First Mac to Replace PC (Need Advice)

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by monkeycid, Dec 12, 2012.

  1. monkeycid, Dec 12, 2012
    Last edited: Dec 12, 2012

    monkeycid macrumors member

    Dec 12, 2012
    Hi everyone,

    Apologies if I posted this in the wrong forum. It was a toss between here and the iMac section. Anyway, a little background. I currently use a 3-4 years old PC with low-end specifications.

    Windows Vista Home Premium 32-bit
    Intel Core 2 quad-core 2.50GHz
    3GB RAM
    AT Radeon HD 4800 Series 512MB

    At the moment my PC is struggling for processing power and I have to play games on the lowest settings, but I think that's just a sign of a dying computer. This time I'd like to replace it with a Mac since I tend not to play too many games nowadays and instead just play one, Diablo 3 and maybe try StarCraft 2 in the near future.

    Now, I don't have a budget as such and I'll have to use some of my savings to pay but I really don't want to spend more than £1,200 and that includes a monitor/display. The PC I currently use cost around £800 and Mac's are considerably more.

    I'm not too fussed about hard-drives and Mac software because I don't store much on my computer. 2-3 games at most and the OS. At the moment I have 461 GB free space out of 581 GB hard-drive which shows just how much I use the hard-drive.

    The main purpose of the Mac will be to play primarily Diablo 3 and StarCraft 2, and to play them at high settings using the native resolution (if possible). Then of course to browse the web and whatnot.

    Any advice, tips, and feedback would be greatly appreciated.
  2. MacVibe macrumors regular

    Dec 21, 2009
    I propose your perceived processing power problems would be solved with a fresh install of a 64 bit OS (win 7 or 8) and upgrading the ram to 8 GB. As far as gaming goes, you can do much better (for a lot less money) with a GPU card upgrade.
  3. designs216 macrumors 65816


    Oct 26, 2009
    Down the rabbit hole
    I would look at the Mini MD387LL/A (base model) and try to get it from one of the sites like Amazon that sell tax free with free shipping for max savings. I like this model because it's user upgradable and you can likely use your existing monitor. Looks like it will cost you around $590.
  4. RedCroissant Suspended

    Aug 13, 2011
    I agree with MacVibe that you could save yourself a lot of money by using the 64-bit version of Windows, increasing the RAM, and upgrading the GPU card. That being said, do you have a copy of 64-bit Vista? If not, then buying one is still cheaper than buying a brand new computer, especially if it is just to play a couple of games and do very basic computer tasks like the ones you mentioned. Otherwise, you'll never be able to get the OS to recognize much more than you have right now.

    Another thing that is still cheaper than buying a new computer would be to invest in a SSD. You can get a 128GB SSD now for less than $100 and the speed increase in that drive alone could be very useful. Couple that with a firewire or eSATA docking station for your current internal hard drive, and you could continue to have additional storage at minimal cost.

    Option 1:
    1.Upgrade to 64-bit Windows Vista
    2. Max out RAM
    3. upgrade GPU
    4. Get SSD
    5. Get docking station for current internal drive

    A brand new Mac Mini will cost you at least $650(including taxes) and this price doesn't include: keyboard, mouse, MAC versions of the games that you would have to purchase, and the adapter cables for it to work with your current monitor. Factoring all of those options in, the price for the Mini, accessories(keyboard, mouse, adapter priced at $29), and games comes to roughly $900. If you can beat that price with upgrades to your current machine(which you should be able to do easily), then I would recommend that route.
  5. monkeycid thread starter macrumors member

    Dec 12, 2012
    Thanks for the replies guys.

    I've never really messed with computer parts. Usually I buy one and try to keep it running for up to 4 years and then buy a new one. The one I have now is a Dell but I would feel a bit timid about tinkering with it. I was hoping there was a Mac out there that I could afford and would be seen as an upgrade from what I have now.

    I have singled out the following Mac's but I don't know how much better they are from my current PC and if they can run Diablo 3 any better.

    21.5-inch iMac (£1,249)
    2.9GHz quad-core Intel Core i5
    8GB (two 4GB) memory
    NVIDIA GeForce GT 650M with 512MB

    13-inch MacBook Pro (£1,249)
    2.9GHz dual-core Intel Core i7
    8GB 1600MHz memory
    Intel HD Graphics 4000

    Which would be best for my needs? And would I see much of an improvement from my current PC? I'm a little particular. I would feel awkward using a Mac mini with a Dell monitor for instance but the Apple Thunderbolt would bring the price of a mini to over £1,400 so I rule them out.
  6. LaunchpadBS macrumors 6502a

    Nov 11, 2008
    If you've got a monitor then get a Mini, the mid range is a quad core i7 and upgrading/tinkering the ram is a cinch!

    You'll save yourself a bit and it's fast.
  7. gnasher729 macrumors P6


    Nov 25, 2005
    Both are fine computers. The iMac is more powerful, the MBP is portable - you decide what you prefer. If you wanted to upgrade your old computer, go to and they will let you choose your exact computer model and show what RAM is available.

    BTW. The Apple Thunderbolt monitors are absolutely high end monitors. Your old monitor will probably work, and you can get a decent monitor for £100 or an excellent one for £200.

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