First Mac Purchase - Odd Requirements

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by foltzie, Jan 10, 2007.

  1. foltzie macrumors member

    Dec 20, 2006
    Hello folks, longtime lurker, first time buyer.

    Looking to finally purchase my first Mac to try out with my bonus this year.

    The idea I have is that I may purchase a lower priced Mac to try out and if I like it and find it easy give that Mac to my mother and pick up a Mac Pro for my second purchase. I also do not want a laptop leaving just the iMacs and Mac Minis as options.

    I need to use Parallels or Bootcamp to run Windows so I can use VPN and Remote Administrator to remote into my office PC (the VPN and RA software is Windows only). Outside of that all of the software I normally use has Mac versions or counterparts that appear to work fine based on my observations. I also use dual desktops and would to retain dual monitor capabilities. Finally, I have a couple hard drives in RAID setup. I know with both the iMac and Mac Mini I will be restricted to the one hard drive, but I may need to add a second via USB.

    I do not like the idea of permanently melding the monitor to the desktop, but I realize for most if you replace one you replace the other and that current iMacs have a good life expectancy.

    Knowing the needs of this particular user, which Mac would you recommend? A Mini or an iMac?

  2. Schroedinger macrumors regular


    Feb 12, 2004
    Baltimore, MD
    I don't think you'll be able to pull this off. You're essentially trying to run a mac pro on the cheap to see if you like it, but you can't get all those features on the cheap.

    As you're looking for advice, I'll just tell you what I would do in your position. I would get the iMac, test it out, and then give my mom an integrated computer. No idea about your mom, but if I don't have to tell my mom what a DVI connector is, I'll save about an hour of my life.

    This way you can get a feel for OS X and go from there. All your other needs the Mac Pro will do for sure, as I do most of it now.

    Good luck.
  3. wordmunger macrumors 603


    Sep 3, 2003
    North Carolina
    Not certain, but I think the iMac can do most of those things. Isn't it possible to use the hack to add an external monitor to an iMac?

    If you don't already have a monitor and keyboard, an iMac definitely gives you the most bang for the buck.
  4. robbieduncan Moderator emeritus


    Jul 24, 2002
    iMacs support dual monitors (the built in and one external). Minis only support a single monitor and there is no way to alter this. The only solution on a Mini is a Matrox Dual-Head 2 Go or similar.
  5. kumbaya macrumors regular

    Jan 12, 2005
    iMac definitely!

    Get the 24" version - your mum will LOVE you even more!!

  6. foltzie thread starter macrumors member

    Dec 20, 2006
    Sounds like the iMac is indeed the way to go. Next question... Which model?

    Can the $999 version run a second monitor? It includes the miniDVI port... I already have an Apple remote by way of an iPod purchase a while back so thats not a large draw for me. Even if I increase the memory to 1 or 2 GB its still cheaper than than the next model.

    The only other thing missing is the Superdrive. I dont personally use DVD-Rs, but I may at some point. Of course being a trial unit I can always get the Superdrive in a future Mac Pro if needed.

    Thanks again.
  7. FFTT macrumors 68030


    Apr 17, 2004
    A Stoned Throw From Ground Zero
    I would strongly advise that you go for the iMac and preferably the
    upgrade version with the better GPU, Airport and BlueTooth pre-installed.

    For the kind of load you're working with, I'd also recommend going with
    the factory installed 2 GB RAM upgrade.

    For external storage I'd go FireWire rather than USB, but be mindful that
    it's best to not hot swap anything on a F/W connection.

    I would check out the MacRumors networking guide for specifics about
    connecting to your office network via VPN.

    You may not even have to install Windows in many cases.
  8. Grimace macrumors 68040


    Feb 17, 2003
    with Hamburglar.
    forget the mini-dvi port. An iMac with an external display doesn't look as sleek as a 24" iMac! They are built really well and will last years and years. There are a ton of expansion ports for future upgrades.
  9. jsw Moderator emeritus


    Mar 16, 2004
    Andover, MA
    If you're just looking just to try things out, get the next-to-cheapest 17" iMac and up the RAM to 2GB. It'll let you try out all the things you want to try out at a reasonable price and will work as a nice system for someone else as well... and it'll save you some money to put into the Pro.

    A mini would do the same, were it not for your dual-display needs.
  10. sushi Moderator emeritus


    Jul 19, 2002
    I am with jsw on this.

    Get an iMac and up the RAM. This will give you a good way to check out the Mac platform. And then will provide a wonderful computer for your mom with it's all in one design and ease of use.
  11. foltzie thread starter macrumors member

    Dec 20, 2006
    Thanks for the suggestions. I'm not wedded to USB for an external HD, because I'll be buying a case for one of my exisiting SATA drives. I'll certainly look into both.

    With regards to VPN though, I have to use my corporate VPN client, which is indeed Windows only. Their website even says, "Use Bootcamp."

    Thanks again.
  12. Ugg macrumors 68000


    Apr 7, 2003
    17" iMac is the way to go, especially if you plan on giving it to your mother.
  13. balamw Moderator


    Staff Member

    Aug 16, 2005
    New England
    I'll third jsw's recommendation.

    I love my Core Duo 17" iMac, particularly once I hooked it up to our 40" LCD TV and bumped up the RAM to 2GB. It only looks puny if there's a 24" in the same room, by itself it's very usable. Go for the one that has SuperDrive and non-integrated graphics and Core 2 Duo for a bit of future proofing (your mom won't need to upgrade quite so soon).


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