Best option for General Use?

Discussion in 'iMac' started by lumencreative, Feb 3, 2015.

  1. lumencreative macrumors regular

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    #1
    I currently use a 2011 15" Macbook Pro with a 2.2Ghz i7 CPU, however as I am starting to use this more at my desk (which unfortunately causes the fan to run high), I am looking for a cheap(ish) used iMac to replace my Macbook Pro.

    Unfortunately, I cannot afford a brand new iMac so I have been looking on eBay but can anyone suggest what minimum spec I should be looking at? I don't mind going down the Core 2 Duo 24" iMac's if that's the best option.

    I do some light photoshop/illustrator work but mainly coding. I also use parallels to run Windows 7 as I am yet to find a suitable Mac alternative to WinSCP.

    I am trying to avoid a Mac Mini if possible.
     
  2. yjchua95 macrumors 604

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    #2
    Well a Mac Mini actually runs pretty well, given 8GB of RAM and a Fusion Drive or a small SSD.

    I'd suggest the refurb store. Any quad core 21.5" i5 with a Fusion Drive will do you fine.
     
  3. Algus macrumors regular

    Algus

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    #3
    Mac Mini can be cost efficient. Pretty good units. I use one for my desktop rather than an iMac as I don't really like all-in-ones. Will be more expensive if you don't already have a desktop setup though.

    You are going to get a big time performance hit if you drop down from that MBP's i7 to anything else. Don't know a whole lot about the work you do but I am guessing a dual-core i5 is probably sufficient although quad-core is nice for Parallels

    What is your budget?

    I would start with Apple refurb store. You can get quad-core for a decent price that way
     
  4. lumencreative thread starter macrumors regular

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    #4
    Thanks guys.

    Budget wise I'm not sure to be honest. I qualify for student discount as im studying a masters degree so the prices are very similar to the refurb prices, however, I don't really want to spend that sort of money.

    The main reason I want to avoid a the Mac Minis is because I like the all in one solution, however, I do already have 2 x Dell U2312's so may be a case of the Mac mini giving me the best spec for my money.
     
  5. lumencreative thread starter macrumors regular

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    #5
    Out of interest, would a current gen Mac Mini perform better than a Mac Pro 3,1 as looking on ebay I could get a Mac Pro 3,1 with 12-16GB Ram for about the same as the 1.4GHz Mac Mini costs new.
     
  6. yjchua95 macrumors 604

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    #6
    The Mac Pro 3,1 (Early-2008) is much more powerful than the Mac Mini, but the lack of USB 3 is disappointing. I'm not sure whether you can add USB 3 to it or not.

    But you can add in your own GTX 680 Mac Edition to the Mac Pro to increase its graphics performance.
     
  7. Fishrrman macrumors G5

    Fishrrman

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2009
    #7
    OP wrote above:
    [[ I am trying to avoid a Mac Mini if possible. ]]

    There's no reason to "avoid" the Mini -- it's a VERY capable Mac, -IF- you buy the right configuration.

    You didn't tell us what your budget is -- that would have helped considerably.

    If it's around $800, you might consider a 2014 Mini -- the "midrange" model, which has a decent (2-core) CPU, 8gb RAM, and IRIS graphics. But I would definitely add $200 more for the 1tb fusion drive, which will make a -GREAT- difference in performance. Absolutely runs away from just having an internal HDD.

    Then get a decent display to go with it, and you'll have a Mac that should be good at least 5-6 years into the future, perhaps longer.
     
  8. lumencreative thread starter macrumors regular

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    #8
    I don't dispute that the 2014 Mac Mini is a capable machine. I previously had a 2012 Mac Mini and it was fine, and as I already have monitors, it's not the full cost that's the issue.

    My main issue is the lack of upgradeability. I have no choice but to pay Apples Ram prices because they don't allow it to be upgraded for example.

    ----------

    Does the Mac Pro 3,1 have SATA-III? Lack of USB 3 isn't a huge deal breaker for me as my Macbook Pro doesn't have that anyway.
     
  9. yjchua95 macrumors 604

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    #9
    Nope, it only has SATA II (at 3 Gb/s).

    No classic Mac Pros contain a SATA III interface. Even the mid-2012 minor spec bump still used SATA II. After that, they switched to PCIe in the nMPs.
     
  10. lumencreative thread starter macrumors regular

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    #10
    Ok thanks. How do SSD's compare when used with SATA II over SATA III? Is it worth budgeting for a SATA III Controller Card?
     
  11. yjchua95 macrumors 604

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    #11
    If I were you, I wouldn't buy something that's too outdated like a '08 Mac Pro.

    I'd just get a middle-end Mac Mini with a 1TB FD/256GB SSD and be done with it. No need to bother with modding or whatever. That's the whole point of a Mac, just buy something and be done with it.
     
  12. lumencreative thread starter macrumors regular

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    #12
    Trouble is, a mid range Mac Mini with 1TB FD here is £729 whereas I can get a high spec Mac Pro 4,1 for that or even a lower end Mac Pro 5,1 so it doesn't stack up in terms of value.
     
  13. yjchua95 macrumors 604

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    #13
    I doubt you'd need that power anyway.

    Besides, the lack of USB 3 on the MPs are a big turnoff for me already.
     
  14. kittencounter macrumors member

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    Mar 22, 2013
    #14
    Alternative for WinSCP?
    Have you tried Transmit app?
     
  15. lumencreative thread starter macrumors regular

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    #15
    I've not tried Transmit because I don't want to pay £25 for an app that does what WinSCP does for free on Windows :)
     
  16. phpmaven macrumors 68040

    phpmaven

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    #16
    Transmit is a great little app that I've used for many years. Sure, there are free alternatives, but none compare in my opinion. You could easily spend as much going out to lunch once.
     
  17. tpluth macrumors member

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    Carmichael, CA
    #17
    The fact that the Mac Pro 3,1 lacks USB 3.0 is easily remedied by an addon card, such as ;

    http://www.amazon.com/Optimized-Por...id=1423457852&sr=8-1&keywords=Inateck+usb+Mac

    Or there is a 7 port version as well. Either is less than $40.

    Most Any AHCI compliant controller will give you bootable SATA 3, which you really only need for SSDs anyway. Regular rotating hard drives max out at around 150 MB/s, well below SATA 2 max performance.

    I have this in my MP 4,1 with 2 Samsung 840 EVO in RAID 0 configuration (bootable) and it runs at around 740 MB/s;

    http://www.amazon.com/Syba-Marvell-...id=1423458280&sr=8-2&keywords=Syba+mSATA+raid

    Note that while it says it's PCIE x4, it fits in an x4 slot (or x8 or x16), but it only runs at x2 data width, which is enough for about 800 MB/s. It works fine for Bootcamp, too.

    Personally, I'd never get a new Mac Mini or MBP, since Apple started soldering the RAM on the main boards.

    Get a MP 3,1, 4,1 or 5,1 and your future upgrade abilities are much greater than with a Mini. If you can swing a 4,1 or 5,1, try to get a dual processor machine, even the 2.26 system, since the 5500 and 5600 series Xeons are quite cheap now on EBay. You can always run a dual processor system with one CPU, if you need to upgrade slowly. FYI, the 4,1 can be upgraded with the 5,1 firmware so it can use the 5600 CPUs and faster RAM.
     

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