Looking for a Basic Mac

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by gspence1, Jan 25, 2011.

  1. gspence1 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Dec 21, 2010
    #1
    Frustrated PC user who is looking for a Mac.

    No heavy usage. No movie editing. No music editing. No gaming. Last child about to get his own laptop so his large Itunes will be moved to it.

    80% browing the web.
    The rest is Itunes, MS Office, and Picasa for storing pictures.

    I'm open to a refurb.

    Is 4GB enough RAM?

    Is 500GB enough for the hard drive? My current Itunes has 2000 songs.

    Do I need to be concerned with i3 vs i5 vs i7?

    I do have a home wireless network if that has any bearing.

    Thanks
     
  2. Intell macrumors P6

    Intell

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    #2
    I'd say a Mac Mini is good for what you need. Or even the low end iMac. I do suggest getting at least 4 Gb of ram and the 500Gb hard drive.
     
  3. balamw Moderator

    balamw

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    #3
    Any Mac currently available from the Apple store will be fine for your specified needs, even one with a Core 2 Duo instead of an i3/i5/i7.

    4 GB of RAM and a 500 GB HDD sound fine too.

    The main question is: Are you looking for a desktop (iMac/mini) or a notebook (MBP/MB/MBA)? and what is your budget?

    B
     
  4. gspence1 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #4
    Desktop.

    Budget is unsettled but I'd say less than $1300.
     
  5. Intell macrumors P6

    Intell

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    #5
    Desktop with built in screen or just a box that runs Mac?
     
  6. gspence1 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #6
    Do all screens work with Macs? I have a relatively new screen for my PC.
     
  7. talmy macrumors 601

    talmy

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    #8
    I'd go so far to say any Mac, no optional memory or hard disk needed. 2000 songs is about 10GB. 500GB is far more than needed. You'll probably also do fine with 2GB of RAM, which if wrong can be easily upgraded (except on MacBook Air) in the future.
     
  8. gspence1 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #9
    Thoughts on this refurbed Mini?

    http://www.powermax.com/parts/show/c-u72129
     
  9. gspence1 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #10
    The thoughts and quick replies are much appreciated.

    What besides price would be determining factors in choosing between the Mini and the iMac?
     
  10. Intell macrumors P6

    Intell

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    #11
    A Mac Mini will work with any screen. But you might need an adapter. The link you posted to Amazom is for a mid level iMac. It's a bit much for what you need. I suggest a base level Mac Mini with the proper adapter for you current screen.

    Between the iMac am Mac Mini are the built in screen. That's basically what it is.
     
  11. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere

    GGJstudios

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    #12
  12. Intell macrumors P6

    Intell

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    #13
    I advise against getting that one. It's an older one with 1gb of ram. You could get a new one with better specs for a slighty higher price.
     
  13. balamw Moderator

    balamw

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    #14
    I concur. The current stock base Mini is ~$650 at various places and would come with 2 GB of RAM and a 320GB drive (which would be plenty). You'd get a full 1 year warranty (extendable to 3 years) and can very easily upgrade the RAM in the latest model. (EDIT: 8 GB will set you back ~$110 from OWC, 4 GB ~$50).

    Unfortunately once minis hit the refurb store they sell out very quickly.

    B
     
  14. LimeiBook86, Jan 25, 2011
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2011

    LimeiBook86 macrumors 604

    LimeiBook86

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    #15
    Don't forget to check Apple's Refurbished Macs in their online store! They have some great deals there and they cover everything - you can even buy an extended warranty via AppleCare. No Mac Minis are present as of now, but they have a Core i3 iMac for $1019. (Oddly priced lower than the older Core 2 Duo model) The $1,019 refurb model has 500GB of Hard Drive space, 4GB of RAM, and a beefier graphics card than the Mac Mini. This machine (or either Mac) will definitely last you a while. I still have a iMac from 2006, and although it's a bit slow, it still runs fine.

    The newest Mac Mini has an HDMI port for connecting a monitor or display. Apple includes an HDMI to DVI adapter. If your monitor uses VGA (and not DVI) you must buy an adapter for your VGA monitor. Using a cheap DVI to VGA adapter on top Apple's included adapter won't work. So just check what connection your monitor has. Sometimes they have multiple connections. VGA ports are sometimes blue, DVI ports are white mostly. This image will help you see which one you have.

    As for the iMac VS the Mac Mini it's your choice. If you have a monitor you plan to use and you don't need a new screen then the Mini may be the better choice. The iMac offers a faster processor and better graphics card with an included display. But if you just want a computer the Mac Mini is the way to go. It'll work with virtually any USB mouse or USB keyboard. Just remember Apple doesn't include a keyboard or mouse with the purchase of a Mac Mini, they do include both with the iMac however.

    Good luck with your purchase! You can always add more RAM (memory) later on either model, Apple likes to overcharge for RAM. If you have any other questions feel free to ask. :)
     
  15. gspence1 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #16
  16. balamw Moderator

    balamw

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    #17
    The advantage of buying from Apple, is that you get the full benefit of the 1 year warranty, plus you can buy AppleCare during the first year to extend that to 3 years. You just don't get a pretty box.

    In the case of the machine you pointed out, $70 more buys you the latest model, new with more RAM, faster video card and HDMI out which may connect more easily to your monitor.

    It just doesn't seem like that great a deal.

    B
     
  17. talmy macrumors 601

    talmy

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    #18
    Powermax charges ridiculously high prices for their used systems. Apple's refurbs are a better deal.
     
  18. rjbruce macrumors regular

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    St. Louis, MO
    #19
    You'll also need a usb or bluetooth keyboard and mouse for the mini in addition to the monitor. For the latest model mini, it supports most common outputs except VGA (blue - most common). Can get an adapter though for VGA.
     
  19. misfit356tsw macrumors regular

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    #20
    I recommend the Mac Mini if you already have a nice display. I switched to Mac in 2006 and have never looked back. 2 GB of RAM in the Mac Mini works fine for Snow Leopard but the ability to upgrade to 4 GB makes it that much more future proof. The nice thing about the new Mac Mini is it can have it's RAM upgraded alot easier than the old model. Good luck with your decision, I'm sure you will be happy you made it.
     
  20. Danekero macrumors member

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    Jan 12, 2011
    #21
    I can attest to this last point - trying to catch a mini (or a 6 core mac pro, haha) is a tough process, but in your case it will be well worth it. The refurbished models offer a much better deal than the one you linked to.

    I'd take the refurbished mac mini route - it'll do what you want to do, will save you money, and might even work with your monitor. Just be prepared to act quickly if you see one pop up on the store.
     
  21. brendu, Jan 25, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 25, 2011

    brendu macrumors 68020

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    #22
    Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; U; CPU iPhone OS 4_1 like Mac OS X; en-us) AppleWebKit/532.9 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/4.0.5 Mobile/8B117 Safari/6531.22.7)

    What kind of monitor do you have? That makes a difference in whether a mini is really worth it versus the base model or refurb iMac.

    EDIT: for an extra $230 over the cost of a stock mini, you can get a refurb iMac which will last you a good 5-6 years with your usage, plus it has a built in isight (which you may not need but might find useful at points), microphone, apple keyboard and magic mouse (which are really nice and cost $140 combined resale) and most likely a nicer monitor than what you have now. You could also still use your current monitor as a second if you really wanted to. The Mac Mini is a good computer if you want only the most basic and don't mind using non apple standardized peripherals (or paying the extra $140 for them)

    Just some things to consider. All in all you cant go wrong with any new or refurb mac.
     
  22. balamw Moderator

    balamw

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    #23
    That darned upsell, it's how I ended up with my iMac when I had every intention of buying a mini. However, I don't regret it at all 6 years later...

    The 3.5" drive and small footprint of the 17" model has made it so much more versatile than a mini+monitor+speakers would have been.

    B
     
  23. gspence1 thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #24
  24. Intell macrumors P6

    Intell

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