My Switch from PC to Mac? Chances are slim :(

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by Gunga Din, Jan 10, 2008.

  1. Gunga Din macrumors 6502

    Jan 1, 2008
    Old Trafford
    (READ MY 2nd POST ON PAGE 2)

    First off, I'd like to thank all of you for the advice i've received. I have not found a community such as yours in the PC world.

    However, unless MWSF releases some information about a Mac that fits me, I may not be buying my first Mac. Let me explain.

    (1) Mac Mini : Too underpowered for the price. I want to enjoy the Mac OS from its basics to its potential. I feel the Mini does not instill enough buying confidence for me. Limited upgradeablitiy.

    (2) iMac : Its nice but I already have a monitor and again limited upgradeablity.

    (3) Mac Pro : Nice machine, but from speaking to all of you, its more power than I need. If it was under 2k, I wouldnt mind as much. But I feel forced to pay more for the computer i'm looking for.

    Obviously this all leads to what alot of people desire from Apple.... a mid range upgradeable computer. I just can't figure out which of those 3 to go with. (i'm not interested in a notebook, i do most of my computing at my home desk).

    I wanted to get away from gaming and get more into video/music etc. Things most of you use the Mac for. I still like to game from time to time. Not a heavy gamer but casual. I need a good vid card but need this, need that but need this. Everytime i'm configuring the Macs I keep finding fault in what i'm looking for. Its either overkill or underkill for me.

    The best choice I could come up with is the single quad core with the 8800gt for $2500. I'm looking more towards 2k with the chance to upgrade.

    Again, I thank you all. I'll consider the Mac Pro for another couple weeks but I just wanted to vent my frustration a bit. Everything will hinge on MWSF. I want to see if they have plans to continue the Mac Mini (with and upgrade etc) or introduce and Mid Level Tower (highly unlikely with the Mac Pro offered with a Single Quad core).

    My PC is 4 yrs old running XP. I don't like Vista. All things considered, I found a nice Dell for $1759 that fits my component needs a bit closer. So i'm trying to Justify paying $750 more for the Mac Pro based on (1) the OS / Apple Software which I'm very excited to learn and (2) join your great community. Some my say $750 is not a big deal, but I do have to consider price when making some of my decisions.

    Perhaps the upcoming MMSF will change my mind. I'll continue to read your posts and gain some feeback. Don't count me out just yet !! Let my RL Mac friends continue to work on me and lets see what develops. I'll post again when i've made my decision. I just wanted to let you all know how great a community you have and hopefully I can figure something out to join ya :)

  2. jnc macrumors 68020


    Jan 7, 2007
    Nunya, Business TX
    SINGLE Quad Core 2.8GHz Mac Pros are $2299.

    Apple won't be coming out with anything else, because that's your mid tower right there. Same price as a 2.8GHz iMac.

    This is the best you're gonna get!

    I see the Mac Mini and the :apple:tv merging into one product.. at least, that's what I'd have done if I were in charge :p

    Slimmer Mini with Component and HDMI outputs in addition to DVI. Cinema Displays renamed Studio Displays and REAL 1080p "Cinema Displays" (40" and beyond!) announced.


    Anyhoo, go for that Mac Pro right now. Stop the waiting, it's here already!
  3. SkyBell macrumors 604


    Sep 7, 2006
    Texas, unfortunately.
    Well, I don't know what you plan to do with your Mac, but I will suggust the 2.0 GHz Mac mini? I have a 1.83 GHz Core Duo model, and it has served me very well. :)
  4. iSee macrumors 68040


    Oct 25, 2004
    Gunga, my friend, I don't think it could be more clear: ... You ... want ... a ... Mac. :)

    You've just got to find a way to rationalize it. So here it goes: First, just let go of some of your requirements. You're concentrating too much on what you might loose out on given this or that Mac. Concentrate on everything you'll be getting. It's worth it. Trust me. So here's what I say:
    Follow Cassie's suggestion, and get the Mini.
    Here's why:
    1. You will get the full OS X experience from a Mini. These machines can really run OS X very well--OS X was designed to run on much less powerful computers than these.
    2. Just forget about gaming on a Mac. Yeah, this is a tough one for many, but let it go. Get a Wii or PS3 or XBox or whatever.
    3. Once you outgrow the Mini, you've got some great options: get a new Mac and use it as a cool media server or something. Or sell it--the resale value of these things is truly crazy. So even if you ultimately decide the Mac isn't for you after six months, you won't be out much money.
    4. Because of #3 above, limited upgradability is not too terrible. Also, there are some cool products like the Mini Stacks (an external HD built to stack under the Mini) that make external upgrades a lot more palatable than they would be for your average PC.

    Come on. Get a Mac. You know you want to... :D:D:D
  5. jnc macrumors 68020


    Jan 7, 2007
    Nunya, Business TX
    A Quad core Mac Pro with an 8800 IS an XBox 360, lol.

    Orange Box, BioShock, Gears of War, Guitar Hero 3, Call of Duty 4... look it can run it all! ;)

    No issue with "outgrowing" in a matter of months

    4 hard drive bays, fully expandable machine

    I can't believe you are trying to recommend a Mini to a guy considering an $1800 Dell and $2500 Mac :confused: what are you people smoking??!
  6. Hatchet macrumors regular

    Dec 9, 2007
    Baton Rouge
    GungaDin, this is exactly my problem as well. However, I do not have a monitor currently and I am looking at a 24" which adds extra cost to this issue.

    What I have initially decided was to go with the Mac Mini and do exactly what iSee has suggested.

    I am waiting to see what happens at MacWorld before I make my final purchase, but if you are looking to switch before taking the full plunge the mini is perfect with the external harddrive and hopefully some new upgrades.
  7. jnc macrumors 68020


    Jan 7, 2007
    Nunya, Business TX
  8. Hatchet macrumors regular

    Dec 9, 2007
    Baton Rouge
    46 lbs(Mac Pro) vs 2.9 lbs (Mac mini)

    Getting the low end Mac Pro is a waste of money IMHO. He'd be better off getting a Dell and the lowest Mac Mini for the same price.

    He'd be getting both worlds. ;)

    A PC for gaming and the Mac for everything else, that's what I'm doing at least.
  9. eXan macrumors 601


    Jan 10, 2005
    Why people think they need upgradabilty so badly?

    Getting a new Mac than upgrading your old is (and was) a better option. Even with Mac Pro you are very limited:

    1) It only works with Xeon CPUs, and those are expensive, also you need to buy 2 of them. Getting 2 Xeons is extremely expensive, so expensive that you would better just sell you Mac Pro and get a new Mac. And new chip generations usually don't support old chipsets so you are left with nothing to upgrade to.

    2) Graphics cards. Not many of them for Macs. About 2 or 3 per generation of the Pro tower. So if you get 8800 now, its most likely the fastest one for your Mac Pro ever to be released. (look at previous Mac Pro - the new 8800 doesnt work with it)

    And I agree with iSee. Get a Mac mini. It can do everything except gaming/Motion/Aperture. And you can use it as a media machine later when its old.
  10. Sir Pancakes macrumors member

    Sir Pancakes

    Dec 18, 2007
    Apple has no interest in making a "mid-range upgradable" computer!!! Thats what the shizbox Dell machines are for. If you don't like Apple's offerings hit the freakin' road! They would destory their entire product line by placing some vanilla flavored mediocre box in the middle.

    So sick of hearing people yak about this stupid point. Do you not realize that half of the reason Apple is where it is at market wise comes from the fact that they have a very distinct and deliberate product line.

    If they have a bunch of consumers modding and "upgrading" a mid range tower, their reliability and simplicity go out the window.
  11. petejohnson macrumors newbie


    Jan 10, 2008

    I see you're considering purchasing a Mac, and upgradeability is one of your issues. I'm wondering what you might want to upgrade that you can't? FireWire allows for the addition of any and every device, many to pick from, unlimited in quantity. I have a MacBook, which is my first notebook, and I'll tell you that most likely I will NEVER purchase another desktop. The convenience is just too much to sacrifice. I can use it as a desktop, which you mention you are interested in, by plugging in a monitor, keyboard, and mouse, and shutting the lid. BUT, I have the added benefit of being able to take it wherever I want and working. I can spend my evening on the couch or comfy chair, out at a bookstore or coffee shop, or even lying in bed. My creativity doesn't just come to me when I'm at a desk, but at any time, and I have the ability to harness that via my MacBook. There's nothing that I can't do on or with my MacBook, and I would recommend that anyone considering a machine take a long hard look at the freedom of using a laptop.
    The other thing I've learned in my 30 years with computers is to spend as much as you can, buy the best you can, and it will serve you longer than if you just bought what you need for "now". Aim at the highest performance and most capabilities and you won't be disappointed in the future. Settling for a little machine that meets your needs today is limiting your growth to nothing more than you currently are, creatively and intellectually. If you find yourself saying "well I don't need all that" you probably aren't dreaming and imagining what you can do. Of course, there are limits to everyone's budget, and you should aim as high as you can get in that budget.
    Comparing a Mac to a Dell is like comparing a Hyundai to a Lexus. Apple is rated tops by Consumer Reports for quality, value, consumer satisfaction, support, and lowest number of repairs. Apple has always focused on innovation and quality, not populating the market just to sell machines. You can't argue with the numbers of hard data and research, so please don't compare a Dell to an Apple, it's simply not fair to the Dell. It isn't on the same par. If your comparison was based on a Dell that performed at the same level as the Mac Pro, you wouldn't be looking at a $750 difference, on my experience. The Dell may be a nice machine, but it's no Mac.
  12. synth3tik macrumors 68040


    Oct 11, 2006
    Minneapolis, MN
    When looking for upgradability people usually are only concerned in upgrading the hard drive and RAM. Which are rather easy in the iMac. Besides the almost useless PCIe slots the Mac Pro is no more upgradable then an iMac.
  13. CanadaRAM macrumors G5


    Oct 11, 2004
    On the Left Coast - Victoria BC Canada
    So, get an iMac and sell the existing monitor off.

    Kinda like passing on the new BMW 'cause I have a set of Honda rims I don't want to waste...
  14. GoKyu macrumors 65816


    Feb 15, 2007
    New Orleans
    I'm getting the 2.8 8-core Mac Pro - am I a professional who needs one of these? No. Is it way more power than I actually need (even though Photoshop is one of the main apps I run)? Definitely!

    So why did I just plunk down $2600+ for an 8-core beast like this? I'll tell you - here are my (and your) other choices:

    Mac Mini- Limited expandibility, difficult to replace the hard drive and RAM on your own - yes, this is exactly why I'm not going with this one.

    iMac - Again, relatively limited expandability, but at least its easy to change the RAM out. All in one machine means that if the screen goes out, you don't have a usable computer for at least several days (unless you have an Apple Store/authorized repair shop nearby.)

    Mac Pro (4 core) - Not bad, close to the $2000 price point you're looking for, while still being plenty powerful for nearly anything you'd want to do with it. Third party RAM is surprisingly inexpensive - I picked up 2 2gig chips from OWC for $200 - and with the 2 that come with the machine, that would hold anybody but video pros over for quite a long time.

    So why didn't *I* get a 4 core? Because for the extra money, I'll probably get an extra 3 years or so out of this machine.

    Think about a 4 core machine as a long term investment with a good return at the end. Sure you might be a bit miffed at being "forced" to go over 2k for the computer you want.....BUT - Think that this machine could pretty easily last you 4-5 years on average, and when you SELL it to get a new machine you could be looking at getting close to, if not possibly a bit over half of that money back to buy the next system.

    Think of it in those terms, and a Mac really is a better overall value than even a midrange PC you can buy anywhere. (obligatory bit about OS X being faster, more efficient, more secure, essentially virus/spyware-free, etc, etc, than Windows XP and especially Vista.)

    Go for the Mac, it's a good move and a great investment :)

  15. CashGap macrumors 6502


    Sep 15, 2007
    Music City, USA
    For the first twenty years of the PC revolution, it made sense. It hasn't made any economic sense for about five years, but perception lags reality.

    Buy what you need and max the ram third party. When you need a bigger harddrive plug it into FW800. When you a significant upgrade three years later:

    1. Sell it for 50% of what you paid for it (Apple plan)
    2. Sell it for 10% of what you paid for it (Dell plan)

    Then buy what you need.

    Hard to accept if you spent the 90's chasing down powersupply Y-cables to handle your new 200mb SCSI drive.
  16. Yvan256 macrumors 603


    Jul 5, 2004
    As you say, it's more a habit than anything else. I'm also fro a PC background (switched when Apple introduced the Mac mini), and it's hard to think about not being able to configure your computer in the same way as before. I used to be able to pay 100$ and upgrade the videocard, max out the RAM to 8GB or more, etc.

    Yes the Mac mini is limited, but once you realize that all the upgrades you'll need are more storage space (and more RAM than 1GB), you start forgetting about upgrades altogether. It costs less to add more RAM to the basic Mac mini and upgrade every 3 years than to keep upgrading an old PC (new CPU sockets, new power supplies requirements, new drives, new videocard connectors, etc. all means a complete replacement every 3-4 years too).
  17. savar macrumors 68000


    Jun 6, 2003
    District of Columbia
    I think there are a lot of people in your position...It is surprising to me that Apple won't put something in between the mini and the mac pro, but one thing you have to keep in mind is that Apple targets very specific groups of people with their products -- people that have money and are willing to spend it on computer/lifestyle technology.

    I guess they think that a machine such as you describe just wouldn't be a profitable market for them. Look at the rest of the PC world...even the titans like Dell, HP, etc. are drowning in a world of super-cheap commodity PCs. Apple doesn't want to touch that dirty market with a stick.
  18. balamw Moderator


    Staff Member

    Aug 16, 2005
    New England
    Bingo. And since even the current Mini will do well against a 3-4 year old PC, you could even think about buying a new Mini each year as your upgrade path and still have about the same total cost over 3 years.

    As noted, the only thing that can't easily be upgraded in the Mini is the video card. The RAM is easy, the HDD is easy (external or internal), the CPU is doable to the same extent it is on a PC (You have some options until they change sockets and chipsets on you).

    So buy the Mini and a large external HDD, then when you feel the need to upgrade the video card, buy the next Mini instead of a discrete video card. Lather, rinse, repeat.

    Personally, I'm hoping Apple sees the eSATA light for the next Mini. This would make it a no-brainer for me, since storage is the key limitation, and USB/FW are a bit of a bottleneck.

  19. jnc macrumors 68020


    Jan 7, 2007
    Nunya, Business TX
    Lol, he should get the Mini because it's light? The benefit of which for you surely goes out the window as you are dealing with two boxes, one of which I'm sure is stil heavy ;)

    He said he wanted to game casually, and start creating music and video content... now, as an buyer of two MacBooks, two Mac Minis, an iMac and very soon a Mac Pro and MBP, I couldn't tell him to get anything with less punch than a iMac / MBP for all of these purposes with a straight face.

    He can then get all he wants done on one box. Sounds like he wants a tower rather than an AIO though, so iMac and MBP are out of the question, in which case his sole sensible option appears to be the 4 core Mac Pro.
  20. thejadedmonkey macrumors 604


    May 28, 2005
    You can't game on a mac.. and if you do, it's nothing that taxes the video card in any way (think starcraft or at most, WoW)
  21. aross99 macrumors 68000


    Dec 17, 2006
    East Lansing, MI
    I think alot of this comes down to cost.

    For me, the Mac Mini it a budget machine. It is a great machine, but definately a budget solution. The hard drive can be expanded externally as people have suggested, but once you hit the memory max you are stuck. You also have a low end CPU.

    The iMac is definitely a step up - especially in appearance and elegance if that matters to you. There is definitely something nice about having an all in one box with a minimum of cables. Hard drives and memory can be expanded reasonably (might need to check on the hard drive...). If you already have a monitor you like, then you are going to have an extra monitor...

    The Mac Pro is obviously the ultimate, and provides the most in expandibility and in longevity. There is just no comparison to the other two choices. The only drawbacks are the higher cost, and the physical size of the system.

    Coming from the PC world, you sound like you are going to be more comfortable with the Mac Pro, and the cost sounds like it is pretty close to what you need - since you already have a monitor.

    I think in your situation, I would get the Mac Pro. It soudns like it is a couple of hundred dollars over your price point, but I think this is the best match for you.
  22. theLimit macrumors 6502a


    Jan 30, 2007
    up tha holler, acrost tha crick
    What? :confused:

    I've been gaming on Apple computers since the Apple II. Sure, the games in the last decade or so have mainly been few-and-far-between ports of the most popular games for Windows, but games have always been there.

    With Boot Camp, Intel Macs with discrete video processors should be able to handle any currently available game. Gaming on an iMac or MacBook Pro may not be able to meet the "wow" factor of a Core 2 Extreme with SLI video cards, but the games are still enjoyable.
  23. PNW macrumors regular

    Feb 7, 2007
    It's a security blanket. Plain and simple. And for many of us (myself included) it's really hard to let go of

    He's right. Spend a little time looking at Macs on eBay they really hold their value (especially there). So get what works now and when you need more umph sell and buy new for roughly the same cost as upgrading. One other thing to consider is that even compared to XP OS X uses a lot fewer resources so you really can do more with less. If there's an Apple Store near by go down there and play around with the iMacs you'll find that despite the "lower" specs the 2.4 GHz model out performs the $1759 Dell.

    We have a 1.83 prev gen mini as our family computer and it's a great box for everything but working with large photos. (Plus once you go dual monitor you don't go back) My Linux/XP PC it too long in the tooth to keep bumping. I'm waiting to see what comes out next week then buying the mid level (currently 2.4 GHz) iMac. I'm don't need the monitor either but it's a price (as opposed to $2300) I'm willing to pay to not have to use Vista for digital darkroom work (the only reason I can't / won't go 100% Linux).
  24. jnc macrumors 68020


    Jan 7, 2007
    Nunya, Business TX
    Have you been under a rock since 2006? Now you can run Windows and OSX out of the same box, of course you can play games.
  25. tcoleman macrumors member

    Aug 7, 2007
    Great White North
    Macs have never been, and are never going to be easily upgradeable. Think of them as computing appliances. You wouldn't upgrade your microwave oven or toaster, would you? No, you use them until they wear out and then buy new ones.

    Sure, you can upgrade a PC, but it ends up costing you the same in the long run. How many components in a five year old PC are still current? If you try to keep your machine current, you end up replacing the whole thing anyway, just in pieces instead of all at once.

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