iPad, new iMac, or something else?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by js81, Mar 21, 2010.

  1. js81 macrumors 65816

    js81

    Joined:
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    Location:
    KY
    #1
    Hey all:

    In a bit of dilemma here, but don't have to decide right now. I plan on purchasing in May. Here's my situation:

    I have approximately $600 dollars to spend, plus if I get a new computer I can sell my old iMac for $400-500, making approx. $1000 total. I've toyed around with several options:

    1) Buy an iPad - I would get the 16GB 3G+WiFi version. $629. Done.

    2) Buy a new iMac - I would get the base 21.5" model, refurb for $999. I have 2GB of RAM I can add to it to make 6GB total, plus the 3.06GHz C2D processor is considerably better than my 2.0GHz C2D.

    3) Buy a Mini - I would get the 2.53GHz version. $749 plus monitor(s). I like this because I can get dual, matching monitors. However, the iMac is a faster machine and can use up to 16GB of RAM. And its prettier, IMO...

    4) Buy a Macbook (or MBP). Not sure which - I have a Windows laptop (Acer 5534), so if I did this I'd probably keep my white iMac and sell the Acer.

    5) Any other ideas?

    Suggestions are greatly appreciated! Again, not in any hurry, b/c I won't have access to the money until May (after our summer vacation, to make sure its paid for!).

    EDIT: Just to help everybody out, my current iMac really isn't too bad performance-wise, I'd mostly just like the larger screen. However, I do bump into my 3GB RAM max. occasionally when multitasking (like running Word, iPhoto, Safari, and Photoshop - or just Vista in VMWare Fusion :)) That's why I'd thought of a new computer (iMac, Mini, or MB).

    I also like to couch-browse - that's really the only reason I use my Acer laptop. That's why I'd considered the iPad. And the 3G would be nice, too, since I don't have an iPhone (my phone is paid for by my work, so beggars can't be choosers... ;)).
     
  2. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

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    #2
    I would sell the iMac and Acer and get a MBP. If you sell the Acer but keep the iMac, I'm sure the iMac will just sit unused on the table, same thing if you sell it and keep the Acer. You could e.g. get a prev gen 2.4GHz 15" MBP with 9600M GT for 1299$ from refurb store, it's a great value! Or get a 13" and an external monitor as you wanted bigger screen
     
  3. js81 thread starter macrumors 65816

    js81

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    #3
    That's a thought... my only beef is I'm not a fan of using a laptop as a desktop, though I could get a stand, KB, and mouse... definitely worth considering - and it would help consolidate. :)
     
  4. Mugwumper macrumors regular

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    Palmdale, CA
    #4
    "It depends . . ." ;^)

    I guess a big question is what do you need to do with your "toys"? Since
    the iPad doesn't have a full-blown OS, it really isn't a "laptop" in the sense
    of being able to download and manipulate files. But if you don't need to do
    that, and are content with "web browsing" on the couch, then an iPad may
    be good enough.

    Perhaps size is an issue? Do you care about the keyboard on a 9" device
    vs. a laptop?

    And maybe the real question: do you care if you have 2 devices? It sounds
    like you do "real" work on the iMac which is doable on a MB/MBP, but would
    you be happy if the laptop was your only device for doing that work?

    Sounds to me like a new iMac and an iPad - but that's a lot more than your
    $1K budget. Or just the iPad?

    Sorry, not much help . . .
     
  5. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

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    #5
    mm, it's little hassle but if you get an USB hub and connect all your USB devices to it, you only have 3 cables to plug in, USB hub, Mini DisplayPort and power cord, that's quick and easy!

    Another option is to get 2GHz Mini from refurb store for 429$ and throw in 4GB of RAM (100$) and buy a monitor for it (~200$) plus mouse and KB if you don't have any spare ones. That's total of ~730$ which still leaves you money to get iPad if you sell your iMac and Acer.
     
  6. js81 thread starter macrumors 65816

    js81

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    #6
    To answer your questions:
    1) Mostly home usage - I'm a teacher, so no super heavy lifting. Work processing and PowerPoints, I keep up with my banking on an Excel spreadsheet, editing photos, music, browsing, etc., and a few games in Windows Vista (currently Age of Empires III and Bioshock - I'd LOVE to be able to run Bioshock 2!).
    2) About all I use my laptop for is web browsing - however, I had an HP Mini netbook before and HATED it. It wasn't the size; it was just too pokey to get anything done, even basic browsing, IMHO.
    3) Size isn't a big issue, at least for a portable.
    4) Don't care at all to have 2 - actually, kind like having two; gives me a backup. I do all my work on the desktop and the laptop (or iPad) is just for play.
    5) Yeah, a new iMac AND an iPad would be ideal... I can get one now and the other later (Christmas, maybe?)... but which now?
    6) You definitely DID help. Thanks!
     
  7. js81 thread starter macrumors 65816

    js81

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    #7
    The USB hub solution above is exactly how my wife uses her Macbook... not terrible, but not ideal for me. Since we have one good laptop (well, its a couple years old), I'm leaning more toward the desktop, I think...

    I like the Mini idea, but all I really gain is the screen upgrade (and I guess the 9400M is better than my X1600)... would it be any noticeable amount faster than the T7200 C2D in my 17" iMac?
     
  8. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

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    #8
    It's about as fast as T7200, so no boost in that. 9400M is faster than X1600 but it still isn't a great one for gaming.

    Cheapest non-9400M iMac is 1279$ so that would bust your desktop + iPad thing.

    Is a PC out of question? You can build a decent desktop for ~600$ and it will play BS2 smoothly at nice settings. Then couple hundreds for display and other peripherals and you still have money for iPad.

    Mini + iPad + X360/PS3 is one option as well. No worries about bad performance in games or anything
     
  9. js81 thread starter macrumors 65816

    js81

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    #9
    So would the 9400M NOT be capable of BS2? I saw an online article about it being playable on an Air with the 9400M...

    Yeah, I wouldn't want a PC - sure, I have one in this Acer, but only because it was cheap and I only use it for web browsing. I kinda regret not buying a used Macbook when I bought it...

    I have a Wii already, would like to have a PS3. Don't really play enough, though, to justify two consoles...

    Should I maybe consider the previous 24" on the refurb site? Its not there now, but I think its was the one with the GT120 (right?) for $1099.

    EDIT: Ahhh!!! $1279... scratch that... The $1099 one was with the 9400M.
     
  10. Cricketman macrumors regular

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    Nov 30, 2008
    #10
    I like the Mini idea. You can get comparable specs to an iMac + monitor(s) of your choice for under 1k. Can't beat getting a mac for that cheap. Also, the Mac Mini is Apple's most reliable product.

    We just ordered the base, 2.26 Ghz model refurbished for 499$. You could get the 2.53 model for around 680 refurb, great price IMO. They sell like hot cakes, though!

    Not sure how good the Acer is. But you seem to be in a similar position to me - I have a Sony Vaio FW and I LOVE couch browsing, but when I am doing 'serious computing' (like actual work - word documents, ppts, and the like) I HAVE to work at a desk. The Laptop just isn't as good as a full blown desktop IMO.

    I'd go the Mini+monitors route if you have the cash. It's affordable and you get a quality product.

    hope I helped!
     
  11. Cricketman macrumors regular

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    #11
    Oh, and sorry for the double post, but since you'll have a desktop in the Mini you can sell your iMac+Acer and get a decent windows laptop. Maybe even a refurb macbook (~$800).
     
  12. mikeo007 macrumors 65816

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    Mar 18, 2010
    #12
    The 9400m will not run bioshock 2 well. The 9600 even has issues with it. Within your price range, you're going to have trouble getting a Mac that can comfortably play bioshock 2.

    I have to agree with some others here, selling everything to buy a $600 PC and a Macbook would be your best bet.
     
  13. js81 thread starter macrumors 65816

    js81

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    #13
    Thanks all for the replies. I'm beginning to think that I may just completely abandon the idea of PC gaming and get a PS3. I'm 99% sure I want a new desktop - I like the Mini idea, but I look at $679 and I get less CPU speed, less RAM upgradability, a smaller HD (though easier to upgrade than the iMac - I had an older Mini, a Core Solo), and I like the iMac's all-in-one format; but I gain monitor upgradability, possibility of DUAL monitors, etc. But I'd still have to buy a monitor (a 21.5" IPS panel monitor would run $300+, right), keyboard, and mouse - and I'd STILL have slightly less computer.

    OK, so here's where I'm at:

    1) Get a 21.5" iMac and forget gaming on it. After all, is the "upgrade" 256MB Radeon 4670(?) really that great a card, either? I'll buy a PS3 later...

    -OR-

    2) Build a nice PC that I can hackintosh. Should be pretty easy for $600-800, right? Only problem I see is that I would want a hackintosh that I could use a vanilla install on (i.e., very close to Apple's hardware) for reliability. Would I still be stuck with a Core 2 Duo (can't afford the i5 quad in my price range and all the iWhatever duals aren't supported) and a fairly crappy video card? If that's the case, I'll go back to option 1...

    Thoughts?

    BTW, my Acer is practically brand new (just bought it in December), but its a low-voltage AMD Neo processor, so a speed demon it is NOT. :)
     
  14. mikeo007 macrumors 65816

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    #14
    I wouldn't recommend hackintosh, it's just too much of a pain. Don't get me wrong, it can be made to work really well, but you never know which updates you can and can't install + you need fairly specific hardware.

    If you're not interested in a Windows PC, forget PC gaming and just hold onto your current desktop. Buy a console (Xbox or PS3) or buy a basic macbook. Or save your money and get something even better down the road :)
     
  15. alcaholic macrumors newbie

    alcaholic

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    Feb 8, 2010
    #15



    don't listen to anyone undermining the 9400, it really is not that bad of a card. You will be fine running bioshock 2 on it, as I have no problem running it on my macbook. The processor is very powerful in the imac and it will be able to handle most of the stuff you throw at it. It will be perfect for your needs. Get it
     
  16. js81 thread starter macrumors 65816

    js81

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    #16
    I think the 21.5" iMac is sounding better by the minute... Didn't think the hack idea was a good one, either. I would hate to be stuck using Windows when the Mac side broke after an update... :)

    If I can't run the games I'd like, then I'll buy a PS3 and just forget PC gaming altogether, other than very basic stuff...
     
  17. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

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    #17
    Hackintosh will be pain in you ass sooner than later. It's nice if you like and have time to play with it to get it work but it's NEVER as stable and reliable as real Mac.

    21.5" iMac sounds great for you. You can try BS2 on it but I think you're better off getting a PS3 because they aren't much nowadays
     
  18. js81 thread starter macrumors 65816

    js81

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    #18
    Thanks for the advice. I'd been considering the PS3 anyway - my wife bought the Wii for me for Christmas, and its been great - I LOVE the new Mario game and playing the old ones on the classic console. However, we both (yes, my wife, too) want to play some good, new shooters and that just doesn't really exist on the Wii - I bought the Modern Warfare Remix and its pretty good, but I think I'd rather have a traditional controller than the motion stuff for that.

    Alright, I still haven't given up the iPad, though - guess I'll have to wait until I can get my hands on one to see if I like it or not. The concept sounds great, but if it really is just a big Touch then I may pass as my wife already has a Touch.
     
  19. js81 thread starter macrumors 65816

    js81

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    #19
    OK all, another thought: 21.5" vs. 27". Since I won't really need the graphics upgrade and I'd be getting the C2D either way, is the 27" screen really worth $450 more (the difference in the two refurbs, $999 vs. $1449). I guess I could TRY to talk my wife into it... :D

    But I'm really thinking the 21.5" will be plenty... what are your thoughts, other than just "bigger is better?"
     
  20. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

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    #20
    I think 21.5" is fine, especially because you're coming from 17" so 27" might be too big. 27" has had lots of issues as well so you may end up getting a replacement after replacement
     
  21. js81 thread starter macrumors 65816

    js81

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    #21
    Yeah, that's kinda where I was goin', too...

    Final thought and I'll leave everyone alone: Since I won't be relying on it for gaming, would there be any reason to pay $300 more to get the upgraded 21.5"? It also comes with the 1TB drive, but 500GB is more than enough right now - if in the future I needed to upgrade, is it a similar process to upgrade the drive in the new ones to the process for my 17," which I just recently upgraded?

    Thanks!
     
  22. Hellhammer Moderator

    Hellhammer

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    #22
    Not worth it. For 300$ you can buy 3 x 1TB externals so... :rolleyes: For gaming it would be but if you're getting PS3, then 9400M is fine
     
  23. js81 thread starter macrumors 65816

    js81

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    #23
    Found a great deal on a used 24" on eBay. 2.4GHz, 2GB RAM (I'll upgrade right away to 3GB, later to 6GB), 320GB hard drive, 256MB Radeon 2600, and wireless KB and MM for about $650 (after Bing cashback, eBay bucks, etc.). Seemed like a great deal to me, so I jumped on it! After all, it was $400 cheaper than I could get the refurb 21.5."
     
  24. jungeliest macrumors member

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    Feb 18, 2010
    #24
    +1

    Mini + iPad + console would be the best option, no doubt.
     

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