Expert bang for buck opinions on picking a new mac to replace Powerbook G4

Discussion in 'iMac' started by djd99, Aug 2, 2010.

  1. djd99 macrumors newbie

    Aug 2, 2010
    We currently have a 17” 1Ghz PowerPC Powerbook G4 that is on its last legs and are looking to replace it with a new mac. We use the Powerbook almost exclusively at home but do appreciate the portability around the apartment – we are considering getting either a new iMac or Macbook Pro configuration that would offer a solid 4-5 year useful life before upgrade and are hoping that those on this forum more knowledgeable than we can offer insights that might help us clarify our thoughts so that we can get the most bang for our buck.

    As for our current and future anticipated usage: We primarily use the computer to surf the net and write emails. Work related stuff is document editing in Word and the occasional Power Point presentation. High cpu usage applications are the occasional rendered dvd (family vacations, etc.), iPhoto slide show creation and Photoshop Elements editing. We have reasonably large iPhoto and iTunes Libraries (7100 pics @18GB and 4700 songs @64GB and counting) and I hope to do some HD video editing (again just home movie stuff, not professional) and some work with high speed video (golf, tennis and other sport movement analysis) with the new computer.

    If we get the iMac we will almost certainly get either a next gen iPad or Macbook Air to address the portability constraint at home and also in order to bring along when we visit her parents (grandkid iPhoto library, print airline boarding pass, etc.) who do not own a computer. She doesn’t want to go bigger than the 21.5” box so we are considering the $1699 3.6Ghz i5 iMac with base 4GB RAM as it might offer the best future proofing hedge, but we recognize that the 3.02Ghz i3 configuration would leave $500 to put toward an iPad, MBA or the eventual replacement of this iMac down-the-line. After sitting out an iMac and Macbook Pro update or two while the performance of our current machine was slowed to a crawl by the evolution of web content we developed an appreciation for the longer term speed potential higher end configurations offer.

    If we get the Macbook Pro (we have ruled out the regular Macbook because we want the firewire port) there is debate about an additional iPad purchase. She is in favor but I think it is a redundant expense – the laptop itself providing the portability solution. I am leaning toward the base configuration 13” @$1199 with an eye toward eventually installing more RAM and swapping the HDD for an SSD once prices come down a bit – my thoughts being that this would offer a machine that, given our usage, would seem almost as speedy as the iMac and at around the same price point and would be portable to boot. She would prefer the $1999 2.53Ghz 15” i5 Macbook Pro with no future modifications but would like to eventually get the next generation iPad (or MBA) in addition. Also, she doesn’t really want a refurb iMac or Macbook Pro.

    Given our described usage and with the hope of getting 4-5 solid years out of this purchase(s) what configuration and combination of machines do you believe offers the best bang for our buck. I know that this was a lengthy question and we are grateful for the insights that those on this forum can offer. Thank you.
  2. -Ryan- macrumors 68000

    Jan 28, 2009
    You've said that you're looking to get 4-5 years out of this system. For me, that immediately rules out the 13" Macbook and Macbook Pros. I personally think that 4 years down the line a Core 2 Duo processor, coupled with the 320M graphics card is going to feel pretty sluggish. Obviously there is no way to fully future-proof a system, but I'd definitely recommend stepping up to the Core i5 15" at least. That system, particularly with the better graphics card would last much longer.
    On the iMac front, you're certainly getting much more 'bang for your buck', but the trade off is obviously portability. You're looking at a full HD monitor, with a Core i3 processor, 4gb RAM and a very capable graphics card for considerably cheaper than a 15" MBP. That system, or the Macbook Pro mentioned could certainly last you for the next 4/5 years.
    Buying a Core i3/i5 today is in my eyes comparable to buying a Core 2 Duo in mid-2006. Still a perfectly capable machine today, and will easily last another couple of years. Everything is starting to get a little bit slow, especially with newer web technologies and high def video, but still works fine for day-to-day tasks.
    What configuration? Higher end 21" iMac, or whichever 15" Macbook Pro you feel you can afford.
  3. Hellhammer Moderator


    Staff Member

    Dec 10, 2008
    You have to decide which is more important, power or portability. Your usage isn't that heavy so I'm going to give my vote for MBP. You can buy a 3rd party external monitor for 200 bucks and use the MBP as desktop in clamshell mode and then take it with you when needed. That gives you the best of both worlds and it looks like you need a portable machine anyway so IMO it would be wise to get one now and then buy iMac later on if needed/wanted.

    I would go with the base 15" MBP as 13" with C2D feels little oldish. Yes, it's more expensive than iMac is but it seems to be your only computer so don't hesitate to spend
  4. djd99 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Aug 2, 2010
    thank you both for your time and input ... we really appreciate it, this will really help

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