Have birthday money. What should I buy?

Discussion in 'Macintosh Computers' started by anubis, Sep 5, 2004.

  1. anubis macrumors 6502a

    Feb 7, 2003
    I recently turned 21 (yesterday). Aside from the obvious benefits of turning 21, I've amassed a total of $910 in birthday money. I was thinking of buying some computer hardware. Here's a current list of the equipment I'm looking to upgrade/replace:

    1. Dual 867mhz Powermac G4, 60gig, 1.25gig, combo, geforce4 mx 32mb

    2. Samsung 17-inch flat panel LCD (vga, 1280x1024)

    3. Dell Inspiron 8100 laptop 1ghz P3, 30gig, 512meg, dvd, radeon 7500 64mb, 15-inch display

    I kind of want to replace my Powermac, because although it is decently fast, I recently had the pleasure of using a dual 2.0ghz powermac g5 at my university's bookstore, and it is REALLY SWEET. It feels like it's at least 5 times faster than my g4. I mainly use my g4 for internet, email, IM, maple, mathematica, matlab, light photoshop, itunes, unreal tournament, civ 3, etc. I can sell my g4 for about 1.1G on ebay and a decently upgraded g5 is $1884 with edu discount.

    I really want to upgrade my Samsung 17-inch flat panel. I've been having flat-panel envy these days, as some people I work with recently purchased some beautiful 20.1" Dell Ultrasharp 2001fp's. At the bookstore, they also have on display new 20-inch and 23-inch apple cinema displays. They're both really sweet. I want to get the 20-inch apple cinema display because it looks really cool and has some nice specs. However, the dell ultrasharp has s-video, composit, dvi, and vga input and costs $400 less. It is also standard aspect, which means watching full-screen dvds and more importantly playing video games will use the whole screen. However, lots of games (like UT) can't be configured to use widescreen displays, which means I wouldn't get any more gameplay screen area on a 20-inch cinema display than i arleady get with my 17-inch (standard aspect) display. Which, if either, should I get? The cinema is $1169 with edu discount, dell ultrasharp is $750, and I could possibly sell my samsung for $250-$300.

    Finally, I'd like to get a new laptop for one reason: the Inspiron 8100 I have weighs over 8 pounds and it literally hurts my neck and back to carry it in my backpack anywhere. What's the point of having a "portable" computer if it's so heavy I can't/don't feel like taking it anywhere? It i was going to sell my inspiron, I'd have to replace it with another PC laptop because, being an electrical engineering major, I HAVE to run software that's available PC-only (TopSPICE, Pspice, Ansoft Designer, Altera Quartus, Altera Max+II Baseline, MathCAD, Scientific Workplace, SPSS, SAS, etc.). The main consideration would be weight: anything over about 5 pounds would be unacceptable. 4 pounds or lighter would be ideal. I priced some Inspiron 600m and 700m laptops and a decently upgraded model (i.e. non-celeron processor and enough ram to at least boot into XP) is like $1700 - way more than I want to pay to shed a few pounds. The inspiron I have now is fast enough for everything I do. Should I sell it? What other PC manufacturers make light laptops? The powerbook is too expensive for me, and the ibook is far too slow. Suggestions? I could probably sell my inspiron for about $600.

    What should I do?
  2. ChrisFromCanada macrumors 65816


    May 3, 2004
    Hamilton, Ontario (CANADA)
    What I would do:

    Sell Samsung Monitor for $300

    Sell P3 Laptop for $500 - $700

    Total cash: $1910

    Buy Dell Monitor for $750

    Buy $1170 Crappy PC Laptop
  3. iLikeMyiMac macrumors 6502a


    Jul 17, 2004
    St. Louis
  4. JeffTL macrumors 6502a

    Dec 18, 2003
    Keep the monster PC if you need it, but get an iBook for when you don't. My G3/800 iBook isn't terribly slow so the 1 GHz and 1.2 GHz G4 iBooks should be plenty fast for most tasks.

    Or if you don't want the iBook, try to scrape it together for a new Power Mac.
  5. JFreak macrumors 68040


    Jul 11, 2003
    Tampere, Finland
    sell everything and buy a new powermac with a new cinema display, and then if you still have money, buy a new ibook too :)
  6. anubis thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Feb 7, 2003
    That's what the hell I'm talkin about. I think I agree with your plan the best. Although this is what I'd like to do, I don't really have enough money to do it all. I'm thinking I may get the cinema display and wait for the next round of g5 revisions, and then get one of those. I'll have more money by then. ;)

    Thanks for the input!
  7. echeck macrumors 68000


    Apr 20, 2004
    Boise, Idaho
    Yeah, I just bought a new 1ghz iBook and it's great. It lags a little in PS but that's because I only have 256 megs of RAM. :p
  8. JFreak macrumors 68040


    Jul 11, 2003
    Tampere, Finland
    you could sell your powermac and laptop, and keep the old display, buy a new powermac now and a cinema display later. how about that? ;)
  9. Les Kern macrumors 68040

    Les Kern

    Apr 26, 2002
    Spend 100 bucks, and bank the rest.
    I don't have to remind you that there will be nothing there for you when you retire. Damn, if I could go back, I could retire right now IF I would have saved 10% of the money I've made over my life. I know my answer isn't in the spirit of the post, but it might be the most valuable! :)
  10. robotrenegade macrumors 6502a


    Apr 16, 2002
    Sell all your computers stuff and get the new 20" iMac and get 2GB of ram.
  11. Veldek macrumors 68000


    Mar 29, 2003
    He clearly stated that he needs a PC so I don’t understand all who say he should only get Macs. But, by the way, SPSS is available for Macs AFAIK. And I would think SAS also, because JMP is available, too. So I second ChrisfromCanada’s view.
  12. CmdrLaForge macrumors 601


    Feb 26, 2003
    around the world
    OK, here is what I would do, sell your Samsung and Dell and then get a 15" Powerbook OR the 20" iMac. The decision here is portability vs. screen real estate.
  13. crazzyeddie macrumors 68030


    Dec 7, 2002
    Florida, USA
    Who watches full screen movies? You lose a lot of the picture when you do that...

    But anyway, if you want the Dell monitor, get it. Then upgrade to a G5 and/or an iBook.
  14. Spock macrumors 68000


    Jan 6, 2002
    You really want to hook Your Powermac G5 to a DELL?? Suck it up. Use Your 17" Samsung, sell the Laptop, buy a G5 and a new iPod.
  15. Hoef macrumors 6502a


    Jul 11, 2004
    Houston, TX..... (keep walking)
    How about some Apple stock? Be ready for the Christmas run up ... Then ditch around December, should fetch some 12% at least
  16. Mechcozmo macrumors 603


    Jul 17, 2004
    Get a $100 to $250 processor upgrade for that G4. Overclock the upgrade a tad bit. (Get a 1.33Ghz and you an go to 1.4, 1.5 ish) But I would read up on how to do that first...check out the fujitsu laptops, they are really light and a few have a small screen, but they are touch screens (NOT TABLETS!!!) so you can tap around on the screen. Sell that paperweight...I mean, current PC laptop to get the Fujitsu. And suck it up, save the rest. The monitor still works fine, right? Thought so.
  17. wPod macrumors 68000


    Aug 19, 2003
    Denver, CO
    sell it all. . . get an iBook or PB and a cheap $500 dell desktop if you really need a windows machine.
  18. Jimong5 macrumors 6502

    Jul 22, 2002
    I myself have a dual 867, and with my graduation money upgraded the snot out of it. Im at 1 GB ram, 320 GB of HD, a superdrive, and a radeon 9700. The 9700 makes every game playable at max settings. true, its no dual 2 GHz G5, but its still a very capable mac that will last me for at least 4 more years (i hope) if it was my choice, I may buy a GFx upgrade (depends on if you want to play games or not) or just bank the money until I had enough to buy a G5 then. a dual G4 will last you at least one more year, and by that time dual core G5's may be out, or a G5 Powerbook.
  19. bryantm3 macrumors regular

    Nov 15, 2003
    ok, sell all of the above like this:
    -g4 for about 700-800 dollars
    -lcd for around 200 dollars
    -laptop for around 600 dollars
    subtotal earned: 1600 dollars
    total earned: 2700 dollars
    put it in a savings account and keep adding over the years, cos right now:

    • Dual 1.8GHz PowerPC G5
    • 1GB DDR400 SDRAM (PC3200) - 2x512
    • 160GB Serial ATA - 7200rpm
    • NVIDIA GeForce 6800 Ultra DDL*
    • Apple Cinema Display (20" flat panel)
    • 56k V.92 internal modem
    • 8x SuperDrive (DVD-R/CD-RW)
    • Apple Keyboard & Apple Mouse - U.S. English
    • Mac OS X - U.S. English
    • APP for Power Mac (w/ or w/o display) - Enrollment Kit

    Subtotal $4,372.00

    *not necessary, but nice. you can go with an ATI Radeon 9800 xt for 150 less, 9600 xt for 450 less, and a nvidia geforce 5200 (sucks ass) for 500 less.
  20. vraxtus macrumors 65816


    Aug 4, 2004
    San Francisco, CA

    This is actually a very smart idea... for the patient however. :D

    To the original poster, I'm your age, and like you I tend to be on the greedy side when it comes to my purchases... once you get money spend it right away, yes?

    I had actually contemplated the above idea more heavily than buying... but I was too lazy to actually go through the process of purchasing stock. However this is not a bad idea at all, if you have the patience for it. You could put your money into the stock now, wait til newer hardware revisions, and *knowing* that the stock will do well, pull out at the right time, net a few hundred, and put it into a much better setup.
  21. Daveman Deluxe macrumors 68000

    Daveman Deluxe

    Jun 17, 2003
    Corvallis, Oregon
    I second the $910 of beer. That or $910 of ice cream.
  22. anubis thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Feb 7, 2003
    Thank you all so much for all of the replies? Each of you bring up some excellent points.

    bryantm3: I agree. The Powermac G5 i'm looking at right now has the following specs (i think):

    Dual 1.8ghz
    512mb ram (i'll upgrade that myself. apple store ram prices are a ripoff)
    80 gig HD
    radeon 9600 xt (agreed: the nvidia 6800 would be nice, and the 5200 sucks balls)
    no modem
    combo drive (wanting to buy a pioneer 108 dual layer dvd burner)
    bluetooth keyboard/mouse kit.

    That comes to $1884.

    Jimong5: agreed. I think I'm going to at least wait for the next revision of the Powermac. If macrumors indicates that dual core g5 (or g6?) will be available in the following around of updates, I may hold off for 2 revisions.

    Mechcozmo: Thanks for the tip on the fujitsu laptop. Regarding your comment on the screen: yes, the flat panel I have right now does work. However, why does ANYONE on this planet buy a flat panel monitor? 19-inch CRTs are like $150 and 19-inch flat Panels are like $500. Why are people willing to spend that much extra for the same amount of screen real estate? Because they want to save energy costs? Please. If you're spending $500 on a monitor, you're not worried about energy costs. Because flat panels are easier on the eyes? You can get flat-screen CRTs that are as easy on the eyes. Because you need more desk space? I guess. The way I figure it, the main reason why people buy flat panel monitors is because they're cool. They're fun to show off. I mean, let's face it: All success is driven by the need to make others feel bad about themselves. If I can trade my 17-inch flat panel for a 20.1-inch flat panel, i'm there. ;)z

    Spock: same comment as mechcozmo. Unfortunately, I've calculated this out: I have already been offered $300 for my 17" panel. Dell Ultrasharp 20.1" costs $750, Cinema 20" costs $1169. After figuring in the money from the sale of the 17", the out-of-pocket cost for the dell is $450; out-of-pocket cost of the Cinema is $769, a bit under twice as much. And with the Dell i get 156,000 more pixles. I guess what I'm saying is, to me, the extra $319 isn't worth it to get the "prettier" monitor. And anyway, I've seen the Dell 2001fp in person, and it is a really nice display. I'd be proud of it. Read the comment I made earlier about waiting for the next G5 revision. And I already have an iPod mini. ;)

    crazzyeddie: Yes, I think I will be going for the dell monitor. And the reason why full-screen matters to me DVD-wise is that most of the DVD-watch I do is TV episodes, e.g. The Simpsons, Futurama, Family Guy, Star Trek DS9/Voyager, MASH, and so on. Otherwise I agree that for movies, wide-screen is the way to go.

    CmdrLaForge: I need a PC.

    Robotrenegade: The iMac scares me for several reasons: ****ty graphics card that i can't (easily) upgrade, single processor, limited expansion options, 2gb ram limit, would need to wait for a hack to run dual monitor, which is pretty much a requirement of mine.

    Les Kern: The time will come to start saving for retirement. Right now i'm a poor college student, so saving money isn't very practical to me at the moment. In a couple of years I'll have a B.S. in Electrical Engineering and then I'll be rolling in cash, and then it will be time to save for retirement.

    Hoef: Easier said than done. I've have to open an account with an online broker, there's all kinds of startup fees, blah blah blah. See comment above; when I have major cash to throw around, then I'll start trading stocks.

    iLikemyImac: now that's the best idea I've heard all week.

    I think what I've decided to do is this: Keep my inspiron. It'll keep breaking my back, but maybe i'll finally build up some decent shoulders with that ;). Going to go for the Dell Ultrasharp 2001fp for the reasons listed above: it's less expensive and still has fairly good lucks and good specs. I have already sold my 17" panel for $300. I'm going to keep my G4 Powermac around at least until the next Powermac G5 update/price drop. Then I'll sell the G4 and buy a G5. Perhaps at some future date, after I've banked a good wad of cash, I'll sell the dell ultrasharp and go for the cinema display. Perhaps the cinema display will be cheaper by then as well. Implimenting this plan will leave me with about $450 of beer money.

    Unless someone can give me a very compelling argument otherwise, this will be my plan. Thank you all very much for all of the feedback. Time to get drunk now at 2:30 in the PM. :D
  23. bryantm3 macrumors regular

    Nov 15, 2003
    if you're able to get 2700$ out of this, and the price of your ideal computer only comes up to 1884, you still have about 900$ to spend on a display.
    the display that you want, the 20", costs 1299$, 400$ above what you have.

    what i would do, is sell all of the above, put the money in a savings account, gain interest, and use your next month's salary to compensate for the rest.
    then buy the powermac and the display, and you'll be set up.
    sounds a lot better than a G4 and a dell to me, what do you think?
  24. bryantm3 macrumors regular

    Nov 15, 2003
    also, if you want to, you can get a 20" display (the older g4 style ones) for 1100$ new or 900$ used from amazon.

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