Help! Am a student which pc / mac mini

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by Matty-p, Apr 3, 2010.

  1. Matty-p macrumors regular

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    Apr 3, 2010
    #1
    Ok so I am a student (15) going into my final year of gcse's next year.I use 2ghz c2d iMac at school In my digital art couse and really like the os . I am looking to replace my old desktop pc ( I allready have a nice 24" monitor and wireless keyboard and mouse so don't worry about those) with a budget o about £400.00 (GDP). I have looked around and it seems i have these three options witch would you suggest for me on a average day I'll be doing quite heavy web brousing (firefox 7-10 tabs) email and backup client running in the background.
    from time to time I'll also use iTunes, open office , light Photoshop and indesign not all at the same time. So here are my options I'd like it to last about 2-3 years thanks so much for your help in advance !

    Used mac mini 1.8 ghz c2d I'll upgrade the ram to 2gb and the hard drive to either a 500gb 5400. Or a 320gb 7200 - about £380

    build my own quad core - core i5 pc (dual boot ubuntu and xp 64 bit) with 4gb 1600mhz ram 500gb hardrive . About £370

    Save up £75 and get brand new base model mac mini -2.2 ghz c2d 2gb ddr3 ram 160 gb hard drive.-about £475
     
  2. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

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    #2
    Refurb Mini is only 439£ so sign up in http://www.refurb.me/index.php and you'll get an email when there is one available but be quick, Minis go pretty fast so when you see one, buy it. Bump the RAM and HD later on if needed
     
  3. Coldmode macrumors regular

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    Mar 10, 2010
    #3
    If you like OS X but are on a limited budget, you always have the option to hackintosh. 15 is the perfect time to start learning =). You'll get a hell of a lot more power for your money than if you buy a mini as well.
     
  4. Matty-p thread starter macrumors regular

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    #4
    Yea I was thinking about that with the i5 machine I was going to build :) but while I'm not afraid of messin about with computers I thought it might be hard becos I'm building the machine from scratch so making sure that all of the individual components all have drivers and supported ect might be difficault compared with a off the shelf pc that someone has allready made a hackitosh image for
     
  5. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

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    #5
    http://www.insanelymac.com/

    They offer best Hackintosh help and will tell you a component combo for your budget which can easily be Hackintoshed.
     
  6. neiltc13 macrumors 68040

    neiltc13

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    #6
    This is really a no-brainer to me. You can get an i5 system (4 cores) for less money than a used Core 2 Duo system from Apple. The difference in performance is very significant and if you install Windows 7 you'll get an OS that is more stable than OS X IMO.

    I would not buy any computers from Apple until they update them to at least the budget baseline that's out there right now. The current Mac minis are a good couple of years out of date yet are priced as if they are modern performance machines.
     
  7. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

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    #7
    3 of those 4 cores will be idling 98% of the time...

    Seeing that you usage is quite light, think about building a cheap Core 2 Duo with an okay mobo with integrated GPU. That's more than enough for you for years! If you want to game, just buy a GPU and install it.

    When I was 15, my money went to booze and cigs so save as much as you can and use the money "wiselier" for other stuff
     
  8. JNickyJJ macrumors member

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    Mar 26, 2010
    #8
    i have to agree with the above, a hackingtosh [​IMG] or a refurb mini are your best options
     
  9. MacMini2009 macrumors 68000

    MacMini2009

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  10. Matty-p thread starter macrumors regular

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    Apr 3, 2010
    #10
    thanks

    thanks to everyone who has helped me with this every comment and piece of input has been really usefull. so i think i have decided to go for a self build core i5 (750) 4gb 1600mhz ddr3 1tb hard drive and intergrated graphics (for now):) and go down to th apple store on tuesday to get a licence/copy of snow lepord (i know not strickly needed but good for my consiance) and try and make my self a hackintosh (duel boot ubuntu) core i5 that preformance wise should actually have a slight (and i mean slight) edge on the £2k:eek: entry leval :apple: mac pro :D:D (more ram+faster ram+bigger hard drive+slighly faster hardrive) if i dont manage to get this to work (i dont really see why not i have checked the components are compatable (ish) and i have a weeks holiday to do it in if i need!)ill just stick windows 7 on it and sell it and buy myself a refurb or new mac mini:).

    Thanks again to everyone you have been really helpfull

    oh btw 'hellhamer'
    i did quickly price up a c2d system and it worked out only £105.00 cheaper than the core i5 system mainly beacause ddr2 ram is actually slighly MORE expensive than ddr3 that has TWICE the clock speed at the moment and i figured that while a c2d system might last me 2 years the i5 system would probly last me 3-4 years and the p55 chipset is future profed so in the future i wouldn't have to upgrade the mobo.so IMO the i5 represented better value and when im doing animation next year in my corse i know ill be able to have that open aswell as photoshop indesighn and firefox without my compuer grinding to a halt! thanks anyway for the sugestion it was still helpfull
     
  11. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

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    #11
    People don't usually use retail copy because Hackintoshes need modified version of OS X to work properly. There are ways to get retail version to work as well but as I said, check InsanelyMac for Hackintoshing.

    That sounds pretty good. You can grab a GPU anytime you want but integrated one is fine for your usage but if you want to game, then ivesting ~100£ on ATI 5770 is worth it

    EDIT: Ahh, OK, sounds fair then!
     
  12. Matty-p thread starter macrumors regular

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    Apr 3, 2010
    #12
    yea i know that i dont actually need the retail version i probly wont even take it out the bag but having the licence makes me sleep easier at night and it makes it a bit more legal and its only like £20 anyways.

    totally agree about the gpu i dotn use my pc for gaming and probly won't ever becouse i am a casual gamer and i use a playstation 3 for gaming (friends havs psn acounts so can chat play online ect) for me these no need or atraction to play on a pc becoz of a couple of frames a second. if i add more displays im thinking 2 more 24" so i have like a periorbital view of my screens ill add a mid/lower range (£90) graphics card then. thanks again for all of your help and advice :)

    EDIT:haaa just noticed your edit straight after i had posted oh well i leve it in anyway:D
     
  13. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

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    #13
    Sounds cool! If it makes you feel better it's sure worth it and it's only 20£ anyway.

    GPUs are very easy to add and any GPU will be fine for extra displays. I built my parents a PC with ATI 4350 with passive cooling which I got for 27€ and it's more that fine for them and they run dual displays.

    If you need help in building etc, drop me a line, I build them for living. Cheers,
     
  14. Matty-p thread starter macrumors regular

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    Apr 3, 2010
    #14
    ]
    yea i droped a cheap £30 gpu into my soon to be old single core amd 64 desktop (the mobo only had one vga port nothing else) so i could use a old 19" monitor my dad was going to through out if i didn't want it as a secondry display for itunes or whatever im doing in the background and it works great.

    thanks i generally know my way round a computer and if i get stuck my dad might be able to help me (he runs/owns a company that makes pabx's (basically servers that runs a companys voip phones) but if not ill ask you (really kind of you btw). really cool job i'd love to that all day long !
     
  15. jaforres macrumors member

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    Oct 18, 2009
    #15
    I experimented with the hackinstosh for a while but there is something to be said having a computer that doesn't require me to think much :) It is nice knowing the next update/patch/etc will work without much intervention.
     
  16. Matty-p thread starter macrumors regular

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    Apr 3, 2010
    #16
    I agree with you there to some
    extent I don't mind too much if it turns out to be really anoying or unstable I will just use ubuntu or xp 64 bit or sell it and buy a new or refurb mac mini.but I think it will be an interesting experiment to see I really can make a "mac" that is faster than the base mac pro for a 6th of the price and cheaper than a used mac mini . And will value the experience purely from a learning/educational pov
    m
     
  17. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

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    #17
    Hackintosh can be very reliable and stable but it may take time to find the right version of it. Just don't update it if not needed, they usually kill the system.

    Also, I strongly suggest you getting the Windows 7 64-bit, either buy it for ~75£ or just download it. 64-bit XP is very unstable and there ain't much software for it but W7 is rock stable
     
  18. Winni macrumors 68030

    Winni

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    Oct 15, 2008
    Location:
    Germany.
    #18

    You live in the European Union, and in all likelihood, the parts of Apple's EULA in which they force the customer to bundle the software with Apple hardware are either invalid by local laws or not legally binding. We do not even yet know whether Apple's EULA is legal by American laws. However, we already do know for certain that Microsoft's OEM EULA, which also tried to bundle the software to specific hardware, was invalidated by German courts in the year 2000.

    Maybe when Steve Jobs retires Apple will finally see the light and open OS X to other hardware platforms without playing any legal games. Maybe. Until then they can try and sue us in Europe. And strangely enough, they haven't yet sued any European company that builds Hackintoshes...

    Anyway. When you build your own Hackintosh, try not to use "exotic" hardware -- stick to default Intel CPUs, Intel chipsets and graphics chipsets that are supported by Mac OS X "out of the box". If you want to use a wireless chipset, make sure it is either one that is supported by OS X out of the box -or- go for one that has working OS X drivers, like Ralink USB sticks - they work great in OS X. Actually, in my experience, Ralink USB WLAN sticks work even better than Apple's own Airport cards when you use non-Apple WLAN routers.
     
  19. Matty-p thread starter macrumors regular

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    Apr 3, 2010
    #19
    Yea thanks I gave read mixed reviews with the updates sone saying there fine but most saying stick with the current version as teh update will proply mess it up.

    I allready have a licence for xp 64 and i hav litterally grown up with xp have used on my home computer and laptop since the month it came out and still us it to this day and all of my school got xp after about 2months of me biend there and still use it to this day too (classic(win 98/2000) theme at home normal at school) I have used win 7 on my dads laptop and hated it I feel like everything is in the wrong place and visually it looks horible.while i have had a couple of stability issues on xp 64 over the 4 years of me using it every day personally I think that's acceptable (it's based on 2003 server architecture isn't it?) as for apps ATM I can run everything I want to I know thy won't last forever when there are apps I can't run on xp I'll uses ubunt or OSx for that hopefully . Thanks for your suggestion anyway I know w7 64 is the logical thing to do I just don't really want to !! =)
     
  20. Matty-p thread starter macrumors regular

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    Apr 3, 2010
    #20
    Thanks for you're great advice there yea I like in the eu (uk). We can only hope :apple: opens up osx after sj retires but I have a funny feeling that the won't !!

    Thanks so much for the info on the wifi USB sticks I've been looking for a solution for getting it networked wirelessly thank that was really helpfull. Btw agree with your sig apple have some cool products like the iPod touch Im writing this on and osx ect but the way they run there company is so horible and in a way anti user drm on songs and I presume books osx only on macs three times as much as a pc or six times in my case (see above).anyway I digress thanks for the help
     
  21. extrovertus macrumors newbie

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    Mar 30, 2009
    Location:
    UK
    #21
    To build or to buy?

    Hi.

    It really depends on what 'pushes your buttons'. If you enjoy messing with computer innards (which I did for years) then building is always apparently cheaper, with more bang for your buck. Hackintosh is however, more complex than cobbling a PC together. If you want solid, dependable computing then off the shelf Mac or PC is a safer bet. The graphics on the current Minis is much better than before and is tolerable for gaming but as you know, you can turbo charge any PC with dazzling graphics for a few pounds. The spanner in the works is that Mini is overpriced, period.

    Now for the shaky ground -- as a Dad with a son who now has a Mac Mini, I would say buy genuine :apple: with a top up or subsidy from family. It could be a friendly loan or payment for helping out with something unusual. The real cost of building a computer goes beyond the components. The intangible costs are the hours of searching forums for help when something weird happens after an update.
     
  22. Matty-p thread starter macrumors regular

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    Apr 3, 2010
    #22
    yea i like /don't mind playing with the innards of a computer and I understand that a hackintosh
    is more work than /fusss than sticking a mobo a CPU an a couple of sticks of ram in a case but I
    like chalenges when it comes to computers and I obviously don't have a job and have quite lot of
    free time so for me time isn't money. And at the end of the day if hackintosh dosent work I'll use
    ubuntu or xp on it or sell it and get a off the shelf mini (don't like off the shelf pc's pay way over the odds spend 3 hours installing bloatware from hp and nearo and witch it gives you no option
    to get out of then spend anouther hour uninstaling the bloatware and downlading the Browser that you actually want to use mail client you want to use ect)

    I could definately have/"borrow" £70 from my parents for a mac to do "corsework" on but to pay more for a c2d macmini than for a machine that outruns a base level 2k£ mac pro for me is just hard for me to justify and it would bug me when ever it was slow! thank for your opinion /comments though really apriciated this thanks
     

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