Need Advice on Buying a Mac

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by SeanT, Aug 30, 2013.

  1. SeanT macrumors newbie

    Aug 30, 2013
    Hello there. I've been thinking for the longest time ever for my first purchase of a Mac. Really appreciate if you guys can provide me with some advice.

    I'm actually thinking of getting one of the following to match it with a Dell 24" monitor and my existing wireless keyboard and mouse.

    1) Mac Book Air 13"
    2) Mac Mini

    I usually use my computer for some light browsing, mostly to watch Youtube videos and sometimes play a little flash-based online games. I'm pretty much busy with work so I'm seldom home. I'm also thinking of installing bootcamp on the mac so that I can use Excel spreadsheets to keep track of my expenses and work stuff. I'm thinking of connecting it to a monitor because I prefer big screens and I'm also thinking that I can actually connect my work laptop to the same monitor as well whenever I wanna work at home.

    What do you think I should get?

    Thanks in advance guys! :)
  2. john0026 macrumors newbie

    Jun 5, 2007
    i would say go with the mac mini as it has more upgradable options and could get better performance . The macbook air on the other hand is portable but great as a secondary computer.
  3. pantome macrumors newbie

    Aug 27, 2013
    I'd say mac mini. it's much less expensive but has more processing power. also, if you need to use excell, microsoft made a Mac OSX version of MS Office! so you won't need to install bootcamp if that's really your sole purpose of bootcamp. But, if you need to install bootcamp anyway for any reason, macbook air is not a good option as they have much smaller HDD (SSD = expensive) and then partitioning for Mac, Windows, and possibly third partition for shared FAT32 data partition, you'll end up with 3 tiny partitions and could get very upseting when you realize that you're running out of HDD space very quickly.
  4. Knisse macrumors member

    Jan 9, 2012
    This is a pretty weird comparison as they are two very different machines, at least in my book. Mac Mini is for one place, Air is for portability/transportability.

    I would say it boils down to; will you ever use it anywhere else than in your home? - at work, at school?, then commuting, then visiting friends etc, in your bed/at your sofa?
    If not, then go with the Mac Mini as you will most likely get more bang for your buck if your just using it one place.
  5. phoenixsan macrumors 65816


    Oct 19, 2012
    Three things to consider.....

    when buying a computer:

    1-How much I work? light, medium or power user?
    2-Where I work the most time? Mobile or desktop?
    3-What things I do with my computer?

    Answering myself some of this questions for your case, seems to me the laptop fit the bill better for you. But I am no so sure about a current Air....:confused:

  6. Apple fanboy macrumors Penryn

    Apple fanboy

    Feb 21, 2012
    Behind the Lens, UK
    Not sure why you would need boot camp just for Excel sheets. You can get Microsoft office applications for Mac (that's what I do), Numbers (apple equivalent) or other open source free applications.
    If you plan on leaving your Mac at home all the time get the mini.

    If you like the idea of using it away from your office (bed, garden, cafe etc) then go with the Air. Only you can answer which scenario is most likely.
  7. L T macrumors 6502

    L T

    Feb 24, 2013
    I had a Mac mini as my first mac which I bought back in December 2012. I loved it, it was brilliant, but then I found myself annoyed that I had to sit at my desk if I wanted to use a computer over my iPad!

    Last week I got a 13inch MBA, I love it. I find it a lot better than the Mac mini because of the SSD. Whilst it is on my desk say 60% off the time I love having the freedom to take it with me.

    Whether its off my desk to chill on my bed, on the sofa whilst watching tv, or to take it to work. I just love that freedom that the mini doesn't have.

    Being able to take it any where with you is brilliant!
  8. Micky Do macrumors 68000

    Micky Do

    Aug 31, 2012
    An island in the Andaman Sea.
    It depends on your situation.

    I have moved around quite a bit over the years, so I was wanting something relatively transportable. However, I don't like to be on-line when I am out and about, so I wasn't interested in a portable.

    When the came along in 2005 it fitted my situation perfectly. I am on to my second one now, an early 2009, which looks like it will be good for a few more years. I added 4 GB of RAM so I could update the OS to Mountain Lion. I guess I will replace the HDD, and maybe add another 4GB of RAM some time in the next year or so. The Mini should be good for a few more years.....

    Such hardware upgrades are not possible on the Air.

    However, after relatively settled decade, the next little while could see me on the move a lot more, without a home, so to speak. If so, I could make the move to an Air.

    I hope this helps.
  9. tillsbury macrumors 65816

    Dec 24, 2007
    Also remember the MBA has the Intel 5000 graphics rather than the 4000. This will make a difference when running your external monitor. And it's pretty much a generation in front of the current mini generally (SSD speed etc).

    The mini will work for you if you're on an extreme budget and/or want to put more drives in there.

    If you can cope with the limited SSD size and expansion then I'd say the Air was a much better machine overall.

    (The missus has a 2012 Air and I have two current Mac Minis, one for my son and one as a media centre)
  10. SeanT thread starter macrumors newbie

    Aug 30, 2013
    Hey people! Thank y'all so much for your feedback, advice and comments. Really appreciate them all.

    I think for the next 2 years, my work will not bring me around the globe, so, I guess travelling won't be an issue. Whenever I'm home, I'd prefer to use my computer in my room. Also, I'm trying to minimise my spending on my first Mac, just to test out whether I'd really like the Mac. I'm guessing I'm leaning more towards a Mac Mini?

    But I'm not sure if I'll be making the right choice. Does the Mac Mini compromise a lot on wireless connectivity speed, video graphics and processing speed from the Mac Book Air?

    Thanks people!
  11. blanka macrumors 68000

    Jul 30, 2012
    That needs some nuances. The Air is for working on your LAP in situations where you should not work (commuting, chilling on the couch etc.). The Mini is the most portable yet powerful workstation that is easier to carry than a macbook (no power supplies). The only thing is it works best when your working spots have a display and keyboard/mouse. Many people who carry a laptop, actually work on 2 places, nothing more, so in most cases the mini is better, especially when the back-and-forth computer is a 3kg PC beast your boss gives you to hook up to the docking station at work.

    The Mini is the best computer ever. Period. Best TCO, best power/money, best reliability, best resell value. And don't spoil my euphoria by bitching about its HD4000. It is a good GPU and you almost never need a GPU. If you need one, you probably should look at the upcoming PS4. That has more GPU power than any Mac (the new Pro will outperform it, but we know nothing about that yet) and only costs 400 bucks, yet some dude will get OSX running on it!
  12. designs216 macrumors 65816


    Oct 26, 2009
    Down the rabbit hole
    The Mini is a great first computer considering you already have a monitor. Consider buying this machine refurbished from Apple. It looks like new besides the plain box and has been inspected twice vs. a new machine. A handy tool in buying reconditioned is

    Compare the refurbed price at Apple to what you see on similar models at tax-free sites like Amazon and B&H.

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