Considering Getting A New Mac. When and What To Buy?

Discussion in 'iMac' started by Tempest 2084, Aug 19, 2008.

  1. Tempest 2084 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2008
    #1
    Hopefully everyone here can help me out with a decision I've been trying to make.

    I've been considering getting a Mac for some time now. Over the past few weeks I've been playing around with Leopard on my Powerbook G4 laptop (which I used exclusively on my latest vacation) and I've really got to liking how OS X works. So I've moved closer to pulling the trigger on a new purchase (so to speak). However I have no pressing need of a new computer right now as my moldy old PC still works for everything I need it to do (other than newer games), so I can afford to wait. That being said, I was wondering if I should get a Mac now and scratch that itch, or wait as there are better things on the horizon.

    While I'm not a computer gamer by any means (the last game I bought was Doom III and I never played it), I do want to play *some* games such as Starcraft II and Diablo III, therefore I'll need a Mac before those games come out. I usually don't play those graphic intensive shooters like Crysis and COD 4 (I have a PS3 for things like that), mostly RPGs and strategy games. How does the current 3.06Ghz iMac stack up to current games? Will it be ok for some time to come or will it quickly fall obsolete? I guess we can't speculate on how it will do with SCII or DIII as the game requirements haven't been released yet.

    Like I said, I'm really not much of a computer gamer, 95% of the time I'll be using my Mac for basic computer tasks (email, web, website design, Office, etc.), but when I do want to play games I'd like to play them on the best Mac machine possible. Currently that looks like the iMac, but if a new Mac Pro gets released soon that could change. My biggest fear with the iMac is that you can't upgrade it. Once you pick a graphics card, you're stuck with it forever. At least on the Pros you can upgrade cards (although you pay a premium to do so). Money isn't really a huge issue for me, although I don't want to go crazy with the spending.

    One thing about buying a Pro over an iMac is that I'd have to buy a separate display and I hear that the current Cinema displays are starting to show their age. Is there anything new on the horizon on that front? At least with the iMac the display is built in.

    So I guess my question is: Should I buy now or wait until sometime next year? Should I get an iMac or a Mac Pro? Deal or No Deal?

    Tempest
     
  2. peterdevries macrumors 68040

    peterdevries

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2008
    Location:
    Amsterdam, The Netherlands
    #2
    The best mac machine possible (in most powerful) is not the iMac, but the Mac Pro. If you can afford it buy it, as it has great upgrade options and will be uptodate even in a few years.

    For your purpose a well stacked iMac would probably suffice though. The iMac is an excellent gaming rig and has a smaller footprint than the MacPro. It's cheaper and can be upgraded in the HD and memory department.

    New cinema screens are expected, but when they arrive is anyone's guess.

    If you want to wait for a possible upgrade and can wait by using another computer than do so. But know that there will always be another upgrade around the corner. However long you wait, you will always be too early.

    good luck and enjoy..
     
  3. BOSS10L macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2008
    Location:
    Upstate NY
    #3
    First things first. Do you need a new computer now? If the answer is yes, then proceed to the closest Apple retailer and purchase your new computer. If no, then you can afford to stick it out a little longer and see what happens.

    I'm somewhat in the same boat you are. I really don't game on computers anymore, 99% of my gaming is done via the 360/PS3/Wii, but I do want to be able to play Diablo III and Spore when they are released. That being said, know that Blizzard only releases their titles when they are ready. We don't even have a realistic release date for Diablo III yet, and AFAIK, Starcraft II hasn't been given a firm date either.

    No matter what you do, it never seems like the right answer. I'm sure the iMac I bought yesterday will be *technically* outdated by the time Diablo III comes out, but unless I wait and build a rig the day it gets released, I have no way of combatting it.

    People make too much of a big deal about specs. I've run the gamut with machines from top of the line bleeding edge screamers, to systems that could barely connect to AOL via dial-up back in the day. You just have to draw your line in the sand and make a stand or you'll never make any progress.

    I think the 3.06 24" iMac would be more than enough of a machine for both Diablo III and Starcraft II. Heck, I think my baseline 20" iMac should be able to handle both smoothly. Gimme butter smooth gameplay at 1280x800 over choppy gameplay at 2048x1280 any day of the week.
     
  4. MikeDTyke macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2005
    Location:
    London
    #4
    My first desktop mac was an imac G5. It was quickly obsoleted by it's replacement. The HD filled very quickly and recovery from a HD crash was hampered by a clunky backup and restore solution.

    I bought a Mac Pro. Smallest 2.0Ghz quad core when they came out Aug06. Everytime i think it's getting a little slow i throw another 2 Gigs of ram in there, now up to 6 and only cost me £100 the for the last set. I striped my boot partition across two drives so it starts faster. I have another pair of drives that are mirrored with my home dir and another backup boot partition.
    I've also upgraded my graphics card to the 8800 when the 1900 felt a bit slow in crysis.

    All that upgrading is internal, nice and neat. Seriously robust and takes everything i throw at it. Usually have VMware running win xp & linux, mactheripper, handbrake, iTunes, iPhoto, Aperture, photoshop, mail, safari, MacOffice, MySQL, Apache and a handful of terminals.

    Sure it's pegged at 400% cpu but that's just because handbrake will use up any available clock cycles. The system is still perfectly usable.

    Bottom line, whatever length of useful time you think you'll get out of an iMac, triple it and that's the useful lifespan of the macpro.

    Cheers
    M.
     
  5. Tempest 2084 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2008
    #5
    You make a good point about the Pro. It may cost more upfront, but if it lasts twice as long then you've saved money. I may just wait for the new Mac Pros to come out.

    Tempest
     
  6. MikeDTyke macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2005
    Location:
    London
    #6
    You also have all the options when it comes to tweaking it for performance. I've kept an eye on the Nehalem rumours and while a mac pro based on a pair of these will be truly awesome, the great thing for me is i don't feel the need for the extra speed. What counts in computing terms when multitasking is memory and bandwidth and i've still got that in spades. Maybe next refresh of the macpros i'll feel differently. But right now my 2 year old machine is far from EOL. If i owned one of the first gen intel imacs i'd be hankering for more memory and the 3.06GHz of the latest model.

    M.
     

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