Can somebody help me with my Mac Choice :( PLUS 8 - Core Mac Pro 50% off !

Discussion in 'iMac' started by lordsion, Apr 21, 2009.

  1. lordsion macrumors member

    Feb 19, 2009
    LOl long read at least skip down to the bold bit :) :p

    Australian $$$ but i put prices so you can get an idea of price proportions.

    OK so i want a Mac of some sort and i don't want to blow the budget. I live in Australia (so Macs are expensive!)

    I am going to University at the Australian National University in Canberra ! So i will need a laptop. I have a decent windows PC with a crappy 17 inch matte screen. It sometimes crashes and does random things. I don't have a laptop yet. I deferred UNI for a year so i can save up money. I should earn $19 000 this year. I am hoping $10000 for UNI to help, and i spend $2000 on bits and pieces and then i need $3600 for car insurance for the next two years. So that leaves about $4000 to play with (however below $3000 would be nice)

    I really want an iMac and i was aiming for the 2.93 GHZ ATI 4850 card ($3400 with warranty included) ... however i think i may try to get the 3.06 GHZ 8800GS 512MB iMac instead around ($3000 with warranty included). I think it may be faster overall - and is $500 cheaper.

    Now i know getting a MacBook (2.0GHZ or 2.4GHZ) would sound wise, however i think that i will enjoy Mac so much that i think it would find it a shame that i cant use it fully - like really bad graphics, small screen etc - so i think i will be disappointed to get the MacBook for $2300 (with warranty) when i can find the iMac 3.06 last gen with warranty for $3000. So now THIS leaves a problem - i still need a laptop - i found a HP 2.66 GHZ, 1GB ATI Graphics 4870 or similar, with a 640 GHB HDD, webcam and all the rest - all in shiny black ... for $1500 (AUSTRALIAN) which is sooo cheap! it looks good as well .... for $2999 i can get the quad core 2.0 GHZ, 1TB, 1 GB CPU with a 17inch screen.

    I am thinking that if i get the HP it will handle my games (1GB!) but i still want a Mac. Should i just get the MacBook (even though its a huge rip-off that will be good but may not make be satisfied ) However i am also worried that i spend all this money on an iMac and it will just sit in my room - i cant show it off to people and show them how great it is i.e. take it to lectures to type notes, yet still have a great apple mac time! - i love apple's iPhone and iPod Touch so i am ready to move on up to Mac. BTW this will be my first ever MAC computer.

    So i am thinking whether i should:

    $1500 HP + cheap iMac (integrated graphics) = $3000 + $215 warranty iMac

    $1500 HP + dear iMac (3.06 512MB graphics) = $4500 + $215 warranty iMac

    $1500 HP + Mac Mini = $2500

    MacBook = $2000 + $300 warranty (2.0GHZ)

    MacBook Pro (512MB 17 Inch screen) = $4500

    HP 17 inch quad core laptop = $2999


    I am so unsure, but i So want a Mac for UNI.

    AND AND AND to top this off a man i know wants to get rid of a MAC PRO 8 - core last gen with 256 MB CPU, 2GB RAM, never turned on for $2500. He is an old farmer and just wants a 'nice screen' and 'easy' so = iMac.

    He got it via an Insurance claim when the other broke somehow (it was an eMac) and they gave him this $5000 AU (last year it was about this much). He wants $2500 to buy a 2.66 GHZ base 24 Inch iMac?????

    SO Mac pro ($2500) + GOOD screen ($700) + Warranty ($400) = $3600 AND i STILL need a laptop for UNI! :0

    I want to try to keep the budget below $3000. The laptop is changeable as i wont get it until February and by then it will drop in price however no doubt i will see another i like.

    I just love iMac's big screen and power, but like portability, but yet don't want to break the bank! (educational discounts already applied to prices) help mac users! what should i dooooooo

  2. lordsion thread starter macrumors member

    Feb 19, 2009
    By the way i will upgrade RAM for the cheap iMac to 4 GB. HDD doesn't matter - i have a LaCie.
  3. Hellhammer Moderator


    Staff Member

    Dec 10, 2008
    You're in difficult situation. In my opinion you should get a MacBook. So many people are saying that when you have two computers, desktop and laptop, they always find 'emselves using a laptop. Put your money for good laptop instead of two semi-good computers.
  4. MrENGLISH macrumors regular

    Apr 18, 2009
    I agree! I tend to only use my desktop for work related tasks whereas I am always using my laptop for everything else.

    I personally think the Mac Pro is overkill. I used to own a PowerMac G5 Quad - and while it was definitely a powerful machine.... it just required way too much juice to run and I'd always hear the fans running. Temporarily switched to a Mac mini until I receive my iMac 4850 and the mini is slightly faster when it comes to the common tasks (my G5 only has it beat when it comes to apps that utilize all 4 cores). The mini is completely silent compared to the G5 and takes up a lot less space. As I've said, the mini is only temp as I plan to make it my living room desktop and buy the 4850 iMac as my new office/work desktop. I feel that the 4850 iMac is powerful enough for my needs and I would only consider replacing it if they upgrade the iMac to 4 core power! (or 2-3 years pass lol)

    and I too had considered buying the refurbished 8800GS vs the 130 and 4850. I personally think the ATI is worth the price difference... esp when planning to keep my iMac for 2-3 years. 8800GS does seem to be a better buy than the 130GT though.

    So this is the order I'd put them in
  5. OldMike macrumors 6502


    Mar 3, 2009
    Dallas, TX
    Lordsion, I posted in the other thread that you created concerning the iMac 2.8Ghz refurbs, in which I stated that it is one of the best deals going right now.

    Since you need a laptop - I wouldn't bother with the iMac. If you watch the Apple refurb store, every once in a while a nice Macbook Pro pops up at $1399. The specs appear to be the same as the ones that they normally have listed on there for about $1699 - I have looked closely and cannot tell why they put up the Macbook Pros for $300 less every once in a while.

    I wasn't in the market for a laptop - but of all the deals I have seen come through the Apple refurb store - the Macbook Pro 2.4Ghz with the following specs:

    15.4-inch LED-backlit glossy widescreen display
    2GB memory
    250GB hard drive
    8x SuperDrive (DVD±R DL/DVD±RW/CD-RW)
    Built-in iSight camera
    Illuminated keyboard

    at only $1399 is the best deal going. You have to watch their store constantly and purchase as soon as one pops up - they seemed to get swiped up very quickly.

    I would make the Macbook Pro Refurb section your homepage ( and watch often to see what pops up.
  6. MrENGLISH macrumors regular

    Apr 18, 2009
    the older MBP has slower system bus and slower ram compared to the 2.4GHz unibody MBP
  7. OldMike macrumors 6502


    Mar 3, 2009
    Dallas, TX
    It could be, though I am almost certain that they also had the 1066 MHz FSB like the $1699 refurb Macbook Pros do. I had two browsers open and compared them side by side and did not see any differences for the $300 price difference...
  8. MrENGLISH macrumors regular

    Apr 18, 2009
    Nope. older MBP used a 2.4GHz T8300 and/or a T7700 both of which are 800MHz. unibody MBP uses a 2.4GHz P8600 which is 1066MHz

    also, the newer unibodies can take advantage of OpenGL in Snow Leopard.
  9. MrENGLISH macrumors regular

    Apr 18, 2009
  10. NightSailor macrumors 6502


    Feb 24, 2008
    I like the last generation 3.08 iMac. I have a 2008 Mac Pro 3.2 and I still think I may get one for a spare computer in the house. I've always wanted an iMac and I don't even need it. Why don't I have one? A Mac Mini, a Mac Pro and any Laptops make far more sense.

    The place for an iMac is a family that wants single shared computer for their kids to use in the family area or living room where they can be supervised. It doesn't take much space, and works well in a small desk.

    I concur with what the others say about buying refurbished, and getting a MacBook or MacBook Pro.

    I have a 17" MacBook Pro uni with SSD. It was about as fast as my 3.2 Mac Pro until I "improved it" the Mac Pro with an Intel 160GB SSD boot and applications drive and turned all four main bay 1TB's drives into a blazing RAID 0--about 380GB/s. I am content with that but is it of course not mobile.

    I love my laptop, but haven't used it in over a week since I bought a refurbished Dell 30" 3008 for $1099. I am stunned by that monitor. My old 24" was very nice at 1920x1200, but this monster is huge 2560x1600. I definitely prefer my Mac Pro to my MacBook Pro. And I prefer the big monitor to the smaller 1920x1080 laptop screen.

    Back to laptops. I am not sure if I like the glossy display. I like the fact I can clean it, but the reflections are a little annoying. I chose it because I wanted to keep the machine for many years--like ten years or more. I felt it would be stronger mechanically with the glass over the screen. The 17" matte display however, would be a better choice in retrospect. My 1996 vintage IBM laptop still looks good. As does my more recent IBM. I think the larger 17" matte would hold up ok unless it was a dirty environment.

    The best selling MacBook:

    We bought a MacBook for our girl, and that has to be the best all around laptop ever made. I sometimes wish i bought another one for myself instead of the 17" MacBook Pro.

    We chose the faster CPU which includes the backlit keyboard. She never seems to need more than the 2GB of RAM. When I upgrade my MBP memory to 8GB, she will get her MB bumped up to 4GB. At some point I'll put a SSD in her machine. I really think that will be a killer combination. The 13" screen is plenty big for most purposes. Is is easier to use, fits in your lap better, takes up less space in a car, on an airplane or on a train. You don't need a portable desk to use it comfortably.

    If I were you, I'd get a MacBook, the faster CPU, upgrade the Ram yourself for $50 to 4 GB, if you feel the need for speed--wait for a deal on a fast SSD. Or you could upgrade the hard disk to a 500GB 7200rpm drive for storage and decent performance.

    Also, pickup a couple of firewire 800 external drives and a 24" Dell monitor for desktop and backup use.

    At a minimum you want one large backup drive for TimeMachine backups. You might be able to get by with manually backing up to iDisk if you need to save some money, and don't want the headaches of an external monitor and storage--those can come later. Or you could buy a Network Storage Device and back up by ethernet the first time, and go wireless after that for incremental backups.

    Use the MacBook as a desktop, and as a laptop. It will be quiet and the performance will dazzle you. You may feel, like my niece, that you don't want a large display. As for me, I'm hooked on them.

    If you need a bigger display, the 17" MacBook Pro is only slightly bigger than the MacBook. I find it more awkward to use, but i love the display and it works well for me as a coding platform and for rough cut video editing. I plan to look around for a good portable desk to make it more useable everywhere. I'd chose a 30" display and Mac Mini over an iMac.

    Either the MacBook or the MacBook Pro will drive a 30" display for desktop use. If you can stand waiting, i think the next generation Mac Air will be the one that finally pulls that machine into it's own class.

    What else? I'd recommend picking up a Brenthaven case that will also carry a portable desk--if you get the 17" MacBook Pro--shop for both at the same time. I'm trying to decide what to get right now...
  11. LagunaSol macrumors 601


    Apr 3, 2003
    I'll voice the contrarian view. I have an iMac and a MacBook, and I always find myself using the iMac. Bigger screen, faster, quieter (fans don't kick in like they do on the Macbook), more hard drive space. The MacBook is nice when I'm out and about (obviously), or I want to work on the sofa or the patio, but my iMac is my workhorse.
  12. lordsion thread starter macrumors member

    Feb 19, 2009
    I have made up my mind now. I am getting the 3.06 GHZ refurb iMac ... and getting the best ever laptop deal with 1 GB graphics ..... it will be for school and serious games ... however the iMac 3.06GHZ will be for everything else .... and school work. I am always at my desk when i was at high school, and when at UNI, i will be in my room studying 80% time! i will go to lectures, and take that laptop to take notes etc. I am not sure about taking a low spec $2000 *AU) or a $4200 (AU) MacBook pro with me ... they are expensive to buy and i don't want it stolen.

    Think about it ... MacBook (2.0GHZ!!!, 1GB RAM! crap Graphics!) for $2000 ... or a 3.06 24 INCH iMAC 512 MB graphics for $2400 refurb???? lol no brain-er now for me. Now compare the MacBook with the HP 1 GB graphics laptop machine for only $1400 ( i found a cheaper price) and this laptop is all metallic liquid black look.

    I need a laptop ... but also want a good big screen with power for multimedia and fun as well as work. I will put my UNI work on the iMac so it can back up. I have a LaCie drive.

    All is good this way. I have to buy a MacBook Pro ($4200) YET i can buy a laptop + an iMac which are BOTH more powerful than a Macbook PRO and i dont have to carry $4000 + with me wherever i go! :eek:
  13. lordsion thread starter macrumors member

    Feb 19, 2009
    Thanks for such a wonderful long answer! thanks for your time! :)
  14. lordsion thread starter macrumors member

    Feb 19, 2009
    I agree :)

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