I've decided to take the leap to Mac, but which one?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by NMchop, Oct 18, 2006.

  1. NMchop macrumors newbie

    Oct 18, 2006
    I've decided to take the leap to Apple/Mac.

    I have a Dell 4300. It needs memory and hard drive upgrades so I've just decided to save my money and buy something new. The more I've delved into the subject, the more Mac appealed to me. I'm still sorting it all out though.

    The final straw was talking to a computer literate person who said Windows Vista will be so over the top on piracy issues that it will actually cause problems for honest folks. I guess you get one free pass and then your operating system really begins to battle you.

    So anyway, I'm considering the Mac Mini as a starter computer (I have a 15 inch monitor and such). Then I was leaning towards the Macbook, then Macbook pro. Then the Imacs were spotted and now I'm drooling over all of them. This site recommended holding off on Macbook Pro's due to advancements (or upgrades) coming soon.

    I have used my Dell for web surfing, e-mail, MS word documents, quickbooks , photos, MP3's and wav. audio files, burnt CD's with my own audio files (i'm a broadcaster and make my own demos and save the good stuff for safe keeping etc.).

    I'd like to be able to put my old vcr tapes into the computer and burn them to dvd and edit them etc. Haven't done that before.

    I also travel some which is where the laptop idea came up but I have an HP that performs ok on the road for what I need on the road (websurfing, email, DVD playing primarily).

    Any thoughts would be appreciated, I look forward to getting a Mac soon...as soon as I figure out which one is for me.
  2. minnesotamacman macrumors regular

    Jul 22, 2006
    You know, based on what you have listed above, the Mini sounds like it will work for you. Max it out with 3rd party RAM and you will have $1,000 in the machine. However, a 15" monitor isn't that big, and you may like the idea of a 17" or 20" screen. So if that is the case, then I would go with the iMac.

    Of course, you could get a 20" Dell display for $339, and then buy a Mini, and keep upgrading every year or so.

    Me, I like my things separate. So for what you have listed, Mac Mini seems the way to go.
  3. Eraserhead macrumors G4


    Nov 3, 2005
    Only other though would be budget, I would say the MBP is probably overkill, the mac laptops are nice, the MB has a brilliant touchpad (so a mouse isn't needed) and a 3.5 hour battery (real use), (though the speakers aren't great.)

    On the desktop side an iMac or Mac Mini would be best, depends on whether you like the all-in-one and/or want a new screen if you do an iMac is a better buy than the Mini.
  4. Chundles macrumors G4


    Jul 4, 2005
    The SuperDrive-equipped MacBooks will serve your purposes very well, kit them out with at least 1GB of RAM and you'll be laughing.

    All your current uses will work very well on the MacBook - Office will be a bit slow at the moment as it is being emulated by Rosetta (not Universal yet - next year sometime) but it still works very well. Office is a separate purchase so you'll have to take that into account.

    Quickbooks, I don't know anything about so I can't help you there.

    Putting VHS tapes onto the computer is going to need an analogue to digital converter device that takes composite video and converts it via a firewire-out into the computer so you can edit it in iMovie and burn it in iDVD. They're coming down in price so shop around.

    I presume your 15" monitor connects via VGA? With a miniDVI -> VGA adapter you can hook up your monitor and enjoy dual-screen use with your MacBook as a desktop-replacement.

    Any other questions?

    If you don't really need the portability then the iMac is stunning value at all levels and is one of the strongest performers in the Mac lineup. It's really amazing bang-for-your-bucks. Just make sure you get a SuperDrive-equipped version.
  5. Dont Hurt Me macrumors 603

    Dont Hurt Me

    Dec 21, 2002
    Yahooville S.C.
    You didnt mention gaming which requires a real GPU so if your not into games Mini will do very well with a little extra ram also base iMac if you dont own a nice display like millions of us that allready do.
  6. roland.g macrumors 603


    Apr 11, 2005
    I'd get an iMac, any would do depending on how much screen space you want. Don't get the $999 17", because of the integrated graphics, go with the other 17" or bigger. Then you can use either a Canopus ADVC-55 or 110 video converter box to transfer analog or s-video to firewire. Most camcorders up to 5 yrs old will also have a DV-bridge mode on them so one of those will work. Record into iMovie, edit and burn. Getting Toast is pretty much a must for more control over your CD and DVD burning, and software like iSquint, VisualHub, Handbrake, and MactheRipper are all good ways to Rip DVD's convert video to various formats, etc.
  7. NMchop thread starter macrumors newbie

    Oct 18, 2006
    outstanding input, thanks

    Thanks for the quick and thorough responses.

    My monitor is a 15 inch Samsung I bought a couple years ago that looks good. I wish it were bigger but it's sufficient (flat pannel with TV input etc.).

    The Macbook as a desktop replacement with the adaptor to fit into the current monitor is a great idea.

    I hadn't really thought of Imac's until I went to the local univerisity bookstore which is an Apple dealer and they had them and I played around a little and wow!

    I'm kind of blown away by Mac and like all their stuff. They also had a mac mini set up and I couldn't tell the difference between the imac and mac mini in just playing with the interface.

    I'll have to get used to the differences. I wish they were cheaper but everyone tells me they're a better machine. You get what you pay for.

    For the person who didn't know what Quickbooks is, it is a thorough and easy to use bookkeeping program. I'm sure there is some alternative available if it doesn't exist in Mac form.

    I'll make sure to ask about superdrive as I didn't know what that is, but thanks for the awareness.

    You help is appreciated.
  8. Eraserhead macrumors G4


    Nov 3, 2005
    A superdrive is a DVD Burner, it is called that as it reads and writes CD's and DVD's (which back in 1999 or so when the name was coined was quite special)
  9. spicyapple macrumors 68000


    Jul 20, 2006
    I would go for the Mac Pro 2.66 Quad-Xeons. They are completely upgradeable and for the price/performance, good value too.
  10. Chundles macrumors G4


    Jul 4, 2005
    SuperDrive is just Apple's name for a DVD/CD burning drive. The lower MacBook, Mac mini and iMac have ComboDrives which can only burn to CD. The next step up in all those models give you full DVD burning capabilities (single-layer 4x in the MacBook and 8x dual-layer in the Mac mini and iMac) and make for a better Mac experience.
  11. Paul S macrumors regular

    Oct 17, 2006
    I've been a long time Dell user and just ordered a 20" iMac yesterday. I chose the iMac, because I don't travel too often and the 250GB hard drive is a good amount of storage. Even if I do have to go out of town, the iMac wouldn't be TOO hard to transport, since it's an all-in-one system. The screen resolution and brightness is amazing (was playing around with one at a local store) and just the aesthetic appeal is 100X better than my Dell.

    As soon as I get it, I'll let you know how it goes.
  12. twoodcc macrumors P6


    Feb 3, 2005
    Right side of wrong
    well it still depends on how much money you plan to put into the computer. the more money you put in, the better computer you'll get
  13. ThunderLounge macrumors 6502


    Sep 20, 2006

    Unless you need the portability, the iMac would be great. But that's just me. :D

    As for quickbooks, there is a Mac version. It's not "quite" as featured as the premier version, but it's pretty decent.
  14. fivetoadsloth macrumors 65816


    Aug 15, 2006
    the mac book and external sounds like a good idea but if you dont need portability the imac is a better buy. Godd luck with your new machine :)
  15. PodHead macrumors member


    Oct 18, 2006
    Boise, ID
    As a new Mac switcher myself, I started out similar to your plans. I recommend the Mac Mini came first. It'll decide if you get hooked or not.
  16. FFTT macrumors 68030


    Apr 17, 2004
    A Stoned Throw From Ground Zero
    The mini would cover most of your needs but honestly you will be MUCH happier in the long run going for an iMac.

    Faster processing, much greater storage, dedicated VRAM and a beautiful display.

    By the time you deck out a nice Core Duo mini, you're almost up to the price of
    The 17" iMac .

    I would go for a refurbished 17 " or 20 " iMac with at least 1 GB RAM and
    128 MB VRAM if you want a great system at a reasonable price.

    If you are eligable for the education discount, that is another great way to save on you purchase.

    The mini is a great little machine, but you'll outgrow it rather quickly, so unless
    you have plans to hand it down to someone else in the family, I'd just go for the iMac.
  17. miles01110 macrumors Core


    Jul 24, 2006
    The Ivory Tower (I'm not coming down)
    I'd get the iMac. The mini is underpowered, and you said you already have a portable.
  18. minnesotamacman macrumors regular

    Jul 22, 2006

    Sure you are happy to live with the 15" I think a widescreen at least is the way to go. They are selling 20" Dell's for $339 right now on the small business site. In fact, mention that you can get a $50 discount for buying at the local kiosk and you will get teh $50 discount from the Dell operator. A 20" Widescreen Monitor for $290.

    So I think from what you are saying that the Mini is your best choice at the moment. Add the WS 20" Display and you will have a nice setup.
  19. lmalave macrumors 68000


    Nov 8, 2002
    Chinatown NYC
    I would go for the MacBook. Even though you already have a laptop and a desktop already, I think it's good to have everything on the same machine. I would get the 1.83 GHz white MacBook and just upgrade it with a DVD Burner (superdrive), and whatever size hard drive you want (default is 60 GB so you may want larger).

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