Buying a New Mac...any ideas?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by EHUnlucky7x9@ao, Oct 13, 2006.

  1. EHUnlucky7x9@ao macrumors 6502

    Jan 8, 2006
    New Jersey
    Hey guys,

    I'm looking to pick up a Mac for my 12 yr old sister. I don't want to overspend on something she doesn't really need, but something that will last her for a good 4-5 years. She had a PowerMac G3 and she used it for typing her homework and looking for information on the web. But the tower was cumbersome, so I got rid of it. I'm looking to get an Intel machine so that its future proof, but I don't know which is the best for its value. I'm going to be using my EDU discount so I want to know what Intel Mac I should pick up. Is a Core Solo Mac Mini good? How about the iMac Core 2 because that is only 899 after the EDU with all the features. My sister will be using it for Safari, iChat, Mail, DVDs, movies, and computer games like RollerCoaster Tycoon 3, Zoo Tycoon, Halo, and the Sims 2. I'm just looking to spend the least with the best features. Take into account that I don't have any screen or keyboard or mouse and all that has to be purchased.

    If you guys can help me out, I'd appreciate it. Thanks.
  2. miles01110 macrumors Core


    Jul 24, 2006
    The Ivory Tower (I'm not coming down)
    A 17 inch iMac would probably be the best choice. It's relatively inexpensive and will last a long time. All those tasks you mentioned should run well on it. The iMac comes with screen, keyboard, and mouse.
  3. dmw007 macrumors G4


    May 26, 2005
    Working for MI-6
    For gaming, stay away from the Mac Mini & base iMac, they all use integrated graphics and will yield less then stellar performance. The 17" 2GHz Core 2 Duo iMac is probably the ideal machine for your sister. :)

    That or if you can find a good deal on a used Core Duo based iMac. :)
  4. nodabs macrumors regular

    Sep 11, 2006
    Considering you don't have an external display, keyboard, or antyhing else. I would say go with the 17" iMac. For that price you really get a lot more machine and a Core 2 Duo processor.
  5. prady16 macrumors 6502


    Aug 24, 2006
    Right There --->
    I would suggest buying the 17" iMac (not the lowest one, but one step above that for future proofing). Or if that gets too pricey, you always have the MacBook to choose.
  6. EHUnlucky7x9@ao thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jan 8, 2006
    New Jersey
    Well the Macbook has the Intel GMA chip as well, so why would the base 17" not be a good choice?

    If I have to buy the keyboard, mouse, and LCD screen along with the Mac Mini... is it going to cost me $950?

    Does the GMA chip NOT play video games? Does anyone have one that can verify that it has jagged gameplay with the above games I had mentioned? I don't expect her computer to perform like my Mac Pro, but I'm just concerned with her being able to play those games. The G4 CPU is good enough and fast enough to use Safari, mail, ichat, ect. But its a discontinued i'm sticking to intel. So the Core Solo mini isn't a great idea?
  7. Nutter macrumors 6502

    Mar 31, 2005
    London, England
    What core solo mini? Apple stopped selling them.
  8. reflex macrumors 6502a

    May 19, 2002
    You can still get them here and there.
  9. nitynate macrumors 6502a

    Jan 22, 2006
    Clearwater, FL
    A core solo mini is not a good choice. NO mini is.

    If she really wants to enjoy playing her games, get the step up 17"

    The base 17" will still play games, but poorly, and if you do get it you are going to NEED 1GB of RAM.
  10. QCassidy352 macrumors G4


    Mar 20, 2003
    Bay Area
    The core 2 duo 17" iMac with dedicated graphics is a really great machine at a really good price. That said, it's not *cheap,* just a good deal considering how much you get.

    I wouldn't do the base core 2 duo iMac. No dedicated graphics, no bluetooth, no remote. [edit: and 2 MB L2 cache instead of 4 MB, and combo drive instead of superdrive.] Those are all things I bet your sister will want within the next 4-5 years. Also, it only ships with 512 RAM, and that's not really enough for intel macs. So add $50 to the base price to get up to a gig, leaving a $150 difference between that iMac and the better 17" model. That seems an easy choice to me.

    But if I were you I'd look around for a good deal on a 17" core duo iMac. I recently bought one for my girlfriend on this forum for $750, and it's a fantastic machine. The ONLY difference between what I bought and the newer one is a 1.83 Ghz core duo vs. 2.0 Ghz core 2 duo (and base RAM, but I upgraded it past 1 gig with RAM I already had anyway). And for that I paid $750 rather than $1100 (edu price) + tax.
  11. dirtleg macrumors member

    Jan 19, 2006
    St. Louis
    Similar situation here.

    We are looking to upgrade from our old G3 iMac to a new iMac. I have been to the St. Louis store and looked at the 24", 20" and 17". I like the 24", but gee whiz, that thing is BIG. We mostly use our computer for internet, email, home bookkeeping, homework, music, light weight photo editing, and some games. That usage may expand with the ability to load some windows programs.

    So, what does anyone think, will the 20" suit us for now and for some years to come? I don't think the extra screen space is that critical to us, but I like some of the other hardware upgrades available on the 24". Is it worth it for what we are using it for? My wife cringes at the cost of the 24". I'm sort of going back and forth.

  12. ricgnzlzcr macrumors 6502a


    Jun 7, 2005
    The 20 inchers are amazing computers. I'm sitting next to one right now at work and I can tell you that it's incredibly snappy and fun to use. The 24 inch is nice, but a lot of people don't need that kind of space. I'm sure the 5 inches you'll gain from going from 15 inches of imac to 20 will be visual candy alone for your eyes.
  13. jsw Moderator emeritus


    Mar 16, 2004
    Andover, MA
    Well, 20" is the new 17", and 24" is the new 20" in terms of monitor size, so the 24" is likely to be considered "big enough" for longer than a 20". Also, 10.5's improved multimedia might make you yearn for a larger-than-20" screen. That said, the 20" is a fine system, and a happy wife is better than a bigger screen.
  14. 4JNA macrumors 68000


    Feb 8, 2006
    looking for trash files
    echo, echo, echo....

    don't get a mini. don't get the base (onboard graphics) imac. do get an intel imac. 17" if you are broke/cheap/don't like your sister much.... 20" otherwise.

    anything else is a waste of time or money or both.
  15. Dont Hurt Me macrumors 603

    Dont Hurt Me

    Dec 21, 2002
    Yahooville S.C.
    I would wait for Apple to get with the program or get a machine that doesnt have gma950. For gaming its crap. Consumers are gamers. Just look at all the interest in gaming all the time. How the heck Apple ignores this market is beyond me now that they are pc's.
  16. Chundles macrumors G4


    Jul 4, 2005
    I'm a consumer and I don't game.
  17. trueheart78 macrumors member

    Sep 21, 2006
    Untrue. Most consumers just want internet access and easy email capabilities. They don't need or want the best video cards out there. Having been a pc gamer I can tell you that the majority of people I've worked with in computers do not game. If they do, it's usually something that's more web based like the java games that are so popular.
  18. Dont Hurt Me macrumors 603

    Dont Hurt Me

    Dec 21, 2002
    Yahooville S.C.
    You two arent paying attention , this thread is about someone who wants to play games on their computer.
  19. ®îçhå®? macrumors 68000


    Mar 7, 2006
    I would personally go for the imac. The mac mini is good but wont play the sims 2 or halo very well and buying the imac means that you wont have to buy an external monitor either.
  20. trueheart78 macrumors member

    Sep 21, 2006
    Dont Hurt Me, your post was originally that consumers = gamers, we were rebutting that comment, his sister aside.
  21. FFTT macrumors 68030


    Apr 17, 2004
    A Stoned Throw From Ground Zero
    The 17" iMac simply gives you the best overall bang for the buck,
    performance, storage and dedicated graphics.

    If your budget is really tight, then go for a new Core 2 Duo model refurb.
  22. Willis macrumors 68020


    Apr 23, 2006
    Beds, UK
    either get a 17" iMac 1.83 CD or a referb 17" C2D. either one will be a good buy and last 4-6 years. Thats good enough for your sister to complete her schooling. Then if she goes to college, she can upgrade to a Macbook. 3ghz anyone?

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