allotriophagy macrumors 6502a

    Sep 5, 2006
    I suppose you could create an objective scale which correlates the price of a machine to what it comes with whilst factoring its maximum potential for upgrades.

    Allowances could then also be included for subjective or preferential details like noise levels, size, looks and so on.

    Add them all up, divide the price by it and HURRAH! You have a number!

    For example, my iMac...

    CPU = 2.16GHz C2D = 5 points!
    Max self-upgradable CPU = n/a = -1 point!
    Base RAM = 1Gb = 2 points!
    Max RAM = 3Gb = 4 points!
    HD = 250GB = 2.5 points!
    Max self-upgradable HD = n/a = -1 point!
    Bluetooth = Yes = 2 points!
    Airport = Yes = 2 points!
    Screen included = Yes, 24" = 6 points!
    FW400/800 = Yes = 2 points!
    iSight = Yes = 1 point!
    Expansion slots = none = -1 point!
    Gfx = 7600GT = 6 points!

    1347/29.5 = 45.66!


    Now just do the same for various other specs! Whichever has the smallest score is the BEST!
  10. xfiftyfour macrumors 68030


    Apr 14, 2006
    Clemson, SC
    I said the 20" iMac.

    The mini's are terrible bang for your buck. Apple really needs to lower the price on those back to the $400 mark, like they were when they were first released.

    As far as the laptops, those are out because portables are never the best bang for your buck over a desktop. You get a laptop not for the power, but for the portability (at least relatively).

    Mac Pro, obviously not. GREAT computer, but not economically sensible unless you're making money off of it. Not to say that others don't have reasons to buy it, but you wouldn't if you were on a budget.

    Between the iMacs, it was really subjective, so I went in the middle. I think the low-end 17" isn't the best bang for your buck, but it's surely a good choice if you're on a budget. For $500 more, though, you get a bigger screen, faster processor, more RAM, more HD space, a dedicated video card, a DL Superdrive (vs. Combo).. definitely worth it, IMO. To jump from the 20" to the 24", though, you're paying another $500 for a bigger screen and better video card... could be worth it, but would depend on the user's preference.

    but, anyways, that was a MUCH longer response than needed, haha. I'm bored. :(
  11. roland.g thread starter macrumors 603


    Apr 11, 2005
    No I make my decision relative to other Macs. And again not my buying decision as I fit that to my needs. I simply mentioned the Mac Pro vs. Dell price point as something that has floated around. But we hear terms like Performace Per Dollar or something like that, and I was just curious as to people's take on which Mac for what it had and for whether it was a Notebook, Consumer Desktop, or Pro Machine had the best specs for the price or something to that effect.

    I just bought a refurb Mini. However a lot of people here argue that the Mini is too high priced for what you get and that the 17" and 20" iMacs are better values. But then again, I plan on getting a 2.33Ghz 24" iMac 2GB RAM 500GB HDD 7600GT 256MB VRAM with BT KB & MM when they ship with Leopard, or whatever Santa Rosa chipset is on it at the time. The Mini was just to get me there.
  12. FleurDuMal macrumors 68000


    May 31, 2006
    London Town
    As we're actually being asked an impossible question (you can only conclude as to how good something is if you apply it to some form of criteria), I'm just going to say the C2D Macbook.

    It potentially does everything (minus some forms of video editing) and is portable and quite future proof - especially now Apple have stopped being silly by selling them with a level of memory which makes the rest of the machine look rubbish.
  13. JAT macrumors 603

    Dec 31, 2001
    Mpls, MN
    Without specific requirements others are asking for....the Macbook is the best all-around choice for being someone's only computer. And I mean in the entire market, not just Apple.

    -fast, even more today
    -mid-sized screen/weight (remember when 12" was Friggin' Huge?!!)
    -amazing price for what it is (compare to similar WinXP boxes)
    -cool looking
    -solid build
    -do I have to mention OSX in this thread? meh, why not

    Obviously, if you need something it doesn't offer, like to crunch HD video 8 hours/day for work, it becomes less attractive. Or if you are bound and determined that portability is useless to you.
  14. Keebler macrumors 68030

    Jun 20, 2005
    i think the intention is great, but the question is wrong. it can't be answered as everyone's needs differ.

    a student will probably want portability
    a regular mac user would probably want an imac for cool things
    a pro would want the mac pro.
  15. baxterbrittle macrumors regular

    Nov 8, 2005
    I voted for the 20" iMac. This is probably not the machine that I would buy but I do think it has the best feature set out there for the price. The 24" is really nice but for the diff in price you could get an extra 20" (dell) and have even more display space. The 24" has a better GPU option which is good for the gamers but for joe average the x1600 is OK. It is upgradable to an extent. MP is really nice too but too expensive.

    MBP is the worst of the lot in my opinion but I know that I am going to be shot for saying that. It offers similar performance to an iMac at nearly double the price. Say compare 17" MBP to 20" iMac. Yes I know MBP is portable but... the MB is portable too and you get really good vaue compared to macmini and iMac with the MB. Compared to a MM the MB is faster comes with an isight a screen KB and mouse battery etc for the couple of hundred price difference. Some might say that is more of a reflection of the MM but I still think the MB has a far far better price to performace ratio to the MBP.
  16. Umbongo macrumors 601


    Sep 14, 2006
    From a purely financial point of view, the Mac Pro. You can't build a comparable machine cheaper, let alone buy one.
  17. JAT macrumors 603

    Dec 31, 2001
    Mpls, MN
    Very true. But so few people actually need the power at home....

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