Resolved Help me justify buying a Mac :(

egy195

macrumors regular
Original poster
Jan 28, 2014
113
1
i've been a windows user all my life and only used a mac (blackbook) for a day before selling it(stupid i know) and i really want to use a mac but they are SO expensive here in egypt for what i want from a computer.
i measured the costs of building a decent i3 computer myself and with screen and keyboard/mouse it will cost me about 500 usd, i think this is still less expensive than a base model mac mini (without a monitor and keyboard/mouse).
all i want from my computer is to be able to surf the web and watch youtube and stream movies, basic stuff and i can't justify buying a mac for that :(
can someone give me his perspective on that ?
 
Last edited:

Felasco

Guest
Oct 19, 2012
372
2
I suggest you buy a used Mac. You can get a five year old Mac laptop with a 90 day warranty (expandable for an extra fee) for roughly $400 or so. I have one myself, and it is plenty powerful enough for the basic tasks you describe.

A reliable vendor I've used a number of times is MacOfAllTrades.com. I have no relationship with the company other than as a happy customer.

Here are three desk top Macs under $300:

http://www.macofalltrades.com/Refur...htm?searching=Y&sort=1&cat=297&show=30&page=1

Here are four laptops in the same price range:

http://www.macofalltrades.com/Refur...5.htm?searching=Y&sort=1&cat=5&show=75&page=1

You can get even older Macs really cheap, like under $100. I have one that I use only to stream Pandora. You can surf the web on it, and I did so for years, but it's pretty slow compared to modern models and would probably be disappointing.

I'd suggest you shoot for something in the $300-$500 price range. Buy from a reliable used Mac vendor with a 90 day warranty. If you have questions about particular vendors post your questions on the forum and I'm sure somebody will be able to assist.

Have fun!
 
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egy195

macrumors regular
Original poster
Jan 28, 2014
113
1
I suggest you buy a used Mac. You can get a five year old Mac laptop with a 90 day warranty (expandable for an extra fee) for roughly $400 or so. I have one myself, and it is plenty powerful enough for the basic tasks you describe.

A reliable vendor I've used a number of times is MacOfAllTrades.com. I have no relationship with the company other than as a happy customer.

Here are three desk top Macs under $300:

http://www.macofalltrades.com/Refur...htm?searching=Y&sort=1&cat=297&show=30&page=1

Here are four laptops in the same price range:

http://www.macofalltrades.com/Refur...5.htm?searching=Y&sort=1&cat=5&show=75&page=1

You can get even older Macs really cheap, like under $100. I have one that I use only to stream Pandora. You can surf the web on it, and I did so for years, but it's pretty slow compared to modern models and would probably be disappointing.

I'd suggest you shoot for something in the $300-$500 price range. Buy from a reliable used Mac vendor with a 90 day warranty. If you have questions about particular vendors post your questions on the forum and I'm sure somebody will be able to assist.

Have fun!
thanks for replying, i thought about getting a used power mac g5 but the asking price was high for that machine so dropped the idea.
the mac pro towers are still expensive here so i guess it's the imac for me, cost around 600 usd, still in my range but i'm scared that something will go wrong and then i'm stuck with a dead machine with no apple stores here, if i build the computer i can replace any dead part myself, is that logical ? should i just trust the imac ?
 
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keysofanxiety

macrumors G3
Nov 23, 2011
9,539
25,261
thanks for replying, i thought about getting a used power mac g5 but the asking price was high for that machine so dropped the idea.
the mac pro towers are still expensive here so i guess it's the imac for me, cost around 600 usd, still in my range but i'm scared that something will go wrong and then i'm stuck with a dead machine with no apple stores here, if i build the computer i can replace any dead part myself, is that logical ? should i just trust the imac ?
Save your cash if you can't get a Mac with AppleCare/warranty within your budget. Build a decent Windows machine or buy one. For what you're looking at doing, you can't justify the price difference of a Mac.
 
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egy195

macrumors regular
Original poster
Jan 28, 2014
113
1
Save your cash if you can't get a Mac with AppleCare/warranty within your budget. Build a decent Windows machine or buy one. For what you're looking at doing, you can't justify the price difference of a Mac.
i know this but was trying to get another perspective, logical thing to do is buy pc parts and build it myself, i need other opinions though.

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See the links above.
online purchase is not very good here i'm afraid :(
 
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keysofanxiety

macrumors G3
Nov 23, 2011
9,539
25,261
i know this but was trying to get another perspective, logical thing to do is buy pc parts and build it myself, i need other opinions though.
You'll get plenty of opinions on MacRumours; buy a Mac. However, looking at your situation objectively, it's just not worth the extra money for what you'll be doing.
 
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mad3inch1na

macrumors 6502a
Oct 21, 2013
662
6
i know this but was trying to get another perspective, logical thing to do is buy pc parts and build it myself, i need other opinions though.]
Haha, I don't know what to tell you if you don't want to hear logical answers :p.

If you are up for the task, just build a hackintosh. It sounds like you know your way around computers at least a little bit, and in the past few years, building a hackintosh has become much easier. Check out tonymacx86.com, as it will provide the drivers, the instructions, and the perfect build for your needs. Hackintoshs are limited, as it is difficult to upgrade the OS, and there are some issues with Airplay and iMessage. I love mine, and I never use my Windows partition. just make sure the Windows OS is set up as well, because it is not the most stable.

Matt
 
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egy195

macrumors regular
Original poster
Jan 28, 2014
113
1
You'll get plenty of opinions on MacRumours; buy a Mac. However, looking at your situation objectively, it's just not worth the extra money for what you'll be doing.
lol you're right but i trust the people here so :rolleyes:

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Haha, I don't know what to tell you if you don't want to hear logical answers :p.

If you are up for the task, just build a hackintosh. It sounds like you know your way around computers at least a little bit, and in the past few years, building a hackintosh has become much easier. Check out tonymacx86.com, as it will provide the drivers, the instructions, and the perfect build for your needs. Hackintoshs are limited, as it is difficult to upgrade the OS, and there are some issues with Airplay and iMessage. I love mine, and I never use my Windows partition. just make sure the Windows OS is set up as well, because it is not the most stable.

Matt
haven't really thought of building a hackintosh since i always hear about their incompatibility problems and the hassle of trying to maintain everything together but obviously will look much further into it thank you :)
 
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LostSoul80

macrumors 68020
Jan 25, 2009
2,136
7
Save more money? Or if you can't justify the price for yourself, buy a PC?
What is your question? :confused:
 
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egy195

macrumors regular
Original poster
Jan 28, 2014
113
1
Save more money? Or if you can't justify the price for yourself, buy a PC?
What is your question? :confused:
my question is should i spend the money on a mac for the uses i mentioned or should i build a decent pc ?
 
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maflynn

Moderator
Staff member
May 3, 2009
66,302
32,866
Boston
my question is should i spend the money on a mac for the uses i mentioned or should i build a decent pc ?
Either computer will work, since you're only using it for surfing and youtube. I don't think we can justify your purchase. Either you want to use a mac and use the OSX platform or use windows. I think in the long run, given the lack of support and expense of having a Mac in your country you may be better off with a PC.
 
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egy195

macrumors regular
Original poster
Jan 28, 2014
113
1
Either computer will work, since you're only using it for surfing and youtube. I don't think we can justify your purchase. Either you want to use a mac and use the OSX platform or use windows. I think in the long run, given the lack of support and expense of having a Mac in your country you may be better off with a PC.
the last point is the biggest factor of them all, buying a mac here is unheard of and you can forget about selling them after 3/4 years because none can afford them and those who can won't buy a used system.. same goes for pc but they are cheap so not a problem to buy new ones.
 
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robgendreau

macrumors 68040
Jul 13, 2008
3,337
254
Hackintoshes are pretty easy for someone who has contemplated building a machine. These days the parts are pretty interchangeable. I've been running one since 10.8 and updates haven't been much more hassle than on my real Mac. And the limitations are pretty well known; for my motherboard, for example, it's some audio issues. But otherwise it's a fantastic bargain, and if need be you just install Windows or Linux instead. For your uses, it'd be fine. Check out the sites already mentioned.
 
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gc916

macrumors regular
Apr 23, 2012
157
0
If your computer needs are limited to web surfing, streaming videos, and perhaps email, wouldn't an iPad be a viable alternative?
 
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egy195

macrumors regular
Original poster
Jan 28, 2014
113
1
Hackintoshes are pretty easy for someone who has contemplated building a machine. These days the parts are pretty interchangeable. I've been running one since 10.8 and updates haven't been much more hassle than on my real Mac. And the limitations are pretty well known; for my motherboard, for example, it's some audio issues. But otherwise it's a fantastic bargain, and if need be you just install Windows or Linux instead. For your uses, it'd be fine. Check out the sites already mentioned.
i don't know much about them other than their problems but ill look deeper into them before making any decision, thanks :)

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If your computer needs are limited to web surfing, streaming videos, and perhaps email, wouldn't an iPad be a viable alternative?
of course but that eliminates the possibility of it being used by any other family member, will be the only computer home so tablets are not viable options here:eek:
 
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Manic Harmonic

macrumors 6502
Dec 4, 2011
299
1
i don't know much about them other than their problems but ill look deeper into them before making any decision, thanks :)

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of course but that eliminates the possibility of it being used by any other family member, will be the only computer home so tablets are not viable options here:eek:
It's definitely something I would look into. I have no regrets with my hack. It has its problems here and there but I've always managed to solve them with the help of the community. If the hackintosh part doesn't work out it's not a waste of money either because it will still run windows of course. The only thing about it is that the easiest way to set up a hackintosh usually requires a working Mac, unless you use a distro such as Niresh.

On that note, here's something you may not have considered... You could hackintosh your existing PC. That can turn into a mess real quick though.

I've helped a few friends buy used Macs, one of them was a 2011 MacBook Pro for $800 on Amazon, and another was a 2010 (I think) MacBook Pro for around $600 on eBay. Used Core2Duo iMacs can be had on eBay for under $700 easily. So there are deals out there, and even though they're several years old those computers work just fine. Of course, by buying it that way you don't get any sort of warranty on them.
 
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Micky Do

macrumors 68000
Aug 31, 2012
1,896
1,714
An island in the Pacific Ocean
I spent nearly 2 months pay on my first computer system in 2005. About half went on a base model Mac Mini, and the rest was for peripherals. It came with the preloaded Office for Mac cracked, so I did not have to pay to licence that, but could not get any updates for it.

Setting up an equivalent Windows based system would have halved the cost of the computer, but everything else would have been the same…….. I didn't want the hassles that came with Windows. With the Mac I set it up, plugged it in and was good to go, all within about 15 minutes.

When the HDD and power supply failed in 2009, repair and updating software would have cost me about 2 weeks pay. I decided to spend twice that on a new base model Mini and iWork. It took just a few minutes to connect to my existing peripherals.

As I had backed up my files the week before, I lost only a little. I continued doing my thing almost seamlessly and hassle free, within 24 hours of the breakdown.

I am still using the 2009 Mini, with an extra 4 GB of RAM added (to the original 1 GB) when I moved to Mountain Lion a couple of years ago. It still has the original HDD. Should that fail, with Time Machine automatically backing up, I would lose just an hour's worth of work, at most.

I am still using most of the peripherals I bought in 2005, though a new monitor could be in order before too long. I did buy an external optical drive the other day, as the internal one has become dicky.

Nowadays a new base model Mini would set me back about 3 weeks pay (which last saw an increase in 2007), and would come with iWork at no extra cost. The loss of the internal optical drive is a good thing, in my opinion.

At this stage I am not looking to replace my 2009 Mini, but if I did another Mac Mini would be the way to go.

A new Windows machine, at half the price, plus the cost of productivity software, and having to set the thing up with drivers and all, would not be worth the hassle.
 
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556fmjoe

macrumors 68000
Apr 19, 2014
1,838
1,436
A used Mac might be a good option if you really have your heart set on a Mac. Since used Macs tend to be more expensive, a used Windows computer will generally give you more performance for the money, but it's really not necessary for the uses you described. I'd go with the one you want more rather than worry about having the fastest computer.

I was just shopping for used laptops (I'm in the US) and found lots of very good Macs for $500 or so. You should be able to get one that fits your needs quite well for that much.
 
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Micky Do

macrumors 68000
Aug 31, 2012
1,896
1,714
An island in the Pacific Ocean
A used Mac might be a good option if you really have your heart set on a Mac. Since used Macs tend to be more expensive, a used Windows computer will generally give you more performance for the money, but it's really not necessary for the uses you described. I'd go with the one you want more rather than worry about having the fastest computer.

I was just shopping for used laptops (I'm in the US) and found lots of very good Macs for $500 or so. You should be able to get one that fits your needs quite well for that much.
Buying used is a natural suggestion from people based in the USA.

Stateside there seems to be an active secondhand market for many types of product. People like to "upgrade" or "update" all the time, to keep closer to the state of the art for whatever reason (maybe just to retain bragging rights), so the secondhand market is well supplied.

The OP is in Egypt, where I guess things are more like they are here in Thailand. Folks tend to prefer buy new, and keep things for some time. The buying used option is quite a limited.
 
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egy195

macrumors regular
Original poster
Jan 28, 2014
113
1
Buying used is a natural suggestion from people based in the USA.

Stateside there seems to be an active secondhand market for many types of product. People like to "upgrade" or "update" all the time, to keep closer to the state of the art for whatever reason (maybe just to retain bragging rights), so the secondhand market is well supplied.

The OP is in Egypt, where I guess things are more like they are here in Thailand. Folks tend to prefer buy new, and keep things for some time. The buying used option is quite a limited.
bingo :D
it's different here, people don't sell their computer unless it's beyond repair or need the money, they just don't sell to upgrade after two years or so and this is why it's hard to find a used mac and even if i find one there is a catch, dead battery cracked chassis or lost keys from the keyboard and lastly dead trackpad, plus people here in egypt aren't very nice to their computers so buying a used system is not very good for me :eek:

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I spent nearly 2 months pay on my first computer system in 2005. About half went on a base model Mac Mini, and the rest was for peripherals. It came with the preloaded Office for Mac cracked, so I did not have to pay to licence that, but could not get any updates for it.

Setting up an equivalent Windows based system would have halved the cost of the computer, but everything else would have been the same…….. I didn't want the hassles that came with Windows. With the Mac I set it up, plugged it in and was good to go, all within about 15 minutes.

When the HDD and power supply failed in 2009, repair and updating software would have cost me about 2 weeks pay. I decided to spend twice that on a new base model Mini and iWork. It took just a few minutes to connect to my existing peripherals.

As I had backed up my files the week before, I lost only a little. I continued doing my thing almost seamlessly and hassle free, within 24 hours of the breakdown.

I am still using the 2009 Mini, with an extra 4 GB of RAM added (to the original 1 GB) when I moved to Mountain Lion a couple of years ago. It still has the original HDD. Should that fail, with Time Machine automatically backing up, I would lose just an hour's worth of work, at most.

I am still using most of the peripherals I bought in 2005, though a new monitor could be in order before too long. I did buy an external optical drive the other day, as the internal one has become dicky.

Nowadays a new base model Mini would set me back about 3 weeks pay (which last saw an increase in 2007), and would come with iWork at no extra cost. The loss of the internal optical drive is a good thing, in my opinion.

At this stage I am not looking to replace my 2009 Mini, but if I did another Mac Mini would be the way to go.

A new Windows machine, at half the price, plus the cost of productivity software, and having to set the thing up with drivers and all, would not be worth the hassle.
yeah i think if i buy a mac it would be a mac mini.
when i first joined here i asked alot about the mac pro and the macbook pro/air(excitement :) ) but i soon realized i would be overspending for nothing as i didn't need any of them, all i want is a computer to be able to do the things i mentioned before and i think that's the mac mini.
 
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r0k

macrumors 68040
Mar 3, 2008
3,612
73
Detroit
In 2005, my first "modern" Mac was a Mac mini. I was using Windows and Linux at the time and occasionally tinkering with an old handmedown Mac Quadra.

My mini was G4 based and ran circles around the other machines I had at the time. Gradually OSX pushed the others out of my house. I still have Windows sitting in a virtualbox if I ever need it. I haven't needed it in years.

The Mac mini is an excellent entry level Mac and I strongly recommend it. I suggest you get an Apple keyboard so you aren't stumbling over figuring out if the windows key is the cmd key or the option key. A bluetooth mouse will serve you well but if you want the full experience, consider an Apple trackpad as it gives you gestures in OSX.
 
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Boyd01

Moderator
Staff member
Feb 21, 2012
4,375
1,962
New Jersey Pine Barrens
i measured the costs of building a decent i3 computer myself and with screen and keyboard/mouse it will cost me about 500 usd, i think this is still less expensive than a base model mac mini (without a monitor and keyboard/mouse).
No idea what the situation is in Egypt, but here in the US you can get the base model mini for $550, not a whole lot more than your $500 target. Refurb mac mini's from Apple's online store were available for $509 last time I looked.

But it really comes down to your original post. You are really only using the computer for the web, and if money is tight then it's hard to justify a Mac when a cheap PC can do the same thing. If this is your situation, maybe you should just put your plans for a Mac on hold and spend your money on more important things. When your financial situation is better, then you will have a better budget to get the Mac you want.
 
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egy195

macrumors regular
Original poster
Jan 28, 2014
113
1
No idea what the situation is in Egypt, but here in the US you can get the base model mini for $550, not a whole lot more than your $500 target. Refurb mac mini's from Apple's online store were available for $509 last time I looked.

But it really comes down to your original post. You are really only using the computer for the web, and if money is tight then it's hard to justify a Mac when a cheap PC can do the same thing. If this is your situation, maybe you should just put your plans for a Mac on hold and spend your money on more important things. When your financial situation is better, then you will have a better budget to get the Mac you want.
it's not about having the money, it's about can i justify spending it on a mac when all i need is the web as you said.
i got that feeling that i can spend the money or even save it for something that may come up in the future and not on a mac when a cheap build can meet my needs.
is that weird ?

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In 2005, my first "modern" Mac was a Mac mini. I was using Windows and Linux at the time and occasionally tinkering with an old handmedown Mac Quadra.

My mini was G4 based and ran circles around the other machines I had at the time. Gradually OSX pushed the others out of my house. I still have Windows sitting in a virtualbox if I ever need it. I haven't needed it in years.

The Mac mini is an excellent entry level Mac and I strongly recommend it. I suggest you get an Apple keyboard so you aren't stumbling over figuring out if the windows key is the cmd key or the option key. A bluetooth mouse will serve you well but if you want the full experience, consider an Apple trackpad as it gives you gestures in OSX.
yeah if i decided to buy a mac i'll start with the mini as i don't need the power of the retina or the imac and see where it goes from there, thank you for replying :)
 
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iPhysicist

macrumors 65816
Nov 9, 2009
1,333
971
Dresden
For what you want to do buying USED is the best idea even if its against your habits.
In daily life your use would not excel email and some Internet leisure stuff? Thats is not much to justify a new PC or Mac if you ask me. You have a working machine that handles everything OK stick to it for another year.

If not:

You need a reliable machine? Then Mac is your best choice, even a used one.

You probably get a reliable (non core2duo) MBP of Ebay from "nearby" Italy, France, Spain or Israel (if theirs no customs problem) or other countries that want to do business with you. The international shipping fee is not that huge and your customs should be OK with used electronics from europe.


But then again - stick to whatever you have until its not bare able anymore. And then buy a used mac ;-)
 
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